All About Ami

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With summer approaching, we are excited to be vacationing in sunny California in a couple of weeks (Los Angeles and Anaheim to be exact)!  We wanted to take the opportunity to attend the “Anime Expo”, the largest anime, manga and Japanese culture convention in North America!  Of course, as big Disney fans, we couldn’t pass up the chance to visit Disneyland while we’re there too!
I’ve loved connecting with other crochet and amigurumi enthusiasts since starting my blog, and one person whom I greatly admire and have loved getting to know is Josephine of “A Morning Cup of Jo Creations”!  She lives in the Los Angeles area, and I thought it would be neat to finally meet her in person!  We thought it would be a great opportunity to host a meet up while we’re both in Los Angeles in case others would be interested in joining us too :)
And so, if you live in the Los Angeles area or will be visiting Los Angeles on Sunday, July 6th, we would love to meet you!  Please fill out the google form HERE so we can gauge how many people are interested.  Once we know our numbers, we will pick an exact time and location and e-mail the details to the people who have filled out the form.  Since we’re all crafters, we were thinking of making pins that we could exchange with one another at the event- sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
If you have any suggestions of places to visit and eat I would greatly appreciate it too (you can leave a comment below or e-mail me at all_about_ami@hotmail.com)!  I’ve been so busy with the blog redesign that I really need to sit down and research what to do and where to go on our California vacation :)
I hope to be able to meet some of you in person next month!  We are really looking forward to it!

With summer approaching, we are excited to be vacationing in sunny California in a couple of weeks (Los Angeles and Anaheim to be exact)!  We wanted to take the opportunity to attend the “Anime Expo”, the largest anime, manga and Japanese culture convention in North America!  Of course, as big Disney fans, we couldn’t pass up the chance to visit Disneyland while we’re there too!

I’ve loved connecting with other crochet and amigurumi enthusiasts since starting my blog, and one person whom I greatly admire and have loved getting to know is Josephine of “A Morning Cup of Jo Creations”!  She lives in the Los Angeles area, and I thought it would be neat to finally meet her in person!  We thought it would be a great opportunity to host a meet up while we’re both in Los Angeles in case others would be interested in joining us too :)

And so, if you live in the Los Angeles area or will be visiting Los Angeles on Sunday, July 6th, we would love to meet you!  Please fill out the google form HERE so we can gauge how many people are interested.  Once we know our numbers, we will pick an exact time and location and e-mail the details to the people who have filled out the form.  Since we’re all crafters, we were thinking of making pins that we could exchange with one another at the event- sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

If you have any suggestions of places to visit and eat I would greatly appreciate it too (you can leave a comment below or e-mail me at all_about_ami@hotmail.com)!  I’ve been so busy with the blog redesign that I really need to sit down and research what to do and where to go on our California vacation :)

I hope to be able to meet some of you in person next month!  We are really looking forward to it!

New Blog Redesign

Hey everyone!  Notice anything different around here?  As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I’ve been trying to revamp my blog and make it more unique and reflective of my own style!  I’m so excited to show you my newly updated blog and explain the process behind it!

I started “All About Ami" about three and a half years ago on tumblr, and I remember I was so excited to choose a blog template back then.  I ended up going with "Royal Ribbon”, a free template by Simon Fletcher designed in 2010, and I loved the clean grey and pink theme that looked very classy.  However, as time went on, I wished that I had a sidebar, and I found out that this could not be implemented easily if it was not a part of the theme.  I also came across many others who used the exact same theme as me, so I didn’t feel very unique!  I was itching to redesign my blog but it always seemed so daunting, especially for someone with very limited html knowledge!

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A couple of months ago I started looking into different tumblr themes to see what was out there.  I really wanted to stick with tumblr since it has been such a supportive community for me, but I was a bit dismayed that there seemed to be fewer options for blog templates and customization options compared to Blogspot or Wordpress.  However, I came across a tumblr theme that I really liked called “Atlantic Noir" designed by Style Hatch.  It’s a premium theme ($49) that allows for a lot of customization options.  I loved how it had the traditional blog look with the sidebar.  Ontop of that, Jonathan Moore, the founder and creative director of Style Hatch, was extremely quick and responsive to all my e-mails, so this gave me the confidence to go ahead with this theme since I knew I would have support!  This is what the default “Atlantic Noir” theme looks like:

