My favourite tools for making amigurumi

My favourite tools and notions for making amigurumi by @hookabee

Everybody has their preferences when it comes to which tools they like to use when crocheting. Today I am going to share with you my favourite tools for making amigurumi.

1. Hooks: Clover Amour

When I first learned how to crochet I simply bought the first hook I could find. I didn’t know the difference between hooks, the selection was limited where I lived, and I didn’t yet know if I would even like crocheting. But when I fell in love with crochet and wanted to purchase an entire set of hooks, I decided on the Clover Amour set, and haven’t looked back since. I love them! They are colourful, smooth, strong, and nice to hold and use. For amigurumi, I use the entire array of sizes, depending on what yarn I use, but the one I pick up the most is the 3.5 mm (E) one with worsted weight yarn.

2. Hook case: hand crocheted by me!

In order to keep my hooks safe and in order I decided to crochet myself a case rather than buy one. I used the pattern by Crochet Dynamite, and it turned out really well! I just used some acrylic yarn I had on hand, and I am still using it three years later (though it may need a trip through the wash soon…).handmade crochet hook case3. Stitch markers: Clover Locking Stitch Markers

You can’t make amigurumi without your trusty stitch markers. Well, you can, but it is much easier if you have them! Just have a look at my stitch marker blog series for an idea of how much I love them. I own the Clover locking stitch markers and really like using them. They open easily, stay closed when I want them to, and are nice colours. I bought one set a long time ago and they are still going strong.

4. Needles: Clover Chibi with Darning Needles

I use the darning needles that come in a cute little “Chibi” case by Clover. There are three different varieties of these Chibi’s, each with their own needle sizes and style. I have the green one with the basic straight needles in three sizes, and most often use the largest needle included. I have heard it is nice to use a bent needle when attaching pieces in amigurumi, so I am tempted to get another, either the orange or blue Chibi.

5. Stitch counter: Clover Mini Kacha-Kacha

Sometimes I like to keep track of rounds using a stitch counter so that I don’t have to count the rounds every time I forget where I am. I have the Clover (can you see a trend here?) mini kacha-kacha counter because it is a nice size and you can run a string through it to have around you neck. I also like that you can lock it so if you throw it in your bag you won’t get added counts by mistake.

6. Scissors: the pair I had as a kid and another I found on the ground.

I am obviously not picky about my scissors. When making amigurumi you don’t really need to be. I have a couple pairs that I use, and both I didn’t even choose or purchase. One is a pair I have had since I was a kid and another I simply found on the ground one day. They are both children’s craft scissors, nothing fancy, but they work to cut yarn and that is all that is required! Plus they have fun coloured handles.scissors7. Stuffing tool: the one included with a bag of stuffing (ie. a chopstick)

I always have a stuffing tool on hand to get stuffing into small spaces (and to help with little bitty ami pieces). I use the one that came with a bag of stuffing I bought at Michael’s, but really it is just a chopstick (actually, my husband saw it and thought I stole his chopstick!).

8. Scale: Escali Primo Digital Scale

I use a scale to weigh my yarn so I know how much I used when designing a new amigurumi pattern, and to determine whether I have enough yarn to make something in particular. I bought the Escali Primo scale partly because it was pretty (so many colours!), partly because it was a good price (find it on Amazon), and partly because it had good reviews. I bought it early this year and I am still loving it. One feature I like is that it has an automatic turn off, and only after 4 minutes. Other scales also turn off automatically, but usually too soon. Now that I have it I also use it for baking and cooking – multiuse!WeighYourYarn9. Yarn winder: Stanwood Needlcraft Large 10oz winder

I love this bad boy :P. Often with amigurumi you only use part of a skein and then you are left with a floppy, misshaped mess of yarn – which does not make me happy when I like everything to be just so. I like to turn these messes of yarn into pretty yarn cakes using a yarn winder. There are many basic (and cheap) plastic winders out there, some that are very popular, like the Lacis winder, but I wanted one with higher capacity for larger skeins, so I bought the Large Metal Winder – 10 oz Heavy Duty by Stanwood Needlecraft. It is so sturdy and well made, I could probably crank that thing all day and it wouldn’t fuss at all. The pieces are solid and it moves really smoothly. If I was to buy a swift (on my wishlist!), I would buy a Stanwood one because I am so happy with my winder.

