When I was a little girl growing up in the 1980s, one of the first “fandoms” I remember joining was the My Little Pony fandom.
I had the little Pony stables and the clothes and of course a hundred Ponies. I remember playing with them for hours in my room. They actually would put on full Broadway musicals. I remember more than one afternoon spent with my record player (I was born in 1977, vinyl was totally a part of my childhood) and having the Ponies act out the different roles to a musical.
I’ve joined and left many fandoms over the years; but, I never fully left the My Little Pony one behind. I often feel bad that my daughter (who is now nine), doesn’t share the same love for them that I did at her age.
So when one of my besties contacted me about a week ago and asked me if I could make her other bestie a My Little Pony, I was stoked: This was a chance to recreate something from my childhood. I also was really nervous: This was a chance to recreate something from my childhood. Added to my anxiety, the pony was a gift for her daughter’s birthday. I could feel the pressure rising.
Before committing to making the Pony – Rarity- I needed to see if I could find a pattern for her. I went on Ravelry and Pinterest, but I wasn’t finding anything that looked exactly like I wanted, so off to Etsy it was. I swear I’ve spent more time and money on Etsy since taking up amigurumi than I did when I had my actual Etsy store 😆.
Thankfully, Etsy didn’t let me down and I purchased a series of My Little Pony patterns from LHCpatterns/Kristine Kuluka. This was the first group of patterns I had purchased from this designer, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Reading through, everything seemed pretty straightforward and easy to follow: My problem was the fact this required a small hook (2 mm) and had a lot of intricate details. I still consider myself a beginner, so this was more than a little daunting.
Purchased pattern from Kristine Kuluka – credit to designer
Looking at Rarity’s component parts, I could see she was very intricate, but I decided to give her a try. I started early the next morning.
If at first you don’t succeed…
As I started working on Rarity’s head, the first thing I noticed was yarn weight was going to be crucial in this.
Most of the yarns that I work with are worsted weight yarns and considered to be medium weight (usually labeled as 4). I started using Big Twist – Joann Fabrics’ signature line: The color and feel of the yarn was perfect and would have made a super cuddly Luvvie – the problem was because of the small hook size and the yarn’s weight, I kept splitting the fibers on my hook, creating a messy appearance. This also lead to me going back and taking out far too many stitches. Well, that wasn’t going to work. I ripped out the first three rounds I had done on the head and I started again.
Next, I used one of my all-time favorite yarns for Luvvies – the Caron Simply Soft. This was also a medium weight yarn, but has a slightly thinner construction so my hook moved more easily through the fibers, but still led to frayed edges that I wasn’t liking. I was really getting nervous, which may have led to my credit card getting loose on the Web and ordering a ton of different yarn thicknesses to see if I can find the perfect weight for Luvvies with smaller hook sizes. Needless to say, I ripped (or frogged – because ripped it sounds like ribbit) out my progress and decided to start again, again.
Feeling more than a bit nervous, I went to a third yarn…also a medium weight (d’oh). This one was the Lion Brand Pound of Love, which I like for larger projects: This still wasn’t perfect. There were times I had to tear out a stitch or 12 because my tension was too tight, or too loose, or had frayed the fibers of my yarn. However, this was the best choice with what I had, so I made the best of it.
The Energizer Bunny
I wish I had that bunny’s stamina. I work my “adult” job as a Payroll Accountant at a university; and, am there five days a week from 6:30 AM to 4:30 PM. The work I do on my Luvvies is done at night after I get home and make sure the family is fed. So, this sometimes means very limited crochet time. My problem is I get so engrossed in a project that I forget to stop until I’m almost falling asleep over the work itself. Then I pay for it the next day at work. Can someone change my batteries to Energizer, please? 🤣
Because I get punchy as I create my Luvvies, I end up taking goofy in-progress pictures and sending them to family and friends…who probably roll their eyes or worry about my mental health. This one I asked my friends if they liked my “ponytail”?
Putting It Together
After about 15-20 hours of work, I was ready to start putting Miss Rarity together. This is always the time when I hold my breath (as I mentioned in a previous post). I’m new(er) to crochet, but I’m particularly new to embroidery and stitching pieces together: This is my make or break moment for Luvvies; and, it was especially true for this one because the detail work was so intricate and there was a lot of embroidery.
