FO: Dobbin the Dubious Horse

I should probably start this post by saying that any deficiencies in my FO this week are my own work, not the fault of the designer. My evidence is in this gorgeous unicorn, which looks great. Mine? Well, let’s see.

The whole thing started with Inside Crochet 58, a couple of months back, which was full of lovely patterns. Regular readers will know that the whole colourwork mittens thing didn’t go so well, mostly down to my choice of hook size. They will be awesome when they’re done, but at the moment, they’re still balls of yarn waiting to become mittens. Never mind, I thought, I’ll have a go at the horse. It’s basically an amigurumi, I’ve made lots of those, how hard can it be?

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This is the midway stage, with the body done, but without a face or legs. All toys look daft at that stage! I’d chosen a fuzzy grey acrylic from my stash which has been lurking there for years, and a 3.75mm hook, which is awfully small for a heavy DK yarn. But one of the things that drives me nuts with crocheted toys is being able to see the stuffing inside them, and I thought if I used the smallest hook possible, I’d have a dense, solid fabric. Apparently there’s a theme running through my project decisions at the moment…

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Problem 2 is also my fault, but it’s a problem I have with many toy patterns, or hat patterns for that matter. They don’t always tell you whether you’re crocheting from the inside or the outside. Particularly when crocheting in the round, the two sides have quite different looks, as I’m demonstrating at the head/body join here. From memory, the neck was crocheted with the outside facing me, while the body was done with the inside facing me, and the two fabrics look a little odd next to each other. Is there a rule about this that I’ve missed somehow? Are you always supposed to be inside or outside?

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Then there’s the legs. The horses are supposed to have short legs for the size of the body, it’s part of their distinctive look, but for some reason, I can’t get mine to stay upright. It’s not a stuffing problem – I shoved loads and loads in there, took it out again, and pushed it in again. Nothing helped. The legs are squiffy. The designer specifies two different leg types, but on reading the pattern through, I realised that was just to make sure the decreases ended up on the inside and therefore invisible, so I didn’t worry too much. Maybe if I’d paid more attention, my horse wouldn’t look like he’s already been on the mulled wine.

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I have to be honest and say that until I put the ears on, I was fairly convinced that I’d actually made a four-legged duck. The nose came out very flat and sharp at the end, so it looked more like a beak than a nose. The ears help, but even so, there’s still something more avian than equestrian about that face.

After all of that, I haven’t yet quite had the heart to add any embellishments to the back of my horse. I don’t think the pattern-specified embroidery will work for him, but after some horrible-looking free-form attempts last night, I’m not entirely sure what will. I’m open to suggestions!

My original thought had been to put my horse at the centre of a candle-lit display as part of my Christmas decorating. Now? I’m seriously considering cutting the legs off and having another go, adding a few rows in the middle and sticking to the pattern a little more closely for where I put the decreases. On the other hand, it might be thought that putting a flammable toy in the middle of a candle display might not be my best idea ever.

For the moment, Dobbin will stay on the radiator, gently lit by well-protected candles and looking more than a little sorry for himself.

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