Lichen Knitted Shawl – Finished!

I found a lovely shawl on Ravelry last month that was ruffley with interesting shaping that I had to make.

Lichen by Larissa Brown turned out an easy, magical knit. Perfect if you are new to knitting lace! It uses a thicker yarn than usual, an Aran weight (though DK version is available). The pattern is written out, and is simply knit, purls and yarnovers – nothing crazy.

I wanted to start this shawl so bad, but I had no blockable yarn in that amount. I decided to give Elann a try and ordered a couple balls of their Peruvian Highland Wool. This yarn is a heathered gray (colorway 1068) – I love the flickers of blue and purple off the gray base!

Awkwardsoul Lichen Knitted Shawl (2)

Starting the shawl I had mixed up the slip edging directions, so I had to frog and start over – but once I got the hang of the pattern, it was very easy of a knit to require not too much attention, but enough things going on to keep it interesting.

Awkwardsoul Lichen Knitted Shawl (1)

2 weeks of knitting while watching movies or listening to podcasts, I had a finished shawl! This puppy finishes very quickly – I’m sure if I worked on it more, it could of been done in a week or less.

I had also added 3 extra repeats as it turned out I had extra yarn, despite the yardage that was suggested in the pattern. Before blocking I got the length to 51″.

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Despite the pattern being pretty easy, block WAS NOT EASY.

All the other shawls I’ve done were a “U”, rectangle or triangle shape, so pinning wasn’t too bad for those – this Lichen shawl was on a different level of crazyness! You have to pin open the ruffles, so the shawl bends into a spiral, requiring you to pin ontop of your existing work.

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What helped me with blocking this shawl: (taken from my Lichen Ravelry project page)

  1. Have lots of pins – I used 211 and probably could of used more so I didn’t have pointy ruffle bits.
  2. Start pinning the tip of the shawl in the middle of your blocking mat.
  3. Pin the first ruffle to a basic shape, but don’t go overboard on pins
  4. Roughly pin the next ruffle
  5. Redo the first initial ruffle, with max pins. I found once you got to the second ruffle, it created slack, thus having to repin the first one no matter what.
  6. When the shawl starts to spiral in itself, thus you have to pin ontop – it is really easy to mix up what pins go where. Either change pin colours – or when in doubt, just add another pin without removing any old pins.

After all that – over 45 minutes of pinning and sore, soggy pruney fingers from the wet yarn. This shawl also took awhile to dry too since it was layered on its self.

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Kind of looks like a ninja star, doesn’t it?

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Unpinning was easier, but again, over 200 pins hurts the thumbs after awhile plus accidental pin stabs!

The result? WOW! The shawl stretched out to over 60″ (and hard to measure because of the ruffles).

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Love the colour of the yarn!

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I had some spikey ends on the ruffles, but some smoothing helped a little. Next time, MORE pins!

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I love how the shawl turned out! This one is supposed to be for me, though if I were to make it again for myself, I would add maybe 2 rows to the ruffles to make it wider.

Bonus: Benson thinks 100% wool is tasty to lick. I had to pry him off the shawl, so no bunny knitware modelling for him!

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Cutey White Finch Amigurumi

I got a commission request to do a Amigurumi Critter representation of a white finch. I was sent some photos to help me along.

Here’s the birdie:


Very tame! Wow! I’ve never seen such a tame finch before!

So, I took most of my Amigurumi Critter pattern for shaping and wings, with the tail and feet taken from Owl Amigurumi pattern. I also used felt to get that lovely tear feather patterning.

Our finished amigurumi, which turned out very well:

Amigurumi white finch by AwkwardSoul Designs (1)

Amigurumi white finch by AwkwardSoul Designs (2)

I love the chubby shape, with the bright orange beak and feet contrasting the white bird body. Very cute!

The crocheting and construction went very smooth, however I was reminded how much working with white yarn can take extra time – I’d wash my hands before working on the project, no drinks or food while crocheting and a clean surface when resting the project. White yarn can pick up dirt or get tinted by other yarn colours worked near it, so extra care is needed. I hand lotion often when crocheting and knitting, and I don’t when working with white yarn just in case if makes the yarn pick up dirt!

More pictures!

