Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Pretty Little Pumpkins

pumpkin borderI hope you all had a spookylicious time this Halloween! Now some of you might think it’s a little late in the day for a pumpkin pattern – but in my view pumpkins are for all of autumn and not just for carving freaky faces into. So, undaunted by the lateness of the hour, I’ve been busy stirring a potion in my crochet cauldron to bring you a pattern for a crop of gorgeous gourds.

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There are three sizes to choose from, all on the smallish side and all quick and simple to make. Whether you’re into Halloween shenanigans or not these are perfect for adding a touch of autumnal charm, even after the real pumpkins are past their best by dates.
pumpkin-sketchwork
To make each pumpkin you will need around 6-12 grams of DK yarn. Pretty much any yarn will do but I used James C. Brett’s Twinkle range for this because they come in the most lovely colours and are as cheap as they are cheerful. With so many long dark evenings ahead of us it’s lovely to have some sparkle around the house at this time of year to brighten things up a bit.
pumpkin-materials
You’ll also need a 3 mm crochet hook, a pair of scissors and a yarn needle. Lastly, add in some polyester toy stuffing (and maybe a steaming mug of spiced pumpkin latte) and we’re ready to go.

(Scroll to the end of this post to download a printable version).pumpkin border
Pattern notes:
This pattern uses US sc (UK dc) throughout.

Leave a 4″ yarn tail at the beginning of the foundation chain for tying off the gathered crochet fabric later.

The pumpkins can be made in a single colour or, if you prefer stripes, you can change colours every two rows.

You will need approx 12 g of yarn for the large pumpkin, 8 g for the medium one and 4 g for the small one.

For the pumpkin body make all stitches in the back loops only (see below).
pumpkin-foundation-chainblo-photos
Working rows in the back loops only creates the ribs that give the pumpkin its structure.pumpkin-stripspumpkin borderLarge Pumpkin (9 cm diameter)
Make all stitches in back loops only.
With Color 1 make 25 ch (foundation chain).
Row 1: (Right side) Starting in second ch from hook, sc in each st to end, turn. (24 sts)
(1 ch at beginning of each row are the turning chains and do not count as a stitch).
Rows 2-47: 1 ch, sc in each st to end, turn. (46 rows)
Row 48: 1 ch, sc in each st to end.
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for sewing.
With right side facing outwards bring the last row up to meet the foundation chain. Align the stitches and whipstitch the seam together, placing stitches through the back loops only of the last round and into the leftover loops of the foundation chain all the way along. Make a knot in the last stitch. Do not cut the yarn.pumpkin-seaming-composite
Use the needle to thread the rest of the yarn end through the very top loops of the ribs only.pumpkin-gathering-comp.jpg
When you have threaded the yarn through all of the rib tips pull gently to gather them up together and tie the two yarn ends securely. Stuff firmly with polyester toy stuffing.pumpkin-gathering-comp-1.jpg
Using matching yarn, and leaving a 4″ tail at the beginning, thread the needle through the very top loops of the ribs just as you did for the other end. When you have threaded the yarn through all of the rib tips, pull on both ends of the yarn to gather them up together. Tie the two yarn ends securely and hide them inside the pumpkin.pumpkin-gathering-bottom-2
The holes that are left will vary depending on the size of your pumpkin but don’t worry about that. We will be hiding this with a stalk and a base later.three-pumpkins.jpg
You can leave your pumpkin round or you can flatten it by threading a long piece of yarn through the pumpkin from the bottom to the top then down to the bottom again, making sure to catch a stitch at the edge of the hole each time. Repeat this at various points around the edges of the holes at both ends. Pull on the yarn gently each time you pass it back through to give the desired shape. When you have finished, tie the ends off at the base and hide the ends inside the pumpkin.pumpkin-shaping.jpg
Large Pumpkin Stalk
Make all stitches in both loops.
With Color 2 make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 5 sc in second ch from hook. (5 sts)
Rnd 2: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 3: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 2 st. (6 sts)
Rnds 4-5: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Rnd 6: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 5 st. (7 sts)
Rnd 7: [Sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 3 st. (8 sts)
Rnd 8: 2 sc in each st around. (16 sts)
Rnd 9: [Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 8 times. (24 sts)
Rnd 10: Sc in each st around.
Fasten off. leaving a long tail for sewing. Stuff the stalk and position over one of the open holes. Sew the last round of the stalk to the top of the pumpkin.pumpkin-top-comp.jpg
Large Pumpkin Base
With Color 2 make 2 ch.
Make all stitches in both loops.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around. (12 sts)
Rnd 3: [Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (18 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing.
Sew the last round of the base to the bottom of the pumpkin in the same way as you did for the stalk.pumpkin-base-comp.jpg
Now you’ve got the hang of that here are two smaller sizes for some even quicker makes!pumpkin borderMedium Pumpkin (7 cm diameter)
Make all stitches in back loops only.
With Color 1 make 19 ch (foundation chain).
Row 1: (Right side) Starting in second ch from hook, sc in each st to end, turn. (18 sts)
(1 ch at beginning of each row are the turning chains and do not count as a stitch).
Rows 2-35: 1 ch, sc in each st to end, turn. (34 rows)
Row 36: 1 ch, sc in each st to end.
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for sewing.starry border-
Medium Pumpkin Stalk
Make all stitches in both loops.
With Color 2 make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 5 sc in second ch from hook. (5 sts)
Rnds 2-3: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 4: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 2 st. (6 sts)
Rnd 5: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 6: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 5 st. (7 sts)
Rnd 7: 2 sc in each st around. (14 sts)
Rnd 8: sc in each st around.
Fasten off. leaving a long tail for sewing.starry border-
Medium Pumpkin Base
With Color 2 make 2 ch.
Make all stitches in both loops.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around. (12 sts)
Fasten off. leaving a long tail for sewing.
To make up, follow large pumpkin instructions above.pumpkin borderSmall Pumpkin (5 cm diameter)
Make all stitches in back loops only.
With Color 1 make 13 ch (foundation chain).
Row 1: (Right side) Starting in second ch from hook, sc in each st to end, turn. (12 sts)
(1 ch at beginning of each row are the turning chains and do not count as a stitch).
Rows 2-23: 1 ch, sc in each st to end, turn. (22 rows)
Row 24: 1 ch, sc in each st to end.
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for sewing.starry border-
Small Pumpkin Stalk
Make all stitches in both loops.
With Color 2 make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 5 sc in second ch from hook. (5 sts)
Rnds 2-3: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 4: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 2 st. (6 sts)
Rnd 5: Sc in each st around.
Fasten off. leaving a long tail for sewing.starry border-
Small Pumpkin Base
With Color 2 make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Fasten off. leaving a long tail for sewing.
To make up, follow large pumpkin instructions above.pumpkin border

