Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Happy Halloween 2015!

It’s here again! The end of the harvest season and the official beginning of winter. I’ve been doing my best to add a touch of spooky and a glimmer of warmth to the house over the last few days with the usual array of pumpkins, spider webs, ghosts, candy, lanterns and the odd bit of amigurumi thrown in here and there.

Halloween-Dresser

My welsh dresser is full to bursting and really is quite a cheery sight, though of course it all looks so much more atmospheric by night.

Lantern-light

I’ve been having fun making pom poms this week too. All of them in Halloween colours of course.

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They’re easy-peasy to make with my clever little Clover pompom maker and I managed to whizz up a whole bunch in just a few minutes.

Pompoms

They are a very satisfying thing to make and this particular batch was destined for decorative garlands. I found the perfect black and white twine with a hint of silver sparkle to thread them all together…

Twine

…and set to with pom pom stringing gusto.

Pompom-string

Simple but effective and now I have plans to make another bunch of white pom poms and string them up on candy cane coloured twine for Christmas – but let’s get Halloween out of the way first!

Some of the the chip fork characters got similar treatment.

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Their little sweaters are perfect for threading them up with.

Halloween-garland

Mojo was keen to see what’s happening as I tweaked and twiddled with my Halloween decorations until I was happy with them.

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Gilbert Ghost seemed to fit the mantelpiece very nicely so I settled on this set up in the end.

Gilbert

And to let the trick or treaters know we’re up for a visit or two I’ve quickly thrown a few things together in the window.

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The spider webs looks more like an ectoplasmic blob, but I guess that fits the general theme pretty well too! Maybe it’s the ghostly spirit of that poor skinny fella dangling in the middle.

Skelly

It’s not been all Halloween prep this week though. I’ve also been working on my poncho – when I can get to it that is!

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minnie

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It’s proving very popular as the new must-have cat blanket, but as you can see I am getting nearer to completion with everything joining up nice and neatly. It looks to be a good size now as it just drapes down to my elbows so with a row or two to neaten the edge and a fringe of some sort to finish it all off it should be just about perfect for keeping me warm in the winter months ahead but not too big and cumbersome to get in the way while I’m crocheting.

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Now I have a spot of pumpkin carving to do before it get’s dark then some pumpkin soup to make for supper.

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Ahh, how I love these little rituals that mark the passing of the year 🙂

Pumpkin-People

On that note, the Pumpkin Patch People and myself would all like to wish you a fun and candy filled Halloween. All treats and no tricks please. Enjoy!


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Halloween Sporks

In this instance the term spork doesn’t relate to that genius spoon/fork hybrid so familiar to those of us who can’t resist a take-away salad bowl or pasta pot, but is actually a truncation of spooky forks. Now let me explain why… We’ve had a fair few trips to the seaside this year and with a trip to the seaside comes the inevitable Great British tradition of a fish in batter and stodgy, lard heavy chips on the beach – eaten as fast as possible to minimise the potential for a gust of wind to blow sand in your lunch or for a cheeky seagull to snatch it from your lap as you gaze winsomely out to sea. Ah the pleasures of al fresco eating!

Consequently we have ended up with a collection of chip forks going spare. I was just about to clear the extras out of the camping bag and put them onto the chimenea for a bit of added fuel when I was sure I heard one of them shouting “I’m a cat waiting to happen!” in a tiny little chip fork sized voice. So I set to with a few basic art materials and sure enough – a cat emerged.

As it’s Halloween soon I thought I’d decorate it a bit more so it would look cute in the candy bowl. As most things in life are made much nicer with a bit of crochet I hooked it up a sweater in orange and purple stripes and immediately started wondering what else I could make. I’m always pleased to have an excuse to do a bit of doodling and colouring in so I scribbled up a few other ideas inspired by the classic chip fork shape.

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I think these would be great little treasure hunt gifts for Halloween parties or, even better, a fun DIY kid’s project for the half term – providing you have indulged in a sufficiently large amount of fish and chips this summer and have a habit of picking up a few spares forks every time like us. The only other things you will need are marker pens and a white pencil crayon, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, small buttons, glue, yarn and a crochet hook.

materials

alien

My boys are too old to want to spend their time doing this sort of crafty thing anymore but I’m not!  These are the ones I’ve finished so far:

A Frankenstein’s Monster, a ghost and a cat,

Sporks

A devil, an alien and a vampire bat.

