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.  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 Use Safety Eyes

Craft eyes. Plastic eyes. Safety eyes. Animal eyes. They’re called lots of different things!

craft eyes from FreshStitches

I’ve made a video that shows you how to install them and remove them (eep!). I also talk about why I only use eyes with ridges and plastic washers as well as why you shouldn’t use them on toys for children under 3 years old.

Below, I’ve also included a quickie tutorial for those of you who want to get ‘straight to the point’ as well as some other links you might like!

Ready to get some eyes for your creations? Visit my craft eyes shop for the best selection of black, clear and colored animal eyes, comic eyes and craft noses. Is it your first order? Use the code FIRSTTIME for 10% off your eyes purchase!

Video Tutorial for Craft Eyes

This is a little 5 minute video. Enjoy!

How to install craft eyes

I opened the FreshStitches eyes shop because I really like ridged eyes and plastic washers… and I was tired of ordering eyes that showed plastic washers in the picture, but getting metal ones. Or getting eyes without the ridges. Geesh. Those things matter! It’s like ordering a long-sleeve shirt but getting one without sleeves. Not the same.

That’s why every pair of eyes I sell has ridges on the post with plastic washers. There are actually a few styles of eye I’ve wanted to carry, but they only came with metal washers. Nope. No deal. I’m pretty passionate about a plastic washer.

Plastic washers don’t bend as you try to put them on, and if they’re good quality, they’re amazingly strong. (That’s why I recommend you buy eyes from someone you trust, and not just the cheapest ones you can find from China.) And do you see those little points?

plastic washer on a safety eye

Those little ‘barbs’ dig into the fabric and keep the eye from rotating. Which isn’t a big deal if you’re just using a black craft eye, but is crucial if you’re using a comic eye. You don’t want them twisting and giving you googly eyes!

The ridges on the posts of craft eyes help the washer click on (and stay on!) securely. I love hearing the ‘click’ as I press the washer on! The ridges also help to make sure the washer doesn’t back off AND makes sure the washer presses on evenly.

how to attach a craft eye 2

So, let me show you how to install a craft eye with a plastic washer.

First, insert the post of the craft eye between the stitches on your piece where you want it to go. I recommend that you place the eyes first, before pressing on the washers, just to see if you like the look.

monkey with heart eyes

Once your eyes are positioned how you’d like, press the flat side of the washer (that’s the one with the tiny barbs!) onto the post.

Here’s a photo of how it will look (but without the fabric getting in the way… obviously, your piece doesn’t really look like this!):

how to attach a safety eye 3

I don’t want you to stress too much about this, because if you try to put the washer on backwards, it just won’t go.

Now, push! You’ll hear that click, and it’s on!

A note about 6mm craft eyes

 

The 6mm craft eyes, because they are SO tiny, have smaller plastic washers without the ‘barbs’. But don’t worry, the same rule applies: flat side towards the fabric.

6mm safety eyes

Other links you’ll enjoy

Here are some other craft-eye-related links you’ll like!

 

 

 

 

Crochet: Back Loop vs. Both Loops + Video

This post was originally published April 28, 2015… but it’s so popular that I’ve updated it and added a video!

Crocheting is so much fun because there are so many options! Even a simple single crochet gives you the option of crocheting through the front loop, both loops or the back loop!

crocheting through the back loop

Today, I’ll show you where to insert your hook for the most two popular techniques: the back and both loops. I’ll also link to some posts that you might find helpful… and included a video tutorial at the end!

how to count the number of stitches in a round, crochet tutorial by FreshStitches

The Back Loop

Every stitch is a V laying on its side. Do you see the V in the above photo? The back loop refers to the top leg of this V.

crocheting through the back loop

To use this technique, insert your hook where I’ve put a black dot in this photo:

crocheting through the back loop

Why the back loop?

Crocheting through the back loop is my favorite! You’ll want to read this blog post that outlines all of the advantages!

Both Loops

The term ‘both loops’ refers to both the back and front loops. This is the ‘standard’ when a pattern doesn’t specifically reference any loops. This is the entire V:

both loops

To use this technique, insert your hook where I’ve put a black dot in this photo:

insert both loops

Video

I know it can be hard to picture what these variations look like when you’re actually crocheting, so I’ve recorded a video for you!

What’s it look like in the end?

You’ll want to have a look at this blog post where I show you photos of how each technique looks, in the round and in rows!

Which is your favorite?

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!

