Tips for stuffing your amigurumi’s head & body…

Tips for Stuffing Amigurumi - from Shiny Happy World and FreshStitches

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!

 

I’ve crocheted all of my cow pieces, and attached his features… the only thing left to do is stuff his head & body and attach them!

Stuffing the head and body can be a little tricky, since they’re large pieces. You want to be sure to add plenty of stuffing (to compensate for compression over time), but be careful to not overstuff (which will force the stuffing to show through your stitches).

To stuff your cow’s head/body, take a big fluff of stuffing, and put it in.

Putting in a big fluff of stuffing is better than poking in lots of little pieces of fluff… because little pieces will make your cow look lumpy. You don’t want that! If you add too much, you can just pull the extra out:

Do this for both the head and the body:

Now that they’re stuffed, it’s time to attach them! Read this post on getting a great-looking neck on your cutie!

And this post has some great tips for getting the arms and legs evenly stuffed.

Tips for attaching amigurumi features

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!

Attaching facial features can be one of the trickiest parts of making stuffed animals… but it’s also what brings your cutie to life! With just a few tricks, you’ll be positioning and attaching features with ease… and love your finished result!

Using Locking Stitch Markers for positioning

I’ve already talked about how to use locking stitch markers to help you identify the rounds to attach your pieces to, and you’ll want to keep using this trick for placing your facial features.

At this point, I’m about to attach the snout. The pattern says to attach it to rounds 13-18 of the head, so I’ve marked these rounds with my locking stitch markers:

This makes it super-easy to see where my snout should go!

Once the snout is in place, it’s time to attach the mouth. Want to hear another great use for locking stitch markers? I use them to hold a piece in place… so I can see exactly what it will look like when attached! This saves me from attaching them, not liking how it looks, then re-doing it!

Keep using markers to position/attach the ears… and you’re cutie is on its way!

Other helpful tips

    • Use the running stitch for attaching the nostrils onto the snout… it’ll make them lie nice and flat!
    • Attaching a folded ear can be tricky… read this post to see it in action.
    • Looking for an even easier way to handle the folded ear? Whipstitch the flattened ear closed first… then you’re only dealing with 2 edges, not 4!
    • Stick your eyes in first… and check out how they look before you put the washers on. This lets you check out how the eyes will look before you affix them permanently!
    • When positioning spots, use those stitch markers! I like to put on a couple to hold my spot in place while attaching

How’s your cutie coming along?

We’re in the final week of the crochet-a-long! Here’s how mine looks:

Happy stitching!

Quick & Easy Shortcut for the Cow’s Tail!

A little update

Hey, everyone! Yesterday was moving day for me… and everything went smoothly! Yay!

It took a tad longer than usual to get our internet installed this morning (our new apartment seems to have some electrical trouble… eep!), so that’s why this post is a bit late! Thank you so much to everyone who wished me luck on our move… it worked!

Working on the cow’s tail

So, how about some helpful tips for crocheting the tail for Jackie the Cow (this month’s crochet-a-long)?

The instructions will tell you to cut 4 pieces of yarn a few inches long… but here’s a little secret: the actual length isn’t that important! You’re making the fluffy bit that will be at the end of the tail, so the length in the pattern is just a suggestion. Feel free to make yours as long as you’d like!

I like to use my hand as a guide… that way there’s no measuring required:

After I’ve wrapped a length of yarn around my hand a few times, I just cut straight next to my index finger, and I magically have equal yarn lengths!

Now, are you ready for my second trick? It’s actually more of an alternative way… but helpful to know!

The pattern includes instructions for how to crochet your tail directly onto the body of the cow. That’s a great way to do it… but if you’re like me, you like to crochet your pieces on the go (or maybe your cow body is still packed in a box somewhere). In that case, it’s easier to crochet your tail separately and attach it later. Here’s how!

Take a double strand of yarn, and make a slipknot, leaving about 3″ of tails:

Now, crochet the specified number of chains. When you’re done, insert your fluff into the loop:

Tie the ends (to secure your fluff), and you have a fabulous tail that can be attached at your leisure!

Hate attaching limbs to amigurumi? Not after reading this post!

