Dyeing Yarn with Tea!

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I was thinking it would be cool to combine my love of crafts, tea and owls into one product! I also got a lot of tea to burn since I also blog about tea at Oolong Owl.

I have never dyed wool before and of course my first jump into yarn dying will be with tea. I researched dying yarn, as well as tea dying methods. To my dismay, it is often quoted “There is no real science to this” so everyone did their dying a little different and often experimented themselves. “No science to it” drove me crazy as I have a perfectionist streak in my crafting. I combined/ did middle ground on various methods of tea dyed yarn I found and added my tea knowledge.

Materials for Dyeing Yarn with Tea

Yarn – you’ll need a dye-able yarn that is made of animal or plant fiber. I used a 100% wool, Bare Worsted Wool of the Andes from Knitpicks. This can be in a hank or a finished project. Acrylic yarn will not work.
White Vinegar – amount varies on how much yardage and yarn weight.
Tea – lots of tea, ~ 50% (or more to desired intensity, I used about 80% as I wanted a dark colour) of tea weight of your yarn weight.
Heat safe pot or microwave safe bowl – big enough to fit amount of yarn you are dyeing
Dish soap – couple drops

TEA – I have played a little with using tea as paint and the results are interesting. I found tea tend to dry a different colour, so there’s some oxidation and light fast issues involved. I’ve heard from artists who do a lot of tea painting say that cheap bagged tea works best, my guess due to artificial dyes. I used old/disliked loose leaf tea as that is what I had. Mileage may vary as I did try a bunch of chamomile tea bags which turned out to produce barely any colour.

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Tea Colour – so far I found black tea, ripe/fermented pu’er tea and red rooibos worked very well. Black and Ripe Pu’er produced the same color, to my dismay. Red rooibos had a lot of color payoff! Hibiscus I haven’t tried yet, but I’ve seen others who have done it have it come out a muddy brown purple.

For the photos of my yarn dyeing process I’m dyeing a finished project, since I lost how much yardage it was to make it!

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Dyeing Yarn with Tea

STEP 1. PRE TREATMENT

Pre soak your yarn in a vinegar solution of 1 Part Vinegar, 4 Parts Water – enough to cover the yarn. Soak for 20 to 60 minutes. This ratio seems to not be set in stone by various other yarn dyers. Some people simmer their yarn in this solution, but I did not and it worked fine.

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STEP 2. MAKE TEA

This is all about getting an intense tea colour, so don’t worry you are making a gross cup of tea. I bagged my loose leaf tea in refillable tea bags, but a large metal tea ball (or a couple small ones) would work. You can also boil the loose leaf tea in the pot and strain out the leaf before adding the yarn. It isn’t the end of the world if you need to shake out some tea bits from your yarn once its dyed and dried.

In a large pot, add your tea and enough water that should very generously cover your yarn, as the tea will take up space and absorb liquid. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes to bring out the color.

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You can also do this in a microwave for smaller amounts (removed staples from tea bags if applicable).

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STEP 3. COLOR CHECK

Check how the tea color is by dipping a piece of paper towel into the tea. If the color is too pale, add more tea and simmer more. On the left is black tea and the right is chamomile with a bit of red rooibos. Aim that the final product will be a little lighter once dry.

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STEP 4. DYE YARN

There seems to be a few ways to do this. With your tea still on the stove, introduce your yarn to the water and  gently simmer for at least 10 minutes (up to an hour). Do not let the tea go to a rolling boil as it will felt the yarn. Also do not poke or stir the yarn too much as the movement will felt it.

If dyeing a project, make sure all of it has fully absorbed the color. Remove the pot from the stove and leave the yarn in the tea to cool to room temperature.

For small amounts of tea yarn dyeing, add yarn to the tea and then microwave for about 3-6 minutes, ensuring the water does not boil.

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STEP 5. LEAVE TO COOL

I left my yarn to soak in the tea for 24 hours, but I’m sure you can remove it as early as once the yarn drops to room temperature.

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For the hank I dyed, I left the tea bags in with the yarn and it did add a slight darker color on parts the tea bag was touching. Not enough to make a variegation though but enough to fire up a perfectionist.

