Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Let’s Catch Up! Polly, Alice and Izzy

OK! Let’s do it… I’ve finally had a chance to have a good mooch through my archived photos. I’ve been puzzling about where to start with this blog post for a few weeks now. I figured I’d read back through my last newsy post from July 2020 to give myself a refresher and then take it from there.

Last time I was here I had just finished the pattern for Pjeter and Petra Puffin and had begun working on a princess and an axolotl. So lets start with a few Princess pics.

It was summer and I spent some cosy pyjama days crocheting on the downstairs sofa. It’s not always that warm in summer – especially the early mornings – so if you think that fleecy leggings are a bit weird in July they’re not so odd around here!

I had bought a greenhouse when the first lockdown was announced and was really glad to be able to double up it’s use as an extra workspace. My three grown-up boys as well as my husband were still mostly working from home so I escaped out to the garden whenever I could as the crowd took over the house in what was, in more normal times, usually my exclusive daytime domain.

It didn’t take long for the cats to encroach on that space either though!

Hmmm – so four people working in the house and three cats in my new greenhouse. Maybe I need a shed too!

As ever though I found a way to work around the kitties – stealing in and planting my backside on the chair by stealth when they weren’t looking.

Despite the musical chairs type problem of finding a suitable workspace, the princesses multiplied, stitch by stitch.

And here they are in all their medieval, romantic court finery…

 

With a few tweaks I was able to create a cheeky nod to Anna and Elsa form Frozen. Ah, the adaptabilty of crochet!

Then along came Alice the Axolotl. She was a special request from a friend and, to be quite honest with you, I didn’t even know what an axolotl looked like then! As soon as I saw a picture of one I knew this was going to be fun but that the challenge would be in making the gills. I ended up using a 2 ply cotton crochet thread for the frilly bits and she turned out so cute.

While doing my research I found out that they come in many different colours so I raided the wool wall and opened up the stash boxes to match up all the different flavours closely as possible .

I say flavours intead of colours because they reminded me of ice cream hues when they were made.

And so I named them accordingly. From left to right we have Lemon, Vanilla, Pistachio, Strawberry and Blackcurrant. Yum! But the one that went on the pattern cover was called Alice because I love my designs to have alliterative names whenever possible!

Next (though with a little bit of overlap as I rarely finish one design before I’m racing ahead and working on another) came Drake the Dragon’s new buddy – Izzy the Ice Dragon.

The weather was great and I continued to work outside as much as I could.

Lyra is all grown up now and hugely improved healthwise since her operation to fix her feeding issues when she was a kitten. She’s turned into a small but bright and sparky little thing that is always in the running for a bit of yarn action.

She loves to keep a close eye on what I’m doing.

And she seemed to have a special liking for being around Izzy

Having been expertly overseen by Lyra the final incarnations were ready (or maybe inyarnations would be a better word? – if it actually existed of course!).

I made a little version too. My favorite way to shake up the pattern testing repetition, especially as I didn’t make any major colour variations for this character as I wanted to fit her tones in with the icy theme.

Now this hasn’t been in precicely the exact chronological order because of my short attention span when it comes to starting much more than one crochet design at a time but I hope it’s given a little insight into what happened in the first half of my blogging absence.

I blame all the lockdowns and the chaos of a houseful of homeworkers for my sabbatical but things are a bit more normal around here now and I have exclusive use of my studio again without having to share the computer and other tech with anyone else. I’ve got one more catch up blog post then we’ll see if I find it easier to pop by and say hello a bit more often!

 


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Hello 2022!

It’s been a while – like a long, long while but Moji-Moji’s crochet mojo is finally back!

I’m kickstarting 2022 by collaborating with those lovely people over at amigurumi.com to bring you an ami-along event that I have had soooo much fun designing for. The ami-along runs from the 12th January to February 7th so you’ll have plenty of time to crochet up your own fantastically fabulous flock of flighty feathered friends (yes – I still love a good alliteration!)

So without further ado let me introduce to you to the new chicks on the block.

I had such a trouble deciding which birds I wanted to create but in the end I plumped for this these colourful cuties.

The lovebirds on the bower seat would make the cutest gift for Valentine’s day, or anytime you want to let love shine.

This little cockatoo looks so proud of himself when his fluffy head feathers go into full on ‘up’ mode! I just love it when they do that! You can almost hear him saying ‘look at me aren’t I just so grand!’. And I have to say I do agree.

Or maybe budgies are more your thing? I loved creating the colourways for this little chap and the embroidery was a hoot to do (or should I say a ‘tweet’?). Just a few well placed stitches made a world of difference and really gave them some authenticity.

Now who doesn’t love a hoopoe? What a crazy looking chap. I’ve never been lucky enough to see one in the wild but I have my own miniature crocheted version to cheer me up now. That marvelous crest is surely a sight for sore eyes and puts a smile on my face every time.

The magesty of the bald eagle is hard to beat, though these two are a little more larger on the cute factor than the fearsome predator factor. Are they getting all lovey dovey, or squaring up for a fight on who gets the biggest fish here? Hard to tell really. Personally I’m hoping it’s the former.

Finally we have the sweetest pair of cockatiels. Two’s company and three wouldn’t fit on the bower seat anyway. This pair are alway deep in gossip. They’ll merrily twitter away about anybody’s business. I would advise against telling them anything that you want to keep a secret. It could be front page of the News of the World before you know it!

Do you have a favourite? I’d love to know!

I’m not sure what Luna and Loki think of them – and my goodness haven’t they grown since they were in my last blog post! – but I’m hoping their intentions are honourable. Thankfully neither of them are any good at catching real life birds. When we do get feathered visitors in the garden they prefer to shout and squeak at them from the comfort of the window sill in my studio. They certainly have a bird’s eye view from up there.

You may have noticed that my studio has had a bit of a redecoration since the last time I posted, but I’ll save the details of that for a future post (teaser alert!).

In the meantime it would be great to see you over on the ami-along forum. I’ll be there to answer questions and help with the competition judging (be sure to check out the great prizes to be had!).

