Today, I’d like to talk a bit about materials.
Normally, I use plain and simple yarn for my projects. Here in the Netherlands, the brands that are the easiest to get are Katia and Phildar. These brands come in all kinds of colours and thicknesses, which make them perfect choices for anything you need to make. Phildar is usually a bit shiny and more rugged, with bright and bold colours. Katia is softer and can thread apart a bit easier, but this brand has softer colours. So both have their strong and weak points.
But sometimes, you feel in need for a real eye-catcher. And that’s when I usually turn to fuzzy yarn.
It can be a downright disaster to work with, but once you get the hang of it and aren’t focussing too much on whether or not you have the right amount of stitches, it is one of the most wonderful materials to make amigurumi with. At first you really have to experiment with the yarn. Try out different hook sizes and make sure you have enough light. If you normally work on you crochet in the evenings, make sure you have a strong lamp right on your work or I can guarantee quite a bit of frustration. I prefer natural light when it comes to this type of yarn, since it makes it much easier to see your stitches. Also, it is important to work ‘inside-out’ with this yarn, since most of the fuzzies end up inside you work otherwise. Luckily, with this yarn you can’t really tell which side is which, so it’s pretty much invisible if you just turn your work ‘wrong-side out’ in the end. There really isn’t a definite wrong or right side with this stuff! Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, to be honest, it really is. But it does take a lot more time and effort to make a full project with this yarn, so I usually just use it as a detail.
I have used different brands of fuzzy yarn, but I have to admit that I don’t really have a favourite yet. It all depends on what look you are trying to achieve.
The brands I have used so far are: Katia Brazilia, Katia Coral, Schachenmayr Nomotta Bravo Color, Phildar Phil Douce and the house-brand of a local store (Zeeman).
Brazilia and the house-brand are the hairiest of the brands I’ve used. These can be hard to use, since all the fluff gets in the way of your stitches. But at the same time, this gives a really nice effect, almost as if you didn’t crochet the work at all!
Coral and Bravo Color have shorter, quite stiff fluff, which does give the fuzzy effect, but isn’t nearly as huggable as with the first two. These brands are easier to work with though, because they aren’t so fluffy that you can’t see your stitches anymore.
Phil Douce was awesome to work with, since it’s so very soft and doesn’t have long fluff at all. It is easier to see your stitches, but not as clearly as you would with regular yarn. It does come out a bit different than other yarns, so it’s important to keep an eye on your work and how it is supposed to look when it’s finished. Sometimes, you need to adjust the pattern a little to get the shape you want. Also, this yarn just makes your work very, very soft. It doesn’t really have that furr-look that the others have.
I’m sure by this time, you are all tired of my rambling and want to give your eyes a rest. But before you do, I’d like to share some pictures of a couple of stuffed animals I made with the fuzzy yarns. Picture time!
My first attempt at using fuzzy yarn.
The camel was supposed to have two humps, but I really lost count of my stitches with this one. So, it became a dromedary camel ^_^
The head of this sheep is made with the house brand, but it didn’t really come out the way I wanted it to. So I made the body using Bravo Color and that looked a bit better. I never got around to make a new head for the poor thing, so it has to make do with two types of yarn. (my apologies for the blurry picture)
a Zebra, obviously
The manes for this zebra are made with the house brand. They did come out a bit bigger than they should have, but this is because I kept following the pattern with a bigger hook than the one I used for the body. With these types of things, it’s important to keep an eye on your work and simply quit when it is big enough to go with the rest.
This one really made me happy, since you use the fuzzy yarn for the last part of the head. So it’s a simple case of decreasing your stitches until the hole is small enough to be sewn closed. It is important to keep an eye on the head and make sure that you don’t decrease too fast, otherwise, the head becomes quite flat. For this one I used Katia Brazilia.
The tail came out a bit too big at first and then, I couldn’t get the shape exactly right, but I still think it looks really cute on him! It is made using Katia Brazilia.
This one is made with Katia Coral. It’s a bit easier since you can see your stitches, but then again, I think this would look a lot cuter with a bit more fluff to it.
Frog and Dog, I don’t have a picture of the dog on its own…
The dogs ears are made using Katia Brazilia. They did come out a bit small. This is due to the fact that I had to ration my yarn, since I only had a little less than one skein for this project.
Little polar teddy bear
This one is (almost) entirely made of Phildar Douce. It doesn’t have that long furry look, but it is so amazingly soft. It was an absolute horror to make though, since the shape didn’t exactly come out when I followed the pattern. So it took quite a bit of tweeking to get this one right. It’s still one of my favourite fuzzy works though!
There are a lot of other fuzzy yarns for sale all over the internet and I’m sure you can find it in your local craft or yarn store. Be sure to give it a try, it’s a great challenge that comes with some wonderful results!