Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Flower Power

September already! And while we are still having a fair share of sunny days and even some rather unseasonal temperature highs, the general trend is heading towards a much more autumnal feel, especially noticeable in the early mornings and late evenings.

It’s been a great summer, full of all sorts of weather and I’ve been out and about taking lots of long walks this year. I’ve made trips down to the river and to local parks nearly every day unless I’ve been kept inside by outbursts of torrential rain and I’m definitely feeling the benefits of exercising regularly.

flowers-and-feet

Stretching the legs and the lungs, and soaking in the local scenery is a great counterbalance to the reclusive and sedentary nature of a self employed, work from home, crochet obsessed yarnoholic. I’ve been especially enamoured of the flowers, wild and cultivated, around the riverside and in the many parks we have around here.

cosmia

My garden is a disaster zone, as usual, so I get my flower fix when I’m out and about.

tiny-flowers

The green fingered council employees obviously know what it takes to put on a good display.

park-flowers

Though I must admit to having a special soft spot for the natural sprawl of the meadow plants – just getting on with it and doing their thing.

meadow

I only wish they would be more inclined to do their thing in my garden as well. Most of my flowers have been reduced to stumps by the slugs and snails – again! The withered brown twig, hardly visible in the middle of the pot is the very last remnant of a tray of 18 dahlia plants, brought home from the garden centre with great hope, in anticipation of a colourful display. The lobelia plants aren’t looking anything like my neighbours frothy tumble of bright colours either, though they are at least still green!

patio-pot

I don’t mean to infer that the snail in this photo is the actual culprit, here…

…I think it was more likely to have been this one and his horde of hungry pals, along with a bunch of big fat slugs that can often be seen crawling all over the walls as soon as we get any hint of rain or generally damp and foggy weather…

little-snail

So cute though. Yeah, I know, I’m a pushover and let them walk all over me!

snail

As it happens, I’m no better with growing grass either, but I’ve got around my lack of skill in getting a turf lawn to take hold (three times a failure over the years) by investing in a strip of astroturf. And if you don’t look too closely you can’t even tell it’s all a fake! No mowing to worry about, just a quick sweep with the broom to keep things neat,  which leaves more time in my life for the things I really love to do.

Oh the joy of a little green patch to lounge about on! The perfect spot for sharing a Pimms and some snacks with an amigurumi buddy on a Saturday evening.

pims-oclock

Now there is one plant that I have had a good measure of success with. It seems the creepy crawlies that live around here aren’t too keen on geraniums for breakfast, lunch or supper, and with a bit of gentle pruning  these robust and vigorous sprouters have bounced back from an onslaught of neglect and are about to put on a great show of fresh new flower heads. It seems they can even survive when I forget to water them – which I shamefacedly admit happens much more often than not.

geraniums

I’m going to try and give them a bit more attention from here onwards to reward their loyalty, even though they have so far survived rather well without it. Things can only get better with an added bit of TLC, and if they’re the only thing that I can keep alive I might as well try to make them the best.

I may not have the greenest of fingers but I do have other talents that can be put to good use and if I can’t grow a garden full of beautiful blooms I’m happy to crochet some instead. I’d much rather be working with a hook than a trowel, truth be told, and have had great fun teasing woolly blooms from balls of yarn in all the colours inspired by the flower beds and meadows of my regular riverwalk…

crocheted-flowers

…with the addition of a bit of turquoise (artistic license!).

flowers

I’m earmarking these pastel pretties for a scarf, but I turned a few into little flower pots too. Now this is the sort of horticulture I really love!

flower-pots

No matter how lovingly Shelby the snail looks at them, I know they’ll come to no nibblesome harm whatsoever!

