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!

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