How to crochet the mane on a lion!

Our Kepler the Lion CAL is well underway! The pattern is available for sale here.

Amigurumi Lion Stuffed Animal Pattern

The trickiest part about this pattern is the mane. And although the pattern has step-by-step photos, I thought you might enjoy a little video that demonstrates the hardest part: planning and doing the first round of single crochets for the mane.

(Tip – you can use this skill in lots of different ways – like attaching a skirt to a doll, a foot to a slug, petals to a flower, and more.)

For this technique, I begin by attaching with a single crochet (read more about how to do that, here!) Why? This is an easy way to join a new yarn, and because you’re doing a single crochet, you’ve actually started the work! No need to get confused by a slip stitch or extra knots.

crochet lion pieces

Don’t forget to share how your lion is coming along!

Crochet an adorably cuddly hound dog. Get the pattern here.

Tutorial: Gnome Costume

Happy Halloween!

Maddie decided that she wanted to be a gnome for Halloween… and I thought it was a good excuse to put my craftiness to good use. This is a great costume to make! It’s adorable, and you only need to make a few components. Combined with store-bought clothes, it looks amazing!

Baby gnome costume

If you’re wondering why these photos are so cropped, it’s because I let Maddie play with the November Kit Club sample- she just loves it! But, it means that I needed to crop it out to avoid a major spoiler!

Let me give you a quick run-through all of the components!

Knitted Hat

There are loads of pixie-style patterns on Ravelry. You can follow one of those, or modify a normal hat pattern.
baby pixie hat, knitted
To do this, work two plain rounds in between every decrease round of the crown. That’s how you make the point! This technique works for knitting or crochet!

Crocheted Beard

I followed the Bobble Bearded Beanie pattern. It’s a great pattern, and comes in adult sizes, too!

Sewn Belt

To make the belt, I cut a piece of belting (yes, that’s actually what it’s called! You can find it by the yard in the notions section of a craft/sewing store) to length. I sewed snaps to each end to fasten it on.
I cut a square of felt (about 2″ longer in each dimension than the width of the belting) and cut two slits in it so I could run the belting through. Easy!


I bought red pants and a blue cardigan from Primary (the Baby Pants in Cherry and the Baby Snap Cardi in Pool). I bought the cardigan one size too big, which gives the outfit a cute, oversized gnome look!

Happy Halloween!

I hope you have a blast today! And you might want to download my free pumpkin pattern for a fun little project! Or crochet a sweet gnome!

Crochet Ripple Afghan

Have I shown you the beautiful afghan that my mom made Maddie?

orange and aqua crochet ripple afghan freshstitches

I just love it! It’s in my favorite colors!

freshstitches chevron afghan

She used Knit Picks (either Brava or Comfy Worsted… I can’t tell because it looks like the aqua color has been discontinued!) and a size I hook. I bought her a Caspian Crochet hook (because she was wearing the paint off of her aluminum hook) and she loved it!

freshstitches aqua and orange afghan

My mom doesn’t read crochet patterns (yes, I fully appreciate the irony in that- given that my job is to teach people to read crochet patterns!), but the stitch she used is very similar to the classic back loop ripple stitch.

There are lots more inspirational chevron photos on my Crochet Afghan Pinterest board… so many color combinations you can do with this stitch to get a great blanket!


Rainbow Star Afghan!

I have something very exciting to show you… I finished my Rainbow Star Afghan!

Rainbow Star Afghan FreshStitches

I just love how it turned out! You know I’m a sucker for rainbows!

Star afghan rainbow freshstitches

I’m planning on writing a little tutorial on the color changes sometime in the future… but you know, time is a little sparse right now!

Rainbow star afghan freshstitches

I couldn’t be more pleased with the results!

WIP: Star Afghan begins!

Remember last week when I asked you to vote on my next afghan using these great rainbow colors?

Rainbow yarns

I was floored by all of the responses! And while the winner wasn’t clear-cut… the star pattern got oodles of votes!

The Pattern

After looking at lots of star patterns, I was really inspired by stablewoman’s version of the Lyn’s Round Ripple Afghan pattern.

I’ve gotten started:

crochet rainbow star afghan by FreshStitches

What do you think?

It’s a 12 point star, and even though the pattern isn’t terribly well-written, I’ve gotten the hang of it and I’m really enjoying it!

And some bead crochet…

I’ve also been into doing some bead crochet… here’s a little progress photo:

bead crochet

I’m hoping to show you some finished items, soon!

That’s what I’ve been up to this week… how about you? I hope you have an awesome Wednesday, and get some great knitting/crocheting done this week!

If you want to check out more Work-In-Progress posts, please check out Tami’s Ami’s Blog, who’s been organizing a great WIP Wednesday blog theme! And, don’t forget to come back for FO (Finished Object) Friday!