Amigurumi white finch by AwkwardSoul Designs (3)

Amigurumi white finch by AwkwardSoul Designs (4)

Appreciation photo:

white finch

I’m happy how flexible my Amigurumi Critter pattern is – maybe I should add a few more variations and photos to the pattern?

Currently, I’m working on a couple knitted lace shawls – photos coming soon.

Barn Owl Amigurumi and Friends

I’ve been crocheting up more owls to hang out with me while I drink tea on my tea blog, The Oolong Owl.

These owls are made following my Owl Amigurumi Crochet Pattern.

Barney the Barn Owl

Awkwardsoul Owl batch June 2013 (1) Awkwardsoul Owl batch June 2013 (13)

I’m not very original with my names, poor Barney! All Red Heart Super Saver solids used here. I used a cream for the body, with a light tan for the wings. The felt face was cut as a big heart shape to make him look like a barn owl! Very cute!

I really want to find some good tweed or handpainted yarn that will crochet up nicely to mimic feathers.

Anyways, I’m going to be putting up Barney for adoption at my Etsy Shop. I’m sure there are huge barn owl fans that would love to snuggle him!


Mintea the Owl

Awkwardsoul Owl batch June 2013 (12)

Little Mintea was made with Aussie Shepherd DK, so he’s a soft little owl. I wanted a mint coloured owl who will like all peppermint teas.


Teal Owl

Awkwardsoul Owl batch June 2013 (14)

This little owl was made with… I think a Red Heart Soft and a Bernat yarn – it’s a worsted weight, but it on the thin side for worsted. Annoyingly, I don’t have a huge array of colours, so the feet don’t live up to what I was going for. I’ll try again. I’ll probably put this guy up for adoption sometime.


That’s it for now. I have 4 more owls, but the set isn’t complete! O__O Oh boy!

Anyways, check out My Etsy Shop for amigurumi up for adoption and patterns ♥

Making Amigurumi: Cute Tools of the Trade

Making Amigurumi - Tools of the Trade by Awkward Soul

Welcome to my new tutorial series, Making Amigurumi! This is the first installment!

New to making Amigurumi? You’ll need some tools first.

I will discuss –  1. Must Have purchases, 2. Project dependent items, 3. Optional Tools, and 4. Do not buy

Required Tools:

YARN – If you are new to crocheting I’d start off with a Worsted Weight yarn – it is easy to find at craft or yarn shops.

Making Amigurumi - Tools - by Awkward Soul (1)

What type of yarn? Optimally, acrylic is inexpensive and washes well – thus very good for starting the amigurumi hobby. You may also chose wool based yarn. For a newer crocheters (or one not used to TIGHT gauge) I’d avoid 100% cotton yarns for now as they don’t have much give, thus harder to work with. Blends of acrylic, wool, cotton, bamboo work well. Check out my Yarn Reviews for yarns that work well for amigurumi.

Do not get nubby yarn. Do not get crazy fuzzy yarn. Heck, I’m still not patient enough to use nubby lumpy yarns – the tight gauge makes the stitches hard to see and the yarn snags on the hook too much.
What colours? What do you want to make? (pssst, how about my easy Octopus amigurumi pattern?)
Getting started, I’d purchase a white and some attractive solid (non varigated) colours.

HOOK – Which size of hook you will need will range greatly on how tight you crochet and the yarn used. Sadly, all worsted weight yarn is not created equal – some are thinner than others.

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3.5, 3.75, 4, 4.25mm hooks cover me for all of the variances of worsted weight. If you were looking to not buy a ton of hooks, I’d start with a 3.5mm and 4mm hook for worsted weight, and go from there.

Not all crochet hooks are the same as brands like to sometimes have different handles and head shapes. They also come in various materials such as metal, wood, bamboo and plastic. I HIGHLY recommend metal crochet hooks – if you don’t know your “sweet spot” gauge yet + crocheting tightly = snapped hooks, especially the plastic ones. The plastic hooks look very nice, but don’t buy them! When I was new to crochet, I bought the pretty rainbow pack of crochet hooks and broke all of them. Bamboo and wooden crochet hooks are pretty nice and have a bit of grip to them – I’d go with those if you cannot get a metal one.

Crochet hooks are easy to find at yarn or craft shops, and even at places like Walmart and dollar shops. Another good hotspot for crocheting or knitting tools is thrift shops or garage sales.

