Evil Ruffle Yarn Scarf!

I saw this cool ruffle yarn awhile back and started working on a scarf back in Jan 2012.

There are many kinds and styles out there, but the one I used is from Red Heart, called Sashay.

sashay yarn red heart

This yarn is quite mind blowing – it’s wide and lacey. You knit or crochet along the top edge of the strand, skipping every other bar, to create a bunched up effect. The pattern is similar to knitting other novelty yarn scarves – Cast on the width you want and knit every row until the ball is finished or to desired length. Easy enough right?

So, I started this scarf in January 2012 and I finished it in April 2013 – what was the hold up?

THIS YARN WAS DEMON SPAWN EVIL

Seriously?

Yes! First, I tried to crochet my scarf and figured knitting was easier for me as the stitches were easier to spot on the needle vs hook. I’m a seasoned knitter – I can do cables and lace. This yarn had me bashing my face on the desk in annoyance.

The instructions on the pattern were a little “HUH???” for casting on and knitting the yarn – so video tutorials helped a lot! There’s plenty of tutorials, but this one shows how to bind off and hide ends.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnPMhVk3zGY]

Despite the pattern being “Knit every stitch”, the “flow” of knitting this beast yarn was slowly and clunky. I found for each stitch I needed to stretch it and hand place the “laddery loop” in order to knit, whereas with other yarns you can knit away, letting the yarn flow through your fingers. It was slippery, and I made sure to use non-slippery needles, so I had a few close calls with my work falling off. With that said, I had to pay attention to what I was doing, which was really boring compared to knitting lace.

If you are knitting right off the ball, it gets twisted up fast and this ruffle yarn works best already splayed out  wrapped around cardboard. The yarn likes to slip off the needles, and can tangle up quick around your needles if you place the project in a bag. I’d take the scarf with me and car trips, banging out a few rows when I can – though my patience only lasted only a few rows at a time!

I also was pretty ambitious with this scarf. I did 12 base stitches and used 2 skeins for a wide and long scarf.

The result?

Freaking gorgeous scarf!

Evil Ruffle Yarn Scarf by Awkward Soul (1)

I love the colour and the ruffles!

Evil Ruffle Yarn Scarf by Awkward Soul (2)

Hiding the ends kind of sucked. I hate the look of the ends of this yarn, so I did my best to weave them in the “spine” of the scarf. Thankfully since there is so much crazyness going on, the ends also blend in a bit.

Evil Ruffle Yarn Scarf by Awkward Soul (3)

I’m happy with the result, but not sure if I’ll keep the scarf or give it away. I do feel kinda bad if I give it away – this was made with frustration and hate! I wish it was made with love. ALL HATE!

I was thinking this yarn would be awesome to make a wide rectangular shawl with! Yeah, someone else can knit that.

Sadly, I have another 2 skeins – so one day I will have to knit this thing again. UGGGG! I could also see me buying more of this ruffle yarn if I see a really cool colours and regret each stitch as I knit it. The result is really fantastic, making it… not so much. Overall, there is a learning curve to learn how to use ruffle yarn, it takes a bit of attention and care to use, but really pretty results!


Craftsmart Value Yarn – Amigurumi Yarn Review

I was at my local craft store, Michaels, holding a nice coupon and looking for a couple colours of yarn to beef up my amigurumi yarn palette. On my list was a decent purple. A bright purple that would work for amigurumi – bright but not nuclear. Sometimes finding good amigurumi colours are difficult as so many yarns are too dark or too light (baby yarns). I spotted this Craftsmart yarn next to the Red Heart stuff, and decided to give it a try.

Craftsmart is a worsted weight yarn that is 100% acrylic.
Link to Craftsmart Yarn via Michaels

IMG_3908

As always with my yarn reviews, they are coming from the perspective to make amigurumi toys with.

PROS
+ Good price!
+ Bright and nice selection of colours
+ Slightly soft
+ Very nice to work with
+ Fair amount of stiffness

At Michaels, Craftsmart was around $0.20 cheaper than the Red Heart Super Saver at my time of purchase. Sweet! Touching the ball, it is much smoother than Red Heart Super Saver, but not silky like Red Heart Soft.

