Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


Ripping Yarns

Looking at the title you might be forgiven for thinking that I’m about to tell you some thrilling story full of jolly japes and spiffing adventures, but in fact I’m about to show you the transformative powers of ripping up old bedding to turn it into a form of chunky cloth yarn, (or ‘clarn’ for short) because that’s what I’ve been doing a lot of this week. I hope you’re not too disappointed!


I love making clarn as I hate to waste anything and always seem to have a lot of fabric hanging around. The boys are too grown up for their space/cowboy/monster themed bedding these days and some of my old sheets are just too frayed and tattered to be of any practical use in their primary function anymore so I have a ready made supply of raw materials.

With a couple of projects in mind I set to work snipping and ripping some of the prettier coloured bedding into strips ready to crochet them into something completely different.

I started with a pile of over washed, slightly faded cloth that had definitely seen better days. In fact this is the very best kind of cloth to use because it has a well worn softness which makes it really easy to work with. If you don’t have a surplus of old bedding then charity/thrift shops are always a good, cheap source.


Very patiently I slowly turned them into lots of clarn balls of various sizes. This is always best done outdoors if possible unless you’re a massive fan of both dusting and sneezing because the ripping always generates lots of tiny fragments of cloth. I’m not keen on either of the above so luckily the weather has been good enough to allow me to spend a few hours in the garden getting the job done and leaving nature to assimilate all the dust particles into the environment so I don’t have to worry about them.


I made this clarn out of strips about 2 cm wide and used a 10 mm hook for all my projects but you can make them thinner or fatter and change the hook size according to your fancy. Most of this fabric is polyester cotton or pure cotton but there are many other fabrics that will do just as well. Old Tee shirts work great and give a stretchier yarn or if you’re feeling really flashy you can get some beautiful results with silk. Even plastic bags can be used. I would suggest avoiding anything with a heavy weave such as a brocade or any fabric that contains a lot of natural wool as these can both be very heavy and messy to rip up and will fray a lot.


The quickest way of creating clarn is the snip and rip method where you make a small cut in the top of your fabric roughly 2 cm in from the edge (1) and then rip it all the way down to within 1 cm of the opposite edge (2). Make another cut 2 cm to the side of the edge of this (3) and rip down the length again, stopping 1 cm short of the edge again (4). Carry on in this way until you have a couple of metres of clarn before beginning to wind it up into a ball.


Keep winding your clarn every few metres so you don’t get into a terrible tangle. This stuff just loves to get knotted up on itself if you don’t keep an eye on it.


I pull off any large  messy knots of loose fibres as I go but you don’t need to be too conscientious about eliminating all of these frayed threads as they will mostly crochet into the fabric or can be pulled off later once the crochet is finished.


Now as fun as all that is my favorite part is making it up into useful and beautiful items. Rugs are a great use for this stuff. I’ve made three already, (not all this week I hasten to add!). One was for the kitchen and one for the bathroom which you can read about here. And I also made one for my studio to add a bit of colour and warmth to the bare floorboards.


They scrub up a treat too which is essential if you’d rather be looking at all the pretty colours rather than a thick layer of cat fur! Here’s the one from my studio drying in the sun after a quick whizz in the washing machine.


Cats and clarn are generally another of those matches made in heaven – from a cat’s perspective anyway. Mine find the stuff totally irresistible. If you share your home with a feline or two then some of these cosy rugs, or just even miniature cat sized ones, would be the perfect gift for your moggies. And here’s the hard evidence – in case you want some proof before you spend hours making them a pressie they may turn their noses up at…

Here’s the reason I have to wash the rug so much!


Playful Pogo loves to get involved when balls of clarn are rolling around. It’s not always that easy to get them back either. He’s got some fearsome teeth and claws on him and more than a bit of (c)attitude.

Tigger’s favorite spot in the house is his basket with the garden window view. It’s made even more comfortable by the addition of a crocheted clarn liner. He spends hours curled up in here every day. There’s some wierd perspective going on here by the way. The basket is much bigger than it looks, or maybe I should say that Tigger’s head is much smaller than it looks!?