STITCH MARKER –  To decrease errors, you’ll want to mark each start of the round. There is lots of stitch markers out there, but I prefer the trusty small gold safety pin. Safety pins are cheap, easy to find, and have multiple uses. The crummy issues with safety pins is accidentally getting stabbed in the finger, and yarn getting caught in the spine of the pin.

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They make these nice plastic stitch markers, however I find them a little too big for the size of amigurumi I make.

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Ditto with these spiral things being too big for amigurumi crocheting.

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You may also use scrap yarn and thread it through the stitch, but I find using a closing pin is much more secure and faster to use.

STUFFING –  You will need to fill your amigurumi with something! Thankfully, polyfill is pretty cheap – cheaper if you buy it in larger bags.

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I prefer this style of fill – it lasts a long time, squishy yet holds form.

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I used use a different stuffing that was “Eco friendly” but found my amigurumi turned out really hard, heavy and not as filled up.

It is easy to get mixed up and buy the wrong fill! I’ve received fill that was actually quilting backing or pillows – not the same stuff!

Finding stuffing can be hit and miss. Craft stores should have it. Yarn shops sometimes have it. Walmart sometimes have it in stock. Dollar stores (especially Asian dollar stores like Daiso) have stuffing, but often in small packages enough for 1-2 amigurumis, thus not cheap if you plan to make more amigurumi than that.

EYES – this will be the trickiest part, but thankfully, I have been noticing safety eyes showing up more at craft stores. See my Amigurumi Eyes FAQ for further information.

Making Amigurumi - Tools - by Awkward Soul (13)

YARN NEEDLE – These yarn needles piss me off as I constantly lose them. Some shops dare to sell the plastic pink ones for like $3 each. You can get a wide, blunt metal one for $0.25 to $4. Find one that has a wide “eye” so you can thread your yarn through.

Making Amigurumi - Tools - by Awkward Soul (2)

I prefer the metal needles as they have weight to them, plus are thinner making it easier to fit inbetween tight stitches.

If you cannot find a wide eye’d needle, you may be able to get away with your crochet hook, though life is much easier with the yarn needle.

SCISSORS – you know, to cut your yarn with. You probably have some on hand.

Making Amigurumi Tools by Awkward Soul (2)

Depending on your project, there are a few other tools you might need:

EMBROIDERY FLOSS – You’ll need this stuff if you want to sew on mouths, noses or even eyes. Floss will be your friend if you are making amigurumi for young kids, as safety eyes aren’t recommended for young children.

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Luckily, floss is cheap! $0.25 each cheap, though it can range up to like $2 for high-end silk material. You can find floss at most craft stores, dollar stores, and Walmart. Sometimes they sell them in the toy section in friendship bracelet kits.

Colours? This is project dependent, but 90% of the time I use black embroidery floss. Occasionally I will use white, pink and red.

SEWING NEEDLE – You may need a needle that has a sharp point instead of the yarn needles blunt point. The eyes on these are usually really small, so you couldn’t use as your yarn needle.

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This is needed to sew on the embroidery floss – especially if you want to stab the floss through stitches. You can also use a sewing needle to sew on felt pieces.

FELT – Felt can be used for many things: eyes, face, noses/beaks, pink cheeks, feet, spines, spikes, hands, ears, clothing, tails and more! If you can’t crochet something (like the beak is too tiny) you can glue or sew on a bit of felt to compensate. You can add felt behind the safety eye to change the look of the amigurumi or make the eyes bigger. Luckily, felt is quite cheap and easy to find at craft or dollar stores.

Making Amigurumi - Tools - by Awkward Soul (14)

You can also find felt that is stiff, patterned or covered in sparkles.

Of course colour selection is project dependent, but for me the most commonly used colours are white, black, orange, and pink.

FABRIC GLUE – If you choose not to sew on felt pieces, simply fabric glue them on. Good fabric glue can be flexible enough so the form can move, but also hold up to spot clean up.

Making Amigurumi - Tools - by Awkward Soul (15)

You will also want a glue that is clear and does minimal discolouration when dried.

NOSES – Maybe your amigurumi needs a nose? You can purchase plastic noses, similar to safety eyes. I touch on this briefly on my Amigurumi Eyes FAQ.

