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Design Week, day 2: techniques


Design Week Continues

I am absolutely loving all of the designs that I’m seeing! A big thank-you to everyone who posted links to their site yesterday and letting us in on your design process!

I’m blogging about designing a platypus stuffed animal this week. From my sketches yesterday, it seemed that this sketch was a favorite:

So, I’ll be continuing on with this sketch as my plan!

Today is day 2, and the (optional) topic is: techniques.

What do techniques have to do with designing?

The planning stage is a great time to do research on how you’re going to implement your design. Cruise the stitch dictionaries, check out different ways of doing increases… you’ll want to know what techniques you’ll use before you begin knitting/crocheting your sample. The last thing you want to do is be halfway through your sweater and figure out that the pleat you’ve decided to use is too puffy, and you need to start over!

I peruse the Ravelry discussion boards, Pinterest and keep my eye on twitter for discussions of techniques that I may find useful. I also learn a fair bit from fellow knitters/crocheters (in person, at the yarn store) and my resource books.

How do you find out about new techniques?

Techniques appropriate for your customer

A second reason that I think about techniques is because most of the patterns I design are intended to become patterns for my website. I’m not just designing cute animals, but I’m committing myself to clearly explaining to my customers how to make that cutie animal.

So what if I come up with some super-amazing looking snout that no one else can replicate? Then… it doesn’t do me any good!

As part of my design business, I make and post videos and tutorials for each technique I use that may be a little tricky.

So, before I begin a design, I think about what techniques my customer will have to use. I also make sure that before I release a pattern, I have a tutorial/video available for any tricky bits- or at least have plans in the near future to make one.

Some of my favorite amigurumi techniques

The Sloppy Slip Knot. My favorite amigurumi technique is the sloppy slip knot (video here). It allows you to begin working in the round with no hole, but is much easier than magic ring.

Attaching flattened pieces. I’ve become a fan of crocheting circles/cylinders, and then attaching them flattened to form wings/fins/ears. A flattened piece is double-thickness, so it is sturdier than a single-layer piece, and it’s also easy to do.

I’ve also used this technique for flower petals, eyelids, stand up nostrils, feet… the possibilities are endless!

Using stitches as a grid. It’s no secret that I love crocheting through the back loop (mostly because it helps keep stuffing from showing through when using a larger hook). One advantage of doing so is that it allows you to use the square-grid (created by the front loops) as a guideline for attaching pieces (read about it here).

My customers tell me that attaching limbs to their amigurumi evenly is the trickiest part… so this is one technique I always recommend!

Now it’s your turn!

Which techniques are crucial to your project? Have you learned new ones in researching your current design? Or do you have some old faves that you go back to again and again? Do share!

Don’t forget, add your link to the comment section below, so we can all see what you’re up to!

24 Responses to “Design Week, day 2: techniques”

  1. It’s so much fun to see what everyone is doing. My post on stitch pattern selection here: http://quaternity-knits.blogspot.com/2012/03/design-week-day-two-stitch-pattern.html

  2. Renee says:

    Stacey, your amigurumi tips are fantastic! Here is my post for today http://ohdeerlette.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/design-week-day-2-techniques.html

  3. Debora Alves says:

    Hi, Stacey!
    I loved the idea of the design week!
    I got to do a sketch (a toucan), but… this week is very complicated at work unfortunately.
    I loved your platypus! Beautiful!
    I’ll continue to follow the design week! Great idea!
    :-)

  4. [...] out Stacey Trock’s page today for other designers and the techniques they’ll be using … Share [...]

  5. Mary G says:

    This is such fun, Stacey! Thanks for creating this idea.

    Here’s my post today about techniques (and includes a bit from yesterday as I forgot to post about the overall design) … http://www.marygildersleeve.com/2012/03/design-week-day-2-theme-techniques/

  6. [...] To read other Day 2 posts from Knit and Crochet Design Week, visit FreshStitches. [...]

  7. I love stitching in the back loop, too, when I have to attach something. It makes things that much easier!

    Here’s my linky for today: http://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/2012/03/13/knit-crochet-design-week-day-2-make-a-gauge-swatch/

  8. Amy says:

    I always love reading your tips and techniques. I have learned a lot from reading your blog. My post is here: http://belovedtempest.blogspot.com/2012/03/design-week-day-2-techniques.html

  9. Yeah, I know what you mean about creating something cool, but then realizing that the technique is nearly impossible to explain. Sometimes it means that I’ll keep that stuff for my own work, and other times it means that I just have to table it and hope that I’ll be able to find a way to explain it better later.

  10. I wrote about felting and how it affects my pattern writing. Here’s’ my post: http://www.duofiberworks.com/journal/2012/3/13/design-week-day-2-techniques.html

  11. I’m having trouble describing the technique I used on two of my critters so am going back to the drawing board but here is my post for today.
    http://tbcritters.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/design-week-day-2-techniques/

  12. Victoria says:

    I was going to ask why you crochet through the back loop.. and now I know! :) Even though my design week item is not amigurumi, it is definitely a useful tip for future reference. Thank you Stacey!

    Can’t wait to get home and get started on my Design Week Day 2 post.

    Sketching yesterday was so much fun! http://vickyc.me/crochet/design-week-day-1-sketching

  13. Kim says:

    I’m having all kinds of computer issues here. Sorry it’s not so great since I had to go to my sister’s and use her internet to post this. I’ll try to do better tomorrow.
    http://fiberjunky.blogspot.com/2012/03/design-week-days-1-and-2.html

  14. Luna says:

    I’ve never made an amigurumi, but I’ve wanted to so I’ll have to remember these tips. Here’s my post for today: https://ahimsacreation.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/techniques-and-tangent-tuesday/

  15. [...] is day two of Knit and Crochet design week hosted by Stacey of FreshStitches.com. Today we are sharing the techniques we will use in our [...]

  16. hi guys! it’s been an odd day over here with the little one but i squeezed out a quickie list of my fav technique online resources.

    http://meredithannetaylor.blogspot.com/2012/03/knit-crochet-design-week-technical.html

    looking forward to bedtime so i can get ready for tomorrow and do more work on my puffy fish!

  17. Victoria says:

    I chose my colours today..
    http://vickyc.me/crochet/design-week-day-2-colours-stitches

    Have had a lot of fun looking at everyone’s progress and learning new techniques.. :) Thanks again Stacey!

  18. Tami says:

    I don’t have much experience, so technique is limited to me right now. I had planned to go to the library and look some up but we had a busy day here at the house.

    tamiackerman.blogspot.com

  19. Beth says:

    Thanks for getting–and keeping–the ball rolling Stacey–learning a ton along the way! Here’s what I’m up to on day two: http://wunderaround.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/knit-and-crochet-design-week-day-2-techniques/

  20. Vicky says:

    Day two! Woo!
    I really like your explanations of the techniques. It’s so helpful! I’m inspired to have another go at crocheting now (my last attempt was pretty pathetic).
    Here’s my entry for today:
    http://onestarryknit.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/design-week-day-2/

  21. Mamayir says:

    Well I tried earlier (about an hour ago) to post my blog link, but it didn’t work (maybe I’m having so many issues b/c I’m on a tablet???). Anyway, here’s my link….that is if it decides to work this time: http://mamayir.blogspot.com/2012/03/design-week-day-2-techniques.html

  22. Mamayir says:

    Woohoo!!! It worked! ^_^