Howie the Penguin – free crochet amigurumi pattern

Howie the Penguin - gree crochet amigurumi pattern from Shiny Happy World and FreshStitchesHowie is a great pattern for those just getting started, because he uses only a few of the most basic skills. You’ll find links to those skills sprinkled throughout the pattern wherever you need them – that way you can learn as you go! Just click on the link to hop to the tutorial.

There’s a free video class here that takes you through everything you need to know to get started with amigurumi. You can work your way through that class using this free pattern if you like. 🙂

The skills you’ll need for just about any amigurumi are. . .

Additional skills for this pattern. . .

You can go through all those posts now, or just hop to them as you get to those points in the pattern – whatever works best for you!


This pattern can be used with any weight yarn! Just use the hook recommended on the ball band, and adjust as needed (see ‘gauge notes’ below). For a bigger, super-cuddly animal, try a bulky weight yarn! Just keep in mind that you’ll use more yardage than recommended. The sample is crocheted in worsted weight yarn, and all yardage/ hook recommendations are calculated based on the sample.

Less than 220 yards (1 skein) is required of each color. For the yarn, Stacey used 100% wool worsted weight (Ella Rae Classic the brand used in the sample). However, any worsted weight yarn can be substituted.

  • MC- Black (Plymouth Galway Worsted color # 154)
  • SC- White (Ella Rae Classic color #01)
  • AC1- Yellow (Ella Rae Classic color #44)
  • AC2- Blue (Ella Rae Classic color #83)

Other Tools and Supplies

Gauge Notes

This pattern doesn’t specify a gauge. It’s a stuffed animal, and you don’t need to be too picky about exact sizing. The most important thing is that you use a hook size that creates a nice looking fabric for your yarn. If you use the recommended hook size, and your fabric looks very loose (so that stuffing would show through), then you will want to use a smaller hook. Other than that, no measuring required!

In case you’re curious about getting the exact gauge Stacey does, it’s 5 rounds=2 inches. Note that you will need to have this gauge for the yardage suggestions to provide an accurate estimation.

Stitch into the Back

All stitches in this pattern (that are worked in the round) are worked through the back loop only, unless otherwise directed. Look at this picture.

Stitching in the Back Loop

See how one loop is highlighted in black? This is the back loop, and it’s what you’ll stitch into. Stitching into the back loop creates ridges on the right side of the piece.

Want to see crocheting through the back loop in action? Check out this blog post. It talks all about why Stacey crochets through the back loop and even has a handy dandy video showing how to find that loop. 🙂


  • ch: chain
  • sc: single crochet
  • sc2tog: single crochet 2 stitches together
  • st(s): stitch(es)

Ready? Let’s jump in!

The Pattern

Eye Circles

Make 2.
With AC2, ch 2 (I like to start with a sloppy slip knot. This video shows how. And this video shows how to chain.)
Round 1 sc 6 in 2nd ch from hook (6) This post will help you find that second chain from the hook.
Round 2 sc twice in each st (12) This video will help you if you find it tricky to start the second round.
Round 3 [sc twice in next st, sc in next st.] 6 times (18) (Whoa! What’s with the brackets? It’s just telling you that set is going to repeat. So do everything in the brackets, and then repeat that same series for a total of six times. No big deal. And the 18 in parentheses is telling you that this round is a total of 18 stitches. It’s a good way to check your work.)
Round 4 [sc twice in next st, sc in next 2 sts.] 6 times (24)

Fasten off with long tail.


Make 2.
With AC1, ch 2
Round 1 sc 6 in 2nd ch from hook (6)
Round 2 sc twice in each st (12)
Round 3 [sc twice in next st, sc in next st.] 6 times (18)
Rounds 4-5 sc in each st (18, 2 rounds)

Fasten off with long tail.


Make 2.
With MC, ch 2
Round 1 sc 6 times in 2nd ch from hook (6)
Round 2 sc twice in each st (12)
Rounds 3-4 sc in each st (12, 2 rounds)
Round 5 [sc twice in next st, sc in next st] 6 times (18)
Rounds 6-9 sc in each st (18, 4 rounds)
Round 10 [sc2tog, sc in next st] 6 times (12)

Fasten off with long tail.


