Hello New Year!

So 2017 is now in full swing!

I didn’t realise it had been so long since my last post…oops! That November/December period is full on! Family, birthdays, school finishing, holidays…and no real time to sit and crochet!

So, some news from Neen’s Crochet Corner…

My Annie the Alpaca pattern appeared in Issue 52 of Simply Crochet! Who grabbed themselves a copy? Supper chuffed and honoured to be a part of such an amazing publication!

I’m looking forward to bringing some of my design sketches to life this year so stay tuned for new things!

To you and yours have an amazing New Year!

♥Neen

 

Christmas Critters

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post! So much going on and time has just flown by! But I’m pleased to say that I have some new crochet patterns to share with you and they’re free. That’s right! FREE!

I’ve created some brand new Christmas decoration designs exclusively for Lincraft which they have shared online in there ‘How to’ section. The Christmas Critter – Koala is also available in the How to Make Christmas 2016 booklet available online and in stores!

Now this little guy would have to be my absolute favourite! I have a soft spot for the Green Tree Frog and remember fond encounters of them in my Nans toilet bowl out on her farm! I’ve also watched them devour the good old Huntsman Spider whole and, although it’s a rather harmless arachnid, I’m still happy for the froggy to chow down! Besides…that’s nature!

Christmas Critter – Green Tree Frog can be found via my Ravelry page or direct link to the pattern at Lincraft.

As a kid living in an old Queenslander style house, we used to have a possum living in our roof. At night she would come down and munch on some food we started to leave out for her. Over time she would come and sit, waiting for us to pass her some food which was a bit of a highlight each night. You can imagine our delight when one night her baby popped out of her pouch to say hello! Mother and baby stayed in our roof (not always very quietly might I add), until baby was old enough to move along. They both soon left and, much to my dismay, the gap in the roof was sealed so no more critters could make themselves at home!

possum1

Christmas Critter – Possum can be found via my Ravelry page  or direct link to the pattern at Lincraft.

Koalas…everyone loves koalas! An iconic Aussie critter indeed and his little Christmas hat and gum leaf scarf make him just the sweetest little fellow ever!

koala

Christmas Critter – Koala can be found via my Ravelry page or direct link to the pattern at Lincraft.

Now, the Cockatoo! They can be noisy, especially when they arrive in a huge group and chit and chatter away! Seeing a flood of white across the ground that suddenly lifts up and flaps away squawking is an amazing sight!

cockatoo

Christmas Critter – Cockatoo can be found via my Ravelry page or direct link to the pattern at Lincraft.

I hope you enjoy these Christmas Critters with a definite Australian feel.
Thank you to Lincraft for sharing them with everyone for free!
If you make one and share on Facebook or Instagram don’t forget to use the hastag #LincraftLoves so we can all see your work!

Until next time, happy creating!

♥Neen

Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks

For Crochet Toys/Amigurumi

by Janine Tsakisiris

tips

Your hook:

Your choice of hook will affect your end result. Choose a larger or smaller hook then suggested and your crochet toy size will be altered.

Your hook size will depend on the yarn chosen. Whatever yarn you select, if it is different from the suggested yarn in the pattern, you will need to make sure that it results in stitches that are small enough so that no stuffing will show through.

Yarn choice:

Not all yarns are suitable for crochet toys. Acrylic is one of the best. It holds its shape well and is durable and usually very affordable. With crochet toys, one ball can go a long way.

Some wools, although lovely to work with, are not so good when it comes to stitching pieces together. They tend to fray or felt and break apart after pulling on it for a while. Some people may also have allergies to wool so you need to consider your recipient.

Cotton is another nice choice that also washes well. Keep in mind though that it can have a tendency to stretch, so after a few washes you may find the stitches being pulled and the stuffing showing.

Always read the label on your chosen yarn for its care instructions. Is it washable? An important thing to consider when making a toy that will be much loved.

Because you are creating tight stitches, you will need to find a yarn that doesn’t scratch and grate across your fingers. There are many available yarns and yarn blends. Experiment and find a yarn that suits you and take note to ensure the colour palette available is large enough for your requirements.

Yarn in a nutshell…
1. Any yarn can be used, simply adjust your hook size so that no holes appear in your stitches that might show the stuffing.
2. If you use a smaller or larger hook your toy size will vary.
3. Not all bulky yarns are equal! They vary from brand to brand. (This goes for all plies of yarn!)
4. To find out what ply yarn you have (as they don’t all say), simply go to Ravelry (link below) and type in your yarn. It will list all the properties but keep in mind point 3! lol
5. To find a similar yarn simply go to YarnSub (link below) and see if you can find an equivalent.
Your yarn choice will affect your end result…don’t forget to have some fun with it! Enjoy bringing them to life and making them unique! 😀

Some helpful places to look at:
Yarn Substitution: Yarnsub
Yarn Details/properties: Ravelry yarn database

Stitches:

Right side vs wrong side…yes, there is such a thing with crochet toys. End up with the wrong side facing and your whole project will not only look different, possibly be slightly larger and a little distorted, but some stitches simply won’t work to give the desired effect. As you crochet your work will start to curl slightly. It’s important to make sure you curl it so the right side, the side that is facing you from the beginning, stays on the outside of our work.

