Craft eyes. Plastic eyes. Safety eyes. Animal eyes. They’re called lots of different things!
I’ve made a video that shows you how to install them and remove them (eep!). I also talk about why I only use eyes with ridges and plastic washers as well as why you shouldn’t use them on toys for children under 3 years old.
Below, I’ve also included a quickie tutorial for those of you who want to get ‘straight to the point’ as well as some other links you might like!
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Video Tutorial for Craft Eyes
This is a little 5 minute video. Enjoy!
How to install craft eyes
I opened the FreshStitches eyes shop because I really like ridged eyes and plastic washers… and I was tired of ordering eyes that showed plastic washers in the picture, but getting metal ones. Or getting eyes without the ridges. Geesh. Those things matter! It’s like ordering a long-sleeve shirt but getting one without sleeves. Not the same.
That’s why every pair of eyes I sell has ridges on the post with plastic washers. There are actually a few styles of eye I’ve wanted to carry, but they only came with metal washers. Nope. No deal. I’m pretty passionate about a plastic washer.
Plastic washers don’t bend as you try to put them on, and if they’re good quality, they’re amazingly strong. (That’s why I recommend you buy eyes from someone you trust, and not just the cheapest ones you can find from China.) And do you see those little points?
Those little ‘barbs’ dig into the fabric and keep the eye from rotating. Which isn’t a big deal if you’re just using a black craft eye, but is crucial if you’re using a comic eye. You don’t want them twisting and giving you googly eyes!
The ridges on the posts of craft eyes help the washer click on (and stay on!) securely. I love hearing the ‘click’ as I press the washer on! The ridges also help to make sure the washer doesn’t back off AND makes sure the washer presses on evenly.
So, let me show you how to install a craft eye with a plastic washer.
First, insert the post of the craft eye between the stitches on your piece where you want it to go. I recommend that you place the eyes first, before pressing on the washers, just to see if you like the look.
Once your eyes are positioned how you’d like, press the flat side of the washer (that’s the one with the tiny barbs!) onto the post.
Here’s a photo of how it will look (but without the fabric getting in the way… obviously, your piece doesn’t really look like this!):
I don’t want you to stress too much about this, because if you try to put the washer on backwards, it just won’t go.
Now, push! You’ll hear that click, and it’s on!
A note about 6mm craft eyes
The 6mm craft eyes, because they are SO tiny, have smaller plastic washers without the ‘barbs’. But don’t worry, the same rule applies: flat side towards the fabric.
Other links you’ll enjoy
Here are some other craft-eye-related links you’ll like!
This post was originally published April 28, 2015… but it’s so popular that I’ve updated it and added a video!
Crocheting is so much fun because there are so many options! Even a simple single crochet gives you the option of crocheting through the front loop, both loops or the back loop!
Today, I’ll show you where to insert your hook for the most two popular techniques: the back and both loops. I’ll also link to some posts that you might find helpful… and included a video tutorial at the end!
The Back Loop
Every stitch is a V laying on its side. Do you see the V in the above photo? The back loop refers to the top leg of this V.
To use this technique, insert your hook where I’ve put a black dot in this photo:
Why the back loop?
Crocheting through the back loop is my favorite! You’ll want to read this blog post that outlines all of the advantages!
The term ‘both loops’ refers to both the back and front loops. This is the ‘standard’ when a pattern doesn’t specifically reference any loops. This is the entire V:
To use this technique, insert your hook where I’ve put a black dot in this photo:
I know it can be hard to picture what these variations look like when you’re actually crocheting, so I’ve recorded a video for you!
What’s it look like in the end?
You’ll want to have a look at this blog post where I show you photos of how each technique looks, in the round and in rows!
The factor that’s relevant in how variegated yarn will work up is how long each color repeat is and how much yarn each stitch uses. Although skeins vary, most are about 3-4 feet in circumference, and a variegated yarn will break this length up into a few colors. So, most color repeats are a few to several inches.
You can see here that each color lasts several stitches before switching to a new color.
Crochet stitches, in general, use more yarn than knitting stitches, so a color repeat will last over a fewer number of stitches.
Here’s my crochet swatch
This swatch is done in single crochet, and most of the colors last for a few stitches before changing (as compared to several with knitting). This results in a ‘splotchier’ looking fabric.
You might be interested in reading about the latest craze of Planned Pooling.
Totally different from knitting and crochet, because there isn’t a ‘stitch’, the color repeat goes for as long as it actually goes on the yarn. In most cases, a color lasted for an entire row on my scarf.
Also, weaving uses two directions of yarn, the warp and the weft.This results in a really lovely plaid-like fabric. Here’s my swatch:
All together now!
They’re all so different, right?
It just goes to show that when you find that dream variegated skein, you still have choices to make! You’ll want to select a project (and craft) that will result in the colors working up the way you want!