With AC1, ch 2
Round 1 sc 6 times in 2nd ch from hook (6)
Round 2 sc twice in each st (12)
Rounds 3-5 sc in each st (12, 3 rounds)

Fasten off with long tail.

Tummy Circle

With SC, ch 2
Round 1 sc 6 times in 2nd ch from hook (6)
Round 2 sc twice in each st (12)
Round 3 [sc twice in next st, sc in next st] 6 times (18)
Round 4 [sc twice in next st, sc in next 2 sts] 6 times (24)
Round 5 [sc twice in next st, sc in next 3 sts] 6 times (30)
Round 6 [sc twice in next st, sc in next 4 sts] 6 times (36)
Round 7 [sc twice in next st, sc in next 5 sts] 6 times (42)
Round 8 [sc twice in next st, sc in next 6 sts] 6 times (48)

Fasten off with long tail.


With MC, ch 2
Round 1 sc 6 times in 2nd ch from hook (6)
Round 2 sc twice in each st (12)
Round 3 [sc twice in next st, sc in next st] 6 times (18)
Round 4 [sc twice in next st, sc in next 2 sts] 6 times (24)
Round 5 [sc twice in next st, sc in next 3 sts] 6 times (30)
Round 6 [sc twice in next st, sc in next 4 sts] 6 times (36)
Round 7 [sc twice in next st, sc in next 5 sts] 6 times (42)
Round 8 [sc twice in next st, sc in next 6 sts] 6 times (48)
Round 9 [sc twice in next st, sc in next 7 sts] 6 times (54)
Round 10 [sc twice in next st, sc in next 8 sts] 6 times (60)
Rounds 11-21 sc in each st (60, 11 rounds)
Round 22 [sc2tog, sc in next 8 sts] 6 times (54)
Round 23 sc in each st (54)
Round 24 [sc2tog, sc in next 7 sts] 6 times (48)
Round 25 sc in each st (48)
Round 26 [sc2tog, sc in next 6 sts] 6 times (42)
Round 27 sc in each st (42)
Round 28 [sc2tog, sc in next 5 sts] 6 times (36)
Round 29 sc in each st (36)
Round 30 [sc2tog, sc in next 4 sts] 6 times (30)
Round 31 sc in each st (30)

Remove hook, but do not fasten off!

Flatten feet, and attach to round 7 of body. This post shows to how flatten and attach amigurumi pieces.

Howie the Penguin - free crochet amigurumi pattern from Shiny Happy World and FreshStitches

Flatten wings, and attach to each side of body, at approximately round 22.

Howie the Penguin - free crochet amigurumi pattern from Shiny Happy World and FreshStitches

Attach eye circles to body. The bottom of the eye circles should be attached to round 21, and the top of the eye circles will reach round 27. Be sure that the two eye circles touch in the center. This post shows how to use running stitch to attach flat pieces (like spots) to amigurumi.

Howie the Penguin - free crochet amigurumi pattern from Shiny Happy World and FreshStitches

Attach tummy circle to body. The bottom should be attached at round 9 (two rounds above the feet), and slightly overlap the bottom of the eye circles at the top.

Howie the Penguin - free crochet amigurumi pattern from Shiny Happy World and FreshStitches

Fasten eyes onto the head. To do so, just insert the post where you want the eye to go (for Howie it’s in the center of his eye circles) and press the washer onto the back post to secure. Make sure the washer is pushed on all the way.

Stuff beak slightly, and attach over the point where the eye circles and tummy circle meet. This post shows how to do that kind of attachment.

Howie the Penguin - free crochet amigurumi pattern from Shiny Happy World and FreshStitches

Stuff the penguin body and continue crocheting.

This post has tips for stuffing amigurumi (it’s a little different from sewn softies), and this video has some terrific help for closing up those last few rounds.

Round 32 [sc2tog, sc in next 3 sts] 6 times (24)
Round 33 [sc2tog, sc in next 2 sts] 6 times (18)
Round 34 [sc2tog, sc in next st] 6 times (12)
Round 35 [sc2tog] 6 times (6)

Ta da! You made a penguin!

Howie the Penguin - free crochet amigurumi pattern from Shiny Happy World and FreshStitches

Aren’t you proud? You should be!

