Mimikyu – Amigurumi #48

*The following plush also appears on @pikainabag

Monday was Shoonie’s birthday! In commemoration of her 2 decades on this planet, I broke taboo and made…a Pikachu!

Hm? What’s that? This ISN’T a Pikachu?

…oh. It’s a Mimikyu!

This little guy was a bit tricky to get just right. As pictured to the left, it turns out Mimikyu’s black body underneath has the same spiky pattern as the bottom of its costume. I thought that was merely shadow, but after looking at its model in Sun, it turns out that is not the case.
You’ll also notice it doesn’t sit flat, but rather rocks a bit. The weight created by its head and tail leaning to one side doesn’t help either. After doing a bit of research, I may have found a way to keep the base laying flat. Once the shop reopens, I will make and sell a new Mimikyu according to these strategies.

This cutie has been widely received among my classmates. It’s very well behaved too; it quietly listens to music while I work.

Sometimes it joins me for tea.

This Mimikyu is Canadian made. So Canadian, in fact, that it sat and watched hockey with my roommate.

Poor Mimikyu. It just wants to be loved. Maybe it will find a friend in No-Face.

With only 2 weeks left of school, things are getting hectic. While I’m glad to have gotten a chance to sit down and make plushies again, I must also focus on the plethora of assignments that are due in the coming week. Perhaps I will share the completed ones here at the end of the semester!

Which Pokemon should be next? Or should Mimikyu get an alternate costume? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

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No-Face and Soot Sprite – Amigurumi #47

Before we begin, allow me to take a moment for some shameless self-promotion: I now have Facebook and Instagram pages! Yeah, I know, 5 years late, but better late than never. Follow for plushies, as well as crafts and miscellaneous artwork that won’t necessarily be featured on this blog. Etsy shop is expected to reopen by May 1, 2019!

Follow me on Facebook at Pika in a Bag, or on Instagram @pikainabag! (Click links to follow through)

These count as one post because they are from the same movie.

We watched Spirited Away in our History of Animation class last week. I’ve watched it quite a lot in the past. We watched it when Hatter’s friend came to visit, but No-Face and Sootsprite didn’t want to see their namesakes.

At first, No-Face’s mask turned out too small. It made the purple designs look like blush. No-Face’s mask is an oblong shape, and therefore needed to be made with an oval shape. I am working on a round 2 No-Face plush. Hopefully it will turn out better.

Remember that scene at Zeniba’s house, when No-Face was knitting? In Japan, they have a No-Face who knits. In Canada, we have a crocheted No-Face.

The soot sprite is made from leftover black fluff. Recycling level: crafty.

I’ve been experimenting with felt needles lately. To make the details on No-Face’s mask, I felted some bits of fluff to his face. To think, I used to glue and sew felt onto things… maybe I’ll make my own goomba plush, and felt the eyes directly onto the plush.

Today in class, the soot sprite wanted to drink coffee. But he needed a little help.

Ne ne~ (8)

And then we travelled to Wonderland, to meet the cat-No-Face and cat-Sootsprite.

Let’s see what No-Face (Nofie) and Sootsprite (Sootsie) think of their namesakes…

Nofie with the soot sprite

As I type this, Nofie is jumping around with his namesake. I did not put cat nip in the doll, so I’m not sure why he’s doing that. And just now, he picked it up in his front paws and threw it against the bedroom door like a pro-wrestler. “Mom” is pleased that he’s enjoying the toy. Good thing this was a prototype No-Face, because it is covered in dust now.

Sootsprite is watching his brother. Earlier, he was hesitating to go play with the toys. I told him he needs to go ask his brother nicely for the toys, not just stare awkwardly. So then I threw the No-Face doll, and it spun around like a top. The cats seem to like the No-Face a bit better than the soot sprite.

Like the jingle bell balls before it, the soot sprite toy has vanished under the couch. The cats tried licking the soot sprite, and both went “pleh pleh pleh.”

Did you know…. the bath house was actually based on a location in Taiwan? Toni from the PepperToni Pizza is from Taiwan, and thought the environments looked familiar. I would love to visit this location. Maybe Toni will take us?

