Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Nature’s Way

If you’ve read my last post you’ll know all about my disappointing attempt at dying my first batch of boiled eggs. Determined to come up with something pretty and Easter like and even just a little bit similar to some of those glorious pictures on Pinterest, I had another go. I shelved the gel dyes, which turned out to be useless for this type of thing and turned instead to Mother Nature. Now the results were not as vivid as I’d imagined but, after my last disaster, they turned out better than I had dared to hope for!

Natural-Dyed-Eggs

I really love these subtle tones, *(makes mental note for future crochet projects)* and the fact that you can make this soft blue out of a red cabbage was a complete revelation to me. (I would have previously thought they might come out red, well, you can see the logic there).

Along with red cabbage I made a batch of dye with onion skins and a batch with blueberries, (somebody had eaten all the beetroot before I could get to it, I’ll have to try that another time).

Natural-dyes

Those soft hues are so pretty and I even got one to come out with a leaf pattern by binding some garden foliage, plucked from a weedy crack in the paving, to the egg with some stretchy mesh before I popped it in the dye bath. They remind me of Chesil Beach, and a fabulous sunny weekend away last year, always and forever one of my favorite places to visit. The colours are uncannily similar to those found in the acres of pebbles that make up mile after mile of beautiful sea smoothed beach.

Pebbles

Ah yes, a reminder for sure of brighter days to come!

Chesil-Beach

So all this experimentation, successful and otherwise, produced a large surfeit of boiled eggs. As only edible ingredients were used to dye the eggs they’re definitely safe to eat so with photos taken and notes made, ready to replicate the results closer to Easter, I decided to crack them open and make us all a nice lunch. I was delighted to find that the colour had permeated beneath the shells. This was going to make one very colourful egg and potato salad, especially as I had a bag of fancy new potatoes which were a mix of purple, pink and white.

potatoes

Yes, I’m photographing potatoes now, but in my defense I’ve never seen a purple potato before so this is quite an occasion!

A bit of chopping, boiling, shelling, seasoning and mixing later and lunch is prepared.

Potato-salad

Garnished with my fancy pants stenciled egg, I think it looks fit for a king! And the boys obviously agreed because it didn’t last five minutes and was declared the best egg and potato salad known to humanity. Those rich and creamy goose eggs can take a lot of the glory for that. I’ll definitely be buying them again. And purple potatoes too, if I can find them. Not that they tasted much different than the normal kind but they are PURPLE! – ’nuff said!

Now I just have the eggshells to show for all my efforts…

egg-shells

…and three happy, and replete teenage boys. What a lovely lunch to celebrate the first Monday of the holidays!

Here’s the recipe if anyone should care to know what went in there (and so I don’t forget either).

(Serves 4 as a light lunch)
6 hard boiled goose eggs (natural dye shenanigans optional)
A dozen fancy (or plain) new potatoes – also boiled.
Half a red onion very finely chopped.
A handful of parsley
Half a handful of chives
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Squeeze of half a lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Gently toss all the ingredients together and enjoy. Add in a piece of fruit for afters and that’s my kind of easy, peasy, (and literally, lemon squeezy), sitting around the table together, family lunch. Ah, I love the holidays!

So that’s the boys fed and watered and duly returned to their respective pursuits. Time to crochet some more sock yarn eggs for the Easter table.

Crochet-eggs

Then, I’ll be finishing up a new bunny doll design (take a sneak peak below)…

Spring-bunny

…and maybe doing a few more rows of Mexican blanket. As usual, I’m spoilt for choice with fabulous and fun crochet projects. There’s definitely more than one happy bunny around here!


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Good Eggs (And Bad Ones Too)

It’s the start of the Easter school/college holidays today, so where has all the sunshine gone?! It’s grey and cold and all the spring promise has dissolved into gloomy drizzle. Ah well, my colourful crochet projects can always be relied on to cheer the place up. This week I’ve been playing with sock yarn and making a load of tiny little eggs for my Easter decorations.

I used the pattern I featured in this post with a 3mm hook and various oddments of 4 ply to create micro eggs, one step smaller than the mini eggs. Then I made a half dozen with a 2mm hook and ended up with nano eggs. Now at first glance these eggs don’t look all that small next to those balls of wool.

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This picture might explain why!

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You see, all is not what it seems. Instead of the usual 50 gram or 100 gram balls of yarn these are a dinky 10 grams each. How cute is that?! I just couldn’t resist them, though I’m sure this is not the most cost effective way to buy yarn, I’m a total sucker for anything in miniature so they simply had to come home with me once I’d spotted them. Normally it’s a case of the more the merrier when it comes to yarn but I made an exception for these. They’re not for crocheting with, just for looking at… It’s the little things that make you happy 🙂

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I made all these eggs out of previous sock project leftovers.