Still on the flower theme, I also made some daisies this week. A friend wanted one to sew onto a jumper so I got experimenting and came up with these designs

daisies

The petals came out a little bit curly so I had to resort to blocking. I say ‘resort’ because, along with darning in ends, it’s one of my least favorite parts of the crochet process and, luckily for us amigurumists, is largely avoidable for most of the time. But sometimes it’s just has to be done to bring out the true glory.

blocking-daisies

A bit of pinning, a squirt or two of water and they’re ready to be put outside to dry in a little patch of sunshine.

crochet-daisies

They’re the only sorts of blooms I’m likely to see in my garden until those geraniums start to blossom, but in the meantime I can always visit this patch, just a few minutes walk away, when I feel the urge to commune with the real life daisies.

wild-daisies

Or closer to home, I do have several healthily abundant patches of weeds. I’m good at growing things that I didn’t plant as you can see from my front step. Pogo loves hiding out in them, waiting to ambush passers by for a fuss and a chat, so I haven’t the heart to get out there and pull them up. That’s my excuse anyway, and I’m sticking to it!

pogo-on-the-step

After all, weeds are flowers too, and I have to be grateful to nature for compensating for my lack of cultivated garden prowess.

crocheted-pots

I may have been at the back of the queue when gardening skills were being handed out but so far as growing flowers is concerned, fortune gave me a hook and some yarn, plenty of weeds and unstoppable geraniums.

amigurumi-gardening

That’s plenty to be grateful for!


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Spring Circle Granny Square

Here’s a little guide to making the Spring Circles Granny Squares that I’ve been working on recently. I’ve included some photos and a full written pattern so you can have a go yourselves.

Spring-Circle-colours

I decided on these colours for mine but any combination will do. As the name ‘Spring Circles’ implies, I was inspired by all the colours that are commonly found around Easter time. The yarns are all light worsted weight (double knit/8 ply) acrylics. I used a size 7 (4.5mm hook).

Spring-Circles-equipment

The circles are very simple to make and use a combination of Slip stitch (Slst), single crochet (sc), half double crochet (hdc), double crochet (dc) and chain stitch (ch). These are the US terminologies. (I prefer to use US crochet terms in my patterns. If you are more familiar with UK terms a handy stitch conversion chart can be found at the bottom of my Free Patterns page along with an explanation of the abbreviations used.)

The Pattern:

Tip: To minimize the amount of yarn ends to darn in, lightly twist the new and old yarn ends together and crochet over them for 5 or six stitches on all rounds except round 4.  On round 4, tie the yarn ends together and leave dangling. (Tips for extra secure darning in are at the bottom of the pattern for the circular motif).

Rnd 1: With dark pink yarn make 4 ch, 11 dc into first ch, Slst in top of 4 ch, fasten off. (12 sts)

SS-Rnd-1

Tip: For secure joins, attach all colour changes by making a slip knot in the new colour, insert hook through your work where instructed and place slip knot on hook at back of work. Pull slip knit through to right side of work and continue as instructed in the pattern.

Rnd 2: Join green yarn in between first two dc, ch 2, [sc between next two dc, ch 1] 11 times, Slst to first ch, fasten off. (24 sts)

SS-Rnd-2

Rnd 3: Join light pink yarn in last 1-ch space from previous round and make 3 ch, dc in same 1-chain space as join, 2 dc in each 1-chain space around, Slst in top of 3 ch, fasten off. (24 sts)

SS-Rnd-3

Rnd 4: Join mint green  yarn in between any group of two dc and make 3 ch, [skip 2 dc, sc in next space, 2 ch] to end, Slst in top of 3 ch, fasten off. (36 sts)

ss-Rnd-4

Rnd 5: Join mid pink yarn in last 2-chain space and make 3ch, 2 dc in same 2-chain space as join, 3 dc in each of next 2-chain space to end, Slst in top of 3 ch, fasten off. (36 sts)

ss-Rnd-5

Rnd 6: Join cream yarn in last st and make 3 ch, dc in same st as join, dc in next st, hdc in each of next 5 st, dc in next st, 2 dc in next st, 2 ch, *2 dc in next st, dc in next st, hdc in each of next 5 st, dc in next st, 2 dc in next st, 2 ch, repeat from * 2 more times, join with a Slst in top of 3 ch. (52 sts)

ss-Rnd-66

Rnd 7: 2 ch, hdc in 2-chain space at base of 2 ch, hdc in each of next 11 st, *(2 hdc, 2 ch, 2 hdc) in next 2-chain space, hdc in each of next 11 st, repeat from * to end 2 more times, 2 hdc in last 2-ch space, Slst in top of 2 ch, fasten off.

