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Malaysia Home & Decor Magazine Feature

I have some very exciting news to share with you all!  I was featured in the June 2013 issue of Malaysia’s “Home & Décor” Magazine!  This is the beautiful cover…

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Mei of Meimoirs, a fellow amigurumi artist who is extremely talented and creative, first contacted me in March and told me that she was doing a story about the “Global Handmade Movement" for the magazine.  I was so honoured that she wanted to feature me!  Mei did a wonderful job with the story as she talks about the rising popularity of handmade items, Pinterest, DIY tutorials and Etsy, as well as how social media has really helped spread the popularity of crafting.  Handmade items are definitely a breath of fresh air in a world of mass consumerism and big-box stores! 

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The story features five artists from around the world, including Canada (me), France, Australia and Malaysia!  I really enjoyed reading about the other artists and seeing their work :)  It is definitely neat to see and hear about what is going on around the crafting world!

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My feature includes pictures of Snuggles, Dragon, Sweetheart Bunny and my Long Double Crochet Cowl!

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Here is my feature in the magazine!  Give it a read…perhaps you’ll learn something new about me!

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Thank you to Malaysia’s Home & Décor Magazine for the lovely feature, and thank you so very much to Mei for writing up such a great story and including me!  Check out Mei’s amigurumi work on her blog HERE!

[All photos in this blog post courtesy of Mei!]

Mikaylove Giveaway! [CLOSED]

I still very vividly remember back in March 2011 when I received an e-mail from a blog reader named Kay.  I had just started my blog two months prior in January and not very many people knew about my work.  Kay said that she had found my Valentine Teddy pattern and had made her very own!  This was the very first time someone had sent me pictures of their work using my pattern, and I was so incredibly excited.  I had spent hours writing up my patterns (there were only two at the time) and figuring out my designs, so to know that someone was using it somewhere in the world was incredibly special!  You can see Kay’s Valentine Teddy here.

Kay started her own blog called “I’m Hooked" and I loved perusing it as she posted adorable pics of her popsicle keychains, mini wallets/pouches, and all the lovely items she made for her baby girl (what a shoe collection!).  What really caught my eye was her cute amigurumi penguin pattern that she had translated HERE.  It was my first time crocheting with two colours at the same time, and I absolutely loved how this cutie turned out!  You can read Penguin’s step-by-step blog post here.  I think this little penguin would make an adorable Christmas ornament, don’t you?

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Kay and I kept in touch, and I am so thankful for her love, support and prayers for our family.  We are now both moms to beautiful baby girls!  She even sent us a package full of goodies for baby Myla- this really brightened up my day and lifted my spirits as the first few weeks coming home from the hospital were challenging at times.  Her thoughtfulness and generosity blew me away! 

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As we were messaging each other, Kay revealed how she had started her blog when she was pregnant and a bit lonesome.  Kay wrote,

"It was your pattern that got people to even look at my page and from there I gained an audience that was interested in my work and most importantly, me. And even though I no longer blog, I will be forever grateful of the amigurumi bear pattern that changed my life.  So, thank you!" 

This brought me to tears, knowing how much of an impact my blog could have on someone.  I’ve received at least a half dozen e-mails from people all stating that they’ve been inspired to start their own blogs after seeing “All About Ami”, and I’m always so overjoyed to hear this.  God has given me this platform to express and share my creativity and love of crochet with others, and I am so happy to hear that it has impacted others in such a positive way!

Even though Kay no longer blogs, she too has found a way to do what she loves and share it with others through her Etsy store called “Mikaylove" that she has just launched.  Mikaylove is derived from her daughter’s name “Mikayla”, and as a stay at home mom, Kay was inspired by her love for her baby girl to create a handcrafted jewelry line that would appeal and be affordable to all audiences.  Kay sent me some of her pieces and I immediately fell in love with their elegant and classy designs.  I liked them so much that I ordered some more for myself and my family! 

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Kay sent me the “Cross Weave Bracelet in Peach" (LOVE this) and the "Double Wrap Bracelet in Maroon" (maroon/burgundy or ‘oxblood’ is such a trendy colour right now for the fall!).

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Kay’s classic designs go well with any outfit and you can definitely dress them up or dress them down!  I looove stacking bracelets to add interest to my outfits….can you ever have enough bracelets?

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I ordered the stunning “Mikaylove Original Design Necklace in Turquoise & Grey" for myself since I love the colour combo and bib necklaces are so popular right now!  Isn’t it gorgeous?