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I love the randomness that the variegated yarn gives them. They were such fun to crochet as there was an air of mystery as to how each one would turn out.

A few years ago these two nests were found in my mum and dad’s garden, blown out of the trees by a gale, thankfully way past the nesting season. I love how they are so different but both equally beautifully made. I think the nest on the left may be a wren’s nest but I’ve got no idea about the maker of the other one. If anyone knows which particular species made each nest, please tell me. I’d love to know!

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Such remarkable feats of construction with just a little beak to work with! They always amaze me every time I get them out to have a look at them.

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They made very handy photo props for my crocheted eggs which, I think, turned out to be pretty much the right size for them. These nests are so delicate now, I like to keep them mostly tucked away for safe keeping.

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I had a go at making my own nest out of yarn scraps, but it’s a bit of a poor effort by comparison. Pretty colours though!

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Then I made a sturdier version, still not as good as the real thing but a lovely way to show off a clutch of mini eggs. I’m planning on making several of these as place settings for my Easter Sunday lunch table.

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I cheated and used a ready made miniature grapevine wreath about 3 inches across, then just added some natural rafia, a few paper flowers and, of course, the crocheted eggs. Sweet!

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Inspired by my success with the crocheted eggs I fancied having a go at dying the real thing. Spurred into action by all these beautiful pictures on Pinterest, I boiled my eggs, lovingly wrapped them in paper towels, doused them in food colouring and waited for the magic to be revealed.

Egg-dying-mojimojidesign

Well, I hate to disappoint you all, but it didn’t exactly work out. In fact the results were so unspectacular that I didn’t even bother to take a photo. Just imagine half a dozen standard brown hens eggs…. and, well,  that pretty much sums up the results! The only food colouring I had was the gel type and it just didn’t cut the mustard. I had a sneaky feeling this wouldn’t be the visual treat I was hoping for when my hands weren’t even stained after all that rolling and wrapping.

The paper towels turned out pretty good though. Like kaleidoscopic cosmic nebulae.

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Such a shame that gorgeous marbling didn’t transfer to the eggs. Not to be defeated, I’ve been back to Pinterest and seen some great ideas for dying eggs with natural ingredients like red cabbage and blueberries so I’m going to invest in some white goose eggs (white hens eggs seem to be as rare as hen’s teeth here in the UK) and give the egg dying another go.

So that’s my story of Easter crafts dabbling. I tried in vain to get my boys to join in with my eggscapades (sorry, there has to be at least one egg pun in here somewhere), but apparently it’s not the sort of thing that teenage boys are into these days.

Makes me feel a bit nostalgic for those other days, a few years back, when they loved getting involved in all my mad schemes. Here’s one that came to mind while I was reminiscing. A whole bunch of papier mache chick pinatas, filled with sweets and confetti that we all made together for a kids party we had. Each child took one home with them to smash open on Easter day.

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The paper plate daffodils were fun to make too. Good times, but only natural for the boys to grow up and move on. I, on the other hand, have no intention of growing out of these things. Where’s my apron… I’ve got a date with a pan full of onion skins and beetroots. (If I get better results with the next batch of eggs I’ll be back to share with you all!)

Bye for now, and enjoy your weekend 🙂


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Eleven Things, Ten Minutes

So who’s got ten minutes to spare for a super quick, spring chick micro make? Did you say ‘me’? Then you’ll need to gather together eleven essential tools and materials and we can begin.

FreeTutorial -Tiny Chick by Moji-Moji Design

You will need:
1: Some Yellow and Orange light worsted weight (DK) yarn. (About 6 yards of yellow and 6 inches of orange).
2: Polyester toy stuffing – half a handful is plenty.
3: An orange button, around a half inch (12mm) diameter.
4: Two small round black beads – I used 4mm ones.
5: Black sewing cotton and…
6: … a sewing needle, to attach the beads.
7: A pair of scissors.
8: A yarn needle which will fit through the holes in the button.
9: A stitch marker.
10: A size D (3mm) crochet hook.
11: A pink pencil crayon for coloring the rosy cheeks.

Once you’ve got your crafty kit together you’ll be ready to make one of these chirpy little chicks.

Chicks - free pattern by Moji-Moji design

The Pattern:
US crochet terms are used throughout. (For UK version simply replace the sc with a dc).
For stitch abbreviations see here.

