Inside Crochet’s “Amigurumi Collection” magazine

Press and Publications of hookabee crochetThe 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!

insidecrochetamigurumiissuehookabee

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!

For cuteness sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my amigurumi newsletter to receive emails filled with ami fun. You can also follow me on facebooktwitterinstagram, and pinterest to keep up to date on all things hookabee.

 Until next time,
hookabee signature
Advertisements

How to read amigurumi patterns: Part 3

How to read amigurumi patterns part 3Continuing 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.

  • 3 sc
    • sc in next 3 sts
    • sc 3
    • 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
  • 6 dec
    • *Sc2tog. Repeat from * 5 times.
    • (sc2tog) 6 times
    • dec 6 times
    • [dec] around
    • [dec] 6x

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.

For cuteness sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my amigurumi newsletter to receive emails filled with ami fun. You can also follow me on facebooktwitterinstagram, and pinterest to keep up to date on all things hookabee.
Until next time,

hookabee signature

Getting started with cross stitch

CrossStitchI recently finished my very first cross stitch project – a Toronto Blue Jays logo for my brother:

2016March_BlueJayXStitchCollageIt was a super fun and easy project, so I thought I would share what I learned about cross stitch so you can try your hand at stitching something too!

What is cross stitch?

It is a specific type of embroidery, in which you use thread and a needle to stitch many little crosses on to fabric and all the crosses together form an image on the fabric.

Materials

To get started, you will need some fabric to stitch on. There are two basic kinds used in cross stitch: Aida and evenweave. They are both easy to use, just different! I started with a 14-count Aida fabric because it does have more obvious holes to stitch into than evenweave, but I am sure you can figure out evenweave as a beginner, too. To help you choose, you can learn more about each fabric on the Cross Stitch Guild’s website.

Both Aida and evenweave come in various colours, so make sure you choose one that will go with the design you want to make – it does make a difference to your overall project. You can usually get both kinds of fabric, in a variety of colours, in most general craft stores.

Of course, you also need something to stitch with: embroidery thread (floss). The most common type, and the one most recommended for beginners, is DMC cotton floss. This floss is 6 ply, which means you can separate it into 6 different strands. In most cases, you have to separate them and use only 1, 2, or 3 strands at a time, not the full 6. You can see a great image of how the thread splits on the DMC website. Floss comes in a crazy number of colours, so have fun shopping for just the right shades for your project!

You will also need a needle. For cross stitch you use a blunt tipped tapestry needle, NOT a sharp embroidery needle. You don’t want to pierce through the fabric itself when cross stitching (unless you are doing a fancier stitch), but instead through the holes of the fabric. The most common sizes used are 24 and 26. The size you use depends on the fabric you have chosen, and how many strands of thread you are using. If you are using a fabric with larger holes to stitch into and more strands of thread (2 or more), than use the larger size 24 needle. If your fabric is finer and you are using fewer strands (2 or less), use the smaller size 26 needle. A good test is to pass the needle through the fabric – if the needle makes the hole larger, it is too big.

I used a size 24 needle and 3 strands of thread for my project, but from what I have read since, most people use only 2 strands on 14-count Aida. Working with three strands worked out fine for me – my stitches were simply thicker and more raised from the fabric. It is all a matter of preference, so experiment using the fabric you have choosen. Next time, I plan to experiment and try only 2 strands.

You may also want to get a hoop to hold your work as you stitch. A hoop is made up of two wooden or plastic circles, one small one that fits inside a larger one. You stretch your fabric across the small circle and keep it taut and in place with the larger circle. You can see how it works on the DMC website. Many stitchers use a hoop to help hold the fabric for them and keep it taut while stitching, but others prefer not to use one at all and simply hold the fabric in their hands. Try out both methods and see which you prefer.

Hoops come in both wood and plastic, in a variety of sizes and shapes. Again, you need to experiment with each kind to see which you like to use – there are mixed reviews! When using a hoop, make sure you choose a size that is larger than the pattern you want to stitch – you don’t want your work to be pressed in-between the two hoop pieces.

There are alternatives to hoops, such as scroll bar frames and stretcher bars, so if you aren’t a fan of the hoop, check these out and see if you like using them instead.

Finally, you will need a good pair of really sharp scissors that are used exclusively for your stitch work. You may already be familiar with the stork scissors that many people use for embroidery and cross stitching, but of course, a normal pair also work, just make sure they are super pointy for cutting the fine threads accurately.

How to Cross Stitch

I won’t go into the details here on how to actually cross stitch because there are so many great resources already out there. The two websites I referred to the most were:

The Cross Stitch Guild

and

DMC

These two sites are really all you need to get started reading a pattern and making a cross stitch project of your own, but if you prefer books, I have also read parts of The Cross Stitcher’s Bible – see if your library has it (that is where I got mine!) because it has some great tips and techniques to improve your stitches as well as embellishments to try.

Pattern Ideas

There are so many really great cross stitch pattern designers out there. A good place to start is Etsy, but of course just Googling something you want to stitch is also quite effective (I found the Blue Jays Logo as a google image).

I already have a number designers on my “to stitch” list. Here are my favourites so far (maybe they will inspire you, too!):

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery

Satsuma Street

Crafty Like a Fox

cloudsfactory

andwabisabi cross stitch

sew sew n sew

Another neat website for some quick and simple designs is the Daily Cross Stitch website. Visit it everyday for a new free pattern!

You can also try your hand at creating your own design. You can convert any image into a cross stitch pattern by using a program that will turn it into a bunch of little squares, just like a cross stitch design. While I haven’t tried it myself (yet!), there are free options out there to try for yourself (just Google it).

Finishing techniques

Once you are done your project it is a good idea to wash it, even in just water, and to press it using an iron. This will remove any wrinkles and other things that may have gotten on your fabric while you were stitching.

Now you have a beautiful design on a piece of fabric, but what do you do with it?!? I simply put mine back in the hoop to frame it and sent it off to my brother. In the hoop, it can be hung up as a piece of art on your wall, or sit in a stand on a table. I followed the video by Shiny Happy World on how to frame using a hoop.

You can also place your work in a normal picture frame to hang on your wall. Or, you can turn it into a bookmark, a pin cushion, a pillow, a greeting card, etc. I have started a Pinterest board with ideas on what to do with cross stitch projects.

And that is all I have learned so far! I hope it helps you if you want to start to cross stitch, too. I highly recommend it as a relaxing craft.

For cuteness sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my amigurumi newsletter to receive emails filled with ami fun. You can also follow me on facebooktwitterinstagram, and pinterest to keep up to date on all things hookabee.
Until next time,
hookabee signature