STEP 6. RINSE

Gently rinse the yarn in a bit of cool water and a few drops of dish soap. This will get any leftover dye out of the yarn so it won’t transfer on you. Be very gentle so you don’t accidentally felt your yarn.

STEP 7. DRY

Leave your yarn to dry. I found dyeing a finished project – in particular a tight gauge amigurumi – took awhile to dry.

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The Result!

My Amigurumi Tea Owl is dyed with the Rose Black tea and I dyed the feet with chamomile and a touch of red rooibos.

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The yarn does hold the tea scent for a few weeks but eventually fades away.

In regards to yarn dyeing amigurumi, I think it would be best to dye the yarn first rather than the finished form. As I mentioned above, it took a long time for my owl to dry due to the dense tight gauge of amigurumi. I was honestly worried he was going to get moldy, despite living in the dry southern California weather. When I dyed a skein with pu’er (measured out to make two Tea Owls!) the drying process went a lot easier.

Love tea and want to see my Tea Owls in action? Check out my tea blog Oolong Owl!


Go Gopher Amigurumi Crochet Pattern

Gopher Amigurumi Crochet Pattern by Awkwardsoul designs

I’m just a crafter and tea guzzler, whereas my husband is the smart software engineer guy. First, he asked for a Java Duke, which I quickly made (though it needs a revision). He then requested a Go Gopher to punt around the office. When I was telling some friends that I crocheted a Duke, they requested a gopher as well! Popular little rodent, isn’t he?

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Even if you aren’t familiar with Go, their Go Gopher mascot is pretty cute. Making a gopher was entertaining as I’ve been watching Great Horned Owl nest cams and often they are eating golf course “pocket gophers”, so now I got amigurumi gophers that my Tea Owl amigurumis can peck at.

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The pattern for Gopher Amigurumi is actually pretty straight forward, with shaping in the back to create an appealing bean shape. It was a refreshing break to work on a pattern that is easy going since the last few amigurumi I’ve designed have been on the complex side. I have also come to a mental block on the current, more complex, pattern I’ve been working on, so it was really cool to bang out a fun pattern.

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Gopher Amigurumi measures 4.5″ tall, 2.5″ wide if made with worsted weight yarn. I’d say my Gopher Amigurumi crochet pattern is a fun beginner project with little sewing on parts. If you mess up placement of the eyes or limbs, that is okay as looking silly is totally what this gopher likes to be! These gophers crochet up quick as well. After a weekend, I had a three line up of derpy looking gophers on my desk and a husband anxious to take one to work.

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To get this PDF format crochet pattern, purchase directly via Ravelry by clicking  which will take you through Paypal. You do not need a Ravelry account to purchase, though advisable as your pattern purchases are stored there forever.

Check out the Gopher Amigurumi Ravelry page for more information!

Don’t crochet, but want a Gopher? Check out my Amigurumi Commissions page and request to get one made!

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(The Go Gopher mascot design is by Renee French)

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Stegosaurus Amigurumi Crochet Pattern!

I am happy to announce a new pattern – Stegosaurus Amigurumi Crochet Pattern! My second dinosaur amigurumi crochet pattern to date!

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It seems with every pattern I post, I always say “This is the most complex pattern to date”. The Stegosaurus amigurumi isn’t any more difficult than my Triceratops pattern, however due to the large number of parts to sew on, this pattern is a little trickier. I dislike sewing on parts and I try and make sewing easier, however there is no way around making Stegosaurus plates one piece. I make lots of amigurumi, but after making two Stegosauruses, I got much better at sewing on parts!

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Stegosaurus Amigurumi by Awkward Soul Designs (7)

Designing wise, the Stegosaurus would of been fast if it wasn’t for me constantly changing stitch counter apps, so I was losing row counts thus had to work backwards, twice. I opted for a more “realistic” shaped body with a high tail, rather than the half circle cartoon-stylized dinosaur shape. I had some issues with the neck, but for someone working with this pattern, they can lengthen the neck if they wish.

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My husband, the aspiring dinosaur paleontologist in his youth, told me apparently due to their tiny tiny brains, Stegosauruses were just a little smarter than plants. I discovered the small brain in my Steggy didn’t stop him from having adventures in his favorite device in the house – the salad spinner. Who knew Stegosauruses liked salad spinners?

