Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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DIY Chair Cushion Pads

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I’ve had a few requests for the pattern for my zipless recycled cloth chair pads so after a bit of photo gathering and note making I’m happy to say that I am, at last, ready to share with you all exactly how to make a cheap and cheerful bottom hugger of your own.

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First you’ll need some balls of clarn (cloth yarn). It’s very easy to make, have a look at my previous post – Ripping Yarns for more info and tips on how to upcycle your own from old bed sheets and duvet covers.

Here’s me in action, ripping and rolling my way through a double duvet cover that’s seen better days.

Rolling-clarn

If you can do this part outdoors then all the better, as it does create quite a bit of dust as you tear through the fibres but it’s much quicker than cutting the strips with scissors and your strips will always follow a uniformly straight line down the grain of the cloth. I also really like the raggy edges as they add a bit of texture and shabby chicness to a project.

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For these seat pads I used an 18″ round, feather filled inner (from Dunelm) so this pattern will be for that size of pad, but if you have a different size pad just crochet more or less rounds until it fits.

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I like to make my clarn covers slightly smaller than the actual cushion, so that the finished seat pad is nice and puffy, and won’t flatten out too much. Think more macaroon than pancake!

Seat-Pads

For this particular pattern I made my clarn strips approx 2 cm wide, – or three quarters of an inch if you’re not into the whole metric thing.

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So, clarn at the ready, you’ll also need a size N (10 mm) crochet hook, a large yarn needle, and if you’re not changing colour every round you will want to mark the ends of your rounds with a stitch marker. If you don’t have a stitch marker then a paperclip or safety pin will do the job just as well. This is my armoury of stitch markers. As you can see I have everything form a dinky jewelry clip to a chunky bag clip and all manner of things raided from the stationery drawer. I’m happy to grab whatever is to hand.

stitch-markers

On rounds where you do change colours introduce the new colour when there are two loops of the old colour on the hook, then make a slip stitch instead of a sc for the first stitch of the new colour. The slip stitch will give you less of a ‘step’ between the colours because it is shorter in height than a sc. (See below, figures a d). After step d is completed carry on making sc until the end of the round. Make an extra sc in the slip stitch you made at the beginning of the round. This extra sc will help to compensate for the shortness of the slip stitch and will give a much neater finish.

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If you’re changing colours every row or two you can carry the unused colour up the back of the work to save keep cutting and rejoining. You can see the arced line of colour changes at the back of the piece below.

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If you’re using lots of different colours or your stripes are quite thick then cut the clarn at the colour change, tie them together and crochet over the ends as you go.

With 2 cm wide cloth strips and a 10 mm hook I found the instructions below made a perfect fit for my 18″ cushion pad but you can add or subtract rows if your cushion is a different size. If you need to make the cushion bigger just keep increasing by six stitches on each round until you reach the required size.

The Pattern (Written in US terms, US sc = UK dc)
Make 2 pieces.
With your chosen colour and a 10 mm hook make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each of next 6 st. (12 sts)
Rnd 3: [sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 4: [sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (24 sts)
Rnd 5: [sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (30 sts)
Rnd 6: [sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (36 sts)
Rnd 7: [sc in each of next 5 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (42 sts)
Rnd 8: [sc in each of next 6 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (48 sts)
Rnd 9: [sc in each of next 7 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (54 sts)
Rnd 10: [sc in each of next 8 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (60 sts)
Rnd 11: [sc in each of next 9 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (66 sts)
Rnd 12: [sc in each of next 10 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (72 sts)
Rnd 13: [sc in each of next 11 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (78 sts)
Rnd 14: [sc in each of next 12 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (84 sts)
Rnd 15: [sc in each of next 13 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (90 sts)
Rnd 16: [sc in each of next 14 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (96 sts)
Rnd 17: sc in each st around. (96 sts)
Fasten off. Weave in the yarn end.

You can make the front and the back in the same colours or vary them for a reversible seat pad with a different look for each side to suit your mood. Or, if you have a lot of clarn in a colour you don’t really like you can make the back in this and save your favorite colours for the top.

