Amigurumi | The Beginner's Quick Guide


Welcome everyone! I hope your chilly Valentine's Day preparations have gone well for you. Meanwhile, I'm sitting here in front of my desktop bringing you a new post. And what else to discuss in February (other than cozy scarves) than the adorable art of amigurumi??


Amigurumi, 'ami' for short, is the Japanese art of making crochet or knit stuffed animals. I'm not saying that amigurumi is limited to just animals... like seriously. Check out these insanely adorable amigurumi rainbow donut unicorns by Super Cute Design.

Amigurumi is a funky word, but it actual derives from two Japanese words... ami and nuigurumi. Ami means crocheted or knitted and nuigurumi means stuffed doll. Not only can we thank the Japanese for giving us the inspiration for these anthropomorphic creatures, but they actually have quite a history in textile arts. From spinning silk or practicing sashiko, to zanshi and sakiori weaving. The Japanese were definitely advance in their crafts.


But just like any other crochet project you'll encounter, amigurumi has a specific set of tools you will need. Other than a hook and yarn... there are some 'special' tools that will help you along the way.

yarn


First things first, you'll want to find the right yarn. Though every pattern varies, most amigurumi is made of DK or worsted weight yarn. You'll need different kinds of yarn depending on the circumstances.


crochet hook


Next up is to find the perfect crochet hook. Since amigurumi can get tiny, its important to find a crochet that sits comfortably in your hand. Amigurumi calls for a smaller hook than recommended. Often times I use a 2.5 mm to a 3.75 mm hook for my ami projects. The reason why is to keep your stitching tight. We use the single crochet stitch and tight tension so that the stuffing doesn't start falling out over time. Which leads me to my next point.

stuffing

When shopping for stuffing there are a few different kinds. I use either Poly-Fil or recycled yarn scraps. I won't lie, sometimes I even use buffalo snow from my Christmas tree!! Either way make sure that you keep your stuffing in a dust free area. 


stitch markers

Another super handy tool to have is stitch markers. Though it may seem like it's only a notion, they can really come a long way in these kinds of projects. Most ami patterns are worked in the round, meaning that they go in a continuos spiral without joining the row. Stitch markers help you keep track of where your round starts and ends. There are also tons of different stitch markers. Find one that suits your taste!


safety toy eyes

Safety eyes are more than likely my favorite part of amigurumi! They're the adorable little eyes on all your projects. They come in so many different sizes, shapes, colors, and kinds that its impossible to collect them all. Safety eyes are what add life to your little creatures, I think you'll agree.


misc

There are tons of hacks and extra tools for amigurumi. There are so many creatives just like you who have gone beyond the basics. to find more ideas I turn to Pinterest. I garentee you'll find something interesting.




If you'd like to see more on amigurumi tools or techniques... make sure you like and share this post! I'd love to write even more on amigurumi. Til next time!!!



Polar Super Scarf | Free Crochet Pattern

Last year, super scarves became extremely popular. I mean who doesn't want a big, soft scarf to keep you cozy and stylish?



I decided to try my hand at a design of my very own when I was gifted two skeins of Homespun Quick and Thick. I remembered working with it once before, I had loved the chunky and squishy feeling between my fingers.


Since the yarn was so thick, I wanted to find the perfect crochet hook. I ended up using a 7mm bamboo hook I had in my stash. It definitely helped me get the effect I was going for... don't you think?


I chained 27 stitches, then in the 3rd chain from my hook I made my first double crochet stitch. Then for the rest of the row I repeated a pattern of *ch 1, dc 1. I continued to the next row by chaining 2, then repeating the same pattern to the end of the row. This went on for 99 rows. I still had a little less than half of a skein left too!!


I was considering stitching the two ends of my scarf using the Whip Stitch to make a double infinity scarf, but I decided not to instead. Besides, I could always change my mind if I wanted to.


So without further a-do, here's you copy of the FREE pattern...