Spook-Forks

Now they’re made they won’t be wasted. I shall offload these, along with the usual candy, onto any trick or treaters who happen to stop my way. Thank goodness I still have a valid reason for colouring in chip forks and crocheting them sweaters! (Which are made with oddments of Double Knit yarn and a size C (2.75mm) hook and are simply Ch 7, join with a slip stitch to make a ring then single crochet (UK double crochet) 7 rounds, in case you wanted to know the details).

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You might have noticed the lovely new creamy white background on my latest photos. You see, I got around to painting my desk this weekend. It went from this…

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…to this…

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(Mojo is confused to find no clutter on it as I bundle everything into boxes ready for the re-vamp)

…to this…

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..and finally, to this…

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It really didn’t take long for all the clutter to come back. It is a slightly different set of clutter though, with a more rationalised pile of only my essential everyday necessities to hand – more or less, and for the time being, at least!

I recently took the time to sort out (some of) my yarn stash too. Now it’s on show, instead of it all being hidden away in an assortment of baskets and boxes and I’m hoping this will make designing new amigurumi easier, as I can see the colours all together. It will certainly save me time rooting about randomly, trying to find a colour that I’m not even sure I’ve got!

Wonderwall

And anyway, it looks so pretty. It’s a crying shame to hide all that beautiful yarn. Now I smile everytime I look at it. ‘Tis a glorious thing to behold, my own personal wonderwall! It feels good to be a few steps nearer to having the studio of my dreams. Plenty more to do yet but I’m feeling very happy in here in the meantime, crafting away at every available opportunity.

I’ve a little Halloween project in mind for this yarn bundle next.

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Wishing you all a Happy Halloween Week!

Spooky-Lineup

Have fun!


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Life is Fruitful

granny-stripe

It’s harvest time again over in my part of the world. Not that I live on a farm or anything but I try to get my hands on a bit of freshly picked produce when I can.

I’ve always loved this time of year with it’s crisp sharp air and bursts of slanted sunshine so I’ve been feeling very satisfied to have found some quality time to enjoy the last snippets of pleasingly mild weather before the big lock down of November, December and January. There have been several jaunts across the fields to collect my favourite blackberries, so abundant, so juicy and so free!

blackberries

I love making the effort to gather these wild berries every year and of course they taste much better than shop bought ones. Well worth the scratches and stained hands that are the inevitable result of hedgerow foraging.

Autumn-Berries

And there is always the bonus of  picking the odd bunch of pretty weeds to grace a rustic corner of a windowsill somewhere. Clover and buttercups mainly, with a few stems of wild grasses thrown in for good measure. Just as pretty as any shop bought flowers if you can cultivate an appreciation for their less cultivated nature.

Wild-flowers

My recently acquired bargain-bin Emma Bridgewater wellies are a bit late for this years festival season but perfect for negotiating muddy potholes and smelly cow pats – the inevitable bedfellows of any serious walk in the country!

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Home from the fields and back into the urban jungle the harvest continues in my modest little garden. there’s no room for an allotment area or anything even close to it but I have had some very gratifying success with my second-year crop of apples. The five that grew last season have been succeeded by closer to 50 this time.

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They’re quite small and not up to the usual supermarket beauty parade standards but that only makes me love them more! I probably need to do some pruning to maximise next year’s crop, but I’m not sure how so I will be off scouring the internet to look that one up. I don’t have the greenest fingers in the land, but hopefully this little sapling will get the TLC it deserves and not end up consigned to a silent disappearance among the more dominant foliage in the borders – the sort of foliage that has proved it’s survival credentials by actually thriving under my not so vigilant or expert care -or the garden Rambo’s as we like to call them.

apples

Over the years a fig tree, clematis, blueberry bush and some Livingstone Daisies have all mysteriously disappeared from this very spot while I wasn’t looking. Seems like the apple tree might be bucking the trend!

Now the grapes are a different matter entirely. There’s absolutely no stopping them, they’re evidently much more Rambo than Shrinking Violet, and we have fruit hanging from all three walls of my courtyard this year. The vine continues to pour down its bounty on us just outside the back door and is now beginning to display the annual spectacle of autumnal patterns and colours.

agrapes

It’s been nice enough on some days to sit at the garden table and get a bit of hooky in, and with plenty of goodies to keep nature’s own sugar rush topped up I’m a happy bunny!

