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Crochet Madness Instagram Challenge (+ Free Patterns)

by - May 05, 2019


During the month of March, my fellow Wonder Wool-men makers and I participated in this fun Instagram Challenge!  I just loved contemplating over each of these topics and conversation starters, sharing a little tidbit from my mind, and reading others' responses too!   You can check out my posts on Instagram, or scroll down to read them all~

Day 1: My Maker Story


I first gripped a crochet hook and was introduced to the art of crochet when I was in upper primary school.  At the time, my friend's mother, who is incredibly talented at all sorts of handcrafts as well as cooking, taught the two of us the basic crochet stitches to make little yarn doilies.  I think they were intended to be cup coasters, and I had such a fun time crocheting them, that I turned into a little doily factory and started churning way more coasters than anyone needs in their lives out!  What's hilarious is that I used a Christmas-colored skein that had red, green, and white colors, so I made dozens of this same replica over and over until I had run out of that funky skein.  I can't remember the reason as to why I didn't start another crochet project thereafter...

But, fast-forward to my graduate school years!  To combat the blues during a lonely winter break - and to keep my brain from turning into mush - I decided to pick up a new hobby.  Lo and behold, I I ran an online search for cute DIY crafts, hoping to get back into my crafting mojo.  Adorable photos of amigurumi projects featuring dolls, little critters, and even foods and desserts popped up.  I couldn't help but feel instantly drawn into the craft.  Hours of written and picture tutorials, immeasurable yards of yarn, and numerous bouts of confusion later, I finally created a small amigurumi teddy bear.  The embarrassing (but funny, now that I look back at it) part of that tale was that I stuffed the bear with tissue, rather than actual fiberfill stuffing.  I was so excited to finalize the project, that it couldn't be delayed with a quick trip to the craft store!  Oh well, at least he was a lumpy sort of charming. 😂

Once I completed my first amigurumi project, I judged it to be an experience certainly worth doing again, thus leading to many consequent dabblings in this special craft, bringing me here to this point today!

Day 2: Yarn Crush


This. Is. A. TOUGH ONE!!!  I obsess over so many different textures, weights, brands, and types of yarns!  I'd say my current favorite would be the beautiful Heartland yarns from Lion Brand.  I love the heathered and tweedy shades, and learning that the Heartland collection was inspired by the natural beauty of the American landscape makes them even more amazing in my eyes!


The warm and cozy cowl pictured above is made using two skeins of Heartland in the color, Grand Canyon! Aside from the gorgeous specks of different shades in this yarn, I also love how soft it feels.  My cowl drapes nicely because of it, and it's 100% acrylic as well! Gotta love that!

If you're interested in the free pattern for my cowl, check out  Kana the Wanderer's Cowl.

Day 3: Hooked on Hooks


Okay, I swear by Clover Amour hooks. Unlike yarns, this is an EASY choice for me! The grips are comfortable and the hook shapes are easy to work with all sorts of yarns, even the yarns that are notoriously known for being “splitty”!

I bought some large hooks as well as a set of 10, which is perfect for working on various projects! You can check it out on Amazon.com!

Day 4: My #1 Fan


My number one fan is this nerd right here! 💖 My husby has been nothing but supportive to me as I started and continued fostering my creative journey. Each of my creations (even if not for him) brings a smile to his face and I just love how he lights up and gushes over the little things. . If you’d like to see some of that joy, take a look at my husby go on this wild korok hunt... 😂 (Don't forget to scroll down to see the video!)

Day 5: Mardi Gras!


Here, my *party animals* are celebrating Mardi Gras!  🎉  Check out my animal crochet pattern page to find their patterns, or read up on them!

Day 6: WIP It Good




Oh gee...I usually have like a half-dozen WIPs going on at once because my mind is scattered and disorganized, just like my life and all my creations around me, lol!  Here are a few previous WIPs of mine!

Day 7: Get Cozy

 

This knit turtleneck sweater made with Lion Brand's Scarfie yarn is soooo cozy that I want to live in it all day err'day! I'm the kind of person who tends to get cold too easily, so this is heavenly for me during the frigid seasons!

Day 8: Inspirational Ladies


My sweet maker friends of Wonder Wool-men inspire me day in and day out with not only their creativity, but their beautiful, friendly, and spirited selves!  Check out the crew!

Day 9: Feeling Loopy


Whenever I feel too crazy or silly, my go-to method for getting back into my calm, zen mode would be to crochet!  It's definitely a very therapeutic pastime, especially working on patterns with repetitive stitches or have beautiful color changes in the design.

Day 10: If I could make anything...


If I could make anything, I'd surely try my hand at more detailed dolls!  I love sketching out a variety of fashion designs, and trying to catch up to that using crochet methods has been a challenge.  I'm slowly but surely working towards making my dolls with more complexity... so maybe one day I'll get there!

And, well…here’s Little Red Pandora, aghast at how a being could even look like that. What an alien!

