In February I was still really new to crochet. One of the projects I did back then was a Star Wars stormtrooper. I was reasonably happy with how it came out, but I also knew I could do better. In August, having completed a few other projects in the meantime, I tried the stormtrooper again. The second one came out much better, though in looking at it today I can still see places where further improvement could be done. Here is a comparison of the two, to show how practice makes perfect (sort of) and how quickly it’s possible to improve in crochet over a short period of time. :)

Completed project pictures of both stormtroopers can be found in the Gallery. Here they are side by side:

Left: Stormtrooper 1 (February). Right: Stormtrooper 2 (August).

Left: Stormtrooper 1 (February). Right: Stormtrooper 2 (August).

Both pretty cute, but right away some things stand out:

  1. Stormtrooper 2 is smaller. Both were done with the same hook (3.5mm) and stuffed with the same kind of fill, but my stitches for stormtrooper 2 were tighter and more even.
  2. The arms aren’t the same length. On stormtrooper 1, I followed the pattern as written by Lucy Collin. This results in the arms looking disproportionately long, basically reaching to the doll’s knees. On stormtrooper 2 I skipped a few rounds to make them shorter and more appropriately sized to the doll.
  3. The feet are different. On stormtrooper 1 I was still getting into the habit of using stitch markers, and partway through the legs I forgot to put a marker in. By the time I realized that, I had lost my place and was forced to guess where I was, so his feet came out gibbled. Unfortunately it also means stormtrooper 1 doesn’t stand on his own, which is why he’s so sad (Vader is always unhappy with his performance). In comparison, stormtrooper 2’s feet are properly formed because I never lost my place, and he does stand by himself.

Here’s a closer look at the feet to show how badly they came out the first time as compared to the second try:

Stormtrooper 1 probably doesn’t get disability pay.

Stormtrooper 1 probably doesn’t get disability pay.

The back of each doll shows a few more improvements and areas to keep working on:

Color changes in spiral amigurumi aren’t always neat.

Color changes in spiral amigurumi aren’t always neat.

Color changing from white to black to white again on stormtrooper 1 caused me the frustration I talked about in Ten Tips I Wish Tutorials Had Taught Me. The uneven jogs just look ugly and I would be embarrassed to give or sell an amigurumi project to someone with the color changes looking like that.

On stormtrooper 2 I used the invisible color change method that I described in the tips article, so the jogs are much less apparent. I really like that technique.

On the other hand, because my stitches were tighter on stormtrooper 2, some of the black (along the neck) isn’t as visible as it could be. If I did this pattern a third time I think I would do an extra round in black before changing back. I’m also not sure what happened with the black stitches around stormtrooper 2’s legs—maybe something in that particular color change didn’t quite work out right that time since that one black stitch is particularly bulgy. More practice!

Here’s a closer look at the color changes on the arms:

No more ugly misalignments!

No more ugly misalignments!

Pretty nasty on stormtrooper 1, eh? It looks like a complete screw up in stitching but that’s just how spiral color changes work out when the new color lasts for at least one full round. Bleh. It takes a bit more effort to do the invisible color change instead (especially because it technically means temporarily breaking the spiral) but the end result seems so much more worth it.

All in all, it’s nice to see how I’ve improved over just seven months and how new tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way can really help a project come out better! Have you ever redone an old project to see how the new work compares and how your skills have improved? Let me know in the comments below!