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The Stegosaurus amigurumi measures about 9″ from nose to tail tip, 5″ tall and 3″ wide. There is a bit of flexibility if you want to make a longer neck, legs and tail. I also listed different styles of plate layouts, so one can make as many or as little, Stegosaurus plates and thagomizers as they want or fingers would allow.

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To get this crochet pattern, purchase directly via Ravelry by clicking  You do not need a Ravelry account to purchase.

Check out Stegosaurus Dinosaur Amigurumi Pattern on Ravelry for more info!

The Stegosaurus Amigurumi Crochet pattern goes well with the Triceratops Amigurumi and pretty close ratio wise to size. Despite Stegosaurus died out 90 million before Triceratops came around, but they can still be buddies, right? I’m planning to get a few more Dinosaur amigurumi crochet patterns out this year!

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1 Dozen Crochet Amigurumi Owls!

Back in May I had a commission to make a DOZEN crocheted Amigurumi Owls. A DOZEN. SO MANY HOOTS!

The amigurumi Owl pattern is my own famous (hopefully? one day?) pattern. These little guys, dubbed “Tea Owls” are mascots to my sister blog, The Oolong Owl. I make so many of these amigurumi owls for myself – I love owls and I just about have the pattern memorized.

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I’m a big Knitpicks fan, and love their Chroma yarn line, a wool/nylon blend, colour-transitioning yarn in worsted and fingering weight. It is a little hard to work with as it is single ply, but looks amazing with small amigurumi. I had to match the wing colours with other yarn, as if I tried to pool the wings that would of been too much precious Chroma yarn wasted. The price for this colorful ombre yarn is competitively priced compared to other yarn sellers.

The yarn and colours used for 1 dozen Crochet Amigurumi Owls:

  • Knitpicks Chroma Worsted in Guppy (The colourway “Guppy” is discontinued at the time I write this. Maybe it is seasonal?)
  • Knitpicks Swish Worsted in Gulfstream
  • Bernat Lana Cream 100% worsted wool from my stash (discontinued)
  • Unknown brand pale yellow worsted yarn (not pictured) That orange yarn pictured wasn’t used, though I was considering it an alternate for wings.

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I do well crocheting in a large assembly-line. So I hammered out a whole bunch of amigurumi owl bodies first. When I was bored, I’d stuff a few, make a wing. Like other commissions and doing a large batch, I like to try and have a couple close to done so the buyer can see what they look like, other than a whole bunch of random crocheted bits and bobbles.

First week, I had this much done:

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After getting more than half the bodies done, I decided to make a few feet, then ended up crocheting all the feet in one sitting as I got my groove on while on a kdrama binge. I had tight feeling fingers after making 24 feet, but got it done! Already, I am really happy how this yarn colourway is looking – all the owls look fantastic with many have a bit of every colour change in the yarn.

Second week I mostly dealt with tails and wings. The wings turned out to be the most boring part of making 1 dozen amigurumi owls. Again, 24 wings were needed, the wings are small and I had to do a tighter gauge to make them size right. Knitpicks Chroma is a thinner worsted weight yarn and I didn’t expect my wing yarn to be a thicker worsted weight! For the tails I used the Chroma yarn – I’d do one or two after completing a body, trying to match the tail that was the same colour as the Amigurumi Owl’s butt.

In between getting spirally eyes crocheting owl wings, I started sewing amigurumi owl parts together.

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The third week I spent making the last tails and wings, along with sewing the rest of the amigurumi owls parts together. The last step was attaching all those tiny orange beaks.

In the end – 1 Dozen Amigurumi Owls Complete! TEA OWL ASSEMBLE!

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Awww, the amigurumi owls are so well behaved and line up in formation!

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A few of the amigurumi owls look identical, with the luck of the draw of the colourway landing the same. I tried to vary a bit with crocheting from the other end of the ball, though I don’t think that made much difference since I got an even amount of amigurumi owls per ball.

There were a few amigurumi owls that had some unique colouring with the light tipped yellow and orange heads.

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I can totally spot a trouble maker amigurumi owl. That orange one in the back is a mischief maker!

