Earth

Today I want to show you my Earth. I’m so happy to have it! It’s not perfectly round, but still. My own globe :) Hmm… I could sew on a bead everywhere I visited. It’s not that accurate, however it’s big enough.

This magnificent project could have been crocheted thanks to Kat Perdue’s patten. You can purchase it here, on Etsy :)

For those who think crocheting it is easy: in widest round it has 100 stitches, plus you change colour multiple times during one round. And there’s no two rounds alike! It can be tricky, you need to stay focus all the time, always counting your stitches. Pattern does not forgive mistakes, even missing one stitch or changing colour a stitch later. I unraveled mine Earth few times :D

I struggled not only with occasional miscounting, but also with changing colours. I think we all are used to it to some extent, but there are parts where you work with single stitch in green, then single one in blue, another single green and so on. It’s annoying at the least, and slows you down so much! You can’t cheat here, have to wade through all this tedious work. In the end, it’s absolutely worth it!

Instructions are clear and correct. I imagine this had to cost a lot of hard work to write it down, and even more to figure it out! Earth is so detailed, I’m in love with it :)

Amigurumi: how to choose yarn?

You ask, I deliver :)

This is a re-make of my very, very old post. I tried to do my best and improve it, add even more from my experience, for you to benefit. If you are starting your adventure with crocheting amigurumi, this post is just for you!

Contrary to what you may think, choosing right yarn is not simple. Many depends on specific project and effect you want to get. Consider for who you are crocheting the toy, what your skills and preferences are, and you’ll probably get lost. Even more so, when you have little experience with yarns. When I was a total newbie, I thought it was so convenient to visit nearest yarnstore and grab first skein I put my hands on. How wrong I was! This left me with many projects I didn’t like and a lot of skeins I didn’t want.

In this post I am describing types of fibers and its features in hope to help you avoid my mistakes. Feel free to share your discoveries and opinions in comment section :)
Oh, and each picture can be viewed in full size by clicking on it.

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Acrylic yarns

Probably the most commonly used yarns. Cheapest, too. Come in width variety and many beautiful colours. Acrylic yarns do not sensitize, thus are perfect for kids and people with allergies. Avaliable in almost every thickness, often first choice for crocheters. Its softness promises toys pleasant in touch and gaps between stitches becoming invisible.

A characteristic feature, acrylic yarns tend to pile easily, which can be a deal breaker to some. Take a closer look – do you see little hair storm? Depending on the project, this effect might be desirable!

Cotton yarns

Another popular yarn fiber. Smooth and enduring, it owns this very delicate gloss. It is pleasant in touch, however amigurumi crocheted very tightly can feel harsh. Gaps between stitches will be more visible, too, so consider how much stuffing you want to use. Cotton yarns usually come in different thickness, even worsted, sometimes aran, but not thicker. It can be washed in higher temperatures, like 60 degrees celsius, depending on manufacturer, which makes it perfect for babies. Cotton does not sensitize and is a natural fiber. Greatest advantage though is its colour palette: vibrant, lovely colours, heavily saturated, in every shade you can imagine! Subtle glow makes it even more beautiful. For example, you can obtain this perfectly black yarn… for a black hole ;)

Cotton yarns can be mercerized or unmercerized. Mercerized ones are in general shinier, more durable and a bit stiffer, as they are twisted more tightly. Combed cotton offers more natural look and is softer in touch. Below planet is made with unmercerized cotton, while the ring with mercerized. I think difference between the two is well visible.

Acrylic and cotton mix

Proportions may differ, but usually it’s around fifty fifty. For me, it is perfect type of yarn for amigurumi! It combines features of both fibers, that complement each other. Acrylic makes it soft and easy to hide gaps. Finished toy feels almost like a plush toy. Cotton eliminates pilling – there is a hair storm, but barely visible. Yarn loses cotton’s glow, yet becomes more durable than acrylic ones.

For you to see difference in textures clearly, I post a picture of a planet with moon. Planet is made with mercerized cotton, while moon with acrylic and cotton mix.

Bamboo yarns

You should consider bamboo yarn if you want to crochet for small children or people with allergies. Bamboo is known for its antibacterial properties, therefore it is more convenient. It grows really fast, too, and pesticides are used rarely during cultivation. Yarn made with bamboo is sleek and glowy (even more than cotton yarns), though it tends to pill after a while, and – when crocheted tight – can be a bit harsh. Bamboo yarns are also refreshing, being few degrees cooler than ambient temperature. Beware of washing things made with it, as it tends to stretch more than other types of yarn and can loose its form.

Woolen yarns

There are so many wools out there: sheepwool, mohair, alpaca, cashmere, merino, angora – just to start with. Each one, of course, have its own unique look and different characteristics. Every one deserves separate description, I think. Woolen yarns are also the most expensive you will find. Perhaps silk and some novelty can beat it, but still.

Wool is great for many reasons: it is soft, chunky and comes in all types of thickness you may want. Depending on type, you can easily create unusuall look and style your amigurumi (more on this in fancy yarn section). The downside is allergy that one may have, especially if you create a toy, not collectible piece. Ah, and washing it can be tricky, as wool tends to stretch while wet (and it smells bad) and usually cannot be washed in a washing machine. However, if you have some leftovers, go ahead and use it for your project!

