We All Learn How to Crochet Tiny Sweaters

Big Book of Tiny Sweaters

I’m embarrassed to admit, I’m only now learning how to read crochet patterns. That’s after about fifty years of crocheting. I learned a lot in the making of this pattern. And, it’s called the Big Book of Tiny Sweaters for a reason, it’s got a lot to offer.

Why am I making a pattern now? Since I’m not an expert, it would be easy to feel not “enough” for this situation. On the other hand, I believe I’m extra sensitive to the worries and concerns of a beginner, since in many ways I’m still a beginner myself.

FAST FORWARD from my first tiny sweater fashion show in 2013 to today, March 2020. I’ve been crocheting tiny sweaters all this time. Hundreds of them. Over time I’ve fine tuned the shapes with an eye towards true human proportions and natural looking silhouettes.

This pattern has been tested.

ME to FRIEND: Would you be interested in testing my crochet pattern?
FRIEND: I don’t think I can read a crochet pattern.
ME: That’s the exact reason why you’re so perfect!

She did read the pattern. And her samples were so beautiful, it almost brought tears to my eyes.

The Big Book of Tiny Sweaters is a beginners pattern with lots of tips and guidance. It has my latest stitch counts. It goes into every detail with pictures and descriptions. Made to be easy to understand and fun to use.

Maybe even advanced crafters will appreciate how much it has to offer. Especially if they’re in a hurry. What?

If the PDF pattern is more than you need, try my online free tutorial and have fun!

Here’s some insight into my creative process on this project.

At first: A book of sweaters was not the plan, I was just taking notes for myself. I wanted to be able to remake sold-out sweaters without having to memorize each pattern. You know? I’d always eventually get there, but I wanted it to be more of a quick start. Although I felt good about taking the notes, at the time I definitely didn’t see that as a stepping stone to anyplace else.

Surprise: Last December I had a surprise mentor. “Thank you, Fiona” of Fiona Meade Crochet! After she shared my free tutorial over the holidays I had something really great happen: more visitors. The questions that came up during this time were so valuable because they showed me what needed to be clarified. And that’s when ideas for the book started to bubble up.

I was surprised at how good it felt just answering a few questions. There was a moment when I decided I had room in my life to be a student and a teacher at the same time. From there my confidence began to accumulate a little more.

Getting there: Going from “great notes” to “book” took me about three times longer than I thought it would. Initially, there was the exhilaration of getting all the notes entered into the computer. But then it wasn’t exhilarating the whole way. There was a tedious middle part. I started questioning my sanity when I couldn’t stop editing.

One of the things that kept slowing me down was thinking of important new stuff to add. Probably because we get our best ideas when we’re working. Even still, I think most artists understand that middle part of a project that feels impossible and, like, what was I thinking? Pushing through the sticky middle is such a relief. I’m not done yet but I can almost taste it.

Later, Fiona also shared an article from Dora Does about how to read and write a crochet pattern. It gave me a checklist. Happily, I was closer than I thought to being finished and starting to feel pretty good about my work. The best part is, if I’d started this project by researching how to write a crochet pattern, I would have been bogged down in too much information. Maybe forever second guessing myself. So the timing of the article coming up on my newsfeed was perfect.

Nearing the end now: Some really loving feedback from my sister, Judy, did a lot to help bring the writing into focus. She also patiently looked at, and commented on, countless cover drafts.

My sweet, and mechanically minded husband, read through the whole book. And while he doesn’t crochet, he gave me a couple of pointers that I think made the book even better for beginners.

Another aesthetically inclined and very tender friend read through a later draft. She encouraged me to be myself. And helped with some grammar, and solving an issue I was having with the headlines.

I’ve written about tiny sweaters before, here and on zenhensart.com. As you can see I’ve been on this journey a while now. In the beginning I didn’t know where it was going but somewhere along the way I found out making tiny sweaters makes me happy.

I’m always making too many sweaters and enjoying it so much that I have no regrets.


