Monday, January 31, 2011

Amigurumi Nativity: Crocheted Joseph Pattern

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Every Christmas my goal is to come up with a pattern for a new nativity figure. 

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Last year was Mary and baby Jesus and this year is Joseph! (Update 2/1/12: there's an angel too)

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Joseph Amigurumi Pattern

Notes on this pattern:

  • My patterns are free and may not be sold. Please do not reproduce or repost patterns or instructions from CraftyCattery.com without my permission. For information on selling items created from my patterns, please view the FAQ.
  • There are a few color changes in this pattern. Aside from that, the most complicated part of the pattern to crochet is the headband which is crocheted in the round (as opposed to in a spiral which is the traditional amigurumi way). There are also a few pieces that are crocheted flat.
  • The finished size of the figure is 5 inches.
Materials needed:
  • Bulky weight yarn in a flesh color, blue (for headcloth and robe), red (for body and headband) and brown (for beard and hair). I used Lion Brand Jiffy.
  • Size H (5.00 mm) crochet hook
  • Yarn needle
  • Stuffing
  • Optional: Bean bag plastic pellets. Putting some of these in the bottom of the Joseph figure can help it balance better. Make sure the pellets are large enough that they won't work their way through the crochet stitches. Pellets are not recommended if small children may have access to the figure.
Abbreviations used in this pattern:
  • Rnd = round, when doing continuous crochet
  • Row = row, when doing flat crochet
  • sc = single crochet
  • st = stitch
  • sts = stitches
  • ch = chain
  • slp st = slip stitch
  • sc2tog = single crochet two stitches together, aka a decrease. (I recommend using falwyn's invisible decrease.) sc3tog = single crochet three stitches together.
The pattern:

Joseph's Arm
Make two using spiral crochet. Begin with flesh color:
Rnd 1: 4 sc in magic ring (4 sts).
Rnd 2: [2 sc in next st, sc 1] two times (6 sts).
Rnd 3: sc around (6 sts).
Color change to red:
Rnd 4: sc around (6 sts).
Rnd 5: [2 sc in next st, sc 1] three times (9 sts).
Rnd 6: sc around (9 sts).
Rnd 7: sc around (9 sts).
Rnd 8: sc around (9 sts).
Rnd 9: sc around (9 sts).
Rnd 10: sc around (9 sts).
Bind off, leaving tail to use to sew arm to body. Stuff arm.

Joseph's Head and Body
Using spiral crochet. Beginning with flesh color:
Rnd 1: 6 sc in magic ring (6 sts).
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around (12 sts).
Rnd 3: [2 sc in next st, sc 1] six times (18 sts).
Rnd 4: [2 sc in next st, sc 2] six times (24 sts).
Rnd 5: [2 sc in next st, sc 3] six times (30 sts).
Rnd 6: sc around (30 sts).
Rnd 7: sc around (30 sts).
Rnd 8: [sc2tog, sc 3] six times (24 sts).
Rnd 9: [sc2tog, sc 2] six times (18 sts).
Rnd 10: [sc2tog, sc 1] six times (12 sts).
Color change to red:
Rnd 11: sc around (12 sts).
Rnd 12: [2 sc in next st, sc 3] three times (15 sts).
Rnd 13: [2 sc in next st, sc 4] three times (18 sts).
Rnd 14: [2 sc in next st, sc 5] three times (21 sts).
Rnd 15: [2 sc in next st, sc 6] three times (24 sts).
Rnd 16: [2 sc in next st, sc 7] three times (27 sts).
Rnd 17: [2 sc in next st, sc 8] three times (30 sts).
Rnd 18: [2 sc in next st, sc 9] three times (33 sts).
Rnd 19: sc around (33 sts).
Rnd 20: [2 sc in next st, sc 10] three times (36 sts).
Rnd 21: sc around (36 sts).
Rnd 22: sc around (36 sts).
Sew arms to body underneath head. Stuff head and upper part of body (stuffing it partially now is easier than trying to stuff the whole thing as you are closing it up).
Rnd 23: [sc2tog, sc 4] six times (30 sts).
Rnd 24: [sc2tog, sc 3] six times (24 sts).
Rnd 25: [sc2tog, sc 2] six times (18 sts).
Rnd 26: [sc2tog, sc 1] six times (12 sts).
Stuff the rest of the body. Add plastic bean bag pellets if desired.
Rnd 27: [sc2tog] six times (6 sts).
Bind off, closing hole and weaving in tail.