To download a printable version click the image below!


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Amigurumi Monsters 2

Oh dear! I’m a bit late with this post – I always seem to be running around chasing my tail these days – but in the time honored way of ‘better late than never’ here we go!

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I’m happy to announce that Amigurumi Monsters 2 is all finished and looking fabulous and is now available to order over at AmigurumiPatterns bookshop!

This volume features not one, but two of my monster families.

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Firstly there’s Timothy and Tabitha (top row, second left) then Spotty, Lotty and Dotty (bottom row, right-hand corner).

Some of you may already know the latter as they’ve been available in my online stores for a while. (You can read more about these three in my ‘Too many Monsters?’ blog post).

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They had a last minute invite as a space unexpectedly cropped up and needed to be filled. Ever obliging and always up for an adventure Spotty, Lotty and Dotty jumped at the chance of re-locating to a new life on the continent.

monster-group

There does appear to be a couple of grumpy faces in there but you’ve only got to look at those jazz hands to see how happy they really are, even the ones who will be left behind. After all, no one does jazz hands when they’re sad do they?

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There was a bit of fuss as they all squeezed into the box but every one managed to find a comfy spot in the end and they were soon on the plane and heading towards their new future.

The next two monsters were commissioned especially for the book and go by the tongue- twistingly tremendous title of of Timothy and Tabitha the Tippy-Toe monsters.

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They were whittled down from a selection of four different variations. Actually, there were more than four in the initial design stage but these are the only ones to make it off the hook so far but there are plenty more ideas to come. I just love making monsters!

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Choosing colours for these tri-eyed, dozen-toed monsters was great fun and the original Timothy waded in with some useful suggestions.

choosing-colours-for-Timothy

I completely love this partcular combination of lime green and jade green for the toes.

Timothy-and-the-toes

Yarn chosen and hook at the ready, it wasn’t long before there were several more Tippy Toe monsters invading any available spaces in my work area.

scuttling-creatures

With so many toes they can move about quite quickly and it takes some doing to keep an eye on any potential mischief they might get up to with my hooks and notions.

It’s a good job I have a few extra eyes on hand to help me out here.

eyes

 

Next came another car journey and another chance to crochet. Testing the pattern this time by making a final couple of monsters before it was sent away for the other proofreaders to double check.

Tabitha-in-the-car

A little tootle up the motorway provided a good opportunity to get this pair used to travelling before they do the whole airmail thing later on. It was a good job we did because Tabitha gets very car sick. Her poor face says it all!

Timothy-and-Tabitha-on-a-journey

Timothy was the sweetest companion and took it upon himself to look after Tabitha. His soothing words and gentle re-assurance went a long way to helping her feel more relaxed.

Timothy-and-Tabitha

Some travel pills on the day of departure helped with he rest and now they are enjoying seeing themselves alongside Spotty, Lotty, Dotty and a host of other crazy looking characters inside the covers of Amigurumi Monsters 2.

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If you’re anything like me and simply can’t get enough of making weird and whacky creatures then there’s plenty in both of the Monster titles to keep you going for quite a while.

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These bright and bubbly bundles of monster madness sure put a big smile on my face. I hope they do the same for you!

 


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Summer’s End

It’s been a long and hot summer this year, which makes a change for this part of the world. I’m certainly not complaining and have loved seeking out every bit of sunshine that has come my way. Crocheting outdoors has been a perpetual pleasure. I do love it when my studio is the garden!

Al-fresc-crochet

I’ve been particularly enjoying working on the Persian Tiles blanket that I started at the beginning of the summer.

blanket-edging

Last time I showed you my progress I was just starting to join the tiles together. It didn’t take me very long, and soon after that I started with the edging. This is still my favorite part of blanket making. The satisfaction of being near the end of a big project and the repetitive long stretches creating simple stitch groups is very soothing to my soul.

tiles-blanket-border

Edging is such a perfect pastime for long car journeys too. There has been no big, long holiday for us this year, just a few days out instead. As we crawled along the motorway (why is the traffic always so bad these days?) I always had my favorite project with me and happily hooked the miles away.

tofu-cute

This summer I have been making the most of being with my cats – especially Minnie and Pogo – because we received some sad news about both of them earlier this year when they were diagnosed with the same kind of inoperable cancer. Heart breakingly we had to say goodbye to them within weeks of each other just a short while ago.

pogo-and-the-crochet-stars

I often wondered if they were brother and sister but no-one is really sure of their exact relationship. We adopted them from a rescue shelter ten years ago after they had been brought in when their previous owner moved house and left them behind to fend for themselves. So perhaps they were actually siblings after all and there was a genetic pre-disposition that could explain our terrible bad luck in having to deal with two similar diagnoses so close to each other.

