Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


4 Comments

Summer Project Progress

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

persian-tiles

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

mojo-glare

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

persian-tiles-2

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

persian-tiles-3

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

crochet-blanket

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

So I ate outside…

Dinner-in-the-garden

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

garden-fire

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

mojo-sunset

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

mo-in-the-garden

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

mojo-on-the-mandalas

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

persian-tiles-4

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

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

starting-the-squares

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

square-progress

I love how they work up so incredibly quickly.

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

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

squares-upon-squares

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

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

minnie-blanket-testing

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

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

joining-the-pieces

Working around the resident cats where required.

First Minnie…

Persian-tiles-and-Minnie

…then Rubick…

rubick-snoozing-on-the-blanket

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

the-neighbours-cat-pays-a-vist

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

nearly-done

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

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

Drake-pattern

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

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


5 Comments

Daisy and Duke

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

sausage-dog-pieces

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

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

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

puppies

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

daisy-duke-3

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

Rubick-and-the-sausage-dogs

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

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

daisy-and-puppy-11

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

duke-and-puppy-1

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

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

660charms

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

A row of cute faces…

daisy-duke-2-1

…and… dare I say it…

daisy-duke-butts-1

…cute butts too. Cheeky!

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

dacshund-family-0

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

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

minnie-and-the-pups

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

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

dachshund-fun

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

crochet-garden

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

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


10 Comments

Crocheting for Fun

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

Persian-Tiles-project

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

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

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

colour-scheme

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

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

mandala

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

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

mandala-evenings

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

finished-tile

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

Persian-Tiles-basket

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

project-basket

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

pogo-guards-the-crochet

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

mandala-project-case

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

mandala centres

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

crochet-blanket-beginnings

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

crochet-circles

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

mojo-and-the-circles

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

persian-tiles-basket-2

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

Minnie-steals-a-spot

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

minnie-snoozing

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

Pogo-in-the-shade

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

Rubick-keeps-me-company

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

project-progress

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

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

mandala-stars

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

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

pogo-and-the-crochet-stars

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


7 Comments

Fantasy Creatures – Love is Blossoming!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ah! The look of love!

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

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

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

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

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


8 Comments

Giles the Giraffe Takes to the Road

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

blue-and-pink-giraffes

…not three…

three-giraffes

…but four sweetly smiling giraffes.

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

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

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

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

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


11 Comments

Looping the Loops

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

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

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

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

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

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

From little metaphorical acorns…

…do loopy metaphorical oak trees grow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now it has pride of place in my crochet corner.

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


15 Comments

Zoomigurumi 7

It’s that Zoomigurumi time of year again and now we are all the way up to number seven and if you love to crochet you might well find yourself in seventh heaven once you get your hands on a copy!

I have two designs in this volume. A clucky chicken called Cheryl and a fat cheeked hamster called Hamish and I’ve been so excited to see the finished book!

There are 13 other amigurumi buddies keeping Cheryl and Hamish company.

Are you ready for cuteness overload?! Well here goes…

So crochet hooks at the ready, which one are you going to be making first?

I’ve already made my first one (not including Hamish and Cheryl, of course) when I helped test Kristi Tullus’s Xander the Zebra pattern.

As I was doing this around Christmas time I opted for candy cane colours for my version. Kristi’s impeccably made original is in the middle. When I get me some leisure time I’m going to be having a go at a few more of the different characters from the book.

Designing Hamish was super fun. I especially liked working out how to make him a pair of cheek pouches roomy enough to keep him happy. He was going to have to have big ones because he’s a greedy little scamp and I knew they’d be brimming full of spare snacks most of the time.

It’s no trouble at all getting hamsters to eat their five a day. Strawberries, blueberries, carrots – it’s all good as far as a Hamish and his friends are concerned.

hamster-row

They can’t quite keep their beady eyes off the cake though.

Well, a little treat every now and again won’t do any harm. Eat up hammies, I think you suit those tubby tummies just as well as those chubby cheeks, and you never know when a bout of hibernation will be necessary. You’ll need those fat stores then!

