Thursday, 9 March 2017

Ear, Ear!

Ears!
Crocheted ears, each crocheted in a half-circle shape, are arranged in pairs with their loose ends trailing, on a dark background. They are arranged a bit like a bunch of flowers with the ears along the top and the loose ends coming together at the bottom.
Nine pairs of teddy bear ears.


The Teddy Blanket has ears!

A close up of the centre square, yellow with a tan intarsia circle in the middle. The border is a row of white followed by a row of mid blue. There are two half-circle tan ears stitched to the top of the circle.  It is a low viewpoint from the bottom edge of the square so that the ears can be seen standing semi-upright above the surface of the yellow square which is surrounded on both sides and behind by similar white squares.



A wider view of the nine squares arranged 3 x 3, all being white with tan circles and blue borders except for the centre square which is yellow with a white and blue border. All squares have half-circle tan ears stitched to them. The viewpoint is low with the bottom of the arrangement in the foreground so that one is looking across the top of the squares to see the ears raised above them.

I love the three dimensional quality of these half-round ears which are stitched onto the squares to stick up and flap about.
They are the perfect size for little hands to grab.


A close-up, top view of two squares side by side, yellow on the left and white on the right.  Only the vertical halves of each square can be seen showing one ear of each teddy face. The borders are alongside to show how the yellow square on the left has a border of one white row followed by a blue row while the white square on the right has a border of two blue rows.
The yellow centre square's border is white and blue
while the other squares have only blue for their borders.



The ears are an example of a technique called appliqué which gets its name from the act of applying one material onto another.  In this case, the crocheted ears are being applied to the squares using a simple whip stitch.

In the midst of it all, I made a mistake
Have a look at the next picture and see if you can spot it.


A yellow square crocheted in rows with a white and blue border crocheted in two rounds. A tan intarsia circle is in the middle. One ear is stitched to what looks like the top-left of the circle.
There is a mistake in this picture somewhere.

The ears were crocheted two at a time, to avoid the 'ear version' of 'second sock' or 'second sleeve' syndromes. That is when the second item of a pair ends up being a different size to its partner.  Don't scoff! It can easily happen to anyone when the pieces are made at different times, accidentally with different tensions.

That's the reason for making each stage of the blanket like a production line–all the squares first, then the borders, then the appliqué etc.

Stashbusting tip: ears for toys are great ways to use up small quantities of leftover yarn.  Often, it doesn't matter what colour they are and can successfully be different colours to the rest of the toy. 

After doing a bunch of ears all at once, I was quick to start stitching them on. 
In my haste, I didn't realise that I had stitched an ear onto a square upside down!

At this appliqué stage, it was very easy to accidentally have the square upside down or perhaps stitch to the wrong (reverse) side (WS) instead of the right side (RS).  Using markers to indicate the RS is advisable.

What if there are no markers?  
Careful observation will provide the clues.

A yellow square crocheted in rows with a white and blue border crocheted in two rounds. A tan intarsia circle is in the middle. One ear is stitched to what looks like the top-left of the circle. Across the top edge, the blue border is marked with two orange arrows and the label "outside edge stitches in blue)". The arrows are pointing to the tops of the blue stitches.  Below the tan circle is a label which reads "row stitches (yellow)" and two arrows which are pointing to yellow stitches worked in a row into tan ones.
An upside-down square.
Check the orientation of the square by examining
the edge stitches and the row stitches.

Check for the Right Side (RS)


Look at the shapes of your stitches when you crochet. For the basic dc, htr and tr stitches* the tops of the stitches are made up of a loop which has a 'teardrop' shape to my eyes–the front end is rounded and wider while the trailing end is in a 'V' shape, the 'pointy end' of the 'teardrop'.  If the tops of the stitches look entirely like a 'V' shape to you, the front end would be the open end (top of the 'V') with the trailing end the point of the 'V'.

(Does that make sense? Please leave a comment to let me know if it doesn't!)

Note: This 'tops of stitches' method only works for crocheted pieces that are not turned at the end of rows or rounds.  It can be used for identifying the right side of the last row or round worked, but is not reliable if the work is turned between rows and rounds. 

If you are right-handed, your right-side (RS) stitches will be worked from right to left so that the tops of the stitches have the front, wider end of the 'teardrop' or open end of the 'V' on the left-hand side. Therefore, if your widest part of the 'teardrop' or open end of the 'V' is on the left-hand side, you have the RS of the work facing you.

If you are left-handed, your RS stitches will be worked from left to right so that the tops of the stitches have the front, wider end of the 'teardrop' or open end of the 'V' on the right-hand side. Therefore, if your widest part of the 'teardrop' or open end of the 'V' is on the right-hand side, you have the RS of the work facing you.

If you don't have the RS facing you then you must be on the wrong side (WS) so turn it over!  Yay!

In the case of these squares, check the top loops of the edge stitches.
I am a right-handed crocheter so the wider end of my 'teardrops' (or open end of the 'Vs') will be facing the left-hand end of the row when the RS is facing. This can be seen in the top edge of my yellow square–blue edge stitches as marked.  In the photograph, my ear has been stitched to the RS. Hooray!