They arrived at our home on the same day and left us almost at the same time. I hope they’re still looking out for each other, wherever they are now.

Minnie-steals-a-spot

I like to think they’re on that Rainbow Bridge I’ve heard so much about recently. I miss them such a lot but am thankful for all the beautiful memories made from our journey together and the privilege of being able to have them both in my life in the first place.

pogo-and-the-blanket

Now I have just two cats and I’m going to be sure to appreciate every single minute of their company with even more mindfulness.

mojo-and-the-tiles-blanket

Mojo doesn’t need to be asked twice to try out the nearly completed blanket and as the weather takes a cooler turn I have been working on the remainder of the edging indoors.

last-rounds-persian-tiles

I do like being tucked up cosy and crocheting in pyjamas so I find myself looking forward to the autumn when I’ll be able to indulge in much more of that sort of thing.

Mojo-getting-skitty

I can see there will be competition for the new blanket from the get go!  I’m sure Mojo and I will be able to work out an amicable time share – which usually runs along the lines of >once Mojo’s got bored of it and wandered off then it’s my turn<

mojo-lounging

Glad to see my creative talents are so openly admired though.

I have to admit, the final piece is really rather gorgeous!

persian-tiles-throw

As I’ll  be spending more time indoors over the next few months I have embarked upon a great big clear out of my studio. Things had got a bit chaotic over recent months, what with being out and about a bit more, working in the garden lots and looking after poorly cats, my workspace became a bit of a dumping ground, .

I’ve begun the great clean up by sorting through my collection of amigurumi. Gathering it all together from their various storage places was a huge feat in itself. There was no room in my studio to sift through this crochet mountain so my youngest son helped me carry it all downstairs where we took over the kitchen for the whole day and proceeded to catalogue anything and everything as it came to hand. They have now been assigned to storage crates where I can easily get at them when needed.

my-amigurumi-mountain

I reckon that this is about two thirds of my amigurumi collection. I sure have been a busy bee these last six years! As I’m hoping to re-photograph a lot of my earlier amigurumi and update my pattern listings, being able to find what I need at a moments notice is going to make the task a whole lot easier.

Next in line for a good shake up were my yarn cubbies. There is something very, very satisfying about making yarn rainbows and filling in all the gaps I’ve made in my stash over the past few months.

yarn-cubbies

The studio’s not immaculately tidy yet but we’re getting there.

yarn-cubbies-and-rubick

You can tell how exhausting all this cleaning up is from Rubick’s demeanor. That’s exactly how I felt after a few hours. Watching me hard at work is obviously just as tiring!

tidy-studio

And this is where I’m at now, all tidied up (mostly) and my summer project blanket on standby to bring a little brightness to the sun starved autumn/winter days ahead.

The special thing about a big crochet project like this is that you pour your heart and soul into it for so long. Lovingly creating it stitch by stitch as life rolls by in parallel motion, ultimately the end result has precious memories woven into the very fabric of it. My Persian Tiles blanket has the record breaking heat of this summer twisted into its fibres alongside warm memories of the companionship of Minnie…

minnie-on-the-blanket

…and Pogo…

pogo-garden-snoozing

…and how the cats, the crochet and me had a wonderful last summer together in our little garden, making the most of every colourful, relaxing, sun soaked minute.

 


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Fantastic Fantasy Creatures

The wait is finally over and you can now get your hands on my pattern for Drake the Dragon. This portly little chap was chosen from the contestants of the Fantasy Creatures Design Contest of November/December 2017 and is currently available in a new title called ‘Unicorns, Dragons and More Fantasy Amigurumi‘.

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If you’re curious to see what fabulous ideas the amigurumi community came up with when presented with such an inspiring topic you can still check out the hundreds of other entries here.

You’ll now find Drake sitting alongside thirteen other fantastic fantasy creatures, also chosen from the competition. They sure are keeping him in the most splendid company inside the covers of this star-spangled volume.

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Now to take a peek at all of the other designs in the book…

So with hooks at the ready be prepared to be transported to a world of dreams and marvels. A delightful ticket to somewhere special and sparkly on even the most mundane of days. At its very best, that’s what crafting is about, don’t you agree?

I’ve made a Bobby the Dinocorn so far and have got my eye on crocheting a few more when time permits. Or at least daydreaming about crocheting a few more if I ever get the WIP pile shrunk to a manageable size!

Drake-and-Bobby

Several Drake the Dragons have already been duly conjured up, all as part of the design process, honing down those techniques and proportions until he was just right.

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The final version that ended up as the official poster boy for the book had a cheeky grin and an air of excitement as he contemplated his journey to Belgium where the photographers would immortalize him in pixels, ready for his debut appearance in print.

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I changed the colours slightly to fit in better with the other designs at the request of the publisher and I have to say how much I love the olive green tone and mustard yellow. Mmmm, good enough to eat!

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When the draft manuscript of my dragon was sent over I took the opportunity of running through the pattern and re-creating yet another dragon to double check all was as it should be. This time I went for an equally tasty sounding, but very different, candy pink and lemon yellow colourway.

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The neighbours cat certainly seems to think that candy pink yarn is tasty anyway!

Lacey-yarn-eater

Drake looked on with all the enthusiasm of a big brother waiting for the arrival of a baby sister.

