How to Slip Stitch – video tutorial

How to Slip Stitch - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Slip stitch is a really easy – and very handy – stitch to have in your toolbox.

It’s great for closing up the very final tiny hole in the top of an amigurumi.

I also use it any time I want to shift from the “step” of a single crochet stitch, to a more gradual “ramp.” You’ll see what I mean in the video – and also how to do it. πŸ™‚

See how easy that is?

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

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Crochet Tools – Everything You Need

Crochet Tools - everything you need to get started, from Shiny Happy World

You only need a few things to crochet amigurumi – a hook (to crochet), some stitch markers (to mark your place), and a tapestry needle (to weave in the ends and attach arms and legs).

Besides yarn – that’s really it! It’s a lovely craft – and easy to carry your projects everywhere.

I’ve added these tools to the Shiny Happy World shop.

Crochet Hook Set from Shiny Happy World

This set of hooks includes the three most common sizes for working with medium weight yarn.

Locking Stitch Markers from Shiny Happy World

This packet contains 20 locking stitch markers – more than enough for any amigurumi project. I use these to mark the end of a row, to mark where eyes and noses go, to hold pieces in place while I whipstitch them together, and more. They’re super useful!

(If you want something a little fancier, pick up these cute heart-shaped stitch markers.)

Extra Large Tapestry Needles from Shiny Happy World

These are the biggest tapestry needles I could find and they’re awesome for crochet. Yes – you may have a large embroidery needle that you could maybe, with a lot of effort and swearing, work a piece of yarn into. Do yourself a favor and just get the enormous needles. They cost $1.99 and you’ll be glad you spent the money every time you need to thread some yarn.

Total for all these tools?

$15.48

Add in a pattern and a skein of yarn and maybe a packet of eyes, you could be making your first amigurumi for less than $25.

Give it a try! And happy stitching! πŸ™‚

Best,
Wendi

How to Crochet Together Two Rounds Separated by a Foundation Chain – video tutorial

How to Crochet Together Two Roun ds Separated by a Foundation Chain - video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Whew! That’s quite a mouthful! But it’s actually a really easy technique that lets you get two bumps with some space between them, like the awesome googly eyes on this frog.

Alexander the Frog - crochet amigurumi pattern from Shiny Happy World

(Want that adorable pattern? Sign up for Ami Club! It’s the free pattern this month!)

If you’ve crocheted standing legs in an amigurumi before, this is going to look really familiar to you. πŸ™‚

Here’s the video.

See how easy? This opens up all kinds of fun possibilities for different shapes. πŸ™‚

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

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Tips for Dark Eyes on Dark Softies

dark brown crochet cat with black eyes

Felix is the new Ami Club pattern and I love him. πŸ™‚

For the pattern I stitched him up in yellow, because lighter (and solid) colors make it easier to see the individual stitches. But I also wanted to make him in this tweedy dark brown for more of a tortoiseshell cat look – just for fun.

The tricky part of using dark yarn – or dark fabric for a sewn softie – is getting the eyes to show up well. The eyes are the most important part of the face!

I’ve got two solutions for you today.

If you want to use a solid black craft eye (which is what I use for most of my softies) then it’s a big help to back those eyes with a circle of a lighter colored felt just a smidge bigger than the eye. That’s what I did with Milton Monkey. . .

Milton Monkey - a softie pattern from Shiny Happy World

. . . and with Brandon Beaver. . .

Brandon Beaver - a Cuddle Club pattern from Shiny Happy World

And that’s what I did with Felix. Here you can see those eyes a little closer.

I used a 1/2″ circle of sandstone felt with 9 mm eyes.

I use this tool to trace nice neat circles in lots of sizes.

circle template

I don’t remember where I got this exact template, but I’ve seen similar items at Office Max and Staples.

If you make a lot of softies and tend to use the same size eyes, you can also buy die-cut eyes which are perfectly perfect circles. When I make kits I buy felt circles at Woolhearts on Etsy. These are the circles I buy – you can choose the size and an assortment of up to six colors. It’s handy to keep a little stash of favorite colors.

Once you have the circles cut, there’s one more step. You need to punch a hole in the middle for the shank of the eye to go through! You can use an awl like this one, or you can use a 1/8 inch hole punch for extra neat holes.