Save

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Crochet Video Tutorials: basic stitches and amigurumi techniques

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Need help crocheting?

You’ve come to the right place! Learning to crochet from written instructions can be tricky… that’s why I’ve made a collection of video tutorials to help you out. Sometimes, seeing something in action is all you need!

I’ve videotaped the most common crochet stitches in action, as well as techniques that you’ll use when making & assembling amigurumi.

So, relax! Crocheting is meant to be fun… and these videos are here to help![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Getting Started with Amigurumi

[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/dD0Hy0ElHlE” align=”center” title=”Sloppy Slip Knot”][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/3xhhhgrYXHY” align=”center” title=”Super-easy Magic Ring”][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/HsvpwkcLJQM” align=”center” title=”How to Crochet the 2nd round of Amigurumi”][vc_separator color=”turquoise”][vc_column_text]

Basic Crochet Stitches

The videos for the single crochet, single crochet decrease (sc2tog) and single crochet increase are being updated! Stay tuned for the new ones![/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/471Wxp8Kkg0″ align=”center” title=”Chain Stitch”][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/IvXB_irp9J8″ align=”center” title=”Single Crochet”][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/XVxGzfxQ4yA” align=”center” title=”Single Crochet Decrease (sc2tog)”][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/dELdwG-bIxg” align=”center” title=”Single Crochet Decrease over multiple stitches (such as sc3tog)”][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/jIbv8ibe23M” align=”center” title=”Single Crochet Increase”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator color=”turquoise”][vc_column_text]

Advanced Stitches

If you’re having trouble with your loop stitch unravelling… you’re missing one crucial step in your crocheting! Watch this video tutorial to learn how to make it super-secure![/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/NF0dNPuSj6g” align=”center” title=”Bobble Stitch Tutorial”][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/UDDfsAnoBWU” align=”center” title=”Loop Stitch Tutorial”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator color=”turquoise”][vc_column_text]Amigurumi Videos[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/ubISfCG3ZOw” align=”center” title=”Am I crocheting inside out?”][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/hOzgVcLwqNc” align=”center” title=”How to crochet standing legs in amigurumi”][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/tjMOJAEIFxY” align=”center” title=”How to count rounds without using a stitch marker”][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/lalh-smGtQ0″ align=”center” title=”How to attach using a whipstitch”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

That’s not all!

There are even more videos on my YouTube channel, so go subscribe and get all of the latest![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Free Waves Stitch Pattern + Cowl Tutorial!

One of my favorite stitches is the wave stitch. So, when Maddie asked for a scarf for fall, I knew right where to turn!

First, I pulled out a SpaceCadet Rainbow Mini-Skein Bundle and let Maddie choose the colors she wanted.

Rainbow Mini skeins for FreshStitches from SpaceCadet

(Since each mini-skein is 70 yards, I needed less than 3 to make a baby cowl… but one set would more than make an adult one!) Maddie is really into red, so she selected the red, pink and orange.

Psst… do you want this amazing bundle for yourself? Use the code RAINBOW to get 20% off the mini-skein bundle! Coupon valid until October 31, 2016.

Then, I grabbed a hook and started crocheting! With this fingering weight yarn, I used a C hook.
free crochet cowl tutorial
The result is lovely and drapey… and Maddie loves it!

Let me give you the pattern!

The Waves Pattern

In this pattern, sl= slip stitch, sc= single crochet, dc= double crochet, hdc= half double crochet, tr= treble crochet.
Free Crochet cowl tutorial
With A, ch 30.
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and each ch across. (29)
Row 2: With A, ch 1, turn, sc in next sc, * sc in next sc, hdc in next 2 sts, dc in next 2 sts, tr in next 3 sts, dc in next 2 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, sc in next 2 sts. Repeat from * once. (29)
Row 3: Ch 1, turn. Sc in each st. (29)
Row 4: With B, Ch 4 (counts as tr), turn. * Tr in next st, dc in next 2 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, sc in next 3 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, dc in next 2 sts, tr in next 2 sts. Repeat from * once.
Row 5: Ch 1, turn. Sc in each st. (29)
Repeat rows 2-5 until piece measures desired length (circumference of the cowl) and fasten off and sew ends together!

Free Waves cowl pattern

I used this pattern to make a cowl, but you can also use this pattern (repeating rows 2-5 until piece measures 5.5″ long) and add with other blocks to make a sampler cowl!
freshstitches sampler cowl

Visit this blog post for a granny square pattern!

What are you going to make?

