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Penguin amigurumi (crocheted toy) - free pattern from Lion Brand Yarn. Fair use size.There are some adorable new holiday crochet patterns at the Lion Brand Yarn site: an amigurumi Penguin, Reindeer, Santa, Snowman, Gingerbread House, and Gingerbread Man. The latter two make good ornaments, and there's also a Candy Cane Coat Hanger for kids to make. The only problem isn't really a problem: you have to be registered at the Lion Brand site before you can actually see the free patterns themselves (but click the first link in this article to see a list with photos).

Several of these amigurumi are made in their new Vanna's Choice acrylic yarn. I have to confess that I'm less-than-interested in using that yarn; I don't like to work with 100% acrylic. Because amigurumi should be crocheted tightly, the elasticity that wool adds to a yarn can be really helpful, and it's kinder to your poor hands and wrists. Vanna's Choice is worsted weight, so you'll have no problem using Wool-Ease or something nicer.

If you want to use Wool-Ease, try Mushroom for the body of the reindeer -- it's a lighter color than Vanna's Choice Taupe, but not too pale -- Cocoa for the feet, Cranberry for the collar, and Gold for the bell. The corresponding colors would also work for the penguin. He's mostly black and white but has some gold and red elements; you'll need to choose a green that you like, too.

These crocheted toys should only take an evening or two to make. They might be the sweetest hand-made stocking stuffers I've seen this year.


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