ss-Rnd-76

If you followed my tip above you will have crocheted over the first part of each set of yarn ends already. To make them extra secure (probably a good idea if you are planning on making something like a blanket which will get lots of handling) thread one of the yarn ends from one of the pairs onto a tapestry needle and sew securely back over both yarn ends until you reach the beginning of that colour change then trim both ends closely.

SS-Darning-3

Happy crocheting!

 


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Spring Circles – All Done!

Yes, it’s true. My blanket and set of three cushions are now offically 100% finished! Started way back in the spring this has been a labour of love that has spanned several months comprising of many, many evenings and several long, stitch filled weekends (the best kind!). 

Here are my very last ends to be darned in…

the-last-yarn-ends

…worthy of its own photo any day.

As any of you will know if you have embarked on a big scale project like this the very last yarn ends to darn is a moment of huge triumph. I’m always quite surprised it passes off so uneventfully in the end, expecting a herald of trumpeting angels to provide the soundtrack to such a momentous occasion.

I’ve taken a few pictures of my finished pieces. Maybe there are no angels who can spare the time to share the joy of such an occasion and so I’ll enshrine my handiwork to immortality in this blog post and share it with you guys instead! I’ve been using the blanket as a bedspread for some time, even though it wasn’t quite finished. But I have to say it feels even nicer to know there are no undealt with stray ends lurking on the back anymore. Just like when you tidy out your cupboards and you can feel the peace and harmony emanating from them even when the doors are closed.

mojo-and-the-unicorn

Mojo loves it as much as ever, but so does Pogo – who has managed to throw up a rather hideous hairball in catfood sauce on it already. As a result I can also safely say that this blanket scrubs up like a dream. Straight into the washing machine and by the time it emerged you wouldn’t even know that Pogo and the blanket been involved in a minor indiscretion.

Here’s the culprit. He looks like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth and I sure have the proof that hairballs don’t either.

pogo's-tongue

Aww,  sweet dreams, Pogo but please don’t barf on it again!

bed-set

I love waking up every morning to the bright, cheery colours and I’m completely enamoured with the bobble edging. So much so that the cushions didn’t escape the same treatment either. It’s such a pretty way to finish things off. I was going to incorporate some of my christmas made pompoms into the edges but this was a much more straightforward, and robust way of finishing them in the end. Especially in light of the need for launderability.  This crocheted pompom edging would look lovely on a Boho style bag. >Makes mental note to have a go at designing a bag at some point in the future<

As soon as I managed to find a time where none of my four cats was comfortably settled on the bed I got the blanket and its cushion pals down to the lounge to show them off in all their glory.

blankets-and-cushions

Big mistake, in a way, as I love the look of the cushions on my new(ish) sofa. So much nicer than the plain ones that came with it. I have a few amigurumi commissions and a book submission to concentrate on this autumn, but maybe I can find my way clear to starting a set of cushions specifically for this room in the not too distant future. They sure do brighten the place up a bit.

sofa-cushions

I’m relieved to see that even though some of the circles ended up slightly ‘cuppy’ in shape have all flattened out very nicely as they were crocheted together and subjected to a bit of stretching. I hate blocking anything so the fact these little discs were ultimately self healing has made me very happy. I think my aversion to blocking is closely related to my aversion to ironing. What can I say? It’s just in my DNA I guess.

sofa-set

The fabric on the background below is earmarked for a set of pillowcases.

nosey-minnie

Loving raspberry pink right now and really want to bring some contrast of scale and texture into the bed ensemble and I think this fabric will do the trick very well.

cushions-in-a-row

I’m not quite finished with the re-style yet but it’s getting closer to becoming the bed of my dreams.

crochet-bed-set

Not quite sure how long it will be until I get the sewing machine out again to actually make the pillowcases. I find it so much easier to pick up a  hook instead, so am very easily distracted into yet another crochet project. It’s almost like an involuntary spasm, reaching for the hook and yarn. And so, with that thought, I’d like to share with you my latest yarny project. I’ve shared a few snippets before, I know, but am quite excited to see my new batch of squares taking shape.