Click here to download a handy dandy printable PDF of the free Howie the penguin amigurumi pattern.

Snap a photo and share it with us over in the Shiny Happy People group! If you share it on social media, tag with with #shinyhappyworld so I can see it. 🙂

I hope you want to make something else now. You can shop for more crochet patterns here. And join the Ami Club here!

Happy stitching!


November Crochet Fun!

November is my favorite month of the year, because it has my two favorite holidays: Thanksgiving and Black Friday!

As always, FreshStitches having a HUGE Black Friday Sale!

The sale will begin a midnight, November 24th (Eastern Time Zone). You are going to find the lowest prices of the entire year! I’ll post more details as we get closer to the date, so you can begin planning!

In years past, I’ve had a different sale every day (so, for example, you’d order on Saturday if you wanted free shipping, Sunday if you wanted a big deal on eyes…), but this year, I’m doing things differently. The sale will last all weekend long, and the more you buy, the more you’ll save. So, you’ll be able to grab a great deal on eyes AND get free shipping! Hooray!

While nearly everything will be on sale, some items will have particularly deep discounts if they’re being discontinued or are less-popular items. This is your time to stock up!

FreshStitches craft eyes

Donny the Donkey

Donny the Donkey

This month’s exclusive Ami Club pattern is Donny the Donkey, designed by Chloe. Isn’t he adorable? Log in to your account to download!

Featured Patterns

As always, we have 3 featured patterns this month that members get for 50% off. Log in to the forums for the code! Patterns include these adorable pilgrims!

Holiday Card Swap

Our card swap is underway, with both domestic and international sign-ups open! This is a great chance to get to know someone else by exchanging greeting cards! Signups open until November 20th.

Holiday CAL begins November 15th!

I’m really excited about our newest crochet-a-long… I’m not going to spill the beans, yet! Members will get the pattern in their downloads, and we’ll all crochet this holiday-themed-cutie together!


Hope you’re having a great November, and get your shopping list for Black Friday, ready!


October Crochet Fun + Fave Links

I know I say this every month, but there is just SO MUCH going on! Fall is the time for crocheting, so I’m just going to go ahead and get started!

October Ami Club Pattern

Isn’t Mr. Jack the Pumpkin so adorable?
freshstitches pumpkin
I designed his arms to be like ‘vines’ that you can style any which way! And I created an easier technique for making the ‘pumpkin grooves’ than many other tutorials I’ve seen, so I hope you find it a cinch.
Ami Club members can hop over to their account and download the pattern!

As always, there are featured patterns that are 50% off for club members. Head to the News & Announcements forum to have a look and grab your coupon!

New Products

Glow in the Dark Eyes

Just for October, I’ve released hand-painted, glow in the dark eyes! Here’s a video so you can see them in action.

These are limited in quantity, so get them while they’re available!

Craft Eye Sampler Boxes

I’ve had lots of people ask me about making sampler boxes available. I usually sell eyes in 5-pair packs, but maybe you don’t want 5 pair. You just want a sampling of the different colors?

FreshStitches eyes sampler

Now I’ve got you covered. Craft Eye Sampler boxes now available in 2 sizes!

Mini Scissors

A rainbow of mini scissors (with adorable Nelson the owl) is now available! A video of how to use them (shown on the previous version) is here:


You can enter to win a giveaway of 5 amigurumi books, here!

Mini Knitted Books

Crochet Hook of the Month Club

Have you seen this Crochet Hook of the Month club by Louet?

Kollage square crochet hook

You choose either a pointed or rounded tip (whoa!) and the hook is customized with your chosen inscription. So cool!

Amigurumi Design Contest

I’m super-happy to be a sponsor of the design contest!

This is a great opportunity to enter… you don’t even need to write a pattern!

Love my customers!

This one is fun… here’s a little map of purchases from the month of September!

Fave Links

Giveaway: "Mini Knitted" Book Series + Interview with Sahiyo Ishii

Mini Knitted Books

I have an amazing opportunity for you today! Search Press (the publisher of the adorable Mini Knitted series) is giving one reader 5 books, including:

Keep reading for details on how to enter! Sachiyo Ishii is the author of 4 of these books, and she’s joined us to tell us a bit about herself and her process!