Joseph’s Headcloth
See the pattern for Mary's Veil for photos on how the headcloth is crocheted. Crocheted flat. Using blue:
Row 1: ch 11. sc in second chain from hook. [sc in each chain] eight times (with first sc, a total of 9 sc). In 10th chain, 4 sc. Work back down the other side of the chain doing sc in each chain (total of 9 sc), ch 1 turn (22 sts).
Row 2: sc 9, 2 sc in next 4 sts, sc 9, ch 1 turn (26 sts).
Row 3: sc 9, 2 sc in next 8 sts, sc 9, ch 1 turn (34 sts).
Row 4: sc across, ch 1 turn (34 sts).
Row 5: sc across, ch 1 turn (34 sts).
Row 6: sc across, ch 1 turn (34 sts).
Row 7: sc across, ch 1 turn (34 sts).
Row 8: sc across, ch 1 turn (34 sts).
Row 9: sc across, ch 1 turn (34 sts).

You can stop there, but I like to run a chain of single crochet across the bottom to even out the edges. Here’s how to do it: After Row 9, ch 1 then sc across bottom (about 18 or 19 st). When you reach the end, ch 1 then slp st in first stitch on other edge. Bind off, weaving in tails.

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Unfinished bottom edge on headcloth.

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Single crochet across the bottom edge.

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Finished bottom edge on headcloth.

Joseph’s Headband
Crochet in the round in red:
Rnd 1: ch 26. Join by slp st in the first st (so you will have a circle)
Rnd 2: sc all. There will be a gap at the end so close it by slp st in the first st in the round.
Bind off, leaving tail to use to sew on headband.

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Chain 26.

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Join chain using slip stitch to form circle.

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Single crochet around circle.

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Close circle using slip stitch.

Joseph’s Robe
Crochet flat in blue:
Row 1: ch 11. sc in second chain from hook. sc in each chain 9 more times (for a total of 10 sts). ch 1 and turn.
Row 2: sc across, ch 1 and turn (10 sts).
Row 3: sc across, ch 1 and turn (10 sts).
Row 4: 2 sc in first st, sc 8, 2 sc in last st, ch 1 and turn (12 sts).
Row 5: sc across, ch 1 and turn (12 sts).
Row 6: sc across, ch 1 and turn (12 sts).
Row 7: 2 sc in first st, sc 10, 2 sc in last st, ch 1 and turn (14 sts).
Row 8: sc across, ch 1 and turn (14 sts).
Row 9: sc across, ch 1 and turn (14 sts).
Row 10: 2 sc in first st, sc 12, 2 sc in last st, ch 1 and turn (16 sts).
Row 11: sc across, ch 1 and turn (16 sts).
Row 12: sc across, ch 1 and turn (16 sts).
Row 13: 2 sc in first st, sc 14, 2 sc in last st, ch 1 and turn (18 sts).
Row 14: sc across, ch 1 and turn (18 sts).
Row 15: sc across, ch 1 and turn (18 sts).
Row 16: 2 sc in first st, sc 16, 2 sc in last st, ch 1 and turn (20 sts).
Row 17: sc across (20 sts).

Joseph's Robe Edging: Note that the stitch counts in parenthesis in this section are approximate and may vary. If you don’t end up using exactly the same number of stitches as I did, it’s okay.

1. Chain 1 and single crochet up the side, stopping about 2/5ths of the way from the top (9 sts).
2. To make the arm hole, chain enough stitches to be even with the top row (6 sts).
3. Use slip stitch to join the chain to the last stitch in the top row.
4. Chain 1, turn and single crochet back down the side (15 sts).
5. At the bottom corner, chain 1 and single crochet across the bottom row (21 sts).
6. At the end of the bottom row, repeat steps 1-4 for the next side. Then chain 1 and join it using a slip stitch into the first stitch in the bottom row. Bind off and weave in ends.

