I’m so excited to announce our latest CAL Central crochet along: the Softie CAL! Whether you’re a softie crocheting pro or a newbie who hasn’t yet crocheted your first softie, this is the CAL for you!
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As my regular readers know, I’m a member of the Fairfield World Design Team. Besides pillows in every conceivable shape and size, quilt batting in several fiber types, and a variety of interfacings and stabilizers, Fairfield is also the manufacturer of Poly-Fil. Since Poly-Fil is the fiber filling that makes softies come to life, I asked the nice folks at Fairfield to support our crochet along. Fairfield has generously provided all 10 of the participating designers with a bag of Original Poly-Fil and a bag of Poly-Fil Royal Silk to use in their softies. They will also be awarding the grand prize in the end-of-CAL giveaway, a 5 lb. box of Poly-Fil, to the crocheter whose project gets the most votes!
- Tools for making great softies,
- How the 2018 Softie CAL works,
- How to join the 2018 Softie CAL,
- 2018 Softie CAL schedule,
- 2018 Softie CAL end-of-CAL giveaway prizes, and
- Enter the 2018 Softie CAL giveaway.
Tools for Making Great Softies
To make a great softie, you’ll use the same skills and techniques you use for other crochet projects. However, making a few changes in how you use different tools and materials will make the entire softie experience more fun!
- Hooks: To keep the stuffing inside your softie and out of view, you’ll need to make your stitches smaller and tighter than for most other projects. The best way to make your stitches small is to use a crochet hook that is about 2-4 sizes smaller than what you would typically use with that same yarn. When using a smaller crochet hook with a thicker yarn, you may find that your hand feels uncomfortable. I use ergonomic crochet hooks while working on softies to avoid hand strain. My favorite comfort hooks for making softies are (from left to right) Furls hooks, Tulip Etimo hooks, and Clover Amour hooks (shown with the Clover Quick Locking Stitch Marker Set).
- Yarn: Every designer in the CAL will share a recommended yarn for their design but we all know that crocheters have to make yarn substitutions sometimes. It’s much easier to use smooth yarns when crocheting softies for the first time. Smooth yarns allow you to see your stitches more clearly. Smooth yarns are also easier to work into with a smaller hook.
- Stitch Markers: I rely on my Clover Quick Locking Stitch Marker Set A LOT when I’m making softies. Many softies are crocheted in spirals instead of joined rounds, and stitch markers help to mark the end of each round. Even softies that are crocheted flat in rows may use stitch markers to mark where to join pieces or position eyes. This set has some very “skinny” stitch markers, so they don’t stretch out your marked stitches. I also use stitch markers (instead of pins) to hold pieces into position before joining.
- Craft Eyes: Craft eyes and noses can add an adorable touch to your softies. You can find a great variety of sizes and colors in Ida Herter’s Etsy shop. If your softie will be gifted to a baby, infant, or toddler, you can embroider or crochet eyes instead to avoid a choking hazard.
- Yarn Needles: Some (but not all) softies include a little bit of sewing as different pieces are attached. I use my Clover Chibi yarn needles because they come in a variety of sizes and the bent tip makes it easier to work into small stitches.
- Lighting: When working with small stitches and detailed joins, good lighting can be the boost you need to make your finished project perfect! OttLite makes a variety of natural light lamps that can help you to see your work more clearly.
Now that you have some tips for making great softies, here is more information about the Crochet Along!
How the 2018 Softie CAL Works
Every Monday from April 2 through June 4, 2018, we’ll share a free crochet pattern for a softie! You can make fun softie projects to keep, for gifts, or to donate to charity while chatting with other crocheters in our groups and sharing your projects to win giveaway prizes!
How To Join the 2018 Softie CAL
- You can join in by crocheting the patterns as you have time.
- Share your progress and post pictures of your finished projects. Tag your projects and posts #CALCentral on all social media. You can also tag @fairfieldworld or use the #fairfieldworld or #polyfil tags when you stuff your softie with Poly-Fil.
- If you’d like to chat with other crocheters, join the CAL Central Facebook group or visit this thread in the CAL Central Ravelry group.
- By the end of the CAL, you’ll have up to 10 awesome projects. Make adorable softies while having fun with us!
2018 Softie CAL Schedule
Be sure to visit the participating designers so you can get first notification of new patterns. These links will be updated throughout the CAL to direct you to the pattern. Each pattern will also be shared in the CAL Central Crochet Facebook and Ravelry groups.
- April 2: Pattern 1 by Underground Crafter: Lion Pocket Pillow
- April 9: Pattern 2 by Oombawka Design: Baby Monkey Amigurumi
- April 16: Pattern 3 by The Friendly Red Fox: The Friendly Little Super Hero
- April 23: Pattern 4 by Repeat Crafter Me: Plush Puppy
- April 30: Pattern 5 by 5 Little Monsters: Dinosaur Softie
- May 7: Pattern 6 by Jessie At Home: Blue Belle
- May 14: Pattern 7 by Blackstone Designs: Flamingo Friend
- May 21: Pattern 8 by The Stitchin’ Mommy: Olivia Bear
- May 28: Pattern 9 by Stitches’N’Scraps: Serrana the Mermaid
- June 4: Pattern 10 by Snappy Tots: Daisy Pillow and Placemat
- Crochet at your own pace.
- June 11: Deadline for entering the end-of-CAL giveaways (see below for more details and to enter)
2018 Softie CAL End-of-CAL Giveaway Prizes
C’mon, admit it. Prizes make the CALs more fun! Four companies have contributed five prizes for our end-of-CAL giveaway. With each CAL project that you complete, you’ll have a chance to win one of these prizes.
- Fairfield has generously provided all 10 of the participating designers with a bag of Original Poly-Fil and a bag of Poly-Fil Royal Silk to use in their softies. They will also be awarding the grand prize, a 5 lb. box of Poly-Fil, to the crocheter whose project gets the most votes!
- Global Backyard Industries will be providing one lucky winner with a choice of a Charley or Ruby cactus amigurumi kit!
- Ida Herter will be providing two great prizes from her Etsy shop! One winner will receive a set of Rainbow Kawaii Bow and Hearts Locking Stitch Markers….
- and another winner will receive a variety pack of craft eyes.
- Morgan’s Mane will be providing one winner with a hand turned wood crystal crochet hook wand in the winner’s choice of size and crystal.
Enter the 2018 Softie CAL Giveaway
Share your completed project pictures below by clicking the blue “Add your link” by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Monday, June 11, 2018 to enter for your chance to win! Don’t forget to vote for your favorite project!
- To enter the end-of-CAL giveaway for your chance to win one of the prizes listed above, share share a picture of your completed Softie CAL projects using the link up below by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Monday, June 11, 2018.
- You may share one picture of each project you complete using a Softie CAL 2018 pattern. Each completed project will count as one entry in the giveaway.
- You are not required to use a link to enter, but if you do, please link directly to the Ravelry project page, Instagram photo, or blog post, not to your main blog or profile. (If you’re new to InLinkz linkups, you can find a tutorial here.)
- Four giveaway winners will be chosen from these entries at random. Each will win one of the end-of-CAL giveaway prizes.
- The 5 lb. box of Poly-Fil from Fairfield will be awarded to the crocheter whose project gets the most votes!
- Don’t forget to join the fun in our Facebook and Ravelry groups, too! You can share as many pictures as you like in the groups, but only pictures submitted here will be entered in the giveaways.