Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fine Crochet: A Pumpkin Pincushion!

Hello, hello! Surprisingly, I spent my Thanksgiving weekend not on stitching, but on hooking up this cute little pumpkin :) This is my first attempt at "amigurumi", which is the very popular craft of crocheting or knitting stuffed toys. Most "ami" patterns are worked in regular yarn, but I recently thrifted this lovely orange crochet thread that was just perfect for a pumpkin! And so a pumpkin I did make :)

While searching online for patterns, I stumbled across Planet June, the wonderful site of amigurumi artist and author June Gilbank, who offers lots of tutorials and free patterns! I knew I was in the right place when I saw her amazing Discworld, inspired by one of my all-time favourite authors, Sir Terry Pratchett :) This is her Pumpkin:

And here is mine, without the pins:

For the pumpkin, I doubled the recommended stitches in the free pattern, and did the same for all but the very bottom of the stem where I made a few changes. The vines and the leaf are my own design :) I took some pictures as I went along, and I thought I'd share them for anyone else interested in the process! So this isn't a real tutorial but more of an inspiration for anyone else who would like to try making one:

Fine (Thread) Crochet "Pumpkin" Variation
From Free Pattern - "Pumpkin" - by June Gilbank of PlanetJune

~ Crochet Thread #10 in Orange, Brown, and Green
~ Size 7 (1.50 mm) fine crochet hook
~ Polyester Fiberfill for stuffing
~ Darning Needle
~ Scissors

Pattern Adjustments:
June's pattern is very clear and easy to follow, and contains an explanation of all the US stitch terms at the start :) For the pumpkin, I just doubled all the given amounts and also doubled the size of the stitches. So I started with a chain of 32 (16 x 2), and substituted HDC for the SC and DC for the HDC. So on Row 1 which reads like this:

" sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next 2 ch, hdc in next 9 ch, sc in last 3 ch (15 st)"

I made the stitches double-high and also doubled the number of them, like this:

HDC in 2nd ch fr hook, HDC in next 5 ch, DC in next 18 ch, HDC in last 6 ch (30 st)

And so on for the rest of the rows until the end. I wrote these replacements right above the original ones on my printout of the pattern, so I wouldn't forget :)

The stitches are ribbed, meaning that they're worked in the back loops only, which gives it the lovely raised ridges! When you reach the end, you have a rectangle:

Which you then fold over and crochet up to close, which makes an open-ended tube:

For joining up the tube, the pattern recommends to "Sl st through both layers (Row 26 and the starting chain)". I found that this looked a little flat, so I only slip stitched through the back loops on Row 26 and the front loops of the starting chain to close.

Then it was time to draw the bottom of the tube together and stuff it!

I used WAY more polyfill then I thought I would need! It's got to be packed in firmly to round out nicely, otherwise you don't get that pumpkin shape :) Once I closed up the top, I followed June's instructions for shaping, just enough to get an indent at the top and bottom. Admittedly, at this point, it looks more like an orange!

And then it was time for the stem! This is worked in a spiral fashion (which was new to me!), and so you don't join the rounds. I did NOT double the stitch height here, but I doubled the stitch amount again. When I reached Round 6 (the base), I did 1 sc, a ch 3 picot and 1 sc in each of the five stitches around. This gave me sharper points.

I also poked a small bit of stuffing up inside the main part of the stem and then shaped the bottom of the stem slightly so that it tapered realistically:

When I was working with the stem, especially as I was shaping it, I kept thinking that I had stitched a tiny chocolate octopus who was missing three legs LOL!

This in the end of the PlanetJune pattern. I could have left my pumpkin here, but it was looking a little plain ;) June includes suggestions for turning it into a spooky Jack O' Lantern with felt features or a Cute (Kawaii) Pumpkin with eyes and a smile.

But I wanted a realistic looking pumpkin, so I decided to add some vines and a leaf :)

The vines came to me easily, I got them to look how I wanted on the first try. But the leaf, oh the leaf! It took me so many tries, and I honestly don't know what I did last going off, but it looked as good as it was going to get so I stopped fussing LOL :)

I joined the leaf and the vines to the pumpkin with the thread tails left on each one, darning through the bottom edge only so that all three are still moveable. I was going to fix them down, but decided I liked the look, especially the way the leaf curls up ;)

And that's it :) My pumpkin worked up in an afternoon, and I had a lot of fun making it! I stuck some sewing pins in for the photos but it will probably end up holding some of the darning needles I use for crochet work. Or it may end up holding nothing at all and just looking pretty, since it looks very cheerful as an Autumnal decoration too!

This is the first time I've shown crochet here at ES, and this is *not* the introductory post to my Fine Crochet work I've long been promising. That's still in the works, but I couldn't resist sharing my first amigurumi today :) What do you think?!


Lesley said...

i absolutely love your little pumpkin Aurelia.Will be checking out the links you kindly put in your post,thank you:-)

Karen said...

It's lovely and perfect, and useful!

Zeb said...

Too too cute :) I want to learn how to crochet so I can do this sort of thing. I've seen a lot of very cute amigurumi designs come out of Japan that I want to make.

Karen said...

Adorable little pumpkin! I love the leaves that you added. They just give it that extra little something that makes it a perfect ornament. :)

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Thanks so much for all the lovely comments! I'm so glad that you all like this little pumpkin too :)

@ Lesley: You're very welcome! Thank you for the lovely comment, LOL! If you decide to try this pumpkin in thread, like mine, I'm happy to help :)

@ Karen: Thank you!!! I love it when pretty things can be useful too ;)

@ Zeb: Aw, thanks so much :) Crochet is really easy - there's only three basic stitches, and the secret is just good tension - and there are tons of tutorials at YouTube! Making a scarf with a nice bulky yarn is a great way to start ;)

RE: Amigurumi - oh, there's so many cute critters out there!!! And TONS of free patterns and resources online now :) From what I've read, the craft originated in Japan but has gone international! I think it would be easy to get addicted to making "amis" LOL ;)

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Whoops! Just missed your visit LOL ;) Thanks so much Karen!!! I'm *so* glad you think the embellishments look neat, I almost gave up on that darn little leaf a few times but am glad that I stuck with it now :)

Mii Stitch said...

Adorable perfect little pumpkin!! Wish I could find time to learn crochet :)

Olga said...

This pumpkin is so cute! It makes an adorable pin cushion.

Meari said...


Aurelia Eglantine said...

Thank you all for the lovely comments!

@ Mii: Thanks for your lovely comment :) Crochet really doesn't take very long to learn, I hope that you get the time to try it! I really think you'll like it ;)

@ Olga: I'm thrilled to have you visit, you do such beautiful fine crochet work!!! Thank you very much for your kind words :)

@ Meari: Aw, thanks muchly :)

Stitcher S. said...

Wow, Aurelia, what a darling pumpkin. Someday I will learn how to crochet. (when I retire!)

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Thanks so much for your lovely comment Stitcher S :) Crochet is definitely addicting, but it's easy to do and portable. I do hope you get around to picking it up! I have a lot of "some day soon" crafts too, but am trying to make them happen sooner rather than later LOL ;)

CrazyStitcher said...

You put me to shame; During my adult life, I don't think I have ever attempted to make anything remotely Halloween-related.

Your crocheted pumpkin looks WONDERFUL. x

Aurelia Eglantine said...

LOL! Neither have I, and this is more Autumnal I think :) I was hoping to stitch something for Hallowe'en, but ran out of time. THanks for the comment ;)

Stitching Noni said...

Cute pumpkin! :o)

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Aw, thanks so much! :)