How to Crochet a Miniature Captain Ahab From Moby Dick

Courtesy Quirk Books
Courtesy Quirk Books

Cindy Wang, a crochet wiz who runs a blog called The Geeky Hooker, is an expert in amigurumi, the Japanese art of crocheting miniature, stuffed characters. She creates patterns for crocheted versions of everything from familiar superheroes and television characters to the cats of Neko Atsume.

Her new book, Literary Yarns: Crochet Projects Inspired by Classic Books, is a how-to guide for crafty book nerds. It features instructions on how to make 22 crocheted characters from 16 classic works of literature, including Hamlet, Pride and Prejudice, and Animal Farm.

Get a sneak preview of the book by testing your crochet skills on Captain Ahab of Moby Dick. You’ll need some basic materials and a working knowledge of crochet stitches—this pattern uses single crochet (sc), double crochet (dc), chain (ch), decrease (dec), and slip stitches (sl st), with the number of total stitches for each line indicated in {curly brackets}.

For instructions on how to make more characters, Literary Yarns is $11 on Amazon. If you're a beginner and want to get started following crochet patterns for the first time, Wang recommends the tutorials on PlanetJune.

CAPTAIN AHAB

Materials:

  • Tapestry needle
  • Fiberfill

For Ahab:

  • Size E crochet hook
  • Worsted weight yarn in silver gray, cream, black, brown, and light blue
  • 6-mm black plastic safety eyes
  • Creamy embroidery floss and embroidery needle
  • Disposable chopstick
  • Knife or heavy-duty scissors
  • optional
  • Straight pins
  • 4 ½ “ X 2 ” piece of black felt
  • Black thread and sewing needle

Notes: Work in continuous rounds unless otherwise specified.

HEAD

Round 1: Starting with silver-gray yarn, sc 5 in magic ring. {5}
Round 2: [Sc 2 in one stitch] 5 times. {10}
Round 3: [Sc 2 in one stitch] 10 times. {20}
Round 4: [Sc 3, sc 2 in next stitch] 5 times. {25}
Round 5: [Sc 4, sc 2 in next stitch] 5 times. {30}
Round 6: [Sc 9, sc 2 in next stitch] 3 times, changing to cream yarn in the last stitch. {33}
Rounds 7–9: Sc 14, changing to silver-gray yarn, sc 19, changing to cream yarn. {14 cream + 19 silver-gray = 33}
Round 10: Sc 9, dec 1, sc 3, changing to silver-gray yarn. Sc 6, dec 1, sc 9, dec 1, changing to cream yarn. {13 cream + 17 silver-gray = 30}
Round 11: [Sc 4, dec 1] twice, sc 1, changing to silver-gray yarn. Sc 3, dec 1, [sc 4, dec 1] twice, changing to cream yarn in the last stitch. {11 cream + 14 silver-gray = 25}
Round 12: [Sc 3, dec 1] twice, sc 1, changing to silver-gray yarn. Sc 2, dec 1, [sc 3, dec 1] twice, changing to cream yarn in the last stitch. {9 cream + 11 silver-gray = 20}
Round 13: [Sc 2, dec 1] twice, sc 1, changing to silver-gray yarn. Sc 1, dec 1, [sc 2, dec 1] twice. {7 cream + 8 silver-gray = 15}

Fasten off and tuck in the end. Attach eyes between rows 8 and 9 (two rows below the hairline), approximately 6 stitches apart.

Using overlapping straight stitches of silver-gray yarn and a tapestry needle, sew on two angry eyebrows. The man’s got a lifelong grudge; he’s going to be perpetually mad! Using cream embroidery floss, sew a scar onto his face.

BEARD AND SIDEBURNS

Captain Ahab’s beard and sideburns will be made in one continuous piece.

Using silver-gray yarn, ch 21, then crochet the following:

Row 1: Starting in the 2nd ch from the hook, sc 6, dc 8, sc 6. {20} Fasten off and leave a tail for sewing.

To sew the beard and sideburns onto Ahab’s face, line up the foundation chain of the piece with the sides of his face and the second-to-last row of the head. Sew only along the foundation chain side to attach the beard, and sew down both the foundation chain side and the crocheted side to attach the sideburns. Stuff head firmly with fiberfill.

