Okay, so here’s a question I get often: when making a stuffed animal, is it important to weave in ends?
I’ll tell you!
Weaving in ends
What is weaving in ends? When you change colors (or start a new skein of yarn), you’ll have little tails left behind. Those are called ‘ends’. Weaving in ends just means using a tapestry needle to hide those ends.
What about stuffed animals?
Are you ready for some good news? Because the ends of a stuffed animal are on the inside of the body, you don’t need to weave the ends in!
That means, no matter how many messy tails there are on the inside of the stuffed animal, you’ll never see them!
Want to learn how to make adorable crocheted stuffed animals with an easy online workshop – totally free?
Sign up for Let’s Make Amigurumi here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, and how to make an easy amigurumi from start to finish using simple crochet stitches.
It’s a fun, inexpensive, and totally portable craft. You can do it!
sc3tog: single crochet 3 stitches together
Sc3tog is a decrease over 3 stitches, and it’s one that I find myself using a lot, recently! Today, I’ll show you how to do it, step by step. There’s a video after the photo tutorial, in case that’s your preferred way to learn. 🙂
Here is what your piece will look like before you begin… notice there is one loop on the hook:
Insert your hook into the next stitch, and wrap the yarn over the hook and pull through. There are now two loops on the hook:
Do the same thing (insert your hook into the next stitch, wrap the yarn over and pull through stitch) two more times. You will have a total of 4 loops on the hook:
Wrap the yarn over the hook, and pull through all 4 loops:
Ta da! You have decreased 3 stitches into one!
Watch the video!
If the photos aren’t what you need, don’t worry… I made a video!
I love crocheting stuffed animals. And do you know my favorite part? Putting the eyes in! It’s when the animal comes to life!
Eyes are what gives the animal an expression… and my heart always fills with joy when it’s time to add them!
There are lots of choices for eyes, so today, I’m going to talk about your options!
This post was originally written about amigurumi eyes – but all the tips and info apply to sewn softies too!
Plastic Craft Eyes
In most of my animals, I use plastic craft eyes. I think they add a ‘professional’ touch to the animal, and they’re really easy to insert!
The downside is that plastic eyes are not recommended for children under the age of three. Although the washer is nearly impossible to take off the back of the eye, the eye could come out of the fabric if the animal is chewed or fabric is torn.
Felt eyes are a great option! They’re baby-safe and since felt comes in lots of different colors, you have lots of choices! Read this blog post for a tutorial on how to add felt eyes to your cutie!
Any button can be sewed on for a great-looking eye! (In the photo above, I used a buttons on top of felt). I’ve seen some great monsters on Pinterest that make use of mis-matching buttons… so cute!
Some people use button eyes as a ‘safe’ alternative to plastic craft eyes, but I don’t feel comfortable making that recommendation. If a button is chewed on, it can become dislodged in the same way as a plastic eye.
This is my second-favorite technique… it’s quick and easy! I mean, you already have the yarn!
Crocheting with beads can be tricky. Many techniques call for adding the bead to the stitch as you go, which isn’t great for traveling, and the bead doesn’t sit nicely.
Want to see the beading technique I developed?
In this technique, the beads sit nicely on the front loop of the piece, so we’ll be crocheting through the back loop only. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: String your beads
I’m using size 6 beads on worsted weight yarn. You’ll want to use the size beads that work for your yarn.
You’ll want to thread all of your beads onto your yarn. To do this, you might find a bead threader to be helpful! Stick the tail of your yarn through the big loop of the bead-threader:
Make sure about an inch or two is through the threader. Now, thread beads on the tip of the threader!
The bead may take a little bit of tugging to pass over the doubled-piece of yarn, but then it’ll slide easily down the yarn.
Thread all of your beads, and then you’re ready to start!
Step 1: Crochet with beads!
To place a bead, single crochet… and on the stitch before you want to place a bead, pull the bead through the stitch as you do the final ‘pull-through’ of the stitch:
This is the trickiest part. You may have to use your fingers to fidget the bead through, especially if you crochet tightly.
Now, make sure the bead lies on the front half of the stitch (in front of your hook):
Finish the next crochet stitch, and your bead will lay right on that front loop! So much fun!
There’s no magic color-changing trick… I just took this photo on a different stitch!
Let’s see it in action!
I know it can be hard to learn from photos sometimes… so I made you a video!
Look how cute!
This is Tipper the Tiny Crab. To make him, just string the beads onto the yarn, and crochet the beads using the technique described above! You’ll follow the instructions for Tipper as they are written in the pattern, but you’ll place beads randomly, about every 5-8 stitches.
Dab at the spot that has become soiled, moistening the stuffed animal’s fabric. Do not scrub! Agitation causes felting.
Allow to air dry.
How do I tell if an animal needs to be spot cleaned? The yarn is your guide! Wash the animal like you would wash a garment made with that particular yarn, paying careful attention to the instructions. Keep in mind, though, that it’s incredibly important that the animal (and its stuffing) completely dries. If your yarn can’t stand the dryer, then you won’t be able to dry the animal… meaning you shouldn’t get the stuffing wet! Spot clean, only.
What if it’s still dirty? If you follow the above steps and it’s still dirty, then wash again. You can feel free to dip the tip of a limb in water, avoiding soaking the stuffing, to get a bit more water and detergent into the stain.
My stuffed animal is a complete mess. (like, it fell in a puddle). What can I do? If you think the animal might be headed toward the trash can, you can always try machine washing it. The good news is that the stuffing often prevents some amount of felting, so you could be safe. It’s a last ditch effort, though!