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When all the bits were made and ready to assemble Drake could hardly keep the smile off his face. But that’s not surprising really as I did sew it on very well with backstitch!

Dora-pieces

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Sitting in the shade by the garden pond I sewed all the pieces together one by one.

by-the-pond

A quick mid progress photo shoot and Drake’s baby sister – we named her Dora – does not so much look like a baby but more of a twin.

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Making a smaller one in sock yarn with a 2mm hook would be cute though! Something to try in the future, I think.

Eventually Dora is finished and we have another addition to our fantastical fantasy family.

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And with plenty more potential additions to go it’s going to be hard to choose who’s next.

Dragons, Unicorns and more

If you feel inspired to craft some fantasy fabulousness into your life all the book details are here.

So now you can get waving that crochet hook around and manifest your own little world of marvelous make-believe. Not that I’m saying these elusive creatures don’t exist somewhere in the real world of course, it’s just that by making your own you’ll be sure to bump into one or two as they fall off your hook. After all who hasn’t sometimes dreamed of having their own dragon, unicorn or fairy for a friend? I know I have!

Wishing you happy hooking 🙂


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Summer Project Progress

As time is striding full on into the summer months I’ve been enjoying as much of the fair weather as I can while making equally great strides with my Persian Tiles blanket.

persian-tiles

This project was supposed to last me all summer long but is proving very difficult to put down so I may well be on the hunt for something else before the next few weeks are done with. I’ve been spending nearly all my spare time hooking up these pretty rounds and staying up way too late some nights.

mojo-glare

This is Mojo’s stern face which tells me it was high time for bedtime several hours ago. He knows that sometimes the only way to stop me is to physically hijack my crochet so that’s exactly what he is doing here! My soft lad won’t go to bed without me and he does look forward to snuggling up all night, usually in the crook of my knees or draped over my feet, so I often get the evil eye if I burn the midnight oil a little too often.

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This marvelous run of good weather has gone on and on and on. I’m loving it so much. One of the best perks of working from home is being able to put the computer into sleep mode at lunchtime or turn it off at the end of the day and make the oh-so-very short ‘commute’ out to the garden, to pick up where I left off.

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I’ve found myself outside a lot over the last couple of weeks. Adding a round here and a round there and soaking up the sunshine or hiding in the shade depending on the brightness of the sky and the ferocity of the heat.

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At weekends I’ve been outside nearly all of the time. Were just not used to this kind of shiny, happy weather in my neck of the woods and I wanted to enjoy every minute that I possibly could.

So I ate outside…

Dinner-in-the-garden

…and sometimes lit a fire outside as the temperature dropped slightly. Though not strictly necessary as it hasn’t been anywhere near chilly in the evenings for weeks, we do have a lot of broken up timber from our garden redesign of last year which needs to be gotten rid of and it’s much more fun having a bonfire with a lap full of crochet than queuing up to dump it at the tip.

garden-fire

Smoked crochet smells delicious too and reminds me of camping holidays when the boys were little. And the bonus of being outside late into the evening is getting to watch the sun set. Mojo is much more interested in the birds up the tree though.

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From late Saturday nights to early Sunday mornings my black and white fuzzball has followed me and any crochet very closely.

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Sometimes maybe a bit too closely… but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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It’s been such a pleasure to watch the tiles grow and see the colours play against each other I can totally understand why he is as fascinated with it as I am.

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Most exciting of all was to see the mandalas finished. Squeeeek! Aren’t they just so pretty?! Of course, the crochet doesn’t stop there, though it is good to have the large motifs completed and really feel like the blanket is on the home stretch.

There was a set of easy peasy squares to make next.

starting-the-squares

After the relatively complicated octagons these classic grannies were a doddle to create. Here it was just a case of making sure I had the right colours and then switching to auto pilot to work up the shells. I’ve made so many of these before and they are always a pleasure.

square-progress

I love how they work up so incredibly quickly.

My first ever blanket was made of similar squares several years ago and, as you can see, it still looks fresh and bright today despite all its outings into the garden, stints as a picnic blanket, cat bed, a wrap up for camping trips or an extra winter warmer on my own bed, not to mention plenty of spins through the washing machine.

If you are a granny square newbie check out my basic how-to blog post here. They’re such a fabulous way to get into crochet if you were thinking of taking the plunge!

squares-upon-squares

The crossover trebles give the Persian Tile squares a slightly more sophisticated edge than the plain ones I’ve made before but I have to confess I struggled to keep the tension tight enough on the top of both of these crossed trebles.

I’m not sure why but I found this part of the technique rather troublesome but it cost me more than a few episodes of frustrated sighs and rolling of eyes. Luckily they all get crocheted over in the final round so that hid some of the baggier stitches from general view, unless you look really, really closely.

minnie-blanket-testing

I think this blanket is such a riot of colours and patterns no-one is going to notice a few blips. Well, I guess I will know they’re there (and so do you now!) but, hey, 100% perfection is boring!

Now I’d finished all the separate pieces, and learnt a few tricks about creating triangles along the way, it was time to join the motifs.

joining-the-pieces

Working around the resident cats where required.

First Minnie…

Persian-tiles-and-Minnie

…then Rubick…

rubick-snoozing-on-the-blanket

…and even entertaining the neighbour’s new kitty when she came to investigate. She’s a jumpy, nervous little thing but all that woolly softness and wiggly yarn ends are too much for any true blooded feline to resist. I think I’ll soon make a new friend of her this way!

the-neighbours-cat-pays-a-vist

Despite all the interference from the cat world I did eventually manage to get the edges all joined together.

nearly-done

Just the border to complete now. And I love doing borders so I just can’t wait for that bit!

