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Yarn in colors of your choice – any yarn that you can work with comfortably at a tight gauge will work. Choice of yarn weight will determine size of finished dragon. Sample shown was crochet in Red Heart Super Saver worsted with a 4.5mm size G hook. The main color used about half of a 7 oz skein. The two contrast colors and the horns took small amounts. Size, coiled, is approx. 18” long.
TIP: Some types of acrylic are “harder” than others and will allow the forming/showing of holes mor e easily than “softer” acrylics. Even Red Heart, from one color or one batch to another has differences. I recommend a softer acrylic as it will plump up and look a lot smoother. Same to be said for other yarns. One of the test dragons was done in a sp ort weight wool that was very smooth, it stretched when stuffed and showed holes for every stitch.
Crochet hook in a size that will give you a nice tight gauge in the yarn you choose. In general, I go down 1 to 3 sizes smaller than that recommended on the ball band when making stuffed toys.
Crochet hook one size smaller than the hook you choose above.
Stitch marker(s), blunt tip needle for weaving in ends, scissors, polyester stuffing, eyes of your choice, animal nose if you wish to use one and fabric glue (stretchable, flexible).
Pattern is crochet in a spiral for the body, do not join rounds, just keep on going around. The beginning of round marker will move as you work the body – it will be specified in the instructions when and where you are to move the marker. Moving the marker is necessary to get the bends to line up correctly. You must stuff as you go, do not wait until the end! At the beginning, do not stuff the head too tightly as it needs to be squeezed into the flattish final shape when attaching pieces. Stuff the rest of the body firmly, but not so much that you stretch the fabric out of shape and make the dragon too “hard”.
The Short Row Sequence (abbreviated in instructions as seq)
This is the “magic” that makes the dragon’s body twist and turn. I have written out a “sample” sequence below with clear photos to explain what you need to do. Once you do this sequence several times, you’ll have it memorized. Each sequence only takes up one “round” of the instructions, but it is important to remember that each sequence is composed of 1 row forward, turn, 1 row back, turn, 1 full round. IMPORTANT, only the first row of a sequence MAY be in a different stitch than single crochet. If it says 8 hdc seq, only the first row of 8 will be hdc – the second row and the finish of the round will be in single crochet.
8 sc seq
Starting at beginning of round, make 8 single crochet.
Turn work, DO NOT chain – pull up the last loop on the hook a wee bit more than you normally would (if you don’t, you’ll have a hard time getting into the stitch on your way back).
Insert the hook under both loops of the stitch you just made and make a single crochet. Continue back across the row, making a total of 8 single crochet.
Turn work, DO NOT chain – pull up the last loop on the hook a wee bit more than you normally would, insert the hook under both loops of the stitch you just made and make a single crochet – put your beginning of round stitch marker into this stitch and then continue with single crochet until you are one stitch before the end of the short row sequence.
Insert hook under both loops of the last stitch of the sequence and pull up a loop. Insert the hook into the center of the step up and pull up a loop. Make sure you get in between the stitches, don’t just grab a loop through the obvious hole or you will make a bigger hole. This can be tricky – you’ll have to push the hook into the space to “find” a place to pull up a loop.
Insert the hook under the front loop (or both loops depending on how the hole looks at the gauge you crochet at and the yarn you are using) of the corner and pull up a loop (be sure you get the corner, the base of the two rows of the short row seq – not the next st). 4 loops on the hook.
YO and pull through all loops on the hook.
Continue sc around until you get to the last stitch of the round. Insert hook under both loops of the stitch and pull up a loop. Insert hook under the vertical back leg of the step up and pull up a loop. 3 loops on hook. YO and draw through all loops on hook.
