Invisible Decrease Tutorial… for crochet amigurumi

Step (13)

Once i found out how to do an invisible decrease, i haven’t been able to go back to doing a decrease any other way 🙂 so i wanted to share my tutorial with you all on how to do this marvellous handy stitch!

An invisible decrease creates a smoother finish, and a stitch that looks more like a normal stitch.  Rather than a normal decrease (sc2tog or single crochet decrease) that bunches up leaving holes and bumps and lumps, the invisible decrease is (almost) invisible!

Step (1)

In the photo above, we have normal single crochet stitches; we are going to do an invisible decrease in the next two stitches.

Step (2) Step (3)

Above, in the left photo, I have used a tapestry needle to show the stitch we are going to go into first with our hook.

For the invisible decrease we will use the front loops only, instead of both loops like a normal decrease.

Step One – Insert hook into front loop only of next stitch. You will now have 2 loops on your hook (photo above right).

DO NOT yarn over (as tempting as it is, I know!)

Step Two – Insert hook into the front loop only of the second stitch. 3 loops on hook (photo below)

Step (4) Step (5)

Note – this step can be a little tight, you may need to wiggle your hook a bit to get it into the second front loop stitch.

Step Three – Yarn over, and pull through 2 loops (the two front loops). You will be left with 2 loops on your hook.

Step (6)  Step (7)

Step Four – Yarn over again, and pull through one loop. 2 loops on hook.

Step (8) Step (9)

You are nearly finished..

Step Five – Yarn over, and pull through two loops on hook.

Step (10) Step (11)

AND TA DA – finished, you have made an invisible decrease stitch! 🙂

Step (12) Step (13)

As you can see in the photo, the invisible decrease is hardly detectable.  You can use invisible decrease on any pattern that calls for a sc2tog or single crochet decrease.

You won’t want to do it any other way now!

I hope you found this little tutorial helpful, would love to hear what you think! Happy hooking 🙂

Love Nat xxx

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Lupo the Lamb & Kira the Kangaroo… my new love affair with Lalylala Crochet Dolls

Kira the Kangaroo & Lupo the Lamb by Little Cosy Things
Kira the Kangaroo & Lupo the Lamb by Little Cosy Things

I have fallen in love… they are called Laylala Dolls, from Lalylala Land.. and they are adorable!! Patterns designed and created by the amazingly talented Lydia Tresselt from Lalylala (find her etsy store here).

I started by making Kira the Kangaroo, my first doll, and instantly i fell in love.  The pattern is well written, clear, and has wonderful photos.  Kira has a little pouch on her belly, just like a real mummy kangaroo, and the pattern comes with details on how to make her baby.  But anything can be put in Kira’s pouch, from other toys, to stickers, love notes, or even teeth for the tooth fairy!! And she has a wonderfully soft scarf too!

IMG_0318
Kira in progress…
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TA DA!! Kira is finished!

After i made Kira the Kangaroo, I had the Lalylala bug!! And i was itching to make more, and feeling a little more confident, i dove straight in and purchased the pattern to make the VERY cute – Lupo the Lamb!!

Lupo is made with bobble stitches to create a fleecy coat, and cap, just like a real lamb.  His ears are just gorgeous too!  Lupo was truly a labor of love.. he is a bit tedious to make, those bobbles.. they take a while, and you have to work in the OPPOSITE direction to what you normally do when doing amigurumi patterns and crochet so that those bobbles pop out.  BUT oh is it worth it.  He is just the most gorgeous, delicate and devine little lamb.  And his little lamb cap, is removable!

I just adore this little lamb, and I am planning on making many more.. they will be available to purchase as I make them in my Etsy shop (Little Cosy Things) as i make them.  Follow me on Instagram (@littlecosythings) to see when new Lupo’s will be available to purchase!

Lupo in progress...
Lupo in progress…
TA DA! Lupo is done!
TA DA! Lupo is done!

By the way, i have used cotton yarn in 8ply from my favorite yarn suppliers – Bendigo Woollen Mills and have used a 3mm hook to make both Kira & Lupo!  I tried using wool yarn, but i much prefer working with cotton.  It does create a more delicate doll for gentle play, but i love the texture and shape that cotton provides 🙂

Now on the hook… a blue Lupo lamb!!! But sheep aren’t blue? No? Well where do you think blue wool comes from? 😉 hehe the very rare, and elusive, blue sheep!  This one is being made as a special custom order for a little boy.. and because i cannot stop making these gorgeous lambs!

The rare Lupo Blue lamb, in progress!
The rare Lupo Blue lamb, in progress!

Love Nat xxx

A little “woof” in sheep’s clothing.. Sweep’s crochet dog jumper

If you follow me on Instagram (@littlecosythings) you would have met my little fur baby, Sweep! He is such a beautiful little boy, so gentle and affectionate. And has the most wonderful temperament. I love him so much.