Polar Super Scarf Pattern

Materials

  • 2 skeins of Homespun Quick & Thick
  • A 7mm crochet hook
  • Darning needle (for  weaving in ends)
  • Scissors

Notes

  • Make sure to buy the chunkier version of the Homespun yarn, the Quick & Thick version will give you the look you want for this pattern!
  • The crochet hook size, if you's like to use a larger hook for a more loose piece then go for it! Homespun is a difficult yarn at first so do what you feel is best.
  • Though I crocheted for 99 rows, you can add more or less depending on you height or whether or not you want to make it a cowl.
  • Remember, this is your project and you can tweak it however you'd like. sew the ends together to make a cowl. Add tassels, flowers, or change the width. Tell me below what you decide to do!!

Pattern

Ch 27.

Row 1- In the 3rd ch from hk, dc. *Ch , dc. Rep from * to end.

Row 2- Ch 2, dc in the very ch space. *Ch 1, dc. Rep from * to end. For a scarf, I continued for 99 rows.

Fasten off. Weave in ends using needle or whip stitch the to ends of your piece together to form a big loop.

I've been dying to mention that this scarf is soooo warm!! The day we were outside taking photos, it was drizzling all day long. Thankfully, I had my brand new scarf to keep me toasty.



It was really satisfying to see the work grow so quickly, it only took me 2 days to finish it! I love having a project that just flies off my hook. It's too bad I made it right AFTER Christmas. It would make a quick and easy gift for someone special.


Anyways, I hope you enjoy the rest of your 6 weeks in winter(thanks to little Phil). I'll be back soon with more posts that I'm sure you'll love!!

I'll see you soon...... 

Temperature Blanket 2017

Welcome to 2017 once again!

If you were here last week, you that this year I'm taking on a temperature blanket of my own. In short,  temperature blanket is a unique way to remember 2017. To know more read lats week's post here.

I'm using Lion Brand's Vanna's Choice in 8 gorgeous colorways.

Vanna's Choice is my favorite yarn. Seriously, I've bought TONS of this stuff. I decided to choose this because not only did I know it well, but it's super durable. It's a size 4/Medium weight yarn made up of 100% sturdy acrylic. Because it's acrylic you can throw it into a warm cycle and it's even machine dryable. The recommended needle and hook sizes are 5.5mm(knitting) and 6mm(crochet), however I am using a 4mm crochet hook for this project.



I'm really happy with the colors I chose. I honestly can't believe that I was able to choose only 8!! The color palette I chose was as follows; Linen, Silver Blue, Colonial Blue, Dusty Green, Dusty Purple, Dusty Rose, Scarlet, and Wild Berry. I've put together a handy dandy scale for you,Craftsy has all colorways available (not a sponsor).




I love how all the colors come together to make a smoky kind of blanket! What colors would you choose?


Here are the first seven days of my temperature blanket so far. I'm really pleased with the way that the Moss stitch is showing off the different colors. This texture is made by crocheting chains in between single crochet stitches to make little "pockets". Then in the next row single crochets are made in the chain spaces to create the stitch! Technically, the Moss stitch isn't the moss stitch until each row is a different color... but it's the Linen or Tweed stitch.

Now here's the pattern blanket!!

2017 Temperature Blanket Pattern

Materials

  • Vanna's Choice Yarn (in different colors represented on your scale)
  • 4mm/G/6 crochet hook
  • A Temperature Blanket scale (make you own or use the one below)!
  • A pair of scissors
  • A darning needle (for sewing in ends)

Notes

  • You can use any yarn that you'd like, it doesn't even have to be a size 4 yarn! (See my post on buying the perfect yarn here). Use whatever yarn will best fit you and your needs. Another great and affordable alternative is Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn which is available in tons of colors as well.
  • Like the yarn I'm using, a 4mm hook isn't necessary. Use the hook recommended to your yarn and your tension as well.
  • Above you can find the temperature scale and yarn color ways that I am using OR you can make your own. Another option is for you to find one on Pinterest. There are many ideas floating around the web!!
  • Remember:

Pattern

Using the color of the first day, ch a multiple of 2. It should be about 51'' to 53'' wide. I chained 230.

Row 1- Sc into the second ch from hook. Sc into the 228 last chs.

Row 2- With the same color, ch 1, sc into the first stitch. *Ch 1, sc into the ch space. Rep from the * to end. Sc into the last st.

Row 3 to 365- Change color, rep Row 2 until all 365 days of the year are crocheted. Fasten off.


