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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!

Elephant

Do you remember the “Amigurumi & Crochet Blog Directory" that I compiled last year in August?  I really enjoyed visiting blogs from around the world and seeing what projects different crochet artists were working on.  When I clicked on "Petite Maille”, a French blog by Fannie, I was greeted with some pictures of an absolutely adorable elephant (see here).  I was immediately intrigued by the construction and shaping of this amigurumi as it looked very different from the traditional method of crocheting individual limbs and then attaching them altogether.  I was delighted to see that Fannie provided the free French pattern on her blog.  Fannie had translated a Spanish pattern that she herself had discovered on a blog called “Amigurumies" by Rani.  I mistakenly thought that Rani was the originally designer behind this elephant, but Rani herself and some Facebook followers pointed out that the original pattern was Japanese, and that Rani had translated this pattern found in a Japanese pamphlet into Spanish for her blog.  

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Rani showed me what the original Japanese pattern looked like, and after some sleuthing and help from my Japanese friend (thanks Saho!!!), we believe that the artist who designed this elephant in the above pamphlet is Chisachi Kushima (久嶋千幸).

I was so incredibly excited to try crocheting this elephant and learn some new amigurumi techniques along the way!  Armed with Fannie’s French pattern and Rani’s Spanish pattern, I began translating the pattern into English which turned out to be not too bad at all since I had previously studied both French and Spanish in school.  It also made it easier since I had two patterns in two different languages to cross-reference in case I wasn’t sure about a particular phrase or the wording of something.  I used this chart here to reference what the crochet terms were in different languages (e.g. “punto bajo” is “single crochet” in Spanish) and sought to make the pattern as clear as possible in English.  After I had translated the pattern into English, I began following it to make my very own elephant!

The top part began with crocheting around a foundation chain to create this oval shape.  Then the elephant’s body began to expand!

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A hole was left where the trunk of the elephant would be added later on.  A tab was then crocheted under the hole to help connect the front part to the rest of the body and legs.

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I thought that the next part was incredibly genius: leg chains are created to divide up the underside of the body.  This creates little “compartments” where we can crochet directly onto the body without having to crochet the legs separately and then attach them later on.  Here is a visual showing where each leg chain is created and how many stitches are in between.  Don’t worry, the pattern will explain this more clearly!

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Here is a picture of the elephant-in-progress with the hole, tab and leg chains created!  Isn’t it neat?

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This next visual shows where each leg will be:

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And this visual shows where you rejoin your yarn for each leg and in which direction to crochet.  Remember that if the right side of amigurumi is facing outwards (see post HERE if you don’t know what I’m referring to), you should always be crocheting clockwise!  I tried to add more visuals to make the pattern as clear as possible :)

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And so, referencing the visuals that I created, I crocheted Leg A, Leg B, Leg C, and then Leg D!

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We then added the safety eyes!  Hehe, doesn’t he look funny without his ears and trunk…like some sort of weird lumpy creature?

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I then crocheted the trunk in the hole that was left for it.  To close up the belly, a circle was created and then sewed onto the underside!

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Next up was the ears!  We did a little modification to the ears and added fabric lining, just like we did with the Spring Bunnies :)  I think mixing fabric with crochet adds such a beautiful touch, and you can add so much character and variation by choosing different fabrics.  We thought that this red fabric contrasted nicely against the grey yarn.  As a tip, sew the lining onto the ear with small back stitches before you sew the ears shut.  

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Here is our little round elephant with his ears attached!  The fabric definitely adds a nice pop of colour, don’t you think?

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The last part to crochet was the little tail which I then attached to the back!

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And now may we present to you our sweet little elephant!!!

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We added some tusks made out of white felt which we glued onto either side of his trunk!

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Isn’t the shaping and design of this elephant absolutely brilliant?  I love the smooth contours and how the upper body becomes the legs and the trunk seamlessly.  There is minimal attaching (which is my least favourite part of making amigurumi) as you only need to attach the ears, belly and tail!

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I actually crocheted this little guy for a silent auction that my friend was organizing to raise money for an orphanage in Taiwan.  I was delighted to find out that a couple who was planning on adopting a child from the orphanage ended up with the winning bid as they were purchasing it for their future child- isn’t that so special?

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Of course, that also meant I HAD to crochet another elephant for us to keep since I loved the design so much!  I ended up crocheting a pretty pink elephant for Myla using the same fabric lining that I used for the Spring Bunnies.  For both elephants I used Lion Brand Yarn’s Vanna’s Choice (in Pink & Silver Grey).

