Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Sunshine, Stripes and New Amigurumis

It’s been a busy week! I’m finally finding my feet again after Christmas and beginning to be a little more productive. I’ve been working on finishing my twin elephants, Eleanor and Elijah.

Here’s a little sneak peak at my elephant babies. The pattern will be out very soon, I just have to make the cover, give the whole thing a final check and it should be good to go.

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Eleanor and Elijah turned out bigger than I had originally planned, they sort of grew and grew as they went along – rather like me over the Christmas break! I just love their cuddly rotundness though, they’re kind of cute in their overstretched pinafore and overalls!

This week I’ve also been working at a steady pace, stitch by vibrant stitch on my winter warmer Mexican Stripe blanket. It’s moving pretty quickly now due to the double crochets (or triples to my UK friends). That’s a stitch that is very easy on my poor overworked wrist and knuckles too. After all the tightly tensioned single crochets (UK doubles) used in my amigurumi, it’s good therapy to change stitches and loosen up for a while. Here’s my progress so far.

Stripe-blocks

As you can see I’m concentrating on getting blocks of stripes crocheted and then joined together. I like to work in chunks like that. A row of Granny Squares then a block of Granny Stripes, alternating the tasks to get some variety as I work. It’s getting there but I’ve still got a long way left to go. I’m enjoying this project lots. It’s having the desired effect of cheering up my January, even if it has actually been much sunnier than expected so far. It’s still been cold and the days are still too short, though they have been unexpectedly sweet.

SunshineBlanket

These sunbeams just make the blanket look even jollier! Oh, and I tidied my studio last weekend. What a huge task that was. I remember doing the same post Christmas purge on unnecessary clutter around this time last year and writing about it here. My tidy studio was a pleasure to behold for all of, well, around a fortnight or so! Let’s hope I can keep it nice for a bit longer this time. Like at least three weeks, or maybe even a month!! Too ambitious? We’ll see. I’ve even tidied up my Granny Square centres by skewering them onto knitting needles. Mmmm, yummy yarn Kebabs!

Kebabs

When I’m working on a project I’m a sucker for matching up my accessories the best I can. It’s not always possible to do this 100% just with what I already have lying about, but I reckon I got pretty close this time. Stash bag, pencil case, scissors… all gathered up together to keep this particular project organized, handy and ready to follow me on car journeys and bus trips of varying lengths, as needs be. A great grab-and-go ensemble! I’m loving all the hot pinks!

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Now the missing must-have accessory for a Mexican Blanket is surely a Mexican Cactus to be my faithful sidekick and trusty pincushion. So I took a teensy  break from the Granny Stripes to whip one up. Now I’m pleased to introduce Carlos the Cactus. Here he is lurking in amongst the yarn and crochetwork.

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Look! He’s waving to you! What a happy chappy 🙂

Fiesta

Now to transfer the pins from the toadstool. Time for some Cactus acupuncture.

Cactus-Pincushion

That’s better!  He’s promised to be on hand to lend me pins every time I need to attach the squares to the stripes. You see this has turned out not to be an exact art. Even though I’ve been sure to match up the stitch count across the Granny Square stripes and the Granny Stripe stripes, the Granny Square stripes always end up a little longer than the Granny Stripe stripes (tongue twister time there!). I think the squares are just a bit more prone to stretching but all of that is put right with a bit of careful pinning and all squares and stripes match up beautifully in the end. Phew!

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So January turned out to be pretty good after all. I’ve decided there are worse things than dark chilly evenings tucked up with crochet in a warm cosy home. I get the feeling that Minnie agrees with me too!

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One blissed out cat, settling in for the night… and hogging all the yarn and blanket pieces while she’s at it!

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Keep warm and cosy folks!

See you soon with an update on my new amigurumi designs!


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Let’s Get Crafting!

Well, I pinched the title above from the magazine I’ve been working with for the past few months, but I’m sure they won’t mind! There can be no better rallying cry than that, as far as I’m concerned. Even better when you see that the whole title of the mag is ‘Let’s Get Crafting – Knitting and Crochet‘. It couldn’t be more up my street if it tried! It’s a valiant call to arms, with the arms being hooks and needles which, quite conveniently, are supplied along with every issue of the mag and enough yarn to make one or more of the many projects and patterns featured inside.

I’ve been crocheting an exclusive design about once every six weeks since September last year and it’s been a lot of fun! It’s a welcome challenge to conjure up a specifically commissioned amigurumi every now and again. As a self employed hooker (now that does sound a bit dodgy, but I’m sure you know what I mean!) it’s normal for me to please myself as to what designs loop their way out of my imagination, but sometimes it’s good to have a specific request imposed upon you. The requirement to use the hook size and the supplied yarn from the kit in the appropriate amounts and colours does bring up some challenges, but I’ve not been defeated yet! There’s nothing quite like some creative constrictions for making you think outside of the box. And it’s been such a thrill for me to see my little crochet characters in print! If you’ve visited my Ravelry Store recently you may already be familiar with some of these pictures. If not then I’d love to share them with you now. Here are my contributions so far – photographed beautifully by the LGC team:

Issue 64: Christmas Elves
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Issue 65: Holly the Polar Bear
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Issue 66: Walter Bear
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Issue 67: Princess Amelia
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Issue 68: Diego the Parrot
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I’ve had a lot of fun inventing these colourful, happy characters.

