Tuesday Tips: Jogless Stripes

By far, one of my favourite things to crochet lately is Amigurumi.  I love these cute little

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Amigurumi with colour changes, crocheted in the round.

characters!  There are so many patterns and unique creations to make.  As a creator – and perhaps a bit of a perfectionist,  one of the most frustrating things about amigurumi is making stripes that join uniformly.  As you may remember from my first amigurumi post, these characters are created in the round, meaning there is not visible beginning or end to rows.  While this technique makes your creation seamless, it creates a distinct disjoint when changing colours.

The solution to avoid the jagged stripe look is a technique called Jogless Stripes.  Although it does not create a perfectly symmetrical stripe line, it is very close.

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Amigurumi with colour changes, crocheted using the Jogless Stripe Technique.

Simple manipulation of the stitches can create the desired jogless stripe. Crochet Ever After has an excellent instructional video on creating jogless stripes in single crochet.  It is definitely one of the best videos I have seen on the subject: easy to follow and an easy technique to master.

Tuesday Tips: Priming Cutting Mats

One of the most important accessories with any Cricut machine, is the cutting mat.  These mats – which are colour coded and have varying degrees of tackiness are used to hold your project material while the machine cuts/scores/writes the designs.

MatsWhen I first opened my Cricut Explore Air 2, I bubbled with excitement.  I didn’t bother to attempt the practice project that came with my bundle.  After all, I had been watching YouTube videos of unboxings, tutorials and projects for weeks.  I wanted to dive right in!  I wanted to make a shirt!  I slapped a relatively design up in the Design Space – but the cautious crafter in me thought it would be best to test the design with cardstock before using my Heat-Transfer Vinyl (Also known as Iron-On).

Turns out my hesitation paid off…  I forgot to mirror my image – a necessary step for using any Heat-Transfer Vinyl.  Rookie mistake.  I also discovered the importance of de-tacking or priming your Cricut mat – especially if you will be doing a lot of paper crafting.  Even though I was using the Standard Grip Mat, the cardstock was difficult to remove and the process actually destroyed my test project.

 

Using the Correct Mat for Your Project

  • Light Grip Blue Mat: This mat is intended for scrapbook paper, vellum, crepe, and tissue paper.  In Other words – thin materials.
  • Standard Grip Green Mat: Depending on your main projects, this will likely be your main mat.  It is used for cardstock, vinyl, heat-transfer vinyl and any other mid-weight materials.
  • Strong Grip Purple Mat: One of the more heavy duty mats that is used for  thick cardstock, glitter cardstock, poster board, leather, felt, backed fabric and any other heavy materials.  I have not yet used this mat for any projects,
  • Fabric Grip Pink Mat: Fabric, felt, leather (do not cut paper or vinyl using this mat). This mat is designed to be used with the new Cricut Maker.

It is important to note that not all Cricut machines will cut all project mediums.  The Cricut Maker is necessary for the most variety in projects, as it has the capability of using various blades.

 

Priming Your Mats Before Use

Learn from my mistakes… prime or detack your mats before using cardstock or making paper crafts.  The process is quite simple – remove the plastic protective sheet from your mat (set this aside, as you will want to reapply it after each project to protect your mat from dust, pet hair and other possible household contaminants that may transfer to your projects).  Using a clean piece of fabric or a shirt, press it onto the mat.  Remove the fabric and repeat the process a few times.  And that’s it – your mat is now primed.  I also suggest using a separate mat for paper crafts that has been primed/detacked more – this is by no means a requirement, it is just my own personal preference.

Crafting a Mother’s Day Gift

It’s that time of year again… time to show your love, admiration and appreciation for the woman who gave you life — Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there!!

Since purchasing my Cricut Explore Air 2, I have really been enjoying the creative process for several different crafts.  It really did not take long to decide what I would make my mother for her Mother’s Day Gift.

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The first step to creating the best Mother’s Day gift was to find the perfect frame. I found this shadow box mirror style frame at a local Dollar Store for $4.99. Great deal!

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This project could have easily been completed with card stock – in actuality, that was my plan… until I discovered that my children had used ALL of our cardstock during their last History project. After finding the perfect design that my mother would love, it was time to send it to the Cricut and start the cutting process.

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Since I would not be using cardstock, I had to clean and prepare the mirror surface for the vinyl application. After this I completed the weeding – which was quite time consuming.

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After the vinyl application.

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And the project is complete!  It never occurred to me how difficult it would be to take a picture of a mirror. And this picture really does not do the final product justice.  I love how this turned out… so much so, that I have a similar project in mind for Father’s Day!

 

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Here is a closeup of the intricate design…  I simply love this!  If you are interested in this, or similar designs, please check out one of my favourite Etsy shoppes: Fox Sister.

Friday Freebies: Mother’s Day SVGs

The internet is a fantastic place… full of crafting inspiration and files for you to use in your crafting projects.  The important thing to remember is that the original creator maintains the copyright to their creations.  Even thought many items can be found free online, it is important to respect and abide by the original creator’s rules.

With Mother’s Day fast approaching I have assembled a few of my favourite free SVG files.  I do not receive any sort of commission when you visit these sites or download these files. Be sure to read the regulations set in place by each creator prior to downloading any files.  The majority of free files are for personal use ONLY (this means, you cannot sell items made from the files you have downloaded).

If you use any of these files, be sure to thank the original creator (if possible) and I would love to see your creations on twitter!  Simply click on the images below to be taken to the file site.  At the time of posting, all of these links were free and active.

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This fun SVG is offered by LoveSVG. It is for personal use only.

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This file not only includes the “Mom” file, but has been updated to add “Nana”. This one is from Lilly Ashley of Make It Create.

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This is a wonderful file from Burton Avenue. It is only free for a limited time. Burton Avenue offers their freebies for download for personal use but there is an option to purchase a commercial license for each file.

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.