It makes me so happy that many crocheters use my designs as a way of making an income for themselves… by selling the finished items! (Yup, it’s allowed! Read here)
I’ve asked Michaela, the woman behind Crochet City KC on Etsy to share some of tips for selling crocheted items.
Hopefully, these tips will help you avoid some common problem spots and sell with success!
And a huge thanks to Michaela for taking the time to write this guest post!
1: Get Payment up front for Custom Orders
When I first started crocheting I was very lax in requiring payment for my creations. Since then, I have revised my policy to require payment up front on orders, as I had a few bad experiences of not receiving payment for my work.
Here’s an example: I took an order for a very large project that took me about 6 months and a large amount of yarn. And although I had quoted the person a price at the beginning of the project, because this person was a coworker, I didn’t feel comfortable asking for money up front. When the project was finished, the customer claimed I had quoted a lower price, and I felt like I needed to take it because there was nothing in writing and the work was already done.
Looking back, I realize how silly I was for not standing up for myself and its definitely one of the experiences I look back on most and think to myself… wow I’ve come a long way! Trust me, you want to receive the money up front for your hard work!
2: Always Communicate!
I can’t express enough how important communicating with your customers is, if you think something isn’t turning out quite right, you aren’t sure about exactly what a customer wants or if you are behind on an order communicating from the beginning is so much easier then dodging them and then having an upset customer in the end.
For example, one time, I received an order for a blue octopus. But what blue? Royal blue? Light blue? Green blue? or who knows what kind! Instead of guessing, I took my phone to the store and sent photos of the various blue yarns available. I sent picture after picture until we found the right one, and I’m so glad I did. The little boy who received the octopus sleeps with it every night and it matches his bed room perfectly, which would have never happened if I hadn’t taken the time to clarify the customer’s desires.
3: Be Honest about Your Abilities/Time
Sometimes, a request may be out of your crochet comfort zone or just may take too much time for you to complete. Earlier this year a customer came to me asking if i could re-create a very complicated monster from a TV show and after looking at all the detail and weighing the time it would take, I decided to turn down the customer.
It may sound bad to turn down an order, but it’s actually much better than getting in over your head and being unable to deliver. It’s in everyone’s best interest to just be honest about what is in your comfort zone.
4: Keep Accurate Records
In my experience, customers often change their minds or “forget” certain aspects of your original discussion. If there’s no record of the original discussion, this can lead to disappointment!
I do a lot of orders through Etsy and Facebook (which automatically leave a written record), but there are often times I take orders in person. If I take an order in person I write out the details of what they what and have the person look over each detail and sign off on it – that way they are acknowledging it and I have proof later in case they decide they want something different.
Last year I had a customer ask why the item they ordered had blue eyes when they asked for green. I was able to send them a copy of their original message to me where it stated exactly what they asked for. Needless to say they were happy about their blue eyes after that!
5: Put Yourself out There!
I am a very shy person when it comes to meeting people and socializing, so this advice is a little weird coming from me. One of the biggest favors you can do for yourself if you are trying to sell crocheted item is to put yourself out there. No one will know about you unless you tell people!
Maybe your version of telling is maybe just carrying around your crocheting in public and having a business card on hand for when that person who asks “What are you making?” You can easily tell them and then point them in the direction of where they can see more of your work!
Just try one little act of putting the word out about what you do and chances are it will go a long way. I’m not the most active facebooker/etsy seller/tweeter in the world but I still manage to keep pretty busy with orders by just putting it a tiny bit of effort every so often!
Crochet an adorably cuddly hound dog. Get the pattern here.
I’ve heard it all before. Crocheting makes your wrists hurt. It’s too hard to put your hook into the next stitch. Attaching pieces is a nightmare.
What if I told you that one little trick could totally change all that? And crocheting would become relaxing and easy on your wrists again?
I’ll tell you the one thing you can do! And then I’ll show you why it rocks so much!
Crochet through the Back Loop
When crocheting, there are two loops: the front and the back (highlighted with a black line in the below photo).
The standard is to insert your hook under both loops when crocheting. But it’s not the easiest way!
Let me tell you all of the amazing reasons you might want to give the back loop a try!
Crocheting through the back loop is easy
See how the back loop is just hanging out at the top? It’s easy to see and easy to stick your hook into.
The back loop is able to pull a bit of slack from the front loop, so you can pop your hook in even if you’re a tight crocheter or have a hook with a big head!
Use a Hook that’s Comfortable for Your Wrist!
I have bad wrists. Using a small hook and jamming it into tight stitches makes my wrists sore.
When you crochet through the back loop, you can use a slightly larger hook without getting holes in the fabric, because the front loop gives you some coverage.
This is especially important with stuffed animals, where you are going to add stuffing and don’t want it to show through. Many patterns tell you to use a size E hook with worsted weight yarn… that’s crazy! Talk about a recipe for sore wrists!
Make it easy to Count Rounds
Crocheting through the back loop leaves the front loop behind to make a nice horizontal row.
This row makes it super-easy to count how many rounds you’ve done!
I’ve done three rounds since the stitch marker… isn’t that easy to count?
Read this blog post for more details on using locking stitch markers to keep track of your rounds.
Make Attaching Easy!
That lovely row of front loop stitches makes attaching easy, too!
Attaching is usually the worst part of crocheting… but not if you crochet through the back loop and follow these easy tips!