Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Crocheted Chicken and Duck Egg Cozies for Easter


Previously I posted instructions for knitted chicken and duck Easter egg cozies to share on ravelry.com but members kept prodding me for crocheted versions so here they are. The instructions on this page are for a chicken and duck as seen in this photo.



The egg cozies are open on the bottom for inserting hard-boiled, plastic or candy eggs into them for Easter baskets. Other ideas: silly putty eggs inside for younger children and plastic eggs with money, jewelry or hair accessories for older kids.


Note: You may want to copy and paste these instructions into a Word document to print out to use at your convenience. 



Crocheted Easter Chicken Instructions

Getting Started: For both the chicken and duck, you will need a size H crochet hook and a small amount of regular worsted weight yarn (about half an oz). Yarn suggestions: Red Heart, I Love This Yarn, Vanna's Choice, Loops and Threads' Impeccable. Cotton is also an option. Other items you will need: tapestry needle and scissors.

It is important to note that yarns vary so much that, even using the same pattern and hook size may result in varying size chickens. The photo just above and to the right is an example. All four chickens were made using a H hook but different densities of worsted and cotton yarns.

Before starting, there is another caution: For the first few rows (which will simulate ribbing), your work will want to turn inward. Be aware of this or the simulated ribbing you are about to make will be on the inside, instead of the outside where it belongs.

Instructions: Loosely chain 23 st. With a sl st, join together the first and last st's on your chain to form a circle, making sure that your chain does not twist.

Row 1: Ch 3 (first st), dc around and join to the beginning with a sl st. (even number: 22 st)


If you are unfamiliar with crocheting into the front post, you may want to view a youtube how-to on doing it before tackling the next two rows. Here is a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wu-V-UJYY3M

Rows 2-3: Ch 3, *(dc in front of post, dc in next st). Repeat from * around ending on a front post dc. Sl st to join to start of round.
Row 4: Ch 2 *(hdc in next 3 st, 2 hdc in next st, hdc in next 4 st, 2 hdc in next st). Repeat from * around. End with hdc's in last stitches and join with sl st to ch 2 start. (27 st)
Rows 5-6: Ch 2, hdc around. Join with sl st. (27 st) Leave off row 6 if you are using very thick yarn and think the chicken seems large.

Head shaping in rows 7-11
Row 7: Ch 2, hdc in next 19 st. Turn.
Row 8: No ch st. Hdc into next 9 st. Turn.
Row 9: No ch st. Hdc into next 8 st. Turn.
Row 10: No ch st. Hdc into next 7 st. Turn.
Row 11: No ch st. Hdc into next 6 st. Sc down the side of the head (this should be the left side as it faces you) about 3 st to get to the base of the head. Hdc in next 7 st. (start of tail shaping). 2 dc in the next st, which should be the very center back end/tail. Hdc in next 2 st, Sl st in next st. Turn.
Row 12: Hdc in second st from hook, hdc in next 2 st, sc in next st, sl st in next. Break off yarn leaving a 12 inch tail. Draw yarn through.

Using your tapestry needle and the yarn tail, close the chicken back from the tail to the top of the head. Secure loose ends on the under side.

Details: Add a chicken comb on the top of the head, a beak and eyes. Wattle is optional.


Comb: Using a thinner yarn or size 3 crochet thread and a smaller hook, *(insert hook into the top of the head on the right side and pull up a loop. Ch 5, sc in the second ch from hook. Sc in the remaining ch st down to the top of the head). Repeat from * twice more. Using a tapestry needle, secure yarn tails on the inside of the head.

Eyes: French knots, beads, wiggle eyes are some of the possibilities.

Beak: Beaks may be crocheted right on the chicken or cut from felt or fleece and either sewn or glued into place. A simple beak is to cut a diamond shape from felt or fleece and hand stitch it to the chicken at the widest part.

Crocheted Easter Duck Instructions



Getting Started
: Read the opening paragraphs above about the chickens before getting started.

The first six rows of the duck are the same as for the chicken.

Instructions: With an H hook, loosely chain 23 st. With a sl st, join together the first and last st's on your chain to form a circle, making sure that your chain does not twist.

Row 1: Ch 3 (first st), dc around and join to the beginning with a sl st. (even number: 22 st)
Rows 2-3: Ch 3, *(dc in front of post, dc in next st). Repeat from * around ending on a front post dc. Sl st to join to start of round.
Row 4: Ch 2 *(hdc in next 3 st, 2 hdc in next st, hdc in next 4 st, 2 hdc in next st). Repeat from * around. End with hdc's in last stitches and join with sl st to ch 2 start. (27 st)
Rows 5-6: Ch 2, hdc around. Join with sl st. (27 st) Leave off row 6 if you are using very thick yarn and think the duck seems large.

