New Panda Design: Da’ai 大爱

Can it be? A new addition to the panda family?

New crochet panda WIP | Jennifer Wang Bears

In my attempt to make good on the Sorda Panda update I’ve been promising for months, I’ve accidentally come up with a whole new crochet panda design!

Jennifer Wang Bears LOGOIf my new logo is anything to go by (tweaked by the lovely Rebekah Lokteff of Rebekah Lokteff Illustration), I think it’s safe to say I’m a bit of a panda lover.

After months of putting design aside (I’ve been preoccupied with modifying crochet patterns, as well as other secret things – shh!), I’ve finally come back to creating new patterns and updating my blog. Why?

Because my blog is my baby, and it must be nourished with love and care in order to flourish!

To be honest, I’ve been a bit discouraged to write and create over the past few months. This is because:

  • It’s a surprising amount of work. Despite appearances, there’s a LOT involved in blogging, including writing, editing, photography, code, SEO, labeling, backup, planning, and social media monitoring to name a few. I really don’t know how full-time bloggers do it!
  • It’s emotionally draining. Blogging can be a lonely business, and there’s always a risk that your design ideas will be stolen – or worse – that nobody will even like them

But, hey, c’est la vie! That’s the risk you take when you put your work out there, and I certainly don’t want to let my worries and fears hold me back from doing what I love.

Like I mentioned, I decided to work on a re-write of the Sorda Panda pattern (my first amigurumi release EVER). Back when I first made Sorda, I had next to no idea what I was doing. And, since I’d never experimented making different amigurumi styles before, I didn’t know what was possible!

After spending most of 2015 experimenting and making different crochet items (mostly customising other people’s designs, because there’s less pressure to be perfect, and a good chance you’ll learn something new), I feel I’m finally ready to get back into making my own amigurumi patterns. Some will be free, some will be for sale. In fact, selling amigurumi designs (and perhaps even releasing my own book!) has been something I’ve wanted to do ever since following Mei Li Lee’s signature book launch, Hello Kitty Crochet, in 2014.

And so! Back to the panda.

Because this guy is so different from my other crochet panda design, I can’t possibly call him the same name. So I’ve decided to call him “Da’ai” (da like “baa”, ai like “fly”).

Da’ai (大爱) means “big love” – a bit of a silly name, but that’s how I feel when I look at him – like he’s a big, squishy ball of squoosh

New Design Features

New crochet panda WIP | Jennifer Wang BearsFirst of all, I decided to make the head separate from the body. Although this means a bit of extra sewing, the  major benefit is that the bottom of the panda looks much neater (since increasing always looks neater than decreasing – something I didn’t know when making Sorda!).
Also, separating the body leaves greater scope for customisation of the head. For example, when sewing on the head, it’s easy to have it slightly pushed forwards, or even to create a “moveable” head using the technique used by By Hook By Hand.

I wasn’t sure whether to make the arms movable or not, so I’m leaving it up to you. You could easily use buttons as arm and leg joints, which will give your bear a lovely, old-world charm of his own.

Since my recent experiment with the Kanyini bears, I find that I now love the look of sewn on eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I also love insert eyes, as they can give even the simplest doll a surprisingly life-like appearance (sooo shiny!). But, I find that plastic eyes are super easy to lose, and I always seem to struggle finding any that I like in local stores. They’re also VERY easy for children to pull out and swallow (unless you use safety eyes, and even then…).

Depending on how well I manage my time (it’s Chinese New Year on Feb 8th!), I hope to have my new crochet panda design published sometime after the February Last Cuddles Bears CAL is over.

Will he be free? You bet!

New crochet panda WIP | Jennifer Wang Bears

Let me know what you think of the new crochet panda design. Would he look better seated or standing (or have movable limbs so he can do both)?

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