Thursday, 27 April 2017

Indian Holi Festival Elephant

The Indian Holi Festival is also known as the Festival of Colour and is celebrated at the beginning of March.  It is a celebration of spring and new life, as well as love, repairing relationships and new starts.

The beautifully decorated and painted elephants that form part of the festival have always caught my eye and I decided to make an amigurumi version as a birthday present for a friend. 

I collect all kinds of fabric, ribbon, buttons etc from car boot fairs and charity shops to use in my amigurumi making, and I dug out my collection of beautiful Indian-style motifs.

I started with a basic elephant (with small high-set ears, naturally as it's an Indian elephant), and then made a blanket and head decoration for it from bright cotton fabric, gold fabric and ribbons.  I'm delighted with how beautifully he came out!

The saddle blanket is made from layers of fabric & ribbon, with a gold ribbon girth, gold braid edging hand sewn on and Indian decorations.

 It is fully removable, via a hidden press-stud:

The headdress is made from a heart shaped and a flower Indian motif and pink ribbon.

His outfit is completed by ribbons round his legs and some Indian bells around his neck.

He also has the roundest, cutest rear end ever!

A few more pictures:

It was very hard to give him away, but my friend loved him as much as I do :)

Thursday, 26 January 2017

"City of the Shroud" Game Kickstarter Rewards

A while ago, I made a little mage character as an example reward for my friend Keaton's Kickstarter campaign.  The campaign was successful and the game is coming soon to Steam!  You can find out more on the Abyssal Arts website here.  This was wonderful news, but meant that I needed to get busy crocheting & sewing.  In all, another 3 amigurumi were needed, and I eagerly awaited the character choices made by the backers.

One requested a character called Azura, the other two wanted different versions of the Hatman character.  At the time, all three only existed in concept art so I would be basing my amigurumi from that, rather than 3D models.


Azura concept art © Abyssal Arts.

My first job was to sketch my own version of the character (as an amigurumi) to pick out the key details.

Deciding which features needed to be crocheted and which would be added as felt clothing was the next job.  Azura wears a white long-sleeved top under a pale grey/green short sleeved top and then a dark red cape on top. On her legs she has black tight trousers/leggings and brown leather knee-high boots.

I decided to crochet her body in white and her legs in black, with brown feet to represent the boots.

I added one round of the boot brown to her wrists to represent her gauntlets, and I crocheted the last row of brown on her legs in the front loop only to create a raised border between her boots and her leggings.

Next I made her top from grey felt.  I seamed it down the back as it wouldn't fit over her head.

Next I made her little necklace, by cutting a large sequin into a square, punching a hole in it and hanging it on a piece of gold thread using a small jump ring.

I then addressed her hair, which is different on each side.

© Abyssal Arts

For the cornrows side I made crochet chains of various lengths in black yarn, which I stitched in place.

For the side with the bun and braid, I inserted long lengths of yarn around the hairline, and embroidered the rest of her scalp in black yarn to pad it out.

If I had put hair over the entire half-head there would have been much too much yarn to make a neat plait and bun with.  I tied the loose yarn with another piece of black and divided it into two clumps.  I plaited each, then wound one into a bun and stitched it into place.

Next job, the cape.

The easiest way to design the cape was to make a paper prototype and make sure it fitted the doll.

Once I had adjusted it satisfactorily, I then cut and sewed the dark red felt to the same pattern, remembering to leave the holes for her arms!

I did the same with the hood to ensure it fitted, then sewed it to the cape.

I then hot-glued gold braiding around the edges of the cloak and hood, and added the details like the gun flap, fastening straps and gold buttons made from tiny gold brads with the legs snipped off.

I left the cloak unfastened so it could be removed easily.

I'm thrilled at how she came out :)

The HatMan

The remaining two amigurumi were two slightly different versions of the same character - the Hatman - an eccentric old man who sells hats.

"Old" Hatman concept art © Abyssal Arts
"New" Hatman concept art © Abyssal Arts

The basic body is the same, so I concentrated on picking out the differences - the shirt, the hats, the beard and the backpack/stick for hats.

Again I made sketches, then made the basic bodies.  They didn't need any underclothes as they would be fully covered by their felt outfits, but they did need shoes and socks!  Just like Azura's boots, I crocheted the last row of white in the front loop only to create a nice raised trim to their socks.

Their shorts were both the same so I made two pairs of dark green felt shorts and made sure they fitted.

I then made their two shirts - one in a pale blue and open at the neck, the other in a darker blue buttoned up fully.   Both shorts and shirts had turned up cuffs, so I added an extra band of felt to simulate this.

At this point I needed to add the patterning on the shorts and one shirt.  The shorts both had a red tartan pattern on them, and the "new" Hatman's shirt was striped.  I used Sharpie permanent markets and a ruler to add the patterning.

I could then fit the shorts and shirts to the dolls then glued them closed using hot glue.

I made the "new" Hatman a tiny bow tie and drew little red fez shapes on it.  They look more like polka dots but I tried to get the detail on!

Next, I used scraps of thin leather to make tiny braces, using small gold brads to hold the pieces together (not just as decoration) because gluing leather doesn't really work.

I then glued tiny buttons onto their shirts.

The "new" Hatman also needed a pole mounted on his back to hold hats, so I used a bamboo skewer with short pieces both glued and lashed on.

 I made a leather loop for his back to hold it in place.

The other Hatman had a backpack on, so I made one from brown felt, loosely stuffed it, added a couple of leather straps and glued it to his back.

Next I had to make the hats - both the ones they were wearing and the ones for their backs.  After some experiments with felt, I decided that crocheting them from embroidery thread using a 1.5mm hook was the best plan.

I then added their hair, mustaches and beards, trimming and tying the yarn as the pictures showed.   I only added head hair around the hairline, as their hats would be glued on place and the rest of their head wouldn't show.

All the hats were glued in place, both on their heads and on their backs.

Last, but by no means least, I had to make their glasses.  These were shaped like tiny top hats with a mesh in the top.

© Abyssal Arts

After extensive fiddling and some rather bad language, I finally made them from some card, some paper tape, some hessian, some wire and some felt.  Those are 1cm squares on the cutting mat, so you get an idea how fiddly these were to make!

The glasses fitted perfectly.

Finally the two Hatman amigurumi were complete!

I am thrilled with how all of them came out, and thankfully so was my friend Keaton.  All three have winged their way to the USA this Christmas to be handed over in person - I hope their recipients love them as much as I do!

NB: Characters and artwork are © Abyssal Arts.