I'm really excited to watch our blankets grow, so be sure to share your photos either below, on Facebook, Pinterest, and on Google+.  If you have any questions please feel free to ask around! I see you next week with a cozy new pattern!!!

xxxx,

Hello 2017

Welcome back!! Soon the new year is beginning, and I'm here today with a fun new project. If you've been around, this past year exploded with colorful and unique temperature blankets from all over the globe. Unfortunately for me, it was mid-January that I found out about this crazy project.

In short, all you need  to make a temperature blanket is a scale, some yarn, and the daily temperature. Each color of yarn represents a temperature. Everyday you add 1 or 2 rows to your project representing the color in your scale. The point of the project is to see how the temperature from each day comes together to make a gorgeous rainbow of unique colors.

I'm really excited for this year because I love the idea that the colors choose themselves. I hate standing forever in the yarn isle deciding which colors go with my project which ones don't. This way I'll never know what "color" tomorrow will be.

Originally, I planned to use Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn in 8 different colors. However, I didn't take into consideration that Hobby Lobby was closed on Sundays... and January first landed on a Sunday. I ended up being o impatient that I ran into Michael's and bought 8 shades of Vanna's Choice.  Maybe I'll use I Love This Yarn for another project...

This year, I have a lot planned. I hope that 'til then you can enjoy your time with your family and plan your very own temperature blanket! I'll see you soon!!!

Vendor Fair Report | Fall 2016

Ahhh, it's nice to finally sit down after two months and write a post. Life has been busy lately, with an assortment of school work, the end of the first grading period, music, and a vendor fair!

You may or may not remember, but last year I attended my first vendors fair. I was an excited wreck, running a one woman show. This year I did just that... except under a constraint of 14 days!! I was stitching my fingers off every spare minute I had. It was after all my fault that I hadn't used my time wisely.


I decided to keep it simple, since my inventory was extremely limited. There is beauty in simplicity!!



I decided to use my apple crates again this year, I love the versatility they give. Last year I had them vertically on each side of the table, with a line between them to hang my hats on. This time I decided to use them more as decoration. I found it wasn't very effective to put merchandise in the crates. The way I did it this year allowed me to put business cards at eye level... which makes it so much easier for the customer to grab one. I also made a quick sign to advertise custom orders that way customers could be informed about the service.


Something else that I wanted to try was showing how my products were made. I set out my Furls yarn bowl and wooden crochet hook to set a natural vibe. I also crocheted while standing, this way the customers could engage. Saying things like " That's cool!" or "Wow, you do that fast." 


After looking at my most popular items from last year's fair and other orders, I decided that hats were the most popular item. I only got to make 7 hats so I stacked them on top of each other just so that you could see the design of the hat. I tried to do as much as possible to make it look like I had decent inventory - though I didn't have as much as I had liked to.



I was fumbling through some shawls that I had made last winter as christmas gifts. I decided, Hey! Why not? Shawls and cowl were next up on my list! I brought a few to fill up my table. In the bottom crate I folded up a few left-over cowls so that you could still see the texture and color.




Not much has been happening lately, but lots of content is coming soon! I hope that you enjoy the rest of your week... I'll see you soon.

Choosing the Right Yarn | Choosing Yarn Weights, Materials, and Colors

Just recently, I posted an easy-peasy conversion chart for crochet terms as well as abbreviations. Check it out here. 

I remember when I was just a beginner crocheter, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Since I had no resources, books, no blogs to follow; I was lost. My first crochet purchase was a Susan Bates 3.75mm hook and 1 skein of Red Heart Super Saver. I desperately searched online for an easy to understand tutorial, and I only ended up with an ugly chain, a mess of yarn, and a teeny crochet hook. 

Have you ever been there? Or even, are you there? The truth is that you're not alone. Every single crocheter has had a learning phase. Thats alright!! Today we are going to crack down on all things yarn. 

Yarn is awesome. It really is. But how do we know what yarn we should buy? It all comes down to three things; weight, material, and color.


Though the process of buying yarn may not seem a huge deal, the right yarn is important because you want to achieve the a beautiful end product. You can spend hours making a beautiful white sweater... only to hear that your friend has a bad allergic reactions to natural wool fibers.