Silk, viscose, linen, hemp, poliester and other fibers

It feels wrong to put all the rest into one bag, but I don’t have much experience with said fibers and I don’t want to speak about things I don’t really know. I worked with poliester, viscose and linen before, yet it was more of a trying it out, one quick project of each type. Not enough to learn much, and I am not tricking you into thinking I know all about it. I’ll be sure to update this post if things change though ;)

If you have tested this yarns, your feedback will be more than welcome! I’m eager to learn something new :)

Fancy yarns

Fancy and creative yarns of all types. They are real game changers! Sometimes it’s enough to use it in place of usual yarn and you will get so different amigurumi… This can be a yarn with multiple colours (longer parts or enough to crochet only one stitch before it changes), additional strand of different fiber or colour, with beads, pompons or sequins, with multiple threads standing out that will make toy look furry and so on.

Don’t worry if you don’t have it on hand, or if you don’t wish to purchase one like this. With a bit of patience and flair you can make your own to create the same effect. Want multicolour yarn? Learn how to switch colours. Do you like to add something extra? Use your usuall yarn with thread that stands out, or slip on it some beads. Want your ami to be furry? Brush it with sharp comb (acrylic yarns are perfect for that) and watch it change :)

Working with such yarns requires more advanced skills. Well, multicolour yarn is the same as single coloure, but if you decide to work with few yarns and change colours, it obviously becomes more difficult. Yarn with two or more separate strands can tangle and hook up, while additional elements like beads can make crocheting a bit more inconvenient. When you work with furry yarn, you are not able to see stitches, so you kind of need to learn and feel them under your fingers. It does not mean it’s impossible, and final effect is worth it!

Keep in mind that some of this yarns are not suitable for babies and animals. It may contain rough fabric or small pieces that can be swallowed.

Thickness and yardage

The rule is simple: bigger thickness means bigger amigurumi. Using the very same pattern you can end up with few centimeters toy and another enormous one. Look at my eggs – all are crocheted from one pattern, the only difference is in yarn thickness: white one is super bulky, green is aran and purple – sport. Black eyes have 12 milimeters for your reference.

All yarns are divided into eight thickness categories (from thinnest):
* 0 – lace (yarns in this category: fingering, 10-count crochet thread), gauge (stitches per 10 centimeters): 32-42 double crochets, recommended hook (for clothes, not amigurumi): 1,4-1,6 mm
* 1 – super fine (sock, fingering, baby), gauge: 21-32 stitches, recommended hook: 2,25-3,5 mm
* 2 – fine (sport, baby), gauge: 16-20 stitches, recommended hook: 3,5-4,5 mm
* 3 – light (DK, light worsted), gauge: 12-17 stitches, recommended hook: 4,5-5,5 mm
* 4 – medium (worsted, afghan, aran), gauge: 11-14 stitches, recommended hook: 5,5-6,5 mm
* 5 – bulky (chunky, craft, rug), gauge: 8-11 stitches, recommended hook: 6,5-9 mm
* 6 – super bulky (super bulky, roving), gauge: 7-9 stitches, recommended hook: 9-15 mm
* 7 – jumbo (jumbo, roving), gauge: 6 stitches and less, recommended hook: 15 mm and bigger

Some patterns tell you how much yarn you’re going to need by providing yardage (how much of yarn in lenght is needed to complete project). But remember that when changing yarn for thicker or thinner, yardage also changes. Unfortunately, there is no easy tell how much of replacement yarn you will need, in contrary to crocheting or knitting clothes (at least if you don’t plan to adjust pattern, which is rather tedious work that requires lots of calculations). Yardage does not change drastically if difference in thickness is relatively small though.

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I hope this post clears things a bit and will help you choose the right yarn for you. I always struggle with it :D

I’d love to hear from you, what is your experience and advice on picking this perfect fiber!

Easter Eggs

Hullo! :)

I’m not much of a religious person and Easter is more like a habit than meaningful holiday to me. I adore Christmas for many reasons, however I don’t feel the spirit of spring festival. Happens. I’ve made some decorations anyway, and I want to share it with you ;)

Two years ago I crocheted two sets of eggs, based on Kristie Tullus’ free pattern. One for each grandma :) I wanted eggs to be happy and spring-ish, so I decided to go with colours of crocus. Each one is made with different yarn to vary sizes. Violet one is made with Jeans (YarnArt), green with Paris (Drops) and white – Happy (YarnArt). No matter the yarn, crocheting them was easy and pleasing.

Don’t ask me about the white one, though. I have no idea why I made it furry in the first place, not to mention attaching eyes.

They are kind of weird, if you think about this :)

Tortoise

The very first amigurumi I crocheted was a tortoise. Not this one, but from the same pattern. I remember the joy and proud that I’ve made it! :)

It was a long time ago… Like six years or so. I still have thread I bought back then to crochet with. All colours that were avaliable ;)

Pattern is created by Kristie and is free. It’s not the easiest for beginners, as it requires lots of sewing and crocheting tiny legs, but it surely is worth your time.

Mr Sleepy

Hello guys!

I can’t say I have a bad day, but I do have a runny nose and it’s all sore from constant wiping. Bed and cuddly toy would be most welcome ;)

Mr Sleepy embraces the mood, so I’m all for showing it to you! It’s one of my latest works. I used Silvia Niessen’s free pattern. It is avaliable in Dutch only, but with little effort you’ll be able to read it.

I think it’s perfect for babies. You are able to crochet Mr Sleepy in one piece (plus hat). I absolutely love it! Give this handsome toy a try :)