Crochet Cuddler: Unicorn

Next to amigurumi, my favourite things to crochet are infant security cuddlers and lovies.  Cuddlers and lovies are a cuter version of a security blanket.  Cuddlers have a kawaii pillow look.  Unlike traditional crochet stuffies, these Cuddlers are lightly stuffed so that small arms can wrap around them easily.  Lovies, on the other hand are part security blanket  and part stuffie – with a crochet stuffie head (and sometimes arms).  As both items are intended for toddlers, they are small in size.

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I knew I wanted to start creating Cuddlers right away when I stumbled across 3AM Grace Designs a few weeks ago.  The ladies at that site have created so many adorable (and free!) patterns.  If you are interested in showing support, the ad-free, printable versions of the patterns may be purchased for a small fee.

The first design I was drawn to was, of course, the unicorn.  This pattern, written in standard US terms, was very easy to follow.  Pictures through out made the addition of the snout, ears and horn a breeze.

I did not test my gauge prior to starting this project – which is not uncommon for me when creating non-wearables.  Using the required 5.0mm hook, my completed Cuddler measured 12.75inches from horn tip to neck base and 9.5inches across, from snout to the back of neck/mane.  For the eye, I used a large shank button (I am unsure of the actual size) rather than the safety eye that the pattern called for.  Also, I did not use a popsicle stick for the horn, I simply stuffed the horn slightly firmer than the rest of the Cuddler.

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I am so happy with how this project turned out – I do plan on making several more versions of this magical Cuddler!

If you have attempted a Cuddler as well, I would love to see it – tag me on social media.

Happy Crocheting!

 

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I do not receive any form of compensation when you click on the above links.

Tuesday Tips: Getting Started with Crochet

I am a self-tauTeaCupght crocheter.  Actually, I am a self-taught crafter in general.  I am frequently asked how to get started in crochet and how to learn the various stitches.  I do not use “proper form” when crocheting, so this makes it a bit more difficult for me to teach others the basics of crochet but I can point you in the right direction.

My advice to anyone who is wishing to get into this craft is to drive right in!  Surround yourself with YouTube tutorials. There are several crafters willing to share their techniques with others.  Two of my favourite YouTube crocheters are SimplyDiasy and Naztazia.  Both of these channels have videos on crochet basics for absolute beginners.

The internet is your friend and is an invaluable resource when learning a new craft. There are so many free crochet patterns, anyone just learning will not have to spend money on patterns right away.  New crocheters should join Ravelry.  This website is an amazing community.  In addition to both free and paid patterns (both knit and crochet), you can connect with other crafters (almost similar to Facebook, but for yarn artists).  I have been a part of several groups over the years, including crochet-a-longs, Crochet Swaps and more!  If you are a member of the community, please feel free to friend me (I have been slacking in updating my profile and projects there, but that is on my To Do List today).

Ami4Do not spend a fortune on a craft you are just learning.  Give yourself time to learn the stitches before buying expensive yarns and hooks.  Read some free patterns, check out the YouTube videos.  Crochet can be a very affordable hobby to start.  Dollar stores sell both yarns and hooks.  I suggest that you learn the basics before upgrading to more costly hooks and supplies.

Do not overwhelm yourself with your first project – start small and work up to a more difficult project.  This is advice I did not take – as my first project was an amigurumi cupcake.  I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my crafts and as soon as I learned the basic stitches, I jumped into amigurumi.

What advice would you give someone who is just starting out?  What was your first crochet project?

Next week, we will dive into the stitch basics.

Happy Crocheting!

Friday Freebies: Chunky Throw

Is there anything more comforting than a soft and thick homemade blanket?

It seems I always have the best intentions when I start an afghan pattern, but in all honesty, I usually lose interest pretty fast.  I am the type of crafter that likes to complete projects in one sitting.  I have had this pattern saved on my Pinterest board for quite some time… I just love the textured stitches.  Perhaps this summer, I will commit to it.

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This gorgeous crochet throw blanket can be found at LeeLeeKnits.  If you prefer, you can also purchase a PDF format of the pattern for a small fee.

Do you crochet blankets and afghans?  Or are you like me and perfer quicker projects?  Either way, I’d love to see your creations, drop me a comment or find me on social media.

Happy crafting!!

Tuesday Tips: Finding the Right Crochet Hook

In order to crochet, you need to start with two things: yarn and hooks.  Without the hooks, you would basically be doing  macrame. Even a novice crocheter will quickly learn that all crochet hooks are not created equal.  Over my crochet career I have used many hooks and I will share with you my favourites (and the ones I absolutely hate!!)

