The makers of Inside Crochet magazine recently released a special “bookazine” edition : The Amigurumi Collection. They sent me a copy of the issue and I was happy to see photos of several of my hookabee patterns, as well as some select quotes by me from when they interviewed me earlier in the year. Have a look!
I recommend checking the magazine out and maybe even picking up a copy for yourself. This special issue includes 33 amigurumi patterns (wow!), a couple designer interviews, and several tutorials. It is packed full.
The pattern designs span a huge range, including multiple animals, dolls, and food, all from different designers. They are divided up into several different categories: Cute and Cuddly, Fairyland and Woodland magic, Seasonal Fun, and Toys with a Twist. I think my favourite pattern is the Rapunzel doll with her tower by Lynn Rowe. That tower is so neat!
I have a MacBook, but it is showing its age and likes to be super slow and shut down programs in the middle of use (especially Photoshop!). I mostly use my little Acer Chromebook computer now, and I am loving it.
A Chromebook is basically a computer with a browser, and that is it. It is super affordable, super basic, and super fast (it turns on in seconds!). The only problem with a Chromebook is that I can’t download software to use on it, such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. However, I still use my Chromebook for all my photo editing and graphic development for my website – I simply use all online tools, that are free! There are three websites that I use consistently:
My favourite website for editing photos is Pixlr. It is very similar to Photoshop, and has everything I need. I can resize the photos, change the brightness and contrast easily, as well as use a paintbrush to make clean solid white backgrounds (I use a method similar to Stacey of FreshStitches).
The program is free, fast and I can easily download my finished photos to my Google drive when I am done. The only disadvantage is that there are advertisements on the side, which make the working area on the screen a little smaller, but it is still large enough for what I need. Or, of course, you can always pay to have an ad free experience.
For most of the graphics for my website, advertising, and CAL badges, I use the website Canva. This site is so fun to play around with. While there are features, fonts, and images that you have to pay for, you can do a lot for free (everything I have made has been free!). I can also upload my own images to to site and use them in my designs.
All my blog titles and graphics for my newsletter are made using Canva:
I created an account with Canva which allows me to save all my designs and go back to them whenever I want. I love that the site has pre-made templates for particular elements on different sites, such as social media, so you don’t have to look up what dimensions you should use. For example, there is already a template for an Etsy banner, so you just choose the Etsy banner and it is already the perfect size for your Etsy shop. They also have templates for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, as well as for blog posts, flyers, posters, cards, and invitations. It makes things so easy!
PicMonkey is somewhat in between Pixlr and Canva – it is great for photo editing (but does not have all the tools Pixlr has), and it is also useful for graphic design (but has different features than Canva).
I use PicMonkey a lot for the images in my patterns and blog tutorials
– when I want to add text, arrows, or need to highlight certain stitches. It is also super easy to resize and round the corners of my images, as well as make collages.
So, those are the three programs I use on a daily basis for my photo editing and graphic design. I highly recommend all three of them – I cannot do everything using just one, but need all three in combination for my creations. Maybe try them out for your website or ravelry project pages!
For cuteness sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my amigurumi newsletter to receive emails filled with ami fun, including exclusive interviews, sneak peeks, discounts, and links from around the web.
Continuing with how to read written amigurumi patterns, I will now take you through different ways to write the same instructions. Missed the first two parts of the series? Catch up here: Part 1 & Part 2.
There are no rules or specific guidelines that amigurumi designers must follow when writing up a pattern. I write mine the way I prefer to read patterns, with fewer words, so I know what I have to do at a glance. You won’t often see “make x stitches in the next x stitches” in my patterns. I don’t like having to find the numbers within the words to learn how many stitches I need to make. But, some designers prefer to write more words in order to explicitly tell the reader the exact stitch to work into, removing all ambiguity. I get the benefits of this method, too.
But then, it isn’t just the number of words that can differ from pattern to pattern, but the symbols used and positioning of numbers. Some designers write the number of stitches before the stitch type (ex. 3 sc), while others write it after (ex. sc 3). For some patterns ‘2 sc’ means ‘make 1 single crochet into the next 2 stitches’, but for others it means ‘make 2 single crochet stitches into the next stitch’.
There are also several ways to write out how to repeat a sequence of stitches. In the last post in this series I showed how I use brackets (you simply repeat what is inside the brackets a certain number of times). Other patterns will indicate a repeat using a * instead. In this case, you repeat whatever follows the * a certain number of times, after already crocheting it once. For example:
*inc, 3 sc. Repeat from * 5 times (30)
Written out fully, this means: inc, 3 sc, inc, 3 sc, inc, 3 sc, inc, 3 sc, inc, 3 sc, inc, 3sc (30).
The tricky thing about this method is that the number of repeats (in this case, 5 times) is not the total number of times you do the repeat, but the total number minus 1, because you already made one of the repeats! The pattern is indicating how many MORE times you need to repeat the sequence of stitches after already crocheting the sequence once.
Let’s go through some more examples of different instructions. The first line of each will show how I write an instruction, followed by examples of how other designers may write the same thing.
sc in next 3 sts
3 x sc
inc in each st around (12)
sc twice in each st. (12)
(sc 2 in next st) 6 times (12)
6 x inc (12)
inc rep (12)
inc 6 times (12)
2 sc in each st around (12)
[inc] around (12)
inc x6 = 12 sts
(dec, 5 sc) 6 times
*sc2tog, sc in next 5 sts. Repeat from * 5 times.
(sc2tog, sc in next 5 sts) 6 times
*Dec, Sc 5*, rep 6 times (note: in this case, the two *’s act like brackets)
dec, 5 sc rep
(sc2tog, sc in next 5 sc) to end
[dec, sc 5] around
(1 dec, sc in next 5 sts) x6
(inc, 4 sc) 6 times
*sc twice in next stitch, sc in next 4 sts. Repeat from * 5 times.
(sc 2 in next stitch, sc in next 4 sts) 6 times
*Inc, Sc 4*, rep 6 times (note: in this case, the two *’s act like brackets)
(2sc in next sc, sc in next 4 sc) to end
*inc, 4 x sc* x 6
[inc, sc 4] around
[inc, sc 4] 6x
(2 sc in next st, sc in next 4 st) six times
(1 inc, sc in next 4 sts) x6
4 sc, 3 inc
sc in next 4 sts, *sc twice in next stitch. Repeat from * 2 times
sc in next 4 sts, [sc twice in next stitch] 3 times
sc 4, inc x 3
sc 4, [inc] 3 times
*Sc2tog. Repeat from * 5 times.
(sc2tog) 6 times
dec 6 times
There are even more ways to write each set of instructions than those listed here, but I hope these give you an idea of the variety that is out there and help you with deciphering a pattern you may be having trouble with.
There is no right or wrong way to write an amigurumi pattern, each method works, as long as it is clear within the pattern how to read it. Make sure you read the abbreviations key and notes at the beginning of each pattern you work with, and read the entire pattern thoroughly before beginning to crochet. These simple steps may save you some time and frustration in the long run.
Happy amigurumi making! Let me know if you have any questions on reading patterns.