What I noticed right away was Craftsmart felt quite nice to work with. The yarn slipped nicely through my fingers and put up with my tight gauge. There was just enough grip for my stitches to stay tight despite how soft the yarn runs through my fingers.

This yarn isn’t as stiff as Red Heart Super Saver, but goes a good job holding up its shape for amigurumi – the stitches puff decently, not tight or saggy creating holes.

CONS
– Found a couple gnarly bits
– a little splitty
– Despite being soft, feels kinda soapy slippery

The downfalls I found with this Craftsmart yarn was I noticed a couple gnarly bits – three cases for 1 amigurumi. The strand had an excess lump of material woven in or big linty fuzz stuck to the strand. It wasn’t a huge deal as I was able to pull out the fuzz or trim it with sissors. There also was a bit of splittyness working with this yarn. On ocassion it would split in a way that I’d miss snagging 1 of the plys of the yarn, so I’d have to loosen the stitch to snag it.

While I did mention the softness of this yarn is quite nice and very workable, it also feels kinda weird. The longer you work with it, the most it feels almost “soapy” to the fingers. No residue, and again, it’s got a good grip, but it feels unusual.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS (neutral)
~ No sheen
~ Is a thicker worsted weight, so best with moderate to large amigurumi projects
~ Compatible with Red Heart Super Saver
~ Dye lot, so ensure you purchase enough for your project
~ Not fuzzy

This yarn is quite similar to Red Heart Super Saver’s gauge – I was able to use both yarns together for the same project and they looked as if they were the same brand. The weight is the same, the sheen level is the same.

This attractive purple owl is made with a mix of the Craftsmart and Red Heart yarns. The purple areas are a bit more smoother of a feel, but otherwise both yarns blend together.

Owl Amigurumi by Awkward Soul Designs

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Overall, Craftsmart yarn is a great alternative to Red Heart Super Saver and is much nicer to work with! This yarn has a nice softness to it, while maintaining a good grip for tight gauge stitches. The cons of being slightly splitty and having the odd linty issues are fairly minor. The weight is quite thick for a worsted, so I’d use this yarn for a larger project.

If I was looking to buy more Red Heart Super Saver like yarn, I’d probably snag this brand instead if I wasn’t worried about continuing with the same dye lot. If you are interested, read My Red Heart Super Saver Review.


Owl Amigurumi Crochet Pattern – Tea Mug Owls?

It’s done! This pattern is the answer to my teaser photo I recently posted here.

owl amigurumi pattern by awkward soul - PDF

OWL AMIGURUMI!

Phew, finally!

I’m a huge owl fan – right up there for my love of octopi! My other blog, The Oolong Owl, is my owl-themed tea blog. Lots of Owl and Tea!

Alright. This took around 12 attempts to get the pattern just right. I had an owl graveyard of crocheted owl parts that didn’t make the cut. I really wanted to limit the amount of parts I had to sew onto these guys.

After 9 attempts I had a better idea how to pull off the best shape. Annoyingly, it took 3 tries to get the neck right – all times scrapping most of the body.

What I love about my Owl creation is that they are ridiculously photogenic! I took LOTS of pictures, so this is a photo-heavy post!

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My Owl pattern features:

3 head shapes – Round, Easy Ears and Large Ears.

2 face construction options – Felt or Colour chart

Simple chest feather detail

I made five owls (whoa!) as demos for this pattern. Three of them are the more of the bright and fun colour variety. Two of them are more realistic type of owl.

Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (8)

The first Owl, the prototype, is this green owl. His name is Laoshan. He likes tea, especially green tea. Any tea nerds in the house?

Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (4)

Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (5)Owl matcha? I dunno….

My second favorite owl is my purple owl – she has no name yet. She was made last of the 5, so she’s the youngest. So far, I’ve just been calling her Attractive Purple Owl. I love the yarn I used here – the colour is great and was soft to work with (Craftsmart brand). Oddly, I stuffed her a bit too much, so she’s a little bigger than the other owls. Oh well.Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (12)

The second owl I created was the Big Blue Ear Owl. I was experimenting here with the chest feather detail and the colour chart. He’s got the tall “ears/feathers” on his head. I think he looks like a lot of fun.