 

How to Attach Limbs to Amigurumi - tutorial from Shiny Happy World & FreshStiches

Most people tell me that they’ve got a handle on the crocheting part… but when it comes to assembling amigurumi pieces, they dread it! That makes me sniffle… making amigurumi should be 100% fun!

So, in this post, I’ll show you how to attach limbs easily and evenly… taking all the stress out of sewing. The trick to easy attaching is planning out your placement ahead of time. It’s a piece of cake after that!

Plan where to place your limbs

We’re making a cow (not too late for you to join in on our Cow Crochet-a-long!), and I’m about to attach the legs/arms.

The instructions say, ‘attach legs to rounds 9-14’. Of course, this is just a suggestion! You can attach your legs wherever you’d like… but I’ve told you where I attach mine so there’s no guesswork on your part!

What you want to do is find out where round 9 is, and place a locking stitch marker there. Start counting (see the ridges?) from the center:

Count until you’re at round 9, and place a marker. Place another at round 14. Now you know where your leg should be located on the body!

If you find that your pieces tend to move around a lot when attaching, you might want to go one step further and use locking stitch markers to hold your piece in place. The more you prepare your pieces, the easier sewing will be!

Stuff your limbs

Grab some Polyfill and stuff your limbs:

I like to stuff both legs at once, so I can be sure they are the same size:

Sewing!

It’s not as hard as you think… I promise! We’re going to use a simple whipstitch to attach the limbs… the important thing is to let your guides (the rows and stitch markers) do all the fancy work!

Thread the needle

To begin: thread a tapestry needle with the long tail of a leg. As the first step, I like to hide the knot… so I run my needle through the first stitch on the leg:

This hides the knot beautifully! See?

Whipstitch!

The leg that we’re attaching has 24 stitches. So, if we attach along 6 stitches to round 9, 6 stitches going up to round 14, 6 stitches on round 14, and then 6 stitches going back down to round 9… the leg will be attached evenly! So, begin by threading the needle through one stitch on the body and one stitch on the leg:

That’s it! You did a whipstitch! Check out this little video if you want to see it in action:


Continue to do 6 stitches on round 9… and then continue stitching (sorta turning 90 degrees) to get to round 14. See? You’re using the stitches on the body to guide you! Easy!

As long as you keep attaching one stitch of the body to one stitch of the leg, you’ll stay on track!

Continue all the way around, and tie a knot on the inside of your work.

Ta da!

Repeat for second leg

Now, at this point, you may want to get picky. See how there’s a jag in the leg where the colors changed?

If that jog bothers you… no problem! Just decide where to place your second leg so that the jog ends up at the back of the cow! See… I’m going to put my second leg over here (on the other side of the jog), leaving the color change nearly invisible:

Now attach the second leg… same as the first! Don’t forget to place your helpful markers if you need them!

Repeat for arms!

You’ve got it down, now! Attach the arms using the same method!

You did it!

That wasn’t so bad, was it?

Let me know when you give it a try… and tell me if these tips helped you! (maybe sewing *won’t* be your least favorite part, anymore…)

Does your pattern tell you the flatten the piece and then attach it? Then click over here for this tutorial. 🙂

Connecting your Cow’s Spots… it’s easy!

I’m lovin’ the Cow Crochet-a-long… I’m already seeing some fabulous finished cows! Don’t forget that, to have a chance to win the awesome prize, you’ll need to post a photo of your cow either on our facebook page.

How to connect spots

For those of us who aren’t finished… the tips are still coming! Click here to check out all the previous posts. To this point, we’ve finished the crocheting, and we’re getting ready to start sewing pieces together.

Today, I’m going to show you how to make the spots… which are made by assembling 2 crocheted pieces. Here’s what they look like:

Let me label them (since they’re called part 1 and part 2 in the pattern) to help you out a little:

So, the instructions tell you to attach the flat side of part 2 to part one. Do you see the flat side? I’ve indicated where it is in the picture above with a red line.

So, let’s start! First, thread a tapestry needle with the long tail of part 2:

Now, use a whipstitch to attach the flat side of part 2 to part 1. Anywhere along part 1 will do!

When you’ve gotten to the end of the flat bit of part 2… you’re almost done! Your piece will look like this:

Yay! Doesn’t it look like a cow spot? Now, just tie a knot, and you’re done!