Using the magic loop, make 6 sc into the loop and draw up tightly
Rd 1: *sc, 2 sc in next sc* around (9 sc)
Rd 2: sc around
Rd 3: *sc in each of next 2 sc, 2 sc in next sc* around (12 sc)
Rd 4 – 8 (5 rds): sc around
Rd 9: *2 sc in next sc, sc in each of the next 3 sc* around (15 sc)
Rd 10 & 11: sc around
Rd 12: 8 hdc seq
Rd 13 & 14: sc around
Rd 15: 8 hdc seq
Rd 16: sc, 6 hdc, 8 sc
Rd 17: 9 hdc, 6 sc
Rd 18: 8 sc seq
Rd 19 – 21 (3 rounds): sc around
Rd 22: 2 sc in next sc, 14 sc (16 sc)
Rd 23 – 27 (5 rounds): sc around
Rd 28: 12 sc, 9 hdc seq, move marker to the first stitch of the hdc seq
Rd 29: sc, 8 hdc, 7 sc
Rd 30: 2 sc in next sc (inc), 7 sc, inc, 7 sc (18 sts)
Rd 31: sc around
Rd 32: 10 hdc seq
Rd 33: inc, 9 hdc, sc, inc, 6 sc (20 sts)
Rd 34: 11 sc seq
Rd 35 – 39 (5 rds): sc around
Rd 40: 3 sc, 11 hdc seq, move marker to first stitch of seq
Rd 41: sc, 10 hdc, 9 sc
Rd 42: 11 hdc seq
Rd 43: sc around
Rd 44: 11 hdc, 9 sc
Rd 45: 11 hdc seq
Rd 46: sc, 10 hdc, 9 sc
Rd 47-49 (3 rds): sc around
Rd 50: 2 sc, 11 hdc seq, move marker to first stitch of seq
Rd 51: sc, 10 hdc, 9 sc
Rd 52: sc around
Rd 53: 15 sc, 11 hdc seq, move marker to first stitch of seq
Rd 54: sc around
Rd 55: 6 sc, 7 hdc seq, move marker to first stitch of seq
Rd 56 & 57: sc around
Rd 58: 13 sc, 11 hdc seq, move marker to first stitch of seq
Rd 59: sc, 10 hdc, 9 sc
Rd 60 & 61: sc around
Rd 62: 4 sc, 11 hdc seq, move marker to first stitch of seq
Rd 63: sc around
Rd 64: 16 sc, 11 hdc seq, move marker to first stitch of seq
Rd 65: sc, 10 hdc, 9 sc
Rd 66-70 (5 rds): sc around
Rd 71: 11 hdc seq
Rd 72-74 (3 rds): sc around
Rd 75: 7 sc, 11 hdc seq, move marker to first stitch of seq
Rd 76: sc around
Rd 77: sc 16, 11 hdc seq, move marker to first stitch of seq
Rd 78: sc around
Rd 79: 11 hdc seq
Rd 80: sc around
Rd 81: sc, 11 hdc seq, move marker to first stitch of seq
Rd 82: 6 sc, 11 hdc, 3 sc
Rd 83: sc around
Rd 84: sc 2 tog, sc 18 (19 sts)
Rd 85: 10 hdc seq
Rd 86: sc, 9 hdc, 9 sc
Rd 87: 7 sc, 10 hdc seq, move marker to first stitch of seq
Rd 88: 6 sc, sc 2 tog, sc 11 (18 sts)
Rd 89: sc around
Rd 90: 4 sc, 10 hdc seq, move marker to first stitch of seq
Rd 91: sc, 8 hdc, 9 sc
Rd 92: sc around
Rd 93: 2 sc, sc 2 tog, sc 14 (17 sts)
Rd 94: 9 hdc seq
Rd 95: sc around
Rd 96: sc 2 tog, sc 15 (16 sts)
Rd 97: 2 sc, 7 hdc seq, move marker to first stitch of seq
Rd 98 & 99: sc around
Rd 100: 3 sc, 7 hdc seq, move marker to first stitch of seq
Rd 101: sc, 8 hdc, sc 2 tog, 5 sc (15 sts)
Rd 102-104 (3 rds): sc around
Rd 105: sc 2 tog, 6 hdc, 7 sc (14 sts)
Rd 106: 2 sc, 6 hdc, 6 sc
Rd 107: sc, 6 sc seq, move marker to first stitch of seq
Rd 108: sc around
Rd 109: sc 2 tog, 12 sc (13 sts)
Rd 110: sc around
Rd 111 & 112: sc, 5 hdc, 7 sc
Rd 113-115 (3 rds): sc around
Rd 116: sc 2 tog, 11 sc (12 sts)
Rd 117: sc around
Rd 118: 6 sc, 6 sc seq, move marker to first stitch of seq
Rd 119: sc, 5 hdc, 6 sc
Rd 120: sc 2 tog, 10 sc (11 sts)
Rd 121 & 122: sc around
Rd 123 & 124: 3 sc, 4 hdc, 4 sc
Rd 125: sc 2 tog, 9 sc (10 sts)
Rd 126: sc around
Rd 127: 2 sc, 4 hdc, 4 sc