In the meantime, however, I had to put this scrumptious project down, no matter how difficult that was, as there were more pressing things to do.

Drake-pattern

Double checking Drake the Dragon’s pattern for the Fantasy Creatures book due to be released next month was high on the list and so I began making him a sister in this beautiful shade of candy pink.

But more about that next time – and hopefully an update on a completely finished Persian Tiles masterpiece as well!


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Daisy and Duke

Having been making a concerted effort to tidy up around my studio recently, I unearthed more than a few WIPs lurking around at the backs of shelves, under my desk and really just about anywhere there was a spare few inches of space in which to cram a basket, box, bag or stray ball of yarn into.

sausage-dog-pieces

Time to tackle at least one of them, I thought to myself, and decided to start with my dachshund pattern. I invented this a while ago for a UK crochet magazine and had really wanted to give it a few tweaks to add in some more pattern elements before listing it in my shops.

I remember starting this with good intentions last summer (or was it the summer before?! I really am not too sure, such is the fleet-footedness of time these days) but events ran away with me and my fickle crochet hook found new yarn to charm and somehow these sausagy cylinders of cuteness were retired into the shadows for a much longer time than I’d intended.

The majority of the pattern was already written but I had wanted to make a smaller dachshund too. Who doesn’t love a tiny puppy after all?! And so I tweaked and twiddled the original pattern and came up with a miniature version.

puppies

Now Daisy and Duke are part of one big happy family and never get a minutes peace any more.

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Rubick is a little jealous of all the attention they are getting during one of our photo shoots, but as any cat around here knows, that’s easily remedied by insinuating yourself in between the camera lens and the subject, preferably at a critical time when the shot is just about to be taken.

Rubick-and-the-sausage-dogs

I did eventually manage to get all the pictures I needed without Rubick in them, though it took a while!

Now you can see why Daisy is called Daisy – it’s because of the Daisy in her ear.

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Duke is called Duke because he sports a terribly posh bow tie.

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And the puppies are known fondly as Skip and Skitter because they skip and skitter around all day long with an insane amount of energy. Daisy and Duke don’t mind though. They have lots of fun joining in. Burying bones is one of their favorite pastimes so I crocheted a few to keep them entertained.

I found some pretty silver coloured ‘Made Wth Love’ charms on eBay that were perfect for their collars.

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Well, it’s not a lie. The dachshunds are indeed made with love – as are all my amigurumi <3

A row of cute faces…

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…and… dare I say it…

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…cute butts too. Cheeky!

Well, you know what they say – if you’ve got it, flaunt it!

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Yes, mission well and truly accomplished and no small feat either because since I started making my Persian Tiles Blanket it has taken quite a lot of discipline to put those gorgeous kaleidoscopic mandalas down and pick up the amigurumis instead. But I feel very pleased to have tackled at least one of my half finished, half baked ideas. Just another twenty or so to go.

This blanket was really only supposed to be an evenings and weekend kind of thing but it’s been so much fun I have to admit it has occasionally encroached just a little bit on my official working hours!

minnie-and-the-pups

Minnie apparently gives a squish of approval to the finished mutts but I think she is really edging in on trying to fill up my  project basket with herself now she knows the dachshunds are about to leave their in-progress resting place for good.

As it happens, it didn’t take them long to relocate to somewhere else where they could cause a bit more trouble and perhaps burrow under the blanket pieces to avoid another sharp clawing from a well meaning but misguided feline who is definitely in need of a manicure.

dachshund-fun

Now I have an empty basket crying out to be filled with more yarn, or maybe another unfinished project that will no doubt be started and abandoned and then restarted somewhere down the line. Or maybe the basket will just be commandeered by an invading cat. There’s no shortage of those around here!

crochet-garden

Whittling down the WIP list is always an ongoing battle but things get done eventually.

It may take a couple of years or more sometimes, but the thrill of putting a big tick next to something on my humongous To-Do list never gets boring. And the thrill of having a big To-Do list of crochet related projects is exciting enough in itself, if I’m completely honest with you. No chance of boredom setting in here any time soon!


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Crocheting for Fun

Technically, all the crocheting that I do can really be classed as fun, I mean, it’s crochet right? But sometimes it’s nice to take a break from designing my own patterns and all the thinking and fretting about what colours, proportions and stitches to use. Sometimes what I want to do is pick up a hook and someone else’s pattern, stuff a basket with pre-chosen yarn and simply revel in the bliss of crocheting something beautiful without the constant decision making that normally accompanies my hook ‘n’ yarn time.

Persian-Tiles-project

With that thought in mind, and a whole calendar full of of light airy summer evenings and sunny (fingers crossed!) weekend afternoons stacking up in the near future I set myself the delightful task of browsing the internet for a suitable summer project.

It didn’t take long for me to settle on this gorgeous Persian Tiles blanket. The pattern is designed by Jane Crowfoot and the Eastern Jewels colour scheme for this version is the work of Lucia Dunn.

(If you feel like you’re up for the challenge the whole pack can be ordered from Minerva Crafts here). I thought it was a snip at £29.99 and I reckon I deserve a treat every now and again so I didn’t hesitate to click the buy now button. I couldn’t wait to get started, so lucky for me it was only a couple of days until the postman arrived bearing gifts.

colour-scheme

After ripping open the packaging and giving all the jewel like colours a proper squeeze I had a good read through the notes and scanned a few of the pattern rounds to reassure myself I would be able to handle this.