The third owl I made is a more realistic type. I haven’t named him yet as I was planning on putting him up for adoption. I did an “x” felt detail on his face, and chest feathers to his chest.

Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (3)

Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (10) Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (11)

If you haven’t noticed, these Owls had a fun photo shoot with my teaware, LOL! I wanted to say they are “tea cup” owls, but they can barely squeeze into my tea cups! They fit into a matcha bowl fine, the rest of the teaware was a tight squish!

They sized up for me 5″ high, 3.5″ wide, up to 3″ long with worsted weight yarn and 4mm hook. Size will greatly depend on your gauge and yarn. Tea mug it is!  I’m sure if you made these owls with DK or sport yarn they’ll fit into a tea cup (and steal your tea).

Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (2)

The fourth Owl I made.. well, he’s all mischief. I wanted to make a Snowy Owl, as that appears to be a popular type of owl. I prefer the Northern White face Owl myself (TRANSFORM!). Anyways, my Snowy Owl is very cute – my husband likes him the best!

Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (1)

He looks like a well mannered Owl? Pfffft.

Owl Amigurumi crochet pattern by awkward soul designs

Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (6)

Which Owl do you like more? Did I get your creative juices flowing? What colours or owls would you like to see or make youself?

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You can purchase my Owl Amigurumi Pattern at My Etsy Shop

or

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

Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (9)

P.S. I will be listing 3 of the Owls for adoption on my My Etsy Shop. You may also check out my commission page if you’d like a custom made owl.


New Pattern Coming + Facebook page!

Hey my crafty friends!

It has been long overdue, but I finally created a facebook page for my blog and pattern store!

Please visit! Like! Stay up to date with new posts and see my random posts!
Awkward Soul Designs Facebook Page!

In addition, I got a new amigurumi pattern coming out soon. If you’ve been following my blog there is a pattern that I’ve been working on for awhile that has been through like 9 or 12 revisions. I kinda lost count on how many times I’ve redone this pattern.

When will the pattern be out? The written pattern is complete. I need to check one row (that I forgot to count for the colour chart, doh). I also need to do some more photos and maybe crochet a few more of this creature for the pictures. Actually, I made 3 of these guys already, but they are pretty simple to make and easy to customize so I just want to keep making more! Good chance that I will be selling a couple of the demos as well.

TEASER PIC

Preview pic March 2013

Hopefully the picture doesn’t give too much away. Actually, I’m not sure what this is just by looking at the picture. It’s got big eyes and blue. You can guess, but I’m not telling until the pattern is up!


Finishing Amigurumi Tutorial: Sewing the body closed and hiding yarn ends

Finishing Amigurumi Tutorial - Awkward Soul

What do you do are making an amigurumi and you finish the last row of the main body. You may have a neat little circle opening that needs to be sewn shut. The amigurumi instructions say something like “Fasten off, sew the body shut.”

Here’s what to do when you need to close an amigurumi form:

TIP: This works best for 6 stitches remaining. More than that, I’d a number of decreases until you get 6 stitches left.

1. If you haven’t done so already, Slip stitch the next stitch, snip the yarn with a few inches of leftover, and pull the thread through.

Thread the yarn tail.

Finishing Amigurumi by Awkward Soul (1)

2. Insert the needle into the next stitch, and out the stitch after that.Finishing Amigurumi by Awkward Soul (2)

3. Insert the needle the same way as the previous step, but for the next pair of stitches.

Finishing Amigurumi by Awkward Soul (3)

Keep doing this until all stitches are worked in this manner.

Finishing Amigurumi by Awkward Soul (4)

Finishing Amigurumi by Awkward Soul (5)

I left large loops to help show, but more often you won’t have big loops like this.

4. Pull the yarn tail, which will close the circle closed. Do not pull too hard as the yarn could snap.

Finishing Amigurumi by Awkward Soul (6)

5. Knot off the tail. I insert the needle in the next stitch and tie the yarn off from its loop to secure the tail. Do this as neatly as possible if this is the top head of an amigurumi.

Finishing Amigurumi by Awkward Soul (7)

Now, what to do with that yarn tail?

