Crocheting a Perfect Circle with Staggered Increases (& Decreases)

I’m a bit of a craft perfectionist. Well – I’m a perfectionist in a lot of aspects of my life… but it really comes out in crafting! I want everything to be even and straight and measured!

Crochet Tip: Crochet the Perfect Circle - And She Laughs Crochet

When I started crocheting in the round, I noticed something that bugged that perfectionist inside me. The shape of items that I wanted to be a circle came out more hexagonal or octagonal – depending on the number of increases per round.

I knew there had to be a way to fix this. As I looked at the shapes and the lines that were made I noticed it was happening because all of increases (and decreases) happen at the same point in every round.


Traditionally a pattern will read something like this:

Round 1: magic circle with 8 sc
Round 2: inc around (16)
Round 3: inc, sc around (24)
Round 4: inc, 2 sc around (32)
Round 5: inc, 3 sc around (40)
Round 6: inc, 4 sc around (48)
Round 7: inc, 5 sc around (56)
Round 8: inc, 6sc around (64)… etc…

When doing it this way, the increase is always in the same spot in the circle and it can come out looking hexagonal or octagonal. If you look closely, you can also see the lines of increases running through the project. 

My solution: Whenever I work in the round, I stagger the place in the round that I do my increases (and decreases.) On even rows, I do half of the single crochets, then increase, then continue as normal. It is written like this:

Round 1: magic circle with 8 sc
Round 2: inc around (16)
Round 3: inc, sc around (24)
Round 4: *sc, inc, sc* repeat around (32)
Round 5: inc, 3 sc around (40)
Round 6: *2sc, inc, 2sc* repeat around (48)
Round 7: inc, 5 sc around (56)
Round 8: *3sc, inc, 3sc* repeat around (64)… etc..

You will still come out with the same amount of stitches and have the same number of stitches between increases. It just moves the increase to avoid a line and makes the overall shape much more circular! 




I write up all of my patterns this way – but I also make my own adjustment to other patterns when I make them. I do the rounds that have an odd amount of single crochets between increases as written. Whenever the increase row has an even number of single crochets between increases, I do half of the single crochets before doing the increase, increase, do the written number of single crochets between each increase and end with half of the single crochets.

This applies the same way to decreases in amigurumi. I find it helps keep the holes between stitches smaller since the decreases aren’t stacked!

I hope this helps the little perfectionist inside you get perfect circles and rounder amigurumi! Let me know if you have used this tip in the comments.

 

Andrina the Mermaid – Free Crochet Pattern

I started making mermaid tails a few years ago and as nice as they were I found my love for small, stuffed projects. I had made a few other mermaid including The Friendly Mermaid by The Friendly Red Fox. It was so cute but larger than I wanted. So I set out to design my own smaller mermaid. I wanted simple and cute and so Andrina was born.

This is the first amigurumi pattern that I’ve written up and it was quite the challenge. But I loved it. So I’m sure there will be more coming soon!

I hope you enjoy making your own version of this little cutie. The free pattern is below. If you would like an Ad-Free PDF Version of the pattern with some extra pictures you can find one on Ravelry or Etsy.

This pattern is for PERSONAL USE. You may sell items made with this pattern but please give me credit by linking to the pattern or sharing my website, especially for online sales. You may not use my pictures for your own sales. Do not copy, reproduce or sell this pattern. Please feel free to share the link to the pattern on social media!


MATERIALS

D hook (3.25mm)
Worsted Weight Yarn Colours Needed:
        Skin (I used Loops and Threads – Aran)
        Tail
Bikini Top
up to 5-6 colours for hair
2 Safety Eyes (6mm)
Black Embroidery Thread
Fiberfil
Yarn Needle
Stitch marker
Scissors
Optional: Blush and small make-up brush

FINISHED SIZE
My finished mermaid measures about 8” tall.
Gauge isn’t necessary for this amigurumi. Just be sure your stitches are as tight as possible to avoid stuffing showing.




STITCH GUIDE

Magic Circle – mc: Make a loop overlapping the yarn. Insert your hook from front to back and draw up a loop. Chain 1. Insert hook into loop and complete stitches as described in pattern (ex. 6sc) over both layer of the circle.Pull the loose end of the circle tight.
Slip Stitch – sl st
Single crochet – sc
Chain – ch
Single Crochet Increase – inc: 2 single crochets in same stitch
Invisible Decrease – inv dec: Insert hook into front loop ONLY of next 2 stitches, yarn over, pull through stitches, yarn over, pull through all loops on hook.

