Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Amigurumi tips part 1 - reading and understanding crochet instructions proposed by Papillon en Papier

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I am a fan of simple, understandable within few words, crochet instructions. With intricate designs, such as the doll body, for instance, you need to maintain focus on the final number of stitches you will have on each row.

1. How to follow my patterns

Bellow is the list with the most important terms that I use in my free amigurumi patterns, own or translated / modified (the numbers highlighted in fuchsia are just examples):

  • 2sc - two single crochet (one sc in each of the next 2sc)
  • 2dc - two double crochet (one dc in each of the following 2 stitches)
  • 2hdc - two half double crochet (one hdc in each of the next 2 stitches)
  • 3V - 3 increases (2sc in each of the following 3sc - 6sc in total)
  • 2X - 2 decreases (decrease is when 2 neighbor single crochet become 1 single crochet. In the example, 2X means two decreases performed one after another - so instead of the following 4sc on the previous row, you will have 2sc on the current row)
  • 3inc - perform a specific number on increases (in this example case, 3) on a row, regardless of the position of these increases
  • 2dec -  perform a specific number of decreases on a row (in this example, 2), regardless of the position of these decreases
  • (20) - inside the parentheses at the end of a row there will always be the number of stitches you need to have on that row - in the example, 20 stitches.
  • BLO - back loops only 
  • FLO - front loops only (learn how to work in back or front loops only from youtube).

Occasionally I use instructions made of two stages, such as:

1. 6sc in magic ring
2. 20sc - you will continuously work 20sc (instead of 20 there can be any other number), only one sc in each sc ahead. In the example, you will end up with 3 rows (18sc)+2 more sc. I find this easier to follow that regular instructions (that use rows) in case of thin parts - fingers, arms, antennas etc.

2. Working in spiral and rounds

You need to know that, generally, all amigurumis are worked in spiral. However, there are occasions that require working in the rounds (either you will end the row with a slip stitch and continue working around, either you will return, working from the other side on the previous row - as the pattern states).

3. Right side vs wrong side of the work

There are crocheters that prefer working on the wrong side of the work. This is especially available for doll bodies that are worked with very fine yarn and crochet hooks between 0.5 and 1 mm, because the crochet body worked in spiral curls naturally with the wrong side out and is easier to work it like that. But there is also another reason behind this choice - the wrong side of the work is flatter, so the doll body will have a smoother look on the outside. I, for instance, prefer working with the wrong side out only on very thin parts (with a thickness ranging from 3 to 5sc). 

4. Color changing and finishing off

You can find plenty of information on color changing on the internet. Just google or search on youtube "color changing in crochet". The articles and videos you will find include the invisible color changing. I like best one method in particular, that I use not only for color changing, but also for finishing up almost every piece of crochet that I make. I illustrated it in this picture (pictures 1 to 6). 

5. Recommendations

First thing I recommend is to try a simple amigurumi pattern, with full instructions (not simplified as the ones I use). You will get familiarized with the terms, with how increases and decreases work and how to, basically, follow a pattern. Only after that you will be able to try more intricate designs, such as the ones I propose.

Second thing I recommend, whenever you don't understand a term or don't know how to perform a certain stitch, try first to find out a solution on google or youtube. I utilise general terms that are used in crochet, that can be looked up easily just by writing along with them the keyword "crochet". For example, if you don't know how to work an invisible decrease, look up for "invisible decrease crochet". If you really can't find a solution for the problem you face on google, contact me and I will happily try my best to help you. 

Third, I recommend you take the pictures of the finished parts/dolls as a reference for what you should end up with. This will prevent you sometimes from asking really silly questions :)

There will be a series of articles on the amigurumi subject. Next time I will write about the things that I learned the hard way, so stay tuned!

Check the other parts of Amigurumi tips series:

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