Hiding the Yarn ends/tail

Use this method to hide the yarn tail. This method works for all yarn tails, such as tails leftover from sewing on legs/arms/head/tail.

1.  Using your needle with the yarn end threaded, stick the needle through the body of the amigurumi – through the stuffing.

Finishing Amigurumi by Awkward Soul (9)

As you can see here, I made the needle go right through the entire shell.  At least have it go an inch or so through the body. You can squish the body to help the needle pass more distance.

Finishing Amigurumi by Awkward Soul (10)

2. Pull the yarn through. If you place your fingers against the body while you pull the yarn, you are less likely to have stuff fuzz out.

Finishing Amigurumi by Awkward Soul (11)

3. Snip off the excess yarn tail. If there is a bit of contrasting yarn colour peeking out, use your crochet hook to stab it back inside the amigurumi.

Finishing Amigurumi by Awkward Soul (12)

And you are done!

The turtle featured in this tutorial is my Turt the Turtle Amigurumi Pattern!

Turt Turtle Amigurumi - awkwardsoul (8)


Cute Cute Crab Amigurumi Pattern!

Another pattern already? That was fast!

Introducing  Awkward Soul’s CRAB AMIGURUMI

Crab Amigurumi pattner by AwkwardSoul (1)

I have an interesting crab story from my childhood.

I was around 10 years old and was fishing off a dock. I caught something REALLY heavy and hard to pull in, that it took a long time to reel in and I needed help from my older cousins. I got it out of the water and it was a SCARY spidery leggy looking spikey crab! Very angry crab too! I started screaming and my cousin kicked the crab off the dock!

In retrospect, it was probably a good eat, oh well.

Crab Amigurumi pattner by AwkwardSoul (3)Don’t kick me off a dock!

I had the inspiration quickly after making my Turt the Turtle Amigurumi pattern. I noticed other amigurumi crabs had that round shape, and I thought going oval makes for a cuter, more realistic-ish shaped crab.

I was set on doing 8 legs instead of 6, but I couldn’t fit the extra legs without making the crab bigger. I also wanted to make a cute crab, not a scary angry crab from my childhood fishing incident!

Crab Amigurumi pattner by AwkwardSoul (4)

I wish I had a better name for this crab. “Crabby” was taken. “Snippy” didn’t suit him. Oh well. His name is “Crab”.

You can purchase this Crab Amigurumi pattern at my Etsy Store

or
Snag it via Ravelry by clicking  You do not need a ravelry account to purchase!

Crab Amigurumi pattner by AwkwardSoul (5)


Blanket Achievement Unlocked!

I finished a blanket! My first blanket! It only took…….. almost 3 years.

I took so long that the pattern was taken down, however googling up “Star Crochet Blanket” you will get lots of variations of the same kind of blanket.

My Ravelry Project Page for the Star Blanket
The blanket started as this around May 2010:
star blanket -progress

Progress around October 2010 – the edges are touched the side of the double bed!
star blanket wip

and is now this, as of Mid February 2013 – The final result. My star blanket measures about 74″ wide, though it is hard to measure since this blanket has 5 points

IMG_2877

The blanket on a california king sized bed! The points drape a little of the sides of the bed.

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There is a neat story to this blanket. I intended to make this blanket for my boyfriend – something he can use on his computer chair. Thinking back, I didn’t think this project was going to take this long and boring to make – definitely not a gift for a boyfriend! Anyways, I took this blanket with me to visit my boyfriend, who was long distance, and left the stupid project there to work on during visits.

It dragged and draaaaaaaaaggggged on for me to finish the blanket. Each round went up 30 stitches. Doing never ending double crochets is painfully boring, especially for a crocheter like me who likes small projects or a knitter who like lace and more interest. Often I’d do a side of a point, then put the project down to do something else. Once the blanket got really big, I refused to work on it during the summer as it was too warm sitting on my lap while I worked.

My boyfriend became my husband, and he complained sometimes that I never finished his blanket. I finally cracked down and worked on the beast of a blanket for a week, trying to get it done. My goal was to finish all the yarn I had – which was 3 jumbo balls of bulky weight. There was a few panic moment with the red as I had just enough to do the last round with like 4 inches to spare!