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I named these two “Rosie" and "Gris" since "rose" is pink and "gris” is grey in French!  I think these elephants would look adorable using any colour…you could crochet an army of elephants in a rainbow of colours!  

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You may notice that Rosie has tusks pointing upwards while Gris has tusks pointing downwards for some variation!  You can choose which way you’d like them to point.

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A number of you mentioned on Facebook and on Instagram that this elephant looks like “Olli”, a popular Dutch character who is apparently the symbol of the Rotterdam Zoo and a professional football club!  I love our international community and how we can learn interesting tidbits of information that I otherwise wouldn’t have known :)

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Don’t you think these elephants would make an adorable and whimsical addition to any baby nursery or child’s room?  Hehe…they’d also be great desk buddies- judging from the response already, it seems that many of you love elephants!  

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Here is a short video I posted on Instagram showing Gris and Rosie in action!  You can follow me on Instagram (@AllAboutAmi) for more photos of my crocheted creations and day-to-day life…I really love my Instagram community and all the support and lovely feedback I always get on there!

I am just so impressed with this pattern and design and I love learning new techniques and skills to bring my amigurumi to the next level.  I find that Japanese artists are so creative and ingenioius in the way they design their amigurumi (e.g. the ball joint of Link here and the leg chains of this elephant).  I hope that I can incorporate some of these techniques into my future designs and keep expanding my repertoire of crochet skills as I continue making my own and trying other people’s patterns.  Thank you to Rani and Fannie who translated the original Japanese pattern into Spanish and French respectively and greatly helped me in my task to bring this amazing pattern to an English audience!  I hope that you enjoyed reading about and seeing the making of Gris and Rosie :)  ***The free English translation can now be found on my blog HERE***!!!

Here is a sneak peek of the latest amigurumi that I will be blogging about!  Isn’t this elephant absolutely adorable?  It’s a Japanese pattern that I first discovered on ”Amigurumies”, a blog by Rani who translated the pattern into Spanish!  
Stay tuned for the full step-by-step blog post and the free English pattern coming this week!  I absolutely love how this amigurumi elephant is constructed!

Here is a sneak peek of the latest amigurumi that I will be blogging about!  Isn’t this elephant absolutely adorable?  It’s a Japanese pattern that I first discovered on ”Amigurumies”, a blog by Rani who translated the pattern into Spanish!  

Stay tuned for the full step-by-step blog post and the free English pattern coming this week!  I absolutely love how this amigurumi elephant is constructed!

Fox Basket/Pillow

This past weekend I attended a good friend’s baby shower, and I was so happy to gift her with some crocheted goodies!  A while back, I came across a really cute pattern for a “Foxy Stash Basket” on the “Yarnspirations" website HERE.  I thought it would be a wonderful gift as it would not only make an adorable addition to the baby’s nursery, but also have the functional ability of storing items such as little hats, socks or towels!  I had a lot of fun crocheting baskets in the past (see posts HERE and HERE), so I was very excited to make a cute animal basket!  

I went out and looked for red and beige cotton yarn: I ended up purchasing “Bernat Handicrafter Cotton" yarn in "Off White" and "Country Red”.  You need to hold two strands of yarn together when crocheting this basket.  I did not buy enough skeins of yarn during my first shopping trip- in total, I used 4 skeins of the beige yarn and 2 skeins of the red yarn!  Some black yarn is also needed for the eyes and nose, but I simply used some black acrylic worsted weight yarn that I already had in my stash.  

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I began by working on the base of the basket with the beige yarn.  I loved the look and feel of it already!  I used a 6 mm crochet hook for the basket and a 4 mm crochet hook for the ears and eyes as recommended in the pattern.

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After crocheting the base, the basket started to build upwards…

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Then after all the increase rounds, it was time to build up the height of the basket!

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Next, I added the nose with some black yarn!

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I was excited to begin working with the red yarn!  Rather than cutting the yarn every time you need to switch colours, this basket is worked with the tapestry method of crochet in which you hold both colours at the same time, carrying and crocheting around the strands that are not currently in use.  If you are unfamiliar with this technique, check out this video HERE to see it in action!  Since you are working with two colours in the round, that essentially means that you are working with two strands of one colour while carrying along two strands of the other colour (thus four strands going at once)!

