Beginner’s Guide for Knitting Hat

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my all handmade winter outfit (cardi knitted by my bf’s mom)

Okay, so here we go. As I also started knitting not so long ago, I do notice the up and downs in knitting. There are many interesting projects to try, as there are abundant amount of free tutorials accessible online. However the classic problem with yarn is, it’s always rather tricky to get the yarn you actually want, in the size like what the tutorial’s suggested. So in this guideline I’m practically gonna tell you how to create your measurement to knit a basic winter hat, despite the thickness/size of the wool. You are free to pick any yarn you like, yay!!

Quite often, I also get questions, what is the difference between knit and crochet. Well, in crochet you basically create a knot, but in knitting you actually drop a knot, if not more like a loop. If you view this beginner’s video for knitting you will see why (scroll down where there is a clickable link to the two types of stitches required to make the hat).

Basically for hats, all you need is buy the yarn you like (I like chunky yarns) and then follow this simple steps to make your own measurements. When you buy your yarn the label would tell you which needle to get. You don’t always have to follow this suggestion. For example, if your yarn says size 10-12 then you will get big chunky braids with size 12 and a rather tighter braids with a size 10. The needle size will determine how the braids look, but it also means it determine how big the holes in between are. For a yarn suggested with a size 10-12 you can use a size 8 for example, for a much tighter braid. It won’t look that pretty since you see less of the texture, but on the other side, the hole in between also get much smaller, which also means your hat will get much warmer. This is what I exactly did with my hat. While I came from a tropical country, the truth is I live in a cold country in North Europe, so I want to keep myself as warm as possible.

In this picture below you see a small knitted blue rectangle. This is a ‘test piece’ and you only use the right/knit stitches for this. Related to the previous paragraph, the test piece below is the same yarn I used for my hat, knitted with a size 12 needle (compare how the braid looks with my hat which used a size 6 needle). This piece is made by making 10 stitches in 10 rows. When you have this, measure the length. Mine is 11 cm. Simply then, it means that 10 stitches makes 11 cm. So to make a hat with my head circle (52 cm) I will need 47 stitches. Simple math:) I normally add 1 stitch (so I actually work with 48 stitches cause you technically stitch two stitches together to make the shape circular) but its optional. Some people like their hat to just sit right, some like it rather tighter.

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DIY Crystallized Doily

I know it’s basically just an elementary school project level that you can actually found like, a lot in pinterest or any other blogs. But I do notice that most of them use pipe cleaners, which is not that easy to get here. Since I’m now a crocheter, why not try making it with a simple doily?

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Okay, first of all this project is technically still in the run. I have yet to try it with a complicated doily design, its not even a proper doily yet – but I  know at this stage it will work out eventually. I was already in the stage to test forms, see if the crystal can actually grow on yarn, which yarn is actually firmer than the other, and so on. However, I do know if I harden a bigger or more complicated doily design with a simple sugar solution or white glue before I dip it in the borax solution, the crystals willl grow on it without problem.

Now, even though I am not experienced in science projects, but this project is basically a simple chemistry – which I have learned a bit from baking. So one thing I do know is the smallest detail matters. I’m trying to break down the process into smaller parts, why each detail matters. Continue reading

a simple crochet guide for beginners

I remember I told everyone that I learn crochet just around 7 months ago, and now I can proudly say that I am already able to create few simple designs. Crochet is also a simple math, combined with various types of knots. Though yeah, sometimes you can just wing it, if you´re more of a ´go with the flow´ type. However, of course to break some rules you need to learn it first.

I started crafting with sewing, so you can say that I am basically a seamstress😀 I somehow found crocheting a lot like sewing. There are a lot of type of stitches and each creations might need one or more stitches or techniques to get the right shape – but there´s no fixed rules. The difference is, crochet is a little more bound to math. If sewing needs accuracy in pattern shape and sizes, crochet is more like how you make the counts of the stitches.

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Regarding Plush Designing

Honestly, I´m a beginner in plush designing. I started a few years ago but stopped only after a few months after because I didn´t have the time anymore. I restarted again in mid 2013, so you can say this is only my second year. My words might be a word of a beginner but I can assure you I´m a beginner who tries to learn as much as I can whenever I have free time in between my study.:)

Many people actually don´t have much idea how plushies are made. They asked me how plushies are made and why handmade plushies are so expensive. First of all, handmade plushies cannot be compared to factory made ones. One basic reason is of course, massive produced items costs much less than creating just one or two. But that´s definitely not the only cause.