Mojo couldn’t even wait for me to finish this one…

… and Minnie will quite happily sit on either the balls of clarn themselves (though they’re not at all squashy), or the finished pieces.

All three of my boys are on their summer holidays now, all exams are finished and assignments handed in so they are hanging around at home much more than usual. In order to encourage long and leisurely lunches and dinners around the table I wanted to make some cushion pads for the dining chairs. A numb bum is not conducive to sitting and chatting and they’re all so skinny they could use the extra padding.

Here’s a couple of finished covers just waiting for the cushions to plump them up.


They’re very comfy and puffy when the cushion pads are in place. I laced the opening shut with a bit of matching fabric as I didn’t fancy putting zips in – and I didn’t have any to hand anyway. These laces will be easy to take out if I need to wash the covers so it seemed like the perfect solution and the ends of the laces are going to double up as ties to attach the cushions to the backs of the chairs.


It’s all light and brightness in my kitchen now since hubby and I went on a decorating spree. We only planned to repaint the walls and ceiling but we got a bit carried away and now the only things not painted are the floor and the worktops. We’ve done the cupboards and the skirting, the table legs and the chairs. I’ve even painted up my old stripped pine dressers and can’t believe how much life and energy it seems to have injected into the room! I always forget to take ‘before’ pictures but here are some ‘afters’. You’ll just have to imagine the dark, orange toned, grubby stained wood underneath that used to be on show.

These cushions are going to be transferable from kitchen to garden. They’ll be ideal for cozying up the benches so we’re going to get plenty of use out of them. Clarn makes great place mats and coasters too. I’m going to need a few of these for the kitchen to help protect the newly painted surfaces. This is my first one and took about ten minutes.


I’ve got plenty more sheets to rip into and lots more plans for things to crochet with them. I’ve been collecting ideas on my Rags to Riches Board on Pinterest for a while now so I’m not short of inspiration. I’m really enjoying crocheting on such a chunky scale again. Everything works up so fast and after spending the last five months making my Mexican blanket that feels like a very welcome change.

If you’ve made anything out of recycled cloth I’d love to hear about it. As always your most welcome to leave me a comment or hop on over and share a photo on my Facebook page!

X Thanks for stopping by x

Update: A free pattern and full tutorial for how to make these chair pads can now be found here. Happy Crocheting!


Bon Voyage Papa and Pierre

Papa Penguin and Baby Pierre are currently winging their way over to Belgium ready to be photographed for the new parent and baby animals themed book from Of course we couldn’t let them go without a big send off so I helped the other penguins organize a little party at the local penguin parent and toddler group.

820Penguin Party

I’m sure Pierre is going to miss all his friends but I know he’ll have no trouble making lots of new ones when he gets settled in.

Papa is looking forward to a new life on the continent and will get to meet the other parents of the cute baby animals who are also featuring in the book. Papa and Pierre can always rely on each other for companionship too.


Now I’m looking forward to starting on my next design. I really do enjoy everything about creating a new amigurumi.

From choosing the colours…


…and sourcing the yarn…


…to sketching up the initial ideas…


…and searching my buttons and beads stash for embellishments.


If needs be I make a few different versions, tweaking the design each time until I’m completely satisfied that I’ve arrived at the simplest solution to make the desired shape and that the proportions are perfect. Here are some of the various incarnations. Sometimes I get it right first time when working on an amigurumi but this Papa Penguin was quite a challenge. I wanted him to look more realistic than cartoon-like so it took me a bit more time and experimentation to get him ‘just so’.


Then there’s the pattern testing of the final design.


And finally the finished penguins are all ready for their book debut. Into the photography area to strike a few poses and we’re done.

I get very fond of my amigurumis along the way, so you’ll understand that after we’ve shared such a long and convoluted journey together I was keen to help them have a jolly good leaving party.

First the toddlers enjoyed themselves playing with all the toys. Each little chick made a beeline for their favorite. Pierre loves making animals with Lego and Percy hardly ever leaves the ball pool. Paul likes to reads lots of books with his dad and can spell ‘penguin’ with the building blocks already, while Patrick goes everywhere on his ride-a-long reindeer toy.


