Tips and Tricks: Faux Fur

Working with Faux Fur Yarn

There is no doubt that a little faux fur yarn can add a lot of pizazz to a hand crafted project. And with a little practice, one can learn to crochet or knit with it a little easier.

Tip #1: Crocht Double Stranded

It is nearly impossible to see the stitches when crocheting with faux fur. The furry strands nearly completely hide the stitches. That’s great on a finished product, but not so great when you have to work in those stitches. The problem is not as pronounced when knitting since the stitches are on the needle. If stitches have to be picked up, it will be difficult to find them.

Solution: Crochet with two strands at once, one faux fur and one non-furry yarn. It makes each stitch thicker and a little easier to see. If the non-furry strand is the same color (or nearly the same) as the fur, it almost disappears. The thicker stitches may still be difficult to see, but it is also possible to feel the stitches as you work.

A Furry Sitting

Crocheting with Vanna’s Choice and Fun Fur yarn made finding the stitches in this panda set much easier to find.

Tip #2: Count every row.

Counting the number of stitches at the end of every row or round is generally a good idea, but it is almost critical when using faux fur. It is very easy to drop a stitch or lose  track of a stitch because it can be difficult to see. You might even add a stitch because it’s not always easy to tell if a stitch has been worked in already.

Tiger Striped Scarves Crochet Pattern

Keeping track of the number of stitches per row is crucial to keeping a neat edge in projects like the tiger striped scarves.

Tip #3: There is a Right Side and a Wrong Side.

The little furry strands often get trapped within the stitches as they are worked. When working back and forth in rows, both sides will generally be equally furry. When working in the round, the inside tends to be furrier. For a furrier look, turn the project inside out when appropriate so that the furrier side is out.

A hat can often be turned inside out after it’s finished. Some items may need to be turned inside out before they are sewn together. Just note how furry the sides are before completing the project.

Monkey Hanging in Palm Tree with Banana

The parts of the monkey are turned inside out to keep the furrier side on the outside. A little faux fur on the tree makes the palm tree look more authentic too.

Tip #4: Not all faux fur is equal.

Faux fur comes in varying lengths. The furry strands can be short or long, coarse or smooth. The type of fur can significantly impact the look and feel of the finished product. Projects with the longer strands of fur tend to look fuller and are softer than the shorter stranded fur. The size and nature of the project may determine which fur to use. Generally speaking, the longer stranded fur costs a little more.

Houndstooth Trio

 La Furla from Trendsetter Yarns is long and soft making this houdstooth trio very luxurious.

Tip #5: Notice yardage.

Some faux furs come in small skeins. Generally speaking that means more skeins of fur yarn will be needed than non-furry yarn. Projects with smaller stitches will use more faux fur than larger stitches. For instance, a project  crocheted using single crochet will use more than the same project done in double crochet. Because the faux fur hides stitches anyway, you might want to change the stitch to a taller stitch to save on yarn. The project will get done faster and still look good.

Halloween Trick or Treat Bags

One skein of faux fur will work for small projects like the trick or treat bags.

Mulberry Stitch Sampler Scarf

Mulberry Stitch Sampler Scarf – Crochet Pattern

Mulberry Stitch Sampler Crochet Scarf

This Mulberry Stitch Sampler is a fabulous scarf! The extra length makes it fun to style (see photos below).

We refer to it as a stitch sampler because of all the fun crochet techniques it uses:

  • Star Stitch at the ends and middle
  • Horizontal cable created with reverse single crochet
  • Vertical cables made with front and back post work
  • Shell Stitch creates a lacy middle section
  • Chain work creates an edge to attach tassles
  • Working in front loop only allowed for another row of crochet to be worked in the back loop

scarf closeup

Mulberry Stitch Sampler Crochet Pattern

Summer 2014 Love of Crochet MagazineThe Mulberry Scarf first appeared on the cover of Love of Crochet magazine Summer 2014. It’s now available in our shop: Mulberry Stitch Sampler Scarf.

The pattern includes lots of photos, written directions, checkboxes to mark your progress, gauage and materials info, etc.

Available in the Store

Learn more about the Mulberry Stitch Sampler Scarf in the shop.

Mulberry Stitch Sampler Scarf – Styling Options

Here are a few fun ways to style the Mulberry Stitch Sampler:

 

Long Pink Scarf

Star Stitch Scarf Woven in Front

 

Winners in Twins Face Off Purse Challenge

Winners in the Twins Face Off Purse Design Challenge Sponsored by Lion Brand

Dana BincerCongratulations Dana Bincer for designing the winning Bohemian Handbag. It received 70% of the votes! The twins are now tied having won one challenge each.

We received lots of comments in person and in social media about the yarn. So many people loved the bright colors. Our mom raved not only about the yarn but hinted that she would like the Bohemian Handbag as a Mother’s Day gift!