Spring-Dots-blanket

Welcome to my Spring Dots mini blanket. It coordinates with the Spring Circles blanket but is going to be much smaller and meant more for throwing over a lap or a pair of chilly shoulders as the weather here heads towards its autumnal downward trending temperature spiral. It will be an ideal addition for when I’m reading or crocheting in bed through the winter months and feeling too mean to put the central heating on.

spring-dots

I’ve added in a couple of shades of purple this time, just to shake things up a bit, and as you can see I’m making progress rather nicely.

spring-dots-basket

I’m organising the squares into stripes as I go along by skewering them onto knitting needles – a set of greeny-blues followed by a set of pinky-purples – so it’s going to be easy peasy to join the squares together later.

Mojo looks on with disinterested interest, if there is such a thing (?)

mojo-on-the-coffee-table

We’ll be drowning in crochet on that bed of mine very soon but me and Mojo and Oswald the Owl (featuring in a new Zoomigurumi book towards the end of the year!) are not complaining.

mojo-and-the-owl

Bring it on, we say. The more the merrier. I think crocheting in, or on, the bed is now my new favorite thing.

crochet-on-the-bed

I may never get out of my pyjamas again!


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Camelia the Chameleon

Think of a colour, any colour, and you can be sure that Camelia has already thought about it, and probably worn it too. She’s so stylish, she looks good in any colour combo and I had lots of fun making her in a variety of different shades.

minnie-and-chameleons

Keeping the yarn tangle free while working the stripes requires a bit of patient untwisting at the end of every row so it’s always nice to have a cat around to make things ten times more complicated!

minnie-tangle

So far, I’ve made one with Orange accents…

two-orange-chameleons

…turquoise accents…

two-blue-chameleons

…and purple accents, or is that more of a magenta?..

cham-duo

As you can see they love to climb so I thought I would take them for a little trip around the river where they could indulge in a bit of bark shinning and practice their camouflage skills too. Here’s how we got on!

First they had a little skulk around in the shadows.

chameleons-in-the-park

Then we discovered some flower beds.

purple-chameleon

Pretty purple flowers for a purple toed chameleon.

orange-chameleon

A dash of fiery orange for this one.

Now the turquoise version proved to be a bit more of a problematic when it came to finding her dream home, but we eventually stumbled upon a rather good compromise in a bed of cornflowers which were the closest sort of blue we were likely to find around here.

blue-cham

The camoflage is a bit more convincing with the sun behind her.

blue-chameleon

In our ruminations about the possibility of a true turquoise flower we found out that there is actually such a thing on this planet. Its sprouts from the Jade Vine and is a native of the Philippines. Though they do grow in the rainforest biome of the Eden Project too. Either way – Cornwall or the Philippines – it’s a bit too far to travel on what was a weeknight so we ditched the idea of a real live photoshoot and settled for a bit of Photoshop instead.

jade-vine-and-chameleon

Not a bad match huh? Now I know that the whole idea of a chameleon is that it fits itself into the surroundings but with this stubborn woolly species I’m afraid you just have to go that extra mile to make sure the surroundings fit the chameleon.

After finding their perfect, or near perfect, flower matches they had a good scuttle up a tree, basking in the very last of the setting sun.

tree-climbing

Don’t you just love hot summer evenings?! I do hope we’re going to have quite few more of these yet.

