Crochet A to Z: US vs. UK Terms

I’m doing the A to Z Challenge for the month of April with the theme “Learn to Crochet A to Z.” For more details, and to see previous posts, click on the link at the top of my blog!

Hello friends! Today we’re going to talk about crochet terminology, more specifically, the difference between crochet terms on different sides of the pond.

For a while I didn’t even know there was more than one set of crochet terms, which is definitely leads to some interesting mistakes! I think it’s quite silly that we can’t all use the same crochet system, but I guess it’s just one of those things that differs from country to country. Like having extra letters in “color” and “favorite.” (I much prefer the British spelling of words, to be honest!)

I’m American, and I therefore use US crochet terms in all of my patterns. It’s important to know that the stitches are the same, it’s just the names that are different. So here’s a quick cheat sheet with the US and UK terms.

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(This picture has nothing to do with this post, but I don’t like posting without a picture. Wait, actually I can connect it – this is part of a sock made with US double crochet!)

US TERMS – UK TERMS

Chain (ch) = same for both

Slip stitch (sl st) = same for both

US single crochet (sc) = UK double crochet (dc)

US half-double crochet (hdc) = UK half-treble crochet (htr)

US double crochet (dc) = UK treble crochet (tr)

US triple crochet (tr) = UK double-treble crochet (dtr)

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Other than the crochet terms, things are the same – phrasing might be a little different depending on what pattern you’re using, but that doesn’t have anything to do with where you live. I’ve noticed that British patterns sometimes say “3 ch” where American ones will say “ch 3,” but I don’t know if that’s just a coincidence – in any case, it’s easy enough to decipher.

Before you start a pattern, make sure you know what set of terms to use! Sometimes it’s fairly evident if you go wrong – for example, if an amigurumi pattern tells you to use double crochet, you can be pretty certain it’s a UK pattern (because you don’t use tall stitches in amigurumi, usually). Other times you might not notice until you’re a couple rounds in. Luckily, it’s always easy to frog. 🙂

What set of crochet terms do you use? 😀

Crochet A to Z: Tunisian Crochet (and an attempt at a vlog)

Hello lovely followers! Today I thought I would try something a little bit different. I didn’t feel like doing another photo tutorial, so I made a video tutorial/vlog instead!

Now, you may remember from my first vlog that I’m definitely better at writing than I am at speaking coherently. But I have managed to successfully teach a bunch of people to crochet…so I thought this might be fun! This is more of an introduction to Tunisian crochet than an actual tutorial – I talk about different crochet hooks, stitches, and do a small tutorial, but it’s on my laptop computer so the actual tutorial isn’t that helpful. Still, I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

Also, I’d love it if you subscribed to my YouTube channel, because I’ve been making more videos lately. You’ll see another one later in the month. 🙂

Thanks so much for watching! Have you tried Tunisian crochet before? What do you think of it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Crochet A to Z: Stuffed Plush Things (aka Amigurumi!)

I’m doing the A to Z Challenge for the month of April with the theme “Learn to Crochet A to Z.” For more details, and to see previous posts, click on the page at the top of my blog!

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Today’s title should really be “Amigurumi,” but that didn’t work with the alphabet theme. :} Amigurumi is Japanese for “knitted stuffed toy,” so I thought “stuffed plush things” got the point across. I’m not positive on the pronunciation – I’m that person who always mispronounces things, which leads to some pretty hilarious (and embarrassing) moments. Seriously, why should “colonel” be pronounced “kernel?” But I believe it’s pronounced “am-ih-guh-roo-mee,” or “ah-meh-guh-roo-mee.” People also call them “amis” for short, which I like because it means “friend” in French. 🙂

Well, that was a really long linguistic introduction. I’m writing this post in between my literature and creative writing classes, so I guess it makes sense. 😛

Anyway, even though the name means “knitted stuffed toys,” they tend to be crocheted – because crochet fabric is stiff, it lends itself perfectly for shaping and making the stuffing not show through. You can really amigurumify anything (because that’s totally a word) – from animals to food to people. Just stick a face on it! 🙂

In case you’re new to amis, I wanted to give you a brief overview of the craft – there’s way too much to cover in just one blog post, but we can cover the highlights! I thought I’d give you some examples of amigurumi, then some basic guidelines for making them/materials you’ll need, and finally some of my favorite amigurumi books. I am certainly not the expert here; there are so many talented designers out there, and it’s totally worth exploring the Internet to see them. 🙂 Amigurumi are the most popular things I make, and they’re actually the reason I learned to crochet when I was fourteen, so I could learn to make dolls.