Each book is packed with projects (more than 25 patterns per book), using a variety of techniques with simple knitting stitches.

Interview with Sachiyo Ishii

Sachiyo is the prolific author of 4 of the Mini Knitted books, and I was delighted that she took the time to come talk to us! Welcome, Sachiyo!

How did you begin knitting? And when did it take a professional turn?
I took up knitting in my 30’s after my second son was born. I could not knit a stitch until then. I thought dressing my boys in my handmade clothes was trendy and very Yummy Mummy, but soon discovered that knitting requires skill and patience. With my friend’s help, I did achieve my very first piece, but the stitches were messy and uneven, and the sleeves came out in different lengths.

It seemed to me that I had a very long way to go until I would be able to knit a decent garment. I almost gave up knitting altogether, however, I discovered that you can make small toys with basic skills. I practiced published patterns for some time and then, I started creating my own to add personality. I knitted many animals and proposed my current publisher, Search Press the idea of the knitted animal park. It is great to find a channel that I can put my effort into.

You’ve written so many books! Where do you find your inspiration?
I get inspiration from everywhere. When I walk in town, looking through books and magazines, shop windows, everywhere! I am constantly thinking of new designs no matter where I go or what I do. Illustrations and cartoons, felted work and sugar craft are a good source, too. They are already in simplified forms and it is easy to make them into my craft projects.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy attending fitness classes and swimming. When I get stuck with a project, swimming can be the best solution to get a fresh idea. I don’t do enough but I like visiting craft shops and fairs. I guess I cannot completely be free from crafting.

What is your favourite yarn/knitting needle/craft supply?
For many years, my favourite yarns are Rowan. I love felted tweed especially. It is such a delight to knit with quality yarn.
I have been using bamboo needles since I took up knitting. They are less slippery and keep stitches well and the best of all, they feel great in hands. If you are still new to the skill, bamboo needles are must. I have been using Clover Takumi needles.
My favourite is Clover products. My mother loved them for many years and recently I inherited them all. Some are bought over 30 years ago but still in very good condition.

Is there a favourite piece you’ve made? Perhaps for yourself?
It is hard to say since I have many favourites, but I love the knitted carousel. I have a whole set of amusement park in knitting and would love to do a book someday. Most of my creations are for myself except occasional gifts to my friends. It is great to be an author. You get to keep all samples!
knitted carousel Sachiyo Ishii

Thank you, Sachiyo!

Find Sachiyo!

Instagram: knitsbysachi
Ravelry: sachiyo-ishii
Pinterest: knitsbysachi
Twitter: Knitsbysachi

Enter to Win!

You can enter to win ALL 5 of these books! Just leave a comment (including your email address) by the end of day, October 18, 2017. A winner will be randomly chosen on the 19th and contacted via email. Because of the weight of these books, entries open to those living in the US, only.

The Crochet Wildlife Guide Review + FREE Penguin Pattern + Giveaway!

I am so excited! I love showing off a great book to you… and there are so many goodies! Keep reading to grab a FREE download of the Chinstrap Penguin by Philip Ha (aka Sir Purl Grey) AND enter to win a digital copy of the book, The Crochet Wildlife Guide.

The Crochet Wildlife Guide

You may have heard me say this before on the blog, but I get a lot of amigurumi books across my desk and for many of them, I say, ‘oh, ok. This has some cute patterns.’ And it ends there.

And I’ll admit it, my books are among them.

Much of the bare-bones nature of many books you see is completely driven by the publisher’s desire to save money. Cute illustrations? You have to pay an illustrator for those. Step-by-step detailed instructions? Nope. That takes too many pages. Fancy shaping techniques? Oh, no. That doesn’t appeal to a wide-enough audience.

For a crocheter who wants extra information either because they’re a beginner (and need the help and explanations) or are adventurous and want to try something new (hence, needing explanations of new and complicated stitches), this formula can be very frustrating.

Needless to say, when a book comes to me that breaks the mold, I jump out of my chair with glee!