Here’s the first finished piece. You can see it’s slightly smaller than the pad. Perfect for a puffy looking cushion.

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To join the pieces, hold them together with wrong sides facing.

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Insert your hook through both layers of any sc from Rnd 17. Leaving a tail of around 12″ at the beginning, pull up a loop of clarn and make 1 ch.

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Rnd 18: Making sure the next stitches go through both the top and the back of the cover, sc in same stitch as join, sc in each of the next 78 st only.
(You will now have an opening of 18 stitches that you haven’t crocheted together).

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Sc in each of the next 18 st in the top layer only, Slst to the first st of Rnd 18 (a), turn work and make 1 ch (b) sc in each of the next 18st in the bottom layer only (c), Slst to the next st (d).

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Fasten off, leaving a 12″ tail at the end. You will now have a 12″ tail either side of the opening.

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Insert your cushion pad into the cover. Cut a 36″ strip of clarn the same colour as you used for the final round. Make sure this strip has no turning tags on it. You’ll need a good strong strip that won’t rip apart as you sew.

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Thread the strip onto a large yarn needle and leaving a 12″ tail at the beginning, sew a line of running stitches in and out of both layers of the final 18 sts from Rnd 18.

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Tie the clarn ends in a bow for a decorative finish, or you could poke them into the cushion to hide them.

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If this is intended as a seat pad for a wooden chair then use the two sets of 12″ strips to tie the seat pad to the back spokes so you won’t be slip sliding away.

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When you need to wash the cover simply untie the bows and pull out the strip of clarn you used to close the seam. You can now remove your cushion and fling the cover in the washing machine. Keep the strip to hand for sewing it together again once it’s all clean and fresh.

There’s a couple of cheeky apes getting down and cosy on mine already.

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One word of caution, crocheting with thick clarn can be quite tiring on the hands. Holding your crochet hook more like  a bread knife than a pencil will help, but make sure you take lots of breaks if you’re feeling the strain. You can always try to persuade a friendly neighborhood cat to help you out with a few rounds.

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To be honest, I haven’t had much success with that yet, I just get this steely look, but maybe you’re much more persuasive than I am!


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Katie the Caterpillar

I feel like I’ve seriously had my work cut out keeping focused lately, what with so much going on around here. It’s the summer holidays so no-one is in their usual routine. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fabulous having a houseful of my own kids, even one back from uni for a few weeks, but it’s hard to concentrate too! Having said that, I’ve made an heroic effort and actually managed to complete the write up of Katie the Caterpillar’s pattern. I love how she turned out with all those jazzy stripes. I hope you do too!

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Now of course I’m biased but I do think that colourful Katie is already a true beauty, with those distinctive markings and big yellow eyes – I’m quite sure she’ll be the talk of the town when she finally decides to become a butterfly. For now though, she’s in no hurry to grow up, it’s just so much fun being a caterpillar. When she’s not playing in the garden with her friends you’ll probably find her chomping her way through a juicy apple with a side salad of crunchy leaves – she’s got a lot of plumping up to do before she’s ready for that cocoon!

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It all began as I was sitting testing the final draft of my Papa penguin pattern. As is often the case it was the colours that inspired me. The black, orange and yellow I was using in his design got me thinking of a caterpillar – with the addition of a big splodge of green they would be perfect, and an image immediately popped into my head.  So I did a quick sketch, just a simple doodle really, but that’s all I generally need to start me off. Taking a much needed break from scanning penguin pattern lines I picked up my hook and got going.

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For me this is where the true designing comes in, keeping a keen eye on the proportions as I crochet, ripping back any sections that don’t look quite right and starting again where necessary. This part went pretty smoothly and I made sure I wrote down my hieroglyphical markings as I went along. This is my shorthand, as I hate to get bogged down in too much writing when the creative flow is at full force. Nine times out of ten I’m able to turn my scratchings into a neatly laid out pattern. Sometimes I do get stuck on deciphering things, especially if I leave it more than a day or two, but if I do end up scratching my head and thinking ‘what the …?’ I can usually  work out what I did by counting rounds and stitches on the crochet work itself.