The photo shoot for the book evidently went very well this time.

I wasn’t there, as this happens at the publishers in Belgium, but I can see that both Hamish and Cheryl behaved beautifully and struck all the poses that the photographer wanted.

Cheryl is very proud of her nest full of eggs and her smartly groomed feathers so didn’t need to be asked twice when it came to showing off her future offspring or strutting her stuff in a rather self-satisfied, perfectly preened manner.

She’s a very chatty chicken and clucks and squawks all day long. You can usually hear a cacophony of ‘tasty corn’, ‘hands off my eggs’ and ‘what fine feathers I’ve got’ – bouncing around the hen house in ear-splitting chicken speak. But be warned! When she gets together with her chooky chums things can reach a whole new level on the noise-o-meter.

There’s lots of fun to be had out of chicken coop gossip!

two-chickens-2

And I hope you’ll agree there’s lots of fun to be had out of Zoomigurumi 7 too.

If you order your paperback copy here  you’ll be able to download the PDF version straight away, so no annoying wait for the postman before you can get crocheting. And if you’re anywhere near as impatient as me that can only be a good thing!

🙂 Wishing you many hours of happy Zoomigurumi 7 menagerie making 🙂

 


6 Comments

Cyrus the Cyclops

There’s been a population explosion of colourful copies of Cyrus the Cyclops in my studio over the past week. Something of a monster baby boom in fact.

I absolutely loved making these. This was one of those patterns that really flowed and came to fruit with hardly any hitches at all. I had a definite idea in my head, which I doodled down in my trusty graph paper notebook. I’ve been buying loads of these from Tiger every time I find them in stock. I Love a good graph paper notebook as they’re perfect for scribbling columns of pattern formulating numbers in but they can be so difficult to find here in the UK. I think it’s more of a continental thing really, so hooray for Tiger!

This pattern just screamed out to be worked in all sorts of bright and cheery monster colours and before I knew it I had another couple of cyclopes hanging around on my desk, admiring their pen and ink portraits. And that wasn’t to be the last of them either.

The weather has been soooo cold around here lately that it’s been a case of donning slipper boots, fingerless mitts, woolly scarves and several layers of leggings and jumpers to keep my body temperature up while I’m spending such a lot of time being perfectly stationary apart from the minor waggling of a crochet hook and the occasional reaching over to the coffee table to grab a pair of scissors or a new ball of yarn. Even with the central heating ticking away in the background it’s difficult to eliminate drafts and cold spots in this creaky old Victorian house, and I’m a terrible one for feeling the cold anyway.

Thankfully I often have the additional warmth supplied by the close proximity of the cats who treat me like a human hot water bottle whenever the temperatures plummet.

What snuggly winter bliss! Yes, my lap is under there somewhere, but it just got a bit trickier to reach for those scissors!

mojo-and-me

Cyrus is one of those sweet and simple patterns that really shouldn’t have taken me too long to write. Well, those of you who know me know that once I start crocheting anything that I love I find it really hard to know when to stop. The truth is I just cant wait to see what the next one will look like with all his minor variations of stripes and colours. As soon as one was off the hook I found I’d picked up another ball of yarn and was making 6 sc into the second ch from the hook and starting all over again!

At least I know the pattern has been tested to within an inch of its life! I’m also intending to do a few more fairs and events this year so these will come in handy as future stock for the craft circuit rounds. I’m certainly not going to have to worry about an under-stocked stall if I carry on at this rate.

A tray full of monsters makes the perfect cat bed… apparently. Though I can think of comfier looking places myself. I think the kitties just like to get right in the way, especially if they haven’t been petted for a while due to their owners obsessive obsession with her new designs. Tut tut.

Much as I love the therapeutic crocheting of round after round of bright spirals there is always the dreaded sewing up to be done. It was somewhere around this point in time that I looked with dismay at all those spidery yarn ends and wondered, not for the first time, why oh why didn’t I deal with them as I went along!