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These amigurumi owls don’t seem to make good cheerleaders. They can’t form a pyramid without topping over, creating hooting chaos.

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Oh no! There’s a little amigurumi owl on the bottom getting his face stepped on!

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In the end – feel free to experiment with some of the interesting yarn colours out there for your amigurumi creations. Also, pace yourself when making mass amounts of crocheted items – your hands will thank you later!

If you want to make some Amigurumi Owls of your own, hit up my shop for the pattern!


Morticia Lace Knitted Shawl – Mystery Knit Along Experience

If you’ve been following my crochet/knit blog, you might of noticed I went MIA for awhile. That was a cross between working on my other blog, The Oolong Owl and getting caught up with various crafting projects. I also have been meaning to move the Awkward Soul Designs blog to my own host from a free blog hosting – and less content to move, the easier (gosh, it was a nightmare moving Oolong Owl, I lost pictures!). Anyways, here is one of the projects I worked on during my knitting blog MIA time.

Morticia Lace Knitted Shawl

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Pattern: Boo Knits’ MORTICIA

Awkward Soul’s Morticia Ravelry Project Page

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This shawl was a Mystery Knit Along (MKAL). How a MKAL works, at least how Boo Knits did it, was first there was lots of well deserved hype that there was a mystery lace knitting pattern coming out. The pattern was released in small parts each week, with no pictures of the finished product to be found (unless you looked at the spoilers). Fellow knitters on the Boo Knits group on Ravelry would knit the shawl together, talk about it and post progress pics of each “clue”. It was quite fun in that aspect of you don’t know what you are making and there are others making the same thing to help you out if needed. Before the pattern was posted, the material list was available – so everyone knew how much yarn they needed and number of beads. Lots of beads!

This was my first MKAL – to me the concept is cool, but I am also a bit of a control perfectionist freak when it comes to my crochet/knitting/drawings so making something I had no idea what it would look like in the end was pretty scary to me.

BUT, I trusted Boo Knits, as I’ve made 4 of her patterns, for the finished lace shawl to be gorgeous no matter what.

For yarn, I had a couple balls of elann Peruvian Baby Lace Merino in my stash, and I purchased some smokey black seed beads. Since I’ve worked with Boo Knits patterns before using the same yarn, I knew what needle size to use.

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The first clue was released early October 2013. I managed to start the same time when the first “clue” was release and finished it just before the second clue arrived.

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It took me almost 2 weeks to finish clue 2, so I was behind a week – the shawl was turning up quite large and longer to make with the lace being throughout the entire shawl and the beading time consuming. If you make a mistake on bead placement or an error in the lace knitting near a bead, it looks quite weird but also was a pain in the butt to go back and fix. Sometimes when I make small mistakes in lace knitting I just fake it, but when there’s beads in the mix that can’t be done unless you can live with the beading being out of place.

Unfortunately, Pokemon XY came out and I got caught up playing that and put down the shawl. To keep the shawl a mystery I downloaded each clue and AVOIDED Ravelry’s pattern page and Boo Knits related things until I was done.

I picked up the shawl again when I went on a 15 day cruise to Hawaii (so lovely!) in January and hammered out a few rows, getting clue 3 done.

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As the shawl progressed, there was even more beading involved, sometimes every other stitch! It looks fantastic though!

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After another short break, I was determined to get my morticia shawl done!  After a month of working on my shawl, I finished in May 2014. Thankfully, the blocking wasn’t too difficult.

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In the end, I love how this shawl turned out! It is very large – 7 FEET WIDE, 22″ tall.

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It has amazing drape due to the weight of the beads. The lace pattern is gorgeous and the beads add sparkle throughout the piece.

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As a knitter, the subtle transition of the lace pattern was a fun knit – difficultly wise (not counting beads) it wasn’t bad as every wrong side row was purled.

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I love the dramatic picot bind off. This bind off also had beads on the tips, making an already time consuming bind off even more intense to make.

