Wednesday, February 18, 2009


A few people have expressed admiration over the tiny crocheted shroom that my last Gnome was holding. Some of these people have asked me to make just the shroom and sometimes multiples. The difficulty of crocheting tightly with a tiny hook and slick cotton fibers means that I would like to avoid doing that again if at all possible. So, I can offer my friends some alternatives.

These three little red caps were made out of polymer clay. These guys are terribly easy to make and I can do several in a short amount of time. While I don't plan to sell any in my shop at this time, they will be used as props in many of the pictures I'll take for the shop. These are just about the same shape as the crocheted shroom and can stand on their own.

The other option is a needle felted shroom. Made out of unidentified types of wool, I can make one in one sixth of the time it took to crochet one. This was just a quick sample, I've got more roving on the way that I will use to make a few more. If any Gnome ever needs to hold another shroom, it will be a felted one.

If all else fails, I will point my friends to a few Etsy sellers who do seem to specialize in tiny crochet (and have tiny crocheted shrooms at times). My fingers just can't take much of it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Maws and Shrooms

A couple weeks ago, a friend asked if I could crochet "the Maw," a blobby alien featured in an Xbox game. I don't have an Xbox and don't play the game, but I told my friend to send me a picture and I'd give it a try. After completing the first Maw, four other people said they wanted one too.

Run, sheep, run!!!

This was an exceptionally fun pattern to design. The head, body, eyeball, tongue, and collar are all made with acrylic yarn. The teeth are felt. These guys are stuffed with polyester fiber fill and polypropylene beads in the body for weight and support. One of these guys has a few random herbs in the head as well. I don't order them, I just make them!

Each Maw took about four hours to make. I'm actually very happy to say I'm done! Yay!

Another friend of mine had asked for a Garden Gnome. His Garden Gnome had to be special, though. It had to be holding a little mushroom. Now, my Gnomes don't have arms, so I figured a little mushroom (especially one at the scale of the Garden Gnomes) would be kind of difficult. I did suggest to my friend that I could make a significantly larger Gnome, based on a kokeshi-style pattern I have, and that would make little shrooms much easier. He never got back to me on which style he wanted me to work on, so I started with a traditional Gnome.

Gnome with shroom!

I've decided that I need to confirm if I can or cannot do something before I start suggesting alternatives. This Gnome, like all other Gnomes, is made from acrylic yarn, has safety eyes, and is stuffed with polyester fiber fill and polypropylene beads. The little mushroom was crocheted with a size 1 hook (almost too big) and cotton embroidery floss. It is stuffed with clippings from the Gnome's beard. The Garden Gnome took me about three hours to complete, as they tend to do. The arms and mushroom took an additional three hours to complete. Yikes! I must say, as fun as it was to crochet with embroidery floss, these guys will be very very rare. My fingers can't take too much of it!

I hope everyone likes what I made for them!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Evolution of a Garden Gnome

I made two Gnomes in this first style. There was the original Garden Gnome, and Happy Doctor Gnome, who was female (and therefore beardless) but with the same style hat. Happy Doctor Gnome was made in honor of another friend of mine, who is a doctor and doesn't hold it against me that I'm not very fond of many of them.

The only problem with these first two Gnomes is simply that I wasn't liking the hat, and the hair and beard process took forever and still didn't look exactly the way I wanted it to.

The next Garden Gnome got completely crocheted hair and beard, much like the hair I used on Happy Doctor Gnome, and a different style hat. This guy reminds many people of Santa Klaus. While the hat was improved, I still wasn't happy with it, and I was quite unhappy with the hair and beard process on Santa Gnome.

I bought some more amigurumi books and messed with some more patterns. I made a set of Garden Gnomes as Wizard of Oz characters. This came with its own complications. The new Gnome hat design worked great for the Scarecrow, Dorothy's hair needs some adjusting, but it works. The Cowardly Lion has a mane, which is not unlike a beard. Building upon the original Garden Gnome's hair and beard, and taking advice from the tips in one of my books, I ended up with a great Cowardly Lion.

This lead to the next stage of Garden Gnome evolution. Still with the same hairing method of the original Garden Gnome, I eliminated head hair, and just did a beard and mustache. I trimmed more of the beard and combed it out like I did for the Cowardly Lion.

Though I'm set with this method, Garden Gnome hair evolved one more time. This time, instead of just leaving the mustache to hang, where it almost never sits in the right position, I tacked it to the corners of the beard. Now, my Garden Gnomes have fluffy, pointed beards and mustaches that even a dwarf could be proud of.

I learned something else from my Wizard of Oz Gnomes. I wasn't happy with Garden Gnome hats of either style. While they were both the conical shape I wanted them, they just didn't look right. The Tin Man has a funnel headpiece and, in its construction, I learned how to adjust the slope and still get the hat wide enough to cover the head. With quite a few adjustments for Garden Gnome hats, I've finally gotten them just right. The way the hat sits on their little Gnome heads has made it necessary to fill their bottoms with polybeads for weight. This makes them not suitable as toys for young children. But, at least they'll stand up with minimal squishing.

I have a specific idea of what I think a Garden Gnome should look like and, after six months of evolution, I finally felt they were perfect. It was September-ish that I finally settled on the design.

My world is a gnomish place!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Garden Gnomes: The Beginning

Almost a year ago, a friend of mine was having some odd health issues. She was gaining weight and couldn't diet or exercise it off. She was extremely tired and spent a lot of time feeling ill. She thought she had a parasite in her stomach. Her partner teased her about that, and said it was a garden gnome. Truly, I have no idea how she came up with that!

In honor of her partner's assessment, I made my friend the very first Garden Gnome.

She spent quite a while dealing with her complaints until one morning, when she swore up and down that she could feel the mysterious Garden Gnome parasite moving around in her belly. With great concern, she left work to see a doctor and returned with news that shocked everyone but me: she was seven months pregnant! I had told her it was probably that, but she denied it with certainty.

As it happened, the nickname of Garden Gnome just stuck with her little son, so I suppose I could say my little godson is the inspiration behind my Garden Gnomes, and definitely why they are the main focus of my crocheting. How is that for a beginning?

Next: Garden Gnomes evolve, did you know they could?