Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


4 Comments

Alpacas and Spinning

I’ve just finished the book version of Alicia the Alpaca so it’s been another exciting week with another project satisfyingly ticked off the to-do list.

820AlpacaPoses

She now has a little blanket to wear because it can get very cold in the Peruvian Andes. Her blanket comes complete with panniers so she can go shopping at the local market and have somewhere to stash her bargain buys.

It was lots of fun playing around with different colour schemes and combinations and I managed to use up some of my smaller scraps of leftover yarn.

DSCN9948

(This pattern will be appearing in Zoomigurumi 5, coming out around the beginning of next year).

I’ve gone a bit crazy about this alpaca and have ended up making eight so far. everytime I see a new colour in this fluffy yarn I get the urge to make another one!

DSCN9893

I think I’ll be able to open a fully stocked alpaca farm at this rate. Maybe I’ll end up with so much spare fleece that I’ll never have to buy any more yarn. Although I’ll have to learn to spin first. A skill which has so far eluded me despite acquiring a beautiful spinning wheel a couple of years ago. I really must get around to getting it up and running so I can get some practice in with it. I had a few goes when I first bought it and managed to spin a bit of lumpy, bumpy, bit too twisty yarn and then the string came unwound and the spindle kept flying off and I eventually gave up through sheer frustration. I really do want to give spinning another go though as it would be so useful to add that to my repertoire of textile skills while also providing me with the perfect excuse for owning a herd of real life alpacas. What would the cats think to that I wonder?!

As we’re on the subject of spinning it seems as good a time as any to mention our trip up north to visit relatives on Saturday as we made a visit to the Leigh Spinners Mill in Lancashire to see the UK’s largest unrestored steam engine. Now, happily being brought back to its former working glory by a team of enthusiastic volunteers.

Leigh_Spinners_Leigh

It really is a beautiful building and while some of it is still in use making carpets and synthetic turf a lot of the main structure is lying empty. The plan is to eventually do it all up and balance community led projects with commercial and business lets. I’d love to have a workshop in a building like that. There’d be plenty of room to store my gargantuan yarn stash! Ah well, I’ll be having to make do with squeezing everything into my home studio for the foreseeable future, but one can dream. At least I have to limit my yarn buying due to space constraints, which is probably a good thing or who knows where my yarn habit would end?!

Here’s the main engine room as it looked on Saturday. Everyone was busy, mainly scrubbing at rust and rubbing grease on things as far as I could tell, but I’m sure it’s actually much more complicated than that. I’m no expert on these things so I won’t go waffling on about the mechanics and uses. You can visit the Leigh Spinners Mill website for more details on the history and future plans for this impressive 1920’s cotton mill. They’re sure to have their facts right over there!

Spinning-Mill3

Having a nose around the internet to see what I could find out about the place I found some beautiful shots of the engine house taken before the restoration began. The one that really struck me is this image below, taken by Mark and featuring on his wonderfully atmospheric website called Off Limits Photos which showcases his talent for sniffing out the abandoned, derelict and dilapidated buildings and structures of the past. This photo really highlights the amount of restoration work that has gone on already.

offlimitsphotos.com

That’s an awful lot of pigeon poop to clean up before you can even get started on the fun bit!

On a much less grand scale I’ve got my own spinning related restoration to undertake if I’m going to get anywhere at all with this tricky craft. The string has become hopelessly tangled and the spindles need cleaning off, but I’m thankful I don’t have to scrape a ton of pigeon-poop off it before I start, or worry about getting pistons working or things exploding. A bit of TLC, some pedal power and a bit of expert guidance would probably do the trick here.

Spinning-Wheel

It is a fine looking piece of kit and deserves much more respect than it’s currently receiving. I found out that there is an alpaca farm not too far from me. They advertise spinning classes on their website Simply Alpaca. I’m so tempted to have a go. Maybe spinning lessons are what I want for Christmas this year. I probably need to start dropping hints to my family… maybe they’re even reading this 😉 It could make a perfect new challenge for a new year.

Here are some of the yarns they make at Simply Alpaca. All from their own fleeces.

