Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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A Weekend Away

Well hello again! It’s been a very hectic couple of weeks since I last managed to post. I’ve just been away for a much needed break by the sea and now feel completely recharged and ready to tackle my huge to-do list back home. It’s amazing what a change of scenery can do for the spirits! Now you might guess that my recipe for a dream weekend includes organizing some holiday crochet as a top priority.DSCN4019I reckoned that this should be enough yarn for a minimum six hours in the car and a few hazy hours at the Jurassic Rocks Festival on Saturday, plus a lazy Sunday on the beach. And in case I do run out, I have a back up project. Little necklace purses for my next craft fair. Both projects are using self striping yarns so I get all the fun of working with lots of colour but without having to pack up tons of different balls of yarn.DSCN4027 I can cope for the weekend if I forget a change of clothes or my toothbrush but I’m not so laid back if I don’t have a project to keep my hands occupied.  It’s my meditation and recreation all in one. So Saturday morning has arrived and we have woken up to thunderstorms and torrential rain here in Worcester. Time to check the weather forecast…and it’s not looking too good, with severe weather warnings in place for much of the country, most specifically down south which is where we’re headed!DSCN3832 Not to be deterred we pack up wellies, waterproofs and umbrellas. A good time will be had – regardless of the British weather. After all, a rain sodden car journey can always be made more tolerable and much brighter with a few balls of cheery coloured yarn.DSCN4039In the end the wet weather and stormy clouds cleared completely by the time we reached Weymouth. So glad we didn’t chicken out and cancel our weekend. Instead I got to do a bit of drinking and crocheting while listening to some local bands and basking in the sunshine:DSCN4056DSCN4058These lovely blue skies certainly cheered everyone up and added to the bon homie! Several hours and several bands later it was time to retire to the tent with a whole day by the seaside to look forward to tomorrow. Bliss! After packing up the tent in the morning we headed off in search of a cup of tea. It took us longer than we anticipated because of all the distractingly beautiful views on the way from Portland to Weymouth.DSCN4075DSCN4071 But we got there in the end. In fact right at the bottom of this street was a life-saving brew. DSCN4079DSCN4081(Those are hubby’s hairy arms by the way, not mine, but you probably already guessed as much!) With the morning ritual of a good old cuppa sorted we were ready to head off to Chesil Beach for a few hours of rest and relaxation. I took some photos of beautiful tangles of fishing nets on the way as I can’t resist anything remotely yarn like!

And at last we arrive at the beach.DSCN4108Time to have a good look through my Granny squares from yesterday evening.DSCN4106Hmmm, I think this one may have been made after one too many ciders last night! It’s definitely not very square. I love the way the colours echo the sea and the pebbles though.DSCN4113I made a few more squares but then decided a bit of beach art in the form of a yarn bomb might be more appropriate. I got hold of the biggest pebble I could lay my hands on and, inspired by all the fishing nets I’d been photographing, I set to work. An hour or so later and here’s my homage to the sea-side.

There is a strict policy about not removing pebbles from Chesil beach so I hope it gets to stay there until the 100% natural wool yarn just weathers away one day. I had lots of fun improvising with my rock while Hubby had a much needed snooze. Time to say goodbye to Chesil and hello to Weymouth. We’re off in search of a crab salad!DSCN4140There’s plenty of eating places to choose from so we took our time and had a wander around all the little alleys full of wonderfully tacky kiss-me-quick hats, buckets, spades, saucy postcards and the obligatory sticks of rock.

Then off to the harbour…DSCN4152 …where we ate the perfect crab lunch from the Ivy Coffee House on Cove Row.DSCN4172Lovely views and an outdoor table in the shade made it all just perfect. DSCN4167Now for a tub of cockles and a bit more exploring before we head off home.DSCN4165DSCN4156DSCN4183 DSCN4175  On the horizon is the Isle of Portland where we spent last night camping underneath the stars.DSCN4178 The clouds have been very kind and stayed light and wispy around the periphery of the sky all weekend. We have a car boot jam packed full of wet weather gear in all it’s forms but I’m certainly not complaining that we didn’t get to use it. Back in the car at last and the journey whizzes by. I’m a little sun burnt (yes, we packed wellies but didn’t think we’d need to pack any sunblock, but as the saying goes – ‘Life’s a beach and then you fry’!). I’m a little tired too but the Radio is on and I’ve still got a ball of yarn left and so I embark on the last of the Granny Squares. Looks like rain again as we get nearer to Worcester.DSCN4188 Ah well, no-one can say that we haven’t had our fair share of sunshine this weekend. By the time we arrive back home I’m glad to unpack, have a cool bath to take the heat out of my lobster red shoulders and take a minute to assemble all of my weekends crochet achievements. Not a bad haul for such a busy couple of days. Now the next fun bit is deciding what to make with them. Whatever they end up being used for they’ll always remind me of my gorgeous weekend of fun in the sun.DSCN4196 DSCN4201