Okay, so as you know plushies are 3D shaped soft sculptures. At this matter please disregard those flat 2D ones, like the ones made from felt. So imagine you are going to create a 3D item using a piece of paper, pencil, scissors, some fabric and needle+thread. Technically, you need to know exactly the shape you want to make and you need to cut out shapes from a 2D object, which is a sheet of paper and assemble it together. Sounds more complicated now? Well, there are actually some people who use their own software to create their patterns. But most of us designers don´t do that. For a more complicated shape we normally sculpt a piece of foam, or any other medium to help create the pattern. Afterwards we need to sew them piece to piece until its a whole item. Pretty much like a puzzle.

As for the fabric, handmade plushies nowadays mostly uses minky or faux fur, which is expensive. Fleece ones are not as expensive as the ones made of minky or faux fur, but kindly let me explain first.:)

There are a lot of factors that could influence the result of this whole process. The pattern obviously, but do you know even how you snip the pieces before you turn them inside out and the way you stuff also could make things look completely different? But wait, there is more…😀 Lots of design nowadays uses embroidery appliques. These embroidery require separate designing process, which uses certain softwares like embird. I personally don´t use much embroidery on my designs because I have no machines so I have to do the whole process by hand.

On top of that, many supplies are actually not available in local stores so we have to import them. Trust me importing fabric is expensive, if you count the shipping and the tax – not to mention the other materials. So in the end, if you calculate this cost plus the hours we spend for designing and creating a plush, we plush doll designers are paid around same hourly salary as a McDonald´s employee. Although of course there is always someone who way overcharges. Nevertheless, I do feel thankful because my pay indeed helps me to pay my bill especially the past few months. I have a few clients with interesting projects they have for the designs I made for them, and its honestly very exciting. You can see one of them right HERE

I hope that answers, and if not kindly leave a comment below and I´ll get back to you as soon as I can ^^

Meanwhile if you want faster updates, kindly follow me in instagram @judithchenartworks since I mostly post my newest works there now.

Reflection, and Giveaway Announcement

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I’ve been creating more stuffs lately. Inspired by other artist works, who share their their technique, I tried my best to do everything and in my own style. There are really lots of great artists out there especially those specializing in clay sculptures and art dolls – I cried a little inside every time I was so amazed with their work. But then, I remind myself again that although I practically have been crafting my whole life but I had too much continuous vacuum due to study and the circumstances, so in the end I have never done it seriously until last year. So I consider myself a rookie now and with such advances it made me happier.

Despite of everything else going on which made me up and down I got a really flattering offer to design three plushies for an author’s children book. I’m very excited and can’t wait to start the project, which I have and its fun:)

I think I’ve been doing a little too much type of crafts at once so now I’m going to focus more on artist dolls and sculptures – well there isn’t much difference in the techniques except the soft plush part in art doll which those fluffy sculptures don’t have. I will also still be doing regular plushies and sometimes regular clay figurines but those will have to wait.

I’m a person who get discouraged easily sometimes, so big thanks to my biggest supporters: Suzanne, Katerina, Vivi and of course my boyfriend:) As a matter of fact, thanks to you too so here is my gift to you:

I’m hosting a giveaway for this cute baby santa earmuff. Kindly go to my facebook page to join or you can also join in instagram (name/handle: judithchenartworks) Good luck! :3

Fennec-Teddy Art Doll

She’s a long overdue project. I’ve made the head long way in August and just finished him in around mid-end October. I wasn’t sure what I was planning to do with the rest of the body or how it would be designed. Other artists normally plan ahead of what they wanted to make, plan the design in advance, etc. But not for me. Sometimes I prepared only until half-way or even just partial body then follow my guts for the rest. This is exactly what I did for this piece.

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It honestly took me awhile to get my crafting mojo back, I think in between those time I didn’t really make anything except a few custom order. No new items. Generally I don’t like making the same things over and over again, so I normally always try something new or skip my crafting from one type to another. For instance after making an art doll, I’ll go to just sculpting, baking or cooking then embroider something. just like that. I take my time learning from other artists, either browsing DA tutorials or youtube videos. I look mostly on ideas to get inspiration, or crafting tips like how to attach furs to art dolls. I found it very amusing. Many people asked me the exact same question: how can you craft while doing your master thesis? Well simple answer: its not something like a routine I do in between. its an art therapy, it something I need to keep me sane.

So back to the bear again, I think I’m only gonna make one more of these in grey, baby yellow or blue. maybe purple. still not sure yet. She is wire supported on the body and head, so even though the head is needle sculpted its firm. Maybe I’ll make the next one fully pose-able. This little bear is looking for someone to adopt her, so I hope she finds a loving home soon. I’m currently doing more sculpting (without plushie or other soft parts) and I will talk about it more in the next post:)