Rd 128: 2 sc, 4 sc seq, move marker to first stitch of seq
Rd 129: sc 2 tog, 8 sc (9 sts)
Rd 130: sc around (at this point, stuff firmly with enough stuffing that you will be able to poke and prod it into the end of the tail when done)
Rd 131: sc 2 tog, 7 sc (8 sts)
Rd 132: sc around
Rd 133: sc2tog, 3 sc, sc 2 tog, sc (6 sc)
Rd 134 & 135: sc around
Rd 136: sc2tog as many times as you are able to comfortably do so, it will be very tight here, and then finish off.
Use a skewer or blunt needle to distribute the extra stuffing from round 130 into the end of the tail. Squeeze and pinch the whole body to even out the stuffing and get all the turns lined up properly.
Note : If you find it too difficult to do the very small diameter short rows, it’s OK to just finish off the end of the tail using hdc sti tches to give a bit of curve, so instead of a short ro w seq you would do one row with hdc sts in place of the short row, then one row plain.
LEGS – make 4
Leave a tail long enough for sewing to the body later.
Row 1: Ch 13, sc into the second ch from hook and across (12 sc), Ch 1 & turn
Row 2: 6 sc, turn, DO NOT Ch 1
Row 3: 6 sc, starting in the last stitch you just finished on prior row, Ch 1 & turn
Row 4: 6 sc; pick up a loop in the center of the “step up”, pick up a loop in the corner of the base of the step up, pick up a loop in the next sc, yo & draw through all 4 loops on hook (7th sc made); 5 sc, Ch 1 & turn
Row 5: slip stitch for 6 stitches, 6 sc, turn, DO NOT Ch 1
Pinch the leg in half and slip stitch it together for 11 stitches by going through both loops of the stitch closest to you and the back loop of the starting chain opposite it. On the last stitch, slip stitch only into the stitch closest to you, leaving the last back loop of the starting chain unworked. It is at this point you will make the chain for your first toe, as described below. You will be spreading out the end of the leg to make the foot.
The making of the toes will require you to use your own judgment as to how many toes you want (Oriental dragons have 3, 4 or 5 toes) and where you are going to be placing them at the end of the leg. For each toe you will slip stitch into a spot at the end of the foot, Ch 5, slip stitch 4 on the chain you just made and then slip stitch into the next spot at the end of the foot where you want your next toe. Keep your chain and sl st a bit loose so that the toes don’t curl. If you make 5 toes, you will work evenly across the bottom of the leg, if you make 3 or 4 toes, you will need to pick spots to slip stitch into in such a way that you end up at the other side of the leg when you finish your last toe. Once you have all of your toes, slip stitch into the side of the foot and finish off. You can lightly stuff the top part of the leg if you want a dragon with fatter arms.
I recommend that you wait to sew the legs to the body until after you have crocheted on the spines, that way you can clearly see where you want them. There is a lot of wiggle room in where you sew on the legs – place them where YOU like the look of them.