  
Sweep is 2 years old and his breed is called Havanese (a pure breed, originally from Cuba.) He is only little, very fluffy, and his fur doesn’t shed. Meaning he needs regular haircuts and lots of grooming to keep his fur looking nice and not getting matted and tangled.

So yesterday Sweep went off to have a fur cut at the groomers, and since it’s winter I thought he might need a little jumper for when we go for a walk.

I couldn’t find a pattern online that I liked. Since Sweep is a boy, I’ve noticed that some coats cover his “boy bits” and get wet when it’s bathroom time.. so I wanted something that just covered his back, and not his bits 😉

  
And so here is what I came up with! It’s a bit rough, as I made it up as I went. So please ignore the little imperfections! 

It’s basically a little blanket, with a strap to go under his tummy, and another strap to go around his chest.

I started by measuring Sweep from his neck to the base of his tail.. this would be the measurements for how many rows I would need for the blanket.
Then I measured around his tummy, just under his front legs.. 50cm, and I halved the measurement to get the width of the blanket, 25cm (how many starting chains).

Once I had those measurements, I chained long enough for 25cm. 
Then i did intervals of – 2 rows of DC, and 2 rows of SC. And did this over and over until I reached the right length to fit Sweep from his neck to his tail. I tried it on him several times to make sure it fit. He just stood there wondering what I was doing haha

Once you have your little blanket made, you can do a simple SC border the whole way around to make it look nice and neat, with 3 SC into each corner.
  
Next you want to do 2 x straps, so the blanket stays on the body. One for around the tummy, under the front legs. And one for across the chest/neck. You don’t want it to be too tight, but not too loose that the jumper slides around.

To do this, I put the blanket on Sweep and placed a stitch marker where the two straps should be on the blanket.
Then I put my hook into the SC border for the beginning of the first strap, and made rows of DC till the strap was snug around his tummy. Again, not too tight! You can measure the blanket + the strap and it should equal your original tummy measurements (50cm for Sweep).

Then I did the same for the chest/neck strap. Once both straps were done, I sewed them to the other side of the blanket so they were attached.

I put the jumper on Sweep by pulling it down over his head, and putting his little legs through the tummy straps. Sweep doesn’t mind, he just sits there while I do it. But bigger dogs or squirmy dogs might not like it! So you can put buttons on one side of the strap, rather than sewing it on.

I hope this makes sense!!! It’s a little tricky to explain, but basically it’s just a little jumper that fits from his neck to his tail, with straps around his neck and tummy to keep it on 🙂

Let me know if you are lost and need some help! I hope your fur babies are nice and snuggly this winter!

Love Nat & Sweep xxx

  

  

  

  

  

i want to be a mum.. my infertility and IVF story…

It will all be ok in the end… If it’s not okay, it’s not the end

What do you want to be when you grow up?  I wanted to be a mum!! Not a teacher, or a vet, or a zoo keeper… i wanted to be a mum.

I always had painful periods, i would miss school or work, unable to get out of bed.  I would be in so much pain i would be physically ill.  I had a few cysts when I was 15 or 16 years old, doctors said that i was just prone to them, and that i had heavier periods than others.  Take some nurofen, stay in bed, you will be ok.

At around 19 years old, i had enough.  Other girls didn’t spend 5 or 6 days in bed a month!! Having their period didn’t mean they couldn’t leave the house.. this wasn’t normal.  So i went back to the gynaecologist.  He told me it wasn’t normal, so he did a laparoscopy, and i was diagnosed with endometriosis.  He told me i might have problems trying to have a baby, but not to worry.  Some women have endometriosis and it doesn’t affect them having babies.  I was young, i didn’t worry.. i wasn’t planning on having a family now, no way.  I would have a baby when i was “old” (in my mid 20s – old haha).  So i carried on, knowing now that at least there was a reason for the pain every month and the heavy periods, that it was the endometriosis.. i was ok, i just had this condition.

25 years old, had enough, AGAIN.  It seemed to be getting worse, now my period would be anywhere from 7-9 days long.  And VERY painful.  Then it seemed i was getting my period every 2 weeks!! That isn’t right… so i went back to the doctor.  More tests, more surgery.. “You have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) as well as the endometriosis, which has gotten worse” the doctor said, “and you may have problems trying to conceive, but we wont know until you start trying.. and don’t worry, its common.. lots of women have babies with PCOS and/or endometrosis.”

Least you have an excuse for the painful periods now, i thought, and the extra weight gain, the more frequent than usual waxing, and the out of control PMS… there is nothing that can be done, but don’t worry, you want to be a mum, you will have kids.