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I purchased “Atlantic Noir” over the weekend, and I didn’t know that it would be implemented right away!  My heart skipped a beat and I tried to revert back to my old “Royal Ribbon” theme but alas, I could not find it as I do not think it is available anymore.  Trying not to panic, I quickly tried to work on all the changes little by little.  I actually started feeling nostalgic and missed my old template since I had used it for 3.5 years!  Thank goodness I had taken some screenshots last week so I could remember what it looked like!  If you visited my blog on Saturday evening, you may have seen some wonky things happening!  I changed the font and colours, deleted some items from the sidebar, and added my own background (check out “michLgstudios" on Etsy HERE for some beautiful blog backgrounds).  I was still waiting for my final graphics, so this is what my blog looked like without the header and welcome button:

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I hired Leonora of “Yellow Heart Art" to design my header, logo and buttons.  I love her work (check out her Etsy store HERE and her blog HERE) and am so happy with how everything turned out.  I wanted to have a pink, grey and gold colour palette as I think it looks very pretty and classy!  Below you can see how adding the header and welcome button changes so much!

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For my logo, I really wanted to incorporate a crochet hook and a ball of yarn.  I love what Leonora designed and how the strand of yarn is in the shape of a heart!  We also added some gold leaves to help frame the logo and tie in the colour scheme.

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For my header, I wanted to include a subheader/tagline saying “a crochet blog" in case people didn’t know what "All About Ami" was about!  The little sideways hearts also represent crochet stitches (like the ‘v’s consisting of a front and back loop) and I love how Leonora included them in the header and in my welcome button too!

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I wanted to have some sort of welcome button that also introduced myself in case people don’t click my “About Me” tab!  Many people still think my name is “Ami”, haha.  We’ve been meaning to take a new profile pic, but we haven’t had the time!  I’ll add an updated one once we’ve taken it :)

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Leonora also made these pretty pink social media buttons on my “Contact" page!  They’re actually not functional yet but I’m hoping they will be soon!

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I have had so much fun trying to redesign my blog and I am incredibly happy with how it has turned out!  I think it has an airy and elegant feel to it and is definitely more reflective of my style.  It’s been fun putting our own touches on it so now it does not look like any other blog!  I wanted to extend a big thank you to Leonora and Jonathan for all their help, and also to Ryan who has helped me envision this along the way!  There are still changes to be made, but I’m excited with how it’s coming along.  I would LOVE to hear your feedback about what you think of this new redesign!  Thanks so much for all your support throughout the years!

Hand Made Toys Bookazine

Hello everyone!  I wanted to share about an exciting feature that my amigurumi Dragon has in a beautiful new bookazine called “Hand Made Toys”!

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When Helen, the editor of “Hand Made Toys”, asked if my Dragon could be included in this special edition, I happily said yes.  Helen is an editor at Future Publishing in the UK, and this publishing company is behind “Simply Crochet" and "Mollie Makes”.  As some of you may remember, Dragon was also previously featured in the premier issue of “Simply Crochet" magazine last year!  I was very impressed when I received my own hard copy of this bookazine as all the projects included are incredibly cute and whimsical!

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Hand Made Toys" contains 40 toy designs to crochet, knit and sew.  I loved seeing the different crafts put together in one magazine, and some of the sewing designs really caught my eye…I have already forgotten how to use my sewing machine, but there are some hand-stitched toy patterns that I could possibly try!  The crocheted hedgehogs seen on the cover look absolutely adorable too- I might have to make some :)

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The bookazine is divided into 5 sections: (1) “Once Upon A Time" containing fairytale and rhyme characters including my Dragon; (2) “Busy Bees" containing indoor toys for children; (3) “Special Friends" containing a variety of adorable animals; (4) “Let’s Pretend" containing delicious play food and treats; and (5) “Just For Fun" containing mini toys for big craft and play happiness!

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I am so happy to have my amigurumi Dragon featured in “Hand Made Toys" along with some of my other crochet blogger friends including Mei of “Amigurumei" and Tanya of “Little Things Blogged”!  Thank you for including my work in your bookazine, Helen!  It truly is a delightful magazine with such a wide variety of cute toys!

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If you’re interested in getting your hands on your own copy, you can order “Hand Made Toys" by mail HERE or find copies in WH Smith stores and leading newsagents in the UK and in Barnes & Noble stores in the US.  You can also buy a digital copy of “Hand Made Toys" through the Apple Newsstand (download the free Simply Crochet container app, and the digital version of Hand Made Toys will be available there).  I think it’s so special how people all over the world are continuing to discover my amigurumi Dragon pattern, often through features such as these, and I truly adore seeing all the Dragons who have been crocheted with so much love 

On the weekend we visited Deserres, a Canadian art and craft store based in Montreal.  We were impressed by how they stored their yarn as it kind of reminded us of the “Lion Brand Yarn Studio”!  They used the Expedit shelving unit from Ikea (which is very popular as I know many people have Expedits in their homes!) and then inserted corrugated plastic dividers to help maximize the space.  We used the same material to make the dividers for my yarn storage (read all about my “DIY Yarn Storage" HERE)!  I just wanted to quickly blog about this to give you another idea on how you can organize your yarn with an easy and inexpensive solution!