🙂 Some of them have even made the front cover 🙂

LGCMagMontageI’ve designed a cute pair of dachshunds for the next issue, and a unicorn for the following one. I’m so looking forward to seeing them in print too!

If you live in the UK you should be able to find a copy at your local WHSmiths, Asda, Tesco or Sainsburys – or you can subscribe here for even better value and the added luxury of having it arrive through your letter box while you’re still in your pyjamas! And if you love free patterns (err, is there anyone out there who doesn’t?!) be sure to check out LGC’s great collection waiting for you right here.

After my magazine arrived in the post I couldn’t resist carving out a bit of rest and relaxation time to make some coasters from the pattern on page eight.LGCcoastersJan15You know, these would make  fantastic motifs for a blanket…although I’m well aware that I have to have a strong will and finish the Mexican Stripe blanket first before I start any more large scale projects or there will be no room for the rest of the family in the lounge if I bundle in a second mountain of yarn! I’m definitely going to keep these motifs in mind for blanket number 4 when the time is right though, but only after every last Mexican yarn end is darned in and neatly trimmed! Hmm, doesn’t stop me planning ahead in my mind though. I’m thinking of soft Easter inspired pastels, and a maybe a larger hook to give a more drapey, lightweight summertime throw. But in the meantime I’ve managed to expand my Granny Square/Circle repertoire and have gained some lovely new coasters to brighten up my kitchen this spring.CoastersFlicking through a little further and I was really excited to see my very own two page feature in this months magazine (the one with Diego the Parrot on the front cover).

My first ever official interview.

>Does silly-happy-dance while no-one’s looking!<

MagArticleJan15That was one very pleasant tea break! You can read the whole article about me here if you’re curious 🙂 And if you do make anything from any of the Let’s Get Crafting magazines don’t forget to post a picture on the LGC Facebook page so we can all have a look and join in the fun! You might even get a mention in the ‘All about you’ page in the next issue!

Here’s raising a mug to many more tea sipping, biscuit munching, magazine browsing, coaster making tea breaks over the coming weekend. I hope you all get to make the time to do the things you love… Happy crafting everyone!


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Winter Blues? No Thanks!

Christmas is over, the New Year’s celebrations have been and gone with a pyrotechnic bang and, as so often happens at this time of year, I’m feeling in need of a pick me up. The wine consumption is very sensibly down to zero as part of my traditional New Year austerity measures, chocolate and cake are out of the picture until the extra few pounds of Christmas indulgence is banished from my waistline. With all that in mind, and with grey skies from one horizon to the next, this begs the question of how’s a girl supposed to cheer herself up through the long dark winter? Well, of course there’s always crochet and there’s always colour, so I’ve started a brand new Blues-Chaser blanket!

While searching for inspiration I started thinking where in the world would I really like to be right now if I could get away from all this drizzly, cold, grey English weather?  Mexico would be good – with it’s sunshine and super bright colour palettes that are guaranteed to put a person in a perky mood!  As a trip to sunnier climes is not currently a realistic option, a quick search for ‘Mexican Colours‘ on Pinterest seemed to be the next best thing. And even though I can’t hop on a plane and be there myself, I have to say that this was nearly as good therapy. I think you’ll agree when you see some of my favorite images. Got your shades ready? Prepare to be dazzled!

Mexican-ColoursAnd in case that’s not enough of a cheery blast for you here are some more sizzlingly gorgeous picks.820Mexican-Colours-2Then to the yarn stash for a big rummage around to see if I could match up that Fiesta feeling. This is going to be another thrifty blanket – also part of the New Year austerity measures mentioned above, so I really can’t buy in any more balls of wool for this one. Not that that should be any kind of problem as my long term addiction to popping into any and all yarn shops I happen to pass by has always necessitated at least one 50g purchase of something soft and luscious. I must surely have enough wool around for a hundred blankets by now! (New Year’s Resolution – no more buying yarn unless absolutely necessary. New Year’s conundrum – define ‘absolutely necessary’!)

After digging deep I eventually found these lurking around and they were just right for what I had in mind.Mexican-YarnI mentioned in an earlier post about my Daisy Blanket that I wanted to make something stripy this time. Oh boy, I loved doing these stripes. They’re a very relaxing and low concentration kind of endeavor. I made a slight variation on the granny stripe theme by adding in little blips of contrasting colour in between the larger stripes. I think the smaller points of colour really zazz the whole thing up. Very happy with this so far.820-Mex-StripesThen I got to thinking that it might be a bit samey after a while and that it might lose its punch a bit as the blanket grows bigger and bigger as there will be no solid blocks of colours to add impact. Lots of the images I found of Mexican textiles had plain stripes alternating with patterned stripes, which I really liked. My solution to the lack of variety was to put in a few rows of mini Granny Squares to shake things up a little.820-Mex-GranNow that the colours are sorted, the basic maths is calculated and a rough idea of a design is forming it’s time to pack up a basket with all the necessaries and get hooking!Mexican Blanket BasketThis is going to be fun. The colours make me smile just to look at them and should provide a nice fix to carry me through until the spring. Whatever the weather for the next few months the only winter ‘blues’ that are allowed around here are being crocheted into this comforting blanket.Mex-Blanket1Come rain, snow, hail, gale or just plain old sombre grey skies, I’ve got me a bright and happy place to dip in and out of as and when I need it!Mexican-RumpleAnd just in case you need another dose of Mexican colour therapy here are some pretty, eye popping pinatas. Ooh, those colours are so lush!Pinatas-1 Pinatas-2

