How to read amigurumi patterns: Part 2

How to read amigurumi patterns part 2This is the second post in a tutorial series on how to read amigurumi crochet patterns. Previously, I looked at the most common abbreviations used in written amigurumi patterns – if you haven’t already, I recommend reading it before continuing with this post. Now, I will take you through, line by line, how to read a written hookabee pattern. This will not only help you with reading hookabee patterns, but also those designers who write similarly.

Lets go through how to read the pattern for a simple fin shape:

Fin: (make 2)
With A, make a magic ring, 1 ch
rnd 1: 6 sc in magic ring (6)
rnd 2: inc in each st around (12)
rnd 3: (inc, 1 sc) 6 times (18)
rnd 4: 7 sc, 2 dec, 7 sc (16)
rnd 5: 6 sc, 2 dec, 6 sc (14)
rnd 6: 3 sc, 4 dec, 3 sc (10)
Fasten off, leaving a long tail to attach to body.

Line 1 Fin: (make 2)

This line indicates that the following instructions are to make a fin for your amigurumi, and that you are supposed to make two of them total; therefore, after making one fin, you need to repeat all the instructions again to make a second fin that is exactly the same as the first.

Line 2 – With A, make a magic ring, 1 ch

Using colour A yarn (refer to the colour key in the pattern for the actual colour used), make a magic ring (which is the same thing as a magic circle) and then make one chain, “1 ch”, stitch. You can see how to make a magic ring using my written or video tutorial. These tutorials include a chain stitch after making the magic ring – this is the “1 ch” indicated at the end of this line.

Line 3 – rnd 1: 6 sc in magic ring (6)

Now you make your first round of the piece, “rnd 1”. For this round, you make 6 single crochet, “6 sc”, stitches total, and they are all made into the magic ring you just made in Line 2.magic ring for amigurumi

The number in brackets at the end of the round, and at the end of every round, indicates the number of stitches you should have once you have completed that round. For this round, because you made 6 single crochet stitches into the magic ring, you should have 6 stitches total in the end = (6). These total stitch counts are super helpful because you can count your stitches and make sure that you did everything correctly for that round before moving on – it is always best to catch a mistake sooner rather than later so you don’t have to undo so much of your work.

Line 4 – rnd 2: inc in each st around (12)

Next, for round 2, “rnd 2”, you are going to increase, “inc”, in each of the stitches from the last round, all the way around the piece. An increase means you make two single crochet stitches into the same stitch. You have 6 stitches from the previous round to crochet into, therefore you will be making 6 increases total.  In other words, you will make 2 single crochet stitches into each of the 6 stitches, so you will have 12 stitches total at the end of the round = (12).How to read amigurumi patternsFor this round, you will want to place a stitch marker on the first stitch you make so that you know where the round started. When you come back around to the marker, you then know you have completed a round and should have the number of stitches indicated in the brackets at the end of the line. Do this for every round – move the marker up into the first stitch of each new round you start. Read my tutorial on marking the start of a round using a stitch marker for more detailed instructions.

Line 5 – rnd 3: (inc, 1 sc) 6 times (18)

For round three, there is a repeat. The “inc, 1 sc” within the brackets means you will make an increase (so 2 single crochet stitches) in the next stitch, followed by 1 single crochet stitch in the stitch after that. You need to crochet this entire sequence, “inc, 1 sc”, 6 times total, and this will bring you all the way around, back to your marker in the first stitch of the round. Basically, it is the same as writing: inc, 1 sc, inc, 1 sc, inc, 1 sc, inc, 1 sc, inc, 1 sc, inc, 1 sc (18) – but is much easier to read and follow!Reading amigurumi patterns

If you aren’t sure you are interpreting the instructions correctly, see if the math all adds up. For this round, you are increasing 6 times total, so that means you will make 12 stitches from the increases (because each increase is 2 single crochet stitches), plus you are making 1 single crochet stitch 6 times: 12+6 = 18, which is the same as the total stitch count!