Top tip when working stripes – don’t be in a massive hurry like I was and end up with a horrid tangle like this. It takes ten times as long to sort out as it does to gently untwist each colour as you go along!

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After a few hours the first pieces of the caterpillar are off the hook, stuffed with fiberfill and pinned together.

Katie

It sure does get hot sometimes in my south facing studio. The slatted blinds can only screen out so much of the sun while still leaving me enough to see what I’m doing, so when it gets to be too hot to handle I like to work outdoors.

It’s lovely to spread the blankets out in the dappled shade, hoping to catch a breeze or two.

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I have a new gadget, which I love! A pretty little yarn cutter flower. I’m always losing my scissors when I’m working, although they are usually not far away, at the bottom of a basket, down the side of the sofa, or I’m even just sitting on them (potential big ‘ouch’ there!) Now my new yarn cutter can be worn around my neck so I can trim those yarn ends without the perpetual rummaging around.

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It has a useful fine needle threader in the base too. It’s been a real boon, I just want to know where this gadget has been hiding all my life and why I never had one before!

Katie #1 gets to explore the garden while I work on Katie #2

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But she pops back regularly to see what I’m doing. She likes to keep an eye on my progress!

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It’s not long before she has a playmate to chat to as they chew through the grapevine.

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The pattern’s eventually ready for it’s final formatting. Time to bundle everything up and head indoors as I need the computer for this bit.

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Polishing up the how-to photos and creating a front cover are the next stages.

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Looking good! Now a final run through to triple check… and then there were three!

Three-caterpillars

Time to introduce them to the rest of my garden inspired creepy crawly patterns. Shelley the Snail, Spencer the Spider and the little frogs from an earlier Minimals pattern are thrilled to join in the fun.

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katie-party

All in all, the caterpillar has taken me about a month, dipping in when I’ve had the time and dipping out to finish other projects and commissions, but it’s great to have another job crossed off the list of things to finish up. I have a herd of alpacas vying for my attention next. I’m also still working on the alley cat, a shawl and stitching together some nearly finished amigurumi from the past two years of pattern designing.

If any of you lovely people out there have an idea for an animal I haven’t made yet, or a new spin on one I have already made, I’m all ears. Just leave a comment here or let me know on Facebook. I’d love to hear your thoughts, after all we can’t let the Work in Progress pile get too small!


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Hooking Shawls and Knitting Kitties

It’s done! My lovely shawl, started in a sunny field at a festival last weekend was finished in my sunny garden this weekend. I’m really pleased with the way it worked out. It’s a good size for chillier summer evenings and the bargain bucket job lot of Rowan Frost yarn made it to the end with the added bonus of having two balls left over. Maybe some boot cuffs or fingerless mitts would make nice little project for the autumn. I’ll just add them to the ever growing list of things I want to do!

I was so pleased with the end result that I couldn’t stop myself from starting a new one almost seconds after I knotted on the last tassel. This time I have a bargain lot of Rowan Summerspun in delicious reds and purples. This yarn has a mainly cotton feel to it, despite being 50% wool, and a very pretty loose twist that pairs the variegated colours together beautifully.

shawl-yarn

The label indicates a 4 mm hook but I’m using a 5 mm instead to give the shawl lots of drape. We are having another run of beautiful weather here so I made the most of things this weekend and spent a big chunk of Saturday afternoon in the garden, gainfully employed cracking on with shawl number 2.

And as the afternoon turns to evening a little bit of sunshine, a little bit of crochet and a little bit of fizzy wine makes everything perfect!

Shawl1

Earlier on this week I had a bit of a sort out in my studio and unearthed some unfinished projects. Vowing to finish all the loose ends of various makes I decided to start with two cat doorstops that were knitted up and waiting for their finishing touches. It’s such a sweet pattern from a fabulous book called Knitted Cats and Kittens by Sue Stratford. So off I went to pull the book back off the shelf. Now to pack up a project basket with the necessaries and make time to finish them, once and for all.

Knitting

I began this kitty twosome way back last year, and I’ve got no idea why I stopped so close to the finishing post! I must have got distracted and just forgot about them.

