Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


Motley the Bear Crochet Pattern

Motley the Bear Crochet Pattern by Squirrel Picnic3Introducing Motley Bear! I made this bear for one of my dear friends who was donating her kidney to a relative. I wanted to provide her with a bear that exuded confidence while at the same time bringing a lot of colorful cheer while she was recovering. I think Mr. Motley pulls it off nicely.

This bear pattern is based on my original Sleepy Bear pattern, with one obvious difference — he’s all done up in stripes.

Motley Bear GreenA striped bear provides a great opportunity to use up some leftover yarn too. I made this green bear out of odds and ends of green yarn that I collected over the years. I even have another bear that I am crocheting as I go, adding a round at a time as I gather leftover yarn from other projects. If you start a stash-busting bear like I have, my biggest word of advice is to pin a card listing your place in the pattern to your bear each time you put him aside so you’ll know where you left off when you pick him up again.

When I work in stripes like this, I prefer to end each round by joining with a slst and then chaining 1 with the new color to start the next round. By pulling on the strand for the previous color, it creates almost perfect, non-jogging rounds. They aren’t entirely perfect though. You still end up with a noticeable seam that spirals down the back, but I always just make sure that this part is at the back when I sew on the arms and legs and face. I prefer this method because I am too lazy to fasten off one color and attach the new one in each round. If you have a different method for changing colors in a striping pattern, by all means use it… and please share it with me! I am always up for learning new techniques.

Here are some other techniques you might try:

June Gilbank of Planet June has some great video tutorials for an invisible join (the one I mentioned above that I am too lazy to do), a no-cut join, and a hybrid of the two.

Needle Noodles has a great photo tutorial for two slip-stitch methods of color changing.

Motley the Bear Crochet Pattern

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How to Add Faces to Amigurumi: Crochet Eyes and Eyelids

Crochet Eye Tutorial by Squirrel PicnicTo crochet the eyes, nose, and mouth seems like the obvious way to add a face to your amigurumi, but I have to admit that it’s the method I use least often. I usually opt for embroidery or safety eyes, but after putting together this tutorial, I know I will turn to this method more often. I hope you will too!

In fact, there are three things I have discovered most appealing about these crocheted eyes: (1) they are easier and faster to make for larger toys than embroidery; (2) they are ideal if you are making the toy for a child, because as long as the pieces are sewn on securely, they won’t present a choking hazard; and (3) you can play with the placement of the eyelids to create a very unique look. A lot of a toy’s personality depends on how you place the eyelids. If you want the toy to be dopey, place them farther back on the eye. If you want him to be happy, place them directly above the eye. If you want him to be angry, place them farther forward. Have fun playing around with the placement to see what expressions you can create.

In this tutorial I used worsted-weight yarn and a G-6 (4.00 mm) hook to crochet the eyes and eyelids for a 10-inch teddy bear. If you are making eyes for a smaller amigurumi, like my squirrel for instance, you might try using crochet thread and a steel hook size 00 or smaller. If your amigurumi is a size somewhere in between those two, you might play around with different yarn weights and hooks to get the eye size you desire.

Grab your hook and some yarn in black and white and the color of your choice for the eyelids. You’ll also need a pair of scissors and a yarn needle. Let’s begin! Continue reading