Day 11: When I'm Not Crocheting


When I'm not crocheting, I'm working as a speech-language pathologist!  I've primarily been working in a high school setting for the past few years, and enjoy helping my students improve their language and social communication skills.  I don't have a good photo to show for this one, as I don't post photos of my students, so here's a mother and daughter amigurumi photo instead to show the care and nurturing love that I feel for my kiddos!

Day 12: Cakes vs. Skeins


I love looking at the yarn cakes in stores, but I haven't actually gotten one before!  I'm more of a regular, boring ol' skein person...heheh!  Also, stay tuned for this little donut pattern!  The write-up is still in the works but it'll come out soon.  May the world be filled with tiny crochet donuts, bwahhaha!

(Update: The Tiny Baby Donut (Free Pattern) is now available!)

Day 13: Sip While You Stitch


Mmmm, I love coffee!  Have you ever tried the amazing soy creamer from Trader Joes?  It's my favorite!  Enjoying this hot drink while crocheting is my idea of heaven!

Day 14: Maker Mixtape


I love listening to a variety of music while I crochet.  I jump from genre to genre, just depending on what I feel like listening to that day.  It can range from upbeat hip-hop and reggaeton, to calming ambience music.  Right now, I'm really enjoying Celtic flute and instrumentals, which reminds me of my Princess Maeve doll!

Day 15: Proudest Moment


Oh gosh, I have several that I can think of off the top of my head. Hmm, for today, I think I’ll share about the time I created and hosted my very first “CREATOR CHALLENGE”! It’s kind of like a CAL, but I turned it into a fun challenge for crocheters to add their own unique flair on their projects!

Everyone had to start off with the same pattern base, which is the “Some-BUNNY To Love” free pattern. Then, they made their bunny their own by embellishing it, crocheting accessories, using different colors, and more! I was *so* amazed and proud to see all the different bunnies and variations that came out from this challenge…it was truly inspiring and goes to show how amazingly creative y’all are!! Click here to see the 2018 Creator Challenge submissions.

It was also such a heartwarming experience for me to be able to connect with and make friends with these wonderful crocheters. I'm looking forward to another Creator Challenge this year, which will be announced before the summertime!

Day 16: One Color Only



I have so many favorite colors, particularly light pink, lavender, baby blue, jade green, mint, and mustard yellow.  However, if I had to pick just one, it'd be light pink, like this Cotton Candy Cowl (Free Pattern)!  Just looking at this color makes me feel calm and serene!

Day 17: Feeling Lucky


The word “lucky” in the month of March makes me think of the color green, no doubt!  Here’s one of my latest projects, an airy and light-weight Springtime scarf that can add a gorgeous pop of jade green to any outfit!  I just adore this ombre Shawl in a Ball yarn from Lion Brand!

On a similar note, I feel so lucky and blessed to be able to do what I love, which is crochet and play with yarns, during my leisure time!  I’ve gotten the chance to make so many wonderful friends this way.  You ALL make me feel lucky, fellow crocheters!!

Day 18: Behind the Scenes


Here’s a little behind-the-scenes look! You can probably guess what my favorite color is, heheh.

Day 19: Never Have I Ever


There’s quite a lengthy, running list of things I have never done or tried before! One thing that I’d like to try sooner than later is crocheting with finer yarn for lacy things like doilies or intricate table runners.  I admire the lacy look quite a bit, though I haven’t actually worked with really fine yarns!

These pretty, fine Patons Grace yarns were gifted to me by a friend! I’ve been ogling them for a long time, but haven’t decided what to make them into just yet.  Do you have ideas?  I just know that I won’t be making amigurumis with them (for the sake of my hands and eyes)! 

Day 20: Spring!

with puff stitch flower video tutorial

Springtime is such a cheery, hopeful, and happy time of the year!  One of the first things that come to my mind when I think of this season is a bright and colorful flower arrangement.  Here’s what I made last year to commemorate Spring, as well as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day!  It’s a flower pot comprised of six puff stitch flowers, and makes for a super cute and mood-lifting desk decor.

Day 21: Beanies vs. Scarves


I've always been a total scarf person (I have just about a gajillion scarves in my closet), but lately I've been really digging beanies!  I have to admit that I get cold really easily, so thank goodness for cozy head and neck gear, right?  This beanie that I made was from Kirsten Holloway's free pattern, with some modifications made for the color changes, and it was soooo fun to crochet!  I picked out earthy and neutral tones with the off-white, heathered yellow, and tweed taupe...and I just love it!!

Day 22: Biggest Challenge


There are a number of challenges that I’ve faced as a crochet designer and blogger, and while there are lots of ups and sunny days, there are also the cloudy ones that I get when I persist and persist but end up stuck or going back to the old drawing board yet again.  I’m going to be flat-out honest here — my biggest challenge has been increasing my reach as a blogger.  It’s been a 7-year blogging journey so far for me, and I’m still trying to figure out how to earn more than just peanuts with Google Adsense.  I love what I do and I pour in a tremendous amount of time into designing, writing blog posts, and creating Youtube videos/tutorials.  While I wouldn’t give it up for the world, making more than just several dollars from blogging each month has been a challenge, especially with the hefty cost of yarn and supplies.