At 26 my boyfriend of 10 years (high school sweethearts, aww) proposed.  We were going to get married!! And that meant, i was going to be a MUM!! FINALLY!! I always wanted to be a mum.  I think i was most excited about that, my life long dream, being a mum.. at the back of my head there was a little voice telling me, its not going to be easy for you… i told my fiance that, and he said “nooooo, we going to have family!! You always wanted to be a mum, you will be a wonderful mum.” I was.

So i went back to the doctor, we talked about stopping my contraception.  We wanted to make sure all my medication was out of my system, so that when i got married we can start trying for a baby.   I was going to have a honeymoon baby, no time to spare!!!! Im going to be a mum, i want 3 or 4 kids (at least!!).

About 6 months before we got married, i couldn’t wait. We were going to get married… so lets start trying now. No harm, we been together 11 years now… so we did.  Nothing happened.  Thats ok, we getting married, its just nerves, its the pill still in my system. We are going to get married, and i am going to get pregnant on my honeymoon, and i am going to be a mum.  I am going to be such a wonderful mum too!!!

Fast forward… I am now 31 years old, going on 32 and i am not a mum.  I have my angel babies, that i carry it my heart.  But no baby to carry in my arms. We have been trying to conceive a baby for 3 years.  I am infertile.  My PCOS means I do not ovulate, at all.  So an egg is never released for the sperm to fertilise.  My eggs turn to cysts, they are painful, sometimes they have to be removed with surgery.  For years i have been doing fertility treatment, IVF, to help conceive my baby… i inject myself daily into my stomach with hormones that help me to ovulate, and to make “good eggs” to be fertilised.  I have had countless surgeries, invasive and embarrassing procedures and exams.  I go to see my doctor every 3 days.. and my IVF doctor is located in a maternity hospital… surrounded by new mums, babies, happy families, flowers and visitors.  Its a happy place, where babies come into the world… i go because i cannot have a baby.  I am infertile, barren.

Its hard, it hurts.  Every month i grieve the loss of my child, my baby.  I grieve the loss of presumed future, my hopes of being a mum, my aspirations.  And every month i try again.  I grasp for hope, that this month, this time, I am going to hear those magical words… “congratulations, you are having a baby!!!” but instead i hear “i’m sorry”.

The hormones are horrible.  The injections sting, sometimes i bleed.  My stomach is a mine field of bruises and puncture marks that are permanently tattooed on my skin.  I have put on a lot of weight and i feel sick constantly.  I don’t sleep more than 4-5 hours per night, and when i do, i have nightmares.  And i over heat, i am always hot. My emotions are off the charts… its like having horrible PMS x 100… my husband walks on eggshells.   Then there are the progesterone injections, the second injection i give myself, towards the end of the month, a needle i inject into my thigh.. it hurts. This injection mimics pregnancy symptoms, right down to the morning sickness, swollen breasts AND it makes home pregnancy tests positive.

An insight into infertility…

Your heart skips a beat.  Those two lines come up… it says you are pregnant. “Am i? Could it be?” you ask yourself, even though you know its the injections… but maybe its not.. maybe you REALLY are pregnant… maybe, just maybe, it worked!!  You call your doctor, he says to come in for a blood test… you get a little spark of hope… maybe you are pregnant… you wait… you hope… you dream.  The phone rings, its your doctor… “i’m sorry”

You shatter inside.  You get so angry at yourself!! Why did you get your hopes up?   You knew it was the injection… but… you were SURE this time. You were so sure, this time it was different.. you felt different. You were dreaming of throwing those needles in the bin!! Of no more doctors exams, ultrasounds, blood tests, surgeries, hospital stays… of getting to call your parents, of telling them they were going to be grandparents!!  BUT you’re not pregnant, you can’t throw away the injections, you need them.  Because you got to do this ALL again.. another month… another month… more injections, more hospital, more embarrassment, more heartbreak.

And then your phone rings… its your friend… she has some news!! She is having a baby!! She doesn’t know how it happened, they weren’t trying… but shes pregnant!! She feels so sick.. its horrible being pregnant. I should be lucky i cant have kids and don’t have to go through it.. im lucky.  And you try so hard to be a good friend, you try to not burst into tears and scream ITS NOT FAIR.  You want to be happy for her!!! She’s having a baby!! Shes going to have a baby shower, and her belly is going to get big, and she’s going to have a nursery.. and she shows you ultrasound photos, and tells you about all the horrible things that happen when you are pregnant… how sick you feel.. that you can’t imagine what that is like.  You tell yourself that you are a horrible friend for being jealous, that you are selfish and you aren’t being supportive.  But its not fair… you want to be a mum, that was supposed to be you.  Your baby shower, your nursery, your ultrasound photos..