3-tree-chameleons

After that it was time to head home. All the attention had gone right to the chameleon’s heads and they insisted I take a few more photos before bedtime.

chameleon-3

The purple one was too tired to walk after the river lap so she jumped into a basket and chilled out for a while.

chameleon-basket

I hung her up in the tree where she could relax in style…

cham-tree

… and wait for the shadows to hide her away…

chameleon-in-the-shade

Now that’s a happy face if ever I saw one!

*Camelia the Chameleon Pattern*


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Summer Fun

Recently I’ve been finding myself craving after hot bright summery colours. Probably due to the almost continual rain and grey skies emanating from above. In a fit of summery over-confidence I recently bought a duvet cover for my outdoor day bed in a multitude of jazzy colours – citrus hues, turquoises and hot pinks , and what a fabulous thing it was to brighten up the yard! I bought a double sized cover to fit a double sized mattress topper but failed to take into account how much larger a duvet is than the mattress it sits upon so I ended up having to cut it down quite a lot and sew up one of the edges. It’s been a while since I dusted off my faithful old Huskystar sewing machine but I soon got the hang of it again.

sewing

Aren’t those colours just so scrummy?

I even had enough off cuts of fabric left to make a few matching cushion covers. As sewing is not my strongest craft, in terms of anything technical, I aimed to make the design as simple as possible and sewed a straightforward envelope back to slip the cushions in and out of come laundry time.

day-bed

The cushions are now a perfect match for the two pillowcases that came with the duvet set, I now have a very comfy lounging area for indulging in my garden crochet time.

granny-squares

Now it was just a matter of settling in a couple of baskets of yarn along with various crochet projects (and at least one cat).

sunny-day-bed

The addition of a little sunshine is always welcome…

jumping-up

…as is a blanket to finish (so nearly, nearly there at last!)

mojo-and-the-blanket

I’ll finish it when Mojo moves.

mojo-in-the-blanket

No matter, he can have his woolly nest,  I should be working on the chameleon anyway.

shy-chameleon

This is my first attempt, but his face and jaw were a bit heavy. In fact, some insensitive person asked him ‘why the long face?’ which just made him feel very self conscious and sent him scuttling for refuge amongst the yarn.

shy-guy

It’s wasn’t long until the duvet colours had inspired a change of striping on my original chameleon design. I started out with blues and greens but really liked the additional yellows, oranges and magentas of my sewing project and thought they would be a perfect addition to add a bit of spark.

bright-start

The hot bright colours were a joy to work with and as the sun squeaked out of a cloudy gap, I felt like we were experiencing a taste of a tropical Rio summer – just right for the start of the 2016 Olympics.

two-cam

True to the camouflaging nature of chameleons, subsequent incarnations were morphing into something much more in harmony with their surroundings. Chameleon number two also had a cuter, shorter face and things felt like they were coming together just perfectly.

long-tail

I ended up making a few more with different coloured spines. I just love the colour tweaking elements of pattern designing. Re-making each one with a slightly different twist sure helps to brighten up the whole process.

3-chams

I have a few more photos to take this afternoon (…please don’t rain!), then I’ll be uploading the pattern into my online shops, and then I’ll be finished with another WIP. I should have lots more fancy chameleon photos to show you in the next post or two. I hope you’ll be more impressed than Mojo appears to be. He loves my blankets but distrusts all my amigurumi. I guess he’s just a jealous guy when it comes to other critters.

mojo-and-the-Chameleon

My Spring Circles blankets and cushions are inching towards completion. I have just a few more feet of the bobble border to finish on the cushions. Then they will match the blanket a treat and my bed will be a crochet haven. I’m planning on taking them down to the river for a photoshoot as my garden is a bit too small with lots of crabby, grubby edges, to do such a large project justice. Sounds like a good excuse for a picnic this weekend anyhow (…please don’t rain!)

old-and-new-crochet

It was quite satisfying to see how my latest crochet cushions complement my very first granny square blanket – started this time four years ago during the 2012 London Olympics – oh my, how time flies.

bobble-edge-cushions

So far the bobble trim is crocheted all around the Spring Circles blanket and onto two of the three cushions. I added some extra stuffing to the cushions as well. There’s nothing worse that a saggy pillow that doesn’t stand firm and show off all that lovely stitching and finishing!