Here's a slide show showing how the edging on the robe is done:

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Joseph’s Beard
Crochet flat in brown (leave long tail for sewing to face):
Row 1: ch 8. sc in second chain from hook. sc in each chain 6 more times (for a total of 7 sts). ch 1 and turn.
Row 2: sc across, ch 1 and turn (7 sts).
Row 3: sc2tog, sc 3, sc2tog, ch 1 and turn (5 sts).
Row 4: sc across, ch 1 and turn (5 sts).
Row 5: sc2tog, sc 1, sc2tog, ch 1 and turn (3 sts).
Row 6: sc3tog (1 st).
Bind off and weave in tail.

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Final Construction
Put headcloth and headband on Joseph and sew them down. Sew beard to Joseph's face. Add hair if desired. Put on his robe by sticking the arms through the arm holes. If you want his arms to be down instead of sticking out, you can hold them down and use some yarn to sew them to his sides.
Pair Joseph with Mary and baby Jesus and enjoy your nativity!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Short Stories on the Droid Kindle App

I have not yet jumped on the Kindle/Nook/e-reader train, but I am warming up to the idea. I've played around with my friend's Kindle and while it's nice I'm not ready to buy one yet. I don't think I would prefer an e-reader to an actual paper novel - I can't take the Kindle in the bath with me, can I? Well I CAN but it probably wouldn't be a good idea!

But what I do have is a Droid smart phone:


While I wouldn't want to read an entire novel using the Kindle app on my phone, I have found that many people are now selling short stories through the Kindle store and they are the perfect length for reading in those few minutes while I'm riding in the car or waiting at the doctor's office. And many of them are only $0.99!

This is great because, for the most part, you won't find these short stories anywhere else. Sure, some of them have been published in magazines or short story collections but many of them are out of print or hard to find.

My favorite short story Kindle author so far is Kristine Kathryn Rusch. She has lots of short stories, varying from mystery to fantasy to science fiction. My two favorites are The Case of the Vanishing Boy (a mystery set at a sci-fi convention!) and The Secret Lives of Cats (a mystery solved by cats!). She also has several collections, such as Five Fantastic Tales where you get five fantasy stories for $2.99.

These are short stories so most can be read in twenty minutes or so. Short stories don't often list page counts so it's hard to judge their length, but most of Rusch's stories are between 20-50 KB. Many will let you preview a certain percent of the story and that can give you a bit of an idea as to how long it is.

Treasure Island on the Droid

The picture above gives you an idea of how the text looks on the Droid. It's easy to read and if you have bad eyes like me you can make the text larger. And the Droid is backlit unlike the Kindle, which needs an external light to be read at night. That means I can read it in bed or in the car after dark without bugging my husband with a light.

Again, I wouldn't want to read a whole book on my Droid (I think I'd go blind) but for short stories it's perfect!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Books I Read in 2010 - Part 2

This year I decided to keep track of the books I read by listing them in the sidebar. Now that the year is over, I thought that I'd give some of the highlights and lowlights of the books I read this year. All books have an Amazon link. There were a lot of books so I've split it up into two parts - Part 1 is here.

My Favorite Non-Fiction Books: Yes Man by Danny Wallace and Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris


Most of the non-fiction I read is humor. These two guys are at the top. Danny comes across as a bumbling, well-meaning idiot when he decides to say "Yes" to everything asked of him for a year. By the way, do NOT bother with the Jim Carrey movie, it is nothing like the book. Conversely, if you've seen the movie don't judge the book based on it! Danny's other book, Join Me, is excellent too (he accidentally starts a cult).I have never heard or read David Sedaris before this year. We picked Me Talk Pretty for book club and I ended up reading it while staying with my grandma as she recovered from a shoulder replacement surgery. I was laughing out loud almost constantly! Finally she asked me what was so funny and I read a portion of it to her. Thankfully it was one of the "clean" stories, about David and his non-French classmates trying to explain Easter to another classmate in French. We both laughed ourselves silly over it.