HAT

Round 1: With black yarn, sc 5 in magic ring. {5}
Round 2: [Sc 2 in one stitch] 5 times. {10}
Round 3: [Sc 1, sc 2 in next stitch] 5 times. {15}
Round 4: [Sc 2, sc 2 in next stitch] 5 times. {20}
Round 5: [Sc 3, sc 2 in next stitch] 5 times. {25}
Round 6: [Sc 4, sc 2 in next stitch] 5 times. {30}
Round 7: [Sc 5, sc 2 in next stitch] 5 times. {35}
Round 8: [Sc 6, sc 2 in next stitch] 5 times. {40}
Round 9: Sc 40. {40}
Round 10: [Sc 6, dec 1] 5 times. {35}
Round 11: In front loops only: Sc 2, dc 10, sc 2, sl st and fasten off.

If you want to sew his hat to his head, leave a tail and sew in place.

Otherwise, cut the yarn and weave in the end.

BODY

Note: Captain Ahab’s peg leg is held in place only by tension. If you wish to make an Ahab that can be handled and played with, instead of solely for display, crochet a Basic Body as on page 11, changing from brown to light blue at the end of round 8.

Work from bottom up.

Round 1: Starting with brown yarn, sc 5 in magic ring. {5}
Round 2: [Sc 2 in one stitch] 5 times. {10}
Round 3: [Sc 1, sc 2 in next stitch] 5 times. {15}
Round 4: [Sc 2, sc 2 in next stitch] 5 times. {20}
Round 5: [Sc 3, sc 2 in next stitch] 5 times. {25}
Round 6: In back loops only, sc 25, changing to light-blue yarn. {25}
Rounds 7–9: Sc 25. {25}
Round 10: [Sc 3, dec 1] 5 times. {20}
Round 11: [Sc 2, dec 1] 5 times. {15}

Fasten off, leaving a tail for sewing.

LEG

Round 1: Starting with black yarn, sc in magic ring. {6}
Round 2: [Sc 2 in one stitch] 6 times. {12}
Round 3: In back loops only, sc 12, changing to brown yarn in the last stitch. {12}
Round 4: Sc 12. {12}

Fasten off, leaving a tail for sewing. Sew the leg onto one half of the bottom of the body. When you have sewn halfway around the leg, fill it with either fiberfill or poly pellets, and then complete sewing.

PEG LEG

Using a knife or scissors, carefully cut an approximately 1 1/2 -inch piece from the tip of the chopstick. Insert the piece into the bottom of the body from the inside out, positioning it opposite his leg.

Stuff the body firmly with fiberfill, or fill with poly pellets first and then top off with fiberfill. Stuff carefully around the chopstick. Using a whipstitch, sew the head onto the body, being mindful of the placement of the legs.

TRENCH COAT

On the long edge of the felt, fold down 1/2 inch to form a collar for the coat. Wrap collar around Ahab’s neck, pin the coat in place with straight pins, and sew the fold to his neck with a sewing needle and black thread.

Excerpted from Literary Yarns: Crochet Projects Inspired by Classic Books by Cindy Wang. Reprinted with permission from Quirk Books.

Elvis and Priscilla Presley's Mobile Home Is Hitting the Auction Block

Keystone/Getty Images
Keystone/Getty Images

Want to live like The King? It might not be exactly what you had in mind, but the two-bedroom mobile home once owned by Elvis and Priscilla Presley is an important piece of Presley history—and it could be yours.

The 60-foot Delta mobile home, which was once stationed on Elvis’s Circle G Ranch near Graceland, will go under the hammer at the “Legends: Iconic Film & Music Memorabilia” sale hosted by GWS Auctions on August 25.

The mobile home
GWS Auctions

Inside the mobile home
GWS Auctions

Elvis used the mobile home as a getaway in the 1960s, and after he and Priscilla got married in Las Vegas in 1967, the newlyweds spent part of their honeymoon shacked up inside the ranch-on-wheels. Elvis also bought eight additional house trailers and placed them on his property to accommodate his “Memphis Mafia" entourage, according to the auction house.

The mobile home was recently restored, but it remains true to the original condition it was in when the Presleys lived there. It comes with the original paperwork and bill of sale, which was signed by Elvis in 1967. Last year, GWS also auctioned off Presley’s childhood home in Mississippi.