PATTERN DESCRIPTION

In this crochet pattern you’ll see step-by-step exactly how I make my wildly popular sweater ornaments. I’ve refined these patterns over hundreds of sweaters. I hope you’ll have a great experience with this pattern which is why I’ve spared no detail.

PDF file, 22 pages. Available for download immediately after purchase. May be read on your tablet or printed and punched for a 3-ring binder.

Fun to make. Crazy cute.

— Easy instructions
— Beginner tutorial with lots of photos
— Only 3 abbreviations used
— Tips, ideas, encouragement

The Big Book of Tiny Sweater Ornaments gives you the whole inside scoop. Instructions are illustrated to help you jump right in and start creating.

Specific instructions for all the variations you see on the cover, and more.

Discussion of embellishments for each sweater.

Helpful suggestions for creating your own designs.


Adorable sweater ornaments…
Three different ways:


Thank you for checking out my artwork!
with love, Alexis

PS: In case you’re wondering, YES, I do take custom orders when I can.

2018, the Year I Crocheted Tiny Sweaters

Enjoy this tiny sweater fashion show. So much tiny style!

It’s been a full and busy year. Overwhelming at times. Crocheting tiny sweaters helped me through it all.

I really love miniature anything. At first, I didn’t know tiny sweaters were already a thing. Apparently, I stumbled into a “thing” by just having fun.

 “Just having fun is a worthwhile endeavor!” according to my sister, Judy. Guess I can go along with that. I feel happy each time I finish a tiny sweater and I think it’s because of how cute they are. In the last five years I’ve crocheted over 250 tiny sweater Christmas ornaments.

I started by checking out a few different free patterns before developing my own. If you like to crochet, click [here] for my easy and free instructions to make a tiny sweater.

Tiny Sweaters for Web Instructions

Tiny sweater ornaments in bright festive colors

After some refinement, I’m pleased with the shapes and proportions. Plus, now I’ve memorized the patterns. Not many things are as satisfying as being in that kind of flow.

Earlier this year I decided to crochet. To restock the popular and already sold out styles. That seemed reasonable. I didn’t expect it to take very long.

Then I got pulled into the rhythm of counting stitches. I find this very soothing. Meditative, even. A good enough reason to continue for a while. Maybe make a few extra.

Next I had cataract surgery on both eyes. This limited some activities while I waited for my vision to stabilize. Meanwhile, I had reading glasses that were the perfect strength for close-up work. Another reason to keep crocheting so I did. I love being still and productive at the same time. Crocheting lets me do that.

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Yarn to go

By summer I was getting on an airplane and flying to the mainland. Leaving behind my island home brings with it a certain amount of separation anxiety. It’s to be expected. I knew from my last trip I’d be happier if I had some yarn with me.

My brain had a lot of information to process with the multiple family reunions and reconnecting with old friends. Crocheting helped me feel grounded and resist the urge to fidget.

Once back home, more crocheting through the rest of the summer. It seems like several times I said was going to put my supplies away and then kept crocheting instead.

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In answer to the question, what have I been up to, lately?

Somebody should have stopped me right about here. I don’t know who “somebody” is, but I wish I did! I did not stop here. Nope. I still had a few styles I wanted to try.

One morning I got a text from Judy asking how was I doing? I had been pondering a question. So I texted back these two pictures of the natural white sweater and asked which bow she liked best.

“What if you added a belt?” she said, “Don’t decide now, just look at it.” Usually these things are decided by the materials I have on hand. This metallic silver trim goes perfectly with that over-the-top eyelash yarn. As a minimalist, I wouldn’t have instinctively added so many details but I love it! And I made several more just like it, too.

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Sweater ornament in natural white with metallic silver trim

It’s been so cool having a design consultant on staff. Especially since she’s proclaimed herself as one of my biggest fans. To prove her point, and without even thinking about it, she can rattle off a long list of my products that she owns (placemats, napkins, towels, wallets, jewelry, sleep masks, etc.). Thank you, Judy.