So, lots to do, including the hare’s head trophy, an owl pattern for a new Zoomigurumi book and the princess pattern that keeps on getting sidelined, some proofreading and my brand new polka dots blanket, which started out like this…

polka-dots

…and  is now looking more like this…

blanket-strips

I think this last one could be the perfect project for keeping hands busy while I watch this year’s Olympic Games during my tired out evening slumps. Right, now let’s get some medals, or rather, let’s watch some other people get some medals. Personally I’m too obsessed with my crochet to have a go myself.

I’m quite happy to loll about on the day bed and watch the action from my ipad while hooking up a round or two more of whatever it is that comes to hand.

chameleon-and-flowers

(Oh, and please don’t rain…did I mention that before…)


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Sunshine and Showers

Well, what a strange summer so far. It feels like it’s been raining for months, Oh wait… that’s because it has! Though the last couple of days have flipped all that on it’s head with a sudden and rather rapid rise in temperatures to 32 degrees – and totally clear skies for the first time in a long time yesterday.

Despite, or maybe because of, the largely rainy weather (with more forecast for tonight) it has been a matter of urgency to get outside and enjoy every last spot of sunshine that is available – taking my crochet with me whenever I can of course, as there’s nothing nicer than hooking a few rounds or rows while surrounded by the great outdoors.

Bus-stop

I felt a bit wary to be greeted by this sight at the bus stop in my mum’s village just a day before a planned  party in this very field. I appreciate that all the rain keeps England a green and pleasant land, but a bit of sunshine makes summer parties and celebrations work so much better!

As it happened the next day dawned with a mix of sunshine and rain so we headed off to the field regardless of the imminent possibility of a thorough drenching and enjoyed what we could of a leisurely Saturday afternoon in pretty pastoral surroundings.

summer16

A rounders match was followed by a Tug of War contest.

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There was a barbeque, sandwiches, ice cream, music, fine wine and good company so despite having to run for cover during some flash downpours, to take shelter in an unfortunately very leaky marquee, we still managed to have a splendid time and my Spring Circles blanket gained a few extra stitches on the border.

1summer16

With all this wet weather I think the flip flops may have been an overly optimistic choice, but I always live in hope, and the plea of unsuitable footwear got me out of any danger of having to participate in the rounder’s match!

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Just as every cloud has a silver lining, every sun soaked rainstorm has a shiny rainbow. How lovely to have such a beautiful reward for our sporadic soakings.

Back at home and progress continued on my blanket border.

blanket-border

It’s rather nice to sit indoors hooking away quite merrily,  and the mostly bad weather does focus me to get on with more creative projects at home. This summer I’ve been as productive as I usually am in the winter months as we just haven’t felt like risking camping trips or festivals so far. Maybe things will change later on in the year but so far I’ve enjoyed the extra time to spend at home and there are so many ways to make your own sunshine moments.

Redecorating the lounge several weeks back was a great start to ensure an extra dose of brightness and light amidst the gloomy skies mocking us through the window.

redecorating-the-lounge

I’ve recently turned from disliking white walls with a vengeance to loving them with a passion, so the whole house is slowly being freshened up with some tins of cheap emulsion and a bit of time and patience. Its taken quite a few layers to paint over my out-of-favour deep, rich wall (and ceiling) colours, but it’s just so worth it. Maybe I just love change. Hubby is already wondering out loud how long it will be before I decide I’m missing the colours and demand to have them all back again. Who knows?! But I’m quite happy to keep the rainbows going in my crochet furnishings and accessories for now instead.

tigger-on-the-blankets

Tigger agrees and snuggles down in a colourful yarn nest…

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…wherever he can find one. Pogo prefers a yarn nest with a lap underneath it.

