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.

polyfil

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.

Yarn Review: Vanna’s Choice

This time, I want to share my thoughts on another favorite yarn: Vanna’s Choice by Lion Brand.

Vanna’s Choice is a worsted weight/”4″ yarn made with 100% acrylic. This is a soft premium acrylic yarn and very consistent. The current retail price is $4.39 per skein.

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Unfortunately for me, my local store stopped selling this yarn right after I discovered it! Luckily, some colors are cheaper on Amazon.com and go on sale quite often on LionBrand.com.

My favorite use for Vanna’s Choice are blankets! Shown below is my Sophie’s Universe Blanket. Although this project is not exclusively Vanna’s Choice, the yarn got along just fine with the other brands.

Beach

Vanna’s Choice is also full enough to use on amigurumi and stuffed toys. With the right hook and tension, the yarn holds filling well and is still soft enough for babies.

Chilling

Care instructions for Vanna’s Choice is to machine wash and dry.

My general rule for crochet items in the washing machine is to put the cycle setting at the most delicate setting available, with the water set at the cold temperature. For the dryer, the lowest temperature as well. Every once in a while, my items accidentally get put in other settings like “permanent press,” but they still manage to survive. My ends stay woven in and (so far) there is little to no piling, depending on the use. They also have not lost any softness.

Overall, this yarn is great! Although it is on the pricier side, it is well worth to splurge if you want to make that extra special gift.

Yarn Review: Red Heart With Love

My current go-to yarn is Red Heart With Love, and I would like to share my thoughts about this yarn with you!

Red Heart With Love is a worsted weight/”4″ yarn made with 100% acrylic. This is much softer than Red Heart’s Super Saver economy line, and the quality is much more consistent. The current price range on Amazon is $4.50-9.45, depending on the color. Basic colors tend to be cheaper than bolder and multi color skeins.

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One of my favorite With Love projects is the Mermaid Tail Blanket. This one shown below is crocheted using two strands at a time. One strand each of the colors Lilac and Waterlily. Being a soft acrylic yarn, the end product turned out to be squishy soft! Very comfy!

Mermaid Tail Blanket

Red Heart recommends this yarn to be machine washed and dried. Blankets I have made with With Love has survived this recommendation. My general rule for crochet items in the washing machine is to put the cycle setting at the most delicate setting available, with the water set at the cold temperature. For the dryer, the lowest temperature as well. Every once in a while, my items accidentally get put in other settings like “permanent press,” but they still manage to survive. My ends stay woven in and (so far) there is no piling. They are still soft as ever!

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Shown above is my daughter’s Magic Rainbow Blanket. Although this project uses different brands and types of yarn, Red Heart with Love still helped a lot to make it a soft and comfortable blanket. This yarn is soft enough to use for wearables like mittens. Shown below is the Mommy Hold My Hand Mitten. It’s thick enough to provide warmth, but soft enough to not be scratchy.

Two Hand One Mitten

Overall, I love this line of yarn! Very reasonably priced, great selection of colors, and versatile! My most common projects for this yarn are blankets and amigurumi. I personally try to stock up when it is on sale or (since I’m in Hawaii) when there’s a free shipping offer on the Red Heart website.