Thursday, July 02, 2015

What type of yarn to use for Amigurumi?


Crocheting amigurumi dolls is fun and it's always so satisfying to see the end result of your hard work!  I've been playing around with different yarn weights and hook sizes to see how my dolls will turn out in terms of size and aesthetic.


I first tried my hand at using fingering yarn - most commonly sold as 'sock yarn'.  This is a very fine yarn and it's weight is usually categorized as Superfine or '1'.  I used a Tulip 1.25mm crochet hook with this yarn (along with embroidery thread) to crochet the Hello Kitty.  It's much more challenging to crochet amigurumis using superfine yarn and the proportions don't come out quite right.

As you can see, Hello Kitty's arms look awkward here.

I also used Lions Brand Bon Bon yarns with a 2.25mm crochet hook (yarn shown in pink) to crochet Usahana. Bon Bon yarns are sport weight or '2'.  As you can see, it's a bit bigger than the Hello Kitty made with the fingering yarn and the dimensions look much better.  I also love the colours that you can get with the Bon Bon packs!  

Usahana - more proportionate features!

My favourite yarn by far is Paton's Astra yarn - I've made most of my Sanrio amigurumi from that yarn.  The yarn gives a nice finish (no fuzz) and it is slightly daintier than your normal worsted weight yarn as it's a light weight yarn or '3'. 

My two favourite Sanrio characters - Hello Kitty and Badtz Maru!

Moving up to one last yarn that I used for my Sanrio amigurumi - the Bernat Handicrafter yarn.  I love using this yarn when I make gifts for little ones because the yarn is made of cotton vs acrylic or wool.  I like how the finished product does not get 'fuzzy' and feels more solid as a finished product.  This yarn is the heaviest weight - worsted weight or '4'.  As you can see, the My Melody doll below is much larger than the others. 

My Melody - made using Bernat Handicrafter yarn

There are so many different types of yarns to choose from and each weight and material will give you a different look and feel with your finished products.  

What type of yarns do you like to use?





Friday, April 10, 2015

Needle Felting


I'm always on the lookout for new types of crafts.  This past summer, I was perusing a farmer's market in Kelowna when I stumbled upon an artist who was selling cute needle felted ornaments.  I bought a small penguin and was instantly in love.  It was so cute - I knew I had to learn how to do this type of craft.

I remember seeing DIY craft kits at the Kinokuniya bookstores but I never bought them - in retrospect, I should have!

I ended up ordering a Hamanaka wool felt kit along with a 'Klutz' Felted friends book from Amazon - and proceeded to slowly learn how to needle felt.



I started with the Felted Friends kit because it came with all the basic tools I needed to start needle felting.  The book is really made for kids so the instructions were pretty easy and straightforward.

If you decide to start needle felting, you will need the following (at minimum)

1. Foam pad or brush pad
2. Felting needles
3. Roving wool

Needle felting is quite interesting as it resembles sculpting... with wool as the medium.  I find that you end up with a finished product much faster than crocheting but you usually get something that's smaller and daintier.  You also need to be quite patient and careful as it's not as easy to fix mistakes once you've felted the wool.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Little felties


Felt Babushka

I have been playing around with different types of crafts and lately, I've been making some little felties!  I got these patterns from the book "Felties - How to Make 18 Cute and Fuzzy Friends" by Nelly Pailloux.

The patterns are super adorable and each feltie is fairly small.  This makes it a quick project but you do need nimble fingers to stitch and stuff all the tiny pieces together!


Felt Ram

The instructions are clear and simple to follow.  You just need to have a good handle on some common embroidery stitches and you'll be set!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Baa Baa White Sheep! It's the year of the Sheep!




It's almost Chinese New Year and what better way to usher in the year of the Sheep than to make your own cute amigurumi pal!