If all those ends are bothering you (’cause there are a lot!), feel free to trim them… but be sure to leave the long tail that’s on part 1. You’ll be using that tail to connect the spot to the body.

Hooray! On Thursday, I’ll shop you how to attach the cow’s limbs easily and evenly!

Crocheting the cow’s mouth: CAL help!

Have you finished crocheting your pieces for the Cow Crochet-a-long? I’ve reviewed the basics for crocheting most of the pieces… but the mouth (and part 2 of the cow spot) are made by double crocheting semi-circles, which is a little different!

Video help is here!

What does ‘4th ch from hook’ mean? How do you turn? Those are just a couple of new terms that pop up when crocheting the cow’s mouth.

In case you’ve gotten stuck, I made a little video to help you out. . .

Show off your progress!

Now you should have all the skills you need to finish crocheting your pieces!

Here’s what mine look like:

Next week, I’ll be giving you tips on assembling this cutie cow’s pieces!

Get your cow pattern here. 🙂

All the crochet stitches you’ll need!

This month, I’m giving you tips and tricks you help you out with crocheting a cow for our FreshStitches Cow Crochet-a-long. It’s not too late to join in… we’ll be crocheting until July 11th!

Why is the cow intermediate?

Don’t let Jackie the Cow‘s difficulty level scare you! It’s an intermediate pattern because it uses a few more types of stitches than your standard amigurumi pattern (like the slip stitch, half double crochet & double crochet). But these stitches aren’t hard!

How to do those new stitches

If you’ve never done a slip stitch or half double crochet before, it’s okay! You’ll only need to do a few of them, and they’re not too tricky. Here are some videos that will show you how:

Don’t feel bad if you have to watch the video a few times… or even if you have to go back to the videos after a while to check which stitch is which. That’s all part of learning!

That’s all you need!

That’s not so bad… is it?

Now that you know how to do these new stitches, you’ll be able to finish up the cow’s snout, which puts a few of these stitches to use!

The last part to crochet is the mouth… I’ll show you a video of how to crochet the mouth on Saturday. It’s not too hard, but if you’ve never crocheted a semi-circle before, you might find it tricky to start.

Next week, we’ll be onto assembling our cows!

Best,
Stacey

How to Fasten off Amigurumi pieces

 

How to Fasten Off Amigurumi Pieces - tutorial from Shiny Happy World and FreshStitches

In amigurumi patterns, you’ll often see the instructions ‘Fasten off’ or ‘Fasten off with a long tail’. What does that mean? No worries, I’m here to tell you!

Fasten off.

Whenever you’re making a piece, and you’ve finished all the crocheting… you’ve got to end it! Even though the instruction ‘fasten off’ may sound a little obscure, it’s super-easy (and you’ve probably already been doing it)!

I’ve got a video here, followed by some step-by-step photos for if you just need a quick reference.

Here’s the video

And here’s the photo tutorial

Here’s my snout from my cow (because I’m doing the CAL!), and I’ve finished crocheting:

Remove your hook, making the last loop a little larger:

Now, pull the working yarn through the loop (you can either cut the yarn- see the next part of this blog post first- or pass the entire skein through the loop. Up to you!):

Check out that beautiful knot:

How much tail should you leave?

Excellent question! When you’re cutting your yarn when you’re fastening off), you always want to leave an inch or so. That way, you’ll have enough to weave in (or hide) the tail on your finished piece.

When making amigurumi, you often want to leave a ‘long tail’… enough so that you can use the tail to attach the piece to another piece later on. I usually say about 12″, but a more accurate measurement is about twice as long as the last round of your piece.

Here’s the step-by-step:

Keep in mind, you can cut your working yarn while tying off the knot (see above) or after the knot has been fastened. Simply snip your yarn (leaving the length I described):

And you’ve done it!

How’s your cow coming?

(It’s not too late to join in! Read all about our Cow CAL here!)

Last time, I showed you that I finished up my cow’s head a couple days ago, and now I’ve finished the body, arms and legs, as well:

Pretty rainbow-y, huh?

On Thursday, I’ll show you how to slip stitch and half double crochet, two stitches you’ll need for crocheting the snout!

How to Change Colors in Single Crochet

 

How to Change Colors in Single Crochet - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

How’s your cow (for the FreshStitches CAL) coming along?