All ami-along details can be found here

Have the best day!

 


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P-P-Pick up a Puffin

Another flashback post here. One that was earmarked for publishing way back in about April in the midst of deepest darkest lockdown. Things are brighter and lighter and slightly more freer now and lots more has happened in between but I still wanted to share all the photos I took form that time – then maybe I’ll make a couple more posts a bit closer together until I’ve caught up with my crochet shenanigens again!

The house is still full of family memebers working and studying from home so thank goodness I have my own little haven with lots of yarn and a computer all to myself.

Even as people and cats shimmy by on a regular basis past my corner of the upstairs landing on the first floor of the house I can while away many an hour pattern writing and crocheting in relative peace. This full on family living can work very well when everone has a little bit of space just for themselves. I really have been appreciating how fortunate we all are to have that luxury.

As well as keeping busy in a house crammed with my favouroite people and felines, I also had a flock of Puffins waddling their way off the pages of my sketchbook and onto my lap via my hook.

What a challenge getting the beaks right was!

The first incarnation was good, but, well, just didn’t pop for me so I carried on fiddling around with colours and structure and eventually come up with the perfect solution. Lots of stripes and a nice rounded pattern on the base withing a sharp point at the tip and Bingo! I had found a way to create exactly what I was imagining in my head!

The first one I made that I really liked is the top middle puffin head above. I did a little victory dance around the studio when I saw how it all came together. It’s that moment when everything just ‘clicks’ with a pattern that I love the best!

The next stage was to make lots more in slightly different variations until I had got every stitch and colour combo exactly as it should be.

After that I made lots of photos to help explain the process. I always like to do this for my patterns if anything strays away from the routine single crochets or spiral construction. I’m becoming quite a whzz with my new Nikon camera. Evenings are often spent  watching photography videos on YouTube and stashing away the tips to use later.

Loki loves having a nose around, or maybe she’s just wondering why anybody would need to crochet quite so many beaks

It’s a good question. I really just wanted to try out some different colourways to see what worked the best. I ended up liking them all pretty much the same.

There were quite a few loose ends created with this rechnique but as a lot of them can just be tied together on the inside of the work and then trimmed away it isn’t nearly as daunting as it may appear.

Not much time consuming darning in to be done at all in the end. Which is always a bonus!

Each puffin picked a beak and and those who felt the cold picked a hat and a scarf, apart from the guy second from right who reckoned he’s tough enough to endure the arctic without one.

To be honest I couldn’t decide which version – clothed or unclothed – I liked best, but then the nature of making your own from a pattern means it’s up to you to decide how you want your puffin to turn out. Which do you prefer? Maybe you will find it easier to make up your mind than I did!

When I’m not photographing my latest designs the end of my desk doubles up as a cat snooze area. It’s always a treat to see my fur babies and hear all their groans and snores from the other end of the desk but it does get a bit difficult to evict them when  the lights, camera and action come into play.

Lyra seems rather worried about the size of my new lens. I tried to reassure her it isn’t a big black hole come to swallow her up but she insisted on checking it out thouroughly just in case 🙂

I worked around the cats eventually and took all take the glamour shots I needed after they padded away in search of more mischief.

Here we have a the entire colony putting their best beaks forward.

There were plenty of squawks of ‘make sure you get my good side’ and lots of flapping around and jostling to get the best position. They’re a proud and preening lot that’s to be sure and love to show off those flashy beaks so much. I hope I did them all justice in the end.

Pjeter the Puffin tries to talk Loki into sharing her igloo but Loki’s heart is as cold as Ice and wont share if she doesn’t have to.

After all a bit of peace and quiet and space to stretch your paws is a valued thing in this house. She knows she has the upper hand against a tiny crocheted puffin but…

…she often gets railroaded by her sisters. Poor Loki was obvoiuosly in here first but that hasn’t stopped Luna and Lyra piling in on top. They’re simply not taking ‘no’ for an answer, unlike the soft-touch puffin (but in his defense, there was only one of him).

It’s cute how much these sisters still love a good cuddle!

The girls still just about fit onto the Captain’s Chair in the corner of my bedroom but are definitely getting too big for some of their favorite old baskets.

Maybe I’ll be able to re-purpose them back to their original function of storing crochet again one day soon!

There’s still room for one and a half cats in here but they’re growing all the time!

I do so love how the cats gather around me to watch me work. I’ve got used to all the company of family permanently around during lockdown and wonder if things will seem very much like a ghost town in comparison when all the humans are back in their offices and lecture halls but at least I will still have the cats to keep me from feeling too lonely.

Check out my puffin pattern over on Etsy if you want to know more or if you fancy crocheting one yourself.

Next on my list is a blog post about my new princess pattern and then I have to finish off this little axolotl.

After that I have a sweet rabbit design to finalise for the upcoming Zoomigurumi10 book and a brand new dragon pal for Drake

So keep your eyes peeled for Benjy the Bunny, Alice the Axolotl and Dierdre(?) the Dragon coming to a blog post and/or pattern store near you soon!

I hope that whatever the type of lockdown you have had in your corner of the world you are beginning to enjoy some of the old freedoms as they inch back into our lives.

Keep safe and carry on crocheting!


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Yetis and Bigfoots

Well hello peeps! Long time, no see!

This coronavirus lockdown, which much of the world is in to some degree or other, has played havoc with my routines but thankfully not my creativity. We have a full house here with all five of us working or studying from home. It’s lovely to have everyone around all day, every day, and more importantly to know they are safe and well – but it has been more than a little distracting! I’m used to having the house to myself for much of the week so this has been a very different experience.

I’m still managing to come up with new designs (the easy bit), and finding the time here and there to write them up (the hard bit). Here’s a pattern I finished up a little while ago but never got around to showing you all.

I was waiting for a flurry of late winter/early spring snow so that I could take this little monster up to the top of the Malvern Hills and get some peachy perfect shots of Eustace the Yeti at his most comfortable in the high altitudes. Now all threat of snow is gone for another year without so much as a flake hitting the ground, not that I could have taken him out for a day trip anyway as it turned out, with lockdown coming upon us all in the way that it did. Maybe Eustace will be luckier next year.