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I also ordered the “Double Wrap Bracelet in Mint Green" since I love this colour.  I think peach and mint green go so well together! 

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The little “Mikaylove” tag of authenticity on each piece is very cute too :)

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I think that all of the Mikaylove pieces are affordable, with prices comparable to those found in retail chain stores, except these pieces are all handmade!  I am all for supporting handmade artisans and moms who are working from home.  Kay has many different pieces available in a vast array of colours (see pic below for more of her designs).  Please check out her store HERE to see her collections!  You can also find Mikaylove on instagram too (@Mikayloveinc). 

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Kay has been generous enough to offer THREE GIVEAWAYS for my readers!  In order to enter, please visit the Mikaylove Etsy store HERE and select your FAVOURITE PIECE.  There are three ways to enter (one winner will receive their selected favourite piece from each of the following groups):

(1) Blog comments: Leave a comment on this blog post, stating your favourite piece (e.g. “I love the Cross Weave Bracelet in Cream”).  One comment per person please.

(2) Facebook: Leave a comment on the Facebook link to this post stating your favourite piece (click HERE to access the “All About Ami” Facebook page).  Like and Share the post (be sure to change the share settings to “Public” so I can see it) for additional entries.

(3) Tumblr: "Like" this post and reply with what your favourite piece is.  Reblog this post for an additional entry (only once please).  Tumblr winner must be a follower of BOTH “All About Ami" and "MIKAYLOVEINC" on tumblr HERE

You may enter all three ways!   If you are under 18, please ask your parents’ permission before entering.  The contest is open worldwide and will run until Wednesday, December 5 at 9 PM, MST.  Winners will be announced on Friday, December 7.

Oborocharms Bracelet

I had never participated in an art trade before, but I jumped at the opportunity to work with Kim Rountree of Oborocharms when she suggested that we do one (read about how I got to know Kim here).  I had a difficult time choosing what I wanted to ask Kim to make as her shop was full of adorable charms and stuffies.  What stood out to me in particular were her custom charms that were incredibly detailed.  I thought it would be so special to have little custom charms made based on my original amigurumi designs.  I e-mailed Kim, listing some suggestions of custom charms I would love to have, including Chinese New Year Doll, Valentine Teddy, Sweetheart Bunny, and Dragon.  I also told Kim that I completely didn’t mind choosing items that were already in her shop (non-custom) if it was too much trouble.  Kim was so gracious and generous as she immediately replied, saying she wanted to make ALL of them!  I knew it would be a challenge, but there is nothing that Kim can’t handle! 

As I excitedly began to work on Snuggles the Penguin for Kim based on one of her charms, I was treated to “sneak peeks” of my charms through Kim’s facebook page.  Kim periodically posted photos of all her work in progress, and Ryan and I had a blast seeing our charms being made along the way and trying to figure out which ones were for us!  Can you identify any of my amigurumi designs in the photo below?  The next series of photos are all courtesy of Kim from her facebook page!

I thought I’d point them out to you just in case you couldn’t see them all!  From left to right, we have Dragon, Sweetheart Bunny, Valentine Teddy and Chinese New Year Doll.  Haha, I don’t blame you for not being able to identify Chinese New Year Doll since she’s flopped over!  You can see the bun in her hair ;)

Next, Kim posted a photo of her charms drying after she had painted them!  Kim does such fine detailed work, and her painting is impeccable.  Here you can spot Dragon, Sweetheart Bunny, Valentine Teddy and Chinese New Year Doll too!

I was so excited when Kim posted this photo of the Dragon charm, as was everyone else on her page!  Kim had yet to add some more detail, but he was looking super cute already!

Here is the Dragon charm all finished, complete with his scaled body and tiny fang!

Kim drew a sketch of this baby dragon six years ago, and now he’s an amigurumi AND an adorable charm :)  This charm seems to be very popular as Kim has been making so many of them!  I love how you can have them in any colour you want too- check out that blue dragon!  You can order your own Dragon charm by clicking here.

Kim also posted a photo of the finished Valentine Teddy charm!  Look how tiny he is compared to a penny!

When Kim posted this picture of all four of my completed charms, I absolutely could not stop smiling and staring at the screen!  They were all SO CUTE and accurate, and I was so thankful that Kim had made all four for me :)  I asked her if she would attach them onto a bracelet for me as she had recently added a custom charm bracelet option to her shop.  Kim happily obliged and attached them onto the bracelet in the order in which I had designed and created them.  I was so excited when Kim told me that she had officially sent the bracelet off in the mail!