My monster pencil case seems to share my open mouthed horror at the task ahead. Or is he just smirking at my idiocy?

A good few hours, and rather a lot of episodes of Bagpuss later (I stumbled upon the entire two series on Amazon Prime and couldn’t resist a trip down memory lane!) all my monsters were fully assembled and fidgeting about waiting to cause a bit of monster mayhem.

Can you guess their favorite game? It’s ‘I Spy With My Little Eye’. Although there is actually nothing very little about each of their eyes in proportion to their bodies, they do like the fact that I Spy is always played with reference to just the one eye, of which they are obviously very proud owners.

When I was little I always used to wonder why it was only the one eye we spied with but now I think maybe the Cyclops invented the game. This lot took to it like it was in their genes so you never know, it could be the truth.

The photo shoot was fun as these guys and gals are always smiling and love to strut their stuff in the bright lights.

They’re also very good at balancing (with the help of a strategically placed pin or two).

After all that it was back to the desk and the computer to get them their little spot in the listings limelight.

You can find the pattern in any of my online shops but if you like buying patterns in a bundle with the yarns to make them then check out my LoveCrochet shop where I have recently spent many hours updating all my listings to include either the exact yarn colours or those that are the closest match – depending on the availability of their yarn stock- to those I used in my patterns. It’s not strictly necessary for any of my designs but if you like to get the whole lot together and maybe aren’t so confident at substituting your own yarn then this might be something to consider.

Making myself do this for most of my pattern collection has made me much more organised when it comes to cataloging all the various yarns that I use. Even if you don’t get the bundle from LoveCrafts and want some advice on the best yarns to use for any particular pattern of mine just give me a shout. I have notes on nearly all my yarn choices now and I’m always happy to help 🙂

Well, it’s time to say goodbye from me and my wonderfully woolly wide eyed friends.

 

This time they’re off to play ‘Bye Bye With My Little Eye’ which is a new game we invented where all the mischievous monsters get to take a long, restful nap while I get on with some other work!

And while they are quietly drifting off to a single lullab’eye’ I’m off to finish testing Drake the Dragon’s pattern for the upcoming Fantasy Creatures book.

We’re having so much snow here at the moment that I shall be glad of a few more fire breathing dragons to help keep those drafty old Victorian House chills at bay.

Keep warm and wonderful, wherever you are!

Cyrus the Cyclops Pattern can be found on * Etsy  * Ravelry  * LoveCrochet *


19 Comments

Grab a Coffee and Let’s Catch Up!

Oh my goodness. Where have the last few months gone?! Silly question, really. They have gone the way of every yesterday, and every last weekend and every yesteryear and vanished into the past. I think that time just goes by even faster the busier you are, and I have been rather busy recently.

I have a lot to show you now that I have eventually managed to sit my self down, coffee to the left, mouse to the right and keyboard stuck in the middle with me… Now I finally find myself eager to get this catch up post out of the way so that I feel freer to get back into a nicely organised blog writing routine like I used to!

So here goes… Picking up where I left off, Drake the Dragon came 5th overall in the Fantasy Creatures amigurumi competition. Yay for Drake and a big thank you to all who voted! There were over 700 entries in the end so I’m very pleased with that result.

So pleased, in fact, that I made Drake a big marshmallow on a stick for toasting with his nose flames as a reward for doing so well. Other smiley news is that there is going to be a fantasy creatures amigurumi book inspired by the competition and Drake will be featuring in it alongside 14 other magical and quirky designs (I’ve had a sneak preview of his book-fellows and I can report that they are all 100% cute!). That does mean, however, that I won’t be publishing his pattern in my online shops until after the book release but I’ll keep you all informed about release dates as and when they come to light.

Shortly after my last post the Halloween decorations came down. I like to keep them up until the Christmas ones come out to play. The winter evenings are so dark and dull, my twinkly fairy lights, plethora of pumpkins and abundance of warm autumnal colours help keep me cheerful through the worst of it.