Some randomgurumis

(because I’m really tired and am just randomly mashing words together haha)

If you’re a longtime follower, no doubt you’ll recognize a lot of these. 🙂

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BB-8 from Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Safety cones I made for my Driver’s Ed classmates last year (if this makes you curious about my age, I got my license later than most.) 🙂 Pattern from Alicia Kachmar.

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Lunar Chronicles amigurumi dolls made from a pattern by “By Hook, By Hand.” This is probably my favorite project I’ve ever done. 🙂

Amigurumi Rapunzel, Elsa, and Rey, all made from patterns in “AmiguruME” by Allison Hoffman. Elsa was a commission; Rey and Rapunzel were just for fun. 🙂

Those are just a few of the amis I’ve made – like I said, they’re my favorite thing to make, so I crochet a lot of them. 😀

Amigurumi 101

Although every pattern is different, there are some things that are generally the same for most amigurumi. These are just guidelines. 🙂

What do you need to make an amigurumi?

  • Amis are made with a smaller hook than you would usually use for your yarn. So if the yarn label recommends a 5.5 MM hook, you would use something like a 4 MM, or even smaller. I use G (4.00 MM) hooks for 95% of my amis, but I crochet pretty tightly. If you crocheted looser, you may want to use an E or F hook. The point of using a smaller hook is to make sure the stuffing doesn’t show through the stitches.
  • As for yarn, in my experience, the cheaper stuff works better! (How often does that happen?) I use Red Heart Super Saver for most of my amis, and it holds its shape really well. The more expensive yarns are usually softer and drapier/more flexible, which is great for scarves and the like, but not when you’re making a toy that you want to be a certain shape. Most amigurumi patterns use worsted weight acrylic yarn (category 4).
  • You’ll need stuffing to, well, stuff your ami. I use polyester fiberfill, but in the past I’ve used anything from cotton balls to, in a pinch, Kleenex. (That did not work well.) Fiberfill is great because you can buy a huge bag of it for twenty bucks or so and it will last you months. I teach crochet, and all my students use the communal bag of stuffing, and we haven’t run out in the last six months. You can also experiment with using beans to stuff your amis, to make them squishy like a Beanie Baby and sometimes even able to stand up. However, if you do this, you’ll need to put the beans/rice in a nylon or sock or something to keep them from poking through the crochet. (I learned this one from experience!)
  • You’ll need a stitch marker to mark your stitch (although I bet you figured that one out from the name). You can buy legit “stitch markers,” or you can do what I do and use the nearest yarn scrap. Lately I’ve been using the starting tail from the amigurumi itself – I am really, truly lazy. Or try a bobby pin or safety pin.
  • It helps to have a way to keep track of your rounds – you can use an online row counter such as this (there are also apps), a clickable row counter like this, or write them down on paper.
  • You’ll need a yarn needle to sew pieces together – I like the slightly smaller and sharper ones for ease of sewing.
  • For your amigurumi’s face, supplies can vary – the simplest are just eyes and a mouth. I like using safety eyes for my amigurumi because it makes them look super cute. These are two-piece eyes that snap into place; one of my students compared them to earrings, which is a great way of putting it. You stick the front through the crochet and snap the back on. Once they go on, they’re not moving ever again, so make sure you like the placement! For some reason, Michaels doesn’t seem to sell them, but I’ve found them at Joann Fabrics or online. You can use felt and embroidery floss to add details to your amis, but I’m terrible at sewing, so I try to keep it simple. 🙂 They also come in a wide variety of sizes, for different sizes of plush, and you can get colored and cat eyes as well. I’m going to link you to Suncatcher Eyes so you can be inspired – I’ve never tried any of their products, but it’s a great example of the wide variety of possibilities out there!

Okay, now how do you actually make an amigurumi?

