Meet the Maker: Tools and Materials

Today we meet tools and materials that I can’t live without. Staples in my toolbox are crochet hooks, yarn, and stuffing. Yes, I’d also need other things like scissors, needles, and measuring tape. But when worse comes to worse, I can improvise. I’ve used keys to cut my yarn, crochet hooks to tuck in yarn ends, and phone screens to measure. Here are some things that can halt production if I didn’t have them in my arsenal.

Hooks

Crochet hooks. This must be the most important tool one would need to start crocheting. It can be as expensive as something hand turned, or literally your hand (think finger crocheting); but you’re gonna need something if you want to crochet. My two favorite crochet hooks are from Clover USA and Furls.

From Clover USA, I use Soft Touch Crochet Hooks. They’re reasonably priced and accessible where I can buy multiples of each size, and they’re comfortable and lightweight enough for amigurumi detail work.

From Furls Crochet, my favorite is the Odyssey line. They are one of the cheaper lines that Furls has, so it’s easier to get a few sizes or if you just want to try out the brand. I love using these for when I know I’ll be crocheting for a long time. I’ve gone for hours at a time with these.

Yarns

The most common brand and line in my stash are Red Heart Super Saver. They come in a wide range of colors and my local stores stock them regularly. Sometimes, one can’t wait for an online order to arrive. Dye lot numbers are not a thing to be worried about, so colors are consistent and I can use up a skein knowing the next one I buy will not change the look. They’re economical, therefore I can offer my finished products at a more accessible price point. Red Heart With Love is a softer version I am also fond of, but does not come in as many colors as Super Saver does.

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In a perfect world though, I would love to have Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn. It may be a little more expensive than Red Heart Super Saver, but I feel the quality is much better. The yarn is very smooth to work with and amigurumis come out squishier. However, there is no Hobby Lobby in Hawaii and they charge more than I am willing to pay for shipping to Hawaii (BOOOOOO!!!)

Filling/Stuffing

What’s a plushie without stuffing? I use quite a bit, so I purchase the largest box I can find. That would be Fairfield Poly-Fil. They are available locally in massive 10 pound boxes! It is also very easy to find online with free or cheap shipping, to Hawaii! I’ve been going through at least 2 of those per year. I like them because they’re easy to work with and hypoallergenic.

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Again, if I had my way, my absolute favourite would be from Hawaiian Pillow Co.. It is very soft to work with, and almost no flyaway particles. It’s like working with a cloud! What stops me from using them all the time is that the largest they sell them in are 4 pound bags, and I have absolutely no room to store them in wholesale amounts!

 

What are some qualities you look for in your tools and materials?


Please note that this is not a sponsored post. I’ve purchased the items mentioned on my own and am not receiving any compensation for a good review.

The Project that Tested Me?

Let’s start off this post with the one photo I have of this thing…

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This is called the Trifle Tumbler. The sewing pattern is by Sara Lawson at Sew Sweetness. It’s part of her Minikins Season 1 collection of pouches and small bags. The Trifle Tumbler is available in 3 sizes, but my patience at the time only managed to make the two larger sizes. This particular one tested my skills in sewing along curves and using binding.

I may have gained experience working with circles, zippers, and binding, but the most important lesson I learned here is that your project is limited to the size of your sewing machine’s bed.

The fabric is another (shorter) story. I was in line for the fabric table at Walmart, when I saw the person before me was buying this fabric. It caught my eye coz it was a cute “Hawaii” themed design. At the time, I was in a souvenir making frenzy. So I thought this would make a great addition. So a few yards were purchased.

Anyways….I may not make this one again (unless specifically requested). I still have the last size unfinished. We’ll see.

New Location

After maybe a year and a half on the waitlist, I finally got the call! A locker has become available at the local craft store!

Thursday, I receive a call about lockers being available on “all levels.” There are 4 levels of 17-inch lockers, my first choice was one at eye-level or second from the top. But they’re “first come, first served,” so I dashed over as soon as I could. When I got there, there were none available at my preferred level, one available at the third level, maybe two at the top level, and a bunch on the bottom level. Imagine if I waited until we were in the area, I’d probably have to deal with a bottom level! Not that the bottom is bad, but it’s just not my preference.

At first I thought a top one would be good. Then, I realized I’m probably too short to tend to that level properly. In the end, I picked one at the third level. It is low enough where I could comfortably sit on my knees while I tend to my locker.

Move-in day was the next Monday! I got a call notifying me of my SKU number (so the store can pay me what I sell), and I dashed over again to put some stuff to replace the generic “Coming Soon” sign the store puts.

 

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The first thing I did was take measurements of the locker. Some lockers have made walls or installed “wallpaper.” That’s not in my plans yet, but I figure now is the best time to measure. I put some things that I think will be quite the visual and offered different price ranges. The inventory notes I took were detailed down to the number of cards I put in. The nerd in me wants all the data! Like how many people were interested enough to take a card or brochure?

I’ve yet to feel the effects or visit my locker again.

Something by Vera’s My Locker (#47) is located at HouseMart Ben Franklin Crafts in Mapunapuna, 2810 Paa St, Honolulu, HI 96819. What kinds of things do you like to see at “storefronts” like this?

New Menus, New Projects!