On the weekend we visited Deserres, a Canadian art and craft store based in Montreal.  We were impressed by how they stored their yarn as it kind of reminded us of the “Lion Brand Yarn Studio”!  They used the Expedit shelving unit from Ikea (which is very popular as I know many people have Expedits in their homes!) and then inserted corrugated plastic dividers to help maximize the space.  We used the same material to make the dividers for my yarn storage (read all about my “DIY Yarn Storage" HERE)!  I just wanted to quickly blog about this to give you another idea on how you can organize your yarn with an easy and inexpensive solution!

Studio Ami Pig

Last week I blogged about how I was crocheting some amigurumi gifts for the daughters of some of our good friends.  One of the girls loves elephants (see the one I made for her here) while her sister’s favourite animal is a pig!  And so, I scoured Ravelry to look for a free and cute pig pattern.  I really liked the look and simplicity of Studio Ami's “Micropig”, so I decided to give it a try!  

However, I knew that the original pattern would yield quite a small pig, and I wanted to give the girls an elephant and a pig that were similar in size.  I also wanted to use the same yarn that I used to make the elephant (Loops & Threads Impeccable Solids) so that the amigurumi would match!  Instead of modifying the pattern to make it bigger, I wanted to keep it simple and follow the existing pattern but hold two strands of worsted weight yarn while crocheting.  I used a 5 mm crochet hook to accommodate for the thickness, the largest hook I’ve ever used to make an amigurumi!  As you know, the thicker the yarn and the larger the crochet hook you use, the bigger your amigurumi will turn out!

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As you can see, the stitches are massive but no holes are visible and the piece has a sturdy feel to it because of the thickness.  

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This pig works up really quickly!  I love how simple this pattern is as the body/head is already complete :)

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With the eyes in place I thought this little one was starting to look like a Sackboy!

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Next I crocheted the pointy ears…

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And then the four stubby legs!  When attaching the ears and legs to the body, I only used one strand of yarn as it was simply to thick and difficult to use both strands to sew the pieces together.

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After attaching the ears, legs and also the felt snout, here is what our pig looked like!  

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The original pattern does not include a tail, but I thought it would be fun to add a little curly tail!  I crocheted the tail as follows:

Ch 5.  3 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each chain across (12 sc).  Fasten off and leave long end to attach tail to bottom-back of pig.

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To make our elephant and pig amigurumi match even more, we added a cute floral bow to the pig using the same fabric we used for the lining of the elephant’s ears!  What do you think of her?

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She is a ball of cuteness, so round and sweet!

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The curly little tail adds a nice touch, don’t you think?

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I was really happy with how this pig turned out and how it was similar in size to the elephant I blogged about last week!

Have you ever tried holding two strands of yarn together to make amigurumi before?  What have you done to make your amigurumi larger?  If you’ve been looking for a cute amigurumi pig pattern, I highly recommend checking out the free one provided by Sylvia of “Studio Ami" HERE!  Thanks for sharing your free pattern with us, Sylvia!

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Sneak peek of upcoming blog post: Pig by Studio Ami
I made this amigurumi bigger by crocheting with two strands of worsted weight yarn at the same time!  Have you ever done this before?  Full details coming up soon!

Sneak peek of upcoming blog post: Pig by Studio Ami

I made this amigurumi bigger by crocheting with two strands of worsted weight yarn at the same time!  Have you ever done this before?  Full details coming up soon!

I’ve really enjoyed seeing the elephants you’ve crocheted using the English translation that I posted last month!  The construction of these elephants is really ingenious, and I’m glad to hear that many of you have been challenged and also impressed by its design!

I wanted to crochet something special for the daughters of our good friends- when one of them said that elephants were her favourite animal, I knew which pattern to turn to!  I decided to make her the same pink elephant with blue floral lining that I made for Myla.  I did not have enough “Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice" yarn left, so I turned to "Loops & Threads Impeccable Solids in Soft Rose" as I happened to have a full skein in my stash.  