So… you have the pattern for the waves stitch and a coupon so you can grab an amazing bundle of yarn… what are you waiting for to get started? I can’t wait to hear about what you make!

Quickie Intarsia Tutorial

Great little instarsia video! Stacey makes it easy!
Intarsia. Oooh. Sounds scary, right?

instarsia knitting

But it’s totally not scary at all! I’ve filmed a quickie video for you… it’s only 2 minutes, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is!

Intarsia Tutorial Video

Intarsia is a method of changing colors over big stretches (when it’s too far to carry your unused color). All you do is twist the two yarns around each other and keep working!

Here’s a video!

Cool, right?

Practice!

FreshStitches chevron cowl Chiclets
I use this technique in my newest pattern, Chiclets (click here to buy now!).

You may also want to check out this fabulous free pattern I designed for Knitty all the way back in 2010. Another great first Intarsia pattern!
Easy Intarsia pattern from Knitty

And you can follow up with Anne Berk’s Craftsy Class, Next Steps in Intarsia. Sounds fun, right?!?

How to Knit or Crochet Using an *Exact* Amount of Yardage!

We’ve all done this, right? You have a ball (or partial ball) of yarn, and you want to know how much you can knit/crochet until you run out. How do you calculate this?

rainbow yarnI’ll show you!

How to calculate how many stitches you can get from your yarn

I’m detailing each of these steps, below!

  1. Calculate how many yards of yarn you have
  2. Calculate how many stitches you get per yard (using your gauge)
  3. Calculate how many stitches you can get from your yardage!

How to calculate how much yardage you have

If you have full skeins of yarn, this step is easy. Just read the label.

But, if you have partial skeins, you’ll need to do some calculating. The best way to do this calculation is by using weight. Read this blog post for step-by-step instructions!

scale for measuring yarn

You’ll need a digital scale and a calculator!

How to calculate how many stitches you get per yard

You’ll need to do a little gauge swatch! This technique works for either knit or crochet. Read this great blog post on how to measure yarn.

how to measure yarn

This blog post has some typical measurements for crochet.

how much yarn do I need?

Calculate how many stitches you can get from your yardage!

Let’s put it all together now!

To begin, multiply your yardage by 36 to get the length in inches.

So, if I have 110 yards, that’s 3960 inches.

Divide this number by your inch/stitch measurement (that you got in step 2), which for single crochet with a worsted weight is 1.8″.

3960/1.8 is 2200 single crochets!

crochet freshstitches

That’s your number! A good pattern will contain stitch counts at the end of each row, so you can add them up and determine how many extra rows you can sneak into a cowl, or whether you’ll need so skip some rows of sleeve length to get your sweater to work!

Video Tutorial: English Paper Piecing

I’m obsessed with English Paper Piecing (EPP). And because I want to you to share in the love of this awesome craft, I’ve put together two video tutorials so you can learn to do it too!

English Paper Piecing with freshstitches

english paper piecing hexies

Watch them and then start stitching! You’ll probably end up addicted to these little hexagon-shaped fabric pieces of candy… but that’s okay!

Video one: how to prepare your fabric and baste the hexagons

Video two: how to sew hexagons together and remove template

FreshStitches rainbow bundles fabric

I also love rainbows. So… I teamed up with Shiny Happy World to put together a kit that’s great for beginners or old hats! Grab your Rainbow English Paper Piecing Kit– they’re available for a limited time, only!

FreshStitches rainbow bundles fabric

I also highly recommend the book All Points Patchwork: English Paper Piecing beyond the Hexagon for Quilts & Small Projects by Diane Gilleland. It’s amazing and inspiring!

I’ll be announcing the full March shop update on Friday, but everything is listed now! So either check it out, or wait for my tour of all of the fabulous new items!

Free Download: Flower Barrette Instructions and Templates!

Sometimes you want a quick little project that makes something really cute. Right?

Flower Barrette Kit from FreshStitches

Flower barrettes! They’re easy! And you can make them with any two colors of felt (I recommend a wool-blend for durability)!

FreshStitches Flower Barrette pattern

You can download the pdf template & instructions, here.

You’ll need:

  • Four 4.5″ x 4″ pieces of felt (two in fun colors and two in black)
  • A 2″ snap-on barrette
  • A sewing needle
  • Dark embroidery floss or sewing thread
  • A button
  • orange flower square

    If you’d like all of that in one handy package, then grab the Flower Barrette Kit, which has the materials to make 3 barrettes!

    kit contents

    Enjoy!