Since I watched this movie for the first time at age 12, I’ve had a fascination with the attention to environment and character development present in Miyazaki’s works. When I first watched Spirited Away, it began with a long intro by John Lasseter, pointing out the detail of Chihiro putting on her shoes “like a real little girl.” Years later, my teachers would point out the finer details of the shine in eyes, breeze blowing through grass, and yes, character behaviours. These are all things one must pay attention to when animating. You can tell a lot about a character or environment by how it behaves. When something bad happens, Chihiro curls in a ball like a little girl. When she feeds Haku the medicine, she pulls his mouth open like a dog. You don’t think of things until you watch behind the scenes, or fun facts about the movies. But if you want to create believable, interesting animations, you must take notes of little nods like these.

I often like to sit back and wonder, “how do they come up with these things?” Who else could have come up with No-Face, or thought to personify the dust that comes from burnt objects? That’s why I long to be an animator, and to create my own works. I want to create, animate, and make the world plush.

What Studio Ghibli plushie should be next? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Ariel (Little Mermaid) – Amigurumi #45

Look at this plush, isn’t it neat? Wouldn’t you say that this project’s complete?
Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl… the girl who makes, everything? (8)

This is Ariel from The Little Mermaid. She’s pretty cute, if I do say so myself! I chose this combination of red and green, because they contrasted each other and really stood out. She looks pretty close to the original design, so I’d say this was a success.

The body and head shapes were easy. The hair was the hardest part. I felt discouraged at first, because the hair fibers looked much shorter once they were brushed out. I broke a few of the strands too, resulting in a waste of yarn in general. Sigh…

After some brushing and work with the hair straightener, the hair finally started to come together. I used Red Heart Super Saver yarn to make this hair, which is not recommended. The final product looks nice, and didn’t take much head to get it nice and smooth. (The iron was only 350 degrees) However, you can’t give this plush to a kid who likes to brush and style doll hair. The fibers of Super Saver get snagged in toy brushes, such as the ones that come with Barbie dolls. I had to pin up her hair while I sewed on the seashell bra and tail frill. Taking out the bobby pin after finishing the doll was very satisfying. It was like taking down your girl friend’s hair after doing her makeup, and asking her what she thinks.

Admittedly, I didn’t watch Little Mermaid all the way through until about 3 years ago! As a kid, I became a fan the same way some people become fans of Overwatch: through fan osmosis. In grade 1, I owned a two-piece outfit decorated with Ariel, Flounder, and Sebastian. It looked like a pyjama set. Around this time, someone gave me a volume of the Little Mermaid TV series. I remember one episode where Ariel brought home a baby whale and hid it in her room, only for the whale to sneak out and interrupt one of the concerts in the palace. When everything falls into chaos, Sebastian says, “and dat, my friends, is what is meant by ‘bringing down de house.'” My dad told me ‘bringing down the house’ meant to annoy everyone. I took his word for it, because that’s exactly what the whale did.

Until Rapunzel came along in Tangled, Ariel was one of my most identifiable Disney princesses. Despite her father’s warnings, she risked everything to experience walking on land for the first time…even if it was primarily motivated by a guy she liked. I’m not saying that you should always disobey your parents; sometimes you have to think for yourself and make your own decisions in life. Sure, our parents love us and want what’s best for us. But what’s best for us, and what makes us happy, doesn’t always go hand-in-hand. When was the last time you heard a story of a person who did everything they were told, never took risks, and never thought for themselves? I worked with people who were Ariel’s age at my old job, and many of them lamented that they wanted to study art or learn a trade, but their parents were making them go to University. Having been in their situation at one point, all I could say is, “go with what your parents are saying for now. But as soon as you get the opportunity to do what you want, take it.” (I suppose this advice would better relate to Moana, another plush I hope to make)

Zzzzz…

Ariel’s decision wasn’t perfect; she got what she wanted, but at the cost of her voice. But she still made the best of what she had. Because she couldn’t speak, she could only listen to Eric. Even though it was mostly shown in montage, you could see that she enjoyed every minute of those three days on land. Well, two, if you include the day Ursula appears in human form. In the end, Eric saved her from Ursula, because he loved her. And he wouldn’t have realized he loved her, if she hadn’t risked everything to be with him… Many critics say that Disney princesses are sexist, but I think it’s about how you look at it. Some see Ariel as a story of “go ahead and make stupid mistakes. Your boyfriend will save you in the end.” I see it as, Ariel took that risk to ultimately become happy.