Use a hole punch for nice neat holes in felt

Perfect little backs to set off your eyes! I usually stick to a color that’s a lighter shade than the main color – but not too light! White in particular can make your softie look scared.

Another option is to use an eye with color already in it.

(When I do that I usually use a slightly larger eye than what the pattern calls for – like jumping from a 9 mm to a 12 mm eye.)

Look at Sharon’s cat (named Arnold). She also made a dark brown kitty, but she used awesome cat eyes for hers!

dark brown cat with yellow eyes

With those big eyes and no mouth he immediately reminded me of the cat from Kiki’s Delivery Service.

And now I need to make a black cat. πŸ™‚

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

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Technique for Joining Standing Legs in Amigurumi without a Hole

Today we’re lucky enough to have a guest post written by Mirena of Mirena Made! Mirena has been a FreshStitches customer for years, and she creates hand-crocheted creations that she sells in her shop. (yes, you too can sell finished FreshStitches animals!)

Thank you so much, Mirena, for coming by and sharing this new technique with us!

New Technique for Joining Standing Legs in Amigurumi

I am a huge fan of FreshStitches designs and of Stacey and I also prefer patterns where the sewing and attaching is kept to a minimum (I suspect there are other amigurumi crocheters like me!)

adorable bear from FreshStitches Ami Club

One of my favorite FreshStitches patterns is Bentley the Bear, which is crocheted using standing legs.Β  In the standard technique, you get little hole that remains between the legs and you have to sew it afterwards… ah, sewing!

So, here is a technique that eliminates the hole and lets you continue your crocheting without worrying about it!

Step 1: You crochet the first leg exactly as stated in the pattern BUT at the end you cut the yarn, leaving a long tail and you DO NOT fasten off.

Step 2: You crochet the second leg as stated in the pattern (leaving the yarn attached, as instructed).

how to crochet standing legs without leaving a hole

Step 3: You take both legs and you place the first one behind the second one, matching their stitches.

how to crochet standing legs without leaving a hole
Step 4: You place the loop of the first leg on your hook and using its tail you single crochet in the next stitches through both thicknesses. You do 4 sc in total and you fasten off.

how to crochet standing legs without leaving a hole

how to crochet standing legs without leaving a hole
Step 5: You place the loop of the second leg on your hook and you are ready to continue crocheting!

how to crochet standing legs without leaving a hole

The disadvantage to this technique is the stitch count. Normally, you would have 36 stitches after joining the legs but because we crocheted some of them them to attach the 2 legs together, we lost a few stitches. I solve this problem by increasing in the next round.

This technique will work with any pattern with standing legs, you just have to pay attention to the stitch count and adjust accordingly!

What a fabulous technique! Thanks so much for sharing, Mirena! This trick will work perfectly with the October Ami Club pattern… want a sneak peek?

amigurumi crochet jack o lantern

How to Start Amigurumi the Easy Way! The Sloppy Slip Knot.

Sloppy Slip Knot - the easiest way to start amigurumi

This blog post was originally published April 15, 2009.

Today I’m going to show you my favorite way to begin crocheting amigurumi: using the sloppy slip knot. I find it easier to do than the magic ring, and it closes up nicely so that you don’t have a hole at the start of your work. I’ve included a photo tutorial and a video tutorial.

Sloppy Slip Knot Photo Tutorial

Step one: To begin, don’t make a slip knot. Instead, simply twist the yarn once around your crochet hook.

Easiest way to begin your amigurumi crochet! Try this technique: the Sloppy Slip Knot!Step two: Chain two stitches.

Easiest way to begin your amigurumi crochet! Try this technique: the Sloppy Slip Knot!

Step three: Single crochet 6 times in the second chain from hook. Not sure which one is the second chain? Check out where this arrow is pointing!

Easiest way to begin your amigurumi crochet! Try this technique: the Sloppy Slip Knot!

It’s important to note that you go into the second chain away from the hook, not the second chain that you crocheted. The loop on the hook doesn’t count as a stitch.

Easiest way to begin your amigurumi crochet! Try this technique: the Sloppy Slip Knot!This is what your piece will look like when you have done your 6 single crochets. There’s a hole in the middle.