Body
Make 1.
With Yellow yarn make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: [Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times (9 sts)
Rnd 3: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 4: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times. (12 sts)
Rnd 5: Sc in each st around. (3 rounds)
Stuff chick.
Rnd 6: dec 6 times. (6 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for finishing. Thread the yarn tail onto a yarn needle, pick up the front loop only of the last 6 stitches and pull tight to close the hole. Use the same yarn end to sew the button to the bottom of the chick. Each time you pass the yarn back through the body of the chick be sure to go through the same stitch space where the yarn came out of. This will avoid making dents in the shape of your chick.

Once the button is attached, thread the yarn through the body going in and out of  various stitch spaces until the yarn is caught securely inside the stuffing. Pull the yarn tight to finish and snip off close to the chicks body. You can use this technique for hiding the yarn ends of the beak and wings too. No messy knots to worry about!

Chick-tutorial-2

If you want your chick to stand up soldier straight then use a button with an indentation in it and make sure this faces downwards. The yellow yarn that attaches the button will be neatly tucked away in this dent and you won’t get any wobbling. If your chicks are destined to be hanging decorations for your Easter twig tree, this detail won’t matter and you can use a flat button instead.

Wings
Make 2.
With Yellow yarn, and leaving a 3″ yarn tail at the beginning, make 3 ch.
Row 1: Slst in second ch from hook, slst in next ch, 3 ch, slst in second ch from hook, slst in next ch, slst in first ch.
Fasten off, leaving a 3″ yarn tail for sewing.  tie yarn tails together in a knot.

With a strand of orange yarn embroider a few horizontal running stitches for the beak. Sew on the bead eyes using the black sewing cotton and a fine needle.
Use both yarn tails to sew each wing to the side of the chick’s body, using the yarn tails from one of the wings to form the head tuft.

Chick-tutorial

Now it’s time for a visit to the beauty parlour for a haircut and a touch of makeup. Trim the tuft to a quarter inch or thereabouts and colour in some rosy cheeks with the pink pencil crayon.

Free Chick Tute - by Moji-Moji Design

That’s better, this little chick scrubs up well! Off she goes to visit the Easter fair where she buys iced carrot cookies and chats to the ladybirds.  The old-school chenille chicks are being a bit naughty and gossiping among themselves about the hip new chick with the cool crochet vibe, but I’m sure that once they find out what a sweet nature she has they’ll all be flocking to be her friend!

Little Chick - Free Pattern by Moji-Moji Design

If you’ve only got five spare minutes instead of ten, you could use the pattern for the chick’s body to make a stripy mini egg.

Mini Egg Charms by Moji-Moji design - free pattern

I attached some phone charm cords to mine so they can be used to adorn the branches of my wire tree. They’ll also make cute little presents for any Easter holiday visitors.

Free Chick and Eggs Pattern, Moji-Moji Design blog

Now I’ve started making a whole clutch of these eggs with gorgeous space dyed sock yarns and a 2mm hook. Do come back soon to see how they turn out! In the mean time, have fun with your new hatchlings!


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Easter Baskets

Hello all! I’ve been working flat out again this week. I’m somewhat alarmed at how fast Easter is approaching! I’ve had an idea to make some Easter egg hunt baskets for a while now, but couldn’t seem to find a time to make it happen. Well, there’s nothing like a tight deadline for focusing the mind, and with just a few weeks to go the idea has finally hatched and become a reality. And what fun they were to make as well! Now I’m in so much of a springy mood I might just bounce right off into space!

Three Easter Treat Bags by Moji-Moji Design

They’re made in the style of handy little totes with a cheeky dollop of fake fur yarn and some Easter themed embellishments.

I crocheted carrots for the bunny…

Bunny Easter Treat bag by Moji-Moji Design

… pretty flowers for the lamb…

Lamb Easter Treat Bag - by Moji-Moji Design

… and stripy mini eggs for the chick.

Chick Easter Treat Bag - by Moji-Moji Design

But there’s no reason you can’t shake it up a little and mix and match all these embellishments to come up with your own version of the Easter bags.

I’m planning on making some extra eggs, flowers and carrots to decorate my Easter twig tree this year. I’ll post some pictures when I’m done 🙂

Easter Treat Bags - by Moji-Moji Design

In the mean time I hope you’re all having lots of fun with your Easter preparations. (I’m going to start mine by eating all those foil wrapped chocolate eggs now the photos are finished!)  x


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A Spring in my Step

Well, we’ve had a mixed bag as far as the weather goes this week so I made sure to make the most of the super warm sunshine that was squeezed in between the grey drizzle and grey skies. I bought my first bunch of spring daffodils during a trip into town on one of the finer days (first time this year without a winter coat on!) Here they are cheering up the bathroom window.