Also up for grabs in the “Legends” auction is Elvis’s Gideon Bible, with passages that he personally underlined, as well as his beloved 1977 Cadillac Seville. Michael Jackson’s bejeweled glove, an invitation to the wedding of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, and a Munchkin coat made for The Wizard of Oz are among some of the many other pop culture treasures that could be yours.

10 Iconic Pieces of Movie History That You Can Own

Prop Store
Prop Store

Over 600 rare movie props and costumes that were once used by some of Hollywood’s leading actors will be up for grabs at the Prop Store’s upcoming Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction, which will be held in London on September 20. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the items that will be going under the hammer:

1. HAN SOLO'S JACKET

Han Solo's jacket
Prop Store

Estimate: $661,000-$1.3 million

Anything that was once worn by Harrison Ford is bound to be cool, but the sleek, slate grey jacket that he wore in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) wouldn’t look out of place at a modern-day concert or art gallery. Of course, you probably wouldn’t want to wear a potentially million-dollar jacket around town, but it doesn’t hurt to dream.

2. CATWOMAN'S CORSET

Catwoman's corset
Prop Store

Estimate: $3,970-6,620

Michelle Pfeiffer wasn't the first actress to play Catwoman, but she did give the villain-slash-superhero a sultry, red-lipsticked look. This corset worn by Pfeiffer probably isn't the most comfortable attire for defeating nemeses, but it is an iconic piece of movie memorabilia.  

3. THE BACK TO THE FUTURE HOVERBOARD

A hoverboard
Prop Store

Estimate: $39,680-$66,140

Many people hoped we'd have hoverboards and flying cars by now. Unfortunately, that has yet to become a reality, but you can still take home this retro, neon-colored hoverboard prop used in Back to the Future II (1989). 

4. TYLER DURDEN'S FIGHT CLUB ROBE

Tyler Durden's robe
Prop Store

Estimate: $12,750-$19,130

In his role as Tyler Durden in the 1999 movie Fight Club, Brad Pitt is seen wearing this item—a deliberately worn and stained robe adorned with steaming coffee mugs—a design that "befits Tyler’s eclectic aesthetic,” according to the listing on the Prop Store’s website.

5. INDIANA JONES'S FEDORA 

A fedora
Prop Store

Estimate: $265,000-$397,000

Again, you can’t go wrong with a piece of Harrison Ford memorabilia. Fedoras may have fallen out of fashion, but it will always be the perfect hat for raiding temples, escaping booby traps, and saving the day. Also up for grabs is Indy’s bullwhip from Temple of Doom (1984), which is expected to sell for upwards of $66,000.

6. THE JUMANJI BOARD GAME

The Jumanji game
Prop Store

Estimate: $10,200-$12,760

Fear not—it’s just an empty case. According to Prop Store, several “static versions” of the board game were used for stunts in the 1995 film, as well as scenes in which actors carried the game around. Although the front of the game looks like it's made of ivory, it is actually cast in resin.

7. OLLIVANDER'S WAND BOXES

A wand box
Prop Store

Estimate: $510-$765

Wingardium leviosa! You won’t need a spell to bring these wand boxes back to your home—just a few hundred dollars lying around. The lot comes with two wand boxes that appeared in a scene showing Ollivander’s wand shop in the film Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. The boxes were given to fans who attended the movie’s premiere at London's Leicester Square in 2001.

8. ROSE'S FAREWELL NOTE IN TITANIC

A letter from Titanic
Prop Store

Estimate: $5000-$8000

This simple, handwritten farewell note that Rose (Kate Winslet) gave to her fiance Cal (Billy Zane) before running away with Jack could fetch thousands of dollars. As fans of Titanic may remember, it reads, “Darling now you can keep us both locked in your safe.” It's still one of the best burns in movie history. 

9. LEGOLAS'S ARROW

An arrow
Prop Store

Estimate: $10,580-$13,230

Legolas, played by Orlando Bloom in The Lord of the Rings saga, was one sharp shooter. Now you can get your hands on the Lothlórien arrow that he used—but if you want to shoot like an elf, you may want to brush up on your archery skills first.  

10. AGENT J'S NOISY CRICKET

A gun from Men in Black
Prop Store

Estimate: $10,500-$15,800

This weapon is the first one given to Agent J (Will Smith) when he joins the Men in Black in the 1997 blockbuster. Although he was initially disappointed by its small size, “he later discovered that it packed quite a punch,” according to the Prop Store. The replica gun lights up when you pull the trigger.

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