Head shaping in rows 7-11
Row 7: Ch 2, hdc in next 16 st. Fold duck in half so that the ch 2 start of your row (tail end) is on your left and the hdc you just completed is in front of you. You are going to join the last hdc you made across the other side of the body to form a circle. Before joining, count that you have 11 total sts to start your round. Sl st to join.
Row 8: Neck shaping decreases: Ch 2, hdc in same st, *(dec, hdc in next 2 st) repeat from * and end with 2 hdc's in last st. Join with sl st to top of your starting ch 2. (9 st)
Row 9: Head shaping increases: Ch 2, hdc in same st *(hdc in next 2 st, hdc in next st) repeat from * and end with 2 hdc in the last st. Join with sl st to start of round. (13 st)
Row 10: More head shaping increases: Ch 2, hdc in same st, *(2 hdc's in next st, hdc in next st). Repeat from * to end of round. Sl st to start of round. (19 st)
Row 11: Head shaping decreases: Ch 2, hdc in same st. Dec every other st around. Hdc in last st. Sl st to start of round. (11 st)
Row 12: Ch 1, sc in every other st. Pull yarn through to secure. Break off yarn leaving 5-6 inch tail for closing up with tapestry needle at the end.

Row 13: With duck flat and tail end on the left and leaving an 8 inch starting yarn tail, join yarn at base of head on the side nearest you. Ch 2, hdc in next 8 st. Start of tail shaping: 2 dc in next st (center back), hdc in next st, 2 hdc in next 2 st, sc in next st, sl st in next st. Break off leaving a 4 inch tail. Draw yarn through.

Use the longer tail, the starting yarn tail, and your tapestry needle to close up the duck from the neck to the tail. Close up the top of the head, too and secure all yarn ends. 

Details: Little buttons, beads or French knots will work for eyes. The bill can be crocheted right on the front of the duck or cut from felt or fleece and attached after it is cut and shaped. 




These provided pictures demonstrate an easy way to cut and shape the bill by making two small gumdrop shapes, then overlapping one over the other and hand stitching securely in place before hand stitching it onto the front of the duck.




Special Thanks: I want to acknowledge all of the gals in the Crochet-A-Long in the Good Things Together Group on Ravelry who not only tested the pattern but found new and creative ways of making chickens and ducks with personality and flair. You will just have to imagine the innovations of many talented women from around the globe who came together for this fun event.


A special nod goes to Christina for always being first to test my patterns and always making good suggestions for clarity and understanding. 


Thanks also to Audry, the moderator of Good Things Together for supporting and participating in the CAL and being such an inclusive leader.

You are welcome to make oodles of cozies for personal use or for selling. I only ask that you do not claim the pattern as your own or sell it. 
Copyright 2011, "delights" (C. Lowman). All Rights Reserved. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Easy Pom Pom Making

The purpose of this blog page is to demonstrate how to make easy and perfect pom poms for all of your projects. In this step-by-step tutorial, I will make the small pom pom that was ultimately attached to the crocheted Easter bunny egg cozy pictured here.* 





*This same size pom pom would be perfect for baby and children's size hats, too.


Let's get started.

Materials and Tools: To get started you will need a small amount of craft foam, about the size of a small index card. If you don't have craft foam handy and want to make a pom pom right now, you could use cardboard that is about the same density as a cereal box. The reason that craft foam is recommended is the templates you are about to make, if cut from the foam, can be used over and over but the cardboard template may only last through the making of one pom pom. 


Other items needed: pencil, ruler, tapestry needle, scissors and yarn. 

Step 1: For a small pom pom like the one shown here, look around the the house for a circle that measures between 1 inch and 1.25 inches across (approximately 3 to 3.1 cm) around which you can draw to make two identical circles on the foam. A medicine cap might work, if it is small enough. For this project, it must not exceed 1.25 inches. I found a loose item in the junk drawer that was just about the right size. 

Step 2: Draw around the cap or other item you found and make two circles. Pencil in two small circles in the center that measure no larger than 3/8 of an inch (1 cm) and then draw a radial line from the center to the outer edge on each circle.

Step 3: Cut out the circles, followed by the radial lines and finally the inner circles. The cutting doesn't have to be perfect, as you can see from the photo on the right.

Step 4: Align one circle on top of the other but position the radial lines opposite to each other with one on the left and the other on the right or one on the top and the other on the bottom.

Step 5: Thread your tapestry needle with your selected yarn so that the double strand measures at least 3—4 feet (more than 1 meter). No knots needed. Now, holding onto the tail end to start, go around and around the layered circles filling the hole and and distributing the yarn as you go. Your developing pom pom should resemble the photo on the left.



Step 6: If you have not adequately filled up the hole, as in the photo above, you may have to thread your tapestry needle again with more yarn to complete the process. When done, insert your scissors in between the two circles and cut the yarn going all the way around the template. DO NOT REMOVE the pom pom from the template at this point.


With a 20 inch strand of yarn, carefully insert it between the two circles, encircling all of the cut yarn. Bring the ends up and cinch very tightly as you tie twice to secure. You can go around again and tie it again. It is very important that the yarn is cinched as tightly as you can make it so that your pom pom stays in tact.

Step 7: Using the radial cuts to assist you for easy removal, you can now free the pom pom from the template. 










Step 8: Holding the long yarn ends up close to the pom pom, stand over your trash and trim bits of yarn that stand out. You want your pom pom to be uniform all the way around. 


Use your long yarn tails to attach to your project. 


A few things to know about making future pom poms

1. The larger the template, the larger the pom pom. A set of two inch circles would yield a two-inch pom pom. A set of one inch circles would make a one-inch pom pom.
2. The larger the hole in the center of the templates, the fatter the pom poms.
3. You could have a large template but a small center hole and the pom pom would be large across/around but it would not be very full.