10. Light: OttLite 13w Folding Task Lamp

I saw this little OttLite Folding Task Lamp on sale at my local Michael’s craft store and decided to give it a go. It came in pink, for one thing, and I was finding our apartment got pretty dark in the evenings, even with the lights we already had, so felt it would make my evening crocheting easier. It has special light bulbs, which I will need to buy when the first one goes out, but so far it is lasting a long time. Supposedly the light is better for seeing everything more “clearly and comforatbly”, and while I am not sure about that, I do find it nice and bright – especially when crocheting little black bee legs :P. I also really like that it folds down and has a handle for easy mobility and storage. One thing I do find tricky, is it isn’t great for crocheting while sitting on the sofa. You need to have a high level shelf or table right beside the sofa to place it on. I have to stack up books on my side table to get it at a suitable height. Works great while at a desk though!lamp11. Storage: Recollections (a Michael’s brand) storage tower, plus a pencil case

With all your hooks and notions, it is a good to be organized and have a specific place where they can live. Not long ago I stored all my small items in a pencil case so I wouldn’t lose them, and still do when I am travelling. My pencil case is made from recycled juice boxes (so fun!) and was given to me as a gift.TravelCaseRecently, however, I purchased a storage tower with little compartments on the top, and I love it! I have it right beside my desk so I can access things easily, and everything has its place. I can now have stuffing for my amis in the large lower drawer so I don’t have the huge bag of it hanging around our living room. My tower was on liquidation at Michael’s, but you can find similar ones on Amazon.StorageTowerWhy did I choose these brands over others? A lot if it has to do with appearance – as you can see, I love fun colours! For some things, like the scale, winder and hooks, I did quite a bit or research before buying, reading reviews and descriptions online before making a decision. Other things, like the scissors, stuffing tool and travelling case, were given to me or found, so I use them because they work and are free! In the case of the needles, stitch counter, and stitch markers, they are all Clover. I purchased one thing from them, loved it, and just keep going back to their products because I know I can trust them. Plus, I love the style of Clover products and you can find them easily in local craft stores. For the storage tower and light, I chose them because they were on sale at the time I really wanted them (and they are fun looking!).

I am greatly influenced by colour and price, but quality is also important to me. I want my tools to last, and so far so good!

What are your favourite hooks and tools for amigurumi?

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Until next time,

An introduction to Ravelry

I just started using the website Ravelry more extensively this year.  If you are unfamiliar with the  platform, it is a community for fellow crocheters and knitters to interact and share everything about their craft.  Actually, it is more than that – it is so many things it is hard to describe in just one sentence.

Ravelry logo

There is so much you can do on this website, I am still learning everything! As a quick overview, here are some of things you can do on Ravelry:

  • Manage your stash of yarn and make a list of every skein of yarn you own and how much you have.
  • Maintain an inventory of all your hooks and needles.
  • Keep track of all your projects, both what you are currently working on, what you have completed, and what you plan to work on.
  • Make a collection of all the patterns you own in a “library”.
  • Join (multiple) groups of like minded crocheters and knitters to discuss anything and everything (including local meet-ups and clubs).
  • Buy and sell knit and crochet patterns and ebooks.
  • Read and write reviews for patterns and yarns.
  • Check out other members’ creations and “favorite” them (similar to “like” on facebook).
  • Share your blog posts on your profile, and check out other blogs.
  • Make new friends!

ravelry screenshot hookabee favourites

My favourite things about Ravelry:

(1) The ability to keep track of all the crochet projects I have made. When I want to look back and see what pattern and yarn I used for a particular project I made previously, all I need to do is look it up on ravelry! When you add a project to your profile, you can add the exact yarn you used, how much of the yarn you needed, what hook size you used, any alterations you made to the pattern, as well as photos.

(2)  I am a bit of a snoop and I like looking at the projects of other members, especially if it something from a pattern I am considering using.  I can see what yarn they used and see how it turned out by looking at their photos.  I can also see if they ran into any problems with the pattern, which helps me make my final decision on whether I want to invest my time and yarn into the project.

(3) I really like having a place to store all the patterns I come across and want to save for future projects. On a daily basis I find patterns I really want to make, but just can’t at that moment.  I don’t want to forget about them, so I find the patterns in the ravelry database (which so far has had EVERY pattern I have searched for) and add them to my favourites to go back to later.

(4) I especially love how I can sell my patterns on a platform in which all the members are into yarn crafts (a very targeted audience!), but is still open enough to allow non-members to buy patterns, too (you don’t need to sign up to Ravelry to purchase a pattern from me!).

(5) And finally, I am really excited to use Ravelry as a place to connect with my customers who have bought one of my patterns.  I started a hookabee group page on Ravelry for people to ask questions and share their finished hookabee creations. I hope to create a fun community there as hookabee grows!

ravelry group screenshotIf you are new to ravelry, don’t be overwhelmed by all that you can do on the site. Take your time exploring it and discovering all that is possible.  Read forums and check out the Ravelry 101 help guides (click on the question mark tab on the ravelry website).

The site opens up so many opportunities to sell your own patterns, buy from other designers, organize your crochet projects, and to simply meet like minded people with a similar love for the yarn arts!  Ravelry is a great community to be part of, and it is FREE to join. Crazy!

Don’t forget to sign up for my amigurumi newsletter to receive emails filled with ami fun. You can also follow me on facebook, twitter, instagram, and pinterest to keep up to date on all things hookabee.

Until next time,