Kim also has a youtube channel here, and in this video she took the time to describe some new charms she had finished.  Kim talks about the charms she made for me between 0:43 - 1:34, and you can see what they look like from all different angles (Sweetheart Bunny and Valentine Teddy both have cute little tails and Dragon has some horns along his back).  I loved being able to see them “in action”, which of course got me even MORE excited for my bracelet to come in the mail!

I excitedly checked the mail everyday and practically squealed with joy when I saw that my package from California had arrived!  I waited for Ryan to come home so we could open it together!  Inside the package was this adorable litttle box that contained my charm bracelet PLUS some cute pinback buttons that Kim had thrown in as an added bonus :)  Her strawberry octofruit, owl and baby narwhal are all popular items in her shop!  Don’t my charms look absolutely adorable all huddled together in their little box?

I immediately took out the bracelet and examined each charm carefully one-by-one.  I could not believe how tiny and detailed they were!

Here is the order in which we designed and created these little guys: Chinese New Year Doll, Valentine Teddy, Sweetheart Bunny, and Dragon!

I thought I would show you what each charm looks like compared to my amigurumi creation in case you’ve never seen them!  For the Chinese New Year Doll, I was really impressed that Kim even included the tiny chopsticks in the charm’s hair, complete with the yellow and grey decorative balls.  Her little bun, side part, rosy cheeks and winged lashes are all perfect!

Valentine Teddy has his dapper little red bow and the stitching on his feet too!

Kim did such a great job with the Sweetheart Bunny, from her detailed floral bow to her pretty pink jumper and her perfect little heart!

And of course, here are the two Dragons based on Kim’s drawing from 6 years ago!  They both have their little wings, rosy cheeks, scaled bodies and sweet little fangs!

Here are all four of the charms that Kim made for me with their crocheted counterparts!  They’re all so sweet!

After examining each of the charms, I immediately asked Ryan to help me put the bracelet on!  Kim spaced each charm out perfectly so that I had a lot of slack left-over…I don’t like bracelets that are too big since they always feel like they’re going to fall off!

I absolutely love my one-of-a-kind charm bracelet, and it’s neat to think that I’m the only one in the whole wide world who has it!  I wore it out already, and I couldn’t help but smile when looking at it.  This bracelet reminds me of all the hard work we’ve put into our amigurumi creations, how people all over the world have crocheted their own versions, and how much fun my collaboration with the talented Kim of Oborocharms has been.

Even though we sent off our packages on different days, would you believe that Kim and I both ended up receiving each other’s art trade items on the exact same day?  Kim posted this picture of the crocheted Snuggles I made for her with the little charm Snuggles sitting atop his head!  Snuggles looks right at home at Kim’s place, and I’m so happy that he made it there safely! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting an inside look into our art trade!  The whole process has been so much fun, and it’s a little sad that it’s over.  We’ll definitely try and do another one in the future though :)  You can crochet your own Snuggles by following the pattern here or crochet your own Dragon by following the pattern here.  You can also purchase a Snuggles charm here or a Dragon charm here.  If you have any custom charms that you would like made (e.g. your pets, favourite foods, favourite animals, etc.), be sure to contact Kim!  Her custom charms would make very meaningful gifts either for yourself or for your loved ones!  Thank you so much again for my personalized, beautifully-crafted charm bracelet, Kim :D

Pattern: Snuggles the Penguin

Who can resist Snuggles the Penguin with his sweet face all bundled up in his removable scarf?  Crochet your very own and he’ll make a great friend every season of the year!

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Snuggles the Penguin

Let me give you the background story of how Snuggles the Penguin came to be!  Back when we were researching cute images of dragons for Chinese New Year, we immediately fell in love with this adorable drawing:

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I couldn’t find the source of this image, but I went ahead and crocheted my amigurumi Dragon based on it.

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Luckily for me, an astute tumblr follower recognized the artist of the drawing and directed me to Kim Rountree of Oborocharms.  I immediately tried to contact her, letting her know that I had made an amigurumi dragon based on the baby dragon she had drawn six years ago.  Kim was very quick to get back to me, and she was incredibly gracious, stating that she absolutely loved him and my blog!  We developed a friendship from there as we checked out each other’s work: Kim is a very talented artist who makes kawaii stuffies and beautiful charms!  Check out her store here!