You already know that I’m making a rainbow cow… basically, changing to a new color every few rows to get rainbow-y stripes.

Do you want to know how to change colors?

Of course you do!

So, I made this little video of me doing the first color change: (click on the square icon in the lower right corner of the video to view it in full screen)


Not so hard, is it?

And if you keep changing colors every few rounds, you’ll end up with a super-fun, stripey head!

Keep crochetin’ along!

I hope you’re enjoying crocheting along with me… feel free to leave a note in the comments section if you have any questions!

And remember, I’ll be posting cow-crochet tips all month long!

Gathering Materials and Why a Stitch Marker is your Best Friend

I’m so excited… the Cow Crochet-a-long is officially underway! Every couple of days, I’ll be sharing my crocheting progress with you, as well as sharing some tips that I hope you find helpful.

If you get stuck on a tricky spot, feel free to leave me a comment (and I’ll help you out!), or come over to the Shiny Happy People group and chat about your troubles! there are lots of friendly people there to help. 🙂

Gathering your Materials

You can’t crochet a cow without materials, right?

A peek at the cow’s pattern page gives us a listing of supplies… I’ll show you what I’ve gathered!

The Yarn

If you’re doing a cow-colored cow, you’ll need 155 yards of white, 55 yards of black and 20 yards of tan.

I decided to go a little wild, and I’m doing a rainbow-colored cow:

I just dug into my ‘leftover’ pile of yarn to scrounge up some pretty colors. I’m pretty sure I have enough (there’s tons!), but if you’re not sure, check out this blog post on calculating yardage from weight. Then, you’ll be sure you have enough!

Stuffing

For stuffing, I buy the FiberFill that’s available in my local craft store. Nothing fancy! And one 20 oz. bag is plenty for a couple of cows!

Eyes

Since cows have those big, soulful eyes, I used 18mm eyes (which are larger than the 12mm I usually use). I used brown in the sample, but I picked a bright blue for my rainbow-cow. . .

Tapestry Needle

You’ll need a tapestry needle for assembling your cow parts. A tapestry needle is different from a sewing needle: it’s not sharp (yay! no ouchy fingers!) and the eye is big enough for your yarn to fit through.

Hook

You have one of these, right? I recommend using a G or H hook when using a medium weight yarn… but the most important thing is that the stuffing doesn’t show through your stitches! If it does, feel free to adjust your hook size (smaller for tighter fabric) accordingly.

Are you having trouble crocheting? It could be that your hook doesn’t match up with your crocheting style. Read my crochet hook review for help finding a hook that’s right for you.

Locking Stitch Markers

These are your best friend! I’ll tell you why in a minute… but I’ll tell you what they are, first! A locking stitch marker is a marker that locks in place and won’t fall off of your work (no matter how hard you throw it into your project bag). They come in a few varieties:

(from top left, clockwise: handmade markers from The Sexy Knitter’s Etsy shop, round-ended markers from Hiya Hiya, totally non-fancy stitch markers (very similar to these), and regular ol’ safety pins.)

Everyone has their favorites, but the most important thing is that they open and close! Don’t get fooled into buying those ordinary ring markers that are for knitting needles… they don’t work for us crocheters!

Why the Locking Stitch Marker is your BFF

One simple little notion! And so many functions!

A locking stitch marker will help you keep track of the end of your round AND count how many rows you’ve done!

The most common problem crocheters have in making amigurumi is losing track of where the round starts and ends… which leads to an incorrect stitch count and mayhem! So, I’ll show you how to use a locking stitch marker!

Don’t lose track of your end of round!

I don’t tend to use a stitch marker for the first couple of rounds (because there are so few stitches per round), but I usually start at the end of the third round (here, I’m crocheting the snout of the cow, but most pieces begin similarly):

Since I crochet through the back loop only the front loop is available to hold a locking stitch marker:

Close it up, and keep crocheting!

I know I’m finished with my next round when I’m just above the stitch marker, like this:

Then I can move the marker and start my next round. No confusion!

Have you gotten started?

I’m so excited to keep up with everyone’s CAL progress! And don’t forget to let me know if there’s a spot that’s giving you trouble!

Best,
Stacey