It’s a different ball game altogether from amigurumi, but I’m always keen to improve on my crochet skills and this looked like it was going to be just the right amount of brain strain to make it interesting to work up but not so much of a brain drain that I’d end up with a headache.

mandala

I started in the late evening of the day my package arrived and hooked my way diligently through each round, feeling super excited every time I got to join in a new colour.

Luckily for me hubby is a sound sleeper so when I found I couldn’t put my hook down and the clock hands were heading towards midnight it wasn’t really a big problem. Tucked up in bed, cats and hubby snoozing all around and a huge pile of yarn to turn into crochet gold, I worked on and on through the night, determined to finish the first tile before I got some shut eye.

mandala-evenings

And true to my intentions, I did it. One down and fifteen to go. Yay!

finished-tile

The very next day I loaded up a wicker basket with all the essentials so I’d have my summer project ready to grab and go wherever my fancy took me.

Persian-Tiles-basket

I love to crochet in the garden whenever it’s sunny, or when it is at least warm and not raining – often the best we can hope for in this temperate English climate!

project-basket

Pogo made a good job of guarding the precious firstborn Persian Tile…

pogo-guards-the-crochet

…while I got on with the rest. I think he’s impressed with my craftsmanship, or is he judging me harshly? Those cat faces are so difficult to interpret sometimes…

mandala-project-case

This is quite a complicated design at first glance but as I got used to each individual round on the first tile I knew it would be much easier to remember the repeats without looking constantly at the pattern if I made all the first rounds of the next fifteen tiles one after the other, then all the second rounds followed by all the third rounds and so on.

mandala centres

Putting the pieces onto stitch holders once each round was finished made sure that I kept them in the right order and made it easier to cross check which yarn ball I should be using next for each piece.

crochet-blanket-beginnings

It has been so exciting to see the colours play against each other in such a big variety of combinations – all of them mouth-wateringly juicy and a joy to behold.

crochet-circles

Cat inspection status – passed and approved – but not enough of it yet to warrant sitting on so, for a change, Mojo moves swiftly along.

mojo-and-the-circles

I’ve been making an effort to darn in the yarn tails as I go. There are lots of colour changes in these motifs and if I left them all until the end I could see that this may get to be very disheartening. So, tapestry needle at the ready, battle was commenced at least every round or two.

persian-tiles-basket-2

The crochet motifs themselves may not represent significant cat tempting comfort at this early stage in their development but the yarn basket certainly does.

Minnie-steals-a-spot

I turned my back for a few seconds and this furry interloper appeared as if from nowhere and made herself right at home.

minnie-snoozing

Far be it from me to come between a cat and their nap time so I toddled off to have a cuppa and catch up on some of the odd household jobs on the never ending to-do list.

Pogo-in-the-shade

In my small city garden it’s necessary to chase the sunshine, or shade – depending on the ambient temperature and my mood – from one corner to the other so I have been making good use of the Mexican Blanket I crocheted a couple of years ago to create a cosy spot as and when and where I need it.

Rubick-keeps-me-company

Rubick knows a good spot when he see it too. There’s plenty of room to spare on the blanket so no worries there. Such sweet company, even if I’m at constant risk of a good old leg-clawing as he randomly and unexpectedly decides to stab at a jiggling yarn end every now and again!

project-progress

After a few pleasant evenings, and the odd few hours carved out of a weekend or two, more than satisfactory progress was being made. I found myself really looking forward to downing my amigurumi hook at the end of the working day only to almost immediately exchange it for a different hook in order to work another few rounds of mandala magic.

Fast forward a little bit and I’m now at the stage where the star shapes have been completed.

mandala-stars

At this rate the project isn’t going to take up all of my summer as I had first imagined. I think I may have been guilty of a touch of crochet gluttony here, but there are surely much worse sins than that so I’m going to carry on cramming in every spare minute I can with this lovely heart lifting project until it’s finished.

You see Pogo’s happy little face here? Well, that just about sums up how I’m feeling about this fledgling blanket too.

pogo-and-the-crochet-stars

As much as I am enjoying the journey I’m so excited to reach the end so that I can add it to my ever growing pile of crocheted furnishings. There’s a fair way to go yet but I’m looking forward to every minute of it!


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Fantasy Creatures – Love is Blossoming!

Another week, or maybe a wee bit longer, and another amigurumi project has been unfolding here. I thought I’d pick up right where I left off last time. Things have been bobbing along on a stream of creativity and lots of progress has been made. The last time I saw you was just as I was beginning to test a sweet little – well not so little as it turned out – Bobby the Dinocorn Pattern for the Fantasy Creatures book (still due out in August as far as I know). I used DK yarns for my version instead of 4 ply so she got a bit supersized in the process but that really only made her all the more cuddly. This is a pattern by Little Aqua Girl. She makes the cutest stuff so do be sure to check out her Instagram if you like this sort of thing!

Drake has been very excited about his new companion and can barely take his eyes off her, even if she is still only in bits.

Though I did manage to get some uninterrupted crochet done by sneaking out to the garden with a cheeky glass of red after Drake’s bedtime. Loving all this evening sun we’ve been blessed with lately.

There is nothing quite as lovely as sitting peacefully in the dappled shade, playing about with pretty colours and counting down the pieces until they are all present and correct and ready to be sewn together.

Minnie joined me later when I got out a blanket. Damp grass is OK for the kitties but a layer of warm crochet is always so much better!

When Drake woke up from his sleep and tumbled downstairs the next morning I had my adoring big eyed audience back. He is just as fascinated with watching Bobby spring to life today as he was yesterday and I actually couldn’t get rid of him as you’ll see from the photos! So I put Drake to good use, holding all my notions and essential kit and asked him not to ask too many questions while I was counting rounds and stitches.