Metal Hooks

These will likely be the hooks new crocheters start with, and the ones that are frequently gifted.  On the plus side, if you misplace any of this type of hook, they are inexpensive and can be found at any store – from dollar stores to big craft stores.  It did not take me long to discover that plain metal hooks are my least favourite.  Although they are insanely study and conveniently colour coded, I found holding them for long periods of time caused my hands and fingers to ache.  Eventually, I ended up donating the majority of my metal hooks to the local schools for their crochet clubs.

pippa.pngBamboo Hooks

For the majority of my crochet career, I have used and loved my bamboo hooks.  The bamboo seemingly molds to your fingers.  I found comfort in these hooks.  There are several downsides to using these hooks.  If you have pets, be prepared for your puppy to eat your hooks.  I went through countless numbers of hooks when my Chihuahuas were small.  Because the hooks are carved, certain yarn types my catch on the hook angles.  If you crochet tightly, the hooks may also break during stitches (i had this happen a few times while making small, tight amigurumi stitches).   I have also recently discovered that sizing differs with the Bamboo hooks…  a 3.5mm bamboo hook is not the same as a 3.5mm metal hook.

The Hooks I Currently Use

I was recently gifted with a set of Clover Amour Crochet Hooks.  It really was love at firsthooks use.  These hooks are aluminum with a soft rubber handle.   They are light weight and are the optimal shape for smooth crocheting.  The ergonomic rubber handle (which is colour coded) provides comfort for finger placement during projects.   The only downside that I have discovered is that when I am making amigurumi, I tend to use the back end of my hook to push the extra threads into the center of my project after tying off (most people sew their threads in, this is just a preference of mine).  The rubber coating that I love on these hooks does not allow for me to pop the yarn through the stitches.

 

With so many hooks on the market, it may take time to find a version you love.  I suggest to try as many different hooks as possible to find the right fit for you.  It is important to note the pros and cons of each type of hook when making your decision.

Happy crocheting!

Friday Finds: Mermaid Edition

To close off this week, I will be sharing some of my favourite mermaid files that I have found recently.  There are both crochet patterns and SVG files listed below.  I do not receive any compensation when you click on these links.  I am not affiliated with any of the sites mentioned below.  If you create anything from these files, I would love to see it!! Feel free to share your creations on social media with me.

SVG FUN

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Caty Catherine offers a super fun waterbottle SVG.  The drink chart is always helpful to ensure you are drinking enough fluids on hot summer days.

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I simply adore this saying!  I think I will create something with this file in the future.  The swirly font and the mermaid tail are my favourite aspects here.  You can purchase this file from the Hello Felicity Etsy Shoppe.

CROCHET PATTERNS:

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When my youngest was about 5, she was a huge Tangled fan.  I remember creating a crochet play wig for her that she spent hours wearing.  Little ones always love dressing up! If your child is a Little Mermaid fan, how about an Ariel play wig?  This pattern can be purchased on Etsy.

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Cuddler designs are so very popular right now.  This adorable mermaid pattern can be found at 3am Grace Designs.  And best of all, it’s FREE!

That’s all for now!  I hope you have enjoyed this round up!  At the time of posting, all links were active.  If you find an inactive link, you may report it to me using the Contact Me page.

Happy Crafting!!

Bring on the Mermaids!!

Tips on Tuesday will return again next week… this week we are focusing on Mermaids!!

Two weeks ago, on the Facebook page, I polled the fans to see whether they would be interested in Mermaid or Unicorn crafts.  Although it was a close race, the Mermaids won the vote and this week will be dedicated to crafting with a splash!

Mermaid3It was obvious to me that I would be doing a mermaid amigurumi but I was unsure which pattern I would be using.  If you are a fan on the Facebook page, you may remember the pattern link I posted at the beginning of the month from Neogurumi.  I had planned on making this adorable mermaid to showcase, but she was a bit bigger than I had originally thought.

The search for the perfect mermaid began… I wanted something that was relatively small and worked up quickly – with summer approaching, there is a lot of yard and housework that has to be done, so a quick project was a must have.  I also wanted to find a free pattern that I could share with my readers and fans that they could make easily if they wanted.  Thanks to Pinterest, I stumbled this adorable mermaid from Black Hat Llama.

Alterations to the Original Pattern

Mermaid1As with every pattern I use, I tend to make slight alterations and this one was no different.  I was recently gifted new crochet hooks… and I must say – I absolutely LOVE my new Clover hooks.  Previously, I had been using bamboo hooks – which I preferred over basic metal hooks.  I have every size imaginable of the bamboo hooks and they have lasted me over 8 yrs (apart from the occasional loss when the puppy decided to use my hooks as a chew toy).  I currently only have 10 sizes of the Clover hooks… and of course, I did not have the required 3mm hook that this pattern called for.  I used the 3.25mm hook and my completed mermaid measures close to 6 inches in length.

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I used 9mm Safety eyes which I placed between rows 12 and 13 with a spacing of 7 stitches.  Unlike the pattern suggests, I place my eyes prior to stuffing the doll and before the neck opening gets too small – I believe I inserted them when I reached row 10 of the pattern.

The hair for this project was a bit of a challenge.  In all honesty, I have never created a doll with this much hair.  Although I used the technique suggested in the pattern (pictured above, right) I found the coverage was not as I had anticipated and I added in single strands underneath the “cap” (pictured left).

A small wooden flower button and felt “cheeks” glued in place helped to complete this look.  When all is said and done, I am super happy with this little mermaid and will definitely be making more of her in the future!

Happy crocheting!!