The Crochet Wildlife Guide

The Crochet Wildlife Guide is a self-published book by Philip Ha and Jeff Wiehler, and the book is filled with creative crochet ideas and an artist’s touch. I was impressed by the coverage of basic crochet techniques as well as detailed instructions and illustrations for each animal.

The Crochet Wildlife Guide bird

Each project contains a diagram (as shown above) that allows you to see each piece and how they are put together. These photos are often what takes a good pattern and makes it amazing and easy-to-follow. (It’s why I include step-by-step photos in all of my individual patterns… no matter how many words you have, sometimes, you just need a photo!)

I was also enchanted by the darling illustrations in the book (including this table of contents).

The Crochet Wildlife Guide table of Contents

The patterns included in the book walk the line perfectly between wildlife-realism and kawaii cuteness. Amigurumi like the red panda on the cover, have little details so the animal is instantly-identifyable and unique, but not fussy and still cute with wide appeal.

The book also includes a table of the skills required for each pattern. This is such a great idea… you can identify the project that’s just right for you!

The Crochet Wildlife Guide difficulty levels

Throughout the book, the authors emphasize places where you can become your own designer, by highlighting small changes you can make or pointing out the design techniques used to create a particular shape.

The Crochet Wildlife Guide Bat

The photography, with animals photographed in nature, is lovely as well.

The book is available for purchase in digital or print form, from The Crochet Wildlife Guide website or from Amazon.

FREE Chinstrap Penguin Pattern

Free penguin crochet pattern

Phillip and Jeffrey have given us a pattern that didn’t make the book for FREE so that you can get started on some crochet cuteness right away!

Click here to download the pattern:  Penguin pattern by SirPurlGrey


Want to win a digital copy of the book? Yes, I know you do!

Just leave a comment (including your email address) on this post before Thursday, October 5th and you’ll be entered to win!

The Crochet Wildlife Guide Flying Squirrel


Technique for Joining Standing Legs in Amigurumi without a Hole

Today we’re lucky enough to have a guest post written by Mirena of Mirena Made! Mirena has been a FreshStitches customer for years, and she creates hand-crocheted creations that she sells in her shop. (yes, you too can sell finished FreshStitches animals!)

Thank you so much, Mirena, for coming by and sharing this new technique with us!

New Technique for Joining Standing Legs in Amigurumi

I am a huge fan of FreshStitches designs and of Stacey and I also prefer patterns where the sewing and attaching is kept to a minimum (I suspect there are other amigurumi crocheters like me!)

adorable bear from FreshStitches Ami Club

One of my favorite FreshStitches patterns is Bentley the Bear, which is crocheted using standing legs.  In the standard technique, you get little hole that remains between the legs and you have to sew it afterwards… ah, sewing!

So, here is a technique that eliminates the hole and lets you continue your crocheting without worrying about it!

Step 1: You crochet the first leg exactly as stated in the pattern BUT at the end you cut the yarn, leaving a long tail and you DO NOT fasten off.

Step 2: You crochet the second leg as stated in the pattern (leaving the yarn attached, as instructed).

how to crochet standing legs without leaving a hole

Step 3: You take both legs and you place the first one behind the second one, matching their stitches.

how to crochet standing legs without leaving a hole
Step 4: You place the loop of the first leg on your hook and using its tail you single crochet in the next stitches through both thicknesses. You do 4 sc in total and you fasten off.

how to crochet standing legs without leaving a hole

how to crochet standing legs without leaving a hole
Step 5: You place the loop of the second leg on your hook and you are ready to continue crocheting!

how to crochet standing legs without leaving a hole

The disadvantage to this technique is the stitch count. Normally, you would have 36 stitches after joining the legs but because we crocheted some of them them to attach the 2 legs together, we lost a few stitches. I solve this problem by increasing in the next round.

This technique will work with any pattern with standing legs, you just have to pay attention to the stitch count and adjust accordingly!

What a fabulous technique! Thanks so much for sharing, Mirena! This trick will work perfectly with the October Ami Club pattern… want a sneak peek?

amigurumi crochet jack o lantern

September Crochet Fun + Fave Links

I can’t believe it’s already September! Time is moving so fast (and um, it was 105 in Los Angeles last week… that feels like July to me!).

As always, I have lots of exciting news to share! If there’s something specific you’d like to see on the blog, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email!