One of the things I had so much fun with was making the curly pieces for her mane (pictured above) and the pony tail – which I’m playing with in the other picture. It was so fascinating to see chain stitch and then double crochets work to form this object. Again, the yarn I chose was really too thick for my hook size, but I dealt with it. I wanted to get an ombré purple because the online pictures I could find of Rarity all looked like slightly different dark purples.
I really took my time with Rarity’s details. I would take out stitches and start again, or I would try to place a piece in five different places before I was happy, or I would just end up making different pieces again and again – I can’t tell you how many eyes I made, just to be safe).
Surprisingly, the legs went on the body relatively well, for my skill level. When I attached the neck, I wasn’t entirely happy with the detail, but then again I never am 100% pleased with anything I do (the curse of the perfectionist).
I had my first real bit of trouble with Rarity’s cutie marks. My diamonds looked more like sad circles than diamonds. I probably should have gotten some small gems and just have sewed or glued those on, but I wanted to follow the pattern exactly.
The eyes about gave me a nervous break down. There was no way in this world that I was having a good time with those. Affixing the white rounds and then the black rounds on top of that to an already stuffed head was ridiculously difficult. And there may have been a few tears shed in frustration as I tried to get these eyes on perfectly.
But of course the eyes were done…There was another white part that needed to be added, blue embroidery that needed to go around the eye, and eyelashes to embroider. The eyelashes and eye outline took me more than two hours to complete because I wasn’t happy with how everything looked. If it doesn’t look awesome in the picture above, imagine how much worse it was before.
Things were, however, in the home stretch. I just needed to sew the horn onto the head, sew the neck onto the body and get her tail and mane on. I was determined that I was going to get this done in one final push because I was meeting this weekend with said bestie who requested this for her bestie.
The Final Countdown
So after almost 20 hours of work, tons of tears, added self-hatred and doubts, Rarity was finally completed. I have a love/hate relationship with how she finished. She’s not perfect, in a lot of ways she looks the most amateurish of anything else I have created (outside of the original Porg). However, she is the most highly detailed character I have finished, which does make me happy.
Well, I guess that’s really about it, until next ti……………………
Wait? What? You want to see Rarity finished? I don’t know.
Oh all right, you win, stop with the puppy dog eyes.
Introducing my first (and maybe last) My Little Pony: Rarity……
I have to say, I learned a lot making Rarity. The biggest thing I learned was don’t do something this detailed under a time constraint because it is murder on your wrist, especially if you work on her for 4-5 hours a night.
- Yarn weight is critical: The next time I make a Luvvie with a hook smaller than 3 mm, I am going to use the finest weight I can. I actually placed an order with Craftsy for some fingerling weight (1) yarn. I can’t wait to get that to show to you (hint: That is probably my next blog post).
- For the love of your fingers and wrists take breaks: I was so determined to get this done and had other Luvvies to work on that I pushed myself to work multiple hours a night. This killed my wrist, especially as I type a lot during the day. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get something detailed done quickly: This will increase the tension in your work, tighten your stitches (making future rounds more difficult), and will really cause joint pain.
- Change can be good: When I make something for the first time, I usually follow the pattern exactly. I am still new enough to the craft that I don’t always trust my own instincts. However, even being new to the craft, we all have instincts that will help guide us. The one thing I would change is how the embroider and eyes are done. I can whipstich and attach pieces after another piece has been filled; however, my preference is to attach pieces to an unstuffed piece – in my opinion it gives a cleaner look; I can hide the knot; and, I feel, the piece is more secure. I probably would make the eyes first – sew the parts together and then, as I’m making the head, see if these can be attached. Same with the cutie marks; I would try to embroider them onto an unstuffed body to try to get them a little neater.
- Have fun: I love crochet, I sometimes am too critical about my finished products because I want them to be perfect, but the ultimate goal is to have fun. If you aren’t having fun then it isn’t worth it.
Now that Rarity is finished, I have a request to make Apple Jack. I think I might take a little Pony break before I embark on that journey, but I have to say it doesn’t scare me quite as much as it did before I started Rarity. When I start working on Apple Jack, I will be excited to share her progress with you.
With love and crocheted hugs,