When I look around my home I am blessed to see lots of gifts from other people. There’s a range of them: jams in the fridge, large pieces of furniture, plants, useful kitchen utensils, books and decorative objects. These lovely crocheted animals, or amigurumi as the Japanese call them are a fine example. I’d hoped that there was an amazing explanation for the origins of the word but it just means ‘stuffed doll’.

These beauties were made for me and Louis by my friend Red Mel. The green one is an aardvark and the white one, mine, is of course a hippo. However, Mel made him because she said he reminded her of a Moomin and she knows that I’m a big fan. She had a bit of a production line of amigurumi at one time. She made them while watching telly on dark winter evening. Little woolly eyes gazed at you from every corner of her flat.

Our woolly companions lived for a long time on the back of the settee. They peeped out of the window and I hoped that small children walking by might have spotted their friendly little faces. However now that the settee is no more they needed a new place to perch. I think I’ve found one on top of a piece of carved stone, another gift made by my brother when he was at stonemasonry college. They look pretty chilled on there . I hope that you’ll agree.

These creatures are not going to have any crocheted companions produced by my own fair hands any time soon. Crafts involving long needles and hooks are a complete mystery to me. I’m all fingers and thumbs. The visual instructions on how to do stitches are the graphic equivalent of gobbledygook. I do have an idea of how to knit plain and purl but the tension was never right when I tried to make anything. So I’ll leave those woolly crafts to other clever creatives. You all do a much better job.

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