Optional Tools:

PLASTIC PELLETS – If you want to add weight to your amigurumi, say to keep it sitting upright, you’ll want plastic pellets. Plastic pellets work amazing for amigurumi with feet to keep the toy standing! I put plastic pellets into “very optional” category as I feel I can live without them. You can somewhat make do with rolling and packing stuff tightly on the bottom and some amigurumi can sit on their own with a well made pattern or feet/tail balancing. (Of course not applying to an amigurumi that’s all big head + no body)

Making Amigurumi - Tools - by Awkward Soul (16)

In my experience, plastic pellets are not that cheap and pricey to ship due to weight. A few times I’ve see a good deal on them, but it is for like a giant bucket of them. If you are truly desperate and cannot find the pellets, cannibalize a beanie baby or stuff toy for them. Plastic pellets are also a choking hazard for young children.

To use, I just simply sprinkle then pack them into the feet or bottom of the amigurumi. From there, stuff the rest of the form. You may also sew the pellets inside scrap fabric.

How about beans or rice?  Those can attract pests or have issues if you amigurumi get wet. I had a nice frog a cousin made me for Christmas, stuffed with beans. His legs got wet and he swelled up and started to stink – it was awful.

PINK OR RED FABRIC PAINT / BLUSH – Want blushing cheeks on your amigurumi? You’ll want fabric paint , though cosmetic blush does the job too. By the way, you’ll want something to apply the paint or blush with, such as a brush or q-tip/cotton bud. I prefer to glue on pink felt as cheeks.

STITCH COUNTER – these doo hickies are little counters you can use to keep track of what row/round you are on.

Making Amigurumi Tools by Awkward Soul (1)

Stitch counters are mostly found with knitting supplies as you can attach them to your knitting needle. They work just as good not attached to anything. They are fairly cheap, running around a couple dollars a piece.

Do you need one? Maybe. I use them, especially if I’m crocheting away from home. Can you live with out it? Most likely. You can keep track of what round you are on by simply printing out the pattern and marking rows completed or use  scrap paper or text document on your computer to keep count. If you are crocheting on the bus, using a stitch counter is easier than pulling out paper and a pen to mark your rounds.

Don’t bother to buy:

Stuffing stuffer tools – I had one come free with my package of stuffing, but you can also buy them from craft stores and amigurumi crafting sellers. Don’t bother to buy! First off – your fingers can stuff your amigurumi easily enough. If you need to insert stuffing in really small spots, like long narrow legs, you can simply use the back end of a crochet hook, knitting needle, pen, chop stick or yarn needle.

The stuffer I got for free with my giant bag of stuffing is pretty much 1 wooden chop stick. Other models look like a plastic yarn needles with the “eye” chopped, giving you a 2 pronged device, which you can make yourself, though using the end of your crochet hook works just as well!


I hope this post helps you inspiring amigurumi makers out there! I plan to do a few more related tutorials in the future!

Evil Ruffle Yarn Scarf!

I saw this cool ruffle yarn awhile back and started working on a scarf back in Jan 2012.

There are many kinds and styles out there, but the one I used is from Red Heart, called Sashay.

sashay yarn red heart

This yarn is quite mind blowing – it’s wide and lacey. You knit or crochet along the top edge of the strand, skipping every other bar, to create a bunched up effect. The pattern is similar to knitting other novelty yarn scarves – Cast on the width you want and knit every row until the ball is finished or to desired length. Easy enough right?

So, I started this scarf in January 2012 and I finished it in April 2013 – what was the hold up?



Yes! First, I tried to crochet my scarf and figured knitting was easier for me as the stitches were easier to spot on the needle vs hook. I’m a seasoned knitter – I can do cables and lace. This yarn had me bashing my face on the desk in annoyance.

The instructions on the pattern were a little “HUH???” for casting on and knitting the yarn – so video tutorials helped a lot! There’s plenty of tutorials, but this one shows how to bind off and hide ends.

Despite the pattern being “Knit every stitch”, the “flow” of knitting this beast yarn was slowly and clunky. I found for each stitch I needed to stretch it and hand place the “laddery loop” in order to knit, whereas with other yarns you can knit away, letting the yarn flow through your fingers. It was slippery, and I made sure to use non-slippery needles, so I had a few close calls with my work falling off. With that said, I had to pay attention to what I was doing, which was really boring compared to knitting lace.