I did get persuaded into taking a photo of Drake and his new friend even though she was only at the halfway stage by now. We pinned and balanced a few pieces together and snapped away. It’s always good to take a break from crocheting and see how things are coming along every now and again. Yep, she’s looking good!

Not too much later and Bobby was really beginning to take shape. The unicorn horn and those floppy ears are just too cute and really start to bring her to life.

But as soon as as the final touch of pretty blossoms were sewn to Bobby’s head I knew that love was going to be blossoming between them. They have an unmistakable look of excitement on their little faces! This is going to be an enduring friendship, I can feel it 🙂

Retiring to the swinging chair in the garden they got settled down and chatted away in the spring sunshine.

It seems these elusive fantasy creatures have a lot to talk about once they get together. I suppose being such a rarity it’s always lovely to meet another of your kind, or at least of a similar kind.

Ah! The look of love!

I can’t wait to meet the other characters from the book and can only hope they all get on as well as these two. I have a feeling they will and that I will probably be making a few more for my own collection once my copy of the book arrives. Well, we all need a little escapism every now and again. Don’t you agree?

I’ll be immersing myself in a bit more escapism soon with some new fantasy/monster designs and I’ll have an update on progress of the Amigurumi Monsters 2 book co-starring Timothy and Tabitha – the Tippy Toe Monsters.

Here’s a sneak peek of them taking a sneak peek at you.

There’s also news of a surprise opportunity for some of my old favorites, Spotty, Lotty and Dotty. No wonder they look so excited with their Jazz hands waving around!

Come back soon and the monster’s and I will be sure to tell all.


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Giles the Giraffe Takes to the Road

With a long road trip and a mixed bag of bad weather to contend with I’ve had plenty of opportunity to get out my hook and start creating again. My latest pattern is for this cheeky lopsided smiled giraffe whom I’ve called Giles.

It’s been a while since I worked on a design that wasn’t for a book or a magazine so it felt really refreshing to do something ‘just for me’ for a change. No deadlines, no working to commission, no liaising. Don’t get me wrong, I thrive on all of that too, but sometimes it’s nice to take it all down a notch and just create on an impulse exactly what I feel like making.

Giles made a super little travelling companion on a very slow and laborious trip Up North to visit relatives. He was so excited to be packed away ready for his first journey out of the house. He does look rather pleased at the prospect of a great adventure!

We headed downstairs to the kitchen and a step closer to beginning our journey…

…then out of the front door, into the car and onto the motorway. Woohoo! Hurrah!

Giles loved this bit the very best of all. Turns out he’s a giraffe with a need for speed. Yes, this little guy’s a bit of a thrill seeker! I was a teensy bit excited myself as this was my first trip in our new car. Our poor old Toyota Estima had given up for good during the heavy snows and icy temperatures of a few weeks ago. Now we have a Nissan Elgrand with six captain chair style seats and all the space I could possibly need for my endless yarny clutter.

Unfortunately the amount of road works that spring up everywhere these days makes driving a bit of a chore and it wasn’t long before the traffic ground to a halt and then proceeded to crawl along at a snails’s pace.

Now you know that feeling when sometimes amigurumi making, – and particularly something like pattern testing – is requesting more concentration of you than you think you can give? Well that’s where I was at for the first hour of the journey. I blame it on the early start but my brain would only cope with this simple ultra-repetitive four line repeat of this scarf. I’d already memorized the pattern before the journey began so it was the perfect busy hands project for when by head was in cruise mode.

Our visit was fun. Lots of gossip was caught up with and fine pub food was consumed. On the way back I decided to try out sitting in the back (or rather the middle) of the car. I made myself a comfy work area, got settled in a squishy leather chair and felt very decadent while I was at it. I think I could get used to this. Giles looks like he was born for this sort of luxury too and has made himself quite at home on the seat next to me! Oh and I did try to put a seat belt on him but he’s a touch on the tiny side and it wouldn’t fit. Having never seen a booster seat for 14 inch tall giraffes I made him promise to sit still, tucked safely behind the yarn, or he would be back in the rucksack until we got home. With that threat hanging over him he was as good as gold and sat quietly, watching intently as a pink and a blue giraffe began to take shape.

Once we arrived back the sun was still out and after more than our fair share of snow and rain and wind recently it seemed too good an opportunity to miss so we headed for the garden. Rolling out a picnic rug and unpacking my bag I carried on with pattern testing. I’m still getting used to the fact that I have a lawn to play on this summer and oh boy am I loving it! So much nicer than the fence to fence patio area that was down before.

The cats love the lawn too. What a wonderful place to sit and watch the birds.

It wasn’t long before Minnie came to stake a claim on the rug and the crochet by firmly plonking herself down on both.

Oh well. I was just about crocheted out for the day at that point anyway. lots of progress on Pinky and Bluey had been made.

Just to be extra sure there were no glaring errors in the pattern I went through it yet again in the studio the next day and not too long after I am now the proud owner of not one, not two…

blue-and-pink-giraffes

…not three…

three-giraffes

…but four sweetly smiling giraffes.

What a bunch of cuties, and perfect for my craft stall!

If you want to have a go at making one the pattern is available from any of my online shops or, if you live in or near Worcester, come visit me at the Worcester Show in Gheluvelt Park on the 12th August and meet Giles the Giraffe in person. I’d love to see you there!

In the meantime I will be busy making lots more amigurumi and a few more scarves to stock up my stall as well as perfecting my new pattern for a pair of Tippy Toed monsters Called Timothy and Tabitha who will be heading over to Belgium to feature in a second volume of Amigurumi Monsters published by Meteoor Books over at AmigurumiPatterns.net.

