Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Fashioning The Fab Four (Part 6): Production Time

When rehearsal is over, it's time for the production phase.

With the help of sound engineers and producers, musicians can have their work sounding its best and recorded for posterity (just like The Beatles and EMI producer George Martin whose influence is claimed to be so profound that he is sometimes referred to as an extra Beatle).

Producers help artists compile a bunch of individual songs into an album to represent a significant body of work by the artists. The songs might be related in some way such as a theme (like Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band), or they might be a random collection of diverse ideas like the double album The Beatles (aka the white album).

Prototype for experimentation

Similarly my amigurumi Fab Four production was preceded by rehearsal time which involved creation of a prototype. It was a great way to get a feel for the pattern, construction and time it might take to complete. At the time (May 2012) I noted it was “very fiddly as amigurumi often is; lots of sewing; looking good though using a 3.5 mm hook

The prototype was made with a different sized hook and it showed me the difference in scale between the original pattern and my efforts. 

Original pattern dimensions
(4 mm hook + 12 ply/Aran yarn)
My dimensions
(3.5 mm hook + 8 ply/DK yarn)
Height of each doll
29 cm / 11.5 inches
20 cm / 8 inches
Jacket dimensions
20 x 10 cm / 8 x 4 in
15 x 7.5 cm / 6 x 3 in

Soon rehearsal was over–it was production time: instead of putting together a bunch of songs, I was putting together a bunch of crocheted pieces!

During the production process decisions need to be made about how to achieve the best results: do I complete one doll at a time or all the pieces first and sew later?

If I made one doll after the other, by the time I was working on the second doll, I would have forgotten little details from the first; e.g. stitching methods and where the pieces had joined. Because my tension can change over time, there was a good chance that the last doll could be significantly different to the first in size or some other detail.  I wanted them to be almost the same, a matching set.

Instead, I chose the path of “economies of scale”, choosing to make four heads at once, all of the jackets at once, each set of pieces all at once etc. to ensure exactly the same size and finish for all. This sped up production because the repetition established the pattern in my mind so I could make multiples of each piece without taking time to refer to the pattern sheet.

It was like a production line!

Like the collation of songs into an album, the pieces were ready to stitch together into a proper amigurumi doll; until the pre-production hitches: weddings, babies and birthdays!

2012 was the year for new babies and weddings of family and close friends. My time was divided to include sewing of wedding gowns and accessories, while creating wedding, birthday and baby gifts.

It took until July to have the amigurumi almost recognisable:

25/7/12: At last they all have heads and arms. Looking like the Amish doll version of the Fab Four in the photograph calling “Help” as inspired by the album cover! Getting the collars and ties on now and looking forward to the hair - “doing the ’ ‘do’s”. Might use a different method/style to the original pattern photos.”

Crochet Today magazine Jan/Feb 2012
While the stitching up of the Fab Four didn’t take long, it was hard to find time and energy to work on them between the more immediate deadlines of special events and daily commitments.

That was okay, because I had different ideas about stitching the Fab Four hair. The delays gave me extra time to ponder.
Useful Links
Album covers:
Amish dolls & culture:
Crochet Today magazine:

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