Alpaca-yarn

Such gorgeous natural colours and not at all slubby and gnarly like my own attempts. This is the only fragment that remains of my foray into the world of spinning, but it will give you an idea of how much practice I’m going to need!

DSCN9987

If I do book a spinning class I might take some of my own herd along to meet the inhabitants. The farm also offers camelid handling courses that could help me keep this lot in check!

alpaca-feeding-time

Actually, they’re pretty well behaved on the whole. They’re just messy eaters, especially when they’re all fighting over the last of the seasons strawberries.

alpaca-herd

Alpaca-Lunch

Looks like no one’s owning up to who spilled the feeding trough. Well, you know what they say – what happens in the herd, stays in the herd. I can’t tell who the guilty culprit is, they all look like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths!


4 Comments

Last of the Summer Fun

Another busy week has flown past. We’ve indulged in a bit of travelling and some mini breaks to squeeze the last few bits of fun out of the summer while all the boys were still together. This has resulted in plenty of car time for a spot of crocheting and sightseeing all rolled up into one. One of my favorite trips was to Weston-Super-Mare to see Banksy’s Dismaland art exhibition.

bb5

As you can see, the weather was just gorgeous so some of the deliberate dismalness was mitigated somewhat!

bb3

Here are a few snippets of some of the weird and wonderful stuff going on.

The best £5 I’ve ever spent, value for money and thought provoking. Great fun!

I love to go to Weston for a day trip as it’s the most easily accessible seaside town from where we live, so this just added an extra kick to the day. Fish and chips on the beach and a spot of alpaca making on the way home made for a happy day indeed.

bb99

Car time is great for testing patterns or working on repeated elements but not so good for free form designing. Too many balls of yarn, sketchbooks, pens and pencils are required to make it a truly portable element of the creative process. I like to have my entire yarn stash to hand when working on new patterns because I’m really never too sure of exactly what I need as I wing my way along.

The next thing the alpaca needed to finish off her look was a little rug type blanket for her back. So when we were home again I chose my colours in crayon and then found the nearest matching yarn.

aa4

Obviously it’s important that Alicia has her say, she’s going to be making a fashion statement with her chosen rug so it has to be just right.

AA2

Carlos advises on the correct colours. We’re going for a Peruvian look this time, but the colour palette is very close to the Mexican too, and Carlos has met some of the best dressed alpacas on his travels from Mexico through to South America, so he feels very qualified to give an opinion!

aa3

aa11

On the next car trip I get to utilise my early birthday present from my oldest son. We had to drive him back to Cardiff for the start of the new term so we had the birthday celebrations a few days early. Being arty himself he knows the value of organising your drawing materials and he knows how I like to keep busy on the hoof.

So this is what I had and I’m made up with my new pencil roll. It’s so handy to have all the colors at a glance. No more rummaging around in a floppy case hoping the right colours will pop up into view!

Aa6

It also doubles as a very handy lap table when unrolled, but takes up hardly any room when it’s time to pack up. All those rainbow colours are a sight pretty enough to make you smile too. Multi-purpose genius!

DSCN9859

Of course a day out is not all about crocheting in the passenger seat! I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s good practice to make yourself get out of the car at the other end and enjoy the scenery for a while, so after safely installing our student son back into his digs we continued a short way around the coast to Penarth where we found a lovely rocky beach with Cardiff shining like some crazy looking industrial holiday camp on the one side…

aa13

…Bucolic Barry and the smooth stretch of the open sea on the other side…

20150919_161437

…and a pretty pier in the middle.

aa14

20150919_173044

The ideal spot for a tray of chips as we watch the sun begin to sink.

aa10

We have plenty of time to contemplate the smell of the sea, the uplifting gentle September sun on a windless day and the beauty of the dove grey beach pebbles..

aa12

A remarkably similar colour theme is going on with today’s alpaca.

aa7

A little fluffy pebble of a head is forming nicely on the way back home.

aa9

I just can’t stop making these sweet bundles of scrumptiousness at the moment. I think I’m addicted to the comforting, soothing feel of the soft-as-a-cloud fluffy yarns!

Back at home, all these are waiting to meet today’s new addition.