How do you pick the shape? Notes on designing a lion

One of the animals I’m designing in my design marathon is a lion.

crochet lion pieces

Decisions, decisions…

Before I even start crocheting, there’s a major decision to make: what shape should he be?

He could be standing on two legs:

standing lion cartoon

He could be seated:

stititng lion cartoon

Or he could be standing on all fours:

standing lion cartoon

Selecting the shape

I have a few ‘design guidelines’ that (giggle) guide my design. I want most of my FreshStitches animals to:

  • be accessible to advanced beginner crocheters
  • stand/sit on their own
  • use mostly ‘frequently used’ crochet techniques

When I asked around on Ravelry, there were a lot of votes for the standing-on-all-fours design. However, I knew I wanted this guy to have a big mane, and I worried a mane would cause this design to topple forwards. Also, this standing design would most likely require sewing a head onto an already-stuffed body… which takes a little bit of skill. So, I knocked that design out of the running.

Of the two remaining designs, I threw it to my Ravelry group for a vote. And they chose:

stititng lion cartoon

The seated guy! Whoo hoo!

It turns out this is a pretty popular design for lions… check out this one I spotted (on the Container Store‘s website):


Is my Ravelry group clever, or what?

I’ll keep you posted on my progress!


This week I’m reading March, by Geradine Brooks.

It’s good, but unlike her other books, I’m not completely sucked in. Maybe the weather outside is too nice… or maybe there isn’t enough action happening in Mr. March’s life… I’m not sure.

That’s what I’ve been up to this week… how about you? I hope you have an awesome Wednesday, and get some great knitting/crocheting done this week!

If you want to check out more Work-In-Progress posts, please check out Tami’s Ami’s Blog, who’s been organizing a great WIP Wednesday blog theme! And, don’t forget to come back for FO (Finished Object) Friday!

Workin’ on some crazy socks!

Want to see what I’m working on this week?

I’m warning you… it’s crazy!

Wild Hare socks Grateful dead

Whoa. Did you pass out from those colors? No? Okay good. Here’s a close-up:

Wild hare socks knitting

The yarn is the Wild Hare Fibers* yarn that I bought a couple of weeks ago.

I’m loving working on these… and I love the way the yarn colors pooled at the gusset!

This week, I’m reading The Weekend Homesteader: A Twelve-Month Guide to Self-Sufficiency.* It’s intended for those either in urban/suburban areas or those who are new to homesteading… it walks you through a project for each weekend.

I’m already an avid composter and canner (why doesn’t spell-check think those are words?!?), but since we’re getting our own little piece of earth soon, I’m keenly absorbing all of the gardening and homesteading advice there is to offer!

I’m also reading The American Plague*, which chronicles a Yellow Fever outbreak in the late 1800’s. I was riveted for the first half, but now my attention has waned. I can’t tell if it’s because it’s too much detail about Yellow Fever, or if I’ve been distracted by gardening.

That’s what I’ve been up to this week… how about you? I hope you have an awesome Wednesday, and get some great knitting/crocheting done this week!

If you want to check out more Work-In-Progress posts, please check out Tami’s Ami’s Blog, who’s been organizing a great WIP Wednesday blog theme! And, don’t forget to come back for FO (Finished Object) Friday!


This post contains affiliate links. That means I make a little commission if you buy something after clicking through. All affiliate links are marked with an *.

How to crochet with two yarns at once!

It’s a topic that comes up often: what’s the best way to crochet with two yarns at once?

You may be asking… why would you want to do such a thing? Because… you can crochet any crochet pattern with a double-thickness of yarn and get a large, cuddlier animal!

I know that you want to make a giant cutie… so I’ve updated my fabulous post about various ways to work with two yarns at once, including pros and cons of each method.


Oodles of love for our April sponsors!

All the goodies that go into this blog take a bit of work, so I want to send a huge hug to this month’s sponsors for helping to make it all happen!

Knot by Gran’ma

Jess is the fiber and mixed-media artist behind Knot by Gran’ma… and I’m just in love with her monster creations!

Knot by Granma art monster

Using crochet as a base, Jess uses a variety of fibers and materials to create one of a kind art dolls and monsters for children.

monster by Jess Knot by Granma

Bold colors and fun textures are a trademark of her pieces… inspired by surrealism, comics, fantasy, and science fiction art! You’ll definitely want to go have a look at Jess’s work, and find a home for a lovely piece of her art in your home!

Yarn Love

Katie is the spunky dyer behind Yarn Love: an indie company that specializes in lovely hand-dyed skeins and complementary patterns!