Winners of the Giveaway

Lion Brand Landscape YarnDrumroll please for the two winners in the Lion Brand Giveaway.

First Place: Janet C
Janet wins 3 skeins of Lion Brand yarn and the patterns for both purses.

Second Place: Lisa S
Lisa wins both patterns for the purses.

A big thank you to everyone for participating in the Twins Face Off Design Challenge. We are so thankful to Lion Brand for providing the yarn for the challenge and giveaway.

The patterns for both purses are available in the shop. Both the Bohemian Handbag and Flower Power Satchel are included in the one pattern. Learn more about the Handbags pattern.

Vote on Purse Challenge and Giveaway

Vote on Twins Face Off Purse Design Challenge &
Enter Lion Brand Landscapes Yarn Giveaway

It’s up to you to choose, which bag / purse you like better. After you vote below, enter the giveaway for your chance to win the yarn used in this month’s challenge as well as the patterns for both purses.

Giveaway ends April 20, 2015 at midnight.

Vote on 2 Purses using Lion brand Landscapes Yarn

Left: Flower Power Satchel     Right: Bohemian Handbag

Here are some close-ups of the bags. You can see larger photos in the shop.

Bohemian Handbag Collection

Flower Power Satchel Collection

Now it’s up to you. Your vote is anonymous, so you can vote with confidence.

Vote

Which handbag design do you like better?

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Lion Brand  Landscapes Yarn Giveaway

US and Canada Only

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Behind the Scenes: Lil’ Snapper

Behind the Scenes: Lil’ Snapper

My in-laws recently had a baby, and to celebrate, I decided to crochet something to match the theme of the baby’s room. The overall theme was turtles, so I set out to make a sweet little turtle photo prop. After looking at the various turtle patterns available, I wanted to make something as lifelike as possible.

Baby Turtle Photo Prop Crochet Pattern

I drew various shell patterns and debated about the shape of the shell segments. I finally decided that hexagons and pentagons would be the easiest. Still, I wanted a pattern that would show intricate texture found on shells. That’s when I decided to try the spike stitch. After several prototypes, I settled on the pattern used in this Lil’ Snapper set.

Crochet Turtle Blue and Brown

Originally I designed the pattern in green and brown, thinking that was the color of the baby’s room. Nope, it was blue and brown! I furiously set to work redoing all the work I had done before. Turns out blue and brown make for an adorable turtle as well! That got me to thinking, there are girl turtles too, so I played with a pink version as well.

Turtle Family

Turtle Family

The set originally included the blanket, hat and diaper cover. Those were published in Love of Crochet. I was doing some research on rattles for another project when I realized that the hexagon shape would work for a little turtle rattle. A plastic Easter egg filled with popcorn seeds was the perfect size for the little hexagon. I also thought the little cape photo prop could be turned into a little stuffed animal, and thus the Turtle Family was born. I even debated about turning it into a purse, but that has yet to be done.

Twins Face Off – Landscapes Yarn Sneak Peek

Twins Face Off – Lion Brand Landscapes Yarn – Sneak Peek

Last week we announced that we are having another design challenge. You can read about the announcement of the Lion Brand sponsored Twins Face Off with Landscapes yarn on our previous post.

Here’s a sneak peek at what we’re working on:

Landscapes Yarn Sneak Peek

Wow, these are two very different looking projects!

The category we’ve chosen is bags. Could be a handbag, purse, backpack, etc.

Next week we will reveal both completed projects and ask you to vote for which one you like better. We will also be giving away 3 skeins of Lion Brand Landscapes yarn and two copies of the patterns. See you next week!

 

Newborn Turtle Outfit Crochet Pattern

Newborn Turtle Outfit Crochet Pattern – Lil Snapper

Newborn Turtle Outfit Crochet Pattern

You’ll get lots of oooh and aaahs with this adorable little turtle newborn outfit. It’s a fun photo prop and fabulous baby shower gift!

Newborn Turtle Set - hat, diaper cover, cape, baby blanketThis newborn pattern set includes:

  • Baby Blanket
  • Cape
  • Diaper Cover
  • Hat

The baby blanket and hat are practical items that baby can be uses for months/years. The cape and diaper cover are sweet little photo props to capture a moment in time. We’re not sure which is cuter…the tail on the diaper cover or the decorative shell pattern that uses the spike stitch.

Baby Turtle Photo Prop Crochet Pattern

Lil Snapper Crochet Pattern Available in the Store

Love of Crochet Fall 2014The Lil Snapper crochet pattern is available in the Store.

This newborn turtle set first appeared in Love of Crochet magazine Fall 2014. We have the rights back to this pattern and it’s now available in our shop.

Available in the Store

Learn more and see more photos of the Lil Snapper.

