When you bring a non-yarn item into the mix – the pipe cleaner in this case – there are a lot more variables that will affect your result: the thickness of your yarn; the length and thickness of the ‘plush’ on the pipe cleaner; how closely colour-matched your yarn and pipe cleaner are, etc. There’s no magic technique – it’s just single crochet! – but I suggest you try pushing your stitches more closely together if there are gaps between them, as you need to make sure they cover the whole surface of the pipe cleaner. If that still doesn’t work for you, you can try the floral wire I suggested, use a thicker yarn to crochet around the stem, or use the wrapping method I suggest instead – there are plenty of options, so I’m sure you can find one that gives you a result you’re happy with.
Hey Minieco! Thanks so much for this tutorial, I instantly became obsessed with your site and picked up an exacto knife immediately after seeing this project. Pardon me if it’s a stupid question, but what’s the trick to get all the inside tabs to stick together? I’m thinking my mistake is not lining up the seams on the pieces, and that I probably have to glue the seams last, which is NOT what I was doing. Gem 2 turned out pretty good, but 1 is a hot mess. Thanks for any tips you have to offer a newbie, non 3-d thinker like me! And thank you for your brilliant, cheerful work!