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Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Alpacas and Spinning

I’ve just finished the book version of Alicia the Alpaca so it’s been another exciting week with another project satisfyingly ticked off the to-do list.

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She now has a little blanket to wear because it can get very cold in the Peruvian Andes. Her blanket comes complete with panniers so she can go shopping at the local market and have somewhere to stash her bargain buys.

It was lots of fun playing around with different colour schemes and combinations and I managed to use up some of my smaller scraps of leftover yarn.

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(This pattern will be appearing in Zoomigurumi 5, coming out around the beginning of next year).

I’ve gone a bit crazy about this alpaca and have ended up making eight so far. everytime I see a new colour in this fluffy yarn I get the urge to make another one!

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I think I’ll be able to open a fully stocked alpaca farm at this rate. Maybe I’ll end up with so much spare fleece that I’ll never have to buy any more yarn. Although I’ll have to learn to spin first. A skill which has so far eluded me despite acquiring a beautiful spinning wheel a couple of years ago. I really must get around to getting it up and running so I can get some practice in with it. I had a few goes when I first bought it and managed to spin a bit of lumpy, bumpy, bit too twisty yarn and then the string came unwound and the spindle kept flying off and I eventually gave up through sheer frustration. I really do want to give spinning another go though as it would be so useful to add that to my repertoire of textile skills while also providing me with the perfect excuse for owning a herd of real life alpacas. What would the cats think to that I wonder?!

As we’re on the subject of spinning it seems as good a time as any to mention our trip up north to visit relatives on Saturday as we made a visit to the Leigh Spinners Mill in Lancashire to see the UK’s largest unrestored steam engine. Now, happily being brought back to its former working glory by a team of enthusiastic volunteers.

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It really is a beautiful building and while some of it is still in use making carpets and synthetic turf a lot of the main structure is lying empty. The plan is to eventually do it all up and balance community led projects with commercial and business lets. I’d love to have a workshop in a building like that. There’d be plenty of room to store my gargantuan yarn stash! Ah well, I’ll be having to make do with squeezing everything into my home studio for the foreseeable future, but one can dream. At least I have to limit my yarn buying due to space constraints, which is probably a good thing or who knows where my yarn habit would end?!

Here’s the main engine room as it looked on Saturday. Everyone was busy, mainly scrubbing at rust and rubbing grease on things as far as I could tell, but I’m sure it’s actually much more complicated than that. I’m no expert on these things so I won’t go waffling on about the mechanics and uses. You can visit the Leigh Spinners Mill website for more details on the history and future plans for this impressive 1920’s cotton mill. They’re sure to have their facts right over there!

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Having a nose around the internet to see what I could find out about the place I found some beautiful shots of the engine house taken before the restoration began. The one that really struck me is this image below, taken by Mark and featuring on his wonderfully atmospheric website called Off Limits Photos which showcases his talent for sniffing out the abandoned, derelict and dilapidated buildings and structures of the past. This photo really highlights the amount of restoration work that has gone on already.

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That’s an awful lot of pigeon poop to clean up before you can even get started on the fun bit!

On a much less grand scale I’ve got my own spinning related restoration to undertake if I’m going to get anywhere at all with this tricky craft. The string has become hopelessly tangled and the spindles need cleaning off, but I’m thankful I don’t have to scrape a ton of pigeon-poop off it before I start, or worry about getting pistons working or things exploding. A bit of TLC, some pedal power and a bit of expert guidance would probably do the trick here.

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It is a fine looking piece of kit and deserves much more respect than it’s currently receiving. I found out that there is an alpaca farm not too far from me. They advertise spinning classes on their website Simply Alpaca. I’m so tempted to have a go. Maybe spinning lessons are what I want for Christmas this year. I probably need to start dropping hints to my family… maybe they’re even reading this 😉 It could make a perfect new challenge for a new year.

Here are some of the yarns they make at Simply Alpaca. All from their own fleeces.

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Such gorgeous natural colours and not at all slubby and gnarly like my own attempts. This is the only fragment that remains of my foray into the world of spinning, but it will give you an idea of how much practice I’m going to need!

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If I do book a spinning class I might take some of my own herd along to meet the inhabitants. The farm also offers camelid handling courses that could help me keep this lot in check!

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Actually, they’re pretty well behaved on the whole. They’re just messy eaters, especially when they’re all fighting over the last of the seasons strawberries.

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Looks like no one’s owning up to who spilled the feeding trough. Well, you know what they say – what happens in the herd, stays in the herd. I can’t tell who the guilty culprit is, they all look like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths!


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A Weekend at Home

Chanting the mantra ‘Rain, rain, go away, come back another day’ has had no effect whatsoever around here so it’s been a weekend tucked up indoors, catching up with much of my crochet works in progress. Well, it needs to be done and there are worse ways to spend rainy afternoons. In fact it’s rather nice to have some cosy time in the house. Mojo has found his new favorite spot. Staring wistfully out into the drizzle from the comfort of one of my new kitchen seat pads. There is an excellent view of the garden from there and Moji is making the most of it.

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Minnie has nabbed herself a spot in a spotty, polka dotty, plastic picnic salad bowl!

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It’s barely big enough but she’s whiled away many hours snoozing in there, so it must be comfier than it looks.

I’ve spent a fair bit of time over the past few days designing a new alpaca pattern and then creating them in lots of colours. Here’s the production line in full swing. It’s my own personal alpaca farm. Six colours so far… well, I really enjoy working with the soft and fluffy textured yarns, and I just couldn’t seem to stop myself!

