I have recently become highly amused with superfine crochet using the smallest of hooks and embroidery floss. I made this teeny Chewbacca (you know, from Star Wars!) zipper pull for a Star Wars swap. Crocheting with embroidery floss is great because it’s cheap, it comes in a huge rainbow of colors, and you don’t have to spend $3 and beyond to try a new color out. For less than a dollar in floss, you can be up and running. Plus, everything’s cuter when it’s teeny, right? This would be a fun back-to-school gift for a grade schooler.
- 1 skein of embroidery floss, $.25
- 1 small size crochet hook
- Scrap of leather (or felt) for his bandolier
- Jump ring (jewelry finding) and zipper pull, a few cents
Total: $.25 and up
There are two challenges in crocheting with embroidery floss. One, it’s small, so it’s a bit harder to work with, and to get a comfortable hand position and work flow. The good news is that it doesn’t take too long to adjust to the reduced scale. Two, the six strands of floss aren’t twisted together like yarn, so the individual strands can get caught in your work a lot more (see the little errant loops on Chewy’s legs). You can combat this by slightly twisting the floss with your index finger and thumb as you go. You can also pull out the offending stitches as you go and redo them, or pull the loops through your work to hide them.
I can’t give you the straight pattern for crocheting Chewy because I made him up as I went along, but I will give you a bunch of pointers gleaned from the process of making him.
Hook: My crochet hook was a steel hook, size 12 US (.70mm/size 5 UK). A hook a couple sizes larger would probably be fine!
Thread: I used variegated brown embroidery floss to crochet Chewbacca.
Amigurumi vs. Flat Crochet: I started with his body, and crocheted in the round, amigurumi style (amigurumi are crocheted dolls, usually crocheted in a continuous spiral in single crochet). I quickly discovered that for such a fine project, amigurumi is pretty difficult! This project would have been just as cute, easier, and quicker if I had just crocheted him flat.
Stitch to Use: To avoid having any holes in Chewy, you want to stick with single crochet. The good news is, you only need to know the most basic of stitches to make this guy!
Limbs: I used a chain stitch coming out from the shoulders to make the arms, and then came back up the chain stitch with single crochet to make the arms more substantial. I did the same for the legs, but on the bottom of the body.
Face: Embroider the face on with contrasting embroidery floss.
Blocking the Crochet: After Chewy’s crocheted, you will probably have to block him to keep his limbs and body from curling up. I used a scrap of corrugated cardboard, a few straight pins, and a splash of water. A misting of water would probably have been better, but I didn’t have anything to mist with! To block, pin the figure all stretched out the way you want it to be, get it wet, and let it dry (probably overnight).
Chewy’s Bandolier Bag: I happened to have a scrap of leather lying around, so I cut a tiny pouch-shaped piece and a strip of leather and sewed them together, and stitched them to Chewy. If you don’t have leather lying around, you can use a scrap of felt or any other non-fraying fabric to make his bandolier. Or crochet a wee pouch (and attach shiny seed beeds for the cartridges on the strap – that would be super cute!).
Making the Zipper Pull: Slip a large jump ring into the top row of stitches on Chewy’s head. Attach a zipper pull hook to the jump ring (I clamp the hook with my pliers just to make it a little harder for the hook to come out of the jump ring).
Beyond Chewy: Obviously, you can use embroidery floss to make much more than Chewbacca zipper pulls. You can crochet anything in miniature, as long as you have patience and adequate lighting! Another favorite project of mine has been tiny granny square necklaces. Maybe I’ll post about them tomorrow!
- Free amigurumi Lord of the Rings patterns from Geek Central Station
- 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet: A Collection of Beautiful Blooms for Embellishing Garments, Accessories, and More by Lesley Stanfield – a cool book with lots of pretty flower patterns. You can use embroidery floss to crochet or knit them!
- Star Wars Crafts on the Official Star Wars Blog
- More Star Wars Dollar Store Crafts
p.s. Check out this giveaway for a free Leia Hairdo Hat PDF at Sew Can Do (drawing ends August 15, 2010)