  • Every pattern’s different, but here are some of the techniques you’ll likely use.
  • You’ll need to know how to work in the round, in a spiral…which just means you aren’t joining your rounds. Hence the need for a stitch marker, to keep track of where you are.
  • Most amis are made with a single crochet (UK double crochet) – we’ll go into the difference between US and UK terms later, but this is pretty much the first stitch you learn when you start crocheting, so that means amigurumi can be a good project for beginners. 🙂
  • To start off an amigurumi, it’s worth learning how to make a magic ring, when you get more advanced. It makes it so there’s no central hole at the beginning. If there is a hole at the beginning, though, you can use the starting tail to sew it closed.
  • You’ll need to know how to increase and decrease. There is such a thing as an invisible decrease, although I prefer the standard sc2tog – that’s just personal preference, and also because I’m lazy, but it’s a really cool stitch and is definitely worth investigating if you want a more seamless look. 😀

Book Recommendations & Inspiration

Here are some of my favorite amigurumi books!

  • Anything by Ana Paula Rimoli. My mom gave me Amigurumi World, Amigurumi Two, and Amigurumi Toy Box for Christmas one year, and I learned how to make amis from following her patterns. She also has a really cute Amigurumi on the Go book with patterns for bags and such that I love!
  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi by June Gilbank (from planetjune.com). This is a fantastic reference book that helps you learn to design your own amis, walking you through all the steps.
  • AmiguruME by Allison Hoffman is super fun if you want to make super customizable dolls. This is the book I used to make Rey, Rapunzel, and Elsa.
  • Bonus: Look on Ravelry.com under the ‘amigurumi’ category for tons of inspiration. I usually click the option for ‘free’ because I’m broke, but I will splurge for a crochet pattern sometimes. 🙂 You can sort by tons of different categories or search for a specific kind, like ‘elephant’ or ‘Yoda.’ Or try Pinterest – but sometimes it’s hard to find the pattern. Just don’t blame me for the time sap. 🙂

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Whew, I think that about covers the basics! Obviously there’s a ton more information out there, I barely scratched the surface, but I hope that makes it seem a little less intimidating if you’re just wanting to learn. 🙂

What about you, my lovely followers? Have you crocheted any amigurumi? I’d love to hear your experience! And I’m alway looking for new crochet books and designers!

Crochet A to Z: Ribbing

I’m doing the A to Z Challenge for the month of April with the theme “Learn to Crochet A to Z.” For more details, and to see previous posts, click the link at the top of my blog!

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Hi lovely followers! Today we’re going to talk about the ribbed stitch, which is a super easy way to add texture to your crochet. There are several different ways to achieve ribbing, but we’re just discussing one today.

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Ribbing is fantastic for adding texture and stretch. Here’s a blanket I made for our puppy using the ribbed stitch – it holds up quite well under her rigorous play! It’s great for cuffs on sweaters and socks, as well as for scarves and blankets. And it looks quite similar to knitted ribbing, which makes me happy as I love the look of knitted fabric. 🙂

To do this stitch, all you have to do is crochet in the back loops of the stitches. (You can also do front loop crochet, which makes a cool pattern, but it isn’t this chunky, squishy kind of ribbing. It’s fun to experiment with, though, so feel free to give that a go!) You’re just working under one loop instead of two, which yields this cool effect.

So basically instead of inserting your hook under two loops like this…

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You’ll be going under just the back loop, the back part of the “V,” like this!

I hope that makes sense – I didn’t get a picture of this in progress, but there are plenty of YouTube tutorials out there if you search ‘back loop crochet’ or ‘crochet ribbing.’ They explain it much better than me. :}

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It creates a really cool look, I think, and I love that it’s so easy to do. You may have gathered by now that I’m a very lazy crocheter, so I love easy stitches that look complicated. 🙂

Have you used crochet ribbing before? What are your thoughts? Your comments are always appreciated – thank you for all your support! 🙂 ❤

Crochet A to Z: Questions Every Crocheter Receives

(How is it that I’m an English major in my fourth term of college and I STILL don’t know how to spell “receives”?)

I’m doing the A to Z Challenge for the month of April with the theme “Learn to Crochet A to Z.” For more details, and to see previous posts, click on the page at the top of my blog!

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It was really hard to think of a letter for “Q.” I wanted to do something about frequently asked questions, but this whole post series is meant to address frequently asked crochet questions, so that would be sort of redundant. So instead, I thought I would write about questions I get all the time…and from talking to other crocheters, I’ve learned that many of them get the same questions!

My title isn’t entirely accurate in that not every crocheter receives all these questions, but they are pretty common. 🙂

Q: Where did you get your felted purse/octopus hat/Yoda coffee cup cozy/ratty fingerless gloves/other creative item?

Whenever you leave the house in a crocheted item, people are bound to ask about it – especially the stranger it is! To which I tell them truthfully: “I made it!”

Q: Really?