Mojo the Monster

This month’s exclusive Ami Club pattern is Mojo the Monster!

He uses the new shaping technique we learned for the horns last month (single crocheting in one row below instead of using slip stitches, which have a tendency to bias)… I’m really loving it!

Mojo uses a 24mm black eye… but I also think he’d look amazing by leaving out the white crocheted eye and just using a 40mm eye (by painting a 40mm clear eye. Check out instructions here.) So many possibilities!

Handpainted Eyes back in stock!

FreshStitches handpainted eyes

Last month, I made a limited edition number of handpainted craft eyes just for Ami Club members. They were so popular (they sold out in just a day or two!), that I’ve decided to make up some more!

They are currently available in purple and copper in 12mm. I have a small number of larger handpainted glitter eyes.

handpainted copper eyes from FreshStitches

My plan is to bring in a limited number of colors and sizes on a rotating basis (for example, this month is purple and copper 12mm, next month might be 15mm or glow-in-the-dark), so I encourage you to grab a color that you love when you see it.

Because theses are each handpainted, they’re a bit pricier than usual, and sold per pair.

If you’re looking for a great value and consistent stock, then don’t forget about my commercially-produced colored eyes which come in lots of lovely pearlescent colors! Because they come to me painted from the factory, I am able to offer them at a low price (and they’re way prettier than the dull brown ones you get from craft shops- if they still have eyes in stock!)

Shimmer craft eyes from FreshStitches!

Featured September Patterns

These patterns are 50% off for Ami Club members… the coupon code is in the forum: September Featured Patterns: 50% off!

I went with a theme this month… all of the patterns use 18mm brown eyes! That way, you can buy a 5-pair pack and make all 3… and still have two pairs! Hooray!

Jim the Goat

We went to the county fair last weekend and they had baby goats… squee! I think they’re just the cutest! Don’t let them try to eat your pants leg though 😉

Purchase link:

Jackie the Cow

This pattern is a real favorite… I think he might even be the second best-seller behind Nelson the Owl! Everyone loves a sweet cow, and you can have lots of fun by getting really crazy with the colors! Check out this one I made as a custom order:

crazy crochet amigurumi cow


Purchase link:

Little Ger the Felted Bear

I love felting- just crochet with a wool yarn and throw it in the washing machine! (more detailed instructions are in the pattern, but basically that’s it!) The result is a very sturdy and durable fabric that will make a long-lasting stuffed animal. Give it a try!

Purchase Pattern:

Crochet-a-long begins September 15th!

I’m not going to spill the beans on the theme yet, but our new crochet-a-long begins September 15th and runs through October 31st! Everyone is welcome to participate, but only Ami Club members receive the crochet-a-long pattern as a free download. (psst… membership is only $6/month- that’s the price of a pattern! Maybe you want to try it for a month and see if you like it!)

Post photos on Facebook

You may or may not know, but we have a crazy number of followers on the FreshStitches facebook page… over 568,000!

freshstitches facebook

Now, to be totally honest, I’m not really sure who all of the people are… because I certainly don’t have over a half-a-million users on the website! Anyway, needless to say, when we were going through that growth spurt, moderating the page got a little crazy (with people posting a lot of spam and such). To keep it under control, I turned off the ‘post to page’ option.

Now things have calmed down, and I’m trying an experiment. I’ve turned ‘post to page’ back on, and I would love for you to share your crocheted amigurumi– FreshStitches or not (but bonus points if it’s a FreshStitches patterns or feature my eyes!) And we’ll see how it goes!

Obviously, I want a friendly atmosphere and would rather develop content for you than spend all day moderating the facebook group, so if it gets crazy again, we may need to edit. But let’s give it a try!

Fave Links

I hope you have a great September, and for those of you in Florida, please be safe!!!

How to crochet the mane on a lion!

Our Kepler the Lion CAL is well underway! Ami Club members have the pattern available in your downloads, and the pattern is also available for individual purchase!

Amigurumi Lion Stuffed Animal Pattern

There’s already a lot of great finished Kepler’s in the July/August CAL: Kepler the Lion Finished Photos thread, but I know there’s still a lot of you who haven’t quite finished (or started!) yet!