 

 

Behind the Scenes: Granny Heart Clutch

Would you rather keep your hooks and supplies in a plastic sandwich baggie, or in a crocheted granny heart clutch?

For the longest time I used a zippered plastic bag. It was actually quite convenient. It could be rolled up and put in my crochet bag or sit beside me as I worked. But I had to use the gallon size bag and it seemed slightly bulky.

A Owl Bean Bag Deb Blanket

After making a few heart granny squares for the Granny’s Tree of Love afghan for the Owl Set (pictured above), I decided to try to make a little clutch. I decided to make a bright and colorful one first. Lion Brand’s Vanna’s Choice has many lovely colors and made a delightful clutch. I lined it so I could keep my hooks and supplies in it.

This clutch appeared in Love of Crochet magazine. The editor suggest monochromatic colors and this grey and black version was created (pictured below in Knit Picks Shine).

Perfect purse for crochet hooks

I put a couple of magnetic clasps on it to keep my items safe inside. It has quickly become one of my favorite projects. It is beautiful and practical.

Learn more about the Heart Centered Granny Square Clutch.

Tips and Tricks: Color

Color Tips

One of the simplest and easiest ways to adjust a knit or crochet pattern is to change the color. There are several things to keep in mind before changing the color.

Flame Beanies

Flame Beanies

Substitute Yarn. Use the colors suggested by the designer. If the exact yarn is not available, be sure to substitute with the same weight yarn. If the pattern calls for a light weight yarn (3), try to find another light weight yarn. Substituting with a medium could significantly change the size of the finished project. In the case of beanies pictured above, if the yarn used is larger / heavier than suggested, the hats may end up too big. If gauge is not important, feel free to substitute with any weight and adjust the crochet hook accordingly.

Turtle Family

Turtle Family

Fit a Theme. You might want to change colors to fit a theme. Sometimes you want to change the color to a person’s favorite color or you want to match the colors of a person’s room, like a nursery. Notice where the darker colors are used. If you like the original pattern, try to keep the darker colors where the darker colors are used. Keep in mind, some patterns will look fabulous in a different order as well. The turtles pictured above show the same pattern with various color schemes. I went for traditional, then attempted to make one similar to the blue and white porcelain of the 14th century.

Houndstooth Shrug

Houndstooth Shrug

Notice Stitch Patterns. Some patterns don’t look good in all color schemes. Sometimes a solid color will look better than a variegated color and vice versa. Sometimes the designer chose odd colors but the pattern is beautiful. Look at the stitch work itself and decide if it’s something you like. Houndstooth is often done in black and white, but it would look equally stunning in various colors. I did see a project in lavender and grey. Because the colors were so close, the houndstooth pattern was almost invisible. The stitch work is great, but more contrasting colors would be better.

Owl Bean Bag Set

Owl Bean Bag Set

Go Whimsical. Realism has its place, but sometimes fun and fanciful color schemes can work just as well.

Perfect purse for crochet hooksGo Tonal. Working in tones can make for striking projects. Work from light to dark or dark to light, or vary the tones for more stunning transitions.

Hiking Buddy

Hiking Buddy

Notice the sheen of the yarn. Some yarn has a matte look while others are shiny. This can impact the appearance of the final project as well. Would a doll look better shiny or dull? Perhaps the doll would look better in matte colors while the dress is shiny. This hiking buddy pictured above was done in shiny Caron Simply Soft.

Frog it! Sometimes one color doesn’t look as good as we’d like. It might be worth ripping out and trying another color.

Twins Face Off – Lion Brand Yarn Design Challenge

Twins Face Off – April 2015 Design Challenge Sponsored by Lion Brand

Twins Back to BackWe had such a great time with our first Twins Face Off Design Challenge that we’re bringing you another. Will Deborah be able to design another top pick and defend her title or will Dana design the crowd favorite and become the new champion?

Lion Brand Yarn is sponsoring the April challenge with a beautiful self striping yarn.

Lion Brand Landscape Yarn

We will each have 3 skeins of Lion Brand Landscapes yarn in Boardwalk. This is a soft roving style yarn made in 100% acrylic. Each skein has 147  yards / 100 grams. The colors in this are vibrant, cheerful and fun and unlike anything we’ve worked with before!

Next week we will announce what cateogry of item we will crochet (could be a garmnet, accessory or toy, etc.) and we’ll share a sneak peek at what we’re working on. The week following that we will ask you to vote on the two designs. We will also be running a giveaway:

  • 1st place to win 3 skeins of yarn and the 2 patterns;
  • 2nd place to win the two patterns.

A big thank you to Lion Brand Yarn for sponsoring the April Twins Face Off. Visit their website to see Crochet Patterns and Knitting Patterns using Landscapes yarn.