If you are knitting right off the ball, it gets twisted up fast and this ruffle yarn works best already splayed out  wrapped around cardboard. The yarn likes to slip off the needles, and can tangle up quick around your needles if you place the project in a bag. I’d take the scarf with me and car trips, banging out a few rows when I can – though my patience only lasted only a few rows at a time!

I also was pretty ambitious with this scarf. I did 12 base stitches and used 2 skeins for a wide and long scarf.

The result?

Freaking gorgeous scarf!

Evil Ruffle Yarn Scarf by Awkward Soul (1)

I love the colour and the ruffles!

Evil Ruffle Yarn Scarf by Awkward Soul (2)

Hiding the ends kind of sucked. I hate the look of the ends of this yarn, so I did my best to weave them in the “spine” of the scarf. Thankfully since there is so much crazyness going on, the ends also blend in a bit.

Evil Ruffle Yarn Scarf by Awkward Soul (3)

I’m happy with the result, but not sure if I’ll keep the scarf or give it away. I do feel kinda bad if I give it away – this was made with frustration and hate! I wish it was made with love. ALL HATE!

I was thinking this yarn would be awesome to make a wide rectangular shawl with! Yeah, someone else can knit that.

Sadly, I have another 2 skeins – so one day I will have to knit this thing again. UGGGG! I could also see me buying more of this ruffle yarn if I see a really cool colours and regret each stitch as I knit it. The result is really fantastic, making it… not so much. Overall, there is a learning curve to learn how to use ruffle yarn, it takes a bit of attention and care to use, but really pretty results!

Craftsmart Value Yarn – Amigurumi Yarn Review

I was at my local craft store, Michaels, holding a nice coupon and looking for a couple colours of yarn to beef up my amigurumi yarn palette. On my list was a decent purple. A bright purple that would work for amigurumi – bright but not nuclear. Sometimes finding good amigurumi colours are difficult as so many yarns are too dark or too light (baby yarns). I spotted this Craftsmart yarn next to the Red Heart stuff, and decided to give it a try.

Craftsmart is a worsted weight yarn that is 100% acrylic.
Link to Craftsmart Yarn via Michaels


As always with my yarn reviews, they are coming from the perspective to make amigurumi toys with.

+ Good price!
+ Bright and nice selection of colours
+ Slightly soft
+ Very nice to work with
+ Fair amount of stiffness

At Michaels, Craftsmart was around $0.20 cheaper than the Red Heart Super Saver at my time of purchase. Sweet! Touching the ball, it is much smoother than Red Heart Super Saver, but not silky like Red Heart Soft.

What I noticed right away was Craftsmart felt quite nice to work with. The yarn slipped nicely through my fingers and put up with my tight gauge. There was just enough grip for my stitches to stay tight despite how soft the yarn runs through my fingers.

This yarn isn’t as stiff as Red Heart Super Saver, but goes a good job holding up its shape for amigurumi – the stitches puff decently, not tight or saggy creating holes.

– Found a couple gnarly bits
– a little splitty
– Despite being soft, feels kinda soapy slippery

The downfalls I found with this Craftsmart yarn was I noticed a couple gnarly bits – three cases for 1 amigurumi. The strand had an excess lump of material woven in or big linty fuzz stuck to the strand. It wasn’t a huge deal as I was able to pull out the fuzz or trim it with sissors. There also was a bit of splittyness working with this yarn. On ocassion it would split in a way that I’d miss snagging 1 of the plys of the yarn, so I’d have to loosen the stitch to snag it.

While I did mention the softness of this yarn is quite nice and very workable, it also feels kinda weird. The longer you work with it, the most it feels almost “soapy” to the fingers. No residue, and again, it’s got a good grip, but it feels unusual.

~ No sheen
~ Is a thicker worsted weight, so best with moderate to large amigurumi projects
~ Compatible with Red Heart Super Saver
~ Dye lot, so ensure you purchase enough for your project
~ Not fuzzy

This yarn is quite similar to Red Heart Super Saver’s gauge – I was able to use both yarns together for the same project and they looked as if they were the same brand. The weight is the same, the sheen level is the same.