Question: Who put the Sombre into Sombrero? Answer: No-one!


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2014 – My Year in Pictures

I’ve just been having a little trip down memory lane going through my old posts and it’s really brought home to me what a lovely way this is to store my highlights (and occasionally my lowlights) in a way that is easy to assemble and fun to flick through. Blogging has been a bit like scrap booking but without all the paper off cuts and sticky glue to deal with! I’ve always been terrible with a paper diary of any kind, and after the initial novelty buzz of owning my first digital camera about ten years ago, my photo albums took a dive as well, with most of my precious pictures now locked into old back up drives or on soon to be defunct CD roms etc. This is my new era, when I have finally moved into the modern age!

I thought it would be fun to pick out nine photos from each month, so here I present to you some of my favorite moments from 2014… My year in pictures 🙂

January
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February
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March
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April
April14-Montage

May
May14-Montage

June
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July
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August
August14-Montage

September
September14-Montage

October
October14-Montage

November
November14-Montage

December
December14 Montage

The main thing I’ve enjoyed about blogging is the focus it’s given me to communicate the key points of my year, not just to others but to myself as well. My original intention when I started this blog just over a year ago was primarily to showcase my new amigurumi designs and to make some free patterns and tutorials. Then the Blog bug kicked in and I soon found out it was fun to photograph and write a little bit about other stuff too, such as weekends away, day trips out and the more hobbyist side of my crochet which has been mainly getting to grips with granny squares and blanket/poncho making this year.

My blog has been a great memory enhancer and the visual elements of blogging have really appealed to me. I like capturing special moments in time, a distillation of experiences in an otherwise sensory overloaded world. Another added bonus is the improvement of my photography skills too. Taking really good pictures of my products was the part I found most difficult when I first began Moji-Moji Design, but it’s now becoming more and more enjoyable to me as I get to grips with my camera and learn what makes a hot shot and what makes it not so hot! I’ve still got heaps to learn but that will be part of 2015’s journey. Here’s to never having a dull moment (unless I feel like one that is!)


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Papa Penguin and Baby Pierre

If you’ve been over to my Facebook page recently you might have read about the new design competition over at amigurumipatterns.net. This year’s competition is ‘parent and baby animals’. You can imagine how a theme like that just ups the amigurumi cuteness factor to stratospheric levels!

Everyone seems to be mad about penguins at the moment, and I have to confess, I’m no exception. So, inspired by the idea of a father and son combination I got myself busy designing and hooking up these two characters – Papa Penguin and Baby Pierre.

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Papa Penguin is such a loving and conscientious father and will do anything to protect his new son. Mama Penguin happily goes off for a few weeks to feed on fish and build her strength back up after the exhausting effort of creating and laying such a fine large egg. She feels safe in the knowledge that Papa will be doing a great job of hatching and looking after their precious baby until she gets back.

But as dedicated to fatherhood as Papa is, no-one said being a first time parent was going to be easy! Baby Pierre cried a lot when he was first hatched. It seemed he just didn’t like the cold very much at all and was always trying to hitch a ride on Papas feet or whining to be picked up and carried. As his little chick grew bigger and became too heavy to carry, Papa had the brilliant idea of building a snug buggy from Pierre’s old egg shell. Pierre calls it his ‘snuggy’ and I think you can see how happy he is with his new present!

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And now Papa’s got his flippers free again. It’s a good job too because once Pierre’s friends saw him being pushed around in such fine style they all wanted a snuggy of their own. Papa’s been inundated with requests from all the other daddy penguins and has got quite a queue of orders building up already. Well, I’m not surprised, it does look very comfy in there and those antarctic winds can be fearsomely chilly!

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Here’s Papa in his workshop busy making up his first order while Pierre and his friends argue about whose turn it is to sit in the buggy!

Penguin-Workshop

Pierre is growing up fast though, as chicks do, and is finally beginning to get used to the antarctic weather. These days you might even find him happily making snowballs and skating on the ice with his playmates from the nursery. Even a penguin who’s so prone to cold feet wants to join in the fun sometimes!Penguin-snowball-fight1

But he still loves to have a good snuggle in his re-purposed eggshell at the end of a busy day.

Pierre

When he outgrows it he’s going to put it by until he has chicks of his own to care for. Then he can tell them the tale of their clever grandpapa’s invention of the very first penguin pram!