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As I was following the pattern exactly and building up the red in subsequent rounds, I noticed that the red appeared to be going lopsided upwards.  Even in the photo provided in the pattern (appearing below), I thought that the face looked crooked or lopsided.  When I read the pattern through, I thought it made sense in theory if each stitch were placed exactly ontop of one another round after round.  However, as you can see, stitches are not exactly aligned ontop of each other (e.g. third stitch of Round 3 will not be perfectly below third stitch of Round 4), as they tend to build up at an angle.  Thus, I tried to make some modifications and eyeballed it as I went along, trying to make the face as symmetrical as I could!

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This is what I came up with as I crocheted more and more of the face…

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Then it was time to cut off the beige yarn and continue working only with the red yarn!

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I tried my best, but I admit that I did not do a perfect job of making the face exactly symmetrical.  As you can see in the image below, the sides are not identical (left side curves more at an angle while right side falls more steeply).  I did not have the patience to undo my work and start that part over again, but you can always give it a try yourself and see what you come up with!

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After some decrease rounds, the last round was given a nice finishing touch as it was worked with the reverse single crochet.  I absolutely love the beautiful roped and textured feel that the reverse single crochet gives to the basket!

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The basket was not as sturdy as I expected it to be (compared to the other baskets which I had crocheted using two strands of super bulky yarn and using an 8 mm crochet hook).  Thus, we thought it would be neat to give this basket another function: by adding buttons to the top, the basket could be closed up to be a pillow or cushion!

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I enjoyed crocheting the ears as they were worked from the bottom to the top which is opposite to how I usually make my ears.  The shape turned out beautifully, and I love the pointed tips!  To give a bit more shaping and dimension, we pinched the ears in the middle and sewed the back, giving them a creased look.

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The eyes were simple to crochet as they were simply black circles with some white strands of yarn added!

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After attaching the ears and eyes, here was our finished product!

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These are the modifications I made to the original “Foxy Stash Basket" pattern by Yarnspirations (all modifications made to the FACE part, not the base):

  • 3rd rnd: With A, 1 hdc in each of next 6 hdc.  
  • 4th rnd: With A, 1 hdc in each of next 9 hdc.
  • 5th rnd: …………..Do not break MC.  With A, 1 hdc in each of next 12 hdc…………..
  • 6th rnd: With A, ch 2, 1 hdc in each of next 21 hdc……….With MC, 1 hdc in each of next 7 hdc…With A„ 1 hdc in each of next 13 hdc………
  • 7th rnd: WIth A, ch 2.  1 hdc in each of next 22 hdc…..Do not break MC.  WIth A, 1 hdc in each of next 14 hdc…….
  • 8th rnd: With A, ch 2.  1 hdc in each of next 24 hdc…..With A, 1 hdc in each of next 15 hdc………….

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I presented this Fox Basket packed with some goodies to my friend during her baby shower, and it was a hit!  I think it look so cute, don’t you?

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It would be such a beautiful and whimsical addition to the nursery of any baby boy or girl!  Here it is pictured with some of the steel bins from Myla’s nursery (purchased from Ikea and Home Sense).  Most of Myla’s stuffies in her nursery were actually my previous stuffies that I brought from home….that goes to show how much stuffies can be loved and cherished and passed down the generations, amigurumi included :)

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Here is the Fox Basket serving its dual purpose as a cushion or pillow!  Doesn’t it look so huggable?  And how adorable would this fox pillow look on any sofa or bed?

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Thus, if you don’t feel like using the basket as storage anymore or if a cute pillow is needed for a big boy or girl bed, it can be converted easily into a cushion or pillow simply by closing up the top with the buttons!

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We used fiberfill to show what it looked like stuffed as a cushion, but we would not recommend using it as the actual stuffing unless you sewed the top shut (hazardous for children as they might remove it, play with it or eat it)!  You could try finding a small pillow or cushion that would fit inside to keep the button closure and to easily switch from using this as a basket or a pillow!

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And here’s a third use for the basket….as a Fox Mask!  Haha all joking aside, I thought it was funny how this basket was pretty much head size!

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If you liked this basket, check out these baskets pictured below that I crocheted HERE.  I still use them to this day in Myla’s nursery and my workspace as they hold so much and look so beautiful.

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If you’re interested in crocheting a matching amigurumi fox, here’s a round-up of some cute FREE fox patterns that I found on-line:

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{1. “Cute Amigurumi Fox" by Anna S. of "Spool of Sunshine”,  2. “Amigurumi Fox" by Timea Venter of "Timic’s Home”, 3. “Fox Amigurumi" by Nimoe Galad of "Nimoe’s Blog”, 4. “Mother Fox and Baby Fox" by Allison Hoffman}

As I mentioned above, I think this Fox Basket would be so cute in a nursery, particularly if it had a “Woodland Forest Theme”.  I enjoy looking through the beautiful handiwork of different artists on Etsy, and I found the following items that would go perfectly in such a themed nursery!

