Crocheting a herd of mini triceratops
Get the pattern: Triceratops by Club Crochet (free!)
After a failed attempt many years ago to jump on the amigurumi train (I was in high school and just couldn’t quite grok the few patterns I attempted, and never managed to complete any), I was inspired to try again after seeing this ridiculously adorable crochet triceratops pattern and crochet-along video by Club Crochet
Seriously, HOW CUTE IS THAT? It seemed like a great choice for a first project, since in addition to being something I was excited about, it was really small and didn’t involve complex assembly.
I think anyone could do this with the video, and anyone who has done a few other amigurumi projects could follow along just with the written pattern.
My experience level: again, this was literally my first real attempt at a crochet plush project that wasn’t a sphere
This is the recommended hook and yarn weight, although the pattern author prefers cotton yarn.
Hook: metal 4.0 mm crochet hook
Yarn: worsted weight acrylic yarn. Main (for the dinos in the first image): Red Heart With Love in Peacock and Evergreen, and Red Heart Super Saver in Carrot and Redwood. Horns: Red Heart With Love in Aran.
Effort vs Satisfaction
This project was really satisfying for the effort! At this point, it takes me about an hour to make one of these guys if I don’t get distracted, though for the first one that I tried on July 04, it took me about 5 hours because that included actually learning to crochet first. I looked up and kept referencing tutorials on crocheting a sphere for increases and decreases, how to do the “magic loop” starter, and how to tell which side of the project is the “outside side.” If you can do all these things, then this project is a breeze, as the video demonstrates any additional stitches very clearly. It doesn’t involve any sewing (woohoo!), just tying on the horns.
Even now, I still find these fun to make, as there’s just enough variety of stitches in it that it doesn’t feel as monotonous as crocheting a square.
Having the video tutorial available definitely helped, especially with the more interesting bits like the bobble stitch legs and picot stitches in the frill that I hadn’t done before. As a starter project, I don’t think I would have successfully completed this from just the pattern.
The written pattern was generally clear, but my inner programmer thinks that it would benefit from a more liberal usage of parentheses. There are some parts that would have been ambiguous had I not consulted the video, for example when it says
(07:04) Rnd 6: sc 6, working in FLO, sc 1, [hdc 1, m.p, hdc 1] repeat 5 times, sc 1 (18 [+5 m.p]) am I meant to do the last sc in the front or both loops? Looking back, I think he adds the italicized loop instructions every time you’re meant to switch in a row, but it would have been helpful if that was specifically pointed out in the intro.
The main quibble I have about this design is that it is difficult to consistently get all four of the legs to sit flush on a flat surface. The dino’s back left leg tends to stick up a little, almost like a dog going pee if it’s particularly wonky. This is because both the bobbles are stitched facing the same direction in the round, so if they’re crocheted tighter, then they slant in the same direction (left, if you are crocheting right-handed/counterclockwise).
To mitigate this, I try and crochet a little bit looser for the bobbles and then spend some time squishing everything before finishing off the ends to try and mold it. More often than not it’s able to pass my personal QC, but I’ve definitely made a couple that I wouldn’t be comfortable selling to someone sight-unseen.
It also seems like the softer yarns are easier to squash into the right shape. I looked at the video again and the one he made has very round looking legs, so maybe this is a side effect of the type of yarn I was using.
So all that said, given the nature of the craft and the fact that this is a mini project, I wouldn’t ding the pattern for this.
I’ve made about a dozen of these now and have been fine-tuning some details to customize it. These are definitely more to my personal preference, and not something I would say is an issue with the design.
While these are already very squish-worthy with the original suggestion for the face, I found that having the vertical alignment of the eyes slightly below the nose turned up the cute compared to having them right next to it.
I also place the horns a single stitch wider than the eyes, instead of having the eyes be the widest part of the face. This gives the overall composition more of a traditional cute-cartoon-critter profile, especially if you think of the horns filling the same design niche as ears.
I found the suggested single crochet made a somewhat lumpy horn and that it was fiddly to try and get it to line up on the face while also tying it off tightly. I experimented a few different modifications on length and stitch type, and I settled on a combination of two options
Chain 3, slip stitch into second stitch from the hook and pull through.
This produces a slightly asymmetrical triangle, and I place it with the string on the stubbier side of the triangle up. This still ends up looking stubby and not horn-like, but I find that the smaller horn is easier to place consistently and reads a little sharper than the original horn.
Chain 2, slip stitch into the first stitch (the one further away from the hook) and pull through.
The orbital horn pattern wouldn’t be bad here either, but this one is a little more symmetrical and easier to wrangle on the slightly more precipitous positioning on the end of the snout.
I’ve found that making these out of a stiffer/scratchier yarn results in them having slightly longer proportions overall.
I like being able to get slightly different proportions and honestly even the slightly wonky dinos, as it makes them feel more realistic as a group.
I’ve been making these more or less continuously since the first one since they’re so CUTE and can work up in one evening. If you aren’t into making your own quite yet, you can buy one on the StitchNSquish Etsy!
I love my triceratops, and the four I’ve decided to keep for myself have made themselves quite at home in my apartment. 💕 I’ve named them Pickles, Relish, Squash, and Squish. They’re a little bit less standard than the ones I’m selling since they were the first ones I made, but I love them for it.
Squish spends most of his time guarding this strawberry
Many thanks to Louie over at Club Crochet for providing this pattern for free! Have you crocheted one of these dinos? What did you think of the pattern? Leave a comment below ⬇️