After they had nearly worn themselves out it was time for some sweet party treats to replenish all that spent energy. Tea and cake for the grown-ups and iced Party Rings for the babies. Everybody posed for a last photo to remember each other by.


When the party was over Papa and Pierre nestled down into their comfy travelling box and after careful labelling and a trip to the post office, were put on a plane to their new destination.

I hope you’ll all join me and the other penguins in wishing them Bon Voyage.


I can’t wait to see them in the new book. I’ll be sure to come back later and share so you can have a peek too!


Waste Not, Want Not

Having finished the final yarny chapter of my Mexican blanket I’ve started thinking ahead to my next new non amigurumi crochet project. I have a few ideas cooking up at the moment but firstly I’m on a mission to use up those leftover squares and odds and ends that are the inevitable result of having a badly organised mind with a habit of getting carried away!


Not wanting to waste these pretty little squares I decided I would put them to good use and make a teeny weeny cushion. So with the pleasure of lounging on the parent project I started on the baby project.


I found it fairly tricky slip stitching such little motifs together with reasonable accuracy so abandoned this method in favor of sewing them together instead. As the colours are all different the joining yarn was showing through at the front quite distinctly with the crocheted join, particularly at the corners, but was much less pronounced when I oversewed the edges with a tapestry needle.


I laid all the squares I already had into a scheme, making sure no squares of the same colour were touching. There were a few gaps in the colour palette here and there so I quickly hooked up what was needed. The little squares remind me of Elmer the Elephant, so despite its diminutive size this dinky pillow is now known as the elephant cushion.


It’s small scale makes it a very portable project too. Maybe I should make more of these itsy bitsy cushions, especially with the holiday and festival season nearly upon us. They’ll look so pretty in the tent while also being a great size to take with me for the odd snooze in between bands!


Even just at home with the unpredictable weather it’s been great to quickly transport this little roll up travel case to and from the garden, on the bus, the car, in the park, or even in the car park! (Did I ever mention I like to crochet everywhere!?)


The cushion progressed, sometimes in the evening sun with a cold glass of white wine (hooray for summer!)



And sometimes in the lounge with a cup of tea and some toasted teacakes, watching the rain batter against the windows with the wind howling down the chimney (where’s my summer gone?!)

Ah, but we can still dream of festivals and pray that we won’t end up in a mud bath!


Back out in the garden again to start on the panel for the back. I used the same size hook as for the front (4.5 mm) but up sized to Aran weight yarn which gave a nice sturdy fabric and was a bit quicker to crochet. This is the start of the continuous Granny Square that forms the other side.


After joining the front and back I made the same fringe as for the Mexican blanket.



Now the whole thing was finished I just needed a cushion pad. A quick scoot up to Dunelms and…. I couldn’t find the right size. Well, I did say this cushion was a little on the small side.

Not to be deterred I bought one that was the correct width but twice as long. No problem I thought – I’ll just cut it in half and sew the seams closed, then I’ll have two. However, I hadn’t reckoned on the mischievous qualities of duck feathers in large quantities! Thankfully my playful cats were nowhere to be seen at this point.


Needless to say, the feathers escaped and got everywhere, even without feline intervention! I managed to eventually wrestle them all (mostly) back in though, and a bit of hasty pinning and meticulous, tiny stitch sewing later I had my mini cushion pads all good to go. Now to put the first one to good use… as a deluxe cat comforter. Aww, how sweet, that Mojo likes my handiwork so much.


Well, that is until I take a few snaps of him all blissed out on crochet. He soon recovers his sense of scorn when he finds he’s being photographed and adopts his ‘so what, it’s not all that, it’s just a cushion’ attitude.


But I’ve caught him cuddling up to it since when he thinks I’m not looking, and Tigger too, so it cant be that bad. In fact, I reckon there’s some serious cushion envy going on here. Good job I’m planning on making a few more. The cats can have one each, and maybe I’ll even get some for myself!


