Do I need to weave in ends on a stuffed animal?

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!

weaving in ends in crochet

That means, no matter how many messy tails there are on the inside of the stuffed animal, you’ll never see them!

Is the Invisible Decrease right for you?

What is the Invisible Decrease?

If you crochet amigurumi, you have probably heard of the Invisible Decrease. The Invisible Decrease is another name for slip stitching 2 together through the front loop.

The result is a decrease that is thinner (and less bumpy) than a regular decrease.

Is it right for you?

I often get asked if I recommend the Invisible Decrease. And my answer is, “it depends”.

The Invisible Decrease is designed to reduce the thickness in fabric when you’re crocheting through both loops.

As you may know, I prefer crocheting through the back loop only. This creates a less-dense fabric than crocheting through both loops.

Crocheting through the back loop

When you crochet through the back loop, the ‘extra bulk’ of the decrease isn’t a problem! You should happily do your normal decrease!

single crochet 2 together from FreshStitches


If you’re still looking to cut down on bulk while crocheting through the back loop, you can slip stitch 2 together as your decrease, but just don’t do it through the front loop.

Just be aware that because the Sl St2tog is ‘smaller’ than a normal Sc2tog, this could change the appearance of your final piece if your decreases are stacked.


How to Count the Number of Stitches in a Round (crochet)

How to Count the Number of Stitches in a Round of Crochet - a tutorial from FreshStitches and Shiny Happy World

When you crochet in the round, it can be tricky to count your stitches. But counting is important to make sure that you’re on track for following your pattern.

Today, I’ll show you how to count your stitches!

The loop on the hook doesn’t count!

Here’s a photo of my work:

crocheted circle counting tutorial

Do you see the loop that’s on my hook? (I’ll be highlighting all the stitches I’m chatting about in dark blue):

does not count

This loop does not count as a stitch! This might come as a surprise, especially if you’re a knitter.

Look for the ‘V’s

So what does count? You want to look for the ‘V’s. I like to start at the hook and work my way around. Here, I’ve highlighted the first V:


Let’s do another:


Now it’s your turn. Have a look at this picture and count the Vs:

crocheted circle counting tutorial

Keep counting until you’ve finished the round. If a stitch has been ‘stitched into’, that means it’s part of the previous round, so don’t count it!

How many did you get?

Did you find 12?


Hope that helps!

Here are handy links to all the crochet troubleshooting posts. . .

Return to the main table of contents for Let’s Learn to Crochet Amigurumi.

Happy stitching!

How to sc3tog

How to Single Crochet 3 Together - video tutorial from FreshStitches and Shiny Happy World

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:

how to sc3tog crochet tutorial

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:

how to sc3tog crochet tutorial

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:

how to sc3tog crochet tutorial

Wrap the yarn over the hook, and pull through all 4 loops:

how to sc3tog crochet tutorial

Ta da! You have decreased 3 stitches into one!

how to sc3tog crochet tutorial

Watch the video!

If the photos aren’t what you need, don’t worry… I made a video!

Keep it neat!

Is your decrease looking big and bulky? You’ll want to have a peek at this blog post about how to sc2tog… neatly! The technique applies to this decrease, too!

Here are handy links to all the posts about crocheting round two of your pattern and beyond. . .

Return to the main table of contents for Let’s Learn to Crochet Amigurumi.

Move on to the lessons for how to stuff your amigurumi.

Happy stitching!

Which eyes should I use for Amigurumi?

What Kind of Eyes Should I Use - Tips for choosing eyes for sewn and crocheted softies from Shiny Happy World

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

plastic craft eyes from FreshStitches

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.


duck with felt eyes

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.

Crocheted Eyes

crochet owl

This is my second-favorite technique… it’s quick and easy! I mean, you already have the yarn!

For instructions, visit this blog post!


You can either embroider the eyes directly on the head, or use embroidery to add flecks of light to felt or crocheted eyes!

Which are your favorite?

What kind of eyes do you like to use?

And let me know if you have an idea I haven’t listed here!

Here are handy links to all the posts about amigurumi eyes. . .

Return to the main table of contents for Let’s Learn to Crochet Amigurumi.

Move on to the lessons for standing legs.

Happy stitching!

How to attach a flattened piece in amigurumi

How to Attach a Flattened Piece to Amigurumi - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World and FreshStitches

Every once in a while, you’ll come across instructions that tell you to ‘flatten piece, and attach’. But, what does that mean? Today, I’ll show you step-by-step!

Let’s assume we’ve followed the crochet instructions, and we have a piece (that’s been worked in the round), and we’ve fastened off. The piece will look something like this one:

how to attach a flattened piece

Now, we need to carry out the instruction ‘flatten piece’. It’s easy! Simply squish the piece closed, leaving your long tail on one side.

how to attach a flattened piece in amigurumi

Thread the long tail of your piece onto a tapestry needle (mine is shorter than usual for photo purposes!).

How to attach a flattened piece to amigurumi

Now, we need to do the ‘attach piece’ part. To attach a flattened piece, the key is that you want to go through both layers of your flattened piece.

How to attach a flattened piece to amigurumi

Run your tapestry needle through both layers of your piece, then through one stitch on your background work (just like you usually attach):

How to attach a flattened piece to amigurumi

Now, just repeat this last step, until you’ve attached your entire piece! Yay!

Here are handy links to all the posts about attaching parts. . .

Return to the main table of contents for Let’s Learn to Crochet Amigurumi.

Move on to the lessons about faces and details.

Happy stitching!

Tutorial: How to crochet with beads (video)

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!

beaded crab

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.

Here are handy links to all the posts about faces and details. . .

Return to the main table of contents for Let’s Learn to Crochet Amigurumi.

Move on to the lessons about eyes.

Happy stitching!

How to Spot Clean a Stuffed Animal

If you crocheted a stuffed animal using a hand wash-only yarn, then you can’t just throw the little guy into the washing machine. You’ll need to spot clean. Here’s how to do it!

How to Spot Clean

Spot cleaning basically means cleaning a particular area of an item without submerging the entire item. It’s a phrase frequently used in the garment industry, but applies to your stuffed animals, too!

  1. Wet a washcloth in water or in water + a wool safe wash (like Eucalan no rinse wash)
  2. Dab at the spot that has become soiled, moistening the stuffed animal’s fabric. Do not scrub! Agitation causes felting.
  3. Allow to air dry.

That’s all!


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.

Cute crocheted owl

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!

5 Tips for Selling Your Crochet Items

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.

Crochet Owl by Michaela

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.

crochet crinkle toy

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!

Thanks, Michaela!

How and Why to Crochet through the Back Loop

How (and why) to Crochet through the Back Loop - from FreshStitches and Shiny Happy World

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).

crochet through the back loop

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.

holding crochet hook like a pencil

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.

Crocheted fingers

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!

Using a locking stitch marker for counting rounds

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!

Want to give it a try?

It’ll make your crocheting life oodles easier!

Here are handy links to all the posts about working the first round of your crochet pattern. . .

Return to the main table of contents for Let’s Learn to Crochet Amigurumi.

Move on to the lessons for round two and beyond of your pattern.

Happy stitching!