I often like to dip in and out of projects so in between rows of my new shawl I endeavoured to knit up the missing tails and feet and sew their little faces on. Now don’t they look cute!

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One more tail and two more feet left to go and these two little buddies will be ready to keep my doors properly stopped. As the needles click away, and the rows turn, I’m reminded of how much I like knitting. I really don’t do nearly as much as I used to. Knitting was my first yarn related love affair, starting at age 8, after all, with crochet only arriving in my life a few years ago. So yeah, it’s good to ditch the hook and wield the needles sometimes, and when the crochet hand cramps start up it’s rather therapeutic to exercise them out with a good knit!

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Tigger is trying to be gracious about the new arrivals, but I think his expression gives away how he truly feels!

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*As if there aren’t enough of us cats around here already*

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As I’ve got no room for any more real cats, I might just start hoarding woolly ones instead.

It’s still bright enough for shades at this point…If I can get them back off the cat…

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…but as all good things must come to an end, the sun sets and knitting gets kind of tricky in the twighlight. It’s too warm to want to go indoors yet so we spark up the tea lights and I take a little break to watch the stars get brighter as the dark thickens around us.

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But even all those tea lights aren’t enough to illuminate my little knitted stitches, and I’m not risking dropping any, so the new cats grace the table and watch as the shawl re-emerges to have its turn. Thanks to a combination of big, easy to work chains and my light up crochet hook, it’s a doddle, (even after a glass or two of wine!)

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So the stars shine, the candles flicker and the shawl grows longer by the hour.

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I do hope these balmy summer nights roll on for a bit longer yet so I can enjoy a few more like this before the autumn chill kicks in.

Sunday morning was a cheery sight of blue skies interspersed with smattering of fluffy clouds. Knowing our weather patterns these are just as likely to develop into thick grey beasties drenching us with thunderous downpours as they are likely to burn up and give us another scorcher of a day. In light of the possibility of the first scenario coming true we decide it’s best to get out there as soon as possible and enjoy it while we can.

Out come the bikes for hubby and me, and after a quick shout up the stairs to see if any of the boys want to come too (they didn’t) we headed off for a 10 mile spin around the river. Some gorgeous new patches of flowers have sprung up since I was last down here. Had to get a photo of these beauties. They sure put my pots of chewed up pansies to shame!

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Love that riot of colour, makes your heart sing just to look!

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Back home again so I can finish knitting the tail for the second cat. Two tails and twelve tiny toes later and – Tah-dahhh! Finished at last :-)Two-Knitted-Cats

These two that were part of the work in progress mega mountain are now fully formed felines to be proud of.

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Now it just needs to be seen whether they’ll be accepted by the natives. Doorstop cat looks like he wants to be friends, but Mojo is one cool customer and refuses to make eye contact or acknowledge the newbie at all. Not looking too good so far!

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Now I’ve got my knitting head firmly screwed on again I’m going to have a go at this little fella.

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I just hope he doesn’t end up on the WIP pile for another year like the last two. Only time will tell!


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A Quick Getaway

I’m back at my desk today after a long weekend away at the Livestock festival. The boys wanted to stay home alone this time, and at 16 and 18 I guess it’s only natural not to want to party with Mum and Dad! I thought it would do them good to fend for themselves (with the help of pizzas and pot noodles!) for a day or two and they seemed rather pleased with the prospect.

The festival was only 20 minutes away from our home, down some very quiet roads, winding through open countryside, a small town and a tiny village. The sun was shining with all it’s might and Hubby and I were as free as birds for the next few days.

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After last years long car drives down to Dorset for the Jurassic Rocks Festival and the even longer car drive to Somerset for the Watchet Festival it was refreshing to arrive in minutes, not hours, feeling full of beans, bouncing with energy just waiting to be spent in the dance tents!

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This was the traffic at it’s very worst this time – got to admit this JCB did slow us down for a couple of miles, but after last years debacle of five hours to travel 80 miles to Watchet on a grubby, jam packed motorway, stuck behind a huge filthy lorry, this was heaven!