It was a fun thing to make and took just a few hours over a few days so there’s no excuse not to make a couple more at least. I still have the sample piece I made for the Mexican stripe basic stitches post. It just needs a back and a border and I’ll have another piece of comfyness to add to my growing collection of homemade crochet furnishings.


Mexican Blanket, a Journey in Pictures

As the title says really, a journey from the beginning to the end of my Mexican Blanket adventure, from my initial inspiration to fighting the cats for ownership of the finished article! Five months of spare time hooking and one bobby dazzler of a blanket to show for it…




And finally, the entire border is finished, every last yarn end is darned in and I’m chuffed to bits with the end result.


I hope you’ve enjoyed my retrospective. Looking at those bright colours has certainly cheered me up and reminded me of more exotic places. This is the wet and soggy view from my studio window right now, so you can see why I needed a pinch of Fiesta sunshine. If you can’t get it from the sky you can always make your own!


Today I’m finishing up working on this tiny little patchwork cushion cover made out of the blanket leftovers.


The deluge continues unabated outside, and it looks set to stay that way for a while. I don’t think me and Minnie will be sitting out on the garden bed anytime today. Funny to think this photo was taken only two days ago and it was hot enough to imagine you were in Mexico itself. With all the warm weather and the rainfall It’s no wonder my garden is a jungle but that reminds me it’s a blessing to have such abundant greenery too – hopefully another bumper grape crop will be gathered form my mini backyard vineyard this year – and I know I’ve got our (mostly) temperate climate to thank for that.


In my ideal world it would rain at night and be sunny all day. Never mind, the world is far from ideal as I’m sure all us realists realize. It’s time to get my crochet and tuck up in the lounge with a good film, a cup of tea and some toasted teacakes dripping with butter. Got to keep the spirits up somehow!


Pansies, Pinks and Penguins

Well what a gloriously sunny weekend! I spent nearly all of my time in the garden either crocheting in the courtyard or pottering among the pots and borders again. The Pansies and Pinks are truly blooming. Even the snails can’t keep up with chowing them down and there are now quite a few petals with no nibble marks on them at all!



The pressing crochet project of the moment is Papa Penguin and Baby Pierre as they’re soon to be featured in a new book with the theme of parent and baby animals. I entered them into a competition back in January and they did me proud by coming fourth. (You can read all about them and see the other entries in this post).

I can confidently tell you that this new book is going to be huge on the cute factor as I’ve now seen a sneak preview of all the designs to be included. Get ready to do lots of ooohing and ahhhing when you see all the other sweet animal families!


Having spent a large chunk of last week at the computer writing up the pattern for my father and son contribution a change of scenery was just the thing to re-invigorate me to the task ahead, which was to begin the official pattern testing phase. Now there’s no better place for this kind of work than in the garden. Mainly because I’m away from my desk and all the intermittent distractions that being in close proximity to my computer brings. Time to get my head down and plod through the lines, one by one, checking for any stitch count anomalies, bits of bad grammar and general cock ups!

Hmm, Tigger makes a better door than a window. What is it that cats love sooo much about a piece of paper to sit on?


It’s probably just the fact you’re looking at it and not at them! But Tigger is soon on the prowl again, searching for a nice place to sleep.


Not on that yarn though Tiggs, I’m about to use that! I quickly confiscate it only to be made to feel guilty with this sad, poor-little-me face…


I did’t think it would be long before he decided to investigate the other basket. Of course it’s a widely known scientific fact that wicker and yarn are both actually 100% magnetic to cats. There is something in their DNA which makes them stick to both like glue… and here’s the proof…


Good plan to have my work basket handy then so he gets a double dose of magnetism leaving me free to crack on with the pattern. All necessaries at the ready, it’s time to get hooking. This is where the red biro comes out and I begin to feel like a teacher marking my own work. I find a couple of minor errors straight away. Many more like that and I’ll have to put myself into detention!


A few hours and much pattern testing later and Papa’s body is completed, along with a few other bits and pieces such as feet and flippers. The day is getting hotter and Tigger has gone to flop in the shade.


Now it’s time to clear the table ready for a well earned lunch break to fuel the brain and freshen the mind. I have a delectable selection of yummy sushi to enjoy.


