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1  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Re: Crocheting in spirals = uneven edges? on: August 29, 2009 11:14:12 PM
Thanks everyone - I'm so happy to hear that the solution I came up with on my own is the normal way to do it! I'm really proud now.

And I love the image of mobsters coming after granny squares!  Grin
2  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Crocheting in spirals = uneven edges? on: August 23, 2009 06:31:37 PM
Hey everyone, I'm back with another question. My head is full of them so I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot of me in the near future!

I just learned to crochet a few weeks ago and I'm mostly crocheting in the round, both because amigurumi and hats are what I prefer to make and because, well, it's so much easier!  Grin

I've been working in spirals for everything, but there's one thing I don't get....how are you ever supposed to stop?! The edge always ends up with this sort of stair-step thing wherever you stop. For amis it doesn't really cause too many problems, but it looks weird on hats. I looked at a few hat patterns and a lot of them seem to say to crochet in full circles and join them rather than going in a spiral, but there are definitely some that say to do it whichever way you want.

The one time I tried joining each round instead of spiraling.....well, let's just say it did not go as planned.  Embarrassed So if that's how you're "supposed" to do things like hats, uh...I'm pretty much sunk!

I've tried doing a slip stitch into the next stitch after I finish the last round in hopes of tapering that stair step a bit....I feel like it does help a little but it still looks weird to me.

I also don't know how this would work with changing colors - I've only been working in one color so far but I definitely want to do some multicolored hats, but it would be impossible to add a straight stripe when working in spirals, right?
3  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Re: My first amigurumi - little red bird! on: August 15, 2009 08:21:27 PM
So cute! I just did this little guy a few days ago, although mine is purple. Also he still needs a face because I don't think I have anything on hand to use for the face. And  I didn't understand how to do the tail and I sewed it on completely wrong, so I might take it off and re-attach it.
4  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Re: A handful of newbie questions... on: August 10, 2009 02:20:52 PM
Yeah, I suspect you're right. But I have no clue how to fix it.
5  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Re: A handful of newbie questions... on: August 08, 2009 12:48:54 PM
Thanks for the tips everyone!

I seem to have solved the amigurumi issue - I read something last night about the whole magic ring thing so I looked it up and OMG that helps so much! Problem solved, and now I have an adorable little cupcake top that's waiting for me to make the cake itself today. I'm sooo excited that I finally got it!  Grin

I'm pretty perplexed about my curling issue since nobody else seems to have it! I'm pretty sure I'm not accidentally increasing or anything like that, because it's happened on everything I've crocheted. Even in the middle of something - the last row I have always just kinda turns out a little bit because there are no rows underneath it keeping it angled down. It's not a huge problem but I might play around with a few things and see if I can figure out a good way to end stuff if I don't want it to curl.

Oh, and fantasticmio - I don't know what instructions you've looked at for the magic ring, but these are the ones I used:
Just in case you do want to give it another go sometime! Although it sounds like you've got a good method too.
6  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / A handful of newbie questions... on: August 07, 2009 01:29:43 PM
After many failed attempts, I think I've FINALLY figured out how to crochet - or at least, I've learned the basics. I made a hat...and a half, I ran out of yarn so I need to buy more before I can finish the second hat. I'm not using a pattern so the first hat is a little bit lumpy...I think the second one is better but I can't really tell yet. I've got a few questions though...I found answers to a couple by reading through a ton of posts but there's a few things I'm still wondering about - numbered for your convenience!  Grin

1. I know the "normal" way to crochet (for right-handed people) is from right to left. And that's what I do, so that works. But for crocheting in the round, I saw someone on here say that in order to have it not be inside out, you need to crochet clockwise. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to crochet clockwise without being left-handed. It doesn't really matter because I can always just turn stuff inside out, but I'm curious - am I missing something here? What's the "correct" way to crochet in the round? Or, regardless of "correct" - what way do YOU do it?

2. I've also noticed that the edge has a tendency to curl. I think maybe that only happens with single crochet, but that's what I've been doing so I've definitely got some curlage going on! The bottom edges of my hats just tend to curl outwards a little bit. Is there some simple way to stop that?

3. It seems like there's a bunch of different things that affect the sizing/gauge/etc of your work, so I'm getting confused. The first hat I did is lumpy at the top as if I increased too quickly, but I was basically just following instructions for making a circle. So in a case like that, do you change how often you're increasing, change the hook size, attempt to change how loose or tight you're making it - or something else? It just seems like there's so many variables. I'm guessing the answer is that you can change any of them, so in that case - what do you personally do?