The holiday rush is over and I’ve gotten a chance to work on patterns I’ve been hoarding! With this, a new menu sprouted to share with you all projects that go together. Part of my pattern hoarding includes a collection of physical (and sometimes digital) books.

First project I want to share is from a new book Snuggle and Play Crochet by Carolina Guzman Benitez. I’ve already made three out of excitement! You can see the details here. And a preview photo here…

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I have lots of books I want to crochet through, so be on the look out!

FO Friday: Magikarp Hat

This one was a fun one to make! Magikarp hat! As seen on the Pokemon Go game! It helps that the pattern was very well written (link below). I set aside nearly a week to work on this hat, but it only took a couple days! I think if I sat down longer for it, I could have finished it in 24 hours.

The pattern tells you exactly where to place each piece, which I think helps if you are not very familiar with this creature.

It was a perfect day for a photo shoot, the lighting made the hat pop!

FO Friday: Sepp the Seahorse

It was another beautiful day in Hawaii! So why not take Sepp (kind of close) to his natural environment.

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(I just can’t get over how fast my model is growing!)

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The little baby is so adorable! Maybe I should make more baby seahorse?

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Sepp’s head was another part of a Lalylala I altered. This pattern is another that is crocheted bottom-up, in the round, all the way to the top of the head. I personally have a hard time getting the neck how I like if I crochet that way. But the way I altered the head last time made the hood not fit as well as I’d like. So what I did was make the head separately. I made a foundation chain to make a fake last row of the body, and continued to work the head upwards. And behold! It worked. This may be my go to alteration.

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It was a windy day, so the quality of Sepp was tested. He had to be dusted oh so many times! As you can see in this last photo, the stitches are perfect for catching sand from the wind.

I’m still working my way through all the Lalylala patterns, so I’m sure there will be another doll coming soon!

  • Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver in Eggshell and Light Blue
  • Hook: 4.0 mm Odyssey crochet hook from Furls
  • Other materials: polyester fiber filling
  • Location: Ala Moana Beach Park, Honolulu, HI
  • Order yours here

FO Friday: Oleg the Octopus

This week’s finished project is one that has been in progress since maybe September of last year! It is Oleg the Octopus! The pattern is from Lalylala and can be found here.

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Crocheting the body can take some getting used to because you’d be working with the tentacles already attached. The other parts are pretty typical for a Lalylala pattern; the arms, the hood, and the face.

One thing I changed is how I made the head. The pattern calls for the head to be worked in the round continuously from the body. I personally found that this method made it difficult to stuff the neck firmly enough to not be floppy. Instead, I used a head pattern from a different Lalylala doll. One that makes the head a separate piece  you sew on later. A problem I found with this change is the hood seems to be too big.

For my next Lalylala, I’m planning on trying another modification.

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The little one wanted to go the big mall, so off we went into town. Luckily, the weather was really nice, so we went across the street to Ala Moana Beach Park for a photo shoot.

  • Pattern from Lalylala
  • Yarn used: Red Heart Super Saver in Spa Blue Fleck and Eggshell, Loops and Threads Impeccable in Royal
  • Other materials: 12 mm plastic safety eyes from Glass Eyes Online, polyester fiber filling, pearlized beads
  • Order yours here.

FO Friday: Beach Ball Pillow

This week’s featured finished project craves for the summer! Luckily, I live in Hawaii where it’s summer year round. Yay?

For this project, I used a mix of yarn brands (see below) and fluff. This makes a great beginner project or even a scrap buster!

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My daughter already claimed this one and the crafter in her wanted to add a face. I didn’t get a photo, but I used black buttons for the eyes and just sewn on a smiley mouth with yarn.

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The creation of this also sprouted a new category for the shop!

  • Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver in Aruba Sea, Red Heart With Love in Aran, and Loops and Threads Impeccable in Bright Sky Blue
  • Hook: 4.00 mm Odyssey crochet hook by Furls
  • Pattern: Beach Ball Pillow at Persia Lou
  • Other materials: polyester fiber filling, yarn needle
  • Order yours here.

FO Friday: Magic Rainbow Baby Blanket

Let’s make this short and sweet, coz the photos say it all!

This was a custom order that I was very excited to make! I just love making blankets more than I can use them. The hardest part was picking the colors. So many to choose from, but could only fit 8!

 

 

 

  • Yarn: brand and colors listed here if you really wanted to know.
  • Hook: 5.00 mm Odyssey crochet hook by Furls
  • Pattern: Magic Rainbow Baby Blanket at MooglyBlog.
  • Order yours here.

FO Friday: Kenny the Giraffe

Today’s project is Kenny the Giraffe by One and Two Company.

Their patterns are all so cute! This one was made next by request.

The pattern itself was very easy to understand. An experienced crocheter can easily complete one in a week or less. This is also simple enough for any beginner willing to learn, because there are no special or complicated stitches you need to learn.

  • Pattern from: One and Two Company
  • Hook: 4mm Soft Touch crochet hook from Clover USA
  • Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver in Gold, Coffee, White, Black, Cherry Red, Light Grey, Light Blue, Buff
  • Other Materials: 21mm safety eyes from Glass Eyes Online; polyester fiber filling from Fairfield
  • Order yours here.