Most Depressing Book: The Boat by Nam Le

First, let me say that I am the kind of person who likes a happy ending. Or at least a not-unhappy ending. I read to escape and have fun so I tend to avoid books that aren't fun. The Boat is a book of short stories recommended by a friend to a member of my book club and they are all very depressing. Every. Single. One. It's just my opinion, but it seems to me that some writers think that sad endings automatically make a story better. It doesn't. I was more than happy to put this book in my give-away pile.
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Here are the rest of the books I read, each with a sentence or two summarizing my thoughts.
  • The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
    • I've been sucked into this series like the rest of the country. Liked this one okay, liked the first one better.
  • Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
    • Irish girl moves to Brooklyn by herself in the 1950's. The main character was dull, she just did whatever anyone else told her and by the end hadn't changed. I don't recommend it.
  • The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber
    • I heard the author of this book speak at Phoenix Comicon. It sounded good (a Victorian fantasy) so I picked it up. I liked it, even thought the main character is a "damsel in distress" (she's always having to be rescued or protected) and I generally like my MC's a bit more independent.
  • Wings by Aprilynne Pike
    • Also heard this author speak at Phoenix Comicon. A teen discovers she's a fairy. Good, but it was written more for teens than for me so I think I'll skip the rest of the series.
  • Sunken Treasure by Wil Wheaton
    •  Enjoyed Wil's (Wesley Crusher, Star Trek) various short stories, though I wouldn't recommend the print version unless you are a big fan (it's print on demand so it's kind of pricey).
  • Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
    • Typical Lisa See, struggling Asian women in historical settings. Good but not my favorite.
  • There's No Place Like Here by Cecelia Ahern
    • Good, light, chick-lit fantasy. A woman ends up in the place were all lost things go.
  • Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich
    • Honestly I don't remember the plot of this one - I can't keep the Stephanie Plums apart. I think there was the Jersey Devil, maybe?
  • Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
    • Another entertaining chick-lit book. Woman gets amnesia and has a chance to start her life over.
  • Inglorious Basterds: A Screenplay by Quentin Tarantino
    • I loved this movie. Loved loved loved it. So I wanted to read the screenplay to pick up a few tidbits that didn't make it into the movie.
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King
    • I'm sure this is a great book but for a first time novelist (I got it to help with my 2009 NaNoWriMo story) it was overwhelming and I gave up on editing my book.
  • How To Write Mysteries by Shannon O'Cork
    • Checked this out from the library and found it very helpful. Went back to check it out for 2010's  NaNoWriMo and found that the library had gotten rid of it! Makes me feel less sorry for them when they complain that they  have no money for books - if you can't buy new books, why are you getting rid of ones that people are still using? Ended up buying it used from Amazon.
  • Ford County Stories by John Grisham
    • My husband loves Grisham so I  read this one on a whim. It was good but I wouldn't have bought it for myself.
  • Rumpole and the Reign of Terror by John Mortimer
    • Found this at the dollar store and got it more for my dad than myself. Having never read Rumpole before there were a few things I didn't follow but overall it was worth the dollar!
  • Star Trek by Alan Dean Foster
    • A direct novelization of the 2009 movie. Only recommend to obsessive fans like myself!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Books I Read in 2010 - Part 1

This year I decided to keep track of the books I read by listing them in the sidebar. Now that the year is over, I thought that I'd give some of the highlights and lowlights of the books I read this year. All books have an Amazon link. There were a lot of books so I've split it up into two parts - Part 2 will be posted tomorrow (it's up now - here).


My Favorite Fiction Book: Storm Front by Jim Butcher


"Harry Dresden--Wizard
Lost items found. Paranormal investigations.
Consulting. Advice. Reasonable rates.
No Love Potions, Endless Purses, Parties, or Other Entertainment."

Yes! An urban fantasy series that's not a romance! No hot vampires! No sexy werewolves! And it's funny to boot - I want to read more!
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The Book I Wasn't Expecting to Like But Did: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Two things made me think I would not like this book. First, it is completely written as letters from the characters to each other - when I started reading I thought that would be annoying but after a while I got used to it. Second, the title of this book reminded me of the cutesy books about ladies getting together over some sort of hobby (cooking, knitting, etc.), discovering themselves and whatnot but thankfully Guernsey is nothing like that! It's about the people on an isolated British island that was occupied by the Germans during WWII and what happens to them after war. But it's not dry at all - the characters are interesting and there is quite a bit of romance.
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The Book I Couldn't Finish: Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

This book isn't officially on my list of books I read this year since I didn't actually finish it. It was another book club pick. It's supposed to be a workplace comedy which sounded perfect for us as we all met through a fansite for The Office television show. The book wasn't awful, exactly, but it was only mildly funny and the fact that the author writes page-long paragraphs made me give up on it before I came to the end (ha ha?).
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Here are some of the other books I read, each with a sentence or two summarizing my thoughts.

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