820alpacaLineup

This design is going to be featured in Zoomigurumi 5, available early next year from amigurumipatterns.net, and there will be a single release pattern too. I’ve just got to finish off the outfit in all the different colour schemes and pick a favorite for the book. Now I’m back at home I swap crocheting in the car for crocheting in bed for a large part of Sunday.

aa15

It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it! I hope you can come back soon to see how it all turns out 🙂


10 Comments

Happy Families

The long wait is finally over, and so is all the hard work! The new crochet book from amigurumipatterns.net is out at last.

Babybanner-homepage

I’ve been very lucky to have been involved in the proofreading of this one and so I’ve had an in depth look at every page of the book and can confidently say it’s a cracker!

pp

Packed full of unique and imaginative designs, you’d have to be very hard hearted indeed not to let a few ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhhs’ out as you flick through the pages. Baby animals are cute alright but when they’re teamed up with their matching parents and various essential baby accessories then that cute factor just goes off the scale!

My Papa Penguin and his baby, Pierre, have made it to the front cover. Papa may look a little startled as he is not only not used to the limelight but he’s also a first time dad, and that takes a bit of getting used to as well!

 Untitled-1

Time flies – and sometimes penguins do too! I remember getting Papa and Pierre ready for their air mail journey to the publishers in Belgium – quite a few months ago now. Difficult to believe that all that time has passed and the book is finally finished. There is so much work involved to get everything just right, but it’s so much fun too. Joke does a lovely job of the compilation, layout and graphics so the book is really easy on the eye, and the patterns are a doddle to read.

Of course I had to help Papa and Pierre have a good send off. These penguins love a jolly party. It’s a great excuse for a huddle together and to indulge in some high calorie treats to fatten themselves up ready for the winter months.

Party-Treats

What better place to have a party than at the local parent and toddler group. They’re certainly used to the noise and mayhem there!

820Penguin Party

Here’s a little peek at all of the other happy families created by designers from all over the world and photographed beautifully by Joost.

Below, from left to right, we’ve got: Rosy the T-Rex and her baby boy (Lia Arjano), Mama, Papa and Baby Bear (Tales of Twisted Fibers), and Mom Tilda and baby Earl armadillo (Patchwork Moose).

Untitled-5

Dashy the Beagle and his baby boy (Enna Design), Mama Lulu and Baby Bea the sloths (Mevvsan), Maisie mouse and baby Charly (Erinna Lee).

Untitled-2

Little Tim the Fawn and his mommy (Stuff the Body), Mama Octa and her baby octopi (Diceberry Designs), and Butterfly Bree and caterpillar Callin (Zabbez).

Untitled-4

Mama Frida and baby Lila (Jamaica Y Tamarinda), Papa Penguin and Baby Pierre (me!), and July the Kangaroo and her baby Jumpy (Kamlin Patterns).

Untitled-3

Aren’t they sweet? There sure is a great deal of variety in there, and that’s what I love about all of these books from amigurumipatterns.net. There’s so many different styles to choose from. They’re like the amigurumi equivalent of a fancy selection box of chocolates from Harrods! I’ve already made the butterfly by Zabbez as part of the pattern testing phase of the book. I made mine in sparkly midnight hues because I love Blue Morpho butterflies.

820Butterfly

Presale is on until the 27th September 2015, so if you want to get ahead of the curve and order your copy right now you can do that here. You’ll also get the PDF version to download immediately so you can get crocheting while you wait for the actual book to arrive in the post.

Here’s a final photo of some of the penguins I made during the design/testing/tweaking processes. Now they’re just awaiting a new home. I’m hoping to attend a few local craft shows this year and I think these little fellas might prove popular in the run up to Christmas.

Penguins

Not that I really want to be thinking about Christmas quite so early. I have a few ideas for this year’s Halloween collection to finalise yet. Oh where did the summer go!

I do love a cosy autumn though so there’s lots to look forward to in the coming months. I think I may have to start on another cosy blanket as the evenings draw in and the weather starts to cool. Well, the summer may be nearly over but I’m definitely looking forward to starting some brand new crochet projects inspired by the changing of the seasons.