Yarn love hearts hat

Every skein dyed at Yarn Love is unique… touched by hand no fewer than 21 times! Can you believe that? The intense color-application process that makes these skeins so lovely requires a hands-on approach… quality you’ll notice when you’re knitting/crocheting these skeins up for yourself.

yarn love skeins

Katie creates her line of yarn with an eye towards coordination… so your Yarn Love skeins will play well together!


5 ways to modify an amigurumi pattern

It’s really fun to modify an amigurumi pattern!

You can make the same pattern a hundred times and have a hundred different critters that all look different from each other.

Of course, you can follow the pattern exactly. There’s no shame in doing this! Use the recommended yarn, recommended hook size and follow the instructions to the letter. That way you’ll get exactly what you see on the pattern cover.

But try these fun ideas to modify an amigurumi pattern. . .

1. Change the color.

Pick any color you like! And remember – it doesn’t have to be realistic. It’s especially fun to pick seasonal colors to make a holiday version of a pattern you already have.

Take a look at this fun Valentine’s Day owl made with the Nelson the Owl pattern.

modify an amigurumi pattern by changing the color - pink and red owl for Valentine's Day - crocheted with the Nelson the Owl amigurumi pattern

Or how about this adorable red, white and blue version of Roosevelt the Monster?

modify an amigurumi pattern by changing the color - cute red, white and blue monster crocheted with the Roosevelt the Monster pattern

The easiest way to modify an amigurumi pattern is to change the color.

2. Make a giant amigurumi

To make a super-big amigurumi, pick a thick yarn and use a larger size hook. Then, follow the pattern!

I adore this giant slug that Stacey made!

modify an amigurumi pattern by changing the size - giant slug crocheted with the Hannah the Slug pattern

If you can’t find a thick yarn, hold two strands of yarn together. It’ll be double the thickness of the original!

Don’t know what size hook to use? Don’t fret. Check the yarn label for hook recommendations, or (if you don’t have a label) guess and try a swatch. As long as your fabric doesn’t have holes, it’s a fine hook!

Stacey has more tips for crocheting a giant amigurumi here.

3. Make a teeny-tiny amigurumi

Instead of going big… go small!

modify an amigurumi pattern by changing the size - small green crab ornament made with the Tipper the Tiny Crab pattern

Alyssa made Tipper the Tiny Crab extra tiny by using super thing yarn.

I like using a fingering weight yarn (i.e. sock yarn) and a size C hook… but I’ve seen others go even smaller! Try crochet thread and a steel crochet hook for a super-tiny guy!

Update: If you want more info about modifying an amigurumi pattern by changing the size, Planet June has a great post here. She actually created a conversion table showing what kind of increase or decrease to expect with which yarn sizes!

4. Add stripes or a gradient

It’s easy to add stripes to your amigurumi… just change yarn colors every few rounds. This is a fabulous way to use up all those little odds-and-ends of yarn!

Modify an amigurumi pattern by adding stripes - solid and striped bunnies crocheted with the Ringo Rabbit pattern

I used several different colors to make a striped Easter bunny version of the Ringo Rabbit pattern.

This post shows how to get a clean color change, and this one shows a way to change colors that minimizes the jog you get with that change.

Even easier… use a self-striping or gradient yarn, like the one I used for this Cooper Cat.

striped brown cat made with the Cooper Cat crochet pattern

5. Add some glitz

Maybe your amigurumi just wants a little pizazz!

modify an amigurumi pattern by adding beads - beaded orange crab made with the Tipper the Tiny Crab pattern

You can add some beads (there’s a tutorial here showing how to crochet with beads), or pick a yarn that already has beads or sequins added in. Fun!

Whatever method you choose to modify an amigurumi pattern – change is good! It’s like getting a whole new pattern!

Happy stitching!

Crochet an adorably cuddly hound dog. Get the pattern here.

Pick your slug colors!

Crochet a long Slug amigurumi freshstitches

Are you joining in on our slug-a-long? You should, it’s going to be fun!

After grabbing the pattern, the next thing you have to do is pick your slug colors!

Find your Inspiration

I designed the original Hannah the Slug in yellow because she’s modeled after the Banana Slug around Santa Cruz, CA (yes, it’s really yellow! And also UC Santa Cruz’s mascot!).

But yours doesn’t have to be yellow! To gather ideas for other slugs, I visited the Australian Museum, which contains some interesting varieties!

Here’s the Leopard Slug:

Leopard Slug from Australian Museum

And guess what this guy is called?

Red Triangle Slug

A Red Triangle Slug! Did you even know such a thing existed?

There are also all-red slugs:

all red Red Triangle Slug

(I think this guy is another variety of the Red Triangle Slug…)

What color will yours be?

I hope the example slugs tell you that you should go wild and crazy with your slug color choices! Any color makes a fabulous slug!

And throw in some color changes, if you want! Have fun!