I never needed my back up project of crocheted necklace purses in the end. I’ll just have to schedule another trip to get those finished in time for the autumn craft fair season. What a lovely thought!


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Summer Flowers and Rain Showers

What a week for unpredictable weather! Although as most summers are like this it might be more accurate to say that the weather is predictably unpredictable! I’ve been crocheting outside when the sun has been shining and crocheting indoors when it’s been raining. To make things easier I’ve re-purposed a wash-bag and filled it with all my crochet and craft essentials so now I’m always ready for any weather eventuality!

In the hope of more good than bad weather this summer, I’ve been sewing some pretty flowery bunting for the garden made out of a few cheap and cheerful shower curtains (and the bunting will match my new crochet bag too. How cool is that!)

Here’s one of the finished lengths.

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Hmm, another of those projects temporarily halted by one of my cats taking up residence on top of it. That’s the kind of sour-puss face I’m not messing with. Tigger can stay put for a while, I’ve got some crochet to be getting on with anyway!

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I’m still working on the daisy squares and have used some of them to make a cushion cover.

I’m going to make a few more with some of the other squares. It’s kind of nice to have a quick fix project sometimes and they’ll be perfect for when I’m lounging around outside, in between the storms!

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The view from my bedroom window says it all about this weeks mixed bag of meteorological horrors and delights!

So, whether the weather be good…

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or whether the weather be bad…

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or whether the weather be somewhere in the middle…

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Here’s to another week of happy hooking and bunting making under stormy and/or sunny skies!


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Weird Weather

What a funny day it’s been here in Worcester! All week long I’ve been crocheting in the garden in a desperate attempt to get away from the oven roasting experience of sitting in my usual space in the studio. My desk is right next to a south facing window in a terraced house that is firmly insulated on both sides by the adjoining properties. It’s been so lovely outside, with glorious sunshine and sweltering summer temperatures made bearable by fluttering breezes and the shade of a blanket that I’ve strung up as a makeshift canopy. But, just as I’m getting used to floaty clothes and strappy sandals, we have a weird and disconcerting weather wobble. Here’s the view from my studio window at the start of the storm. My poor little canopy is stretched to snapping point by the sudden heavy rain and the crazy hail that followed! (You can see my Grape vine has been enjoying the warm weather, it could be a bumper red wine crop this year!)Hail5Then the hailstones got bigger and bigger, battering our clematis into confetti and making the hot spot I’ve occupied in my new deck chair for a lot of the last ten days or so into a definite cold spot that resembles something you might find in an arctic landscape rather than in an English garden at the end of June!

As I wrote about in my last post, Pendleton and Penelope Penguin were complaining about all the heat, so of course they couldn’t resist a little frolic in the somewhat unseasonable, but rather pretty, tapioca-like ice. After all, it’s the perfect opportunity to acclimatise before their intrepid journey to the South Pole commences! If you were a penguin would you be able to resist?HailPenguinsOh they look so at home don’t they?! It must be bliss to cool those flippers down a bit!

Well, I wonder what tomorrow will bring? We did have a big day out scheduled visiting Painswick Rococo Garden in the Cotswolds. Picnic, ginger beer and a bottle of Prosecco are chilling in the fridge, (I might as well have chilled them in the garden!). Sun cream, straw hat and foldaway chairs are packed up in the car – but I’m not so sure I want to go now. Back to Plan B, except I didn’t make one, so certain was I of our summer heatwave! Ah well, it’s the weekend anyway, if the summer scores another epic fail tomorrow I’m sure I’ll think of somewhere else that’s fun to take the family. We might even be going tobogganing at this rate!