Now it would be rude to exclude the penguins from such a fishy feast wouldn’t it? Papa has first pick while baby Pierre jumps up and down with excitement at the sight of the fish shaped soy sauce bottle.


How good would that be as a perfectly sized water pistol for this playful little chick! After a bit of pestering Papa and I decide he can have it for a toy only if he eats up all his lunch.


Pierre picks his favorite seaweed wrapped Naruto Roll and tucks in. It’s almost as big as he is, but baby penguins need to put on lots of weight in their first few months!


All gone, and so is mine and Papa Penguin’s too.


Time to get back to the crochet. Papa Penguin #2 is well on his way to being finished. Next I’ll be testing the pattern for Pierre, inevitably resulting in another fluffy grey bundle of trouble. Just as well though, as Pierre is soon going to want a pal to shoot his new water squirter at! Maybe I should have sushi again tomorrow so they can have one each 🙂

Sunday is sunny again and more pattern testing is on the agenda, but much more gardening today too as I made rather good progress with the crochet yesterday. My pansies and pinks might be doing splendidly but that means so are the weeds. Lots of rain and mild temperatures has seen another explosion of those uninvited guests. Every garden must have a bit of wilderness in it though, so here’s mine!


I think the weeds have assumed the welcome sign is for them as they’ve evidently made themselves very at home.

While tidying up the wilder parts of my garden I found this collection of snail shells. Admiring those intricate patterns led me to an idea… It would be a shame not to make a feature of them somehow.


So I cleaned them up and gave them a quick coat of clear nail varnish… quite a transformation!


…then one thing led to another and the spiral shells got me thinking about the spirals I use in my beloved amigurumi crochet method. Why not marry the two together in a quick little off the cuff project? So out came the crochet hook… and 20 minutes later, here we have a re-incarnated snail. Much less likely to wreak any horticultural damage than the normal kind too!

820Little Snail


Now for a final drumroll….. I eventually completed my Mexican blanket last week after crocheting through several early evenings, sitting on my bed watching the sun go down. I feel like I should be celebrating by setting off firecrackers and salsa-ing off to a fiesta with it now! But that sort of unruly behavior will just have to wait until I’m a bit less busy with work. I have a few festivals in mind for which its pretty party pallette will be just perfect for wrapping up in as I watch the sun set over green fields and villages of tents, rather than watching it set over my usual cityscape.


Tigger and Pogo kept me company as the last round progressed. Pogo obviously approves of my work as it has scored highly in his recent squishiness inspection, which means he must lie on it for protracted amounts of time, while I patiently crochet around him.


But when it is done, sometimes a thing is so beautiful that lying on it is simply not as good as gazing at it lovingly!


I mentioned last time that this blanket has turned out much larger than I had planned for it to, so photographing it in its entirety is proving a bit of a problem in my house as the rooms are quite small. The garden’s no better as there’s not enough floor space there either.

My brother and sister-in-law are popping over to visit for a few days this week so if the weather holds I’m going to take the blanket on a picnic so I can spread it out to its full glory and take some photos for my next post. I thought it would be fun to put together a retrospective photo montage to celebrate its completion after five colourful months, from initial inspiration to darning in the very last yarn end. I hope you’ll stop by again to re-live that journey with me soon!


Toadstools and Fringes

Hubby and the boys have been off from school/college/work last week. We’ve all enjoyed a home based holiday this time, with a few days out and a few days in. We were all hoping for a full week of bright blue skies but had our optimism rewarded with more clouds, more rain and far less sunny spells than was desirable. On our home days I’ve been dashing out to the garden at every opportunity and dashing in again at the first few spots of rain! It’s been so windy out there but that’s not stopped me getting as much crochet and garden time as I can, and lots of progress was made with the fancy edging to my blanket.


It’s a cosy project to work on when the weather is less than clement, with me wrapping myself up in the whole thing as I hook my way around the edge. It’s been rather nice to spend this week with all the family about, surrounded by home comforts. I don’t think we’ll be going away properly until the summer heats up a bit. My bones ache just thinking about sleeping under damp canvas with the howling wind that we’ve had plenty of lately, rattling at the guy ropes. Oh I am longing for a bit of warmth and some balmy nights! But while I patiently wait for my dream weather we have the chimenea to keep us warm.


