Suki twittered me and asked me to share any hints that I may have to embroider a face on crochet toys (also called amigurumi). I am more than happy to help, of course. Here is the way I do it and if your way is different to mine, please leave a comment and share your technique with us.
I use a scrap piece of yarn to guide me on how I want the smile to look like. You may also use a suitable marking pen or pencil to draw your smile onto the face as your guide. Thread yarn or floss through a sharp embroidery needle.
If like me, you are embroidering the mouth before finishing the stuffed toy, pull the needle through the starting point from the wrong side and leave a tail long enough to tie a knot with later.
Alternatively, if you have already finished the amigurumi, do it the following way. Push the needle in from the back or bottom of the head, through the stuffing and to the starting point. Stop just as the tail disappears into the back or bottom of the head. The tail should sit securely among the stuffing.
Sew a running stitch, using the scrap yarn smile as a guide (see step 1). I try to weave the needle in and around the crochet stitches, instead of through them. Hopefully you can see in the two pictures below how the crochet stitches neatly fill the gaps between the running stitches.
Now I work my way back to complete the smile. The trick I found is to sew a little bit in the start and end of each running stitch already sewn. This stops unsatisfactory gaps between stitches. Sew in this way back to the starting point.
To finish off, tie a knot on the wrong side if you are embroidering the smile before finishing the toy.
Otherwise, push your needle through the stuffing to the back or bottom of toy (reverse of how you started) and pull the yarn tightly. Snip the tail off just a little bit shorter so that the yarn disappears into the head.
And you’re done! Clear as mud, eh?
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