And so Pumpkin Patch People were replaced with the newly written up pattern for the Christmas Elf Quartet (adapted from a design I made for a magazine a couple of years ago – some of you may recognize it). I tried several colourways until I found my perfect combination.

Love these lime and bottle greens together with the red and the silver grey.

And very good were they at helping with the Christmas decorations this year!

Tah-dah! Job done!

They also featured as star attractions on my mantelpiece.

Christmas was fabulous. especially now two of the boys have girlfriends. The feminine element meant that thoughtful gift wrapping and giving was raised to a whole new level and it was lovely to have some girly company over the holidays too. My boys are all fabulous human beings, but they don’t do Christmas like the girls do Christmas!

Rubick enjoyed helping, or getting in the way, which ever way you prefer to look at it.

Too cute!

Though he is a bit of a liability this one. Not long after these photos were taken he came back from one of his garden hopping jaunts with a massive gaping cut in his side. I’ll spare you the photos of his untreated wound but, several visits to the vets and hundred pounds later he was doing quite a good Frankenstein’s Monster impression with eight stitches and a lovely bald patch to show for it all.

By the way, this is what happens when I quickly sneak out of bed in the early morning to make a cup of tea,. Rubick has grabbed the warm spot with a look of ‘finder’s keepers, losers weepers’. Oh well, never one to argue with the cats I just made an early start that day and drank my tea in the studio instead!

It snowed a couple of times over the holidays. The first time it melted away again almost as soon as it had landed. Mojo was fascinated with God’s bad dandruff day!

Then a little while later it snowed a lot…

About six inches of the lightest fluffiest snow I’ve seen for a few years.

I absolutely had to go and make a snowman who wasn’t made of yarn for a change.

I couldn’t get the boys motivated to come and help. I think they’re probably way to old at 19 and 20 years to get overly excited about a bit of snow (not sure what happened to me then!). So I built him on my own. He was a bit rushed as I could only find a single glove with fingers in it due to my passion for fingerless mitts, of which I have many, all lovingly hand knitted by myself, but all completely useless for making anything out of snow. So the other hand was wrapped in a sock which did nothing to keep out the icy wetness. That’s my excuse for why my real snowman looks a bit wonky and not very well finished. I didn’t want to risk not being able to crochet due to frostbite!

In the run up to Christmas I began working on some new Christmas gift bags.

With all the fairy lights twinkling and scented candles lit I made the most of the cosy evenings to crochet a few rows whenever the busy pre-Christmas schedule would allow.

I had lots of fun crocheting with this beautiful tinsel yarn by King Cole.

But alas, after the elves, I didn’t quite manage to squeak out any new festive patterns before Christmas itself was upon us. But the character bags are still a work in progress and will most definitely be up and ready long before this year’s festive season begins!

For now though I’m working on some new stuff that has nothing to do with the holidays. A New Year (well, not quite anymore!) and a new start.

This is another design I made for the same magazine as the elves. I was originally going to call him Beginner’s Bear as he is so quick and easy to crochet. If you have four hours to spare you can make one of these from beginning to end and, with just a single crochet stitch and some very simple shaping to handle, he really is a doddle. In fact, if you are a reasonably fast crocheter and know what you are doing then this bear can even be made in around three hours. Almost instant gratification!

I’ve used up lots of scraps and small leftover balls of yarn from previous projects for these bears so there are some small spaces opening up in my stash baskets, ready to be filled with more almost immediately, I’ve no doubt!

I decided in the end to call the finished bear Bobbin, so it can be a girl or a boy and s/he is my first fully finished pattern of 2018.

As late to the party as we are, myself and the new bears on the block would like to wish you all a tremendously wonderful new year ahead!

Now I am finally back into the swing of pattern writing I have plenty more up my sleeve.

This is the sort of thing cluttering up my desk this week. Yes, some more monsters are on the way. Oh, I get to make more eyeballs! What joy – though I’ve also spent a small fortune on safety eyes again.