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So I add the border around him in my usual cat-indulgent manner.

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Now here’s a first… Mojo settles down on top of an unsuspecting and fast-asleep Pogo, separated only by a layer of crochet! So cosy but their combined weight soon got me shifting around trying to alleviate a dose of pins and needles.

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As you can see there have been a few more rows added to the final border despite all this botheration from the cats. The best way to avoid cat harassment is to crochet in the car, so despite the blanket’s somewhat unwieldy bulk I managed to cram it in and crochet in peace for a few hours on a recent trip to Cardiff.

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I’ve also been adding to the stack of small squares for my next blanket/waistcoat/set of cushions/poncho/coasters… Hmmm, how to decide?

pogo-on-the-table

I’ve got quite a few now, all in the same sorts of colours as my Spring Circles blanket. Yep, I’m still loving turquoise and pink. xxx

little-tiny-circles

There really is something very satisfying about owning a whole heap of squares yet not being quite decided on what to do with them. All those exciting possibilities waiting to be explored. They’re perfectly sized for handbag stashing too so I’m making a few pretty much anywhere and everywhere I can. I have lots of fun just spreading them out on the floor simply to admire them and play with different colour combinations.

little-circles

Life hasn’t just been one big round of crocheted squares though. I’ve been working on a few new patterns too.

princess-petunia

I’m ironing out the wrinkles for a princess doll as Curlicue the Unicorn wanted a special friend to play with. I think these two will make a very cutesome twosome together. I had a bit of a nightmare working out her dress pattern but it’s mostly all done and dusted now. I think I’m going to call her Petunia.

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There’s just the writing up and double/triple/quadruple testing that I like to do before the pattern will be ready.

But then I started on this too…

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I have to say, it’s a real treat to be following someone else’s pattern for a change. This hare’s head trophy is going on the wall in my newly painted lounge once it’s finished.

But before I could get it finished another pattern idea jumped into my head and I found myself beginning to hook up this..

summer-brights

But there’ll be more about that in a later post!

As I’m so near to finishing my blanket I’m going to give that priority over the next few evenings. I had already started the very last decorative row of tassels and was starting to daydream about having another finished project under my belt…

summer1798

…except that I got about two thirds of the way around and decided I didn’t like them! They were a bit spidery and ragged looking and I got to thinking they wouldn’t really lay neatly when the blanket was spread out on the bed.

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After a bit of rapid frogging I have redesigned the edging into a sweet pompom detail that sits quite flush to the last row and so should remain neat and orderly no matter how much the blanket is strewn around.

Only a few repeats made so far but I know I love it already.

pompom-border

And Mojo enjoys doing his bluebeard impression with it. I never realised he had ambitions to be a pirate.

summer179

Lastly, I’ve been enjoying lots of round the river rambles, I’ve damaged my foot somehow so no more high impact running for a little while, but with big, fat memory foam insoles I can still get out and walk a good 4 miles several times a week.

shoes

It’s fun dodging the showers and chasing the sunshine. Those tiny patches of blue always hold out some hope for a summer idyll!

river-ramble

This mix of weather has certainly got it’s plus points when the countryside looks such a sumptuous green instead of the withered browns and beiges of a prolonged dry spell. Whatever the British weather is it’s never boring or predictable.

flowers

In my next post I may be able to bring you news of my many projects all finished up together. Or I may be bringing you tales of new ones started as the WIP pile grows and grows to unmanageable proportions! I’m going to endeavour to make it the former but I’m afraid I really can’t make any promises there. Just as all this heat and rain has made the natural world bloom and multiply outside I think it may have done the same for my creative sparkle!

I hope you’re having a brilliantly busy time too this summer, or a lazy, hazy one if that’s what you prefer🙂 Enjoy!

