Hello everyone! I hope that you all had a wonderful New Year's Eve. I'm starting off the new year with my very first crochet tip ever. I'm hoping on creating a youtube video on this topic soon. When I do I will provide the link here.
Some toys are meant to be floppy, but others not so much. A huge pet peeve of mine has always been floppy necks. Over the years, I’ve tried different solutions to this problem.
The first thing I tried with good results was to modify some patterns by increasing the neck wideness or decreasing its length. However, this always bothered me, because if the designer wanted it done that way, they would have written it that way…right? Also, it can change the appearance of your toy.
The second thing I tried was over-stuffing, with disastrous results. Pro-crocheters already know that over-stuffing stretches your stitches and makes the problem worse. My only excuse is that I was new to amigurumi at the time that I tried this!
On to wooden and plastic dowels. Now these worked pretty well! However, it is a solution with some disadvantages. The first being that wooden dowels shouldn’t go in the wash. Not a problem for a display item, but a BIG problem for play items. I created my own plastic dowels by cutting up broken plastic coat hangers. These are OK to go in the wash, but again, not so great for play. The dowels have a tendency to migrate over time and can come poking out of the toy, and that's not good for little kids!
So now, I think I may have come up with a good solution. I got the bright idea when I was dabbling in puppet-making for my kids. Puppet forms are made out of sheets of foam cut and glued together. When I was watching the cashier roll up the foam sheet I just purchased, this is when the light bulb went off.
I crocheted the head and neck of my toy, stuffing as I went, and pushing the stuffing to the sides so I had a little hole in the middle.
I cut a small rectangle out of the foam sheet like so.
I rolled it nice and tight. I would suggest running a couple of stitches through it to hold it.
Once I had the head stuffed the way I liked, I pushed the foam support into the neck, then continued to crochet around it. You'll notice that it unwound quite a bit, that's because I didn't put in those stitches I mentioned earlier!
I added a couple of stitches with a tapestry needle and matching colour yarn to prevent the neck support from migrating.
And voila! A nice firm neck! Just a note though, during this process, I was also experimenting with a different stuffing made out of foam bits. This stuffing is also much firmer than fiber fill and might on its own make a firmer neck. I will try this out in the future and let you know how it goes.
So what do you think about my floppy neck solution? Any tips and tricks of your own? Please comment below, I would love to hear about it!