Instead I am happy to share pictures of Eustace the Yeti and his cousin Boris the Bigfoot taken around the house. They don’t seem to mind being confined too much. Their goofy grins give it all away!

We have a little garden we can venture into when the weather is nice. And when the weather is not so nice we can admire it from the studio window. (Well, those of us who have had our heads sewn on already anyway).

As usaul I got a bit over zealous with my hook and where two or three yetis would have done I had to go on and make more just for the sheer hell of it. I downsized from the original with these cutsie tootsie little balls of Katia amigurumi yarn. It’s a bit thinner than my regular DK weight but so lovely and soft to use.

I combined the Katia yarn with some 4 ply mohair yarn and my miniaturised monsters turned out adorable.

It wasn’t long before the whole hairy family were amassed together, cats and all.

Luna, Lyra and Loki continue to wreak big kitten havoc. Especially Luna (in the middle) who is definitely the liveliest one out of the sisters. Lyra (right) is not far behind for crazy antics and Loki (left) is a real chilled back babe who loves nothing better than snoozing in the sun and having tummy rubs (and not looking at the camera when you want her to).

While the yetis never got there snowscape photoshoot they had plenty of time under the studio lights. Funny how Loki can put her best side to the camera when I really don’t want her to! Photography takes ages around here with so many curious cats checking out the action.

Lyra also weedled her way in to enjoy some chill time under the warming lamps with eustace.

I think he likes the company. I did take a few shots without cats – eventually.

I didn’t even have to ask them to say cheese. This lot just never stop grinning.

Lockdown rules means I’m getting plenty of use out of my excersise bike. It’s one of my favorite ways to keep fit because it is so easy to crochet at the same time.

I love to do two things at once if possible. Time is scarce so why waste it? I’ve very sensibly never tried to crochet while out jogging though. I think we can all imagine how that would end if I did!

Mojo and Lyra take a peak out of the window together.

They are learning to get along rather nicely now.

As well as working on new designs I have used the extra time spent at home to tidy up and refresh my studio area. A rainbow lamp I bought a while ago helps to cheer up the space even on the dullest of days.

This really is my happy place. I feel so blessed to have a colourful and inspiring sanctuary tucked away in a cosy corner of the house. It’s taken a lot of time and a lot of tweaking to get it how I like it but it’s pretty much there now.

I’ve been very thankful for the garden too during tis stay at home phase and have even began a miniature veggie patch. I haven’t actually been out of my front door for over eight weeks now, (thanks to hubby who has done all of the two weekly grocery shops) and I haven’t been bored one bit. With a ton of yarn, a ton of cats and a ton of grownup offspring sharing the space there really never is a dull moment.

I’ve missed seeing my other family and all my friends but know that more good times for meeting and treating will come. I’m content to wait a while longer and chat on the phone or Zoom instead. It will be lovely to get together in crowds again one of these days, but in the meantime I’ll leave all that sort of socialising to the this bunch…

I hope you have all been coping as best you can in these really challenging times. If you can’t go out much right now, do what makes you happy at home, and keep safe!

 


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Zoomigurumi 9

This week my parcel of Zoomigurumi 9 books arrived in the post which has acted like a timely nudge for me to write a post about it. It’s a bit late to tell you about the pre-sale event because that has been and gone but you can still buy the PDF version which can be downloaded straight away here at AmigurumiPatterns.net

So if you find yourself with a burning desire to make one, or two, or more, or all of these cute creatures there’s no need to wait for worldwide sales of the paperback in May!

In this years edition I’ve been very fortunate to have three of my amigurumi friends featured.

Let me take a moment to introduce you to them all 😊

Hilda The Highland Cow

She’s a jolly creature and an inveterate gossip. It can get very cold up in the Scottish Highlands but because of her magnificent thick coat of long ginger hair, that’s never a problem for Hilda. She’s often being asked to star in shampoo commercials but, as proud as she is of her flowing locks, she’s much too busy chewing the cud and ruminating with friends to take time out to be a supermodel.

Gerty The Gecko

Gerty is a house gecko so don’t be surprised if you find her quietly minding her own business halfway up your wall in some deliciously shady spot.

She is natuarlly quite shy but if you’re lucky she might give you a little wave and a flash of her cheeky grin to show you that she really does appreciate you sharing your home with her.

Sheena The Sheep

Sheena is much more outgoing than her other two book buddies. Unlike Hilda, she dreams of strutting her stuff on the catwalk or gazing doey eyed out of the pages of a glossy magazine.

She loves nothing better than leafing through a stack of catalogues looking at the latest fashions. Sadly, for much of the year, Sheena has no great use for woolly sweaters or fancy hats – being as blessed as she is with such a a fabulously fluffy fleece. However, she always makes sure that her scarf matches her flower hairslide – just so peole know she has an excellent eye for style. But come the shearing season, when she is in need of a few more pieces of apparel to guard against the odd summer rainstorm or an unseasonably waspish puff of wind, her diligent research into the latest clothes trends really pays off.

As soon as the books arrived they all gathered round for a ‘proud moment’ as well as to admire the cover star – Oatley the Horse, beatifully made by CrochetbyKim.

The Passing of Time

It always amazes me how really, really fast time flies by. It doesn’t seem two minutes ago that I was coming up with the ideas for these three designs but if I look back over the photos I see elements of Chritmas past lurking in the background…

…and even happy memories of working outside in the garden. I am so looking forward to proper sunshine again and getting back to some al fresco hooking as spring finally blossoms into summer. We have had way too much rain and accompanying floods this year. I shall be glad to see the back of the constantly wet and windy weather, that’s for certain.

I started making Sheena the Sheep so far back that my favorite yarn basket was still a yarn basket.

By that I mean the three kittens I subsequently adopted hadn’t even been invented yet. You see, it didn’t take them long to develop proprietorial feelings for it.