(And, yes, that’s a shameless plug for other items you may find at Alexis Art Studio.)

Our next design together was a his and hers sweater set. I’d been drawing a blank on what would make the perfect men’s style. That’s when Judy came up with the necktie idea. So cute and totally “crushed” the concept I was going for! She loved the prototype so much that she pre ordered four sets. That set me off on another crochet spree.

Later we played with a bow tie idea. We worked on it for a while, texting pictures and exchanging thoughts. After all that, I decided I liked the necktie better. It came to me in a moment and I just knew…

Repeating a great idea was going to feel better than introducing an okay idea just because it’s new. It’s one of my ongoing struggles as an artist. I’ve expended a lot of energy trying to be original all the time and finally realized it’s so unnecessary.

Making lots of sweaters also means making lots of little hangers. They’re bent from florists wire, one at a time. That’s why I’m so thankful for this jig that my husband made for me. I bend the wire around it to get the hangers a consistent size and shape.

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Jig and wire for making tiny hangers

Each sweater has a studio label inside with Made in Hawaii. Additional details about each ornament, the colors, and embellishments, are in the individual listings.

Oh, sure, yes. The thought did come to me a few times that I should stop. Making. Sweaters. But then the next thought was: I can only sell them if make them first. Because most of the work was in styles that I’ve sold before, I felt (pretty) confident that the extra inventory would be crowd pleasing.

Come check out the cute and happy tiny sweater Christmas ornaments in my etsy shop

Thank you!!

Alexis

PS: Might as well get some for yourself, too. More than once I’ve had buyers tell me they were planning to give them as gifts but couldn’t bear to part with them. Just sayin’!

About Me

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Happy in my studio

A graphic design background puts a sense of proportion and order in all the things I make. When I can brighten your day with something I’ve made, that brightens my day, too. Thank you for being part of the joy!

Since opening my etsy shop in April of 2016 I have been focusing most of my attention there.

Everything you see in my etsy shop I make, one at a time. I… Can’t. Stop. Making things! I’m a little nuts about it, actually. This is a lifelong problem that started with my grandma teaching me how to crochet when I was 7 or 8. Which lead to knitting and then to sewing and so much more.

I’m going to create things no matter what. And I’m currently in the process of learning how to connect my things to the people who will really appreciate them (marketing).

I work in whatever medium is intriguing me at the moment. And I like to really dig into a project. For as long as the process fascinates me. For as long as I’m enjoying it and learning something. After that, I say no to boredom and stale ideas! That’s how I ended up with such a wacky and fun assortment of treasures. I would love to find homes for all of them.

There’ll be more. Always more. Including some surprises for you. And me, too!

About the Work

Through my etsy shop item descriptions, I get you some backstory on each piece. I try to explain the why of it, and sometimes also the how.

MY PROCESS. I have piles of fabric, stacks of patterns and paints, and tools stuffed into every corner. All mixed with things from my personal life. All in big heaps in small spaces. I have a friend who likes to picture me sitting at the sewing machine whipping up worlds of whimsy. Hold on to that image because that is the reality—it’s just hard to take a photo of it because of there are so many ideas laying around everywhere.

QUALITY. I do my very very best, always. I’m proud of my work which is good. The downside is that I nit pick and grab my seam ripper (and other tools of destruction and undoing) far more often than might be strictly necessary. What can I say? Tightly done construction is part of my look and style.

MINIMAL WASTE. That’s my mindset. I love working with beautiful new fabrics. I also love to upcycle and repurpose. To score great finds at garage sales and thrift stores. To use up every last scrap of fabric. Take apart old jewelry and repurpose beads. Cut up old books for collages, etc.

MINIMAL PACKAGING. Sometimes I sew studio labels into my pieces, other times I attach a tiny paper tag with my logo. I ship almost everything in a padded mailer with just a little bit of white tissue wrap.

Island inspired art and gifts hand made in Hawaii.
THANK YOU!
Alexis