Check for the right way up.


This can be determined by looking at the fronts of the stitches in their rows. The stitches have two strands facing the front which come together at the bottom to form another 'V' shape. You know your work is the right way up when the fronts of your stitches have the 'Vs' the right way up–with the open end at the top and the point at the bottom.

The 'Vs' in my rows can be most easily observed where the yellow rows are worked into the tan (marked with arrows).  My 'Vs' are upside down which means I have stitched the teddy's ear to its chin!


A yellow square crocheted in rows with a white and blue border crocheted in two rounds. A tan intarsia circle is in the middle. One ear is stitched to what looks like the top-left of the circle. Across the top edge, the blue border is marked with two orange arrows and the label "outside edge stitches in blue)". The arrows are pointing to the tops of the blue stitches.  Below the tan circle is a label which reads "row stitches (yellow)" and two arrows which are pointing to yellow stitches worked in a row into tan ones.
Another look at the upside-down square.
My blue edge stitches across the top show that it is the right side.
My yellow row stitches show that the square is upside-down.

Oh dear!  Time to detach the ear and start again.  The ear was stitched on very thoroughly–safety is the main concern when making anything for babies.  The ear is not allowed to come off and become a choking hazard.

Unfortunately for me, it meant extra work because the ear was stitched so securely, the only way I could remove the ear was to cut the yarn. The ear was irreparably damaged so a whole new one needed to be crocheted from scratch!

Never mind!  Before long, I was done!


An above-view of the nine squares laid out flat with two ears stitched to the tops of each circle. The 'faces' remain 'blank' with no detail as yet.
The blanket so far …



Next step:  cute teddy faces!



What is your experience adding facial features to your crafted items?
Do you have a favourite method or style?
I'd love to get your advice.


Comments are always welcome in the 'dialog box' at the end of every blog post.


*Australian / UK stitch terminology is used here.

Aus / UK                 =  USA
double crochet (dc) =  single crochet (sc)
half treble (htr)        =  half double crochet (hdc)
treble (tr)                  =  double crochet (dc)

Edited (19 March 2017) to add :  Right sides etc. must be the topic of the week. Eight days after I posted this blog entry, Dana Bincer, Interweave's Associate Editor of "Love to Crochet" wrote an online article about determining the right and wrong sides of a crocheted item:

Related Posts on Lupey Loops


"Stashbusting to a Deadline", 21 February 2017: http://lupeyloops.blogspot.com.au/2017/02/stashbusting-to-deadline.html
Includes details of the "Bear Necessity" pattern.

"Yarn Chicken", 24 February 2017: http://lupeyloops.blogspot.com.au/2017/02/yarn-chicken.html
Includes a quick description of intarsia technique and a detailed tutorial about the mathematics of calculating yarn amounts.

"The Inevitable Time to Unwind", 2 March 2017: http://lupeyloops.blogspot.com.au/2017/03/the-inevitable-time-to-unwind.html
Discussion of design choices.


"Blocking for The Edge", 7 March 2017: https://lupeyloops.blogspot.com.au/2017/03/blocking-for-edge.html
Blocking tips for the neatest shapes and edgings.




6 comments:

  1. I am just so tickled looking at all those ears. What a great idea - a 3-D blanket. Well done.

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    1. Thank Candi Jensen for the idea! My blanket is a take on her design. After all I said about blocking, I did not block the ears (not yet anyway!) because the edges have a tendency to curl up, just like the top edge of our own human ears. The curling will make the ears easier for baby's fingers to grab onto and snuggle into.

      I'm really glad you came to have a look at this blanket. It makes me smile so I hope it brings you joy too. I hope you are having a good day today, Mary-Anne. xx

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  2. Your blanket is looking great Jodie! It's a super idea to create on a production line. Identifying right and wrong side is sometimes crucial. I usually do it by looking at the yarn tail at the bottom but I must say I have made mistakes! One of my colleagues at the yarn store teaches beginners to put a stitch marker at the bottom of the right side when you start. I must do this in the future! In the meantime, I am going to examine the shape of the teardrops on my current WIPs and see if I can figure it out!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the compliment and enthusiasm, Tamara. I also like your advice about where to place the stitch marker for remembering the right side because a marker is the best method.

      The 'top of the stitches(teardrop/v)' method here only works for projects that are not turned at the end of every row or round. I used it for this project because the rounds were worked with right side facing every time.

      This method also works for determining the right side of the last row worked but not necessarily right side of the entire piece if you are turning the work at the end of every row. That is when I use the 'tail' method you use to remember the orientation of a piece.

      Thanks for your valuable feedback which made me realise these points. I've edited the blog entry accordingly! This is why I love having discussion through comments etc. so thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience.

      Good luck and have fun with all of your classes. :-)

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  3. You amaze me my friend. Not only do you do amazing work but you give us a step by step so we can do it too! I love the blanket, you are going to make one little one very happy.

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    1. Stay tuned...blanket is stitched together but I want to stitch a lining...I remember when I first began to crochet I was totally intimidated at the thought of having to sew. That's why I plan to get pictures of my process in making the lining. I purchased some fabric but am not happy with the colour so will need to go hunting across town.

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