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They’ve got their eyes on those tasty strawberries by the looks of it.

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I was busy making these last week, on a somewhat sunnier day.

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A little snack for me too. Alpacas aren’t the only ones who love strawberries!

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Pogo often watches me crochet, sitting side by side on our squashy sofa. He’s just waiting for a yarn end to pounce on. Usually straight into my lap, huge claws and all!

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There’s plenty of yarny entertainment for him as I finish up this latest batch.

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Lovely home days with all the cats for company make me very happy. Just time for a break to bake a loaf of bread ready for lunch. Oh yum. This butternut squash and parmesan bread filled the house with delicious smells that cheered us all up. It tasted amazing too! Chopped black olives and rosemary made it extra special and it’s great therapy for crunched up crochet hands as all the mixing and kneading gets the circulation flowing around my fingers again.

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Bas’s  (Zabbez.com) Butterfly Bree and Baby Calin were finished up just in time for the proofreading deadline for the new Parent and Baby Animals book. I love the way the sparkly blues have worked out. This pattern would look fabulous in so many different colour combinations. One to let your imagination go wild with!

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Here she is next to Bas’s original colourway. It sure was a lovely pattern to follow.

I found out a few days ago that Papa and Pierre have made it on to the front cover of the book. I’m so thrilled, it’s like the icing on the cake and I can’t wait to see the whole book layout. Joke always does such a fantastic job of compiling all the cute designs. Not long to wait now, as pre-sale will be starting in early September over at amigurumipatterns.net.

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Thanks to all who voted for Papa and Pierre.

Come rain or shine, have a great week folks!


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Let’s Get Crafting!

Well, I pinched the title above from the magazine I’ve been working with for the past few months, but I’m sure they won’t mind! There can be no better rallying cry than that, as far as I’m concerned. Even better when you see that the whole title of the mag is ‘Let’s Get Crafting – Knitting and Crochet‘. It couldn’t be more up my street if it tried! It’s a valiant call to arms, with the arms being hooks and needles which, quite conveniently, are supplied along with every issue of the mag and enough yarn to make one or more of the many projects and patterns featured inside.

I’ve been crocheting an exclusive design about once every six weeks since September last year and it’s been a lot of fun! It’s a welcome challenge to conjure up a specifically commissioned amigurumi every now and again. As a self employed hooker (now that does sound a bit dodgy, but I’m sure you know what I mean!) it’s normal for me to please myself as to what designs loop their way out of my imagination, but sometimes it’s good to have a specific request imposed upon you. The requirement to use the hook size and the supplied yarn from the kit in the appropriate amounts and colours does bring up some challenges, but I’ve not been defeated yet! There’s nothing quite like some creative constrictions for making you think outside of the box. And it’s been such a thrill for me to see my little crochet characters in print! If you’ve visited my Ravelry Store recently you may already be familiar with some of these pictures. If not then I’d love to share them with you now. Here are my contributions so far – photographed beautifully by the LGC team:

Issue 64: Christmas Elves
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Issue 65: Holly the Polar Bear
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Issue 66: Walter Bear
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Issue 67: Princess Amelia
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Issue 68: Diego the Parrot
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I’ve had a lot of fun inventing these colourful, happy characters.

🙂 Some of them have even made the front cover 🙂

LGCMagMontageI’ve designed a cute pair of dachshunds for the next issue, and a unicorn for the following one. I’m so looking forward to seeing them in print too!

If you live in the UK you should be able to find a copy at your local WHSmiths, Asda, Tesco or Sainsburys – or you can subscribe here for even better value and the added luxury of having it arrive through your letter box while you’re still in your pyjamas! And if you love free patterns (err, is there anyone out there who doesn’t?!) be sure to check out LGC’s great collection waiting for you right here.

After my magazine arrived in the post I couldn’t resist carving out a bit of rest and relaxation time to make some coasters from the pattern on page eight.LGCcoastersJan15You know, these would make  fantastic motifs for a blanket…although I’m well aware that I have to have a strong will and finish the Mexican Stripe blanket first before I start any more large scale projects or there will be no room for the rest of the family in the lounge if I bundle in a second mountain of yarn! I’m definitely going to keep these motifs in mind for blanket number 4 when the time is right though, but only after every last Mexican yarn end is darned in and neatly trimmed! Hmm, doesn’t stop me planning ahead in my mind though. I’m thinking of soft Easter inspired pastels, and a maybe a larger hook to give a more drapey, lightweight summertime throw. But in the meantime I’ve managed to expand my Granny Square/Circle repertoire and have gained some lovely new coasters to brighten up my kitchen this spring.CoastersFlicking through a little further and I was really excited to see my very own two page feature in this months magazine (the one with Diego the Parrot on the front cover).

My first ever official interview.

>Does silly-happy-dance while no-one’s looking!<

MagArticleJan15That was one very pleasant tea break! You can read the whole article about me here if you’re curious 🙂 And if you do make anything from any of the Let’s Get Crafting magazines don’t forget to post a picture on the LGC Facebook page so we can all have a look and join in the fun! You might even get a mention in the ‘All about you’ page in the next issue!

Here’s raising a mug to many more tea sipping, biscuit munching, magazine browsing, coaster making tea breaks over the coming weekend. I hope you all get to make the time to do the things you love… Happy crafting everyone!