12 Days of Christmas

It’s the last week of the year and I’m back to the setting new year resolution mode again.

Looking back I have not fulfilled my year resolution that I set last year end, that is, to constantly update this blog.

Well, this only proved that human is destined to be lazy and procrastinate with things that they dislike to work on. Funny I can constantly doing my crochet work and play with my facebook game everyday but not updating the blog. Ha! Ha!

Last Friday on Christmas Eve, I decided to come out of a blog consecutively each day for 12 days to summarize all the crochet craft that I’ve worked on for year 2010. And till now, then I decided to work with it. Well, it’s better to be late than never. Guess I have to work extra hard today to finish up the back log. 😛

So get started now. Today is the 3rd day and I have three more blogs to write.

 Oh, almost forgot. Merry Christmas 2010!

Differences between Crochet and Knitting

I often heard people asking the above question, “What are the differences between crocheting and knitting?”

For a novice, you may not know the difference between the two and wonder which one is good to start with.

The simplest answer to this would be: one using a hooked needle and the other uses two needles without hook. That is as far as from the appearance point of view. In terms of product, you could see the difference between the two if you have worked on any of them before.

My History with Crochet

I started learning crochet since I was very young, at the age of around 10. I vaguely recalled learning the basic crochet technique from aunt: the simple chain, single crochet and double crochet, fan shape, etc. And thereafter, improvise my own design by combining the different techniques to make various products like: my own scarf, water bottle cover, motif, cushion cover, scarf and many other products. I cannot remember why I like this skill so much. When I first started work, I learn knitting from a yarn shop owner. I was amazed by the sweater produced by knitting and got myself hooked onto it. At that time, I thought knitting was for sweater and crocheting was for motifs. If you want products that comes with flowery ’ holes’,  lots of see through in between yarns, you would rather choose crocheting than knitting. If you want tighter texture with little see through, you rather choose knitting than crocheting. This only falls true if you are limited to only knowing a few patterns for knitting and crochet.

My Likes & Dislikes

Throughout the years, I have dropped off the passion of knitting and crocheting on and off. I have picked up other interest like cross stitching, hardanger and paper clay making, etc. For the past few years, I restarted aggressively back to crocheting. I did lots of products: from motifs, scarves, dolls, cushion covers, handbags to big project s like blouses, shrug, sweaters, skirts, afghan, curtain etc. It was during this period I realized that crochet could really do all kinds of wonders. Most of the thing that knitting could do crocheting could follow too. I’ve discovered lots of crochet pattern made for sweater, scarf, socks etc that looks very much like knitting.

I always find that using one hooked needle is much easier to handle than working with two unhooked needles. This is because at any one time I only need to care about one open loop rather than a row of open loops. I’m sure most of the knitters experienced the occasion of dropping one of the stitches in a row. Re-hook back the dropped stitch to me is a terrible nightmare, especially if you are dealing with yarn that has difficulty showing a clear pattern. Although they said knitting would be much faster than crocheting, especially come to make large projects like a sweater, I rather stick to crocheting. I could concentrate on one open stitch at a time.

The Future

Throughout the years, I have sourced many books on crochet patterns. Found that the fundamental patterns have been around for many years and crochet designers keep revamping new design out of old patterns. However, crochet has been recently put on runway and became part of fashion icons these days. You could see different kinds of fashionable wears that ladies love to wear. Hand knitted products no longer only belongs to old folks sitting on armchairs making for their grandchildren, children, friends and relatives. It became more commercialize and you could see more people willing to buy handmade products online.

I hope these hobbies could be more appreciated in future. Long live crochet and knit!

Sourcing for Yarn in the Tropical Country

I came across a few people asking what kind of yarn to use for my crochet doll and decided to write down my point of view on yarn selection.

In the tropical country that I stayed, we seldom has the need to wear thick clothing that made from pure wool or fur. So when I select yarn for wearing purposes, I will try to avoid such thick yarn and choose more cooling yarn that made from cotton or bamboo material. This types of yarns are quite hard to come by in the context of my small country, Singapore, whereby it is hard to find the group of knitters and crocheters who are willing to spend time to knit a cotton made blouse or skirt to be wear under the bright Sun. However, there are still people willing to make a pure wool scarf, pullover or sweater only to be used in an air-conditioned room, when travel overseas or send it overseas as presents.

As for me to find a better source to find cooling yarn for me will be via internet. Usually yarns sold on internet could be in quite a reasonable price, provided the currency conversion is acceptable and the shipment cost is low. However, to ship yarn that sold in US or Canada to Asia is still pretty expensive and may easily cost double or triple its original price. I have also tried to buy yarn from countries that were closer to me like China, Japan or Australia. For Australia, we have a great store here, Spotlight, which provides the supplies. I hope we have more locals here who love this hobby and so increase the yarn sale which in turns trigger Spotlight to ship more varieties of yarn here. As for China I may not want to venture into it due to its quality. I heard some purchase cases that state what you see on internet may not be what you get at times. Good yarn from Japan is pretty expensive. We do have a crafty shop over in Singapore that sell Japanese yarn, called Golden Dragon. Some of the yarn price as compare to overseas is better and some could be pretty expensive.

Once a while I would pamper myself to buy some ‘expensive’ yarn over the internet. The price stated on internet is not that expensive. However after taking into account of the shipment cost, it becomes. But still I prefer to get some yarn over the internet to explore other types of yarn. Sometimes I really envy people who stay in seasoned countries who could make all kinds of products from different types of yarn. You won’t have the problem of not finding any occasion to wear them.