Yes, really. (Usually accompanied by nervous shuffling of feet, tugging at a strand of hair, and eyes darting around and failing to make eye contact: do they think I’m bragging? Do they not believe me? Do they think it’s the ugliest thing in the history of the world and are trying to come up with something nice to say?)

Q: That’s so cool! I can’t even knit a scarf!

-inwardly wincing-

Now, there’s nothing wrong with knitting – knitting is awesome! But it does get a little old having crochet constantly be mistaken for its two-needled cousin. I usually reply with something like: “Me neither! This is crocheted.” Said with a smile so they know I’m not being snarky. 😉

Q: Ooh, you crochet? You should open an Etsy shop!

I’ve gotten this one dozens of times, and it’s very flattering! It makes me happy that people like the things I make. My problem is that making any profit from an Etsy shop is tricky when you’re selling handmade stuff – people do it for sure, but I haven’t figured out how yet. 😛 I’m not a natural businesswoman, haha. Sometimes when people tell me this I want to ask them if they have any idea what handmade stuff would cost if you factored in the labor and materials involved. I doubt anyone would buy an amigurumi Rey for $50, even if that’s what I should be charging for my time involved, and all the yarn and accouterments!

But people really do mean well, and it’s nice to have support from random strangers who took a minute to compliment my crocheted scarf. 🙂 If any of you guys have experience with opening an Etsy shop, I’d absolutely love to hear from you – I’m still trying to get mine off the ground!

Q: Ooh, you crochet? Will you make me something?

I’d love to!

If I can afford the yarn! 😛

I’m mostly kidding. I will always happily make stuff for someone who asks, unless it’s a random person I don’t know very well, in which case I will definitely make them pay for the yarn. 😛 I mostly use Red Heart Super Saver, which is scratchy and sometimes unpleasant, and I feel a little funny about giving that to another person. 🙂

I’ve done some really fun commissions for people, and I love doing that, so I’m always happy when someone asks me to make something for them. There’s no greater compliment!

Q: Claire, why is there a yarn scrap in the driveway/bathtub/dog’s mouth/open-air tipi/your hair?

Okay, maybe not every crocheter gets this question. But yarn scraps have appeared in all these places before. 😄

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What’s the strangest place you’ve ever found a yarn scrap? Do you have any questions that people ask you all the time?

 

Crochet A to Z: Pattern Reading

I’m doing the A to Z Challenge for the month of April with the theme “Learn to Crochet A to Z.” For more details, and to see previous posts, click on the page at the top of my blog!

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Pattern reading…also known as “deciphering the Greek that is crochet patterns.” When I started crocheting I was overwhelmed by the cryptic code of patterns. It looks overly complicated, but we’re going to break it down step-by-step so it’s more manageable. 🙂

First of all, why should you even bother to learn to read patterns? After all, there are so many YouTube and photo tutorials out there that you can get by without them. That’s definitely true (I learned to crochet from both of those things), but sometimes you’ll really want to make a pattern that doesn’t have a tutorial – for example, in a magazine. If magazines had tutorials, they’d be the length of Les Miserables. So sometimes it’s inevitable.

Let’s take the Mint Green Owl pattern as an example. I’m using US crochet terms in this post – we’ll be talking about US vs. UK crochet terms later in the month. 🙂

First of all, you’ll want to read through the Materials, Pattern Notes, Special Stitches, and Abbreviations. Not all patterns will have all these categories. Materials covers what you need, as you probably guessed. 😛 Pattern Notes refer to anything special in the pattern, like for the Mint Green Owl it specifies that you’ll be working in unjoined rounds. Special Stitches are any, well, special stitches (that aren’t standard). And some patterns have an Abbreviations list.

We’re going to go over the abbreviations now – shorter names for each crochet stitch. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it should act as a good starting point. It’s not alphabetical because I’m actually not that good at the alphabet (which is sort of ironic given the theme “Crochet A to Z.”)

Sc = Single Crochet
Sl st = Slip stitch
Ch = Chain stitch
Hdc = Half-double crochet
Dc = Double crochet
Tr/Tc = Triple crochet
Sc2tog = Single crochet 2 together (this is a decrease)
Hdc2tog = Half-double crochet 2 together
Dc2tog = Double crochet 2 together
Inc = Increase
Rnd = Round
FO/TO = Fasten off/tie off (cut the yarn)
St = Stitch
Sp = Space
Ch-sp = Chain-space (the space made by a few chains)

Now that you know some abbreviations, let’s move on to the pattern.