I apologize for this Debbie Downer post!  I want to be frank with my struggles, and it was a relief for me to get it off my chest.  Thank you for listening, and for still checking out my designs on my blog.  I appreciate you all for sticking around and following me on this creative journey, and I’ll keep pushing on because this positive community means the world to me <3

Day 23: Maker Crush

I just adore sooo many makers out here!! If I had to make a choice, there are two amazingly talented makers that give me tons of inspiration! 


I really admire @allaboutami and her modern, chic, and beautiful designs!! Stephanie uses my favorite color palettes and all her creations have such a timeless beauty to them!! 



I also want to mention @craftteecrochet and her amazing amigurumi work!! Tee is truly an artist and I’m always stunned by the sculpted works that she’s able to create using crochet methods! You’ve gotta check out her latest little Dobby — Tee really brought him to life! 

Day 24: Watch While I WIP



Well umm, I guess this is pretty self-explanatory, but here’s a ten-second clip of me crocheting a WIP? It’s a yellow cowl made with beautiful Vel-Luxe yarn from Lion Brand!  If you'd like to make one too, check out the Gold Luxe Cowl (Free Pattern)!  

Day 25: Favorite Fiber



Oooh, this is an easy one for me to answer! My favorite fiber would be acrylic! I love how it’s so soft, comes in a wide range of colors, and is cost-friendly too! I’ve used almost exclusively acrylic for my amigurumi dolls, and my go-to is definitely Caron Simply Soft from Yarnspirations!  

Day 26: How I Unwind


I definitely unwind through crocheting! It’s such a relaxing activity for me, especially when I’m making a doll just for fun, or working on a repetitive stitch pattern.  This beachy cover-up that I just finished definitely hit the spot!  The repeating shell stitch was soooo fun, that I felt a little bummed out when I finally finished this piece.  


What’s neat is that one out of the two panels that creates the cover-up can actually work as a scarf too!  This shell stitch just screams warm-weather-Season to me! 

Day 27: My Go To Stitch




Well, as an amigurumi designer, my go-to stitch is the single crochet!  Lately, I've been really into my "Merry-Go-Round" technique, though, which involves crocheting a "sc and ch" in a continuous spiral to make a square shape.  Sounds crazy, right?  It works though, and I've made baby blankets, rugs, and other items out of it!  It also works in joined rounds, such as in my Blue Coast Basket pattern!

Day 28: Unpopular Opinion




My unpopular opinion is that I really like sewing finished pieces together!  Now, it wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows… I used to loathe the sewing phase of an amigurumi project because I flat-out sucked at it!  However (like many things in life), I started practicing it more and I now find it much more enjoyable!  As long as I take things slow and am mindful about what I’m doing, it actually turns out to be quite fun, especially when seeing the doll come to life! 


Day 29: Always Wanted To Try...


Oooh, where to start! There are lots of things I’d love to try but haven’t yet. I would say that one of my biggest ambitions in the world of fiber arts is Fair Isle knitting!  I absolutely *LOVE* the look, and the whimsical and woodsy aesthetic that these beautiful designs spark in me.  Here are some gorgeous examples from @jaanaknits @katerina.verigo @ruined_mama @eikku_kk @evvash_ <3 

I’m quite the novice knitter and haven’t leveled up enough to try fair isle knitting yet, but… one day! *fingers crossed*



Oh, and erm.... this is my pathetic, mock-representation of a “fair isle” sweater for my Farley Fox :) 

Day 30: Can't Live Without

 

As cliche as this sounds, I can’t live without my family. They’re such a huge support system for me, and well…adulting gets really hard really often for me! They’re my lifeline and I love them to bits. 

My mother in particular is a huge source of inspiration to me. She’s the most talented educator I know and is a total superstar inside and outside of the classroom! When we chat, the topic often takes a nerdy turn and we’ll talk ages about child development, language learning, literacy, cognition, and the like!

My husband is my rock on a regular basis. I troll him daily, he deals with my antics, and I’m not sure how he’s doing it but he still loves me! 


The rest of my family, along with my amazing cousins, also mean so much to me! They’re such goofballs and they always make life much more fun and interesting for me! 

Day 31: My Brand Name Story


"Sweet Softies" came about towards the end of 2011, when I first began making amigurumi.  I love alliteration, as you probably have picked up from quite a few of my design names (e.g., Fletcher the Fox, Landon the Lion, Brennan the Bear), hence the repetitive initial "S".  I chose "Sweet", as I aspired to make sweet-looking dolls and stuffed animals, and "Softies" as it's a synonym for plushies.

And on that note… WOW! It’s hard for me to believe that this month of Crochet Madness just flew by!! This is the LAST day of the challenge! It’s been so much fun to reflect on each of the prompts, and I really had a blast getting to know my fellow makers more as I got to read your fun posts from this challenge! It was an absolute pleasure! 

Thanks for reading through and sticking around with me on my creative journey!

Warmly,


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