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{"Charlie the Fox Baby Toddler Onesie by Le Trango, “Teacup Fox Original Watercolor Painting" by Alisa Belzil of Sweet Afternoons, "Organic Kawaii Fox Baby Swaddle Blanket" by Simply Boco Baby, "Mini Plush Woodland Animal Set" by A Little Bit of Joy }

Hope you enjoyed reading about the making of this fun project and how we made some modifications to the original pattern and made it convertible from a basket to a pillow!  Keep in mind that the Yarnspirations website gives it a 3 out of 4 “Intermediate” difficulty level as it does involve switching yarn colours using tapestry crochet.  To access the free pattern, click HERE and download it!  I love this idea of making baskets into animals- you could add bunny ears, cat ears, bear ears…the sky’s the limit!  Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to stay updated with my work by following me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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This week we will be starting a new series called “Craft Chat" in which I will feature different crafting artisans who I have personally connected with and who are passionate about what they do!  I always find it fascinating learning about how people got started on their crafting journeys and what motivates them.  Nowadays with social media, blogs, YouTube and the internet in general, crafting is being taken to the next level as we can teach and learn from one another and connect with other crafters from around the world who we would normally never be able to meet!

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I am very pleased to feature “Momomints" in the very first edition of "Craft Chat”!  Hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sami and Marissa are the crafty duo behind “Momomints”, specializing in amigurumi crochet stuffed toys and keychains as well as polymer clay keycharms.  I first connected with them on Twitter and Instagram and was very impressed with their work!  Our love of all things kawaii and crafty bonded us and we became fast friends and great supporters of each others’ work!  It’s always amazing finding people who share the same interests as you in your own country or who live near you too, so it was neat for me to connect with these fellow Canadians :)

When Sami and Marissa found out that I was celebrating my 3 Year Blogiversary, they wanted to send something special.  They knew that Myla absolutely adores cats, so they sent us one of their signature "Meowchi" amigurumi cats!  Their Meowchi’s typically have big bows (see HERE), but they included a special “3” to help commemorate my blogiversary.  I love the shaping of their Meowchi, the blush cheeks and the beautiful hang tag!

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This side view also shows Meowchi’s adorably long tail, cute yellow stripes and lovely “Momomints” label.  Marissa is the one who does all the crocheted work of Momomints, and I think she did a great job designing these Meowchi’s with all their details!

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Marissa also crocheted this mini Meowchi keychain for Myla as well!  I love the dainty feet, and Myla enjoys having a “big Mama cat” and a  ”small baby cat” :)  These mini Meowchi keychains are a new product in their Etsy store, and they come in different editions.  Marissa and Sami were so sweet to name the pink mini Meowchi the “Myla edition”!  You can read all about these cuties and the different editions in their blog post HERE!

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I love how you can take these mini Meowchi’s anywhere you go!

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When Myla has her own backpack or little purse, we know what we’ll be attaching to it!

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We were so excited to show Myla these handcrafted cats that were crocheted especially for her!

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Myla was thrilled and immediately said “meow meow” when she saw them!

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Myla is very gentle and sweet with her stuffies- she frequently gives them lots of hugs and kisses!  Thank you for crocheting these cats with so much love, Marissa- Myla will treasure these stuffies for years to come!

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I was very surprised to discover another gift from the generous duo of “Momomints”.  Sami, who does all the polymer clay creations, made me these custom polymer keycharms!  When I first saw these adorable teddies, I squealed with delight!  Upon closer inspection and seeing the ball of yarn and crochet hook that the white bear was holding and the scarf that the beige bear was wearing, my jaw dropped as I realized that these were my “Fluff Bears”, Coco and Mochi!  Sami did a wonderful job including the details and giving the bears a textured look to simulate their fluffiness!

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Here are my Fluff Bears (free crochet pattern found HERE) with their polymer keycharm counterparts!  How special is this?  

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I can’t wait to attach these Fluff Bear charms to my keychain or purse and take them wherever I go!  Thank you for these special teddies, Sami- your work is impeccable!

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Now that we’ve seen some of their work, here’s our chance to get to know Sami and Marissa of “Momomints” a bit better with the following questions that I asked them:  

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1)  Where did the name Momomints come from?

