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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Small crochet projects to sell: a zippered key cover tutorial

Have you ever think that you have too much excess yarn like I do?
My experience taught me that left over yarn is valuable when it followed by a matching crochet pattern.

Previously, I was happy utilising the left over to make mini appliqués, but then I lost my mojo to crochet flowers or other appliques, what do we do then?
I have tons of left over yarn after making a bag, rugs, and blankets. They have different texture, colours and sizes. I felt that I was barely make money with it.

Until one day, during my lazy time surfing on Pinterest, a key cover free pattern caught my attention. I copy the pattern and made some of it. Well, my first batch was not a great success, and decided to gave them to my friends but then ask for a review. Hearing my friends honest comments really help me to make some improvements. And they started to sell! I am happy to share tutorials that will include both, key cover which made following original pattern and updated key cover with some upgrades.
Enjoy!

1. Key Cover Original Pattern 

There are hundreds of key cover pattern available on Pinterest. But since this is the first time I am into it, I decided to pick the easiest. The pattern I adopted is not written in english, but it is easy to understand. Unfortunately, the pattern does not comes up with yarn and crochet hook suggestion. So, I was totally blind, how big it is going to be. I decided to go with small ply soft cotton yarn, using 2.5mm crochet hook.
This pattern saved from this link, easiest key cover pattern that I can make. I do not understand the words, but the pattern is just readable to me.
On First trial making key cover, it turns out to have 7cm of width and 9cm of height (2.5mm crochet hook with small ply cotton yarn), not too big. It fits only for 2-3 keys inside. But they looks sooo cute. I used local made cotton yarn from Crochet Republic. Bought them when the store had sale and I love it. It is quite soft (but not too soft also), and not too stiff nor itchy. The colour not even fade after my friend used the key cover for 2 weeks, but need to find out later whether it is going to fade after washing.

First time making these key cover. We absolutely can play with colours , beads, buttons and anything.
I have to admit, even though the key cover looks extremely cute, since this thing is not quite popular yet in Indonesia, it was hard to sell them. I decided to gave some to my friend as a gift with an exchange receiving an honest review of the product. My beloved friend's reviews are true gold. They reviewed the size, the length of the tail that hold the ring to attach keys, the yarn, and put some other things that might make the key cover make more sales, which I never think about it before.

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2. Functional Improvements of Key Cover's Original Pattern

**First thing that I need to work on is the length of the tail. Apparently, I made it too short, so whenever the user need to use the keys, they should pull the cover a little bit hard, not really nice though :(. But later on, I make sure that I added extra 1-2 cm from its height.

Blue circles point to the extra 2 cm long I added on the A key cover compared to the B key cover.

As seen on the picture above, the 'B' key cover is the first batch I made. The key ring hardly seen to be pulled out. Took the lesson, and then I added extra 2 cm for the second batch. Both A and B were made exactly using the same pattern, but since my beloved friend said it only able to takes up 2-3 keys inside, I made it with a bigger-acrylic yarn. Well, it is rather stiff, but on this size ( 14 cm tall and 11 cm width), it can manage 6-7 keys inside.

Another option is using bigger ply of cotton yarn. I have tried it by using worsted cotton from local yarn shop too (Poyenghobby), using 4.5 mm crochet hook, then it meets almost all the requirements. It has comfy size (9cm of width and 10 cm tall), the tail a lot easier to pull out. The last, worsted cotton make it smoother compared to acrylic, so then it would not scratch any other thing inside your bag or pocket.

All those three key cover were made with the same pattern too. The pink is made out of super soft baby cotton, using 3mm crochet hook, the blue was made with worsted cotton using 4.5mm crochet hook and the grey-sleeping baby owl key cover using 100% acrylic yarn with 4.5mm crochet hook. The difference clearly seen on their size. The lesson is, if customer requested for larger or smaller size of the key cover, instead changing the counting on pattern, just use smaller or bigger ply of yarn. Because changing pattern will have consequences on its shape, there is possibility we will end up having -not so proportional size and shape- unless you are really a professional in re-making a crochet pattern.

** Second thing that I worked on is to put zipper on it.
 There is request to keep keys stay inside the cover, so it would not scratch other thing. Well, this is a point that I never think before, yes of course, don't we hate it right? I often found new scratch on my cell phone caused by the keys, they are the absolute culprits because all coins safely grounded in my purse, lol.

At first, I had a thought to add a button. But well then, I think button can not keep the keys entirely inside, there is still chance keys will leave out the cover. So, zipper would be the best. Well, then attaching zipper onto the key cover is another real problem. I have tried sewing it using sewing machine, but the size of the key cover does not fit into my sewing machine, it is away too small.
Then I sew it by hand, here is how I managed it:

1.

Cut the zipper but with addition 2 cm for every corner.

Put a mark (dot) for every 0.5cm. Then start making a net around it using using exactly the same yarn and tapestry needle. When it finished, should be like picture below.
2. Next step is preparing stopper for the zipper.
We can use fabric, but here I used ribbon for the quick result. Picture colase below is the step I was adding stopper to the zipper.
3. Final step is sewing zipper onto the key cover. We need single strand yarn and tapestry needle. But any needle as long as it has big hole to carry the cotton yarn is fine.
Carefully sew the zipper to the key cover, this is why I was suggesting to use same yarn, to make the stitches look perfect and seamless. I think any type of stitches would do too. Besides using tapestry needle, we can attach the zipper using crochet hook too, both results are look fine and neat.
Picture below is the final look of the zipper.

Once zipper done, it is time to apply appliques you have, or maybe buttons, pearls. Basically we can decorate it with everything we love.
After all, those zippered key cover is kind of similar with mini crochet coin purse but with slightly different purpose.
I really enjoy making it.
Hope you have a good time making some of them too..
Happy crocheting my crochet fellas 😘😘😘

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