Stitches for crochet toys need to be tight so that the stuffing doesn’t show or become tempting for little fingers to pull out. You may find the tightness of your stitches changes from day to day. Trying to keep the stitches tight and consistent can take some practise. If you find your stitches are still too loose then try going down a hook size.

Stuffing:

Loosen the stuffing fibres slightly before using to prevent it from having a lumpy appearance.

Keep in mind the shape you have created, where the increases and decreases are is important. Don’t force so much stuffing in that it causes your toy to fight its own shape.

Ensure when working around safety eyes and/or noses, that you don’t push the inside stem of these causing the eye or nose to tilt at a funny angle.

If your toy has a neck, ensure there is adequate stuffing as, over time, this can become a weak spot.

Be careful with arms. If you overstuff the end it will become bulky and this will cause the arms to sit out straight from the body rather than aiming slightly down. Keep this in mind for any other appendage depending on the toy you are creating.

Add your largest piece of stuffing first and then work in smaller wads of stuffing to help give your toy its shape. Use the end of your hook, or even the tip of your scissors (carefully of course) to push the stuffing into the smaller sections.

If your pattern has two pieces with large open ends to be sewn together, always ensure you add extra stuffing before sewing the hole closed. Again, the end of your crochet hook is a handy tool for this.

Compact your stuffing slightly as you go without forcing your crochet toys shape to pull or stretch. Stuffing naturally compacts over time and with continued play so ensuring plenty of stuffing is essential.

Stuffing can have a huge impact on your end result. Too much and it’ll force the stitches apart and allow the stuffing to be seen. Too little and it will quickly compact and your crochet toy will have no shape. It’s important to find a balance.

Sewing:

Sewing requires a wool needle that has a large enough hole to thread your chosen yarn easily and a sharp enough point to be able to slide through your crochet toy without pulling the yarn fibres apart.

Deciding on the best way to sew on attachments can take a bit of practice. It will also depend on the desired look for the completed toy. Ensure the stitches are pulled tight and, if necessary, add in a little extra stuffing before sewing any holes closed. This is especially important for necks to avoid them becoming overly floppy as they are carted around.

Pinning any attachments before sewing is always recommended. Sew once you’re happy with the positioning.

Ensure the attachment is secure. If it’s too loose, it will simply be pulled off over time. Add extra stitches if necessary to ensure a tight bond.

To finish, run your yarn through a few stitches and then pull it through the body of your crochet toy. Pull slightly and cut your yarn close to your work and the end will slip back inside the body of your crochet toy.

Personalising and personality:

Make your crochet toy your own. Alter the colours to suit your tastes. Who says a teddy bear needs to be brown? Moving the positioning of facial details, limbs, etc., can completely alter the appearance of your new friend. Experiment with placement. Using pins to check positioning of appendages before sewing is always a good idea. Add buttons, a crochet flower and a ribbon around a neck, glasses perched on a nose or even some tufts of hair. Enjoy creating something truly unique.

 

Little Miss Muffet

It’s been a little while since my last post! Life has been busy and over Christmas I took an extended break to be with my family. To rest and recharge and to get my crojo back! Yes, I had lost it there for a time but the time off has done me the world of good!

So, introducing my first pattern for 2016…

Little Miss Muffet

She’s pretty quick to come together as the arms and legs are crocheted in with the body…I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I hate stitching pieces together! Not only that but I think it produces a stronger end product. Kids love to tug and pull and I’m sure this technique will make sure she’ll last for the long haul!

The pattern includes instructions for her spider friend too…

Enjoy! ♥

Little Miss Muffet pattern can be found on Ravely here

Jack O’Lantern

The ‘tradition’ of Halloween has only really started to take off here in Australia over the last few years. I know it’s not every ones cup of tea but that’s life. 🙂 I love the idea of letting the children dress up more so than anything else. Also cooking up something different like Witches Fingers or eyeballs just to hear the kids squeal and squirm in delight as they gobble them down! Haha!

So here is my first Halloween pattern…Jack O’Lantern.

His arms are made first then he’s crocheted from the feet up. Arms are crocheted in with his body as you go. The only real sewing are the top stem on his head and the button on his vest. I think I’ve mentioned before how much I hate sewing pieces together! 😛 Haha!

I hope you enjoy him as much as I do!

Jack1

❤ Neen

Greetings Earthlings!

I’ve been a little quiet of late but here is my latest addition. Standing at about 8.5cm tall, he comes in peace. 👽

There’s no stitching together of pieces with this one which is always a bonus when it comes to making crochet toys!

His wee little arms are made first and then he is crocheted from head to the bottom of his ship as one piece, crocheting the arms in with his body as you go.

How easy does that sound? 😀

👽 Find him on Ravelry: Little Alien in Spaceship 👽aliencollage

How easy was Tat!

Yes, how easy was it to fall in love with tatting?

It’s been a little over a week since I started and I have finally placed an order for some proper tatting needles (insert excited squealy noises here!) I got a little tired of jabbing myself in the finger with the doll needle and I’m enjoying tatting enough to warrant acquiring the necessary tools to progress!

Here are some little pretties I’ve made whilst practicing, along with some ideas for their uses. Hoop arts, headbands, card making, appliques…I’m sure any crafty person could find somewhere to use these little lovelies!

tattingcollage

What a wonderful art tatting is. There are some absolutely stunning pieces out there! I truly hope more take it up so it doesn’t become a craft that is lost!

♥Neen