Back in the Saddle

That loud whooshing noise you hear is the dust being blown off the blog.

I know I only have a handful of people who read this wee craft blog, but regardless of time lapsed between posts, it still means a lot to me to be able to post projects and other goings-on related to this love of crochet.

I hold down a full-time job at an accounting firm, which means that the first four months of the year become increasingly stressful as each month passes, until there’s just work and sleep between April 1 and Tax Day (U.S.). With tax season now behind me for the remainder of 2017, I can resume my crafty passions on the side.

Rested and refreshed now, I have all of these ideas percolating for projects. I know I’m not alone in Potential Project Land, where your mind goes here and there and everywhere coming up with All the Things you could be making.

Things on my To Make list include:

  • A Tunisian crochet pillow cover; I’ve had the supplies sitting in my cart for a few months now. Yeesh.
  • Amigurumi patterns I haven’t tried yet; I just purchased a new bunny pattern and a new pig pattern. I also need to FINISH the one I started almost a year ago now (a seahorse from Lalylala) — it needs details on the head and body, the arms sewn on, and the baby seahorse made. I also have loads of patterns in books, both digital and paper copies, to choose from.
  • Amigurumi orders and gifts to friends that are currently being worked on or are in the queue
  • Challenging stitches, such as broomstick lace. I have a Craftsy class on working in broomstick lace. It also means I have to go out and buy a giant knitting needle (or two, since they come in pairs).
  • A new blanket pattern; there are way too many to choose from, but I have a new pattern for one I’d love to try (with little owl motifs), and another one I want to do is a Tunisian entrelac blanket. Where I get hung up is trying to create a cool plaid pattern and then I just sit and swirl about colors.

Despite being incredibly busy from January to April, I still completed some crochet orders or worked on things to help me relax (even since the Big Red Fox). In no particular order, below are a handful of photos of those items. It’s more or less a photo dump of anything from my camera roll since the last time I updated, which is admittedly a long time ago.  Take a gander!

What have you been up to? I’d love to see anything you’ve been creating!

 

Dragonfly Blanket Over Chair

Babies: Pig, Lamb, Whale

Quad of Gifts

Bear_Etsy Order

Pink Whale

Sunset Tunisian Crochet Knit-alike Scarf

Particulars of the Invisible Decrease

For anyone who has visited my Etsy shop or my Facebook page, you’ll know I make a lot of amigurumi. And if you didn’t know that before, it is the bread and butter of my little side business.

It has probably taken me the past thirty or more creations to hone the skill of decreasing rounds so that there are few bumps and holes showing on the finished doll; not an easy task.

There are a handful of ways to decrease in the round, with a couple of them dubbed as an “invisible decrease.”

The regular decrease when working in single crochet, or sc2tog, is simply inserting your hook into the next stitch, yarning over and pulling up a loop, repeating on the next stitch, yarning over and pulling through all loops on the hook. Simple pimple, right?

It does work and it will quickly tighten the round. It’s really good for when you need to shape the doll using decreased stitches, a skill some designers have mastered. (See the Etsy shop “Stuff the Body” for examples–she does a lot of designs that don’t involve sewing because she shapes the animals with increases and decreases. It’s pretty brilliant.)

But when you make a lot of typical amigurumi with your basic round shapes, you want to find the right invisible decrease that is smooth and really effective. It took me a while to figure out what I liked and what worked best for me, but this is my recommendation for the best invisible decrease when doing single crochet in the round:

Insert hook into the front loop only of the next stitch; do NOT yarn over. Insert hook into the back loop only of the following stitch; yarn over and pull through two loops, yarn over and pull through remaining two loops.

The pink highlights the stitches where the yarn has been inserted (one front loop, one back loop).

The pink highlights the stitches where the yarn has been inserted (one front loop, one back loop).

It takes a little while to figure out maneuvering the hook since you don’t yarn over in between the two stitches, but it’s because of that absence of the “yo” that there is almost no visible bump and it’s quite difficult to tell where the decrease is. It’s very effective.

If you really prefer to yarn over between stitches, the next best invisible decrease (in my opinion) is to work the front loops only of both stitches and yarn over after each insertion of the hook. You’ll get a slight bump and it’s not ideal for shaping, but it works fine.

Here are some more photos of the invisible decrease in action. You can see on both the head and the body that the bumps and “squished” stitches are minimalized, and the final doll looks really polished.

Give it a try! I’d love to know what you think.

Hippo Head

Hippo Body

Hippo Square