I’m also testing a super cute Bobby the Dinocorn pattern by Little Aqua Girl for the fantasy creatures themed book due out in August. This dinocorn will be one of Drake the Dragons book fellows and I cant wait to see how she turns out. And neither can Drake who is too excited to keep out of the project basket.

Things are busy around here, that’s for sure, but that’s the way (uh huh, uh huh) I like it!


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Looping the Loops

All this cold weather, unseasonable snow and bitingly cold winds (can it really be springtime?) have made me yearn for a project that encourages me to spend any spare time comfortably embedded in the house, out of harms way from the vagaries that the British weather throws at us.

And as pretty as such scenes are for an hour or two on a brisk walk through the park or during a snowman making session in the back garden there really is nothing as blissful to me as a cosy indoor nook, and a lapful of yarn.

Looking around my studio I had no shortage of sadly neglected projects that I could have been getting on with. However, not being the kind of person to let an out of control work in progress pile get in the way I walked the path I tread most often and decided to start a brand new project instead. Well, we’ve all been there and done that many more times than is decent or proper, haven’t we?

Inspired by the sumptuous look of the loop stitch cushion cover I made for my bed a few years ago I embarked on another circular project that has been on my mind since buying a bargain basement footstool a while back.

It was a very cheap and cheerful £3 and is nice and sturdy with lovely wooden legs but a black and white cotton fabric top that’s not really my style.

Replacing the monochrome stripes with gorgeous spirals of bright yarn was way more my thing and I fancied that the loopstitch would be perfect for adding a little grooviness and a soft and squishy haven under my tired feet every time I had the urge to put them up.

From little metaphorical acorns…

…do loopy metaphorical oak trees grow.

I suppose it’s more of a sapling at this stage but with all that cold weather keeping me home it was just a case of round and round in circles until it started to take shape.

In the end though I decided the first circle wasn’t quite turning out the way I wanted. The colours were very pretty but the total randomness wasn’t really doing it for me so I stopped right here…

…and started all over again. I grouped similar colours together in bands this time which gave them much more impact. I also switched hook sizes up from a 3 mm to a 4 mm this time so that the fabric would have more elasticity when stretching it over the stool. This also had the benefit of making the whole thing grow a little faster and the looser tension was much easier on my hands.

Sadly I couldn’t stay tucked up forever, no matter how cold the weather was out there in the big wide world so eventually it was time to head outdoors and take a train trip to visit a friend and call in on a yarn shop on the way to bolster supplies. I packed up all the yarn for my project very conveniently inside the work itself and popped in a few tools of the trade.

No more snow left on the station by now but an icy chill on Platform One meant I very nearly didn’t get my crochet out… though in the end I couldn’t resist!

With a quarter of an hour to while away I managed a few loops huddled on the bench. The going was slow as my fingers were a bit reluctant to make the necessary movements in such low temperatures but I persevered. Not a great amount of progress was made but it was perfect for keeping my lap warm!

When the train arrived I had the special thrill of managing to find a whole four seater table area all to myself. Seems there weren’t too many other travelers braving sub zero temperatures today.

I crocheted another round in the comfort of the warm and nearly empty train but this was only a short journey so it was soon time to disembark. Loop stitches are not as quick as regular stitches but the rhythmic repetition is just as relaxing as any round of single crochets. I had meant to do a bit more once I arrived at my friend’s flat but in the end we were so busy chatting and catching up that I didn’t even get it out of my bag.

Plenty of time to get stuck in again once I was home and all tucked up in my pyjamas. Crocheting in bed definitely beats crocheting on a windy railway station any day.

Can you tell that Pogo agrees? He can be found snoozing away on the blankets for at least 70% of his time. He makes me think of of ‘Bagpuss, oh, Bagpuss Oh, fat, furry cat puss, wake up and look at this thing that I bring’. Except he’s not pink and stripy but he is a bit tubby and very sleepy.

Rubick prefers to get involved with the yarn rather than take a nap.

Oh, the energy of youth! It would be a brave person who tries to winkle a ball of yarn from underneath this tuxedo firecracker!

Eventually I do sneak the balls of yarn back one by one and some time later I have actually finished all the loop stitch rounds. Just the ends to knot together and trim at this point. It feels like such a luxury and somehow a bit of a cheat not to have to darn them in but no-ones going to be seeing this side of the cover once it’s in place. Hurrah!

I finished off the part that would gather underneath with a round of single crochet followed by a round of [1 sc, 1 ch, skip 1 sc] repeated to the end to make a round of small eyelets. A final round of sc after that and it was finished. I fashioned a thin cord made of 200 ch and threaded that in and out of the eyelets to pull everything tight and tied in a bow to secure the whole thing in place.

In future I will up the hook size slightly to make the single crochets a bit looser as they were considerably tighter than the loop stitches and needed a bit of initial stretching to get these final rounds over the top of the footstool. But I wrestled it on in the end and am really pleased with the outcome.

It’s fun and vibrant and is going to cheer my tired old feet and grey soaked winter eyes up no end.

Now it has pride of place in my crochet corner.

I’m gradually yarn bombing everything I can find in here. All the colourful cushions are a great tonic when the clouds just keep on rolling in. They can dump shovelfuls of snow or bucketfuls of rain on the other side of the window but I shall mostly be found crocheting in here until things warm up a bit out there. The yellow blooms on the Forsythia in the garden are telling me that spring has sprung but until the thermometer raises itself a few degrees in agreement I’m staying in as much as possible!