Materials

2.75mm crochet hook.  (I used the Clover soft touch 'C' hook )
1 ball - Bernat pipsqueak yarn in white
1 ball - Light yarn in grey
1 jingle bell
1 long strand of red yarn
2 - 6mm safety eyes in black
1 - 6mm safety nose in black
Black embroidery thread
Embroidery needle
Yarn needle
Polyfill stuffing

Method

Head - with grey yarn

R1:  ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook
R2:  *2 sc in next st* - repeat 6 times (12st)
R3:  *sc in first st, 2 sc in next st* - repeat 6 times (18st)
R4:  *sc in first 2 st, 2 sc in next st* - repeat 6 times (24st)
R5:  *sc in first 3 st, 2 sc in next st* - repeat 6 times (30st)
R6:  *sc in first 4 st, 2 sc in next st* - repeat 6 times (36st)
R7:  *sc in first 5 st, 2 sc in next st* - repeat 6 times (42st)
R8-R12:  42sc 
R13:  *decrease, 5 sc* - repeat 6 times (36 st)
R14:  *decrease, 4 sc* - repeat 6 times (30 st)
R15:  *decrease, 3 sc* - repeat 6 times (24 st)

Attach the safety eyes between row 9 and 10.
Attach the safety nose between row 10 and 11.
Using black embroidery thread, make an upside down 'v' from the nose.  Fasten off on the inside and continue to crochet the head.

R16:  *decrease, 2 sc * - repeat 6 times (18 st)

Stuff the head with the polyfill
 
R17:  *decrease, 1 sc* - repeat 6 times (12 st)
R18:   *decrease* - repeat 6 times, fasten off 

Fuzzy cap for the head - with white yarn

R1:  ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook
R2:  *2 sc in next st* - repeat 6 times (12st)
R3:  *sc in first st, 2 sc in next st* - repeat 6 times (18st)
R4:  *sc in first 2 st, 2 sc in next st* - repeat 6 times (24st)
R5:  *sc in first 3 st, 2 sc in next st* - repeat 6 times (30st)
R6:  *sc in first 4 st, 2 sc in next st* - repeat 6 times (36st)
R7-R8: 36 sc, fasten off and leave a long end to sew

Ears - make 2 with grey yarn

R1:  ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook
R2-R6: 6sc around, fasten off an leave long end to sew

Body - with white yarn

R1:  ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook
R2:  *2 sc in next st* - repeat 6 times (12st)
R3:  *sc in first st, 2 sc in next st* - repeat 6 times (18st)
R4:  *sc in first 2 st, 2 sc in next st* - repeat 6 times (24st)
R5-R10:  24 sc
R11:  *decrease, 2 sc * - repeat 6 times (18 st)
R12:  *decrease, 1 sc* - repeat 6 times (12 st)
R13:   *decrease* - repeat 6 times, fasten off

Legs - make 4 with grey yarn
R1:  ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook
R2:  *2 sc in next st* - repeat 6 times (12st)
R3-R8 - 12 sc, fasten off, stuff lightly, and leave a long tail for sewing.

Tail - make 1 with grey yarn

R1:  ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook
R2:  *2 sc in next st* - repeat 6 times (12st)
R3-R5 - 12 sc, fasten off and leave a long tail for sewing

Assembly - see picture for details:

 


Head
Sew the ears onto the white 'cap' part of the head.  Next, attach the white cap onto the grey head.  Attach the white cap by sewing around.

Next, place the head at the end of the body and secure by sewing on top of the body.
Sew the legs onto the body

Sew the tail on the end of the body
Collar - make with red yarn
chain 30, fasten off.  String jingle bell onto the chain and tie around the lamb's neck


Friday, January 02, 2015

Warm baby booties


If you're looking to make a quick gift for a baby, there is nothing easier or cuter than crocheting a pair of warm booties.

If you use chunky yarns with a weight of 5 or 6, you will end up with a a larger bootie that can fit up to a year old.

Materials:

Lions Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick in charcoal grey
Bernat pipsqeek yarn in white
5.5 mm crochet hook
Yarn needle

I used a pattern from Repeat Crafter Me as a start for the shoe part of the boot.  Follow the pattern up
 to round 9.

Round 10-11:  Chain 2, then double crochet around.  Join to the first stitch.

Round 12:  Fasten off.  Use a furry yarn (such as Bernat Pipsqueek) in white.  Join and single crochet around to form a cuff.  Fasten off and sew in ends.