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For the Mystery Knit Along aspect, I don’t think I’d do one again. Though, I always wanted to make a purple shawl, even having the yarn in my stash before making this lace shawl, if I were to make this shawl again I would do it in a cool light colour. I think the detail, drape and the dramatically spiky border would of made a gorgeous light grey ghostly shawl. I would of also not of used beads – they look great, but ramped up the difficulty and time to knit the shawl. Hmmm, maybe I’ll make another one…


RAWR! Triceratops Amigurumi Pattern

My husband loves dinosaurs – as a kid he wanted to be a dinosaur paleontologist. I’ve been capitalizing on the idea by buying him dinosaur themed things. I eventually had the idea to do a Dinosaur amigurumi, which was well received.

I admit, the triceratops amigurumi came out pretty cute!

triceratops amigurumi by awkward soul designs

Thankfully, the triceratops took only 2 attempts on the body, head and tail to design. I constructed this pattern to try and keep the body shape “realistic” but also chubby cute. There is also subtle shaping on the legs so the dino can stand on its own and with no weird splayed out leggies. I included two instructions for the frill, but I’m sure one could play with it a bit more to get other styles of Triceratops. One could also easily adjust the length of the tail and horns.

triceratops amigurumi by awkwardsoul designs

The horn construction was a little tricky. As much as I wanted to keep it the same yarn weight, I couldn’t get the detail I wanted. If you are a seasoned crocheter, you know crocheting something tiny with fat yarn can be painful to do. With that said, while the body is crocheted in worsted weight, the horns are done in DK weight. I’ve included basic instructions for the horns in worsted weight, but only for people who don’t have the yarn on hand. I bet you could sculpt the horns with polymer clay for a nice effect.

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This pattern is one of my more complex patterns to date due to some of the shaping elements and more bits to sew on like the horns.

Finished Size: 8″ from tail tip to nose, 4″ tall, 3.5″ wide

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You can purchase my Triceratops Amigurumi Pattern at Awkward Soul Designs’ Etsy Shop

or

Purchase directly via Ravelry by clicking . You do not need a Ravelry account to purchase.

Check out Triceratops Amigurumi on Ravelry to see more information.

I’m planning to do a few more dinosaur patterns, though I’m unsure which dinosaur to tackle next. Maybe I’ll make a carnivore since all these triceratops are eating my herb plants!

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Until next time!

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Lichen Knitted Shawl – Finished!

I found a lovely shawl on Ravelry last month that was ruffley with interesting shaping that I had to make.

Lichen by Larissa Brown turned out an easy, magical knit. Perfect if you are new to knitting lace! It uses a thicker yarn than usual, an Aran weight (though DK version is available). The pattern is written out, and is simply knit, purls and yarnovers – nothing crazy.

I wanted to start this shawl so bad, but I had no blockable yarn in that amount. I decided to give Elann a try and ordered a couple balls of their Peruvian Highland Wool. This yarn is a heathered gray (colorway 1068) – I love the flickers of blue and purple off the gray base!

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Starting the shawl I had mixed up the slip edging directions, so I had to frog and start over – but once I got the hang of the pattern, it was very easy of a knit to require not too much attention, but enough things going on to keep it interesting.

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2 weeks of knitting while watching movies or listening to podcasts, I had a finished shawl! This puppy finishes very quickly – I’m sure if I worked on it more, it could of been done in a week or less.

I had also added 3 extra repeats as it turned out I had extra yarn, despite the yardage that was suggested in the pattern. Before blocking I got the length to 51″.

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Despite the pattern being pretty easy, block WAS NOT EASY.

All the other shawls I’ve done were a “U”, rectangle or triangle shape, so pinning wasn’t too bad for those – this Lichen shawl was on a different level of crazyness! You have to pin open the ruffles, so the shawl bends into a spiral, requiring you to pin ontop of your existing work.

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What helped me with blocking this shawl: (taken from my Lichen Ravelry project page)

  1. Have lots of pins – I used 211 and probably could of used more so I didn’t have pointy ruffle bits.
  2. Start pinning the tip of the shawl in the middle of your blocking mat.
  3. Pin the first ruffle to a basic shape, but don’t go overboard on pins
  4. Roughly pin the next ruffle
  5. Redo the first initial ruffle, with max pins. I found once you got to the second ruffle, it created slack, thus having to repin the first one no matter what.
  6. When the shawl starts to spiral in itself, thus you have to pin ontop – it is really easy to mix up what pins go where. Either change pin colours – or when in doubt, just add another pin without removing any old pins.