NOTES

  • This pattern is worked in continuous rows. Do not finish the row or chain up. Just continue next row on first stitch of last row. This method requires a stitch marker. Mark the first stitch of each row.
  • Staggered Increase and Decrease – For more explanation and pictures visit my post on Staggered Increases and Decreases.
  • Eye lashes – before adding the safety eyes (between rows 29-30 and 6 stitches apart), using embroidery thread and needle sew on lashes. Bring thread from wrong side to right side in the hole that the eye will be placed in. Start with the lash sticking straight to the side – about 1 stitch wide. Come back through eye hole and make another stitch one row down. Repeat and make one more stitch one row up. Finish and tie both ends of thread in a knot. Do not pull the knot too tight as it will distort your stitches. Repeat on other eye.
  • Mouth – using embroidery thread sew small line on row 28 that is 4 stitches long. One row down, in the centre of the line, sew up and around the line and back into the same spot. This last stitch is pulling the line down to create a smile shape. Finish and loosely tie thread in knot – careful not to distort smile.




PATTERN

Main Body
Start with tail colour.
Row 1: mc, ch1, 6 sc
Row 2: inc in each around (12)
Row 3: sc in each around (12)
Row 4: *inc, sc* repeat around (18)
Row 5: sc in each around (18)
Row 6: *sc, inc, sc* repeat around (24)
Row 7: sc in each around (24)
Row 8: *inc, 3 sc* repeat around (30)
Rows 9-13: sc in each around (30)
Change to skin colour. Cut and finish tail colour.
Rows 14-15: sc in each around (30)
Change to bikini top colour. Do NOT cut skin colour. Carry it behind work as you will pick it up again soon.|
Rows 16-17: sc in each st around (30)
Row 18: *inv dec, 3 sc* repeat around (24)
Change back to skin colour. Cut and finish bikini colour.Row 19: sc in each st around (24)
Row 20: *sc, inv dec, sc* repeat around (18)
Begin stuffing. You will probably use more stuffing than you think. Stuff full, but not so much that the stitches begin to separate. Continue to stuff body as you complete body. You will stuff neck when you stuff head.
Row 21: *inv dec, sc* repeat around (12) Row 22: *inv dec, sc* repeat around (8)
Row 23: sc around (8)
Row 24: inc in each around (16)
Row 25: *inc, sc* repeat around (24)
Row 26: *sc, inc, sc* repeat around (32)
Rows 27-31: sc in each around (32)
Add eye lashes (see notes.)Add safety eyes between rows 29-30 with 7 stitches between.
Embroider mouth (see notes) between rows 27-28
Row 32: *sc, inv dec, sc* (24)
Row 33: *inv dec, sc* (16)
Stuff head. Be sure to get stuffing into the neck. I use the wrong end of my hook to get stuffing into the neck
Row 34: inv dec around (8) Whip Stitch to close head.

Arms (make 2)Row 1: mc, ch1, 6sc
Row 2: *inc, 2sc* repeat (8)
Rows 3-12: sc around (8) or number of rows to make appropriate length
Finish leaving long tail for sewing. Sew arms on opposite sides of body between rows 19-20.

Bikini Strap
Ch 13.
Sew each end at the top edge of the bikini colour just in front of each arm, with the strap going behind the mermaid’s head. (like a halter top)

Fin
Row 1: mc, ch1, 6sc
Row 2: inc around (12)
Row 3: *inc, sc* repeat around (18)
Row 4: *sc, inc, sc* repeat around (24)
Row 5: *inc, 3sc* repeat around (30)
Rows 6-8: sc around (30)
Finish leaving long tail. Fold fin in half and whip stitch the edges together.
Insert yarn at top centre on fin, bottom in the centre of the fin, and around back at the top centre again. Pull yarn tight and cinche tail. Wrap yarn tightly around 3 more times and tie off.
Sew fin at tip of tail.

Wig Cap
Row 2: inc around (16)
Row 3: *inc, sc* repeat around (24)
Row 4: *sc, inc, sc* repeat around (32)
Rows 5-7: sc around (32)
Finish leaving very long tail. Sew wig cap on head.

