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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

A Cute Crocheted Mask

A friend of mine posted this adorable crocheted mask on Facebook, and I thought I could help out by typing out line-by-line instructions in English about how to make it:

Ch 38

Row 1: 1 sc in second ch from hook and next 5 chs, 1 hdc in next 3 chs, 1 dc in next 19 chs, 1 hdc in next 3 chs, 1 sc in next 6 chs, turn

Row 2:  Ch 1, 1 sc in same and next 2 sts, 1 hdc in next 3 sts, 1 dc in next 19 sts, 1 hdc in next 3 sts, 1 sc in next 6 sts, turn

Rows 3 - 8:  Repeat Row 2

Row 9:  Ch 1, 1 sc in same and next 2 sts, 1 hdc in next 3 sts, 1 dc in next 8 sts, 3 dcs in next st, 1 dc in next 10 sts, 1 hdc in next 3 sts, 1 sc in next 6 sts, turn

Row 10:  Ch 1, 1 sc in same and next 2 sts, 1 hdc in next 3 sts, 1 dc in next 21 sts, 1 hdc in next 3 sts, 1 sc in next 6 sts, turn

Mask is done, but then to create the straps to place around ears, you'll make stitches all the way around the mask.

Round 11:  from end of Row 10, ch 28 and connect to bottom right corner of mask by making 1 sc in ch at bottom right corner and 1 sc in each of the chs along the edge of the bottom of the mask, ch 28 and connect to top left corner of mask by making 1 sc in each st along the top of Row 10.

Round 12: make 1 sc in each of the 28 chs from Round 11, sl st along bottom of mask, and make 1 sc in each of 28 chs on other side of mask.  Fasten off.

Now, you can decorate the front side of the mask however you'd like.  And it looks like a fabric liner has been sewn in the inside of the mask.

Post Script:  I made one in about an hour with an F hook and worsted weight yarn.  It came out about the right size for a man's face, but the ear loops were too long.  I'm going to try another one with DK yarn and a D hook and see how that turns out!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Knitting with Common Household Items

Hi crocheters!  Until I figure out how to make a crochet hook with supplies around the house, I had to switch over to knitting.  I know everyone's getting a little stir crazy being at home all the time, sometimes without access to craft items, so I came up with a video demonstration of how to knit with two pencils and some twine.  It's a kid-friendly project and fun for everyone!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Tip: Best Scissors for Yarn

There are so many different types of scissor!  I wouldn't have guessed that before going on my own quest to find the right scissors for cutting yarn.

The important feature to consider in selecting yarn scissors is the length and sharpness of the blades.  You'll want short but sharp blades for cutting and trimming yarn ends, especially in ; you'll want a bigger blade yet still sharp for cutting felted projects.

My favorite scissors so far are my classic "stork" or "crane" scissors.  They just exude craftiness and evoke a simpler time in stitch work.

I also love my flower scissors because they are just so beautiful (you know how I feel about flowers!), and I bought them on a special trip to London a few years ago.

These little rubber scissors are great because they have a protection rubber cap.  I found them in a needlepoint/embroidery shop.

For cheap and easy but effective scissors, you can't go wrong with these "thread nippers" that tuck right into your project bag without worry.

And for travel, nothing beats the "yarn cutter pendant" available on Amazon (affiliate link):

This article by Creativebug gives great scissor options for all fabric and needle craft projects.  We'll be covering other tools that you need to have on hand for crochet projects (we've already covered stitch markers here), so please come back for more!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Tip: Storing Your Yarn

There are so many different ways to store yarn, but you should have a storage system.  First, think about the type(s) of containers you want to keep your yarn in.  My long-term solution is to keep yarn in clear plastic containers (because I was to ensure that the yarn will stay dry and safe from moths, etc); my short-term solution is to keep an ongoing project in its own tote bag or plastic basket so that I'll have everything I need for that project already together in one place.  I've also been experimenting with canvas closet shoe hangers so that I can more easily see yarns grouped together.

Which brings me to a second consideration:  once you've determined how you want to store your yarn, you should determine how you want to sort your yarn.  The two most popular ways are either by color or by texture/weight.  Since I've decided that I really prefer to work with only DK and worsted weight yarns, it made sense for me to organize by color.

In a future tip, I'll go through some methods for making an inventory of all of your yarns!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

#NatCroMo2020 Comes to an End

It's hard to believe that March is almost over!  I'm taking a break today from posting crochet tips to mark the end of another great National Crochet Month.  I guess an upside to being at home all of the time now is that I had a chance to see all the beautiful posts by other crochet designers during Crochetville's month-long celebration.  I hope you'll get a chance to catch up too, and if you missed my post for NatCroMo, here it is.

But Many Creative Gifts is not yet ready to end the party!  Since it will be our 15th Anniversary on April 5th, we've extended the one-time use 50% off coupon code for your total purchase in our Ravelry store.   The offer is good until April 5th (11:59 PM EDT).  Just use the code "50for15" in the coupon section at check out.

I hope you've been enjoying the crochet tips, we've got 10 more to go, but if I don't cover something you wish I had, please leave a comment here or on our Facebook page!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Tip: Pom Pom Makers

Pom poms are so popular now, and it's easy to see why: they make great embellishments to all sorts of crochet and knit projects.  My Clownie the Crochet Clown Doll project takes 5 pom poms, so I had to find something to make it easier to make poms!

But making a thick and fluffy pom pom is harder than it looks!  I've tried all sorts of gidgets and gadgets to achieve the perfect pom, and the closest I've gotten to creating a pom pom that I really like is with the Clover Pom Pom Maker Set ~Includes 4 Different Sizes! (Extra Small and Small Sizes)(I have no deal with Clover, I just think the company makes a great product, but I am including an affiliate link to the 4-size set on Amazon for your convenience and a small referral fee to me).  Here also are the large ones: CLOVER Pom-Pom Maker Large and the whole set of 7: Clover Pom Pom Maker Set ~Includes All 7 Different Sizes!

Like many times in crafting, you have to experiment with different tools and techniques to see what you like and get what you want! I've learned through experience that it's good to always count and keep track of how many times you wrap the yarn around whichever tool you choose so that, once you get what you like, you can continue to create consistent poms in the future.

The following video shows a variety of pom pom tools as well as the Clover one.  Please leave a comment if it would be helpful for me to do an actual pom pom making demonstration on any of the tools shown :-)

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Tip: Stuffing Your Amigurumi

"Amigurumi" is the Japanese art of crocheting small stuffed animals ("ami" means crochet and "nuigurumi" means stuffed doll).  The emphasis of this crochet technique is definitely on achieving cuteness through attributing human features to the animal form.  You'll hear references to "anthropomorphic" creatures.

Amigurumi projects are usually worked in one continuous round or spiral of single crochet stitches, to create a typically oversized head, with a cute, quirky face, and undersized torso and limbs (which are usually crocheted separately and attached).  It's often suggested that you use a crochet hook that's one size smaller than usually recommended for the yarn you've chosen in order to create a tight fabric (but an amigurumi pattern usually has anticipated this, so you should be fine following the specific instructions).

In stuffing your amigurumi creations, you might want to consider using a pellet-like stuffing rather than fiber to give it some heft and weight.  In addition, whether you're using pellets or a fiberfill, you might want to use a clean knee high or cut pantyhose to provide a barrier between the fiberfill and the crochet so that the fiber doesn't start to peek out between the crochet over time.

Amigurumi projects can be a lot of fun, especially for beginners since only the single crochet stitch is used, and it's a great way to use up scrap yarns.