BODY

Rnd 1: Ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook.

Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around.

Rnd 3: *Sc 1, 2 sc in next st* around.

Rnd 4: *Sc 2, 2 sc in next st* around.

Rnd 5-12: Sc in each st around.

Okeydokey!

Rnd 1: Ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook.

Writing this out longhand:

Round 1: Chain 2, 6 single crochets in 2nd chain from hook.

So, you’ll make two chain stitches, and then go into the second chain from your hook. Remember to never count the loop on your hook – so you’ll be inserting the hook into the chain directly after the slip knot, or into the very first chain you made. Make your first single crochet, then make five more into the same space.

Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around.

Writing this out longhand:

Round 2: 2 single crochets in each stitch around.

This means to increase six times. Some patterns will put a stitch count at the end of the round, which would be just a number in parentheses like this: (12 sc). I forgot to do that when I wrote this pattern. :}

Rnd 3: *Sc 1, 2 sc in next st* around.

Round 3: *Single crochet 1, 2 single crochets in next stitch* around.

The asterisks just mean to repeat the stuff between them all the way around. So you’ll start by making one normal single crochet, then into the following stitch, you’ll make 2 single crochets in one (an increase). Then one normal single crochet, then two into the following stitch. Repeat this around.

Round 4 is very similar, except you’ll be doing single crochets normally before you make 2-in-one.

Rounds 5-12 are just single crochet around.

So this is a very basic pattern, but I hope it gives you an idea of how to go about reading them. If there’s a complicated pattern you’re struggling with, feel free to get ahold of me and we can try and figure it out – I am by no means an expert, but I’ll give it my best shot! (I mean, don’t illegally copy a pattern, but leaving a couple lines in the comments should be fine, depending on what pattern, or use the contact form.) 🙂

What do y’all think of pattern reading? Unnecessarily complicated? (Sometimes I think so!) Thank you again for all of your support throughout this A to Z Challenge! ❤

Crochet A to Z: Owls

I’m doing the A to Z Challenge for the month of April with the theme “Learn to Crochet A to Z.” For more details, and to view previous posts, click here!

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The crochet world is obsessed with owls.

No, really.

Do a Google search for “crochet owl” and you’ll find over 8 million results. On Ravelry, one of the most comprehensive pattern databases, there are over 700 crochet owl patterns. It’s clearly a phenomenon. I have two guesses as to why this may be: One, because it’s a pretty simple shape to crochet (at least in the typical stylized amigurumi way), and there aren’t too many parts to make. And two, just because owls are ridiculously cute. (Also, Harry Potter references.)

One of my very favorite owl patterns is this one from Bunny Mummy, because it’s so creative and unlike any of the other hundreds of owl patterns. :} I’ve made this pattern before, and it’s so much fun to play around with the different colors. I also think this Baby Owl Ornaments pattern is the cutest thing ever, and is totally worth a look! And the Owl Family Amigurumi from Repeat Crafter Me are just precious. The first owl I ever made, because I am certainly not immune to this trend, was from a pattern in Amigurumi World by Ana Paula Rimoli. She also has a super cute free pattern on her blog, and in her latest book, Crochet On the Go, there’s the most adorable owl book bag. I have to stop adding links now because I could go on forever, there are simply too many adorable patterns out there!

I use owls as one of the first crochet projects when I’m teaching for the reasons I’ve listed above: simple and quick. Although there are hundreds of patterns out there already, I designed one specially for my crochet classes so I could incorporate some different techniques. We’re going to talk about amigurumi (stuffed toys) later in the month, but my goal here was to make the simplest pattern possible. I wanted a pattern that didn’t involve decreasing, because increasing is confusing enough when you’re just learning. I needed something that used a larger crochet hook than normal, because I like to start people off with larger hooks so it’s less frustrating. And it had to be a quick project, just a few hours’ work. My beginning crochet students usually finish it in 2-3 classes, which is very exciting for them because they can have a finished stuffed animal in just a couple weeks! It makes a great jumping-off point to progress to more complicated amigurumi.

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This owl has already made an appearance on my blog, but I thought I would republish the pattern for today’s post. :} Because I think it has a place in this crochet series, being a very simple pattern, and also because I’m taking four college classes this term and don’t have the energy to come up with original content every day. 😛

We’re going to talk about reading patterns later this month, and I’ll be using this pattern as an example! So don’t worry if you don’t understand the abbreviations, as we’ll be going over all of this.