4. My biggest frustration right now - trying to crochet tightly. For the hats I wanted to do it loosely so they'd be all soft and comfy (and faster to make!) but I really, really want to make amigurumi and stuff like that. It's sort of the main reason I started trying to learn to crochet in the first place. So I need to be able to do it tightly, and I just CAN'T. I have a feeling I might be okay once I got it started, but I can't get it started at all. I make a short chain and try to get the hook into the first stitch to make the initial circle and I can barely figure out how to get the hook in the right place. And if I do manage that - forget it, now I just have what appears to be a giant knot! I can't make heads or tails of it, I can't see any individual stitches so I can't crochet into the next stitch/chain, and it's so small and tight that there's no discernible "hole" in the middle of the circle so I can't crochet into the entire circle either. Basically if I crochet loosely so I've got big ol' gaps everywhere to put the hook I'm fine, but as soon as I start pulling everything tight it's just a mess and I have no idea what to do with it. So does anyone have any advice for trying to crochet little tiny tight stitches for amis and the like?
7  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Re: SHRINKY DINKS on: May 03, 2009 08:08:38 PM
PHEW. Just read through the entirety of this thread!

I have shrinkied more dinks in my life than I care to admit, both hand-drawn and printed stuff. I've done a lot just for myself, but I also used them to make Christmas ornaments once for a hockey team and then the same year also used them as that year's craft at our annual Christmas cookie party. (Wayyyy too much shrinking going on that year! Grin ) I've had pretty much every problem imaginable at one point or another, and even after all the times I've tried it I can't perfect the art so I figured I should come in here and try to pick up some tips.

One thing I didn't see mentioned in here is putting something on top while baking to keep them flat. When I do small things they seem to work pretty well (they curl and then uncurl like they should) but bigger things, especially things that are long and skinny, tend to curl so much that the ends meet and stick. In my experience, once it sticks to itself it's game over for that particular piece. I used to do the whole parchment-paper-on-top thing like the instructions said, but even that couldn't prevent the sticking, so I started throwing an empty baking pan on top. I just plunk one of my 13x9s down on top since it's nice and heavy and voila - no curling! I can't promise that it wouldn't affect the shrinking, though; it might have some effect on the "warping" issue.

As far as the printable stuff, I saw some people asking how to tell what side to print on. I've always been able to do the whole wet-a-finger-and-touch-both-sides process, but after doing that once I noticed I can also SEE the difference. And feel it, actually. The printable side is coated with something that can sort of "absorb" the ink so it doesn't just bead up, so it's not quite as shiny. I don't know if that will help anybody, but it's worth a shot. And printing on the other side definitely does NOT work, so don't even think about it!  Wink

And for anyone wondering how much to lighten their pictures by, well, it's the same as the ratio of shrinking. If your plastic was going to end up 1/3 its original size and you originally printed it normally, when it shrunk it would have 3 times as much ink on it as it should, and it'd be 3 times darker, basically. So if it WAS shrinking to 1/3 of the size, you would want to lower to opacity of the image to 33%. If it's ending up 40% of the size, the opacity should be 40%. Basically - obviously you may still need to do some trial and error because there are always variables you can't account for, but if you think about it it makes sense and gives you a good guideline to start with!

I was so surprised reading through this thread to see people referring to a rough side and a smooth side - a lot of people are talking like that's the norm, but all the plastics I've used are smooth on both sides. I *wish* I had a rough side - it might make it easier! I definitely want to try sanding and using colored pencils to see if that helps at all.

My main issue is getting a nice even color. Everything I've done has been either printed or Sharpied. The printed ones end up with this super matte finish that isn't exactly what I'd like. The Sharpied ones end up with the color being very mottled and uneven - you can see the "lines" made in whatever direction I was coloring in, and it even gets darker in the spots where my Sharpie-strokes overlapped more. Plus using Sharpies gives me a very limited range of colors, especially since anything remotely dark-colored ends up way too dark after shrinking - I'm limited to the lighter Sharpie colors. Do you guys have better luck with sanding and using colored pencils to get smooth, even color?

Also, bad news - Michaels doesn't carry shrink plastic anymore. Or at least, the Michaels near me doesn't. I was in there a week or two ago buying a bunch of stuff because I got some funding for my Etsy shop so I was having fun spending money that wasn't mine ( Wink ) and I wanted to pick up some extra shrink plastic, but I couldn't find it where I expected to. I looked all over the store and eventually asked someone where it was, got handed off to other employees a couple times, followed one poor girl all over while she tried to figure out where it was, and eventually she called somebody else and determined that they don't carry it anymore. Sad times!

And now I'm pretty sure this has become a ridiculously long post, but that's everything I have to say on the subject (for the time being!).  Grin

Edit: WOWW, when I said "ridiculously long" I really wasn't kidding! Sorry all! I applaud anyone who actually bothers to read all that...or...any of it.
8  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Re: A Book of Hope.... (picture plentiful!!) on: June 09, 2008 01:58:04 PM
That is absolutely gorgeous and such an awesome idea...love it!
9  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Mini-Bandwagon on: June 02, 2008 06:09:06 PM
Wait.  There is a MACHINE that makes ITTY CUPCAKES? Man, how did that not make headline news when it was invented?! Those are adorable!
10  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Re: a gardening octopus on: April 08, 2008 09:44:14 AM
oh wow...as a beatles fan, I love that SO much!
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