I'm currently trapped under a cat, busy crocheting away, and thought I'd take a quick break to report on my current project. Last night I finished my first joey pouch and I'm about 3/4 of the way done with a nest. These, and whatever else I can whip up, are going to the Animal Rescue Craft Guild (https://www.facebook.com/groups/arfsncrafts/) which is gathering items for the animals displaced by the fires in Australia.
I found out about this group a couple days ago and immediately decided to put all other projects aside to help out. Personally I have been avoiding the news on the fires because it is too heartbreaking so I don't really know how bad it is - I just know it is really bad and I don't like feeling helpless in the face of such devastation. I can't put out fires and don't have spare money to donate, but I can stitch so that is what I'm doing.
If anyone is interested in helping check out their Facebook page (link above). They need various items and have patterns for sewn, knit and crochet projects. There are also folks around the world coordinating the collection and delivery of items so no one is too far away to help.
Now I need to get back to work. Thanks everyone!
Well, I did manage to finish my first amigurumi crochet project! It's a little odd looking, but it's done. I assume a big part of the oddity is because I didn't use the right yarn. It is supposed to be Knit Picks Brava Sport Yarn, but I didn't happen to have any of that on hand, and since it was an experiment, I just grabbed some scraps of worsted weight acrylic I had in my stash. So of course my cupcake is rather large. Not sure why it has such a pointy top, but I have a theory.
But first, some notes on the pattern itself. It didn't say whether the terminology was in US or UK terms, but I figured out it was US based on the pictures. The bottom (cake) was pretty straightforward and the instructions were easy to follow. I did have a bit of a hole in the bottom, but that is to be expected with the way it was started. I just tightened it up with the tail.
The top (icing) was more of an issue. Not that there was a problem with the pattern, it was more that I seemed to have developed a sudden inability to handle half double crochet stitches. A few months ago a did an entire sweater in HDC's and it went really well. But with the cupcake I kept getting hung up pulling the final loop through and splitting the yarn. Then I had to redo the stitch, which meant I lost count. So I started pulling a bit on the work to make more room, which is probably why my cupcake looks like it had way too much baking powder in it.
The only real issue I had with the pattern itself was when it came to sewing the top and bottom together. Somehow my brain couldn't wrap itself around what I was supposed to do. After a couple of false starts I thought I had it figured out until I got almost done and realized the top and bottom didn't fit! If I had paid more attention to the stitch count this would have been obvious, but I didn't bother checking such details. Once I figured that out I did manage to sew it together just fine.
I like the somewhat rippled edge that is added to the icing after it is sewn together. This is one of the good things about crochet as opposed to knitting - the crocheted edge doesn't curl up the way knitting does. The edging on my knit cupcake is all rolled up! Crocheting the edging was a bit tricky though, given how the stitches I was working into sat once it was sewn together.
Oh, and I should probably mention that I changed the eyes since I didn't have plastic eyes handy. Plus yarn eyes are less dangerous if Salem gets a hold of it.
So what did I learn from this experience? Well, I'm better at understanding crochet patterns than I thought, for one. But the main thing I realized is that I need to pay more attention to my tension and hook size. Since I changed the yarn I used the hook recommended on a ball band for worsted weight yarn. This meant that I forgot one of the key lessons I learned from knitting stuffed toys - use smaller than normal needles to knit a tight fabric so the stuffing doesn't show. It's hard to see in the pictures, but the holes in the icing are just too big. If I used a smaller hook the stuffing wouldn't peek through, and maybe it would look more like a cupcake and less like a smiling hut😊.
If you want to try the pattern you can find it here: Amigurumi Crochet Cupcake. And the "real" yarn is here: Knit Picks Brava Sport Yarn. (And you can support my work by using my links!) Now time for me to find a new pattern to try...
Happy New Year everyone! Hope everyone one has a fantastic (and safe) celebration😊. I’m spending the night in trying to comfort my critters – the fireworks started around 5 in my neighborhood, and both Poppy and Salem took off to the back room. So, I’ve got dog soothing music playing and decided to do a little stitching.
The women in my family crocheted, so I learned about as soon as I was old enough to hold a hook. But I wanted to knit, so once I learned to knit I pretty much quit crocheting. Then about a year and a half ago my niece asked me to help her with a crochet project and I felt a little awkward not being able to do much to help with this family tradition. So, it was time to relearn to crochet.
Once I did, I discovered something I hadn’t realized before – crocheting generally goes much quicker than knitting. I decided to start an afghan last fall and joked that it would probably take about 5 years…and it ended up being closer to 5 weeks. Super cool, huh?
But now that I am back to crocheting, I need to revisit my stuffed food collection. That’s right – I have a collection of stuffed foods that I have knitted. I seem to have a bit of a food obsession – I even have a variety of food themed fabric designs in my Portfolio. Maybe because I am hungry all the time?
So, while crochet amigurumi has been all the rage I have only ever knit these fun little items. But no more – it is time to break out the crochet hook and add to my food collection!
Why am I telling you unknown strangers this? Because I have never been good at understanding crochet patterns. As a kid I tended to just make things up (and never finish them – I’m a bit infamous in my family for this). When I dabbled as an adult I spent more time trying to understand the instructions than actually crocheting. And usually I just gave up. Then I realized that the stitch names don’t mean the same thing everywhere! Who on earth decided that “single crochet” should mean one thing in the US and quite another thing in the UK? What sort of madness is this? I can only assume it is some sort of punishment for that little revolution thing we had a couple of centuries ago.
At this point I have made a few crochet items and have developed some level of muscle memory, but I still do best if I see pictures with the pattern so I know what “2 SC in first ST and 1 SC in each of the next three STS” means in this particular instance. Actually, if it weren’t for YouTube I probably wouldn’t have re-entered the world of crochet. Big thanks to Arne and Carlos (www.arnecarlos.com) for their slow-motion demonstration of the stitches. And Arne – if you ever read this – don’t worry that you can’t remember the English names for the stitches. I’ve only ever spoken English I clearly I can’t remember the names either😊.
I have found a cute cupcake pattern on KnitPicks that I am going to try, and report back on my success. The free pattern is here: Amigurumi Crochet Cupcake. (Disclaimer: the fine folks at KnitPicks give me a commission if you use my link. So, support a food obsessed, starving artist and go buy some of their fantastic products!) When I’m done I will report back on how easy it is for the easily confused to follow the pattern. And show you my newest stuffed food.
Happy New Year!