FLAMES FOR LEGS – make 8 total, 4 of one color and 4 of another
Using a hook one size smaller than that used for the body:
Row 1: Leaving a very short tail, Ch 2
Row 2: sc, Ch 1 & turn
Row 3: (in back loops only from now on) 2 sc in sc, (2 sc), Ch 1 & turn
Row 4: 2 sc in each sc (4 sc), Ch 1 & turn
Row 5: *2 sc in next sc, sc* twice (6 sc) Finish off, leaving a tail to sew to leg.
See pictures for placement on legs and REMEMBER to make two legs left and two legs right in how you place the flames on the legs. One flame is half way under the other. Weave the end of the yarn used to sew flames in place back out to tip of flame. Fluff both of the ends and trim as in pictures.
Note: There is a lot of room here for you to be creative and do your o wn thing with the leg flames. Some of the testers made flames using long eyelash yarn that was added in like fringe on a scarf, others added short fringe all around the flame s an d fluffed them up. Don’t be afraid to try something else and make the dragon uniquely yours! You can do the same with the whiskers on the face and the spine down the back. Little changes can result in a totally different personality for your dragon.
TOP OF HEAD
Leaving a long tail for sewing to the head:
Row 1: Ch 12, sc in second chain from hook and across (11 sc), Ch 1 & turn
Row 2: 2 sc, *4 dc in next sc* twice, 3 sc, *4 dc in next sc* twice, 2 sc, Ch 1 & turn
Row 3: 2 sc, skip 8 dc, bring yarn to the front of skipped stitches, sc, 2 sc in next sc, sc, skip 8 dc, bring yarn to the front of skipped stitches, 2 sc (8 sc), Ch 1 & turn note: make sure that you pull up tight where you skip the 8 dc and push the eyes up so that they stand out
Row 4: 8 sc, Ch 1 & turn
Row 5: 3 sc, sc2tog, 3 sc (7 sc), Ch 1 & turn
Row 6: sc2tog, 3 sc, sc2tog (5 sc), Ch 1 & turn
Row 7: sc 5, Ch 1 & turn
Row 8: sc2tog, sc, sc2tog (3 sc), Ch 1 & turn
Rows 9 – 13 (5 rows): 3 sc, Ch 1 & turn
Row 14: inc, sc, inc (5 sc), Ch 1 & turn
Row 15: *sc, 3 dc in next sc* twice, sc, Ch 1 & turn
Row 16: sc; skip 3 dc, bring yarn to the back of skipped stitches; sc; skip 3 dc, bring yarn to the back of skipped stitches; sc (3 sc), push up nose as with eyes, finish off, leave another long tail for sewing to the head.
Place the top of head onto the top of the beginning of the body, see pictures for placement, use pins to tack in place so it doesn’t shift as you sew it down. I found it easier to sew down one side with one tail end of yarn and the other side with the other tail end of yarn. Take a few stitches up through the center of the nose to help keep the flattened look to the face. When sewn on, add in some whiskers in yarn colors of your choice, by threading through the nose. Glue in eyes of choice and an animal nose if you are using one.
CHEEKS/NECK FRILL – make one left, one right
Row 1: Ch 8, 5 hdc into the second chain from the hook, sc remaining 6 chains, DO NOT Ch 1, turn
Row 2: Sl st into the second sc from hook; Ch 3, into chain just made , sl st 2, sl st into each of the next 2 sc; Ch 5, into chain just made , sl st 4, sl st into each of the next 2 sc; Ch 6, into chain just made , sl st 2, sc 3, sl st into the first of 5 hdc; sc into the same hdc you just sl st into and the next 4 hdc, Ch 1 & turn
Row 3: 4 sc; Ch 7, into chain just made , sl st 2, sc 4, sl st into next sc, Ch 1 & turn
Row 4: pushing the piece of frill just made to either the back or the front, sl st into the next sc (you should have 4 stitches to work into after this frill piece, you are slipping into the first of this four); Ch 8, into chain just made , sl st 3, sc 4, sl st into next sc; *Ch 9, into chain just made , sl st 4, sc 4, sl st into next sc* 3 times, sl st into the last st and finish off.