But I’m leaping ahead here in my enthusiasm to re-live my little holiday! Just as last years festivals began with a crochet project, this one was no exception. All packing – for any amount of time away from my beloved studio, be it an hour or a week – must begin with a suitable crochet project for take-a-long hooky entertainment purposes.

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I got a great deal on this Rowan yarn in a local department store where it was on the kind of offer you simply can’t refuse (though just for the record, I find it difficult to refuse beautiful yarn whether it’s on offer or not). These were marked down at just £12 for 10 balls. How could you possibly walk on by?!

I wanted to make something to wear this time. The project had to be super simple and easily portable so I plumped for a pretty lattice work shawl made up of rows of linked chains that I found on Crochet and Other Stuff.

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My yarn is heavier than that used in the original but I just upped the hook size to a 5 mm and decided to keep the starting chain the same size in the hope I would get a more generously sized shawl – just right for keeping off the evening chills. Yeah, I know, I could have done a gauge swatch but for some reason I avoid those things whenever there appears to be the remotest possibility of getting away without one! This cartoon by Natalie Dee ticks all my boxes with regard to swatch attitude!

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I made sure I crocheted up the first few rows before we headed off. It’s a terrible moment when you get to your destination only to find the pattern is indecipherable, or there are bits of it missing, or maybe you just picked up the wrong hook size. Always do a taster session before you leave the house! Having taken my own advice on this matter I can report that this pattern is a dream to work, nicely written, fully complete and my hook size was just perfect.

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Looking good so far. Now the crochet-to-go is sorted, and the flower crowns and sun hat are located it’s time to start thinking about all the other less important stuff, you know, like bedding, clothes, food, money, tent…

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Hubby is in charge of all the big stuff because he thinks it’s all so much more important than crochet (poor deluded fool!) and doesn’t trust me to get the balance right, fearing we may just end up going away in a van packed to the roof with yarn and very little else!

But see here, I know how to pack… Here are all my essentials. I’m hoping I have every weather eventuality covered. Wellies and flip flops, waterproof and sunhat, cosy blankets and sun cream. That should be enough stuff for pretty much anything the British summer can throw at us.

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And just in case I feel like a break from crocheting I’ve packed my kindle and a sketch book. And of course my festival owl purse is coming with me, containing my lucky rune stone and enough emergency money for a few scrumpy ciders.

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So let’s go! Well I already told you a little bit about the journey and as it’s so local there’s not much else to add on that subject. We arrived at the campsite in the early afternoon. Still sunny and pleased to soak up the wonderful views of the Malvern Hills. (They’re the ones in my summer banner at the top of this blog by the way).

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A lovely first glimpse, which just got lovelier as we rounded the corner into the farm.

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We were glad to see oodles of camping space in the fields below. I like a bit of an empty bubble around my tent if at all possible, and here it was very much possible as long as you didn’t mind a five minute walk to the main field, which is fine with me. After a short drive around to find our perfect spot it was time to fling our pop up tent out of the van, pump up the inflatable sofa bed and get all the bedding in to bring it up to a maximum of 11 on the comfort scale.

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Festival Owl graces the doorway of the tent…

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…and the nibbles and liquid refreshment are ready and waiting, it’s time to study the programme and start making a plan of action…

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…which basically was to get down to the main field to see what we could see. A lot of people, a couple of stages, a double decker comedy bus, sunshine, flags, hay bales, food bars and a beer tent. Lovely!

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I whiled away some of the afternoon adding rows of relaxing chain stitches to the shawl.

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A delicious dish of seafood paella and a pint of scrumpy to wash it down with is a sure way to get the mood on an upswing.

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We watched our shadows grow longer as the sun sank lower.

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By the way, I’m not actually trying to make an ostrich or a diplodocus shadow puppet with my hand here, just trying to get a good perspective by holding up the camera!

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As the sun sets on the first evening we take some time to admire the awesomeness.

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Then get our groove on at the main stage, bouncing up and down enthusiastically and singing very loudly and way out of tune to The Feeling, who were in tune enough and loud enough to cover my less than perfect voice. (I never do karaoke).