Here they are shortly after they arrived.

And this is two of them in the very same basket just last week. They’ve recently given up on all three squeezing in there as they have grown so much but there is still space for two (just about!).

If it has lately come to pass that two’s company but three’s a crowd in kittenland the same is not applying to sheep. We all know that these creatures are happiest in a flock so I made a few more Sheenas to make sure they felt comfortable.

I really enjoyed doing the little chains for their fleecy coats so it was easy to get carried away. They are a bit time consuming but it’s such a neat little stitch and the effect is so pretty. Their bodies remind me of little round dahlias! It was fun to make different colours for them too. I’d like to make a black sheep next, so that will be on my to-do list this year.

Gerty the Gecko can’t help but give herself a round of applause when she see’s the results of her photoshoot. Well, it’s more of an understated little clap really and as close as she ever gets to showing off.

Lyra the kitten is very interested in the book too.

Or maybe it’s just another feline limlight grab. The cats are very good at that!

Mischevious kitten Luna’s turn to strike a pose.

The combination of warm photography lamps and cat’s innate narcissistic tendencies bring the words moths and flame to mind!

From all of us in the book, to all of you reading this, we wave a warm goodbye. I hope to see your creations popping up on the web soon. Be sure to hashtag Zoomigurumi9 or any of my designs by name on Instagram or Facebook so I can see what you’ve all been making!

#hildathehighlandcow #gertythegecko #sheenathesheep #happycrocheting

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2020 Here I come!

I hope you all had a lovely end to 2019 and an equally lovely start to 2020!

With all the energy and verve I can muster I am welcoming in this new year with a positive outlook peppered with a decent amount of inspiration and a heavy dose of commitment. I have a lot new of ideas and a ton of unfinished WIPs to tackle and am determined to (try to!) finally catch up with myself this year.

There have been several reasons for a lack of productivity in recent months. The most fun one being the ongoing care of my three beautiful kittens – really more in the category of small cats these days. In the last few months they’ve grown from this…

…to this…

Even though they’re growing up they still get into lots of trouble. They love digging up plant pots, climbing curtains, legs (ouch!), and bookcases and generally getting in the way, particularly if yarn is involved.

My purr babies are now 6 months old and it’s been plain sailing with two of them. The smallest one – Lyra – had special needs that we only noticed when she was weaned and it has been very challenging to get her to grow. After lots of vets visits and a few tests she was diagnosed with ‘persistent right aortic arch’ where some of the her blood vessels ended up in the wrong place while she was still developing in the womb resulting in her oesophagus being very constricted just below the base of the heart which caused all the problems with eating and swallowing.

Getting her to stay strong has been very time consuming, but I was up for the challenge and fed her a tiny amounts of liquid gruel every hour hoping that some of the food would trickle through to her stomach before she could throw it up. I even crocheted her a little sling with two leg holes and handles at the back so I could hold her upright while she ate, and for 10 minutes after each feed to help it go down, without risk of squeezing the wriggly little madam too hard.

We were told that she wouldn’t survive without an operation to correct her condition, so that made the decision to go ahead very easy. I hated having to take her to Bristol – about an hours drive – but knew that the Small Animal Hospital at Langford would be the best place for her to have such a rare and specialist procedure done.

My heart broke to see her looking like one of the cast of Prisoner Cell Block H.

But she slept peacefully most of the way while holding my hand with her tine paw so I hope she wasn’t too traumatised. To cut a long story short the operation was a great success. They snipped away the constricting vessel and checked for normal dilation of the oesophagus and after a few days she was well enough for us to visit. Here we are at the hospital having cuddles.

The hardest part was leaving her again but the staff were fabulous and she seemed quite content to head off back to the ward with them when our hour was up. Being the awesome trooper that she is she continued to do well and we went to pick her up the next day >happy dance<.

Her stitches were a proper fright-sight but she had some good pain meds and we were instructed to start her on a diet of pate consistency food, fed from an elevated position to begin with. All meals stayed down splendidly which was a joyous thing to us all! She was so happy to be back with her sisters and her street view, but most of all was delighted to scoff down some real meaty looking food for the first time in her life. But, oh, that bald patch 😕.

Home comforts are plentiful around here and we made sure she had lots of love, warmth, fine food and cosy nooks to aid her recovery.

I am over the moon to tell you we now know for sure that the operation was a great success, and, while she’ll never have a fully functioning eosophagus she has enough motility there to get plenty of mashed up wet food into her stomach, evidenced by the fact that she is growing again and is lively and thriving since coming out of hospital. At the last vets visit she actually weighed more than her sister Luna – but not more than Loki who is turning out to be a very long legged and solidly built girl!

With the weight of Lyra’s health problems taken off my mind I endeavoured to enjoy the rest of November and the run up to Christmas, though I developed a tooth abcess which put a bit of a blight on things. Amid the pain, antibiotics and eventual extraction I worked on a teeny tiny rehash of my Teeny Tiny Snowman pattern for inclusion in Qing Fibres advent calendar.

I added a few stars and some round beads to create a Christmas dangler that showed off two of their lovely yarns – Hero Suri (deep blue fluffy) and Rambutan (variegated).

Katt from Qing Yarns handsomely rewarded me for my efforts with a few skeins of their Pond yarn. I immediately put it to good use making the Vine Lace Scarf by Marin J Malchior from my favourite go-to tome ‘Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders’ and so I have another WIP hanging around 😯 Oops! This one is good for car journeys as the repeat is small and easy to remember and I only need one ball of yarn at a time so I’ll be adding a few rows whenever the road calls.

We decorated the house on the 1st of the month as is our tradition. No big tree this year due to the monkey-like antics of the kittens, but I pulled in a small pot-grown conifer from the garden and put lights and trinkets on that. They couldn’t really climb it but they did their best to make off with as many baubles as possible.

