Expanding A Crafty Cupcake

Okay… I will admit it… I am a HUGE Pinterest fan.  I pin everything; recipes I plan to make, recipes that I think I will make, recipes I likely will not make; Crafts I plan to make, crafts I want to learn to make, crafts I will never make; Household makeovers I love, but will likely never complete.  In truth, I may have a problem.

CricutingMore than four years ago, on Pinterest I stumbled across the Sihlouette Cutting Machine and I fell in love instantly.  I wanted to add this magnificent machine to my craft room.  However, at the time it certainly was not in my budget.

Fast forward to 2017 and hundreds of Pinterest finds, I fell in love again – hard – for the Cricut Machine.  I bubbled with excitement as I discovered I could print and cut my own planner stickers, my own home decor and custom clothing.  After much research and budget planning, I was finally able to expand my craft room (and ultimately my crafting business).  I can now proudly bare the title of the Crocheting Cricuteer!  That just may be my new favourite word — Cricuteer…

 

Tuesday Tips: Colour Changes

One of the most important techniques to master in crochet is colour changes.  Perfecting this technique is especially important when crafting amigurumi.  Ideally you want to make changes without the use of slip knots or tying off of yarns.

Although I will be explaining this technique using a single crochet, the result can be achieved using any stitch.  The important thing to remember is that in order to initiate a colour change you must not fully complete the stitch prior to the change.

Begin your single crochet stitch as you normally would with Colour A.  Insert your hook and pull up a loop.  You will now have 2 loops of Colour A on your hook.  At this point you would normally yarn over to complete your single crochet but in order to switch colours, you must complete the yarn over using Colour B.  Pull the new colour yarn through to complete the stitch.  Your next single crochet will be continued using Colour B.

For those of you that are visual learners, Planet June has a wonderful video tutorial on completing this technique in the round for amigurumi and the Crochet Guru has a tutorial on changing colours at the end of a row.

Colour changes really are one of the simplest but most important techniques to master in the art of crochet.

Amigurumi Introduction

Ami4

One of the first things I taught myself to crochet was an amigurumi cupcake – I have never been one to start with a simple project, and I thought a cupcake would be fitting to go with the name I was crafting under.  I have come a long way since that little cupcake (please excuse the dust on the top, she has been sitting on a shelf above my desk for almost eight years now).

If you are unfamiliar with Amigurumi, it is simply the term used for the art of the creation of small stuffed crochet or knitted creatures and/or dolls.  The term is derived from two Japanese words: ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll.

Ami1

Generally, crochet amigurumi are constructed using a very small crochet hook (usually ranging in size from 2.5mm to 4mm).  The smaller and more complex the creation, the more difficult it is to prefect. Amigurumi are created using a single crochet stitch and are done in the round.  This term refers to the fact that the “rows” are worked into a circle and are not joined with a slip stitch – there is no visual beginning or end to a round so a stitch marker and/or counting stitch method is necessary to keep track of where you are in the pattern.  I promise you, it really is not as confusing as it sounds.  The Crochet Guru on YouTube has an excellent tutorial for crocheting in the round.  We will dive into more amigurumi tips and techniques in future posts.

Embellishments are also an important part of amigurumi.  Safety Eyes (or buttons) are required for facial features.  I purchase mine on Etsy – there are so many bulk crafting shoppes there to chose from.  Embroidery floss is also often used to create facial features or to shape the ami’s face.  Felt is a great media to use for creating clothing for your creations.  Pipecleaners are another item that is frequently used in the creation of amigurumi to produce poseable limbs.

Ami3

When using embellishments, you must be sure to keep your target customer in mind.  For example, if you are creating toys for small children, buttons and safety eyes are not the best choice as they may be a choking hazard, alternatively, you will have to stitch facial features on.  Also, the use of felt and pipecleaners makes your ami unable to be washed…  if you are creating toys for small children, parents may request that the toys be washable, so you will need to get creative in how you make your characters.  Washing has never been a concern for my amigurumi as the majority of them are created for collectors and are not used for toys.

There are hundreds of adorable amigurumi patterns available online, both free and for purchase.  Regardless of which patterns you choose, always try to add a modification to make your creation unique… change up the colours or make a small addition.  I frequently add additional facial features or use a sewing technique to shape faces.  But note – regardless of the addition of modifications, this does NOT make a pattern your own, copyright is still maintained by the pattern author.

Have you created amigurumi of your own?  I would love to see them!  Comment below or share them on twitter.

Happy crocheting!

A Crafty Cupcake… The Update

TeaCupFirst and foremost, WELCOME to the new blog!!  For the past several years, I have struggled on and off with content for my blog.  While A Crafty Cupcake has primarily been a crocheting home business and has always been something I have greatly enjoyed – and I still do, crochet has never been the sole craft I have enjoyed.  Why should my blog – and online shoppe, for that matter – only focus on one craft?!  It is time for this blog to grow!  It’s time to focus on a variety of crafting avenues, after all, this isn’t a blog about “A Crochet Cupcake”…. It’s about A CRAFTY CUPCAKE!

My blog (and website) will be having a Grand Re-Opening.  The first change you will notice is a new blogging platform – Hello, WordPress.  In an attempt to create a more user friendly experience, I have moved away from Blogger and embraced a WordPress blog.  Stay tuned to my Facebook fan page for more details for the Grand Re-Opening in the upcoming weeks.  And be sure to pop onto the new Instagram page and give me a follow.

As for this blog… what can you expect?  Tutorials… Freebies (who doesn’t love those?!) and of course, updates on what I am making.  I will be focusing on crochet items, Cricut’d items (yes – that’s a word now… you can trust me on that one), and planner related crafts, because everyone should have a planner to keep track of their crafting.  After the grand opening, you can expect to see multiple blog posts weekly on a variety of topics.

I look forward to crafting with you!!