First up, here’s the video tutorial I made for this pattern…nothing spectacular, as it was filmed on my iPhone, but maybe better than nothing, haha.

MATERIALS

  • Worsted weight yarn in desired colors:
    – Owl body color (I used Red Heart Soft in the pictured mint color, I don’t know the exact name though – this yarn is so lovely and soft, as you can tell by the name)
    – Owl wings color (dark green for me)
    – White for eyeballs
    – Small amount of orange for beak
  • I (5.50 MM) crochet hook. Normally I use a G (4.00 MM) hook for amigurumi, but like I said, it’s easier to use a bigger hook when you start out. That being said, you could use a smaller hook if you don’t want holes in your finished owl, but naturally that will make the owl smaller. My owl is about 2.5″ tall and wide.
  • Polyfill stuffing (or yarn scraps to stuff your owl)
  • Something to use for the pupils:
    – You could sew two small black buttons on
    – Or you could embroider the pupils with thread
    – I went the quick and easy route and just did a dot with a marker
  • Yarn needle to weave in ends (if you’re a beginner, this is just a needle with a larger eye so a tail of yarn can fit through it, also known as a tapestry or darning needle. I never keep track of mine so I always end up buying extra packs. #crochetconfessions)
  • Stitch marker to mark the beginning of your round. You could use a typical one that you buy at the yarn store, but if you lose them like I do or you don’t have any, you could do a bobby pin, paper clip, or scrap of yarn.

NOTES

This pattern is worked in unjoined rounds, so use a stitch marker to mark the first stitch of each round. US terms are used throughout.

BODY

With desired color (mint green for me):

Rnd 1: Ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook.

Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around.

Rnd 3: *Sc 1, 2 sc in next st* around.

Rnd 4: *Sc 2, 2 sc in next st* around.

Rnd 5-12: Sc in each st around.

Stuff the owl. Fold the opening closed and sc across it, stitching through both layers. Fasten off, weave in ends.

WINGS (MAKE 2)

With desired color (dark green for me):

Ch 5. Sc in 2nd ch from hk and in next 2 chains. Make 3 sc in the last stitch. Turn to work across the other side of the chain. Sc across. Fasten off, leaving tail for sewing.

EYES (MAKE 2)

With white:

Rnd 1: Ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook.

Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around.

Fasten off, leaving long tail for sewing.

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BEAK

Ch 3. Sc in 2nd ch from hk and in last ch. Fasten off, leaving long tail for sewing.

ASSEMBLY

First of all, here are all the owl appendages before you sew them together.

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Sew the eyes to the owl base. Attach buttons for pupils if desired, either with needle and thread (recommended) or glue.

Sew the wings to the sides of the owl.

Attach the beak by threading the long ends through to the top of the owl, tying a knot, and sewing the rest of the beak down.

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In this picture you can see how I pulled the orange ends up through the owl’s head (body?) and tied a knot. I’m going to take each orange end separately and use it to sew the beak down so it doesn’t flap around like in this picture. Then I’ll weave them in. If you have a different method, feel free to use that.

And you’re done! Congratulations! 😀

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We’ll be using this pattern tomorrow to learn how to read crochet patterns, so stay tuned for that if you’re new to the Greek-sounding world of crochet terminology! Until then, I hope owl of you have a wonderful day. ;P

 

Crochet A to Z: Nerdicrafts

I’m doing the A to Z Challenge for the month of April with the theme “Learn to Crochet A to Z.” For more details, and to view previous posts, click here!

Man, I really hope this is the right letter in the alphabet, because I don’t know the alphabet that well even when I’m not running on less than 7 hours of sleep. *sings alphabet song in head* I’ve been really excited about this post, though, so let’s forge ahead! 😉

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Hello there, lovely followers and friends! Today we’re talking about two of my favorite topics: crochet and fandom! Happy day. 🙂

I absolutely love combining the two together; there are so many ways to do so! There are tons of nerd crafts out there, from books, movies, TV shows, games, and who knows what else. If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you’ll know what a huge fangirl I am…and my favorite kind of craft to do are the ones that are inspired by whatever fandom I’m into at the moment.