 




FINISHING
Adding Hair

  1. Cut strands of hair two and a half times the length you want. You can do this all in one colour or multiple colours. I use 5-6 colours for rainbow hair.
    Tip: Find a book that is a little longer than the hair length you want and wind the yarn around the book. Carefully cut the yarn at ONE end of the book and you’ll have uniform hair strands.
  2. Hair is added one strand at a time. Take first strand and folding it in half. Insert hook into a front loop on wig cap and pull folded hair strand through. Pull loose ends of strand through loop made and pull tight
  3. I usually add hair in this order:
  •         Around edge of wig cap
  •         On both sides of hair part
  •         Around ‘crown’ of head and a couple of layers on back
  •         Fill in empty spaces
  1. Once it looks full, it’s time for a hair cut. I usually trim a little at a time because you can always take more off – but you can’t put it back on!!
  2. You can style it too, pull half back or tuck back one side. Get creative!
  3. Want Curly hair? Separate each strand of yarn using a yarn needle.

Adding Blush

This step makes her come alive! I use real blush – from my make up collection. Take a small make up brush and add little round cheeks under her eyes. Start light as you can always add more. I have found that the blush tends to fade as the doll is played with – so I do actually put it a little darker than I really want to start.

Your Mini Mermaid is done. I’d love to see it! Post it online and use the hashtag #andshelaughscrochet

What will 2018 bring?

It’s hard to believe that it was Christmas 2014 that I first started selling crochet cup cozies at a local coffee shop. My little hobby business grew pretty slowly by opening an Etsy shop in 2015. My first craft show was Christmas 2016.

This holiday season was my best yet. Not only was it successful, I found my niche in terms of finished products! I crocheted a lot of things starting in September and sold every single bit of it! I took some time between Christmas and New Years to reflect on the future of And She Laughs Crochet.

2018 will bring some big changes to my personal life… Baby Skipper is coming in April! In light of that, I wanted to adjust and diversify. I will continue to make finished product – but will focus on made to order items.

The big And She Laughs news – although not quite as big as a baby announcement – is that I am going to shift a lot of my focus to designing and publishing PATTERNS! Most of my patterns will be free and will be published right here on my blog. That will come along with some blogging – mostly crochet but a little about my life too. I will also make all patterns available in PDF format – ad free – for a small cost.

Coming up first is Andrina the Mermaid! I have found some awesome people to test out the pattern this week and will hopefully publish it next weekend. I’m so excited to see other people make my designs!!! I have some patterns in the queue but I also have some really cool ideas that I’m excited to get to.

The next pattern that I’m working on is the deer mount. I want to give it a name when I publish the pattern… any ideas? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Friday Favourites

We have one week of 2018 under our belts and it feels good! I’ve seen a lot of talk online about different people’s feelings about the new year. For some it inspires, for others it discourages. I would say I’m inspired. 2018 will be bring changes personally as we anticipate the arrival of the babe – which brings its own set of goals and tasks! That is all coming along quite well – so I’ve channeled my energy to goal setting for And She Laughs for 2018.

You might have guessed that getting back to blogging is one of my goals. Another is to produce my own crochet patterns which you will see here on this space as well!

One of my favourite kinds of blogs to read is a weekly favourites from my favourites. (A lot of favourites there!!) So weekly I want to share some of my favourite moments, links, loves, etc. I hope you can find somethings you love too!

  • I have been crocheting a lot for Christmas and for the business and am dying to make myself a garment. I saw this Cardigan and I am in LOVE! I can’t wait to make it… now to just find the time!
  • Martin and I drove to Hamilton to spend New Year’s Eve with some friends and wanted to listen to a podcast in the car. This podcast was recommended by some bloggers I follow and we listened to the whole series on our drive there and back! It’s definitely an adult podcast – but if you like Serial or S-Town you’ll like this!
  • I got to extend Christmas this year and opened gifts from my family on New Year’s Day. My mom found me this t-shirt when she was at the Mall of America. It’s the perfect maternity shirt! Cute and so very comfy!!
  • Hamilton fans will love this video. According to Twitter Lin Manuel Miranda did!

Those are this week’s favs. I’ll be back with more next week.