Late night snack

In the darker, original version of the tale, the little mermaid does not live happily ever after with the prince. However, she does have a happy ending: she is granted a chance to gain eternal happiness, by only doing good deeds for the next 300 years. I think the moral of The Little Mermaid remains the same: there is no pleasure, without pain.

Do you have gadgets and gizmos aplenty? Or whozits and whatsits galore? Which Disney character should be next? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Octopus – Amigurumi #44

Me, last summer: “I was invited to a baby shower. What do you do at baby showers?”
Shoonie: “Uh…you give presents, play games, and pat the baby. :D”

But what if the baby isn’t born yet?

Answer: You give the mum-to-be an octopus!

Inspired by the preemie octopus, this was a present to the Mad Hatter’s other sister, Jo. She wanted a colourful octopus for baby to be, and I happened to find some rainbow “baby yarn” in my stash. I didn’t make it to the actual baby shower, so I gave it to her when I saw her prior. Jo looked very happy, and let me pat her belly. ❤

It’s nice to finally have color on this blog.

This octopus was made with a now discontinued yarn, called Bernat Candyland. (Click the name for link) It has a boucle texture, which means it adds a bumpy texture to the finished fabric. I made a scarf using the green, white, and purple yarn, pictured on the same page.

Washed and ready to wrap!

The octopus’ legs are crocheted directly to the body, so they wouldn’t come apart once baby gets to the grabbing/pulling phase. Once I finished making the octopus, I stuffed it into an old stocking and washed it. Octopus became socktopus, and then washtopus. It’s important to wash knitted and crocheted items before giving them to a newborn. Especially if you’re using yarn that’s been sitting in storage for a long time.

And if you desire, this octopus can also be… a hat.

Please join me in wishing Baby Izzy a very warm welcome. Hello Izzy! I hope you’ve enjoyed your first 6 months on Earth! When you grow bigger I’ll make you snacks. Trust me, they’ll be even tastier than my finger!

As fate should have it, I got Jo in the Secret Santa draw. Among the other things, I gave her this birth announcement. I really just wanted to experiment colouring with colored pencils. Unfortunately I didn’t scan or take a photo of the final product, but the photo on the right is the rough draft. I’m happy that Jo is happy.

As I mentioned at the beginning, this octopus was inspired by the octopus toys made to comfort premature babies. I’m sure even non-preemies would love to have a dangly friend to cling onto. Izzy wasn’t a preemie, but she certainly enjoys her octopus! If you would like to contribute an octopus, visit the “octopus for a preemie” website or one of their Facebook pages. (Click the blue texts to follow through)

What other baby toys should appear on the blog? Do the octopus’ colors turn your cats into rock-toed pusses? Know any better octopus puns? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Pizza – Amigurumi #43

Benji, who’s your best friend?

Pizza?!

As part of his birthday/anniversary present, I made the Mad Hatter some trivets shaped like his favourite food. The original pattern was created by Jenni over at By Jenni Designs. (Click the name to follow)

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A trivet is used to protect surfaces from burning. Think of it as a coaster, but intended for things that had previously been placed directly on the burner.

This trivet turned out a lot bigger than anticipated. And I used a smaller hook, than the pattern indicated! And yet, this large trivet turned out to be the perfect size for the big pot. No-Face and Sootsprite thought the pepperonis were the perfect size to chew on. Well sucks to be them, because “mummy” isn’t going to buy them more toys until they destroy the ones they already have. Hiding them under the couch doesn’t count.

Not recommended for actual consumption

I was amazed, that these coasters turned out fairly even, and didn’t show signs of the “spiral” that amigurumi are known to create.
With the smaller trivet, I noticed the spiral pattern had returned. I’m not sure about the physics, but apparently as long as you stick to the same amount of rows, you won’t get the spiral? Pictured above is the smaller pizza, which is about 7″ in diameter.