Step four: Here’s the magic part. Just pull the tail, and your hole closes up! And don’t worry, the hole won’t slip open over time.

Easiest way to begin your amigurumi crochet! Try this technique: the Sloppy Slip Knot!It’s easy!

If the hole doesn’t pull closed, this probably means that you crocheted your 6 stitches into the incorrect stitch. No worries, try again!

And now you’re ready for the second round. You’ll want to read this post on crocheting the 2nd round of amigurumi for help counting your stitches.

If you’re new to amigurumi, I think you’ll find my free ebook Amigurumi Guide for Beginners very helpful!

Sloppy Slip Knot Video Tutorial

A picture is worth a thousand words, but a video is probably worth a million! Here’s a video of me doing the Sloppy Slip Knot:

I have lots of great amigurumi videos on my video tutorial page, so have a look!

Do you think it’s a technique you’ll try?

Crochet sleepy eyes for your amigurumi!

A little while ago, I was invited to crochet-a-long with the facebook group, Learn Amigurumi Crochet with Us! We crocheted Howie the Penguin and had a blast!

Howie the Penguin, FREE crochet pattern & guide to amigurumi

(If you haven’t downloaded my FREE Beginner’s Guide to Amigurumi, which features this adorable pattern… what are you waiting for?)

Carrie (one of the group leaders) designed sleepy eyes for crocheters who didn’t want to use plastic craft eyes… and she’s sharing her pattern with us!

free sleepy eyes pattern

Aren’t they adorable?!?

Maybe you’d like to add sleepy eyes to your next amigurumi!

How to crochet the 2nd round in amigurumi

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:

how to crochet the 2nd round in amigurumiDon’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 to crochet the 2nd round in amigurumi

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):

how to count your stitches in crochetSo, 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:

ignoring a turning chain in crochet
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!

crocheting amigurumi

You might also want to read my post on using stitch markers… it’ll help you keep track of your stitches!

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Make your Amigurumi faces Kawaii!

Kawaii means ‘cute’ in Japanese, and when it comes to amigurumi… there’s a lot in the face!

Make it kawaii

(You might be interested in reading about what amigurumi means!)

I make most of my amigurumi as bigger plush toys, that are cute… but not super cutesy. Real human people have their eyes at the halfway point of their face, and this is where I put a lot of my animal’s eyes:

amigurumi crochet owl kit by FreshStitches

Cute, right?

I’ve drawn up a little graphic of what it looks like to put eyes at the halfway point on a sample bear:

animal face

But what if you want to make your amigurumi even CUTER? Even more kawaii?

Try putting the eyes even lower on the face, and spaced further apart! Check out this cutie!

kawaii bear drawing

Even cuter! Squee!

Play around with eye placement on your next stuffed animal!

If you’re interested in cute Japanese characters, I highly recommend reading Manga for the Beginner Kawaii: How to Draw the Supercute Characters of Japanese Comics! As I explain in my Craftsy course Amigurumi: Design Your Own Monster, you can crochet animals from drawings, so a drawing book is a great resource!

Are buttons a baby-safe substitute for craft eyes?

You’ve probably read the disclaimer: craft eyes are not recommended for use in toys for children under the age of three.

plastic animal craft eyes from FreshStitches

I’m often asked, “can I use buttons instead”?

In short, the answer is no.

freshstitches buttons

To explain why, let’s talk about why craft eyes aren’t baby safe. It’s incredibly unlikely that the washer will accidentally come off of the back of the eye. (in fact, it’s pretty difficult to remove the washer from an eye with plastic ridges, as I showed in this blog post on how to remove craft eyes.)

The danger with craft eyes is that a baby (or dog) could chew through the fabric that the eye is attached to, dislodging the eye.

Now what about buttons? Many people assume that since they’re sewn on, they’re more secure. But it’s not true. A baby can use their set of chompers to chew through the thread attaching it to the piece.

Baby-safe eyes

For a completely baby-safe eye, you’ll want to crochet the eye (follow these directions for a crocheted eye) or sew on a felt eye.

amigurumi crochet owl kit by FreshStitches

Crocheted eyes look fabulous!

To be on the safe side, you’ll want to watch your little one whenever they’re with buttons. Just the other day, I saw Maddie chewing on the button on her sweater. Oops. Not safe!