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More food and a few more glugs of cider later and it was time to settle down, backs against a hay bale and wrapped in the blankets we brought from the tent, to watch the film – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. A nice way to end our own lovely day off, and with a few more to look forward to yet we wended our weary way back to our tent, happy and tired in equal measures. After a little moon and star gazing we had one of the best festival sleeps ever. The extra five minutes walking to the outskirts of the site paid dividends and the Quiet Camping Field was exactly as it should be. A bit of peace after all the bustle was very welcome and I drifted off to the sound of Hubby snoring. Nothing new there then!

In the morning we woke refreshed and ready to head off early to Tewkesbury to treat ourselves to a full english breakfast on a proper china plate with proper stainless steel cutlery and a drink of tea that doesn’t come in a paper cup (impossible to find at festivals!). A look around the town resulted in an unexpected purchase. I’ve actually been searching for two new chairs for the kitchen and a second chair for upstairs in my studio for ages with no luck at all. Then, lo and behold, on our way back from our breakfast we find three perfect candidates all sitting outside a second hand shop. I just had to have them, so they ended up back at the tent with us.

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They’re going to fit in a treat back at home, though I must admit they look a little incongruous in a camping scene!

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You can see that the shawl was growing nicely by now thanks to the leisurely few hours sat in the pub over our long and lazy breakfast. I’d used up about four balls of yarn at this point and so still had six left. Definitely enough to finish up on this project with plenty to spare. DSCN9187

I’m really pleased with the way it drapes, the yarn is incredibly soft and not a hint of a prickle or an itch when you hold it next to your skin.

As for the evening we pretty much repeated what we did the previous day, this time with Toploader and Scouting For Girls as the main music acts and Monty Python’s Life of Brian on at the outdoor cinema.

We found time to go back to the tent just after it got dark and saw a most excellent sight of the moon rising from behind the hills opposite our tent. It always looks so huge when it’s close to the horizon and sure was a pretty thing to rest your eyes upon. These photos don’t even nearly do it justice but I wanted to share a few anyway because it was just such a special and lovely thing to see.

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The following day we woke up to yet more sunshine. A late breakfast of a fried egg roll and black coffee coupled with more crochet work on the shawl kickstarted my good mood as we sat and listened to the first bands at around midday.fest15

The battery on my camera ran out here so this is where I have to leave you all but I’m sure you get the idea by now! It may have been a micro festival compared to the likes of Glastonbury or Latitude but we had a thoroughly good time, though after day three we were both ready for a real bed again and some solid brick walls around us, especially as the weather began to take a turn for the worst.

I’ve loved living the good life out here in the fields, getting back to nature and away from the familiar, but it’s good to be home again and to find that the boys managed to look after themselves, the house and the cats admirably. Oh, and it’s quite nice to be plugging back into the grid too. I missed my computer just a tiny bit!

Now it’s back to work, hitting the ground running. I’ve got lots to be getting on with this week. Looking forward to sharing it all with you in my next post. Thanks for stopping by!


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A Weekend at Home

Chanting the mantra ‘Rain, rain, go away, come back another day’ has had no effect whatsoever around here so it’s been a weekend tucked up indoors, catching up with much of my crochet works in progress. Well, it needs to be done and there are worse ways to spend rainy afternoons. In fact it’s rather nice to have some cosy time in the house. Mojo has found his new favorite spot. Staring wistfully out into the drizzle from the comfort of one of my new kitchen seat pads. There is an excellent view of the garden from there and Moji is making the most of it.

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Minnie has nabbed herself a spot in a spotty, polka dotty, plastic picnic salad bowl!

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It’s barely big enough but she’s whiled away many hours snoozing in there, so it must be comfier than it looks.

I’ve spent a fair bit of time over the past few days designing a new alpaca pattern and then creating them in lots of colours. Here’s the production line in full swing. It’s my own personal alpaca farm. Six colours so far… well, I really enjoy working with the soft and fluffy textured yarns, and I just couldn’t seem to stop myself!

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They’ve got their eyes on those tasty strawberries by the looks of it.

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I was busy making these last week, on a somewhat sunnier day.