After all that – over 45 minutes of pinning and sore, soggy pruney fingers from the wet yarn. This shawl also took awhile to dry too since it was layered on its self.

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Kind of looks like a ninja star, doesn’t it?

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Unpinning was easier, but again, over 200 pins hurts the thumbs after awhile plus accidental pin stabs!

The result? WOW! The shawl stretched out to over 60″ (and hard to measure because of the ruffles).

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Love the colour of the yarn!

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I had some spikey ends on the ruffles, but some smoothing helped a little. Next time, MORE pins!

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I love how the shawl turned out! This one is supposed to be for me, though if I were to make it again for myself, I would add maybe 2 rows to the ruffles to make it wider.

Bonus: Benson thinks 100% wool is tasty to lick. I had to pry him off the shawl, so no bunny knitware modelling for him!

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Cutey White Finch Amigurumi

I got a commission request to do a Amigurumi Critter representation of a white finch. I was sent some photos to help me along.

Here’s the birdie:

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Very tame! Wow! I’ve never seen such a tame finch before!

So, I took most of my Amigurumi Critter pattern for shaping and wings, with the tail and feet taken from Owl Amigurumi pattern. I also used felt to get that lovely tear feather patterning.

Our finished amigurumi, which turned out very well:

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I love the chubby shape, with the bright orange beak and feet contrasting the white bird body. Very cute!

The crocheting and construction went very smooth, however I was reminded how much working with white yarn can take extra time – I’d wash my hands before working on the project, no drinks or food while crocheting and a clean surface when resting the project. White yarn can pick up dirt or get tinted by other yarn colours worked near it, so extra care is needed. I hand lotion often when crocheting and knitting, and I don’t when working with white yarn just in case if makes the yarn pick up dirt!

More pictures!

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Amigurumi white finch by AwkwardSoul Designs (4)

Appreciation photo:

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I’m happy how flexible my Amigurumi Critter pattern is – maybe I should add a few more variations and photos to the pattern?

Currently, I’m working on a couple knitted lace shawls – photos coming soon.


Barn Owl Amigurumi and Friends

I’ve been crocheting up more owls to hang out with me while I drink tea on my tea blog, The Oolong Owl.

These owls are made following my Owl Amigurumi Crochet Pattern.

Barney the Barn Owl

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I’m not very original with my names, poor Barney! All Red Heart Super Saver solids used here. I used a cream for the body, with a light tan for the wings. The felt face was cut as a big heart shape to make him look like a barn owl! Very cute!

I really want to find some good tweed or handpainted yarn that will crochet up nicely to mimic feathers.

Anyways, I’m going to be putting up Barney for adoption at my Etsy Shop. I’m sure there are huge barn owl fans that would love to snuggle him!

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Mintea the Owl

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Little Mintea was made with Aussie Shepherd DK, so he’s a soft little owl. I wanted a mint coloured owl who will like all peppermint teas.

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Teal Owl

Awkwardsoul Owl batch June 2013 (14)

This little owl was made with… I think a Red Heart Soft and a Bernat yarn – it’s a worsted weight, but it on the thin side for worsted. Annoyingly, I don’t have a huge array of colours, so the feet don’t live up to what I was going for. I’ll try again. I’ll probably put this guy up for adoption sometime.

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That’s it for now. I have 4 more owls, but the set isn’t complete! O__O Oh boy!

Anyways, check out My Etsy Shop for amigurumi up for adoption and patterns ♥


Making Amigurumi: Cute Tools of the Trade

Making Amigurumi - Tools of the Trade by Awkward Soul

Welcome to my new tutorial series, Making Amigurumi! This is the first installment!

New to making Amigurumi? You’ll need some tools first.

I will discuss –  1. Must Have purchases, 2. Project dependent items, 3. Optional Tools, and 4. Do not buy

Required Tools:

YARN – If you are new to crocheting I’d start off with a Worsted Weight yarn – it is easy to find at craft or yarn shops.

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What type of yarn? Optimally, acrylic is inexpensive and washes well – thus very good for starting the amigurumi hobby. You may also chose wool based yarn. For a newer crocheters (or one not used to TIGHT gauge) I’d avoid 100% cotton yarns for now as they don’t have much give, thus harder to work with. Blends of acrylic, wool, cotton, bamboo work well. Check out my Yarn Reviews for yarns that work well for amigurumi.