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As pretty as they looked there (admittedly, they’ll look a bit prettier once they’ve bloomed), I had second thoughts and ended up moving them into my studio so I could enjoy them as I work. After all, I spend a lot of my time in this room and I thought their cheery yellow would have a nice effect on my mood whatever the British spring decides to throw at us. Hey, they were only 99p, I might go mad and buy another bunch or two for the bathroom as well!

So on the studio windowsill they went. There was a slight problem with this plan though. The windowsill is usually the territory of my cats, who take turns, particularly when the sun is out, to do a little bit of basking there. It’s nice and close to where I sit –  they do love to have company – and with a great view of all the garden birds, it’s obviously a much sought after spot for a bit of feline rest and relaxation. Mojo soon stepped up to investigate the invasion of his sacred space. First a good rub.

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Then he tried, and almost succeeded, in tipping it over by clawing at it. I only just managed to stop him in time. I really don’t need a big dose of daffodil water all over the studio!

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Mojo’s determined to get to the bottom of this, quite literally!

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As I mentioned earlier, it’s not been all sunshine and daffodils recently. Along with plenty of rain we also had a little hail storm. Naturally I took the baby penguins out for a bit of exercise. They need to run off steam at that age. I’m sure everyone with a toddler knows all about that. These three fluff bundles loved the cold feet treatment.

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I’ll be working on a new pattern for them over the next few weeks. I want to crochet them an igloo to play in as well, so there will be some constructional challenges ahead there, but it should be fun.

It’s been raining again today, and all of last night too, but I enjoyed the taste of spring as and when it graced us with its presence, and hopefully there will be plenty more no coat, blue sky days ahead in the not too distant future.

I suspect you will have noticed that I’ve been dabbling around with my banner and blog backgrounds as it’s not exactly easy to miss! I’ve also cheered up my Etsy shop and Facebook page with the new look. I hope you all like the seasonal spring theme!  Now even if the weather is not to be relied on, it’s always going to be a bright and cheery forecast in Moji-Moji Land 🙂

spring-blog

With spring  in mind I began work on a set of Easter baskets earlier this week. My main challenge has been trying to find yarn in the exact colours I’m imagining in my head. Here’s a sneak peak at my work in progress. So far, so good.

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But oh! The perils of buying yarn online. I was so excited this morning when the postman brought my eBay bargains. It clearly says ‘Lime’ on the label. And it looked pretty limey and fresh on my computer monitor.  I hoped it would make a really good  grassy effect to finish off the baskets. Well, I don’t know about you but (Health and Safety Note: Please put your sunglasses on before you proceed to the next photo) this is not my idea of what Lime green looks like!

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I’ve photographed my new yarn along with other things I consider to be lime coloured, including an actual lime, for comparison purposes! Even this picture doesn’t do justice to the particular shade of 1980’s, radioactively fluorescent, neon yellow, bile like psychedelia that it actually is in real life.

Ah well, it’s certainly bright, if not particularly beautiful. Having said that, it could make a funky crochet monster, then it might be said to be beautiful after all. I suppose it’s all about context. It’s just not the soft spring green I was after! Back to the drawing board for the rest of the Easter baskets then… Either way I plan to have them finished by next week, I’ll just have to improvise a bit on my initial ideas. It will take a little longer to get them all finished now but that’s just part and parcel of the process really.

At least I have my Mother’s Day gifts sorted. We like to keep things simple around here. Cheap and cheerful is another way of putting it! After all, it really is about the thought you put into things. So I thought long and hard and decided… I would crochet some sunflower coasters – my mum’s favorite flower. I found a pretty bone china mug to sit sweetly on top of them, and some cute buttons too – which I plan to make into a brooch of some sort. A jar of posh coffee and a bar of dark chocolate will finish it all off nicely.

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I made the coasters from a pattern I found in Issue 69 of LGC Knitting and Crochet magazine and I just changed the colours slightly. My next plan is to make a whole batch of them with a bigger hook and turn them into a blanket for my bedroom. I’ve started playing with other colours already, even though I haven’t finished my Mexican blanket yet. I just couldn’t resist a little dabble!

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The two at the bottom right and centre are a rough indicator of the kind of colours I’m thinking of. But before I get too carried away I have to deal with all these yarn ends on this old friend…

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I only need to add two more Granny Square stripes (already made), join the two large pieces together in the centre and, goodness, the end is really within sight now! I may be able to show you the finished blanket next time I’m here. Or I may not, depending on my attention span and my determination not to get distracted, but either way, whether I stick to the plan or not, I’m sure I’ll have something or other to show you!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mum’s out there. Have a great Sunday!