Just what I need as the day gets even cooler while I carry on with the fringed border I’ve finally decided on. As you can see, we have no shortage of old bits of furniture to burn to keep me warm throughout the evening. Those are the remnants of the kid’s wicker toy chests in the background, dumped at the back of the garden a few years ago. It’s certainly time to get rid of them for good now. Though nature and the elements seem to be doing a pretty reasonable job of disintegrating them, we have been enjoying hastening the process by feeding them to the flames. Although it’s sad in some ways that the time for toys is past, It’s heartening to see the boys begin to launch into their own journeys and adventures in life.

I love to sit for hours watching the embers glowing and the flames dancing in the dark. The smell of wood smoke is most delightful, reminding me of the countless campsite and beach fires we’ve lit over the years, in other more exotic, wild and windy corners of the country.


Crocheting in the dark is a challenge too far however, and so the hook was exchanged for a glass of wine while my creaky knuckles enjoyed a well deserved but reluctant rest from the final round of the blanket. The setting of the sun will not be much of an excuse for long though, as I’ve treated myself to a set of crochet lite hooks, which, as the name implies, light up! How exciting is that!? They will be super-super useful on camping holidays, at festivals and on night time car journeys. I can even crochet in bed while hubby snores away. Oh my goodness, will I ever sleep again?


Determined to make the very best of any breaks in the clouds, I packed up a my biggest basket with enough yarn and hooks for a variety of different projects to make my garden-to-house-to-garden hopping easier and faster. Though I’ve inevitably been leaving bits of essential crochet kit in the exact opposite places to where I need them. The solution was obviously to yarn bomb the basket with a bespoke toadstool themed crochet station. From humble beginnings…


To full blown toadstool glory that looks like it’s straight out of a fairy tale!


Two toadstools and a dangling strawberry will keep all my bits and bobs close and handy and stop the pins and hooks and needles getting tangled up and buried among the yarn. Because it’s actually attached to my project basket it won’t get lost or left out in the rain either.


Every basket should have one!


Now I’ll be able to whiz along with my projects without constantly searching for bits of my kit.

I’m so close to finishing the Mexican blanket now. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s seems to be taking forever. It’s turned into a bit of a whopper and is much, much bigger than I originally intended. This unexpected woolly growth spurt came about because I made the blanket in two separate halves and when I joined them together the whole thing looked way too long and thin for my liking, necessitating the addition of several strips of granny stripe borders down the long side to fatten it up. Then there was the final border to take into account. Not content with a simple shell edge this time I delved deep into this wonderful book by Edie Eckman and, after much deliberation, ended up choosing a border made up of four different rows.


After adding the first three rounds of my chosen border pattern it was bigger still. No surprise there really, the more you add the bigger it gets, not rocket science, I know!


Now there are a humongous amount of stitches to crochet the tassels to. Eek! What was begun by the light of the chimenea is continued by the light of the sun. A tasty apple will surely provide me with enough of a sugar rush to get to the end once and for all…


… or maybe not. There are a LOT of chains and double crochets in the tasseled edge so it’s taking me ages. All the same, I love how it’s turning out and I can’t wait to take it camping with me. I’m going to be having sweet and snuggly under canvas dreams wrapped up in this colourful beauty, even if the summer temperatures stubbornly persist in being on the low side all year.

One short side and two thirds of the first long side finished. There is light at the end of the Mexican blanket tunnel!


Yes, the end is nigh and I’m soooo excited. Barring a major catastrophe, the next time I post I should definitely be showing you the completed article in all it’s stripy, dotty, crazy-fringed, technicolour magnificence!


When that’s finished I’m going to line my basket with this toadstool print from my fabric stash, then I’m going to finish redecorating the kitchen, but I’m getting ahead of myself again. The blanket’s going to take precedence over everything for the next few spare hours I get. Bring it on!