Finally, once the blanket was done – I handed it to my husband, who snuggled with it the entire evening and was very happy with it. Then he put it on my papsan chair and napped there for awhile.

IMG_2874(it’s hard to see, but behind the chair is a mountain of yarn.)

Uggg. I don’t think I’ll make this kind of boring blanket for awhile. I know it was a faster blanket project than most, since I used bulky weight yarn, but I’m more of a smaller scale project type.

I’m going to stick to small projects for awhile, like turtles and dolphins.

IMG_2878


Turt the Turtle Amigurumi Crochet Pattern

turt the turtle amigurumi pattern - awkward soul designs

Hey crochet peeps! Finally, I have a new pattern available!

Turt the Turtle!

Annoyingly, the other pattern I’ve been working on, which is on its 8th or 9th attempt, I put on hold to work on a turtle pattern. This turtle design came to me right away –  I also came up with a flipper design.

With that said, my turtle design comes with two leg options:

Flipper leg Turt!

Turt Turtle Amigurumi - AwkwardSoul (5)I like swimming!

Stumpy leg Turt!

Turt Turtle Amigurumi - awkwardsoul (13)I like cruising around at my own pace.

Both turtles are super cute and are enjoyable to make!

The only trouble I had with this pattern was creating the head. I wanted something a little tapered, but not complicated. Of course, I got complicated and it took a few tries to get the head just right. The legs and flippers were easy for me to figure out.

Shaping for the turtles came out very nice. I wanted to do a more realistic oval shell shape than the usual round amigurumi turtles out there.

Turt Turtle Amigurumi - AwkwardSoul (2)

These cutie turtles are on the small side, 5″ long and 4″ leg span with worsted yarn, so they are a fast crochet project – leaving you time to make a large nest of turtles!

Turt Turtle Amigurumi - awkwardsoul (14)

Turt the Turtle Amigurumi Crochet PDF Pattern is up for sale at my Etsy Shop!

Alternatively, you may purchase the PDF Turt the Turtle pattern directly through Ravelry, no account required! 


Knitted ornaments – teeny sweaters and mittens!

AGAIN! Just like last year, I made christmas gifts, but could not show them off here (or anywhere for that matter) as my family and friends would see them. I can’t do a “IF YOU ARE RELATED TO ME, STOP READING” post, as my family would be “SCORE!” and keep reading. Especially my husband. He’s not into surprises.

So I made my first knitted sweater.

Sweater ornamentIsn’t that nice? Sweaters are hard work! It’s for my husband and is in nice manly colours!

Does it fit?

hand sweaterIt fits my hand, kind of.

I used a free pattern from  Knitpicks called Tiny Holiday Sweater Ornament Pattern. I was too lazy to do the cable down the front. In retrospect, I should of done a cable just to show off I can freaking cable. This was also hard to work on as I had to work on it when my husband wasn’t around, which was tricky and annoying. Often I was thinking “OMG I want to work on my sweater!” but can’t because he’s around. Sigh.

How about some mittens?

mitten ornaments

The pattern for these is Mini Mitten Ornaments on Ravelry – free as of this time. Actually, it’s a pretty good pattern – the mittens are made just like regular mittens, but much smaller.  These guys fit on the tip of a finger. I made a lot of these mittens – they are easy, very cute and fast to make – less than an hour.

For all the items I used leftover sock yarn with 2.25mm circular needles. I usually used the magic circle technique and it worked out well. Really neat is the yarns are variegated, but since on a small scale the item turned out striped.

Ornament collectionI also made a toe up sock – however I tried 3 different patterns and were not happy with any of them, including that one. All of them did some crappy heel turnings, YO as toe increases, and no pick up stitches, so the heels had holes everywhere.

My rant: Yes, the item is an ornament. I get it doesn’t have to perfect. However, I  do not want holes in my work! This item is an ornament that will be on a tree for years, maybe even multiple generations! I do not want half-effort patterns, the item is small and quick to make anyways.

I also crocheted a squid, from my own Squidling pattern, but it was very last minute and was gifted before I could take a picture!

I predict next year I will have the same issue and post. Yeah… I’m sure other crochet/knitting bloggers feel the same.