An American magazine called Annie’s Crochet contacted me about featuring two of my Halloween Longlegs dolls in their 2020 Fall edition. It was rather strange to be working on such an out of season project but it was enjoyable and not too taxing. Perfect for the Christmas run up, which is always such a busy time with non-work related things. I took my time re-writing the pattern to suit the magazine style and remaking the dolls to send to Indiana for the photoshoot.

I even did some of the donkey work during Christmas visits to relatives.

It’s always nice to have a bit of colour to feast the eyes upon with so much grey tarmac all around!

Eventually they were labelled up and sent off to their new home. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they look in the magazine later this year.

So with all commissions done and dusted and Christmas presents bought and wrapped, everything was going exceedingly well until Christmas Eve when I succumbed to a vomity bug, which rapidly went around the whole family, each day striking down a different victim, until Christmas week was over. Oh well, such is the way the cookie crumbles. I came out of the holiday season 4 lbs lighter so that was something to smile about at least! I still got plenty of ‘just for fun’ crochet done over the holidays. I’ve been methodically working my way through this 100 snowflakes pattern book by Caitlin Sainio.

I’ve had this book sitting around for a few years but never got around to having a go until now. It’s been a fun project to snuggle up with. Pyjamas, kittens, crochet – the dream team.

Despite the kitten curiosity I made all of these and pinned them out on one of my foam tiles to be blocked, though the pins proved to be a temptation for little paws and had to be removed from sight once they had discovered them.

Aren’t they so pretty?! It’s my ambition to make every one from the book, maybe for this year’s Chrsitmas window display. Plenty of time left yet to get the other 89 made!

I finished crocheting my poncho/cardigan/shawl/cape/cloak. Not really sure what to call it to be honest, but I do know it is very warm and brightens up the winter days when the heating is on save mode (AKA off).

It was just waiting for the tassels here. I spent an hour or so cutting lengths of yarn and attaching them at the row ends and it really did make a nice difference to the weight and swish of the garment. Well worth the extra time it took and the extra hassle of fighting Luna for the yarn ends.

After all that ‘helping’ Luna has staked a partial claim to the finished garment and often likes to snuggle in the generous folds of the granny stripes.

We can keep each other warm this way. She was purring so loudly when I took this photo, and I would have been too if it was humanly possible!

I have a raft of new Christmas patterns that I never managed to get out in time. Here’s a close-up peak at one of the characters.

I got carried away making so many tiny ornament sized characters that I didn’t have time to write up the patterns for them in the end. I’ve shelved them for now but will be getting back on with finishing these festive designs a little later this year – in plenty of time for Christmas 2020 I hope.

In the meantime they make a very good overspill cat bed for when Loki needs a little bit of space from Luna.

There are plenty of other patterns for me to finish writing and checking over the coming weeks and true to my New Year’s resolution to clear the back log I’ve started with a Yeti pattern. Maybe it will work a charm and bring us some snow, We haven’t had a single flake this year in Worcester (apart from the ones I crocheted). Not so unusual in itself but sadly missed all the same.

Eustace the Yeti and I will be thrilled if we get to enjoy even one white-out snow day before the spring!


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What’s New Pussycat?

Well, there’s a few new things going on around here at the moment.

To start with, I have a pattern for a collection of Trick or Treat bags listed in my online stores. There’s a spider, a bat and, of course, a cat. This has been a couple of years in the making but after stopping and starting, getting distracted, sidetracked and then running out of time before last Halloween, I’ve finally got them done! It’s still a little later than I would have liked for this Halloween but I have a good excuse this time, which I shall reveal more about further down the post <<< (Teaser alert!)

For these bags I used the classic Halloween colour palette of orange, purple, green and black, combined with a heap of stripes to give them a recognizably seasonal look. I’m really pleased with how they turned out, I hope you like them too!

They are sturdy enough for the most rigorous use on any candy conjuring trip and can store enough goodies to keep you going until Christmas!

This really has been a dipping in and out of pattern. More often than not I do see my ideas through to the end but always with plenty of other projects shoehorned in along the way. I’m never going to be a one thing at a time kind of girl and I’ve made my peace with that at last. A much more laissez faire attitude to the WIPs mountain is definitely a good thing for me. ‘If you can’t beat it, add to it’ is my new motto!

This photo was taken around this time last year when I was testing through the first draft of the pattern. This version of the bag is still unfinished and stuffed in a drawer but I have every faith that it will see the light of day sometime in the near to distant future when it will be lovingly pieced together (probably).

All these bits below were eventually assembled into the finished articles, so I know I can do it when I set my mind to it.

With eight long legs for the spider, four medium ones for the cat and two short ones for the bat, plus three handles and the bags themselves it’s a good job I’m a fan of working stripes (I especially love how you don’t need to bother with a stitch marker to know where each round begins).

I’m thinking about Christmas now and have several jolly pattern bundles in mind for tree decorations and parcel toppers or just tiny gifts that are super quick to make, so watch out for a Moji-Moji Christmas Fest coming your way soon! (I thought it only polite to get Halloween out of the way first before I photo bomb you with elves, angels, robins and wreaths!)

On other crochet news – I have been steadily working towards completion of my Winter Greys Hexie Blanket, just in time for snuggling up as the evenings draw in and the weather gets colder. I started this blanket a couple of years ago and the final few motifs were finished last week.

The joining of the hexies was studiously overseen by Mojo and Rubick.

The blanket was tested for comfort in various positions from sitting to lying down and passed with flying colours. Or maybe that should be flying monochromes.

But it has taken me longer to finish the border than I anticipated. And the purrfect excuse for my crochet tardiness? Our feline family has recently grown again!

These cheeky sisters were born to a very young cat in a household that, for various reasons, couldn’t really cope with them (thankfully the mum cat is now spayed so no more accidental pregnancies for her!)

They needed a new home where they would be safe and loved so I went to visit them at their temporary foster home (my son’s girlfriend’s house – which is how I came to know about them) and decided to take on Lyra because she has some special needs (she’s the one on the right in the photo above) as we thought it may be tricky to rehome her elsewhere. She was born really small and with a squashed up rib cage and strangely bent legs which needed to be treated with a special jacket and some physiotherapy.