Do not get nubby yarn. Do not get crazy fuzzy yarn. Heck, I’m still not patient enough to use nubby lumpy yarns – the tight gauge makes the stitches hard to see and the yarn snags on the hook too much.
What colours? What do you want to make? (pssst, how about my easy Octopus amigurumi pattern?)
Getting started, I’d purchase a white and some attractive solid (non varigated) colours.

HOOK – Which size of hook you will need will range greatly on how tight you crochet and the yarn used. Sadly, all worsted weight yarn is not created equal – some are thinner than others.

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3.5, 3.75, 4, 4.25mm hooks cover me for all of the variances of worsted weight. If you were looking to not buy a ton of hooks, I’d start with a 3.5mm and 4mm hook for worsted weight, and go from there.

Not all crochet hooks are the same as brands like to sometimes have different handles and head shapes. They also come in various materials such as metal, wood, bamboo and plastic. I HIGHLY recommend metal crochet hooks – if you don’t know your “sweet spot” gauge yet + crocheting tightly = snapped hooks, especially the plastic ones. The plastic hooks look very nice, but don’t buy them! When I was new to crochet, I bought the pretty rainbow pack of crochet hooks and broke all of them. Bamboo and wooden crochet hooks are pretty nice and have a bit of grip to them – I’d go with those if you cannot get a metal one.

Crochet hooks are easy to find at yarn or craft shops, and even at places like Walmart and dollar shops. Another good hotspot for crocheting or knitting tools is thrift shops or garage sales.

STITCH MARKER –  To decrease errors, you’ll want to mark each start of the round. There is lots of stitch markers out there, but I prefer the trusty small gold safety pin. Safety pins are cheap, easy to find, and have multiple uses. The crummy issues with safety pins is accidentally getting stabbed in the finger, and yarn getting caught in the spine of the pin.

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They make these nice plastic stitch markers, however I find them a little too big for the size of amigurumi I make.

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Ditto with these spiral things being too big for amigurumi crocheting.

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You may also use scrap yarn and thread it through the stitch, but I find using a closing pin is much more secure and faster to use.

STUFFING –  You will need to fill your amigurumi with something! Thankfully, polyfill is pretty cheap – cheaper if you buy it in larger bags.

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I prefer this style of fill – it lasts a long time, squishy yet holds form.

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I used use a different stuffing that was “Eco friendly” but found my amigurumi turned out really hard, heavy and not as filled up.

It is easy to get mixed up and buy the wrong fill! I’ve received fill that was actually quilting backing or pillows – not the same stuff!

Finding stuffing can be hit and miss. Craft stores should have it. Yarn shops sometimes have it. Walmart sometimes have it in stock. Dollar stores (especially Asian dollar stores like Daiso) have stuffing, but often in small packages enough for 1-2 amigurumis, thus not cheap if you plan to make more amigurumi than that.

EYES – this will be the trickiest part, but thankfully, I have been noticing safety eyes showing up more at craft stores. See my Amigurumi Eyes FAQ for further information.

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YARN NEEDLE – These yarn needles piss me off as I constantly lose them. Some shops dare to sell the plastic pink ones for like $3 each. You can get a wide, blunt metal one for $0.25 to $4. Find one that has a wide “eye” so you can thread your yarn through.

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I prefer the metal needles as they have weight to them, plus are thinner making it easier to fit inbetween tight stitches.

If you cannot find a wide eye’d needle, you may be able to get away with your crochet hook, though life is much easier with the yarn needle.

SCISSORS – you know, to cut your yarn with. You probably have some on hand.

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Depending on your project, there are a few other tools you might need:

EMBROIDERY FLOSS – You’ll need this stuff if you want to sew on mouths, noses or even eyes. Floss will be your friend if you are making amigurumi for young kids, as safety eyes aren’t recommended for young children.

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Luckily, floss is cheap! $0.25 each cheap, though it can range up to like $2 for high-end silk material. You can find floss at most craft stores, dollar stores, and Walmart. Sometimes they sell them in the toy section in friendship bracelet kits.