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A little snack for me too. Alpacas aren’t the only ones who love strawberries!

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Pogo often watches me crochet, sitting side by side on our squashy sofa. He’s just waiting for a yarn end to pounce on. Usually straight into my lap, huge claws and all!

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There’s plenty of yarny entertainment for him as I finish up this latest batch.

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Lovely home days with all the cats for company make me very happy. Just time for a break to bake a loaf of bread ready for lunch. Oh yum. This butternut squash and parmesan bread filled the house with delicious smells that cheered us all up. It tasted amazing too! Chopped black olives and rosemary made it extra special and it’s great therapy for crunched up crochet hands as all the mixing and kneading gets the circulation flowing around my fingers again.

Bread

Bas’s  (Zabbez.com) Butterfly Bree and Baby Calin were finished up just in time for the proofreading deadline for the new Parent and Baby Animals book. I love the way the sparkly blues have worked out. This pattern would look fabulous in so many different colour combinations. One to let your imagination go wild with!

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Here she is next to Bas’s original colourway. It sure was a lovely pattern to follow.

I found out a few days ago that Papa and Pierre have made it on to the front cover of the book. I’m so thrilled, it’s like the icing on the cake and I can’t wait to see the whole book layout. Joke always does such a fantastic job of compiling all the cute designs. Not long to wait now, as pre-sale will be starting in early September over at amigurumipatterns.net.

Amigurumi Parent and Baby Animals Book

Thanks to all who voted for Papa and Pierre.

Come rain or shine, have a great week folks!


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Creepy Crawlies, Butterflies and Flowers

It’s been a week of creepy crawlies! With my Katy the Caterpiller pattern so very nearly completed I’ve also been sent a pattern to test for the new ‘Parent and Baby’ amigurumipatterns.net book. I volunteered to proofread a random pattern and quite by chance have ended up with another caterpillar to crochet – this time complete with his butterfly mommy. This beautiful design by Bas den Braver is going to be a fun little project to keep me busy over the next few days.

Zabbez Bree and Calin

Awww – cute!!

Check out all of Bas’s other patterns on his Zabbez website. They’ll be sure to put a smile on your face! They certainly put one on mine with their floral themes and hot zingy colours. Don’t these little characters just make you want to get out in the garden and make it bloom?!

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I’d love to have a go at growing more and varied types of flowers in my tubs and pots (pansies and geraniums have been my best successes so far) but I’ve got a problem with slugs and snails – I can’t bring myself to ‘dispatch’ them in any way – so most of my green fingered efforts end up looking like this… An unholy holy mess for sure!

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Chilli plants are apparently delicious for lunch (if you’re a snail that is, I prefer a bit of iceberg lettuce myself). At least I know exactly who the culprits are this time. Sheldon and Shelby look rather pleased with themselves for finding such a tasty morsel but at least they had the manners to blush when I caught them red handed – or rather, green footed. But as cute as this pair is there’s a whole army of the more brown and slimy kind coming out every night to wreak havoc. Luckily I had the foresight to keep a few chilli plants inside on the kitchen windowsill, so if my outdoor ones don’t survive they’ll be my back up plan. If you have similar gardening disasters to mine you might take comfort in crocheting some of these flower people instead, secure in the knowledge that Bas’s tribute to the garden folks are totally snail proof!

ZabbezFlowers

It’s not just the chilli plants that have suffered in my garden. I planted 20 marigolds and a sunflower seedling out in the border just over two weeks ago. Sad to say they’ve all vanished before they even got a proper root hold! Ah well, I never learn. I’m actually quite happy to resort to shop bought flowers to cheer the place up anyway. Hubby bought me these last weekend because they matched my Katy the Caterpillar project that I was working on at the time. How thoughtful :-) And what excellent rationale for choosing the colour scheme of my little gift. He knows the kind of details that make me happy!

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Not a bad match at all!

