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Amigurumi Elephant

To keep my house from being overrun with crochet stuffed toys, I rarely keep any of the projects that I make.  There is already an army of lawn gnomes lurking in every corner of the apartment, and I suspect that were I to start adding amigurumi to the collection of creatures staring at him from atop the household surfaces, Michael would seek revenge by hanging his X Files "I Want To Believe" UFO poster in the living room (a monstrosity I cannot allow).  As such, when I found out that one of my dearest friends was going to be birthing offspring #2 this spring, I was super excited because 1. BABY! and 2. I really wanted a reason to make this amigurumi elephant, and here was the perfect recipient.

About two and a half years ago, I crocheted Offspring #1 (the brilliant and adorable Jacob) a blankie which I am proud to say has become his favorite:

Photo credit: Cameron Yelley

So I have a lot to live up to with the new arrival.

I  first saw this pattern when it was shared by Canadian crochet blogger Stephanie at All About Ami.  She translated the pattern into English (located here), but believes it was originally designed by Japanese crochet artist Chisachi Kushima, who is quite possibly a fiber genius. I have never encountered an amigurumi designed in this style- the entire thing (excepting the ears) is one piece, and it is brilliant.  I shudder to think of the amount of trial and error that went into designing this fellow given the very minimal amount of sewing and attaching involved.  One element that Stephanie added was the fabric lining to the ears- I loved the contrast the fabric provided both in color and texture to the crochet, so I picked up a random fat quarter on sale at Jo-Ann Fabric for 97 cents that I thought contrasted well with the Red Heart Super Saver "Pale Plum" I chose for the body.  I used an F hook.

As this was a gift for a baby and is likely to get manhandled and/or chewed sometime in the future, I was scared to leave the fabric's raw edges out in case they started to unravel after awhile.  I decided to glue the hem before sewing and used Aleene's "Ok To Wash-It" Permanent Fabric Glue (which turned out to be, uh, not permanent).  While the glue certainly wasn't enough to hold down the hem completely, it worked well enough to keep it semi-attached until I was able to sew the lining to the ears, which was really all I needed.

The "hemmed" edges before I sewed the fabric to the ear.

The process of sewing the lining to the crocheted ears was an ugly one- I am NOT a talented seamstress.  Stephanie's tutorial suggested using backstitches, and as I don't know any other stitches (including that one), who was I to argue?  I watched this video and then went for it, being sure to sew on the lining before closing up the crocheted ear so that I could hide the mess of thread and knots on the inside.  The results were shoddy at best, but I just warned my friend not to look at it too closely.  Hopefully the baby will forgive me someday.

The only part of the elephant I really changed from the pattern was the tail.  The pattern called for the creation of a crocheted tail, but I replaced it with a braided version because I have a thing for the tuft at the end.  There's nothing quite like a stubby, tufted tail on a big old animal butt.

Here he is from the side:

Go make one!  They are chubby and adorable.

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