If you want to sing out, sing out, and if you want to be free, be free, cause there's a million ways to be, you know that there are.
--Cat Stevens

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pattern Review: Hermione the Unicorn by Dawn Toussaint

Hermione the Unicorn is a free pattern by Dawn Toussaint.  It is available as a free Ravelry download and is a well
My Hermione is about 9 1/2
inches tall from hooves to horn
tip, compared to a recommended 
6 inches.
formatted PDF file.  When you open your pattern file the first thing you will see is a large blue rectangle containing a list of the techniques you will need know, and a list of the materials and equipment you will need to have to complete the pattern.  After that we jump right into the critical information.  As Hermione is a stuffed animal gauge is not critical and Ms. Toussaint has provided us with neither gauge nor a recommended yarn.  She does however suggest that  she used worsted weight yarn(150-200 yards of  color A, 20 yards for color b, and 10 yards for color ) and an f size hook.  I found this disconcerting as worsted weight yarn can vary much inside the class and most of the worsted weight yarn I have recommends using H, I, or J hooks.  Amigurumi are usually worked with hooks about 2 sizes smaller than is recommended for the yarn but I was worried that the f would be too small.  My unicorn is worked with KnitPicks Brava for the main color and a size H hook.
If you look closely you can see that the
muzzle is very shallow.  The little shaping
shown is formed by pressing the stuffing
into the desired shape.
Hermione is started by making all the auxiliary pieces first.  We make 2 arms, 2 legs, 2 ears and a horn.  The arms and legs are very similar, both start with color b in the spiral differing only in stitch count as the legs are slight larger.  After 7 rows we switch to main color and make the clever little scallop feature on the hooves before continuing for the length of the pattern.  The ears are simple an work up very quickly.  The horn is the only piece made in color C and I found the shaping to be a bit tricky.  After finishing the extremities we move on to the head and body.  The head and body are worked as one piece stuffing and joining the other pieces as you work so that by the time you are done crocheting you are also completely done assembling your animal.  All that is left is to embroider details and attach the mane.
I am sorry not to have better
pictures of the gaping holes
around the arms and legs but
 you can see above the right
 arm there some of the stitches
that I repaired.  I also wanted
 to note that Hermione is very
 floppy and doesn't sit well.  I
have tacked her arms and legs
 together for these photos to
 make her look better and
 be easier to pose.
My Hermione didn't go quite as smoothly as reading through the pattern suggested it might.  Despite excellent instructions and clear diagrams I had serious difficulties in attaching the limbs without leaving massive holes in my work.  I ended up having to duplicate stitch around the arms and legs to cover up said ugly gaping holes.  I am however certain my difficulties were due to user error and not a defect in the actual pattern.  Of greater concern to me was the lack of muzzle shaping in the head.  The head works up almost perfectly round and the muzzle is much to flat to look like a horse's face.  With great deal of stuffing and squeezing I was able to achieve a head shape with which I was reasonably satisfied, but had I known beforehand I would have added my own modifications to make a more horse-like muzzle. 
The mane was added using latch hooking techniques
 and is Nashua Handknits Sitar in the colorway gypsy
 wagon.  It has been brushed gently with a pet slicker
 brush to make it look fuzzier and sleeker.
Overall Hermione the Unicorn is an excellent pattern and I am certain to try other Dawn Toussaint patterns in the future.  Due my limited budget I often work free patterns, especially as a way to decide if I would like to purchase other patterns from the designer in the future.  I am grateful that Hermione was offered as a free pattern as I had a great deal of fun making her and now have a gorgeous unicorn sitting in my living room making me happy.

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