Embroidering Yarn Eyes
Welcome back for our third weekly tutorial for the Mini Mania Crochet-a-Long! All month long I am going to be posting tips to help us along as we make our minis together. Be sure to check out the CAL announcement for more information and head on over to the Monster's Toy Box Ravelry group to join in on the mini-making fun.
For our final tutorial of the Mini Mania CAL, I will be showing how to embroider amigurumi eyes using yarn. Embroidered eyes are a good baby-safe alternative for plastic safety eyes that could be chewed off when the toy that you are making is too small for felt eyes to be feasible.
As a bonus, embroidered eyes are very quick and easy to do. In just a matter of minutes, you can a cute little critter staring right back at you!
First, locate when you will be making the eyes. Then, using a scrap of black yarn, make a vertical stitch, one or one and a half rows tall. The exact height may vary depending on how large your mini is and your personal preference. A taller stitch will equal a larger eye and will require more stitches to round it out.
Be sure to bring the yarn back to starting point of the stitch.
Make another stitch directly to either side of the first stitch, going in and out at the exact same points.
Repeat step two again four or five more times until you think the eye is the right size (or as many times as the directions say).
Once done, tie the two ends of the yarn together in a square knot and weave in the ends.
It really is that simple! However, there are a couple of tricks that I have found makes eye-making even better.
Tip #1: Shape as You Stitch
You can attain a more rounded eye by directing where the stitches will go instead of letting them fall wherever they please.
I get the best results when I hold the yarn off to one side as I’m making a stitch. The next stitch I make will go to the outside of that stitch, and I will repeat a few more times until I have a nice, rounded shape built up. Then I will repeat the process for the other side.
Doing this makes the eye much more round and regular.
Tip #2: Snug Up!
Similarly, even out the tension of each stitch as you make it for a smoother surface… loosey-goosey stitches can make for a lumpy eye.
Giving a gentle tug after you finish each stitch—don’t yank!—but a little pull and there can go a long way.
Tips #3: Avoid Eyeball Fuzz
Let’s face it—nobody likes to get fuzz in their eyes. Because you will be embroidering on an otherwise stuffed and finished toy, it is very easy to catch some stuffing with your darning needle as you stitch your eyes. And if you are using black yarn for the eyes, that white stuffing can be pretty obvious!
To help avoid snagging any stray stuffing, try to run the needle as close to the surface of the fabric as possible instead of “scooping” the needle into the inside of your amigurumi when returning the yarn to the starting position.
And if some stuffing does get caught anyway (trust me, those sneaky fibers will!), take a few moments to neaten things up. It is very easy to pluck out the loose fibers of stuffing poking out with your fingers. For the cantankerous ones that get caught in the stitches of eye itself, the tip of a darning needle can help dig the stubborn stuffing out into the open.
Each of these tips only takes a little extra time to do and helps a lot improve the appearance of embroidered eyes.
Also be sure to check out the tutorial I made for the Granny’s Monster CAL on embroidering smiles if you are looking for some pointers on how to embroider a mouth for the Mini Monster in the Toy Box.
Can you believe that this is the last week of the Mini Mania CAL?!? I will be doing the final Round-Up next Monday, when I will be sharing all of the amazing projects everyone has made and picking out the winner of the CAL prize! Be sure to share your finished Minis over at the Monster’s Toy Box Ravelry group before midnight on Sunday, September 28, 2014 in order to be counted towards the prize drawing!