Pattern Review and Project Complete: Mario

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Huzzuh! ¬†After spending nearly six months in a project bag, Mario has finally been finished ūüôā ¬†He’s meant to have buttons on his bracers, but as he’s a gift for a very little person I’ve left them off. ¬†Stitching together amigurumi is still something I need to work on, so check out the great version by the very talented designer before making a decision on the pattern as I can assure your the slightly odd angles, disproportionate limbs and crazy eyes are entirely my fault (he does look better in person though, the eyes are less, weird).

So, about this pattern.

Review:

  • Name: Mario Plushie
  • Designer: WolfDreamer
  • Medium: Crochet (Amigurumi)
  • Cost: Free!
  • Skills needed:¬†single crochet, magic ring, invisible decrease, working in the round, basic colour changing, applique, amigurumi assembly
  • Difficulty: Intermediate¬†(None of the stitches are hard, but he has a lot of small, symmetrically placed parts, so if you add too many or few rows or don’t have consistent tension it’s easy to end up with mis-matched bits. ¬†Also, the many bits means a fair bit of sewing together)
  • Availability:¬†On WolfDreamer’s blog here:¬†http://wolfdreamer-oth.blogspot.com.au/2009/08/mario-plushie.html
    or here on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mario-plushie
  • My Rating: 4/5

I really liked this pattern and enjoyed making Mario. ¬†As this is my first review I don’t want to blow the full five stars too early. ¬†As a pattern offered for free, it is amazing. ¬†For me the best bit was finishing the ears. ¬†The pattern reads “F/O and tie the 2 ends together creating a slight curve (ear shape)” and I remember being amazed at how this little half circle-ish thing suddenly became a very real looking ear. ¬†It was both awesome and freaky at the same time. ¬†For many months I had all of the face bits tied together by their yarn ends as I kept putting off the final assembly; the lifelike ears gave a really macabre feeling to my little bundle.

Here are some more pictures of Mario while on his way to finished.  In the first one where he had a face but no limbs Miss2 was totally convinced that he was duck.

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This was my first time pre-pinning the pieces of an amigurumi. ¬† I have absolutely no idea why it hadn’t occurred to me until I read it in this pattern as when machine sewing I tend to pin like a mad woman (though I am getting better, and starting to use an overlocker more is doing wonders to break the habit). ¬†It did help a lot, especially with placing the face bits. ¬†Unfortunately I got into a bit of a frenzy to finish the project towards the end and didn’t lock down the arms as much as I needed too. ¬†That and I got sick of cutting little felt eyes that kept fraying in odd ways and made a decision to just pick the best pair and blanket stitch them down already! ¬†I think being more patient, having longer pins and a curved needle would have helped (note that this advice is here and I ignored it to my own peril).

Tips:

  • Do the pinning thing on the way to sewing up. ¬†There are a lot of symmetrically placed pieces and so errors in placement really stand out.
  • Don’t try this as your first amigurumi, try something with fewer pieces first to get the hang of assembly (check out PlanetJune for some tips).
  • Make sure the eyes are oval and not round or he looks really insane, trust me.
  • Stuff the head very firmly, I left mine too soft and didn’t realise until trying to stitch on the face bits. ¬†It worked out ok in the end, but a bit firmer would have been nice.

Overall this was a great pattern with clear instructions, but the assembly is not for the faint of heart. ¬†I very much recommend giving it a spin for the Mario fan in your life. ¬†Also, check out some of WolfDreamer’s other patterns while you’re on her site. ¬†There’s a range of free fan art patterns for Mario (and his friends), Pokemon, Sonic, the Penguins from Madagascar and more.

So, what’s your favourite piece of fan art/craft? ¬†Do you manage to stay patient until the end or do you get the ‘nearly finished crazies’ too? ¬†What are your tips for assembling amigurumi?

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Quilts 1700-1945 at the GoMA

Maker unknown | Central section from a printed cotton patchwork coverlet showing King George III reviewing the troops 1803-05

If you are at all interested in quilting or embroidery and are around South East Queensland, I highly recommend making the trip in to see this exhibition. ¬†It took me about an hour and a half to get through, and that was with reading every description, watching all of the interactive tour videos on my iphone and leaning over clumsily and kneeling on the protective barrier to get a closer look at the stitching. ¬†If you have smartphone do download the app for the video tour, it’s amazing.

I have to say that it has totally changed the way I view quilting and crafts in general.  The exhibition shows not only pieces that display incredible skill, but many pieces that are incredible artefacts of emotional value or political expression.  Mostly I assess quilts on their beauty or skills used in construction, but from this collection the two quilts that had the most impact on me were very simple and one was not even completed.

The Changi quilt was made as a birthday gift by little girls in a Japanese POW camp during WWII for their Girl Guide leader. ¬†Yes, you read that right. ¬†While enduring incredible hardship and appalling conditions, Elizabeth Ennis decided to start a guide group. It is made ¬†from thread unpicked from hems and patchwork pieces cut from fellow prisoners’ clothes. ¬†Never fully completed, it is an amazing example of courage in the face of oppression and adversity.¬† If you have the app running you can see an interview with Olga Henderson (who is now in her 70’s or 80’s) who is the last remaining survivor of the girls who made it.

My favourite quilt was a very simple 9-patch in yellows and greens tied together with red thread.  It was a gift to a little girl from the Canadian Red Cross after her family returned home from holidays to find their London home had been destroyed during the blitz.  At the top of the quilt you can see wear marks from where the girl used to rub it for comfort during the bombings.  As someone who occasionally sends finished objects along to charity groups and wonders where they end up, this piece really touched me.

I felt that the exhibition really captured the greater role of quilts as examples of wealth and skill, expressions of the intellect and views of the maker and a source of comfort or shared effort.

The exhibition will be installed until 22 September 2013 and costs $15. ¬†There’s also a deal where you can get a ticket and a Patchwork Lunch for $30.

Have you ever had a real ‘penny drop’ moment from crafting? ¬†What was it?

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