Sami: Momomints was an original name that Marissa and I had come up with. “Momo” translates to peach in Japanese, while mint is Marissa’s favourite colour (one she really wanted to incorporate into our branding). Combined, these two words form “Momomints”, a play on words that sounds like “mo-mints” or “moments”. Overall, we really wanted to create a handmade gifts business with unique and cute products for all those special moments in people’s lives. And so we like to say: “Momomints - peachy fresh creations for all occasions”. It may be a bit cheesy, but we think it really defines us!

2)  Describe your store in 5 words.

Cute, Japanese-inspired, Minty!, Handmade, Gifts

3)  When did your love of crafting first begin?  How did you learn your craft?

Marissa:  For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved doing arts & crafts.  When I was younger I remember watching Mr.Dress Up and always looked forward to the craft times where he would make things with ordinary craft supplies. And of course watching Martha Stewart on television!  I actually didn’t learn how to crochet amigurumi dolls until later on when I was in University.  I was browsing through some craft sites and stumbled upon the cutest fuzzy Panda Bear amigurumi pattern on Craftzine by Roxycraft.  From that moment on I was hooked on amigurumi!

Sami: Like Marissa, I have been crafting since my toddler days. I remember always trying to reinvent my toys, creating dolls and doll houses out of paper and cardboard, and doodling my own story books. I first discovered polymer clay charms through Oborocharms on deviantART. The first keychain I created was a replica of a special little ghost charm I received as a birthday present, and since then I’ve been creating them as special presents for other people =). 

4)  Where do you get your inspiration from?

Marissa: Cute packaging, nature and anime/cartoons. Lots of things inspire me at any place or any time.

Sami: Besides all the random things I’m inspired by in my day to day, I’m inspired by Marissa! I can say it without hesitation that she is the most crafty person I know. She has great taste and judgement.  

5)  Do you craft for a living? 

Sami: At this moment both Marissa and I work full-time jobs outside Momomints. I always like to say that Momomints is actually our second full-time job. We invest every other pocket of time we have into making products, promoting them and just growing Momomints into something more than just a hobby. Running Momomints and crafting for a living would be a dream but we understand that it will take some time and definitely lots of perseverance to get there. We’re just getting started!

6) What are some of your favourite crafting blogs or resources?

Martha Stewart, Craftzine, Mochimochi Land, Life Ann Style, Oh My! Handmade … way too many to list here!  And of course All About Ami :D

7)  What advice do you have for people who are thinking of starting their own store or business?

Marissa: Do lots of research (read through Etsy forums, reach out to fellow established crafters, join craft meet-ups). If you’re truly passionate about it just go for it and have fun in the process :)

Sami: When starting it’s important to plan things out. Think about what products you’d like to make and how you could possibly expand on this in the future! Don’t limit yourself from the start!  Think big!  Also do understand that starting your own business does require actual work! and of course focus. Keep at it and don’t give up =). 

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I hope you enjoyed reading about these Canadian crafters who are producing such cute and high quality amigurumi and polymer keycharms!  They not only have an Etsy store, but also a blog in which you can keep up with their news.  They recently posted their FIRST FREE AMIGURUMI PATTERN for this incredibly adorable sheep named "Fluufie" HERE!  I think Fluufie is too cute for words and I know that many of you will be excited to make your own :)

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Visit the “Momomints” website HERE and follow them on their Facebook, Twitter (@momomintsshop) and Instagram (@momomintsshop) to see all the cute crafting that they’re up to!  Thanks for being a part of this “Craft Chat”, Sami and Marissa, and we are excited to see where your crafting journey will take you 

Look at these two adorable polymer keycharms made especially for me by the talented ladies of “Momomints”!  Click on the picture to take a closer look!  Does anyone recognize who these two are?
I will be featuring “Momomints" this week in a new series called "Craft Chat" in which we will get to know crafters from all over the world who are passionate about what they do!  Stay tuned!

Look at these two adorable polymer keycharms made especially for me by the talented ladies of “Momomints”!  Click on the picture to take a closer look!  Does anyone recognize who these two are?

I will be featuring “Momomints" this week in a new series called "Craft Chat" in which we will get to know crafters from all over the world who are passionate about what they do!  Stay tuned!