Today, I’m going to talk about how to crochet the second round of your amigurumi!
You see, I spend a lot of time talking about how to start off with the first round. Whether it’s using the magic ring method or the sloppy slip knot… the first round gets all the attention!
And then, Jen told me she was having trouble on the second round. Of course! We never talk about the second round, even though it’s just as tricky! So, here we go!
For today’s tip, I’m using the pattern shown in my beginner ebook, but almost all amigurumi patterns are the same! It starts with 6 stitches for the first round. So, let’s say we’ve completed our first 6 stitches:
Don’t turn your work! You’re going to crochet the second round going around just the way you’ve been going. The hardest part about crocheting the second round is finding the next stitch you should use. I’ve highlighted the next stitch in red:
How did I know it was the next stitch? It has to be! I want to have 6 stitches in my first round, so I count my 6 stitches (backwards, starting from the hook):
So, now I know what my next stitch is! What is that little weird extra bit that might trick you into being a stitch? The arrow is pointing to that weird piece in this picture:
That’s just a confusing chain left over from the original chain 2. Don’t crochet into it… skip over it and pretend it isn’t there!
Now you know which are your 6 stitches, crochet twice in each one. Now you’ve finished your second round! The rest will be a piece of cake!
You might also want to read my post on using stitch markers… it’ll help you keep track of your stitches!
You know I love my 9″ circular needles. I think they’re the easiest way to knit socks and sleeves.
But, because they’re fairly new, there aren’t a lot of patterns written specifically for the 9 inch needle. I’m often asked how to translate your favorite sock pattern into one that can be used on a 9″ circular.
Here’s how to do it! And good news, it’s easy!
In this blog post, I’m going to show you a simple little example of a piece of knitting with 10 stitches. The green string is our yarn!
Step 1: Place your End of Round marker
If you’re familiar with knitting on circular needles, then you are probably already doing this step. The end of round marker is an interestingly-colored marker (different from all the rest!) that tells you when you’ve hit the end of your round.
Place stitch markers where the double points would be
Now, here’s the real trick. You want to place stitch markers on your work to note where would have been between the double point needles (shown in the image as orange).
Using our little example, let’s say the pattern told you to cast 3 sts onto one double point, 3 sts onto another and 4 sts onto a third needle. You would place markers to section off 3, 3 and then 4 sts.
This trick works whether you’re instructed to use 3 or 4 double point needles.
If the pattern called for 2 needles (such as when you knit socks on 2 circular needles), then you can do the same trick, just using fewer markers!
That’s it! Now you can knit, and easily follow the instructions as they refer to double point needles. If you want a bit more help, you might want to find stitch markers that contain numbers (to remind you which ‘needle’ would have been which.
You can now use 9″ circular needles on socks and sleeves… now that you know how to ‘translate’ the pattern! Happy knitting!
Calculate how many stitches you can get from your yardage!
Let’s put it all together now!
To begin, multiply your yardage by 36 to get the length in inches.
So, if I have 110 yards, that’s 3960 inches.
Divide this number by your inch/stitch measurement (that you got in step 2), which for single crochet with a worsted weight is 1.8″.
3960/1.8 is 2200 single crochets!
That’s your number! A good pattern will contain stitch counts at the end of each row, so you can add them up and determine how many extra rows you can sneak into a cowl, or whether you’ll need so skip some rows of sleeve length to get your sweater to work!
I love rainbows. I want to knit everything in rainbows.
But I’ve been asked… what pattern do you use? I’m not seeing a lot of patterns with stripes!
Well, let me tell you: you can knit almost any pattern in stripes! I’m going to share my tips with you, and show off a darling little sweater as an example!
Tips for knitting almost any pattern in stripes!
This adorable little sweater is Gramps by Tin Can Knits, and the sample is in two colors, not stripes. But no worries!
Here are some tips!
Calculate your yarn usage (total amount of yarn divided by the number of colors you have) to make sure you have enough yarn of each color. You can supplement with one ‘main’ color (as I’ve done for the collar)
Select a pattern that’s fairly simple, like stockinette. For example, a lace pattern would get lost in the stripes.
Change colors at the end of a row (and not the middle) for the cleanest stripes.
Keep in mind that changing colors on a purl row will create a bump of color, so aim for a changing on a knit row.
A ‘make 1 increase’ draws up yarn from the previous round, so avoid changing colors on this type of increase. For the sweater below, I started a new color on rows that were just plain knit.
Read the pattern in advance to plan out the number of rows each color should be to avoid the increases/purls/etc mentioned above.
Have fun! There’s no right or wrong way to do it!
I like to organize my stripes in color order (all rainbow-like), but it would be equally awesome for you to plan your colors randomly. Or have different stripe widths. There are no rules!
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