You can also compare the previous round’s stitch count to the current round’s and look at how many increases and decreases were made during the current round. For example, the previous round ended with just 12 stitches, then there were 6 increases in the current round: 12+6 = 18.

Line 6 – rnd 4: 7 sc, 2 dec, 7 sc (16)

For round 4, you get to do some decreases. A decrease, “dec”, is when you single crochet the next two stitches together (same as sc2tog). Start the round by making 7 single crochet stitches, “7 sc”, consecutively (so, 1 sc in each stitch, for 7 stitches). Next, you make 2 consecutive decreases, “2 dec”, (so, sc two stitches together, twice). Then end the round with another set of 7 single crochet stitches, like at the start of the round. Because you are making two decreases this round, your stitch count will go from 18 to 16. The long way to write this round is: 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, dec, dec, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc (16).How to read amigurumi patterns

Line 7 – rnd 5: 6 sc, 2 dec, 6 sc (14)

This round is very similar to the last round, but instead of starting and ending with 7 single crochet stitches, you make only 6. Written out fully, this round means: 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, dec, dec, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc (14). Again, because there are two decreases this round, the stitch count goes from 16, down to 14.

Line 8 – rnd 6: 3 sc, 4 dec, 3 sc (10)

Round 6 is like the previous two rounds, but this time you only make 3 single crochet stitches before and and after the decreases, and there are 4 decreases, one directly after another, instead of just 2. This is the same as writing: 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, dec, dec, dec, dec, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc (10). Because there were four decreases this round, the stitch count drops from 14 to 10.

Line 9 – Fasten off, leaving a long tail to attach to body.

Fastening off basically means you can cut the yarn because you don’t have any more stitches to crochet. When the instructions say to “leave a long tail”, make sure you don’t cut the yarn too close to the piece, but instead several inches away. Usually, when the instructions say to leave a long tail, this strand of yarn is used to attach the piece to another piece, so you want to leave enough yarn to allow you to do this. A good estimate is to leave a minimum of 6 inches, or 2.5-3x the length of the distance you need to sew if it is a larger piece.How to read amigurumi patterns

Once the yarn is cut, simply pull on the working loop that is around your hook until you pull the yarn end through the last stitch. There are other ways to fasten off (another tutorial in the future, perhaps?), but this is the simplest.

One more thing, this is what it may look like if you have to do the same sequence of stitches for multiple rounds, one after the other:

rnd 5-8: sc in each st around (18, 4 rnds)

This just means that for rounds 5, 6, 7, AND 8, you are simply crocheting 1 single crochet stitch into each stitch. Within the final brackets, the “4 rnds” after the total stitch count, “18”, is just there to help you see the number of rounds you are repeating at a glance. Each of the 4 rounds should have 18 stitches total.

And that is it! If there is still something that is unclear or something that is in a hookabee pattern that is not explained here, please let me know in the comments below. Next, I will go through some examples of written instructions that are different from my own style.

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Until next time,
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How to read amigurumi patterns: Part 1

How to read amigurumi patterns part 1This is the first post in a tutorial series on how to read amigurumi crochet patterns. There are no set rules or guidelines for writing amigurumi patterns. Each designer has his/her own format, so if you like to make amis from many different designers (which you probably do!), than things can get confusing. This series will allow you to decipher a number of different patterns and help clear things up.

Amigurumi patterns can be written out (the usual method for designers in North America) or be in graphic form, such as charts and tables (more common for Japanese patterns). These blog posts will focus on written instructions, as that is how I design my patterns.

Lets start with the basics: pattern abbreviations for written instructions. Written patterns can get pretty long if you don’t shorten some of the words. A well written pattern will have a key telling you what all the abbreviations in the pattern mean, but you may come across some that just jump right in without any guidance. Below are the most common abbreviations found in amigurumi patterns:

Amigurumi Pattern Abbreviations by @hookabee

Is there anything major I missed? Let me know in the comments below! Did you catch that one appreviation is repeated in two different locations with two different meanings? MC can mean “main colour” or “magic circle”, so be aware!

