The South African word for millipede is ‘shongololo’ (shawn-gaw-law-law; rhymes with words like ‘bore’). Shuttle is a Giant African Millipede and I usually like to make life-sized creatures but I couldn’t resist taking the ‘giant’ aspect to extremes this time to create a 2 meter long, 136-legged monstrosity of joy!
My only concern was that people might find him creepy (being a creepy crawly and all), but I was surprised that the main issue people had with him when I posted progress pics, was that he looked like way too much work! That was a good surprise for me to hear, because Shuttle really isn’t that complex or labor intensive at all. The even better news for you is that you can create a ginormous, complex-looking snuggle beast without a huge amount of effort. You’ll amaze and astound your friends who will all think that you completed a major feat of tenacity and bravery, sprinkled with insanity. You eccentric artist, you!!!
Shuttle the Shongololo is made with chunky yarn – and also by crocheting with 2 threads of thinner yarn held together – so your pieces are bulky and they work up fast. The pieces are all very simple and repetitive too, so you don’t even have to think about what you’re doing for 90% of the project, meaning you can multi-task and listen to your favorite audiobook, or have a meaningful conversation without having to put your project down. To me, this sort of project is like a holiday. It’s one of those that I pick up when I want to have some leisure time with a hobby but don’t want to expend a lot of mental effort. In total, Shuttle will take you about as much time as making a small lap blanket or afghan, except he’ll look wa-hay cooler than one.
The other element that makes Shuttle relatively a quick and painless project is the fact that he requires almost no sewing at all!!! I know that is a crocheter’s absolute favorite phrase in the world to hear so, you’re welcome, it’s my pleasure and yes, you may name your firstborn in my honor. The only sewing required in the whole project will be to attach his 2 feelers to his head, that’s it. Absolutely everything else is crocheted together!
Shuttle can be made as long or as short as you like, so you don’t have to make 136 legs if you’re a bit less crazy than the rest of us. If you’re a complete lunatic, you can more add legs (in direct proportion to your madness). The pattern contains recipe-style instructions that will enable you to easily make a millipede of custom length and know how many legs he’ll need, as well as how to assemble all the bits. For example, I made this short little stubby baby that reminds me of a pill bug (which irl is even cuter than a Giant African Millipede – I think they look like Pokemon!).
Okay, but why is the little one fluffy? I’m so glad you asked because I wanted to tell you about this year’s pattern theme: He’s fluffy because for the whole of 2022, I’m making all my patterns fur themed! I’m planning to teach you all the various tips and tricks for making amigurumi furry, in a way that everybody can do it, no matter your skill level and no matter how traumatic your previous experiences with fur! More on Projectarian’s Year of Fur in my next blog post.
I only decided on the theme idea after Shuttle was already designed last year, so I quickly rustled up a furry pill bug option for the pattern so that he wouldn’t be the odd one out for 2022. Full-sized Shuttle is floppy and pose-able but baby Shuttle is stocky and firm, which incidentally also makes him a functional bolster cushion. Speaking of cushions, full-sized Shuttle is the size and shape of a body pillow himself, so if you’re wondering where you’d store a giant millipede in your house, the answer is on a bed or couch!
If you’re feeling adventurous, get creative with your project and try different things like making a full-sized furry Shuttle, or one with alternating segments of fur and plain yarn. You could make a temperature millipede by corresponding the body colours to the climate where you live over a period of time, or do something ridiculous like using blanket yarn to make a millipede so big that you need to build an extra wing on your house to keep him! Or go in the opposite direction and make the tiniest miniature millipede you can muster! I want to do all of these things, and make shuttle in every colour, but there’s no time so I need to live vicariously through you. When you make your millipede, please post your pics on Facebook or Instagram and tag me @Projectarian so I can see them!
I hope you enjoy this project as much as I did, and remember to tell your crochet friends about it too!