This attractive purple owl is made with a mix of the Craftsmart and Red Heart yarns. The purple areas are a bit more smoother of a feel, but otherwise both yarns blend together.

Owl Amigurumi by Awkward Soul Designs


Overall, Craftsmart yarn is a great alternative to Red Heart Super Saver and is much nicer to work with! This yarn has a nice softness to it, while maintaining a good grip for tight gauge stitches. The cons of being slightly splitty and having the odd linty issues are fairly minor. The weight is quite thick for a worsted, so I’d use this yarn for a larger project.

If I was looking to buy more Red Heart Super Saver like yarn, I’d probably snag this brand instead if I wasn’t worried about continuing with the same dye lot. If you are interested, read My Red Heart Super Saver Review.

Owl Amigurumi Crochet Pattern – Tea Mug Owls?

It’s done! This pattern is the answer to my teaser photo I recently posted here.

owl amigurumi pattern by awkward soul - PDF


Phew, finally!

I’m a huge owl fan – right up there for my love of octopi! My other blog, The Oolong Owl, is my owl-themed tea blog. Lots of Owl and Tea!

Alright. This took around 12 attempts to get the pattern just right. I had an owl graveyard of crocheted owl parts that didn’t make the cut. I really wanted to limit the amount of parts I had to sew onto these guys.

After 9 attempts I had a better idea how to pull off the best shape. Annoyingly, it took 3 tries to get the neck right – all times scrapping most of the body.

What I love about my Owl creation is that they are ridiculously photogenic! I took LOTS of pictures, so this is a photo-heavy post!


My Owl pattern features:

3 head shapes – Round, Easy Ears and Large Ears.

2 face construction options – Felt or Colour chart

Simple chest feather detail

I made five owls (whoa!) as demos for this pattern. Three of them are the more of the bright and fun colour variety. Two of them are more realistic type of owl.

Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (8)

The first Owl, the prototype, is this green owl. His name is Laoshan. He likes tea, especially green tea. Any tea nerds in the house?

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Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (5)Owl matcha? I dunno….

My second favorite owl is my purple owl – she has no name yet. She was made last of the 5, so she’s the youngest. So far, I’ve just been calling her Attractive Purple Owl. I love the yarn I used here – the colour is great and was soft to work with (Craftsmart brand). Oddly, I stuffed her a bit too much, so she’s a little bigger than the other owls. Oh well.Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (12)

The second owl I created was the Big Blue Ear Owl. I was experimenting here with the chest feather detail and the colour chart. He’s got the tall “ears/feathers” on his head. I think he looks like a lot of fun.

The third owl I made is a more realistic type. I haven’t named him yet as I was planning on putting him up for adoption. I did an “x” felt detail on his face, and chest feathers to his chest.

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Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (10) Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (11)

If you haven’t noticed, these Owls had a fun photo shoot with my teaware, LOL! I wanted to say they are “tea cup” owls, but they can barely squeeze into my tea cups! They fit into a matcha bowl fine, the rest of the teaware was a tight squish!

They sized up for me 5″ high, 3.5″ wide, up to 3″ long with worsted weight yarn and 4mm hook. Size will greatly depend on your gauge and yarn. Tea mug it is!  I’m sure if you made these owls with DK or sport yarn they’ll fit into a tea cup (and steal your tea).

Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (2)

The fourth Owl I made.. well, he’s all mischief. I wanted to make a Snowy Owl, as that appears to be a popular type of owl. I prefer the Northern White face Owl myself (TRANSFORM!). Anyways, my Snowy Owl is very cute – my husband likes him the best!

Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (1)

He looks like a well mannered Owl? Pfffft.

Owl Amigurumi crochet pattern by awkward soul designs

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Which Owl do you like more? Did I get your creative juices flowing? What colours or owls would you like to see or make youself?


You can purchase my Owl Amigurumi Pattern at My Etsy Shop


purchase directly via Ravelry by clicking this  button. You do not need a Ravelry account to purchase.

Owl Amigurumi Crochet pattern by awkward soul designs (9)

P.S. I will be listing 3 of the Owls for adoption on my My Etsy Shop. You may also check out my commission page if you’d like a custom made owl.