I really wanted to capture certain things (like the turned up nose & butt, and the shape/position of the arms & legs). Unfortunately the shapes turned out to be deceptively simple, and I had to rip everything out and start over soooo many times. I’m not sure what kept me at it, but I guess it was a good exercise in shaping, and by having an existing character that I was trying to replicate, it kept me from just saying, “eh, not what I was going for, but that works too …”Overall, I’m pretty happy with how he turned out. He’s about 10″ tall (measuring to the tips of his ears), and, oddly enough, he turned out to be balanced enough to stand up on his own … cool bonus.
The head probably gave me the most trouble … I finally figured out that it worked better to start with an oval shape, rather than a standard circular magic ring. However, I didn’t like how beginning with a chain (because it’s a single strand of yarn) made it thinner at the top of the head. No matter how tight the chain, it still pulled apart slightly, leaving holes … and I didn’t want my kumahachi to have pattern baldness.
What I ended up doing was to chain using a double strand (using both the tail and working yarn). The first stitch is a bit tricky, but once you’ve chained a few (I think I did 7 or so), then you just drop the tail and crochet all the way around the chain to form an oval. It worked great! I think I will be using this method a lot more ^-^
With the exception of the ears & tail (which were pretty straightforward), every other body part required some tedious shaping and a lot of trial and error. It was also tricky to get the right and left arms, legs & wings to match, since I couldn’t just use the same pattern for both sides … and the slight height difference on one side of the round (since it’s actually spiral) complicated matters. I’m not sure my efforts were worth it, but at the time I was determined to try and get things like shoulder/hip shaping, and to lengthen the upper/front part of the arms/legs (so the paw pads would be angled back a little).
It took some searching to find oval shaped eyes … I ended up finding some that were labeled as “noses.” For the antennae I used a single pipe cleaner and poked the two ends out from the inside (so that they wouldn’t be apt to fall out). I crocheted little antennae tips, and then wrapped black and yellow yarn around the outside.
So for those of you who are not hopeless nerds, and are wondering what a kumahachi is … it literally means “bearbee,” and they are from the manga/anime Kyou Kara Maou (also spelled Kyo Kara Maoh). In the story, they are an endangered species of sorts … they hatch out of cocoons, have an annoying habit of saying “nogisu~” and their crap is apparently used to make a high quality artist’s paint (that, not surprisingly, smells like crap). Kumahachi also come in yellow, so I am tempted to make another … everyone needs a buddy.Besides thinking kumahachi had a really cute shape and wanting to capture that, I also wanted to pay homage to Gwendal (a character from the same show) … because any guy who crochets and knits is pretty awesome in my book.