Year of the Horse: Pony

Another Chinese New Year is upon us and this year is the “Year of the Horse”!  As long time followers know, it’s been a tradition of ours to make an amigurumi of the zodiac animal of that particular year!  Last year I remember looking up 2014 and thinking that a horse would be a daunting task.  As we were brainstorming ideas over the past couple of weeks, I thought that designing and crocheting a pony would be a cute interpretation of a horse as ponies are simply smaller horses that often “exhibit thicker manes, tails and proportionally shorter legs”.  With the popularity of “My Little Pony" and unicorns, I thought this would be a great amigurumi project!  Ryan did the sketch below as we loosely based our design on some "Tokidoki ponies" that we saw on-line:

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This project was an interesting and welcome challenge for me as I had to crochet some unconventional shapes compared to what I was used to.  The head was an egg shape vs. the typical round or oval shape!

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The tip of the egg (where the magic circle is) served as the snout or nose!  After placing the safety eyes, Ryan embroidered these pretty eyelashes and then we stuffed and closed up the piece.  Notice that the eyes are placed below midline (when looking straight at the pony) to give her a cuter, doe-eyed look!

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The mane was quite the topic of discussion!  We talked about attaching strands of yarn or possibly using the loop stitch for the mane.  However, Ryan thought that crocheting individual pieces to create a puffy mane was the way to go, and he was definitely right!  We ended up crocheting five separate pieces (Mane Parts 1-5), each of varying sizes.  Mane Part 1 had a tip which would serve as the cute curl!

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Instead of attaching each separate piece to the head, we decided that attaching the individual pieces together first and THEN attaching the whole piece to the head would be easier.  Ryan flipped the pieces over and used the long ends of yarn left from each piece to attach them together.   

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He then draped the mane across the egg-shaped head and used the long strands of yarn to attach them in place.  Don’t I have the best hubby in the world?  Attaching amigurumi pieces together is my least favourite part of the process, and Ryan did this for me while I was figuring out the shapes for the other pieces!  Note that after sewing on Mane Part 1, it’s only necessary to sew portions of the mane to the head (the middle parts as shown below, not the sides) as you don’t need to sew the whole way around each piece.

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After the mane was secured on the head, we then attached these ears that I crocheted!

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Next up was the body!  This was another unconventional shape as we wanted the pony to have a little belly and a neck that curved upwards.  To shape the belly, I increased more on one side.  To make the neck, I did slip stitches on one side and half double crochets on the other side to build up height.  Because of these uneven increases and various stitches, it was VERY important that I not make a mistake and record my work very carefully!

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We then attached the body to the head!

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Next up were the hooves and the legs!  I started off with the coral yarn and then switched to white for the upper legs.  I decreased on one side while increasing on the other side to get this curved effect.  I did the opposite for the other two legs so that they would curve in the other direction in order to conceal the colour change better.  You can push the hooves inwards so that your pony will have more stability when standing too!

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After attaching the legs, our pony was almost complete!

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The tail was the last challenge!  We wanted her tail to curve almost like a flame and it took me a couple tries before we achieved the shape that we liked after some uneven increasing and decreasing!

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Now may we present to you our little amigurumi Pony in honour of the Year of the Horse!  I think she looks absolutely adorable sitting down!

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And the great thing is that she can stand up too!

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We decided to name her…..RUBY!  This was one of the names I thought of myself after completing her, and many readers suggested it too due to her beautiful red mane.  It holds special meaning for me because my birthstone is ruby too!  Other names that I was strongly considering were “Pippi the Pony" (named after "Pippi Longstocking”, the fiery red-headed little girl who could easily lift a horse with one hand) or “Poppy the Pony" (fitting since poppies are beautiful red flowers), and I really liked the alliteration.  Thank you for all your wonderful name suggestions- I was unaware that this year in particular was the year of the wooden horse, so all the names associated with wood were really meaningful!  I can’t wait for you to make your own ponies and name them all the creative and thoughtful names you came up with!

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Ruby looks so sweet when you look at her head on and you see her doe-eyes, little snout and cute curl atop her head!  

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We loved using fun, bright colours for our pony!  We knew that coral and white would be a great combo, particularly since red is commonly associated with Chinese New Year.  We had this beautiful coral yarn in my stash as it was left over from Myla’s Granny Square Baby Blanket (see here)!  For those interested, the exact yarns we used were “Loops & Threads Impeccable Yarn in Rouge" and "Patons Canadiana in White”. 

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Here is a back view of Ruby the pony!  I really love how her puffy mane and cute tail came out!

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It boggles my mind that we have been through FOUR Chinese New Years together, dear readers!  In 2011 when we first started the blog, we made “Chinese New Year Doll" holding a tiny bunny, and she will always hold a special place in our hearts as she was our first original design.  In 2012 we made Dragon and in 2013 we made Snake.  This year is all about the Horse/Pony!  Don’t you love our ever-expanding collection of zodiac animals?