Note: The contrast color edging is added after the pieces are made, using a size smaller hook than what you use for the rest of the dragon and a loose slip stitch. It is important to remember that both of the cheek/neck frill pieces are made the same, it is only when you put on the contrast edge that you end up making one for the left side and one for the right. The edging is slip stitched so it will look different on the front and the back. Lay your two cheek pieces down in front of you, as in photo. Start the contrast at the point shown and work in the direction shown in order to ensure a left and right piece. I do not give stitch counts for this edging you need to just use your judgment to pick up the slip stitches along the edges. Keep in mind that if you pick up more stitches, you will get a ruffled look to the edge – fewer stitches, and you will get a flat, even look.
Position the cheek/neck frill pieces onto the head, referring to the pictures for placement. There is some wiggle room here – they don’t have to be perfectly set at such and such a stitch number, pin them in place, see if you like the way they look, if not, move around until you do and then sew in place along the inner edge (green line in picture – the blue line shows where the top of the head was sewn in place and is for reference so you can see where there can be some overlap).
HORNS – make 2
Row 1: Ch 13, sc into second chain from hook and across (12 sc), Ch 1 & turn
Row 2: 5 hdc, 7 sc, DO NOT Ch 1, turn
Row 3: Going through both loops of the stitch facing you and the back loop of the starting chain in line with it, sl st closed for 4 sts (same technique as used for the legs); Ch 5, into chain just made , 4 sc, sl st into same st you chained 5 from, sl st the rest of the way closed as you did for the first 4 sts, finish off, leaving a tail to sew to the head.
Position horns on head as per pictures or your own preferences, sew in place.
THE SPINES DOWN THE BACK I really hate sewing down lots of pieces, and this dragon has already required a lot of sewing, but fear not! The spines down the back are surface crochet – when you finish them, they are done – no long piece to sew on!
Surface crochet is, by its nature, a free form sort of crochet. I can’t give you exact stitch counts here or tell you exactly where to pull up a loop and make a stitch. You need to just have faith, stab that hook into the body, pull up a loop and make that stitch! So long as you don’t jab in so far that you are pulling out your stuffing, it’s all good. Now, the hard part is going to be marking your path. Trust me (and my testers), you don’t want to rely only on your own sense of direction to get the spine in the right place, you may well end up with a very odd looking dragon. The photos show one way of doing this – with marking pins. You can also use locking stitch markers to plan out your path (less chance you’ll knock them off when contorting the dragon around to do the initial line of surface crochet). You can also do what I did – mark out the path with the big pins, then grab a sharpie permanent marker in a color just a shade or two darker than your body color and draw a line right on the body (it will get covered up by the line of sc you make over top of it). You will make your base surface crochet line for the spines starting right behind the head. Attach the yarn to a stitch, pull up a loop and make a sc. Continue along your spine path, making sc stitches all the way to near the end of the tail. Now, at this point you can choose to finish off this contrast color if you only want a wee little bit of contrast at the base of the spines, or you can ch 1, turn, sl st 2 and then work the rest of the way back up to the top of the head in sc. Either way, you will start the spines themselves in your second contrast color by attaching to the first sc behind the head and working as follows:
*Ch 3, sl st into the 2nd chain from the hook, yo, insert into the same st you just made the Ch 3 from and make a dc, sc into each of the next 2 sc* repeat this sequence until you are about 2 or 3 inches from the end of the tail, then switch to the following sequence:
*Ch 2, sl st into the 2nd chain from the hook, sc into each of the next 2 sc* repeat until you have 3 to 5 stitches left, sc a few stitches, sl st the last st, sl st a few stitches down the edge to tail tip, finish off.
sc = single crochet
hdc = half double crochet
dc = double crochet
sl st = slip stitch
seq = short row sequence, as in 8 hdc seq – refer to the instructions for the short row sequence
Ch = chain
yo = yarn over
st = stitch
sts = stitches
sc2tog = single crochet 2 stitches together – one stitch decreased
inc = make 2 single crochet (or stitch type specified) into the next stitch – one stitch increased
(5 sts) = the number of stitches you should have when you complete the row