 

One example of fandom based crochet would be amigurumi based on the characters. These make fantastic presents. I’ve crocheted Obi Wan, Luke Skywalker, and Yoda amigurumi for several of my Star-Wars-obsessed friends, and they were received with amusement and the obligatory exclamation of, “Did you make that?!” I love giving crocheted things as gifts, and it makes it even more special when the gift is from a fandom the recipient likes. In the picture above, you can also see a crocheted Rey and BB-8, which have both been coveted by the aforementioned Star Wars friends, but they’re not getting them. Rey and BB-8 have a special spot on my bookshelf. :}

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Here’s a Baymax keychain I made a while back, from Disney’s “Big Hero 6.” It’s a super good movie, and Baymax is the cutest robot ever. It’s fun carrying around a fandom keychain because it can start some conversations, and although I’m an introvert, I never object to talking about my favorite fandoms!

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And because I will never stop fangirling over this picture, I had to include it. I crocheted Iko, a robot from The Lunar Chronicles, and took her to a book signing to give her to the author, Marissa Meyer. She squealed over her and it made me so so happy – I love her books and was absolutely obsessed with them a few years back, so I really wanted to make something for her! She was super kind to be so sweet about Iko, and it was an amazing experience. You can see I’m totally geeking out in that picture, haha. 😀

Another way crochet can collide with fandom is through cosplay. For the uninformed, cosplay is basically a less embarrassing way of saying “dress-up.” You’ll see hundreds of cosplayers at conventions such as Comic-Con, dressing up as anything from Iron Man to Rapunzel. (I’d like to know why WordPress thinks “Rapunzel” is misspelled. How many times have I talked about her on this blog before?!) I’ve only been to two Comic-Cons, but it was really fun to see all the cosplayers – it’s such a cool community!

Anyway, for my first Comic Con I was Olivia Dunham from the TV show “Fringe,” after developing a mild obsession with the main character. If my family members are reading this post, they’re probably laughing at the understatement of that sentence. :} (Fun fact: my middle name is Olivia!) It was super fun, but nobody recognized me (because, sadly, “Fringe” is not that popular of a show, and it’s been off the air for a while anyway). So for Wizard World Comic Con this February, I wanted to go as something more recognizable, and I wanted to CROCHET the entire cosplay.

Because that wasn’t overly ambitious at all.

I actually overestimated my skill set on this particular project. I wanted to be Jyn Erso from Star Wars: Rogue One and I found a really cool crocheted cosplay from The Scarlet Stitch on Tumblr. The blogger was kind enough to give me some details on her cosplay, which was basically that she winged the whole thing, making it up from a mental image. Which is insanely talented. So I ended up digging out a store-bought sweater and crocheting something the same size. It took me what felt like FOREVER. I also made a holster to hold a plastic blaster, and that was really tricky to crochet. But! I’m super pleased with how it turned out, would you like to see?

The costume went over really well at Wizard World, and I actually had people want to take pictures with me! I met a bunch of other crocheters and even connected with one of them online after I got home. It was amazing to meet other like-minded people who also like fandom and crochet.

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Here’s a Star Wars family reunion – I’ve never seen a Maz Kenata cosplayer before, I think she did an amazing job! It’s a little unlikely that Jyn would be cheerfully smiling in the presence of Orson Krennic, on the left, but I guess for Comic Con it works. 🙂 And that’s the aforementioned Star Wars friend on the right; he’s as obsessed with Luke Skywalker as I am with Olivia from Fringe. 😛

I think I could write for a thousand more words about fandom and crochet, but I think this will suffice for now. 🙂 I really love crocheting nerdy things, and I’d love to hear about any experience you guys have with it! Do you like combining crafts and fandom? 😀

 

A Vaguely Easter-related Post

Hi lovely followers! Happy Easter! ❤ I hope you all have a wonderful day, whether you celebrate Easter or not. 🙂

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Bower Bird pattern from Lucy of Attic24. I love her designs! This was made as a gift for my Confirmation sponsor. I’m Catholic and was Confirmed three years ago, and your sponsor is essentially the person who guides you through the process. My sponsor just happens to be one of the sweetest, smartest people I know, and I’m still learning from her even though she doesn’t technically have to deal with me anymore. 🙂 I like crocheting her gifts for Easter to show my appreciation. ❤ I tried to pick sort of Easter-egg-colors.