As we continued communicating with one another, we thought it’d be a great idea to do an art trade, particularly since both of us love everything cute and our mediums of art are so different.  I had never participated in an art trade before, but I’m so thankful that my very first one was with Kim!  And so, we sent each other some suggestions of items we wanted the other person to make.  Kim sent me three images of charms she had designed, allowing me to choose which one I wanted to make into an amigurumi.  After carefully examining and thinking about the logistics of making each one, we went with this cute penguin wrapped in a scarf:

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It’s always a fun challenge turning an image/drawing into a 3-D amigurumi!  I already had white and yellow yarn at home, but we went out to find the perfect blue colour for his body and reddish-pink yarn for his scarf.  Then, we delved right into crocheting his head/body!    I crocheted around a series of chain stitches to begin with an oval shape and expanded outwards.  He kind of looks egg-shaped as he is more narrow at the top and wider at the bottom.

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Before closing up his body, I crocheted this round white piece for his belly.  We attached this white part onto his body and then attached his safety eyes as we wanted them to be halfway on the blue and halfway on the white (as in the picture).  Attaching the white belly was tricky as it ruffled up along the bottom.  We ended up attaching the majority of the white belly (along sides and top), attaching the eyes, stuffing the body, closing up the body, adding some stuffing between the body and the white belly, and then attaching the rest of the bottom of the belly.

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Next I crocheted a small yellow beak and attached it halfway on the blue and halfway on the white belly (just like the safety eyes).

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Then we cut out two circular pieces of pink felt and added them for the cheeks!  What a sweet face :)

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I loved the luxurious scarf that Kim had placed around her penguin charm, and it looked somewhat tube-like.  Thus, I decided to crochet around a ring to give a thick, sturdy scarf: it also made changing colours easier as I could hide the ends in the tube and make sure the colour changes were on the side of the scarf not showing.  I switched between red and white yarn every five rows.

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We actually wrapped the scarf around Snuggles and sewed the overlapping parts together.

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Then I crocheted some little wings for Snuggles the Penguin.  Rather than stuffing the wings, I flattened the pieces and sewed the open ends together.  We attached them onto the sides of his body under the striped scarf.

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Here is how our Snuggles the Penguin turned out!  Do you think he looks like the charm that Oborocharms made?

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Here is a side view…

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Ryan got creative with the fiberfill stuffing as he photographed Snuggles in the “snow”!  As we mentioned in the sneak peek, don’t pick a snowball fight with a penguin, because you’ll lose from cuteness overload!  Haha, whenever I think of snowball fights, the scenes from “Elf” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” always bring a smile to my face :D

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It’s nice that Snuggles’ scarf is removable as he might get too hot with Spring around the corner.  And the solid scarf still holds its shape when removed!

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Next up are some close-up shots of Snuggles.  I looove this next photo of Snuggles’ sweet face!

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Here you can see Snuggles’ wing and how it is concave, curving upwards and out! 

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Snuggles’ beak is attached halfway on the blue and halfway on the white belly!

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I don’t think Snuggles appreciates having his bottom photographed like this, but we had to do it…  As mentioned above, attaching the white belly was a challenge as it curves downwards along his body.  We had to attach a flat white piece to a round body, so it definitely was not perfect.

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As you can see, there is some bunching at the bottom.  Ryan ended up inserting some stuffing between the belly and the body to decrease the ruffled appearance.

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Ryan also had some fun posing Snuggles creatively with his scarf!  Doesn’t he look like a sushi chef here?

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And with his scarf rotated, Snuggles looks like a little rebel with his bandana…

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And those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that Snuggles is not the first penguin I’ve made!  Back in May 2011 (almost a year ago!) I made this little penguin (free pattern linked to in blog post) that required switching between black and white yarn for the face that posed an interesting challenge.  Snuggles is much bigger!

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And just to give you more of an idea of Snuggles’ relative size, here’s a pic of me holding him!

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It’s always a little sad parting with an amigurumi you’ve worked hard on, but I’m so happy that he’s joining Kim’s family of kawaii stuffies!

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Since I had extra red yarn left, I thought it’d be special to make Kim a Knotted Headband so she could match with Snuggles!  I know it doesn’t get very cold in California, but hopefully you’ll find some occasion to wear it, Kim!