Here she is at 5 weeks old after her legs had straightened up a bit once she started walking on them.

You can see how I fell in love so easily! But there’s more to tell yet…

Whenever we visited at her foster home she was always particularly close and pally with Luna (below) and it didn’t seem right to split them up, and so I agreed to take them both.

After a few more visits I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving Loki on her own and so, inevitably – as I’m such a soft touch when it comes to furry, purry four legged fluffy things, I ended up with all three!

Could anybody seriously be expected not to bring her home too if they had the chance?! Just look at that face!

After losing two of my beloved cats – Pogo and Minnie – to cancer last year I vowed ‘never again’. I couldn’t go through that loss if I didn’t have to, but sometimes fate intervenes and cat’s simply scamper into your life when you least expect it. It’s been a while now since they arrived and I’m not regretting my decision. Not one little bit. Someone has to love them now they’re in the world, so it might as well be me 😊💓

I turned the lounge into a kitten nursery, installing all the toys and baskets I could find and shifting the sofas around to accommodate the cat tower that Rubick no longer favours.

It didn’t take long for the little lovelies to settle in.

Naturally enough, the kittens severely complicated any yarn based endeavours…

… but I finished my blanket with them mostly snuggled inside it.

So that’s three more feline fans of my woolly creations. It sure feels good to have an entourage so appreciative of my handiwork!

Round and round I went with the lovely zigzagging edge taking shape. After a touch of embellishment with some surface crochet it was pretty much ready to add to my store of winter throws.

I was originally intending to add tassels to the pointed ends of the hem but decided it might be a better idea to wait until the kittens get a bit bigger and slightly less pouncy or they’ll be attacking them every time I move the blanket around!

They’re certainly not always as sleepy and compliant as Luna is here… and it didn’t take her too long to wake right up and start chewing on the hook once I got crocheting again.

Oh well – I’m content to make progress with my crochet when I can, and play with the kittens when I can’t. They’ll be grown up and lazy snoozers like the others soon enough and then there’ll be plenty of time to do what I like.

Occasionally they’re happy to sleep somewhere other than my lap so, letting sleeping kittens lie, I’ve been able to sneak off and get a bit of pattern writing done here and there. Not as much as I would have hoped but enough to keep my hand in for now.

Mojo, Rubick and Laddie are slowly taking to the new arrivals and they are providing us all with hours of entertainment with their high jinks and acrobatic antics. Rubick is  happy to sleep on the sofa knowing the girls are close by.

Mojo prefers to observe from a height where he feels safer.

Naturally the window spot is everyone’s favourite place.

But Mojo still sneaks back into his basket when he can.

My poncho has been growing. This has been yet another slow burning project but I felt much more motivated to finish it once it wasn’t so mind-bendingly hot outside anymore.

While I wasn’t working on those soothing granny stripe rows the poncho has been doubling up as a cat blanket for Rubick whenever I was daft enough to leave it lying around. Mmm, nice and hairy before I even get to wear it. Sneeze, sneeze!

I’m very close to finishing this so, cats and kittens willing, I’ll share the Ta-dah moment with you next time.

It’s been wonderful to spend so much time snuggling with our new family members and I’ve squeezed in a fair amount of knitting while they snoozed on or around me. As a result I should have a finished jumper to share with you…

…and as I’ve been making mittens with kittens too I’ll be able to reveal the finished mini masterpieces in my next post (I love the way they look so far and will be making more of these before the winter is out!)

After that I’ll be in full on Christmas mode. Time is ticking by, in the most pleasant way it has to be said, but I don’t want Christmas to come and go without getting my new festive patterns up like Halloween nearly did!

Happy Trick or treating to those of you taking part. May your bags be full of sweet treats and your winter evenings full of crafty projects. I’m really hoping mine will be!


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Dreaming of the Sea

The summer is pretty much over and I’ve been ‘staycationing’ year. Not having managed to escape to some heavenly beach retreat with my tent and sleeping bag I thought I’d bring a taste of the coast to me instead by creating a set of seaside inspired characters. One creature led to another and another until I ended up with four different patterns based on two distinct body shapes and a mini friend with a shape all of it’s own. I’ve bundled them into one bumper pattern and called it ‘Ocean Buddies’.

Ocean Buddies Pattern

This pattern has been through a few evolutions as I played around finding the right proportions and it proved to be the perfect picking in and out of pattern to take outside and work on in my garden while I daydreamed about being beside the seaside.

I’m not completely high and dry here in my favorite spot because we have a tiny pond in the shade of a shrub I can never remember the name of. I have even made a little shingle beach and scattered around a few of my scavenged fossils to remind me of past beach-combing adventures in Watchet on the Somerset coast.

Little 4 ply, 2 mm hook narwhal contemplates a dip but is somewhat put off by the film of duckweed. Can’y say I blame him. I wont be dipping my toes in either, no matter how hot it gets!

The Ocean Buddies accompanied me on landlocked car journeys up the motorway when we did take the odd day trip to Lancashire to visit relatives.

Annoyingly, I failed to bring any safety eyes or stuffing on this particular occasion (an early start you see, and my brain is rarely fully engaged until midday) and so my relaxing crochet session was properly scuppered. Aaaagh! The thought of three hours+ in the car with idle hands was almost too much to bear. Luckily I had started sewing a pompom trim onto my project basket the night before so I solved the fidgety fingers problem by painstakingly stitching on the rest of the trim.

Quite a fiddly process, with tiny stitches and a wickedly sharp needle for such a bumpy journey but I managed it with just the odd finger prick here and there to show for it.

By the time we got to our destination I had a very pretty pimped up basket. To be honest I can’t think of many things that don’t look better with pom poms attached. Do you see the green, green grass of my mother-in-laws garden? It really does put my coarse, dandelion infested back yard patch of scrub to shame.

Laddie, previously having belonged to said mother-in-law before we adopted him after she got poorly, and thus having been the joint owner of the garden perfection above, is so used to a fine weed free lawn that he appears to disapprove of my more slapdash approach to green spaces. So much so that he can only tolerate being in its vicinity if there is a wooden tray between the ground and his butt!