 


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The Joy of Joining

Oh yes! This is the part I love the most. All the scrummy squares are finished with all the stray ends dealt with and a plan for which square goes where is finalised. All that remains is to experience the thrill of seeing all my hard work and countless hours of hooky time begin to form into a useful and pretty work of art!

labeling-knitting-needles

Once I’d decided on the sequencing I made sure that none of the squares got muddled up by making some knitting needle labels out of washi tape (yet another fabulous use for the prettily patterned sticky stuff).

washi-tape-needle-labels

There are ten rows of fifteen squares so I prepared ten of my skinnier knitting needles for skewering each set of fifteen onto.

ten-stacks

Being very careful not to mess up the order I threaded them onto the correct needles and then stood back to admire my handiwork and take a moment to enjoy the anticipation of the task ahead.

tens-stacks-of-squares

The sight of all those neat chain edges just waiting to be crocheted together made me ridiculously happy!

First-stack

Sometimes, when I’m plodding through the making of what seems like an endless amount of repetitive squares it can seem a bit daunting, but with my eyes firmly on the prize I managed to soldier on at a very steady rate. Most days I made at least a couple of the circular motifs, then tended to save them up and finish off the cream borders when I was out and about, as that meant only one ball of wool to pack up.

Now, though, the main of the work had to be done at home as the blanket went rather quickly from the more manageable joining of the first two rows…

first-join

…to a rather unwieldy three rows plus, making the whole project a bit too big for lugging onto the bus or cramming into the car.

three-rows-joined

Well, we all need a good excuse to put our feet up, kick back and relax on a comfy sofa sometimes and this is the best reason I can think of. It was lovely to settle in over an incredibly rainy weekend and methodically work through all the rows of my Spring Circles.

cat-and-crochet

Some members of my furry family were happy to test run the blanket as I tried to crochet around them.

last-row

The cats weren’t too keen on being out in the incessant rain either but definitely approved of my handiwork for keeping the cosy factor going strong despite the washout of a summer we’re having so far.

Slowed down by cat blockages as I was, I eventually joined all of the first rows down the long side of the blanket and started valiantly on the final set of joins across the short side.

blanket

In the past I’ve traditionally used slip stitches for joining but thought I’d try single crochets this time.

joining-up

The single crochets add an extra bit of bulk to the back of the work, and they do use up more yarn, but on the plus side they make sure you don’t get any puckering on the right side of your work. I find that my slip stitches can tend to be bit tighter than my single crochets, unless I watch my tension very carefully.

joining-up2

All in all, I’m very pleased with the look of the finished joins. I might even consider making a feature of the ridges created by the single crochets for another project by joining the squares at the front instead of the back of the work. This time though I kept the right sides of the squares facing and worked in the outermost set of loops only so the ridges are all hidden away on the back.

all-joined-up

The right side edges of each square have a really neat finish and the blanket still has lots of stretchiness. Top result!

And even though Mojo loved the end of the bed before…

lazy-morning

…he was super chuffed when the new blanket was installed!

lounging-around

I still have the border to do yet before I can officially tick this off the WIP list but I’m really looking forward to that part too.

Now I know it’s a bit premature, not having finished this particular project yet, but I’ve also began working on another blanket to compliment this one. Same colours – but I’m keeping it simple by just making small circles of twelve double crochets.

on-the-buses

I’ve been making a few of these on little trips here and there, whenever I ran out of pre-prepared spring circles to edge. They’re perfect for short bus rides as they take up very little space and are super quick to make. This emergency crochet pack is now installed in my handbag at all times for the foreseeable future, so I’ll never be stuck without some crochet close at hand.

on-the-bus

I’m not quite sure how I’m going to put these tiny squares together yet. Maybe in stripes with rows of crochet stitches in between, a bit like my Mexican Blanket, or maybe I’ll just join them into larger colour co-ordinated squares and then crochet those together in blocks.

mini-circles-2

Either way, I’ll just keep adding them to the pile as they’re finished and get a proper plan together later.

edging

First things first though because my Spring Circles blanket won’t crochet itself a border. For which, of course, I’m very thankful, as I wouldn’t want to be deprived of any of the fun!