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Ryan and I had a lot of fun turning Kim’s penguin charm into an amigurumi!  What do you think of Snuggles?  ***The FREE pattern for Snuggles can be found HERE.***  I’m so excited that I got to participate in this art trade with Kim of Oborocharms, and I can’t wait to show you what she made for me!  If you follow me on facebook and twitter, you probably already know, but I will be doing a full blog post on it too.  Be sure to check out her shop as she has oodles of cute items (if you end up crocheting Snuggles, it’d be cute ordering a matching Penguin charm!).  Thanks for everything, Kim, and I hope you like your amigurumi Snuggles :)

[UPDATE: Read about what Kim made for me for our art trade HERE!]

Sneak peek of surprise amigurumi for art trade with Oborocharms: Snuggles the Penguin!
**Warning**: Never pick a snowball fight with a penguin….you’ll lose from cuteness overload ;)

Sneak peek of surprise amigurumi for art trade with Oborocharms: Snuggles the Penguin!

**Warning**: Never pick a snowball fight with a penguin….you’ll lose from cuteness overload ;)

Free Online Patterns

I’ve added a section to my “Patterns" page that links to projects I’ve made using free patterns found online so others can try them out too.  Projects that you see on my blog that are not listed under my own original patterns or under this new section of free patterns found online are probably from books.  I recommend trying to borrow these amigurumi/crochet books from your local library if you’re not sure you want to buy them.

So far, here are the projects I’ve made using free patterns found online (the following blog posts link to the patterns):

1)  Coffee cup

2)  Bob-omb

3)  Fuzzy White Bear

4)  Penguin

Give these a try since the patterns can be found online for free :)  Let me know if you have some favourite free patterns that can be found online too!  Let’s share the knowledge and spread the amigurumi love ;)

All my little amigurumis :)  Check out my Archive page to see how I made each one!

All my little amigurumis :)  Check out my Archive page to see how I made each one!

Penguin

I had always wanted to make an amigurumi penguin, so when I stumbled upon this pattern found on Kay’s blog ”I’m Hooked”, I jumped right in and gave it a try.  

As I read through the pattern, I was intrigued that for the head, you needed to work with two colours at the same time, and that all the stitches within the {} brackets used white yarn: the black and white stitches switched back and forth within each row!  I had never before worked with two colours of yarn at the same time, and I had always assumed that if you needed to switch colours, you had to cut one colour off in order to start with a new colour.  Thus, any patterns with more than one colour seemed tedious to me.  However, I found this helpful video on how to crochet with two colours in the round.

As it states in the text of this video, when you work with two colours, you carry along both threads. You simply crochet around the thread that you are not currently working with in order to carry it along.  It is important to note that you should switch to the new colour you want during the last pull through of the final stitch of the old colour.  That probably sounds confusing, but watch the video to see it all in action! 

In this picture, you can see how I am carrying along the white yarn as I use the black yarn to crochet around it.  This technique makes switching colours very easy (no need to cut the yarn every time!).  It is also very important to keep the count during each round since some stitches will be black and some will be white. Typically if you make a mistake when counting (using only one colour), it won’t make a huge difference.  However, if you miscount a black or white stitch, the nice white curved pattern on his face will be misaligned!  I made a few mistakes along the way and had to redo certain rows!

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I was so happy when I finished his head!  Then I added eyes and a cute yellow beak!

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Next I made his little wings, body and feet.  He’s already looking adorable!

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I attached his body and his wings…

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And here he is all complete from the front, side and back!  I made a tail for him so that he would sit better.  As you can see, the colour that was carried along is still somewhat visible.  Perhaps if I had made my stitches tighter, these colours would’ve been less visible…

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He certainly is a cutie!

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I used mercerized cotton (one of my favourite yarns to work with because it is strong and lustrous) and yellow embroidery floss to make this penguin.

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Penguin is very small…

Penguin Penguin

*Squish*

Penguin

I would like to thank Kay for testing out this pattern and fixing up the errors (the original was written in Thai and translated by someone on google).  Definitely give this pattern a try!  I think making a series of different-coloured penguins would be so cute!

Kay also tried her hand at my "Valentine Teddy" pattern and took step-by-step photos along the way: check out her blog post about her experience here.  She also makes adorable amigurumi popsicle keychains and cute mini wallets/pouches. It’s been great connecting with other crocheters and bloggers around the world :) Let’s continue spreading the amigurumi love!

Sneak peek of upcoming blog post: Penguin

Sneak peek of upcoming blog post: Penguin

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