I also can’t help thinking he’s planted himself next to the lawnmower and rake as a sort of reprimand. Maybe I’ll get into this gardening malarkey one of these days. When there’s a showdown between the hook and the shears the hook will win out everytime!

In the mean time I’m content to use crocheted rugs to hide the multitude of unmown sins, unswept prickly leaves, miscellaneous weeds and bare patches of earth. The rag yarn crochet makes things a bit comfier and adds a bit of colour – a real plus point when all the flowers I have tried to grow are constantly eaten by slugs and snails.

Pesticide free, organic gardening is easy when you let the weeds take over, and rather good for the wildlife too no doubt. Everything has an up side! I think I’ll make this unkempt approach my horticultural hallmark.

As lovely as this unusually warm summer has been I have to admit that the heat did get the better of me from time to time. A shady spot in the studio with the slatted blinds sending the daylight coolly up in towards the ceiling went a long way to redressing the heatwave when things got too hot outside.

Crisp white walls and a clean white desk all add to the oasis like calm in here.

Mojo is not too keen on the savage sunshine at the peak of summer so I often found him in my crochet corner waiting to keep me company whenever I scuttled inside for a cool down.

It’s a little more difficult to get hold of my wool while he is around but we always manage to share it in the end.

When we got back from our day trip up north I attempted to put my newly embellished basket to good use as storage but before I could fill it with the next batch of yarn Mojo had crept in and wound himself into it – while it was still on my lap.

Yeah I know that look – ‘move me on at your peril human, I shall sulk for an hour if you do’ – or meows to that effect. So you see Mojo has a nice new cat bed. A bit on the small side maybe but it doesn’t seem to bother him one little bit.

This new sleeping arrangement has the added bonus of freeing up the rest of my chair for me. Instead of a furry, sprawling, purring cat rug draped over the entire seat Moji now likes to roll himself up like pill bug, tuck his head in and forget all about the outside world for a bit. Sounds rather appealing to be honest. Perhaps we should have human sized hibernation baskets to disappear into from time to time!

It frees up space for Orwell too. We all share and share alike here. A happy family of people, cats and crochet!

Mojo managed to prise himself out of the comfort of my stash basket when he saw the stage was set for a photo-shoot, sneaking in just in time for his cameo role.

Despite the intrusion I eventually took some shots I was happy with.

I have a new Nikon camera and have been experimenting with using it in manual mode so some of the colours are a bit more uneven than I would like but I think I’m getting the hang of it. Practice make perfect and and all that.

I’ve also been watching some YouTube videos on how to get whiter backgrounds for product photography by using Adobe Photoshop.

I’m learning so much that isn’t crochet related at the moment. None of it as much fun as crochet itself – but it comes quite close.

As summer draws to a close and chances of a holiday on some windswept beach diminish for another year I can’t say that I’m too heartbroken. I’ve had a wonderful summer at home with my family, my cats, my crochet and my imagination. A winning combination in my opinion!

I have a big bunch of autumn/winter projects to be getting on with over the next few weeks. (Spoiler alert – sneak peak for one of them below!)…

I’m aiming to tie up all the loose ends on my current WIPs and share in my next post. I hope you’ll join me then!


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A Medley of Monsters

Can you hear that strange shuffling and scratching noise? Are you tempted to take a peek and find out what’s going on?

Well, don’t be alarmed, it turns out that it’s just the sound that my new brood of monsters make when they start twirling around on their twelve tiny toes. And as they only start twirling when they’re giddy with joy (or maybe the twirling is what makes them giddy with joy…) at least you know they’ll be in a good mood when you eventually manage to catch up with them.

These mischief making Tippy Toe Monsters will keep you on your own toes as you try and keep them out of trouble, but those big bug eyes have a way of melting your heart. No matter how naughty they are it seems that these  can get away with anything!

They got away with hassling Mojo for quite a long time. They even tried (successfully) to photo bomb his portrait session with his new cat pal.

Ever get the feeling you’re being watched? it was all too much for mini Mojo but major Mojo sat it out. A crochet blanket on a desk next to your human is a prize worth fighting for.

Make yourself comfy Mojo. They wont bite!

He gave them one of his hard stares as a warning against any further encroachment of his space, wondered why there was an out of season snowman present, and then snoozed off quite indifferently.

Contrary to popular myth, Tippy Toe Monsters aren’t only about running around making mischief. Sometimes they can be really helpful. They kept an eye on my grammar and made the most excellent spellcheckers when I was tapping away at the keyboard.

And those great glowering, globular eyes are also really rather good at spotting mistakes in stitch counts or round numbering on the paper patterns.

Tippy Toe Monsters have a fabulous eye (or three) for colour so I asked them to choose a bright and cheery palette for their soon to be crocheted friends. They all thought that we should definitely incorporate some orange.

But they couldn’t agree on much else between them. After a bit of bickering and lot of random yarn grabbing we eventually chose these delicious candy shades.

Then I got to work making a ton of tiny toes…

…and a great many eyeballs along with other necessities for monster making such as stumpy arms and pointy horns.

Never knowingly giving up an opportunity to get in on the act Mojo threatened to brush aside all micro crochet elements with a single sweep of his twitchy tail.

Then someone opened a pouch of cat food and his razor sharp hearing meant he was bounding off, luckily not scattering my hard work all over the floor as he went.

As well as being watched by an ever growing crowd of monsters I’ve had lots of disembodied eyeballs peering at me too.

With so many composite pieces to crochet it took me a long time to finish them all. Car journey’s, bus journeys and trips to visit friends are good for this sort of pick and mix approach so wherever I went, my basket went too. There were a few weeks back there while I mass produced toes and eyeballs on an almost industrial scale, squeezing a few more in whenever I had a spare couple of minutes and cracking on with a vengeance when I had an hour or two.

