Introduction: Dragon Shoulder Puppet

About: In a valiant attempt to keep myself from dying of boredom, I create.
My son picked up a shoulder puppet at a Renaissance Fair.  He kept telling me I needed to make one of my dragons to work like this puppet.  “It sat on your shoulder and you would manipulate the head so that it moved.  People would do a double take, trying to figure out if they really saw it move or not”, was his explanation.  Last week when he came to visit, he gave me his puppet for inspiration.  So here is my version of a shoulder puppet, created with yarn, stuffing and a bike cable.

Step 1:

Main color of yarn (I chose purple)
Contrasting color of yarn (I chose hot pink)
Size 3.5 mm crochet hook (American size E) (+/-$3)
Polyester stuffing (+/- $4 a bag)
1 pair of safety eyes
Yarn needle
10 speed bike, break or gear cable (around $2 for a short one)
Something with which to mark the rounds (I have the little green safety pin like marker)

Step 2:

Terms and Abbreviations:  I will assume that you can do all of these stitches and abbreviations.
sc – single crochet
hdc – half double crochet
dc – double crochet
ch – chain
ss – slip stitch
st – stitch
sc2tog – decrease by working 2 sc together
sc2xn – increase by sc 2 times into the next st or next ? st
Magic ring –
FO – fasten off
R – round
mc – main color
cc – contrasting color

Most amigurumi projects are done mostly in rounds, (the body, legs, head), which means that instead of start and finishing each round, you just move on to the next round with its first stitch. This is why it is really important to mark the first stitch of each round.  You need to know where the first stitch is, on each round, so move the stitch marker to the new round.  This first stitch does not stay in the same place because of the increases and decreases that may or may not occur in each round.  Also, stuff the body parts as you go along, this makes it a lot easier in the long run.

Step 3:

Head (using the main color)
   Nostrils- make 2
Ch 4 , ss into 1st ch to make a ring. 
R 1 – sc to the center of the circle 6 times, ss into the top of the 1st sc, FO (1st nostril).  Repeat for the 2nd nostril only don’t fasten off.
R 2 – start by sc into the 2nd st of the 1st nostril, go around the 1st nostril 1 sc in each st, (5 st) then connect tot eh 4th sc of the 2nd nostril and go around it 5 st.  Mark this last st as the first st of the round (10st)
R 3 – 1sc, 2 sc in next st) repeat 5 times (15st)
R 4 – sc all
R 5 –  (1sc, sc2tog) repeat 5 times (10st)
R 6 – sc all
R 7 – sc2xn3st, sc 6, sc2xn2 st (15st)
R 8 – sc2xn6st, sc10 (22st)
R 9 – sc all
R 10 – (1sc,sc2tog) repeat 7 times, 2sc (16st)

Step 4:

Now is a good time to attach the safety eyes on either side of the head

Step 5:

and attach the bike cable to the nose.  So do this, push the end of the bike cable through the gap between the nostrils. I left it open on purpose.  I took a long piece of yarn at tied many knots in the yarn around the cable end. 

Step 6:

I pushed the cable back through the gap between the nostrils and then using the yarn needle, whipped close the hole.  I tied a knot and fed the yarn ends back into the head.

R 11 – sc all
R 12 – (1sc, sc2tog) repeat 4 times (8st)
R 13 – (sc2tog) 4 times  (4st)
FO , leave a tail long enough to close the hole.  Tuck the yarn ends into the main part of the head.

Step 7:

Body- this is done in the mc, around the bike cable. It is interesting and challenging.  I just made it work, so will you.

R 1 – Make a magic ring, 6 sc.  Poke the opposite end of the cable through the magic ring, before you tighten it up.  Pull it tight. (6st)  Put marker in the first st.
R 2 – sc2xn6st (12st)
R 3 – (3sc, sc2xn) repeat 3 times (15st)
R 4-5 – sc all
R 6 – (2sc, sc2xn) repeat 5 times (20st)
R 7-8 – sc all
R 9 – (3sc, sc2xn) repeat 5 times (25st)
R 10-11 – sc all
R 12 – (4sc, sc2xn) repeat 5 times (30st)
R 13-17 – sc all
R 18 – (4sc, sc2tog) repeat 5 times (25st)
R 19-23 – sc all
R 24 – (3sc, sc2tog) repeat 5 times (20st)
R 25-28 – sc all

Step 8:

R 29 – 7sc, ch 2 skipping one stitch, sc 12, the cable is flexible so stick the end of the cable through the little hole where the ch2 is.  This puts the rest of the cable outside the dragon’s body.
R 30 – (2sc, sc2tog) repeat 5times (15st)
R 31-40 – sc all
R 41 (3sc, sc2tog) repeat 3 times (12st)
R 42-51 – sc all
R 52 (4sc, sc2tog) repeat 2 times (10st)
R 53-62 – sc all
R 63 – (3sc, sc2tog) repeat 2 times (8st)
R 64-69 – sc all
R 79 – (2sc,sc2tog) repeat 2 times (6st)
R 80-81 – sc all
R 82 – sc2tog 3 times  FO

Step 9:

Front Legs (make 2 of mc)

R 1 – magic ring, sc6 (6st)
R 2 – sc2xn6st (12 st)
R 3 – 8sc, sc2tog 2 times, (10st)
R 4 – 6sc, sc2tog 2 times, (8st)
R 5-14 – sc all
R 15 – sc2tog, 4 times, FO, leave a yarn tail to sew closed the hole.

Step 10:

Back Legs (make 2 of mc)

R 1 – magic ring, sc6 (6st)
R 2 – sc2xn6st (12 st)
R 3 – 8sc, sc2tog 2 times, (10st)
R 4 – 6sc, sc2tog 2 times, (8st)
R 5-7 – sc all
R 8 – 2sc, sc2xn3st, 3sc (12st)
R 9 – 2sc, sc2xn5st, 4sc (16st)
R 10-13 – sc all
R 14 – (2sc, sc2tog) repeat 4 times, (12st)
R 15 – (sc, sc2tog) repeat 4 times (8st)
R 16 – sc2tog, 4 times, FO, leave a yarn tail to sew closed the hole.

Step 11:

Wings (make 2 mc, this part is done back and forth in rows
Ch 30 turn
Row 1 – first st in 2nd ch from hook,  sc 10, hdc 10, dc 9, ch2 turn (29st)
Row 2 – dc 9, hdc 10, sc 10, ch 1 turn.
Rows 3,5,7,9 - repeat the pattern in row 1
Rows 4,6,8,10 – repeat the pattern in row 2

Step 12:

cc- this is done along the wide end of the wing, attach the cc, to the end corner of the wing (look at the picture) chain 4, ss into same hole, sc along wide edge of the wing, about 18st. When you reach the opposite end, chain 4 and ss into the same hole.  FO.   Weave in the ends.

Step 13:

Spine Ridges (cc color)

Thread a long piece (a little over 1 1/3 times the length of the body and head) of cc yarn on to the yarn needle.  Sew a running stitch from the tip of the tail to the head, just behind the eyes, making the line as straight down the back as possible.  Just leave a length of yarn between the body and the head. 

Step 14:

Start at the tail and make the ridges using the running stitches as the base for the crochet stitches.  There are 3 sizes of ridges, small, medium and large.  Put the size you want where you want them along the back.

I did, 5 small, 6 medium. 7 large  and 2 medium on the head.

Small ridge:  1sc,1hdc,1sc, ss in the next space
Medium ridge:  1sc, 1dc, 1sc, ss in the next space
Large ridge:  1hdc,1dc, 1hdc, ss in the next space

Step 15:

Now put them all together:

Back Legs:
With a long piece of mc yarn, stick the yarn needle completely through the center of the body, at the back where the cable comes out on the opposite side.  Stick the needle through the leg then back through the body and back through the other leg.  You should have two yarns pieces going in and out of each side of the body and each leg. 

Step 16:

Pull the yarn tight and tie a square knot where the two ends meet.    Hide the yarn ends inside the body.  This will allow some movement of the legs.

Step 17:

Front legs:  Repeat the same process as used for the back legs, only place the front legs toward the front of the body.

Step 18:

Wings:  Whipstitch the wings along the spine, just over the front legs.  Flip the wing back over the ridges, and whipstitch the underside of the wing to the body.  This should give the wing some lift.

Step 19:

Now to see if it works:  Place the dragon on your shoulder (the front legs on the front of your shoulder and the back legs on the back side of you shoulder.  Have someone help you put the cable down your back on the inside of your shirt.  Put the end of the cable in your pocket.  Now, put your hand in your pocket and twist and turn the end of the cable, it should turn the dragons head. Practice in front of a mirror, moving the dragon’s head around, small graceful motions.  When you feel secure, (which I don't yet beacuse it has only been 24 hours since I finished it, so I hand held it in the video), go out in public and see if you can get a reaction.  What FUN!  Enjoy!
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