Vanna’s Choice is labeled as a worsted weight yarn (category 4 medium, 10 ply) and Impeccable Solids is also labeled as a worsted weight yarn (category 4 medium, 10 ply).  However, as people who work a lot with yarn know, even though yarns may be given the same level or weight class, they can actually be quite different.  As you can see in the pictures above, the pink elephant crocheted using “Loops & Threads Impeccable Solids” (on the right side of both photos) turned out larger than the “Vanna’s Choice” elephant even though I used the same size crochet hook!

Even within the category of “worsted weight yarn”, there is a wide range, and Planet June did a very informative blog post and comparison that can be found HERE.  She classified different worsted weight yarns as light worsted, worsted or heavy worsted.  Thus, if you want your amigurumi to be a little bit bigger, you could always try out different yarns!  Have you noticed in your experience that some worsted weight yarn is thicker than others?  What are your favourite worsted weight yarns to work with?  If you want to crochet your own elephants, check out my step-by-step blog post HERE and the free English translation HERE!  

Cupcake Bib/Dishcloth

One day while shopping for yarn at Michaels, I came across this free adorable “Cupcake Dishcloth" pattern designed by Twinkie Chan.  Twinkie Chan is the queen of yummy and deliciously cute crochet (check out her site here), and I had seen her mention this project before on her social media.  I excitedly took a copy of the pattern home and began working on it right away with some Bernat cotton yarn that I already had in my stash!

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I was very impressed with this pattern and how this cupcake was designed.  The pink frosting part involves using a magic ring, but rather than working continuously around the circle, you turn your work in order to achieve this semi-circle shape.  The pink edging hanging over the green cake liner adds a pretty and whimsical touch.  My favourite part though was achieving the cabled effect on the green cake liner by working front post half triple crochets (FPhtr) around stitches found in rows below.  I thought this technique was brilliant and I love how it turned out- I’ll have to keep this in mind for future projects!

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The original project includes the pattern for a circular cherry with a loop on the top so that you can easily hang your dishcloth.  I wanted to make this dishcloth convertible into a bib as I wanted to gift it to a newborn baby girl!  Thus, I did not include the loop on the cherry- instead, I crocheted a little stem.

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After following the pattern for the cherry, I did not fasten off.  I did the folllowing:

Ch 6.  Sc 1 in 2nd chain from hook.  Sl st in next 4 chains.  Sl st in next 2 stitches of circle.  Fasten off and leave end to attach cherry to cupcake.

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In order to make this cupcake convertible into a bib, I added these two straps to the back of the pink frosting so that I could run a long neck strap through them:

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To crochet these:

Ch 7.  Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each chain across (6 sc).  Fasten off and leave ends to attach straps to frosting.

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Next I crocheted the long neck strap consisting of double crochets with a button on the end.  By using double crochets, this made the strap adjustable since the button can fit between any of the stitches!

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To crochet the neck strap:

Chain 70.  Dc in 4th ch from hook and in each chain across (68 dc).  Fasten off and weave in ends.  Sew button firmly onto one end.  (My strap measured approximately 17 inches).

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After feeding the neck strap through the pink straps, this is what my cupcake bib looked like!  I thought that the family could use it at first as a bib, and when their baby daughter no longer needed to use a bib, they could remove the neck strap and continue using it as a cute dishcloth in their kitchen!

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Cupcakes are so pretty and whimsical- I’m sure a Cupcake Dischcloth or Bib would be a welcome addition into many homes and kitchens, especially for those with a sweet tooth!

Myla absolutely detests wearing bibs now, but we managed to get her to wear this Cupcake Bib for a split second to capture this photo before she ripped it off, haha!  Isn’t the bib adorable?

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To make your own Cupcake Bib or Dishcloth, check out Twinkie Chan’s free pattern HERE!  Her post also includes a very informative YouTube video in which she shows you how to crochet the entire project as well :)  Have fun, and happy crocheting!

Sneak peek of upcoming blog post: Cupcake Bib (modification of Twinkie Chan's free “Cupcake Dishcloth" pattern)

Sneak peek of upcoming blog post: Cupcake Bib (modification of Twinkie Chan's free “Cupcake Dishcloth" pattern)

Thank you so much for entering my giveaway, everyone!  I am excited to announce that the winner of the free one year digital subscription to “Inside Crochet" magazine is ANNA (I’ve already e-mailed and tweeted you)!  Congratulations!  Enjoy all the crocheted goodness in this magazine, and once again, thank you everyone for your kind words about my feature!

Thank you so much for entering my giveaway, everyone!  I am excited to announce that the winner of the free one year digital subscription to “Inside Crochet" magazine is ANNA (I’ve already e-mailed and tweeted you)!  Congratulations!  Enjoy all the crocheted goodness in this magazine, and once again, thank you everyone for your kind words about my feature!

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