The trickiest part about this pattern is the mane. And although the pattern has step-by-step photos, I thought you might enjoy a little video that demonstrates the hardest part: planning and doing the first round of single crochets for the mane.

For this technique, I begin by attaching with a single crochet (read more about how to do that, here!) Why? This is an easy way to join a new yarn, and because you’re doing a single crochet, you’ve actually started the work! No need to get confused by a slip stitch or extra knots.

crochet lion pieces

Don’t forget to share how your lion is coming along!

August Crochet Fun + Fave Links

It’s August! Hooray! It’s the time of year that I’m so happy it’s summer, but also won’t mind when it cools down a bit… how about you?

There’s so much happening this month… umm… so much that we stressed out the server. Ooops. So, if you’ve been trying to get to the site over the past few days and noticed that it’s down, I apologize and hope you’ll try again! I’ve upgraded to a bigger server and hope it’ll result in a smoother experience for you!

August Ami Club Pattern

Ellie the Elephant Pattern from FreshStitches

Isn’t she adorable?!? I’ve come up with a new technique for shaping her trunk that results in a curve without the pesky biasing that you get when you use slip stitches. I hope you love it! I do… so much I’ll be using the method again in September!

The exclusive tutorial video is linked in the pattern!

Not a member of Ami Club yet? Come on and join us!

FREE 8mm eyes!

I know we all love 12mm craft eyes… they’re my fave, too! But other sizes are really awesome, and I’d like you to give them a try!

That’s why, until August 17th, all Ami Club members get a free 5-pair package of 8mm craft eyes! No strings attached!

8mm safety craft eyes

Just add a package of 8mm black craft eyes to your cart, and then enter the coupon code that’s listed in the news & announcements thread in the forums. That’s it!

New Charity!

I am SO excited about this quarter’s charity, Project Teddy Bear. Project Teddy Bear provides incarcerated men with an opportunity to learn how to crochet, and all of the handmade animals and hats that are made are then donated to the Upper Midwest Ronald McDonald House in partnership with the University of Minnesota Department of Pediatrics.


We just connected this week, so I’ll be writing another blog post with more details.

I can tell you that Project Teddy Bear is accepting donations of handmade animals! Please mail them to:

 717 Delaware Street SE, Room 382, Minneapolis, MN 55414

This will be our charity through the end of 2017!

Free buttons with purchase!

I’m sending out a sweet little button with every eyes order, while supplies last!

FreshStitches buttons

Note that shipments that only include the free 8mm package of eyes aren’t eligible, but throw in another item and you’ll get a button!

Orders over $20 will receive a Nelson enamel pin, while supplies last.

August featured patterns: 50% off

Every month, Ami Club members get 50% off selected FreshStitches patterns! This month’s patterns are:

Martin the Snail

Nathan the Platypus

I hope you have a lovely August!

Crochet: Back Loop vs. Both Loops + Video

This post was originally published April 28, 2015… but it’s so popular that I’ve updated it and added a video!

Crocheting is so much fun because there are so many options! Even a simple single crochet gives you the option of crocheting through the front loop, both loops or the back loop!

crocheting through the back loop

Today, I’ll show you where to insert your hook for the most two popular techniques: the back and both loops. I’ll also link to some posts that you might find helpful… and included a video tutorial at the end!

how to count the number of stitches in a round, crochet tutorial by FreshStitches

The Back Loop

Every stitch is a V laying on its side. Do you see the V in the above photo? The back loop refers to the top leg of this V.

crocheting through the back loop

To use this technique, insert your hook where I’ve put a black dot in this photo:

crocheting through the back loop

Why the back loop?

Crocheting through the back loop is my favorite! You’ll want to read this blog post that outlines all of the advantages!

Both Loops

The term ‘both loops’ refers to both the back and front loops. This is the ‘standard’ when a pattern doesn’t specifically reference any loops. This is the entire V:

both loops

To use this technique, insert your hook where I’ve put a black dot in this photo:

insert both loops


I know it can be hard to picture what these variations look like when you’re actually crocheting, so I’ve recorded a video for you!

What’s it look like in the end?

You’ll want to have a look at this blog post where I show you photos of how each technique looks, in the round and in rows!

Which is your favorite?