Introduction: Turkey Vulture
The first time I saw a turkey vulture standing near the road of my subdivision, I pointed it out to my son saying "look, there's a turkey." He was about 4 or 5 at the time, and said "that's not a turkey" as it spread its 6 foot wingspan and took off. My oldest was assigned a turkey vulture at school for his "canned" critter report and was pretty bummed about it until he read that they projectile vomit to scare off predators. Nothing is cooler than that to a 10 year old boy.
I have added a lot of step by step pictures to this slideshow to explain the process I go through to develop my patterns. I start by finding pictures of the animal I want to make. Then I start crocheting the main body, writing everything down in a notebook so I can type up a pattern later. It takes a lot of trial and error. I generally crochet in a circle or oval . To make body parts curve, I add half double crochet and double crochet stitches on one side of the circle and single crochet and slip stitches on the opposite side. To make parts shift to one side, I decrease on that side and increase the same number of stitches on the opposite side of the basic circle. To make flat pieces like the tail and wings, I start with a full size paper pattern and increase or decrease at the beginning and ends of the rows to follow the general shape. Most flat pieces are too thin to maintain shape, so I make them in pairs and whip stitch the two together before adding to the body. The feet were the hardest part for me. I couldn't figure out how to do it all in one piece, so I ended up with a central part containing the backward pointing toe, the basic foot, and the middle forward pointing toe. I then added two toes, one on each side of the middle forward pointing toe. I made the leg separately and sewed everything together. Amazingly, he stood when I was finished!