Suddenly the whole world is pregnant… there are babies EVERYWHERE.   Families, prams, baby shops.. they all popped up over night.   TV commercials are all about nappies and prenatal vitamins.. all the shows you watch, someone is pregnant.. they are glowing.. they are holding their newborn baby in their arms while soft music plays in the background and they are happy!!

Your social media explodes with photos of babies.. of captions about how their lives are complete now that they are a mum.  How they have never felt a love like this.  There are baby bumps, and complaints about being tired and pregnancy symptoms.. countdowns of how many weeks to go… there are mums complaining about their children, how they have done something naughty, how hard it is being a mum.. joking about if anyone wants them…

You get angry, you get jealous.  Babies are a miracle, they are a blessing!! How can you complain? ITS NOT FAIR!! And you want to post baby photos, you want to do exactly what they are doing.. you want it so bad.

You aren’t part of the club anymore… all of your friends have babies, some of them have had two or three, all within the space you have been trying.  You cant join in the conversation, you don’t belong.. you cant share stories and advice.. youre not a mum, you don’t understand.

You watch your husband with your friends babies.. you see the way he looks at them.  You heart aches when you see him holding them.  You are his wife, you are supposed to give him a baby!!!!! He doesn’t say anything, he has been so supportive… but you see the hurt, you see the longing.  He isn’t part of the dad club either… but he can be… he has nothing wrong, its ALL your fault… YOU cant give him a baby.

Infertility IS HARD. It hurts. Its painful and it changes your life. It is ALWAYS on your mind and impacts on every aspect of your life. It’s a full time job, it’s exhausting and an emotional roller coaster. But It is NOTHING to be ashamed of.  It is NOT your fault.  You are still a woman, you still have worth. It is an invisible illness.

We are all a little broken and damaged, and we aren’t quite fixed yet.

A lot of us have gone through hell, but you know what? We came back. We came back stronger.

You know why?

Because we are WARRIORS, and warriors fight!!

1 in 10 people suffer from infertility… there is a chance there is someone you know who is unable to have a child.  Who is going through all or some of this every day.  It might be someone very close to you, it might be you.

What NOT to do..

DO NOT tell them to relax and they will get pregnant.  Relaxing will not give someone a baby.

DO NOT tell them stories about a friend of a friend who did this or that… that is their story.. everyone is different, it will not soothe or give them hope.  It just makes them frustrated.

DO NOT say you can “just adopt”… adoption is a personal choice, and it is not black and white.  There is no baby shop where you can pop in and purchase a baby.

DO NOT offer your child instead

DO NOT complain about your own children, about how horrible it is being a mother, OR about your own pregnancy.  Keep those conversations for your other friends.

DO NOT ask when someone is going to start trying for a baby, they might be already, they may be struggling with infertility.  This question can be very painful, do not ask, unless you are willing to be there to listen in case the answer is that they cant.

DO NOT hide your pregnancy from them or not tell them you are pregnant… this hurts more. and can make them feel even MORE isolated then they already feel. 

So what CAN you do to help?  Listen.  Be a shoulder to cry on.  You don’t need to offer advice.  Chances are, they have tried it.  They have read all the books, searched google for hours.  They have stood upside down on their heads, and taken all the herbal remedies.  They have talked to the doctors, and had the tests.  They know.  But sometimes they just need to talk, to cry.  And all you need to say is “i am sorry you are going through this, i am here for you”. 

Understand that there will be days when they don’t feel like doing anything, or going anywhere. It’s exhausting. Plans might need to be cancelled last minute due to a sudden sickness or anxiety. Understand that they might not feel comfortable attending your baby shower, and offer an “out”. Do not exclude them or not invite them though!! Please don’t make the decision for them. Baby showers, kids birthdays and special occasions are very hard. Mothers Day is horrible.

Infertility can make you feel so alone and isolated, and sometimes all you need is a friendly smile, and a reminder that you are not invisible. That you still matter, and that you haven’t been forgotten.

I hope my story gives some inspiration and insight for people who may be going through something similar.  And to raise awareness to others about how hard infertility can be.  We need to break the silence.  Infertility is not a bad word, it is ok to talk about it.

I am a mum, i have angel babies.. babies that were too special for this earth.  I’ve had countless operations to remove cysts and legions. My period leaves me in agony, unable to get out of bed or carry out the most basic of tasks, and still comes every 2-3 weeks. Every day i hope.. i still dream… i wonder if our baby will have brown eyes like me, or green eyes like their dad… i dream of sleepless nights, of comforting my child in my arms, of hearing them cry. Of watching them explore.  Their first steps, their first words… of hearing them say “mummy”… i dream.  AND i grieve.. every month and every day.  I cry and i grieve and i keep trying.

And i crochet, and i smile 🙂

Love Nat xxx