As all the toes are crocheted together there is not nearly as much sewing involved as you might think. The monsters get really excited when they’re waiting for their eyes. They really do bring these little rascals to life!

Although it’s very difficult to gauge their exact mood until their mouths are embroidered. One small black stitch makes all the difference to their personalities.

It wasn’t really necessary to make quite as many as I did but I had so much fun playing with all the colours and combining them in different ways that it was very very difficult to stop!

Often working into the night with my messy desk strewn with crochet, notebooks and a token cat I eventually ended up with more monsters than I really needed!

I absolutely must get some craft shows booked so I can offload a few to loving new homes!

I reckon I’ve had my fill of monster making for now. I’m sure I’ll be back creating more in the future but there are quite a few other projects to finish off in the meantime. If, unlike myself, you haven’t reached monster saturation point yet you can purchase the pattern for Tippy Toe Montsers below. I’d love to see how yours turn out so don’t forget you can message me on my mojimojidesign Facebook page and send me a pic or two if you find the time 🙂

Tippy Toe Monster Pattern

 

I’m working up a new pattern called Ocean Buddies this week and have been having a blast playing about with sparkly yarn and a nifty little technique for making the perfect narwhal tusk.

There will also be a whale, a dolphin, a shark and a little starfish included in this particular friend group. I’m looking forward to finishing these buddies soon. I also have three new designs to get ready for Zoomigurumi 9 so it will be a busy couple of weeks around here. But as I’m doing what I love I know how fast it will fly by!


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A Clowder of Cats

Not to be confused with a Chowder of Cats! There’s no cat soup allowed around here under any circumstances! In case you hadn’t heard, a clowder is the collective term for a bunch of domestic cats, and as it fits in perfectly with my alliteration obsession A Clowder of Cats was the perfect name for my new pattern. I’ve certainly crocheted enough of these fun-some furballs to warrant the use of a jolly good descriptive collective noun.

I had a lot of fun (and a few headaches too) with this pattern as I wanted to be able to make as many different types of cat markings as possible. After spending way too long umming and aahing and hooking and frogging I eventually came up with a variety of stripes and patches that can be used in different combinations to make a whole load of different kitties.

I made one to look like Mojo, who can’t resist a rug thrown out in the garden…

… or a blanket on my desk…

…or a place mat on the kitchen coffee table. Seems he likes following his little crocheted friend around!

Rubick was startled to find he was not the center of attention for once and that there was no mini-me in sight for him.

Though of course I had made him one too. In fact this was one of the first variations I worked on.

What a handsome fella and such a poser as well. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!

Then there was Laddie to deal with. This ever so slightly grumpy old man has had a few minor spats with the other cats since he moved in last December so I really didn’t want to cause anymore upset by making him jealous!

His crocheted portrait looks as disgruntled as he does.

We’ve had some super weather, in between lots of rain, and I’ve made every effort to get out in the garden and make the most of the sunshine whenever I could.

It made me smile to see them peeping at me as I worked away making the rest of the litter. It’s like they couldn’t wait to see who would pop off the hook next.

I’m happy to say our new lawn is still mostly green and not too threadbare. It’s survived its first year, so hopefully with a bit more TLC we will have a well established green space for the foreseeable future. I love it so much more than the flagstones that were there before. Even if mowing it can be a bit of a pain sometimes – oh but the smell is delightful! – I like the idea of worms underneath and the whole green eco-system thing going on.

Rubick is also a fan of the lawn.

Mojo thinks it’s OK but nowhere near as good as a big, padded cushion.

Laddie prefers perching up by the pond where he can keep a strict eye out for trouble. He assured me he definitely wasn’t waiting there in order to ambush any unsuspecting frogs. I didn’t really believe him so I built a lot of log frog shelters for them to hide safely in. Just in case.

I’ve never had a long haired cat of my own so in lieu of the real thing – where there’s a hook there’s a way – I set to and made a couple of fluffy versions to add to my collection.

King Cole’s Embrace yarn was fabulous for this and it comes in several colours that are totally purrfect for making these cats. It just needs a bit of work with a suede brush once all the pieces are crocheted and sewn together to really bring out the fluffiness.

He fits in a treat with his less follically blessed brothers and sisters.

I actually started and finished a simpler version of this pattern about eighteen months ago as a collaboration with LoveCrafts.com in aid of Battersea Cats and Dogs Home. You can read more about that in a previous blog post here. The original design was based on a temporary lodger there called Hazel, now happily re-homed, who had lost an eye in a road traffic accident.

It was lovely to see my sadly departed Minnie pop up again while I was looking through photographs from around that time. Hazel and Minnie have similar coloured markings so this one doubled up nicely as Minnie’s mini-me.

I shall never be in any danger of forgetting my Rainbow Bridge cats with all the pictures I’ve taken of them. Every cat I’ve ever had has loved being around when I’m crocheting so we have shared much quality time together over the years. They’re all such a blessing in their own unique ways.

As well as adding in a lot more options to the updated version of the pattern I’ve also added a muzzle. I thought it made them look a tad more realistic especially when viewing from a side profile.

If you like the look of Hazel’s flatter face better I have included the original pattern as an extra PDF in my Etsy store – completely free when you buy the main pattern. There is some rather nifty colour change work on her legs too which could be incorporated into the other cats if you have a more speckly tortoisehell type of feline in mind.

The cats took over my life for a while back there. Crowding out my desk…

…watching me work…

…and waiting patiently in a line when it came to dinner time.

They were as good as gold when it came to their photo shoot for the pattern. Sitting up straight and looking into the camera – whenever I shook a bag of Dreamies behind it!

Now I have a whole host of crocheted cats to add to my collection of real ones and to my collection of cat pottery, pencil cases, mugs, pens, notebooks, clocks, bags etc. etc. If you can name it and it has a cat on it I probably have it!

If any proof were needed of my mania for collecting such items here’s a photo of my new shelf, now gracing the wall above my computer.

My cat clock even wags it’s tail 🙂

Hmm… too many cats? Maybe. Crazy Cat Lady? Definitely!