Non-coaster pizzas also make nice hats. The following was made from my own pattern. I call this one, “PepperToni Pizza:”

The next goal is to teach the cats “who’s your best friend?”

Overall verdict: I enjoyed making this trivet. I might make a few for myself! Click here for the original pattern.

What do you like on your pizza? What other pizza crafts should come next? Who’s your best friend? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Cookie Cat (Steven Universe) – Amigurumi #35

Okay, so it’s actually a felt-gurumi. But with the ami rut I’ve been in lately, this is still a suitable friend for your tummy, and super duper yummy!

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Well okay, I wouldn’t recommend eating this. If you want one that actually awakens your gem powers, you’ll have to go to Nerdy Nummies.

I don’t release knitting and crochet patterns, but I never said anything about felt patterns. ;3 Feet free to follow along with my somewhat-coherent instructions on how to make your own Cookie Cat plushie!

 

What I used:

DSC_02431 sheet each of dark brown, light pink, and white felt

Scissors

Sewing needle

Matching pink, white, and brown thread

Polyfill stuffing

Paper and pencil

*Optional: someone to Skype with while working

 

First, make your pattern. I folded the paper in half, and eyeballed a half-cookie cat shape on the fold. Cut out the shape, open it up, and use it to trace and cut out two ‘cookies’ on the brown felt.

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For the front piece, fold one of the cookies in half, and draw a circle for the eye. Pinch the piece in the center of the eye, and make a snip so your scissors can go through. Cut out the eye through both layers. Unfold everything, trimming as you go. You should have two eyes like this:

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For the strawberry ice cream, fold your pattern in half again, and use this to trace two pieces from the pink felt. Do the same for the vanilla ice cream, using white felt. Then, place all the pieces together, and trim off about 1 mm around the edges. This will make the cookie ‘hang’ over the edges of the ice cream, just like in the show.

To make the sides of the ice cream, I used a scrap of thread to measure the outer perimeter of the ice cream pieces. This takes me back to grade 3, where we learned to use string to measure the perimeter of irregular shapes. Simply align the thread along the side of the ice cream from point A to point B, (see image) and measure this length against a ruler. I’m quite proud of my fine motor skills lately; this perimeter measured exactly 15.5 cm! I added 0.5 mm for seam allowance, and decided I wanted the sandwich to be no more than 2 cm thick. (It would shrink while sewing) Therefore I cut a pink strip, and a white strip, that were 16 cm x 2 cm.

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Sew the strips onto their respective ice creams using their matching threads, and a blanket stitch. I find it was best to begin each stitch by inserting the needle into the strip, and sewing the needle up through the flat face. You should have two “pouches:” one strawberry, and one vanilla.

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DSC_0277Sew these pouches together using a hemming stitch. (At least, I think that’s what it’s called. Mine turned out a lot more visible than this…) Basically, you weave the needle under the fabric, on an angle, and pull up. This creates horizontal stitches that hold the two pieces together, while allowing them to remain flat. Do not sew all the way around! Remember, we need a hole to place the stuffing. Once you’ve added enough stuffing to help the plushie hold its shape, go ahead and sew it up.

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When you’re finished, it should look something like this.

Now, begin to assemble the Cookie Cat. Remember, strawberry goes under the right eye, and vanilla goes under the left eye. At this point, I realized that not only did I have the wrong coloured brown thread, but the cookies looked way too flat. And so I decided to cut two more identical cookies (one extra front, and one extra back) and layer them on top of the first cookies.

Sew the first cookie layers onto the ice cream using a… hm. I’m not sure what this stitch is called. It reminds me of a modified running stitch. You insert the needle from the top, through the cookie, and through the bottom of a stitch on the ice cream. Then, you re-insert the needle into the cookie only, from underneath. I’m not sure how to describe this… see the images below for an example.

Sigh. This is why I don’t post tutorials. (.-.)

Anyway, once you have your cookies secured, use a blanket stitch to sew the second layers to your cookies, and you’re finished!

