So I've not posted much on here the last few months. I've been doing something...really. But first a story...
Several months ago, the pumpkinhead became obsessed with a movie called My Neighbor Totoro. It's a Miyazaki anime, and it is my favorite kids' movie ever. Yes, mine. Even though Simone wanted to watch it several times per day for several weeks on end, I never minded. It is beautiful and sweet makes us both feel happy. I understand that Totoro is to Japan what Mickey Mouse is to the U.S. Simone and I both love Totoro, and every time we see a picture of him or hear his name, we both smile.
Totoro toys are not readily available in U.S. stores, and the toys I found online or on Ebay just didn't seem very special (especially for the price!). While I was searching, I kept running across pictures of Totoros that someone had crocheted. Now, those were special! Some were available in a couple of Etsy shops, but it still felt not-so-special to have a stranger make a toy by hand for my kid. And a little creepy, given how much personal attention is involved in making something like that.
Because my last attempt at crocheting resulted in half of an oddly-shaped, very heavy* afghan that is still wadded up in a paper bag in a closet somewhere around here, I considered taking crocheting classes. That didn't happen though, because it would have taken up several Saturday mornings -- yuck! I looked up a few crocheting websites and checked out some books from the library and taught myself how to crochet again. I practiced making various stitches and crocheting in different styles for a couple of weeks, then I started on this pattern for the small white Totoro. After a week or so, I had several little cone-shaped ears lying around (that we were using as gloveless fingers -- as opposed to fingerless gloves), and was finally brave enough to continue with the Chibi-Totoro body. The whole thing only took a few days to finish at lunchtime and after Simone went to bed. Then I started on the pattern for the medium-sized blue guy, Chuu-Totoro. That took a little longer, because he was bigger and had more parts, of course, but also because Simone found one of my learn-to-crochet-toys books and wanted me to make some toys for her. So I interrupted my Totoro-making to crochet two small bears and an ice cream cone.
I finished both the small and meduim Totoros about a month or so ago, and have had them hidden in the top of the closet so Simone will be surprised when she opens them at Christmas. A pattern for the big grey one, Oh-Totoro (our favorite), does not seem to exist, and I'm experimenting with modifying the pattern for the blue one but not getting very far. It's difficult because the grey Totoro is so much larger than the other two, and I wan them to be at least a bit proportional in size. So she'll have to live with just the two smaller ones for a while.
Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of the Totoros I made. Just don't tell Simone yet because Christmas is still a week away! I think the blue one's ears need to be repositioned closer to the top of his head, but I'll have to take care of that later.
Oh, and I'm also making some soot sprites. Mine aren't anything especially creative, just black pom-poms with googly eyes glued on. There are crochet patterns for the soot sprites, but I think these will work for now -- until the cat pulls the eyes off, anyway!
* - It seems that I remembered only how to make a slipstitch, and was using a LOT of yarn in my afghan-making efforts and getting nowhere very s-l-o-w-l-y. With my new-found crocheting skills, I may unravel that thing that has been sitting in the closet for eight years and try again.