Monday, May 7, 2012

I Like to Move It, Move It!

This has been a while coming.  It was suggested some time ago that I write a tutorial for the way I join my doodles; but in all honesty, every time I have one that I could use as a model - I would assemble it, completely forgetting to make the tutorial.  
Today, I remembered :)

Many, who have experimented with crochet "thread bears" are already familiar with the "5 Way Join".  A method where one thread (most often a double strand of dental floss - which is very sturdy) is inserted either in the neck or at the body base and weaved throughout the body; connecting all 5 appendages,  (Both legs, both arms and the head) in one, non-stop motion.

Well, that is fine for small animals which probably are more for show than actual play.  I, personally, have never "mastered" the 5 Way Join and thus, never use it.  It just never gave me a 'tight enough' join.  

How I prefer to join, is in sections.  
Now, why I feel this is a better way for stuffed doodles... if one join becomes weak (due to polyfil compact as a result of play) or breaks - it is easy to fix without having to disassemble the entire doll!

So with that in mind - here is a photo tutorial that I put together today as I was making the final preparations for the next "Handful of" pattern.  
I hope that you find it useful.

Begin by PINNING your limbs into position - make sure that your plush stands without support with all parts attached where you will want to secure them.  Once you have your placements - remove sections which you will not be working with to avoid getting stuck. (more than likely, you are only going to knock it off anyhow while you are working)  In this case, I am going to tutorial the legs;; however, the arms would be done similarly, just further up the body.

The tail has already been sewn onto the body to help keep the 'center' lined up for me.
In Step 1 - we have the MAIN section which is the BODY and the 2 LEGS which I will be joining to the body using my version of the JOINT METHOD.

More than likely, Step 2 you've already completed knowing you were going for a JOINT method of securing the limbs - but just in case.  Weaving through the loops of the last round (in this case 6 stitches) will give you a clean, rounded end that will be seen.

Selecting your tools is important for ease and a neat, finished look.  
I use very large/long upholstery needles to assist in sewing my joints - this needle (as you can see) is large enough to easily fit from one side of the doodle to the other.  I cut a very long hank of yarn (the same color as the body - which will make it easier to hide in the final step) and double it up through the eye of the needle.

Make the initial entry point in an inconspicuous place - one that will be hidden once you are finished and close to the limbs that you are joining.  In this case, since I am joining the legs to the body - I have chosen to enter between the legs, under the body.  Why? This will create less 'space' for the yarn to loosen up in.  Time will eventually compact your fiberfil - not having excess yarn dependent on plump fiberfil ensures a tighter fit, for a greater length of time.

Gently pushing/guiding the needle from it's entry point out the side of the body where I will want the leg and body to meet.  There is technically no 'right or wrong' place to make your join.  However, too low and you run the risk of having the legs collapse under the body - too high and your legs will look like arms.  This is why PINNING prior to any actual sewing is so important for placements.  You want a NATURAL look.  (In the photo above, the pins have been removed as to not have too much visual going on - but in reality, the pins remained until I had the tip of the needle inserted into the leg to ensure that this was the precise point I wanted the leg and the body to meet.)

Push/Guide your needle through the leg at an angle and exit out the front of the leg - careful not to split any of your crochet stitches.  You are merely exiting so that you can re-enter and create a sort of "Triangle" to give you a pocket of polyfil to cushion your join.

Re-Enter in the same hole you just exited - and push/guide the needle straight across to the other side of the leg - consider this, the flat/bottom of the triangle.

Finally, re-enter on this side and back out the original point of entry into the leg - then back into the body where your yarn is coming out.

Here is another view - PURPLE representing your first push - BLUE - your 2nd push and RED your final push back out of the leg

Re-Enter the body and push/guide your needle through to the opposite side of the body (again where you want the body and leg to join) and repeat the same "triangle" procedure for securing the 2nd leg.

Once you have re-entered the body, you want to exit (rather than going straight across again).  Exit through the same hole as the entry point.

DO NOT PULL YOUR YARN TAILS TO TIGHTEN JOIN!  Gently apply pressure equally to both legs - squeezing them into the body before you begin to use steady pulling to draw the tails tighter together.  Once you feel that the joint is tight enough and that you cannot gain more yarn tail without damaging the doodle - knot once - DO NOT LET GO YET.  
Try moving the legs back and forth.  Adjust accordingly (loosen or tighten yarn join).  Once you are satisfied with your join - secure the knot and snip the tail.

Then use your tweezers (or current method) to hide the snipped tail inside the body.
and Viola'...

You've got some legs that are now movable, poseable.. PLAYABLE!


Anonymous said...

You are so great!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, you ARE SO great!! This is awesome and much appreciated! I'll be using this info! Thank you!! Claudia

Joelien said...

Thank you so much! This absolutely makes my day. I've been dying to know how you made Peeps and Jelly Bean poseable!

K4TT said...

You are all most welcome :)
I can make this post into a downloadable pdf for your personal reference on your own computers later on this week, if you'd like.

Anonymous said...

Goodness. If the PDF isn't too much trouble that would be wonderful. Thank you! Claudia

Anonymous said...

Oh, and you should also add a video of you "move it, move it". :)

K4TT said...

LOL Claudia! You just wanna tease me on that Maryland-NewYork-Bostonian accent thing I've got going on..
which, by the way, I vehemently deny having :)

Besides, I would have to be an octopus to make a video - I needed more hands than I had, just for the photos :)
But I will get a pdf ready for anyone who wants to download it for future reference.

Katerina said...

Do you have any good idea about joining open limbs. I mean the open end to the body, without it beiing able to move?

K4TT said...

Hi Katerina,
Well, it depends.. I am assuming you are speaking of the neck into the head.
When I do my opened neck'd projects, I often use either the same long pins (seen in the photos above) to hold the head in place/or to get the angle I am looking for - then to hold in place. (coming UP from the body into the head) OR I use a long needle that can extend into the body to help hold the head in place (knitting needles work good for this too.. although I purchased my knitting needles with the expressed intent of teaching myself to KNIT!!).
But for the actual sewing I find that using a curved needle allows me (a way-below-average seamstress) to fight less with the project while I am working on it - basically upside down.

Not sure what you have available in your area - but I purchased my curved needles through
the 2.5 inch needles (the ones at the bottom) can accommodate the WW Yarns.

Hope that helps and answers your question :)

Connie said...

Good job on the tutorials, I like the way you explain how you work the projects.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to write and post these tutorials. I've learned some new tricks. I've always wondered how to make my animals with moving arms and legs. Now I know!
Appreciate you sharing your knowledge.

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