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Not really craft-related, but I took Moana on an impromptu road trip with my family yesterday. She loved soaking in the sunshine and the scenery… she looks right at home with the water! I don’t think she really appreciated coming to live with me in the Pacific Northwest, because the climate is just a little different from what she’s used to. 🙂 So I like to take her to rivers and waterfalls when I get the chance. 😀

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And finally, here’s our long-suffering puppy Maisie with a crochet daffodil in her hair (also from Attic24). 🙂 I can’t wait until her hair grows so we can do it in ponytails and updos! 😀 Don’t worry, I took it out right after the picture. She’s a patient little thing…sometimes. 😉

I hope you all have a fantastic day! I’ll see you tomorrow for more Crochet A to Z. 😀 I just want to thank you for all your support, likes, and comments – they really do make my day, and I appreciate it more than you know! ❤

Crochet A to Z: Mandalas, Magazines, and Maisie!

I’m doing the A to Z Challenge for the month of April with the theme “Learn to Crochet A to Z.” For more details, and to view previous posts, click here!

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I debated for ages and ages over what to choose for the letter “M,” but in the end I just couldn’t decide on one topic. I know, this is kind of cheating, but I couldn’t bring myself to cut any of these! I did for other letters, but not for this one. So we’re going to talk briefly about each of these – I hope you’re okay with that!

Mandalas

I must confess I still don’t know how to pronounce ‘mandala,’ so I would welcome any guidance on the subject. I believe there is a spiritual significance to mandalas, which I would be really interested in learning more about. But in the crochet world, the term is mostly applied to colorful crochet circles with intricate patterns, and they’re absolutely stunning to behold!

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I made this mandala from the Sophie’s Garden pattern from Look at What I Made. I’m going to link you to the Sophie’s Universe Crochet-A-Long, which is the most amazing crochet thing I’ve ever seen. I really want to make it someday. It’s a huge, square blanket with the most incredible pattern. Trust me, just click through to see it.

Attic24 has done some beautiful mandalas on hula hoops, hanging them from the ceiling like dreamcatchers. Here’s one post where she talks about it. Colorful and inspiring!

The queen of mandalas would be Marinke, or “Wink,” from A Creative Being. Her blog is a beautiful, inspirational place where she’s shared many free crochet patterns. I made a bunch of her patterns while I was exploring the world of crochet mandalas, and like so many people in the crochet world, was inspired by her. Sadly, she suffered from depression, and crochet wasn’t enough to save her from it. The whole crochet world isn’t the same without her. 😦 There was a movement to crochet mandalas for her, and a tag #wearingflowersinmyhairforwink. I think about her whenever I crochet a mandala, or curl up under my Sophie’s Universe blanket.

Magazines

As you might imagine, there are a ton of crochet magazines out there, and I’m definitely not an expert. I just want to share my favorite ones with you. I think crochet magazines are a fantastic source of inspiration, and it’s super fun to get something in your mailbox.

I’ve been subscribed to Interweave Crochet for probably around four years now, and I haven’t thrown away a single issue. Unfortunately, I got the first year digitally on my Kindle Fire, and after it stopped working I was unable to access the issues. Sad face. If any of y’all know a way to access stuff like that, please do tell! Apart from that mishap, though, I have all my issues and look back through them often for inspiration. I’ve also gotten a year or so of Love of Crochet, which is a lovely magazine too!

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Here’s most of my collection. You can get a pretty good feel for the magazine by the variety of covers here – I know, never judge a book by its cover, but at least you can see the wide array of designs here! The patterns in Interweave Crochet are just amazing – the ones they select really push the boundaries of crochet and use new, exciting stitches and yarns. It’s really fun to look through. I swear I sound like a spokesperson…I wish I was sponsored by them, haha, but this is just me genuinely gushing.

There are also some cool online crochet magazines, some free and some not. A while back I actually had two patterns published in Crochetvolution, and you can see them here and here if you’re interested. 🙂 Unfortunately Crochetvolution is no longer running, but the back issues have some fantastic patterns in them and are definitely worth exploring!

Maisie

Because this is totally crochet-related.

We got a new puppy, a Chinese Crested Powderpuff named Maisie, and she is absolutely the most PRECIOUS thing on the face of the earth. So I’ve been posting pictures of her on every single one of my social medias, and my blog is no different! Behold:

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She’s the sweetest, cutest little puppy, and I’m sure I’ll be crocheting her sweaters in the future…remember the blanket I talked about in my frogging post? It was for Maisie! ❤

This post has been all over the place! Which one of the “M” things was your favorite? I think you know mine – it’s hard to resist a fluffy little puppy – but I like crochet related things too. 🙂