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We are sooo excited to see your ponies and what colours you will use!  Does anyone already have some colour combos in mind?  You could also easily make her into a unicorn too by adding a horn and some wings :)

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Myla LOVED Ruby the Pony as soon as she saw her and she couldn’t stop smiling!  It’s really sweet because Myla loves choosing her favourites from my amigurumi shelf and taking them down to play.  Whereas before when my amigurumi would simply sit on my shelf, they are now getting new life as our little toddler plays with them (haha kinda reminds me of “Toy Story”)!

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Myla gave some kisses to Ruby the Pony too :)  Don’t you love her Chinese New Year outfit?

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I hope you love this sweet little pony as much as we do!  Her puffy mane, curved pony tail, pretty lashes, tiny belly and little legs make her oh so sweet!  What do you love about Ruby most?

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We strive to do better and learn new techniques with each project and design.  I am very proud of how she turned out and the different shapes that we were able to create!  I know many of you have asked me advice on “How to Design Your Own Amigurumi”- I will try and put together a post when I have the time and walk you through the process that we go through!  Perhaps I can use Ruby the Pony as one of the examples!

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The free pattern for Ruby the Pony can now be found HERE!  She would make the perfect gift for horse-lovers, “My Little Pony”-lovers, people who are the Year of the Horse and expectant/new moms with babies who will be born in the Year of the Horse!  I hope you enjoyed reading about the making of Ruby the Pony and are excited to make your very own :)  We thank you for all the wonderful feedback we’ve received about her from the sneak peek and are so delighted to hear that she is already so loved!

Here’s a sneak peek of our latest amigurumi creation for Chinese New Year which is less than a week away!  What do you think?  We need help naming her!!!  Please leave suggestions in your comments below- we LOVE hearing your ideas!
Full step-by-step blog post & free pattern coming this week!  

Here’s a sneak peek of our latest amigurumi creation for Chinese New Year which is less than a week away!  What do you think?  We need help naming her!!!  Please leave suggestions in your comments below- we LOVE hearing your ideas!

Full step-by-step blog post & free pattern coming this week!  

The Fluff Bears: Coco & Mochi

Two years ago Ryan and I came across some white eyelash yarn while shopping at Michaels, and we decided to pick it up along with some other yarn since we thought it would be so cute to make a fluffy bear!  I’m embarrassed to admit that this white eyelash yarn remained in a Michaels bag on a shelf in my desk as months and months went by.  I continued to work on other projects and once in a while Ryan would say, “Hey, weren’t we going to work on that bear with that special yarn we bought a while ago?”  It wasn’t until this past summer that we decided to finally pull out this yarn and use it to make an amigurumi!

This was my very first time working with eyelash yarn which is a type of novelty yarn that “appears as a thread base with several long strands spaced at even intervals that jut out at an angle from the main strand” (according to Wikipedia).  The particular brand that we had purchased two years ago was “Patons Allure" in "Diamond" and more recently we purchased "Loops & Threads Luxurious Fur" in "Lynx" to make a second bear!  It’s interesting because both eyelash yarns are made of 100% nylon whereas previous yarns I’ve worked with are typically cotton or acrylic.

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As you can see, eyelash yarn is very fuzzy!  The white yarn had a more scraggly look to it…

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The beige yarn was less scraggly and actually had a beautiful shimmer to it!  It’s neat how various eyelash yarns have different looks to them which help give the resulting amigurumi different looks too!

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I was unaware of this at the time of purchasing the yarns, but they were of different thicknesses.  And so, I ended up not being able to use the same pattern when making both bears because of this.  As shown in the picture below, the white yarn ontop was bulky (5) while the beige yarn underneath was medium (4).  

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I started off making the white bear and since the white yarn was bulky, the whole pattern worked up very quickly!  I began by working on his head…

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When working with fluffy yarn, it is important to leave the “wrong side" of amigurumi on the outside as it is actually fluffier than the "right side" (read about "The RIght Side of Amigurumi" in my blog post HERE).

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I must also warn you that working with eyelash yarn is not for the faint of heart or for beginners as it is extremely difficult/nearly impossible to see the individual stitches.  Using a stitch marker to mark the beginning of each round is imperative!  I used a bobby pin before purchasing actual stitch markers as you can see in this picture below.  If the next round was supposed to have 12 stitches, I knew that directly across from the bobby pin I should be at around 6 stitches and so a quarter of the way around the circle I should have about 3 stitches.  This is how I estimated where to stick my crochet hook round by round :)  Working with this yarn is also very forgiving, so even if you miss a stitch here or there or make a couple of mistakes along the way, it will not be visible!

