Monday, December 7, 2015

A Newborn Dino Cape

Before Lucky (then dubbed Chirphead) was born, I debated between a whale themed nursery or a dinosaur themed nursery.  I ended up designing a pretty awesome under the sea themed nursery for Lucky, sidelining the dinosaur theme for a while.  Before finding out the sex of my second child I knew that I would make him or her a dinosaur themed room.  Aren't I proof enough that girls can love dinosaurs, too?  We selected a green color for the walls with this theme in mind, even though I didn't even know I was pregnant at the time we made our color selections.  In light of BOOGALOO's nursery theme, I wanted to incorporate some dinosaurs into his newborn photoshoot.  When I found the following free crochet pattern for a dino hat with a cape I knew that I found a winner.

This design isn't really functional as a winter hat as much as it is a photo prop.  I have been known to create photo props for my children (and dog!) so I was more than up for the challenge.  I knew that I wanted the base of the hat to be green with purple accents, but since my color cards were still packed up when I was making a KnitPicks order I selected two purple shades to test out.

The colors are a little more pink than I had wanted, but I do like the contrast with the green and will make for a vibrant photo.  In the end I selected Everglade Heather (green - 28.4 g, 62 yards) and Columbine (pinkish purple - 12.3 g, 27 yards) and left Amethyst Heather to the side.  I liked the colobine was so vibrant.

The owl hat that Lucky (and many other of his friends) wore on his newborn photoshoot was crocheted on a size H hook and had 40 stitches around.  This hat will be 42 sts around and uses a G hook.  I think I'll go with G since that is what the pattern calls for, that is if I have a G hook (4.0 mm) in my stash.  I was a little concerned because the owl hat had 9 DC rounds whereas this hat only has 8.  After I finish the 8th round I'll measure and see if I need to add another round.  (I think the owl hat is back in my possession now so I can double check against that.)

When I'm crocheting in the round I don't consider any chains to count as DC's.  I therefore started my magic cricle with 12 dc's and then added a DC to replace the chain throughout the pattern.

After 8 rounds the hat is a but short on my model, Dede. When compared to the 9 row owl newborn hat that fit Lucky perfectly at 1 week I know for sure that I want to add a 9th row.

After finishing the 9th row (with my cell phone for a sense of scale), I moved on to the cape following the pattern instructions.  

I'm not that good with straight crocheting.  I did my chain 3, and then in the next sttich started the 21 dc's.  But when I turned, I did the Ch3 and then the DC in the next stitch.  This didn't quite look right, so I ripped back to do a DC in the same stitch as the ch3 at the beginning.  (Otherwise I'd be decreasing too fast).

I really dont love the skipping of the last stitch. It is giving steps to the cape rather than a gentle slope like in the pattern sample.  I ripped back again and decided to do a decrease for the last stitch in the round. 

Much better.  The cape looks so much more streamlined!

The fit of the cape on Dede is a little wonky, but he is a stuffed dog and not a newborn human.  A newborn's head won't be so up so I think the cape will fall better.  Plus I haven't blocked or added the school border yet.  

There is a danger to using your toddler's favorite toy as a photo prop.  Lucky fell in love with this dino cape and kept stealing it to put on Dede!  He would then run off with the pair so I had to stop trying to take any pictures while he was awake.  

Most SC borders I do are in the same color as the hat, so I was a little worried that my technique might look strange.  I think I did a reasonable 

I am a little concerned that the green and purple are so close in tone that a gray scale image won't show any contrast.  But then I remember that in Photoshop you can convert colors in a way to preserve some contrast.  I haven't done this since my class, but maybe I can figure that out again.  By reducing the amount of magenta in the black to white conversion I was able to make the magenta look like a darker hue.  Cool, right?  

Before Photoshop
After Photoshop

I took a mini break between the SC border and making the little spines for this cape.  I just couldn't focus on making 9+ little shapes while Lucky was running around.  Once I was able to find the time to sit down and craft these shapes came out really quickly and super cute.

Spines from left to right, 1 large, 2 medium and 1 small

I ended up making 7 large, 2 medium and 1 small dorsal plate.  I started by placing the plate on the top center of the head first and then working towards the front.  This was to help me get the spacing right and to make sure I was on the center plane. And then, I had about 10 million ends to weave in.

I'm thrilled with how this came out!  This is an adorable little photoshoot prop from a free pattern.  What fun!

Dede (Lucky's favorite stuffed animal) is my model for most of the newborn items I create.  I cannot wait to show you this photo prop modeled by my little boy!