I am very grateful for the internet and my computer. They allow me to ‘collect’ and ‘shelve’ hundreds (perhaps thousands by now!) of inspiring crochet patterns (both free and purchased) – electronically…and away from the ‘eyes’ of my friends and family…
I now have an extensive “bucket list” of crochet projects I yearn to make…if I only had the extra ‘time’ to make them!
I was fortunate this month when Jen announced the Jam Made CAL project for June would be this free pattern:
|Photo Credit: I Love Button’s By Emma|
This has been on my “bucket list” for months – I am thrilled to say I can now “cross it off”!
Living in Ontario, Canada, it is very difficult to find 3.00 mm crochet hooks. They are not considered ‘standard-sized” hooks here.
Lately I’ve been crocheting some amigurumi/softie patterns written by fabulous Australian Designers and since the 3.00 mm hook is unavailable to me (unless I find and order one online) I have been substituting a 4.00 mm crochet hook and worsted weight yarn for the suggested hook and yarn in the patterns.
It creates a slightly bigger finished project – but for softies – bigger just means more huggable 😉
For amigurumi, or softies I prefer to use a sturdier yarn (i.e. a yarn that can be used successfully to make slippers). I really never understood the difference until I tried to substitute a yarn with the same gauge and weight to make one of Tara’s fabulous Oma House Slippers patterns – the yarn worked just fine and my slippers were super soft – but the slippers did not withstand the wear and tear of regular daily use…they became fuzzy and worn very quickly.
I therefore prefer yarns that are stiffer when making amigurumi (and slippers!) especially when it is intended for little hands 🙂 Yarns like Red Heart Super Saver, Bernat Super Value and Michaels Craft Smart…
At first I had a bit of difficulty following Emma’s pattern because the end numbers in the brackets didn’t always match-up with the written instructions – and I normally follow the ‘stitch-count’ rule-of-thumb – making each row/round match the ‘stitch-count’ at the end of the line.
Emma noted that this would be the case in her initial instructions so I was prepared – I just felt awkward switching mind-sets – but once I followed her written instructions and ignored the count – I was able to proceed without issue 😉 if the repeats didn’t match up, I just used sc stitches to fill in the left-over stitches to the end of the round…
I’ve noticed that she has now updated her pattern with new instructions/corrections so it is likely that all the numbers now match the instructions going forward 🙂
Other than my own mentally created speedbumps 😉 this pattern is a gem – one that has moved from my “bucket list” to my “favorites”. In fact, I have already crocheted three of these lovelies!
I made one for my daughter:
She was VERY well-received – named Mimi – and then nicknamed “Giraffy”.
The next day, my Step-Mom asked me if I could make 2 for her to give as gifts for family friends.
I enjoyed the pattern so much – I agreed 🙂 Here are the two I hooked up for Maggie:
and now, I think my son wants one too…I’ve seen him dragging poor Mimi down the hall by a leg a few times…so there may be a fourth giraffy coming soon 😉
This is an excellent pattern. It is very easy to follow and the final product is just so cute!! It has become a favorite in my household – and with friends and family!
You can also find Emma’s pattern here (if you like to queue things in Ravelry):
Here are some “Tips & Tricks” I used when hooking up Emma’s fabulous pattern:
1. When ending each round (before switching to the new colour) use an “invisible join” method to finish the colour round. I learned of this technique when I participated in Winkie’s Mandala CAL this year and it is an invaluable tool for mandalas and any type of crochet in the round!!! Here is the link to Wink’s page (where I learned about the technique) and the link to Sarah London’s tutorial.
2. When joining my new round of colour I pulled up a loop and chained one stitch in the back-loop-only of the last stitch, of the last round. Then I sc (single crocheted) around, as per pattern instructions, until I got to that last stitch and in that last stitch (where I chained one to join in the back-loop-only) I single crocheted through both loops. It tended to hide the join a bit better for me. Next time I will try this technique – Knotless Standing Single Crochet.
3. I used ‘invisible decreases’ – something I learned about through Jen’s page when I hooked up her fabulous Jam Made Elephant pattern. I found a great tutorial for the technique on Planet June’s site here.
4. I crocheted all the duplicate parts in the same sitting. I find a lot of different things can affect my ‘tension’ or ‘gauge’ – especially stress…so a trick I use is to crochet the same limbs/parts in one seating…for example – if I were starting with Giraffy’s left leg, I would crochet the white portion of the foot for the left leg and then I would crochet the white portion of the foot for the right leg. Next I would crochet the pink rounds on each foot…then the purple rounds on each foot…and so on. This way if I needed to step away and come back, all ‘matching’ parts were crocheted in one ‘session’. This is something I have started doing with my character hat features as well- it really seems to help me maintain my gauge for matching pieces..
5. Finishing (the giraffe’s head) – I used this technique to finish-off; another excellent tutorial from Planet June.
I hope that one of those tips helps someone 🙂
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