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When I was about to close up the ball we added our safety eyes!  He looked so cute, and kind of reminded me of a soot sprite from Totoro!

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Ryan then embroidered this sweet little nose on felt and glued it onto his face.  I love how different noses can give amigurumi various expressions and character.  Ryan always does a great job with the noses, and here he is showing off his handiwork!

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I crocheted these tiny ears and then sewed them onto the teddy’s head!

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Next came the fluffy body!

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For the limbs and the ears I used a lightweight (3) mercerized cotton (“Patons Grace”).  This type of yarn contrasts nicely against the fluffy eyelash yarn and really helps the limbs and ears stand out!  The arms are actually longer than the legs which gives a really cute look!

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We knew we wanted to have this teddy hold something and we brainstormed different ideas….  I thought it would be SO cute if he was a crocheting bear so we quickly made some accessories for him with items we already had around the house!  For the crochet hook we used some wire that we use to hang our Christmas ornaments onto our tree- Ryan cut and shaped the tip to make it look like a hook!  And for the yarn, we used embroidery floss: Ryan tied many knots to form the base and then wrapped the embroidery floss around the knots while adding glue from a glue gun along the way so the floss would remain in place.  To give you some perspective on how tiny his accessories are, this next photo shows a comparison of the yarn and hook with a Canadian penny:

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Once we placed the yarn and hook into the teddy’s hands he was all finished, and I absolutely fell in love with him!  I love his sweet face and how fluffy he is, and of course I adore how he’s doing my favourite hobby…crocheting!  I decided to name him “Mochi" with the help of "artsysketchpaper" on Instagram!  Mochi is one of my favourite foods and it is chewy and fluffy….I thought it would be the perfect name for this little cutie!

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Here is a side view of Mochi!  

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As soon as we finished Mochi we knew we wanted to crochet him a little companion.  Ryan came up with the idea of having a second female bear wearing a scarf using the same embroidery floss that Mochi was holding!  Mochi would express his love by crocheting a scarf for his sweetie!  And so, I quickly whipped up a second bear using the beige medium (4) yarn and adapted my pattern along the way.  We gave her a pink nose and had her hold a flower for Mochi so that she could give him a gift too (the flower is from one of those scrapbook accessory kits)!

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We decided to name the girl bear “Coco" which is short for coconut since it’s fluffy and continues with the food theme :)  Thank you to Betty, both Emmas, Kim and "disqus_bqN3KZ6mig" (I don’t know why your name didn’t appear, sorry!) through the blog comments and "iamanhera" on Instagram for helping me name her (as you can see, this was a popular name choice)!  Here is a side view of Coco- I love how fluffy she is!

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And here is a pic of Coco and Mochi together!  I really appreciate your help in naming these two…. I could not think of any creative names for them and I am SO GLAD I could draw upon the collective minds of my blog readers!!!  So many of you suggested very cute and meaningful names- I hope you’ll use them for your own bears!  I decided to call these two “The Fluff Bears" as a set!  Who knows…maybe we’ll be adding more bears to the Fluff Family in the future :)

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To give you some more perspective on just how tiny these two are, here’s a picture of me holding them!  They fit nicely in the palm of my hand!

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Aww, Coco and Mochi are so very much in love :)

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[Arrow x Heart Flowy Tank Top by “The Steppie; Necklaces by “Loft 82]

Here is one last picture of the two Fluff Bears Coco and Mochi lounging in my crocheted basket (check out the blog post for the basket HERE).  Aren’t they just adorable?

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Ryan and I wanted to show Coco and Mochi in action so we shot this little stop motion video for you to enjoy!

Prior to making Coco and Mochi, the only fuzzy amigurumi I had made were “Valentine Teddy" and "Fuzzy White Bear”.  The fuzzy look for these two was achieved by using a dog slicker brush to fuzz up the yarn.  Using eyelash yarn gives a very different look as the individual stitches are not visible at all.  This results in a very plush and furry amigurumi that does not even look crocheted!  I really enjoyed working with eyelash yarn and I am excited to work with it again :)  

I think it would be so cute to personalize these teddies by having them hold or wear different objects (e.g. guitar, book, hat, ballerina tutu) based on your own interests or the interests of the person you are gifting them to!  The free pattern for these two teddies can be found HERE!!!  Follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to get my updates :)  Thanks for reading the story behind Coco and Mochi and I hope you’re excited to make your very own fluff bears!  

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