 

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Final verdict:

It’s very time consuming to hand sew all the pieces together, but it’s totally worth it in the end. Cookie Cat is best served on a plate, along with a smiling popsicle. Even if it’s not yet warm enough outside, there’s never a wrong time to enjoy a delicious ice cream sandwich.

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What other felt-gurumis should we try? Should we try an amigurumi version next? Comment below!

Pika, so hungry~

*DO NOT CLICK OR POST BEFORE DECEMBER 30, 2016*

Greetings from 2015! Another year has come and gone. With the success of your 2014 time capsule, it’s only right to make one for this year, as well. Although this blog was written on January 3, 2016, it only encompasses the dates between December 31, 2014, and December 31, 2015. Please comment as you see fit!

You can’t remember the first half of 2015 very well, since it was pretty meh. You made the decision to take a semester off school to clear your head, and in the process found a part time job to help earn your keep. Plushies have been put on hold for the most part, in favour of learning to cook new dishes from scratch. Your current signature dish is chicken “stoup,” as dubbed by Shoony this New Year’s Eve.
The semester you spent in school was not a waste, of course! You studied Mandarin Chinese, discovered a new interest in video editing, and made a cutscene for your Demo Reel Development class. The latter is your first step towards completing your game project. That’s good! Next stop, the prototype. Expect to graduate in 2017; better late than never.

Your first Anime North was great! You went with your birthday buddy, and you cosplayed Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sadly you didn’t stay long, due to exhaustion, and the fact that your cosplay was derpy at best. Assuming you do return this year, you were considering cosplaying either Sheena from Tales of Symphonia, or Oliver from Ni no Kuni. Hopefully, you’ll run into more people you know.

Tay moved away this year, but you still say hello now and then. You two spent a day together in the summer, and you sent him a Sadaharu plushie after he moved. Thanks to him, you got back into anime, and even found a couple new series to watch. Don’t forget, once he gets his own place, he owes you a sweet snack! Ginger is still as adorable as always, and you continue to pray for his good health. As a matter of fact, you were talking to him moments ago! Conversely, you haven’t spoken to East much since he graduated this year. He’s keeping busy busy, working on everything and stopping for nothing. Whatever that means.

As far as the blog and crafts go, you entered and won a couple contests on DeviantArt, and you may have earned some fans among Shoony’s friends. 😛 You succeeded in making two more giant plushies: Kirby, and a Master Ball. This year was focused on crafts, particularly sewing and decorative desserts. If anything, you’ll make a good housewife, right? Ha! Ha! Ha!

Speaking of which, you met someone very special this year. We’ll call him M. You met him while visiting Top Hat, and your first words to M were, “hi! Do you taste good? :3” He likes Magic: The Gathering, Doctor Who, cheese, and eating pasta raw. His personality can be described as quirky, silly, nerdy, and cute. He’s also quite keen on you learning to play Magic.

You two had your first official date on July 29, first kiss on August 8, and became “official” on September 1. That means as of writing this blog, you’ve been official for 4 months. Not to mention, he’s convinced you to start watching Doctor Who! Kitty and Brandon seem to like him, as well. This Christmas, you rode the VIA rail train for the first time, and had an “actual” Christmas dinner with his family. (The kids’ table is a thing! People really do bake stuffing inside the turkey! You thought these things only happened on TV!) Maybe things can work, maybe you can make it to an anniversary…
I really didn’t want to get my hopes up by asking this, since we know how things can come crashing down at a moment’s notice: are you two still together? It would be really nice if you are. If not, well like I said last year, you’re hottest at 25, so he’s totally missing out. 😛

Now, it’s time for a checklist of goals, and things I’m looking forward to in the coming year:

  1. Game: Making a playable prototype.
  2. Animation: lots more of it.
  3. School: finally passing “that course.”
  4. NaNoWriMo: actually complete it this time.
  5. Plushies: complete at least one per month, even if it’s just a small thing, or not even my own pattern.
  6. M: our first anniversary.
  7. Friends: Introducing more of them to M, and attending Kitty’s wedding! =O
  8. Anime North: attending for the second time.

Well, 2016 Pika? How’d we do? What do you think of your 2015 self? Comment in your next response!

Pika, happy new year~