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Pendleton and Penelope Penguin

I know, it’s the middle of a heatwave and everybody’s feeling all summery. Got to say I’m loving the whole summer vibe but I know a cute couple who aren’t quite so impressed with all this hot weather. That would be Pendleton and Penelope Penguin of course. They’re just not cut out for these kinds of temperatures so they’ve booked a last minute holiday to the South Pole, where they can cool down a bit, chilling with relatives on the way and enjoying icy dips in the sea. Look at them all togged up in their finest antarctic grade thermals – because even penguins can get a bit chilly when temperatures plummet to minus 56 degrees Fahrenheit and there’s only two of you to make a huddle. Yes, that’s the official forecast for today but with the wind chill factor too it feels more like minus 96 degrees apparently.  I can’t be the only one with adventurous flippered friends to worry about so if you’re sending any penguins off on holiday soon you can find up to date antarctic weather forecasts here!

PenguinsNo need to pack swimming trunks and costumes for these two. They love a bit of skinny dipping. Well, who wouldn’t want to show off fit and gorgeous bodies like these?!

Penguin3Pendleton and Penelope have been working out at the local fishmongers eating all the leftovers for months to build up such a magnificent layer of blubber to get their hot (or cool?) beach bodies! Hi Five guys, your lookin’ good! Penguin4

So Bon Voyage little Penguins, and don’t forget to send a postcard or two!


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An amigurumi comes to life

After being rudely awakened at 5 o’clock last Friday morning by Mojo the cat bringing a loudly chirruping starling into my bedroom, I wasn’t going to go back to sleep any time soon so I decided to start early and spend the day giving my Cyril the Squirrel pattern a final run through before I listed it in my online shops. The best way for me to test my own patterns is to leave the whole thing for a while and then to come back to it when I’m fresh and the stitch counts and number of rows are no longer seared into my brain. (Don’t worry about the starling, I rescued it, rested it for a while in a bird cage I keep handy for just such emergencies and it flew off into the sky an hour later). To make the repeating of projects more fun I like to change the colour and/or the hook size to make the whole process slightly different each time. This time I’ve pushed the hook size right down to a 2 mm and am going to make this squirrel in a soft grey and a slightly fluffy cream yarn, both by Rowan and bought from a local yarn store sale for £1 a ball. What a bargain bonanza! Although, of course, this means I buy much more than I really need thus diminishing the money saving aspect. But then again, how much is too much?! I’m sure it will all come in handy sooner or later.

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My other favorite bits and pieces and amigurumi essentials are all gathered together into a wicker project tray. So we’re ready to go. The sun is shining and I have a whole day, dedicated to crochet, stretching ahead of me. Bliss. I’ve even got a few extra hours to play with thanks to my Mojo alarm call!

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By 10am I’ve had a lazy breakfast, several cups of tea, become distracted by Pinterest and Facebook and also, the main aim of the day of course, hooked up all these squirrel parts. I printed out a copy of the pattern in the end and turned the computer off  so no chance of any further internetty time wasting diversions. It’s just too much temptation to have a quick click here and there when it’s on and one of the main things about pattern testing is total focus on the job in hand! The smaller than usual hook choice has been something of a challenge, making my fingers ache a little and proving a tough deal to feed the safety eyes through, but where there’s a will there’s a way and I manage to soldier on. It’s going to be nice to have a smaller version of Cyril to join the crew of my ever growing squirrel family.

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A few more hours later and all squirrel parts are completed. Minor tweaks are made to the word file, which is then made into a PDF ready for uploading later. Squirrel5

One of the really fun parts for me is joining all the components together, embroidering on any features and seeing it come to life as a fully fledged character. Squirrel1

But of course everyone knows that amigurumi don’t really come to life. That is, not until the Blue Fairy pays a visit and says those magic words:

 “Little squirrel made of twine, awake! The gift of life is thine.” ∗

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Hooray! My squirrel is finally really real. It turns out this one’s a girl and she’s called Cheryl. Just like any self respecting, fashion conscious lady rodent she want’s to choose her own outfit. So off we go to explore the yarn stash and see what’s on offer. Hmm, yes I think the red would be perfect too and that fiery orange trim will finish it off a treat. Now measurements are taken and details must be decided. Cheryl doesn’t want a flat cap like Cyril, she prefers a much more feminine wide brimmed sun hat. Back to the drawing board for that one then.

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A little more hooking later and ‘Voila’ … Cheryl in her Cherry Red ensemble. We even went and picked some daisies from her cottage garden, one to decorate her hat and a whole bunch for the kitchen table. DSCN3673

If you want to adapt the Cyril the Squirrel pattern into Cheryl the Squirrel here’s a free pattern extra for how I made her wide brimmed hat and the little flowers:

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Note: Pattern written in US terms. Us single crochet (sc) is equivalent to UK double crochet (dc)

Hat

With the same sized hook you used for the main pattern and Red Yarn make 2 ch.

Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)

Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st to end. (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)

Rnds 5-6: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)

Change to Orange yarn.

Rnd 7: Sc in each st around.

Rnd 8: Working in Front Loops only: [Sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (30 sts)

Change to Red yarn.

Rnd 9: Sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st, ch 6, skip next 5 st, [Sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc innext st] 2 times, ch 6, skip next 5 st, sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st. (36 sts)

Rnd 10: [Sc in each of next 5 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (42 sts)

Rnd 11: [Sc in each of next 6 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (48 sts)

Change to Orange yarn.

Rnd 12: Sc in each st around.

Fasten off, weave in ends.

Flower

With White yarn make 4 ch, Slst in first ch, [3 ch, Sl st in same ch as first Slst] 4 times. (5 petals)

Fasten off. Make a yellow French Knot in center of flower. Sew to front of hat at the side of one of the ear slits. Fit hat over Cheryl’s ears. Add a little stuffing to shape and with a strand of Red yarn sew Rnd 9 in place to top of head. *******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Here we have Cyril and Cheryl deep in discussion about the relative merits of vegetable versus flower gardening. Personally I’m partial to a bit of both but not much good at either! Squirrels

I have a huge soft spot for squirrels it’s true, and Cheryl is the fifth one I’ve made so far. One is in Belgium with the book publisher but the other four are currently living here with me.  These are all made with light worsted weight (DK) yarn but I’ve varied the hook size from 3.75mm all the way down to to 2mm. Come and meet the gardening gang!

From left to right we have Cyril, Errol, Beryl and Cheryl.

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I do enjoy making these squirrels so who knows how many I’ll end up with?! I’m going to have to open up that second Etsy shop and re-home some of my ever growing cache of amigurumis at some point. Ah, but parting will be such sweet sorrow!


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Lazy Daisy Days

Well, that’s half term over and out. It completely flew by again at lightening speed, like it always does! I didn’t get much amigurumi done as it’s just nice to be with the boys sometimes and not have a head full of stitch counts and row numbers for a change. Even hubby was at home all week too, so some proper family time was definitely a priority. Of course I still did quite a lot of crochet (obviously!) I’ve been enjoying lovely, lazy, hazy, daisy making sessions on car journeys and day trips, at stately homes, on buses, in cafes, at picnics, during barbecues and even in the pub! My travel box of daisy delights can accompany me anywhere and keeps everything nice and clean and oh-so organized! A little box of woolly heaven. Daisy1

These nosy snails seem to approve! Or maybe they’re thinking what a tasty snack a box of daisies would make. Though I’m pretty relaxed about what they eat in my garden, I’m not quite so relaxed about my crochet. These daisies are definitely not up for grabs. Better shut the lid, quick!

Daisy2 Here are a few of my completed squares. So far I’ve been sticking to a much more limited colour palette than my last Granny Square project.  I’ve just used a light and dark shade of blue and pink. Daisy7 I’m liking the fact that I’m being rather restrained in my colour choices this time. Sometimes I have to remind myself that less can be more! Daisy4 My final daisy square count to date is 42. I think I’m about a third of the way there if I decide to make another blanket. Either that or I’ve got four cushions and two thirds good to go which is quite tempting actually. I’m in need of some snuggly cushion covers for the lounge. These could fit the bill rather well. Oh decisions, decisions!

A Blanket?

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Or cushions?

Daisy6 Or maybe cushions and a blanket, if my patience and my wool stash can both hold out for long enough that is!


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Last Few Days of Pre-Sale

Just thought I’d do a quick post to spread the word! Amigurumi Animals at Work, the new book  compiled and designed by Joke Vermeiren from amigurumipatterns.net is available to order at great pre-sale prices for a few more days yet. (Pre-sale deal will end on the 31st May 2014).

It’s such a lovely, fun book, packed with original designs by amigurumi artists from all around the world. I thought you might like to take a peek at the full collection. You can see that my Cyril the Squirrel has been keeping very fine company indeed!

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You’ll be spoiled for choice as to which one to make first! I think I’m going to start with Mama Hen as I have a friend who loves to bake and who also happens to have a birthday coming up soon. Just perfect!

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