Back to choosing yarn material for making amigurumi dolls. Usually you don’t want to spend too much on doll materials unless you are make a doll for a person with sensitive condition like asthma or similar. So I choose 100% acrylic yarn. As for size of the yarn, I usually choose 8 ply yarn that uses 4 to 4.5mm crochet hook sizes to make dolls that are taller than 10cm. At times I would need to double up the yarn to make something bigger. My 16 inches tall hobbes are made from two strand of 8 ply yarn.

So no matter what type of yarns you used, it is worth to take the risk to try it out. It may not be suitable to a project you choose in the first place. Then try it on other projects. The more you try out the more experience you will get and who knows the outcome may be something out of a surprise and a fulfilling one.

Piggy vs Piglet

I have a plush piggy toy that I purchased very long ago. Cannot remember when and where was it. The only thing that I recall was I bought it because the piglet looked so cute with its chubby chins at two sides of its nose. One thing about soft toy is you never get too tired looking at them, the cute faces just melt all your troubles alway.

I have recently made a crocheted pig followed the design of the plush piggy. It took me quite a long time to figure out how to crochet the two fat chin beside the nose. Although it turn out not as chubby as the origin one, I’m quite satisfy with the outcome. I’ve also made a pinky hat to match my piglet. Both piggy and piglet are now standing side by side looking at me.

Piggy and Pigglet

So which one you like more? Any buyers for my pink piglet?

Happy Mother’s Day

To all mothers in the world, “Happy Mother’s Day!”

To celebrate these days, I have made 3 crochet figurine doll to all mothers in my family: my mother, my sister and my sister-in-law.

This is the first time I’ve made such a small doll using a 4 ply yarn for the head and hands and 8 ply yarn for the hair and the body. The size of the dolls are from 4-5 inches tall. The hair was made to fit varies head sizes and to portray different style of mother in my family. My mother, the grandmother has a tied bun. My sister has dark straight shoulder length hair that has a hair clip put on it. My sis-in-law has long piggy tail hair with a flower pin on top.

The style of hands are quite different too to show more of their lively characters. I tired to make them to stand on their own by making two feets for some of them. The results are quite satisfy and I really love my own creation.

I’m going to make another two more for my brother and bro-in-law for father’s day celebration. See if it fits the mothers as a pair. Really looking forward to it. 😛

Happy Crocheting

Time flies.. It has been months ago since I update blog post. What have I been doing lately?

Busy working and crocheting of course.

The past months were like daze to me.. I did many projects. In February till March, I finished 3 hobbes,  2 amigurumi cats and 2 tiger dolls crochet,  some for the orders on etsy and others from friends and relatives. I was happy my Calvin and Hobbes pair that I design in February found an owner. I also made another extra hobbes as one of my order almost did not deliver to the recipient. Luckily she got it just before I finished. Right nowI decided to rest for a while in making doll crochet. I think I’m a bit burn out now.

I also did a white shrug for my niece. It was made from cotton yarn and the final products looks hard but it stand out pretty nice. I quite like it and can’t wait to show it to my niece. Wonder how would it turn out as a skirt?

I did another shrug for myself. a purple colar yarn made from Moda Vera – mousse 70% Australian wook and 30% Soya. I have been wanting to try on yarn made from Soya lately. I got this beautiful yarn from Spotlight at a discounted price. The yarn gave a different shades of purple tone when look at different angle and it pretty much matches the pattern that I’ve chosen for the shrug.  I hope the weather in Singapore would turn cooler so that I have the chance to wear it. Ha! Ha! Still left 5 more rolls of purple yarn, wonder what project should I make out of them?

I have also mended my previously made pink blouse to make it longer. I wore it to work to show off my product to my colleagues 😛

Now I started make  a using a earthlygreen yarn made from100% Highland wool byelann.com Peruvian Highland Sport. I read the pattern from Inside Crochet magazine and can’t wait to start on this. The pattern has a fashionable and durable look that you would have thought that it is made from knitting rather crocheting. Can’t wait to finish to scarf to see the final product.

I still have a few more pending projects and lots of yarn purchased and awaiting for me to crochet. Happy crocheting!

Second Snowman

I just completed my second snowmain crochet doll in two evening time. Felt so proud of myself.

I was kind of working stress lately and miss my first snowman so much. I did my first snowman stress relief doll last November and sold it within a day after I display at the etsy site. I wonder how is he now , did the new owner like him?

Anyway, I decided to make myself another one to compensate my ‘lost’. I need it badly to release some of my stress. While crocheting, I have already felt the relaxation that I needed. And I found another good reason to do crocheting. No matter how tired I felt after my day job, I should remind myself the best way to replenish my energy at the end of the day is to do some crocheting. Pick up a crochet hook and some yarn you can find. Without thinking much, just do what came first in your mind and you surprise yourself what you can make out of it.

This second snowmain, Mr purple, is quite similar to his brother Mr Green. I change the hat slightly started with making the rounded ball at the tip of the hat and expand using single crochet in white yarn. I used double crochet and half double crochet for the last four rows to increase its elasticity. It really look like a real hat to me. As for the scarf, I started with the rounded ball in white and continue on using double crochet with althernate color row between purple and white.  I ended with a simple sc ball using purple color yarn. Both balls were also stuffed with poly fiber.

I’m going to place it at my office desk. Seeing him everyday during work would some how ease off my daily stress, I hope.