Colours? This is project dependent, but 90% of the time I use black embroidery floss. Occasionally I will use white, pink and red.

SEWING NEEDLE – You may need a needle that has a sharp point instead of the yarn needles blunt point. The eyes on these are usually really small, so you couldn’t use as your yarn needle.

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This is needed to sew on the embroidery floss – especially if you want to stab the floss through stitches. You can also use a sewing needle to sew on felt pieces.

FELT – Felt can be used for many things: eyes, face, noses/beaks, pink cheeks, feet, spines, spikes, hands, ears, clothing, tails and more! If you can’t crochet something (like the beak is too tiny) you can glue or sew on a bit of felt to compensate. You can add felt behind the safety eye to change the look of the amigurumi or make the eyes bigger. Luckily, felt is quite cheap and easy to find at craft or dollar stores.

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You can also find felt that is stiff, patterned or covered in sparkles.

Of course colour selection is project dependent, but for me the most commonly used colours are white, black, orange, and pink.

FABRIC GLUE – If you choose not to sew on felt pieces, simply fabric glue them on. Good fabric glue can be flexible enough so the form can move, but also hold up to spot clean up.

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You will also want a glue that is clear and does minimal discolouration when dried.

NOSES – Maybe your amigurumi needs a nose? You can purchase plastic noses, similar to safety eyes. I touch on this briefly on my Amigurumi Eyes FAQ.

Optional Tools:

PLASTIC PELLETS – If you want to add weight to your amigurumi, say to keep it sitting upright, you’ll want plastic pellets. Plastic pellets work amazing for amigurumi with feet to keep the toy standing! I put plastic pellets into “very optional” category as I feel I can live without them. You can somewhat make do with rolling and packing stuff tightly on the bottom and some amigurumi can sit on their own with a well made pattern or feet/tail balancing. (Of course not applying to an amigurumi that’s all big head + no body)

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In my experience, plastic pellets are not that cheap and pricey to ship due to weight. A few times I’ve see a good deal on them, but it is for like a giant bucket of them. If you are truly desperate and cannot find the pellets, cannibalize a beanie baby or stuff toy for them. Plastic pellets are also a choking hazard for young children.

To use, I just simply sprinkle then pack them into the feet or bottom of the amigurumi. From there, stuff the rest of the form. You may also sew the pellets inside scrap fabric.

How about beans or rice?  Those can attract pests or have issues if you amigurumi get wet. I had a nice frog a cousin made me for Christmas, stuffed with beans. His legs got wet and he swelled up and started to stink – it was awful.

PINK OR RED FABRIC PAINT / BLUSH – Want blushing cheeks on your amigurumi? You’ll want fabric paint , though cosmetic blush does the job too. By the way, you’ll want something to apply the paint or blush with, such as a brush or q-tip/cotton bud. I prefer to glue on pink felt as cheeks.

STITCH COUNTER – these doo hickies are little counters you can use to keep track of what row/round you are on.

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Stitch counters are mostly found with knitting supplies as you can attach them to your knitting needle. They work just as good not attached to anything. They are fairly cheap, running around a couple dollars a piece.

Do you need one? Maybe. I use them, especially if I’m crocheting away from home. Can you live with out it? Most likely. You can keep track of what round you are on by simply printing out the pattern and marking rows completed or use  scrap paper or text document on your computer to keep count. If you are crocheting on the bus, using a stitch counter is easier than pulling out paper and a pen to mark your rounds.

Don’t bother to buy:

Stuffing stuffer tools – I had one come free with my package of stuffing, but you can also buy them from craft stores and amigurumi crafting sellers. Don’t bother to buy! First off – your fingers can stuff your amigurumi easily enough. If you need to insert stuffing in really small spots, like long narrow legs, you can simply use the back end of a crochet hook, knitting needle, pen, chop stick or yarn needle.

The stuffer I got for free with my giant bag of stuffing is pretty much 1 wooden chop stick. Other models look like a plastic yarn needles with the “eye” chopped, giving you a 2 pronged device, which you can make yourself, though using the end of your crochet hook works just as well!

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I hope this post helps you inspiring amigurumi makers out there! I plan to do a few more related tutorials in the future!