Next time, I will take you through how to read a hookabee pattern that uses some of these abbreviations.

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Until next time,
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Hand-dyeing with food colouring: Microwave method

hand dyeing yarn with food coloring in the microwave by @hookabeeThis is the fourth post in a series I am doing on how to hand-dye yarn using food colouring. Previously, (1) I harnessed the heat of the sun to dye a small skein of yarn bright yellow, (2) slow cooked my yarn in a crock-pot until it was a gorgeous pink, and (3) turned a bit of yarn teal right on the stove top. This time I am going to show you how I used the microwave to dye my yarn green.

If you missed the first post on hand-dyeing, make sure you read at least the first section on the basics of dyeing with food colouring and how to prepare your yarn.

Hand-dyeing using the microwave:

This method is the fastest and is super easy, but you have to watch out and make sure you don’t burn your yarn. It is possible to overheat your yarn and burn it when using a microwave if your yarn isn’t wet enough, especially if you aren’t familiar with the strength of your machine.  If your yarn has enough moisture, however, this shouldn’t be a problem!

This time I chose the Kelly Green dye from my box of 12 Wilton Icing Colours to dye the little 25 g skein of alpaca wool yarn I had made during my first dying experience.

My microwave dyeing protocol: (using 25 g of yarn)

  1. I pre-soaked my yarn for about 30 min in a bath made up of vinegar (2 tbsp) and water (2 cups). I used these volumes because my dye is green (so needs more vinegar than yellows and reds, see, and the total volume was able to cover my yarn fully.
  2. In a one pint glass mason jar (just needs to be microwave safe), I mixed 1 cup of water with 1 tbsp of vinegar and some Kelly Green Wilton icing dye. I just estimated the amount of dye, but used no more than 1/4 tsp because I didn’t want extra, and therefore wasted, dye that wouldn’t be taken up by the yarn. I based this on the info found on site for Wilton dyes: “[Use] 1/16 teaspoon Wilton®Icing Gel on .2 oz Lion Brand® Fishermen’s Wool. This amount of gel produces a saturated dyebath. Using more gel will leave food color in the dyebath that will not bond.” I then whisked the solution until most of the gel clumps were gone and dissolved.
  3. Next, I transferred the wet yarn from the pre-soak bath into the jar. Before you transfer your yarn, make sure that your two baths are not drastically different in temperature. This reduces the chances of your yarn felting.
  4. I then placed the jar with the yarn in the microwave, cooked it on high for 1 minute, then checked it to see if all the dye had been absorbed. I repeated this process (microwave for 1 min, check dye bath) until no more dye remained in the surrounding water (which means all the dye has been taken up by the yarn). At each check, I mixed the yarn around a bit so that my yarn would have even colour. After just three minutes of heating the water started to boil, so I let it sit for some time before heating the yarn further.hand dyeing yarn using the microwave
  5. After the dye had all been absorbed, I left the yarn in the jar and allowed it to cool to room temperature.
  6. Once cooled, I removed the yarn and rinsed it to remove any excess dye. You don’t want to suddenly rinse your hot yarn with cool, or even warm water, because this may cause your yarn to felt, so make sure your yarn is completely cooled before this step.  Once rinsed, I gently squeezed the excess water out and hung the yarn to dry.

In the end, my yarn came out a gorgeous deep emerald green:
hand dyeing yarn using the microwaveHow does using the microwave compare to my other dyeing experiences? I think I may have used too much dye in this case. I needed to heat the yarn so much the dye bath started to boil before all the dye had been absorbed. Once I let the yarn sit and cool down, a lot of the dye was absorbed, but still not all of it, so I needed to do yet another bout of heating. In the end though, I was satisfied with the great colour saturation and how easy and fast it was to use the microwave over the other methods.

So, I have tried all four methods of heat setting dye: solar heat, slow cooker, stove top and microwave – and which is my favourite? I think I will mostly be using the microwave in the future. It was so easy and fast! I would consider using the heat of the sun again, however, on hot summer days – it doesn’t use up as much electricity!

Don’t forget to 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,
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