I’ll be making a blog post about these new creations next. Now I’ve finally caught up with myself I’m going to try very hard not to let things slip so far behind again. Well, only time will tell if I manage it and with the rate of knots time seems to be slipping by I’m going to have to try very hard indeed!

Thanks for reading, and see you all again… soon!


52 Comments

Mother of Dragons

Well the best laid plans… you probably know the rest! To sum it up, I just don’t seem to get as much crochet done as I would like at the moment but in between the distractions of the everyday I have managed to breathe life into a rather cuddly dragon for a fantasy creature themed competition being hosted at AmigurumiPatterns.net. I’ve had a yearning to make a dragon for a while and as there is nothing quite like a challenge and a deadline for focusing the mind so I thought I’d grab this opportunity and set my self to the task.

And Ta-dah! A pensive golden-eyed, frilly-winged, spiky-spined fella called Drake.

I started with few scrappy drawings, hastily scribbled down. I’m always in a mad rush to cut straight to the hook and yarn stage when I have a new idea but these rough sketches help to give me an idea of the amount of different pieces I’ll need to create the image sitting pretty in my head.

Seated or standing was the main question at this point.

In the end I plumped for seated as I preferred the way this would look from different angles.

There are quite a few separate components to this design but they sew together really easily. This dragon has a very chunky thing going on so it’s not as fiddly to assemble as it may look. There is a place for everything and when everything is sewn in place according to the pattern instructions it’s pretty much foolproof!

It really didn’t take too long before he was fully assembled and ready for a photoshoot.

It actually took longer to get the first photoshoot done as Minnie refused to move from the warmth of the bright lights and with this recent cold weather snap I can’t say I blame her! She did eventually get up and wander off, probably in search of food and I  began clicking away with camera.

Now for a big smile 😀 Say ‘Cheese’ Drake 😀 (Do dragons even eat cheese I wonder?)

Drake’s a doddle to photograph and has a couple of good sides he wanted to show off for you all.

As a result I took quite a few snaps.

Including his magnificent rear view. When it come to dragons I like big butts and I cannot lie…

Of course one Dragon, or one of anything I ever crochet, is never enough so I got busy trying out another colour combination to keep things lively as I ran through the pattern again to test for mistakes.

I decided on blue eyes and a lilac dragon this time.

Another day, another mound of dragon bits ready to morph into another wooly pal.

Purple Drake and Green Drake enjoy a chin wag about dragonny things like what’s the best way to keep a fire stoked in the belly, or how to keep those wings in tip top condition.

I’m loving the effect of the big glass eyes on the first two but I’m well aware that not everyone will have these lovely shiny peepers in their stash and may not care to shell out on a pair either so I made a dragon with woolen eyes too. I feel this one needs a bit of tweaking yet but the green ring sets off the black plastic safety eyes very nicely.

Oh and I love these colours!

Now that I have three fire breathing babies I have officially named myself ‘Mother of Dragons’ just like Daenerys Targaryen. Well maybe not ‘just like’. That might be pushing things a bit far! For a start no-one calls me Khaleesi and thankfully I didn’t have to personally hatch my babies in a roasting funeral pyre. I much prefer the crochet method for that. But I’m proud to say my own brood are not quite as unruly as Daenearys’s overgrown hatchlings. In fact they’re extremely tame by comparison but that’s the way I prefer them, for sure!

If you fancy spending a little time away from the hassles of the everyday world and like the idea of getting lost in a wonderfully fantastical alternative universe where anything is possible and all sorts of mystical and magical creatures co-exist in perfect harmony then you can check out the other entries here and get busy voting for your favorites. You’ll be spoilt for choice between all the fairies, mermaids, unicorns, yetis, sprites, dragons and much, much more!

Voting will begin on December 1st and end on December 8th 2017. Good luck to all who entered. It’s going to be a tough contest this time, but may the best creature win!