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And though the petals are starting to drop there’s still a lot of life left in my lovely bunch of summer sun.Sunflower2

Back to testing out the Butterfly Bree and Caterpillar Calin pattern – I thought I would change the colours slightly as I work through it, mainly because I bought some beautiful sparkly yarn recently with some Christmas makes in mind and I’m itching to try it out. I’m making my version of Bree look more like one of these Blue Morpho specimens. I love the depth of colour in these amazing creatures – I could just stare at that dreamy blue all day.

Morphos

But I don’t have time for too much staring at it, so even better than that I’ll crochet with it instead.

A quick rummage around the stash baskets and all materials are gathered together. Yarns at the ready…

Morpho-Yarn

…pattern printed, essential kit located… and we’re off!

Making-Bree

Papa Penguin and Baby Pierre are fascinated to meet two of their fellow stars from the new book. Pierre has already made plans to take Calin to the park to play on the swings and Papa is going to introduce Bree to the other parents at Pierre’s pre-school.

PapaBree

Hopefully I’ll have finished making them in time for my next post so you can see how they turned out. Papa and Pierre can’t wait – parent and toddler group is going to be so much more fun with new friends to take along!


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Very Berry

Another week has shot past and I’m still enamoured with the circular granny motif I was working on last week. Trying out a softer look for them this time with soft and dreamy ice creamy berry colours in romantic pinks and purples. Raspberry ripple or blueberry burst springs to mind and makes me want to head straight for the freezer for a scoop or two!

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A rather pretty match to the Sweet Williams that are currently gracing my window ledge here in the studio.

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I’ve so much work to get through at the moment but I’m refusing to panic and instead just thanking my lucky stars that my job involves such an abundance of crochet. It’s been four years now since I first picked up a hook and  painstakingly followed a couple of Youtube videos. I can remember struggling to hold the yarn correctly – a lifetime of prior knitting experience can confuse your fine motor skills like that when you suddenly try to switch to a brand new technique.  It was a serious case of knotted up fingers and thumbs and terrible tension and it was just a teeny bit frustrating!  So, so glad I didn’t give up though – I’m still showing no signs whatsoever of getting bored of my ‘new’ favorite craft.

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The busier the better is my motto and there’ll be no slacking around here with Mojo keeping a stern eye on me to make sure I’m moving forward at a steady pace, working through my to-do list.

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Many of my deadlines are self imposed but I do get very tenacious about sticking to them once I’ve made my mind up. I decided I’ve got to get some sort of grip on works in progress this week so have been spending some of my spare time completing the crocheted seat pads for my newly decorated kitchen. I love them! They’re comfy and practical and were cheap as chips to make. I found an ingenious way of avoiding having to use a zip too – thereby elevating their thrift status up another notch or two. The only thing I had to buy was the cushion pads to go inside them.

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I really like how they’ve all turned out unique and not quite matching. I’m only using fabric I already have for this project which adds to their upcycled charm!

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These raggy ends are an integral part of the zipless finish . They’re easy to undo if I need to wash the cushion covers and they also form the ties that attach the cushions to the chairs. There’s nothing more annoying than slip sliding about and losing your cushion mid meal… Well, there probably are much more annoying things than that but the fewer minor irritations in life, the better! And I like the little bows when the cushions are in place.

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The little bows are quick and easy to untie if I want to make my wire bench into a somewhat comfier affair. Dappled shade in the shelter of the ever expanding grape vine is a little piece of summer heaven.

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Just the spot for making a few strawberry accessories for a new amigurumi design I’m working on. Hopefully to be revealed in the next week or two.

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I’ve also been working on re-making the caterpillar, testing the pattern and tweaking the overall shape as I go. I think I have it spot on now…

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But I’ll only know for sure when I’ve assembled all the bits. And goodness, what a lot of bits…

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…mainly in the form of legs, which is only to be expected when you’re making a caterpillar I suppose.

Plenty more to get on with and the sun is still shining so I’m heading off out to the garden again to attach those limbs where they rightly belong, then a few more crocheted strawberries, maybe a bit more rag crochet (table mats and coasters this time) and whatever other projects that jumble into my head demanding attention! That’s the rest of my weekend sorted. I hope your’s will be just as much fun!

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Bye Bye for now from myself and the lepidopteran larvae! x

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