Here's the easiest way to find the PERFECT skein of yarn for your next project.


Yarn weight the thickness of yarn. There are about seven common categories of thickness. Lace weight, super fine/fingering weight, sport weight, light worsted DK, worsted weight, chunky, and extra bulky. 

Yarn weight is important because it will determine the thickness and bulkiness of your finished product. If you choose a beautiful lace weight yarn to make a shawl, you'll a beautiful drape effect. However, if you use a bulky or chunkier yarn... the fabric you create will become very big and stiff. 

It is important to know what kind of yarn you are looking for. Usually, most patterns will have a specific yarn recommendation. It's never a bad choice to use that same yarn, the creator of the pattern has tried out the yarn and has gotten positive results. If the yarn is not available to you, try to use yarn of similar weight. 

This can also give you a broader horizon when it comes to materials and colors. 


Material is what the yarn is consisting of. Fibers consists of two categories.  Man-made fibers and natural fibers. Yarns can have pure fiber or fiber blends. There are 100% acrylic yarns as well as yarn that have 5 different fibers. But fibers aren't just thrown into a basket of roving and spun into a random heap of yarn.

Each fiber has it's pros and it's cons. 

Acrylic yarn is durable, color fast, and easy to wash. Acrylic also comes in a variety of colors. Cotton fibers are good for warmer weather... as it is a more breathable material in the first place. It's a very lightweight category. Bamboo (made from the pulp in a bamboo stalk) yarns are very luscious and soft, great for babies and children.  

The list goes on and on even more into very complex yarn blends. But regardless, it's an important factor to think of when buying yarn for a project. For chunky and warm cowls... try a soft wool blend. A rug or placemat... try more durable yarn like acrylic or t-shirt. 

Just like the weight of the yarn, the yarn make-up itself is extremely important. 


Now you have found the perfect yarn for your kick-butt project, now you can choose the color scheme. In my opinion its the best part!!

Color can evoke many emotions and feelings. There is detailed psychology behind this... and it can be more interesting than you think. 

That's what makes it so fun. You have complete control over the mood  of your crafted piece. You can have lots of happy pastels for a colorful and upbeat project. Or you can imitate a gloomy and cold winter scene with dark hues of blue and gray. 

Color blocking, contrasting colors, and hues of colors are also great choices.

There is NEVER any wrong way to go when choosing colors. The sky is the limit!! Its what you as the creator feel like making that day... it is entirely up to you. 




Top 10 Crafting Pet-Peeves

Us crafters can get ticked real fast. Thats why today we're going to look at the Top 10 Crafting Pet-Peeves.

          Whether it's not being able to find the end in a yarn skein or getting the seam straight, creating is not easy!! Though it may seem that all we do is sit at our crafting table, couch, or machine we are busy at work making our finest. Why not steal a laugh to kick-off the week?



1. When you're crocheting in public and a stranger asks you what you're 'knitting'.


Please! Someone needs to put a stop to this!! Who else is tired of repeating it?




2. When someone thinks they're being cute and repeatedly asks if they can have it.


Um.... how about Christmas???

gulp :|




3. When you can't find the right scrapbooking paper of knitting needles.


The struggle is real!!




4. The overwhelming joy of find the end of the spool or skein.


"I feel very accomplished right now. Don't ruin it yet."



5. Oh the dangers of my home.


Haha, this one would drive my family nuts!!




6. The final shot before you're finished.


Just think about all those hours of watching Netflix with your favorite pattern!!




7.  IF you've finished that mountain of WIP's.


I'm no where close to that point!! Definitely not.




8. That creepy lady that stares at knitted objects at the mall... yeah thats me.



Guilty as charged, this meme was perfect!!




9. Walking down the yarn aisle like a happy kid.


Oh yass gurl!




10. Figuring out the airline regulations for each flight.


               This one got me on my last international flight!! Why can't each country have an easy search bar like the TSA?







That's it for now! I wish you a happy Monday (not that it necessarily exists). If you'd like to see more of my favorite memes check out the board on Pinterest or simply share on social media with your friends! 

I'll see you soon...cheers.