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It is getting markedly chillier though. But that’s good because the lowering temperatures are inspiring me to push on faster with my new autumn berries inspired poncho.

Autumn3s

Lots of squares have been leaping off the hook during the evenings this past week. I have a full compliment now just awaiting the yarn end darning marathon. Not surprisingly, I didn’t manage to hold fast to my resolution to darn each square as I go. Once I get that hook in my hand I’m an unstoppable crochet machine and just find myself dashing on to the next square as soon as the previous one is finished and tossed into the basket.

Here are a few of the wiggly wormy culprits, waiting patiently in a quiet corner of the lounge, ready for my next spare batch of ten or twenty minutes. Slowly does it, I’ll get there in the end!

Autumn2s

Still, there are worse jobs than sewing in a million ends while enjoying the autumn air and a cake or two with a big pot of tea – a more unhealthy form of sugar rush here, but what the heck. Initially I thought the ghost was looking a bit shocked about the amount of calories on my plate but in retrospect it’s probably because I stuck knitting needles in his eyes.

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I’ve also been weaving in at the kitchen table while hubby cooks something delicious on the other side of the room.

aponcho

…Pogo likes to join in when he can…

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Or I’ve been sitting on a squishy sofa with warm feet in fluffy slippers…

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…as a sleepy Mojo gets on with his own type of cosy in the corner. If you can’t wear fluffy slippers then tucking your paws into a fluffy blanket will have to do!

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This really is the sort of job you can do anywhere, and in little bite size pieces too. I’ve packed a few squares, a tapestry needle and a pair of scissors in my handbag and have so far darned in some ends on the bus, in the car, waiting for a dental appointment and even in the queue at the post office! Though I try to be neat and tidy I think I may have left a trail of yarn ends most places I’ve been in recent days. If anyone wanted to track me down they could probably follow a forensic trail of wool, like Hansel and Gretel’s bread crumbs, right back to my front door. Just as well I’m too busy crocheting to get up to no good. The litter squad might be on my case though!

All that intermittent darning is paying off and I’m around two thirds done with it all now.

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berry

I made some notes for my poncho earlier on so I would know how many squares to make but also to remind myself of the yarn type, weight and shade and the hook size I used. I find it’s all too easy to forget those details after the briefest of time lapses if I don’t scribble it down as I go along.

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So far things are adhering nicely to my intended plan and one half of the poncho is ready to be joined. After the monotony of dealing with stray yarn ends, making the finished squares into a useful piece of fabric is always a thrill.

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I can’t wait to be wearing my new blackberry and raspberry poncho. It’s going to be a really warm and toasty addition to my winter wardrobe and will remind me of the autumn sun. I’m going to have many hours of happy hooky, cocooned in there over the next few months, especially as I frugally keep the heating off when it’s just me in the house during the day. I’d better be off then, those ends won’t weave themselves in, more’s the pity.

I’ll be back to share the fruits of my labour with you very soon!

granny-stripe


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Pumpkins, Monsters and Spooks

Yes it’s that time of year again! Out come the woolly blankets, snuggly jumpers, mittens, hats and leg warmers (I feel the cold acutely!). On the plus side, there is suddenly lots more time for designing new crochet creations now all the summer holidays and general fine weather gallivanting is over.

In celebration of this change of seasons I’ve made a new pattern that I hope you’re all going to like!

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So please come along and meet Fred Monster, Gilbert Ghost and Pamela Pumpkin.

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I felt inspired to make them due to the need to brighten up my welsh dressers in light of the lack of light – in the form of sunshine – coming through my kitchen windows recently. I hope these three colourful characters will help to put a smile on your face as we head towards the cold, dark, dank and generally very gloomy months ahead. They’ve certainly cheered me up. They were a pleasure to make and the whole design process went without a hitch this time.

It was a case of doodle…

Halloween-doodles

to done…

spooky-studio

…in no time at all (well, about a week actually, but that’s pretty good going for me!)

These Halloween characters are a good 16″ tall from tip to toe and are weighted with plastic pellets so they can sit solidly on any shelf, table or chair. If you prefer you can leave out the beads and stuff with fiberfill, or similar, for a kid friendly cuddly toy. I don’t really do ‘scary’ when it comes to Halloween, so if you’re a bit of a softy like me then maybe these will appeal to your inner child!

Now I’d like to tell you a little bit more about each one…

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Fred-Heads

Frightful Fred get’s a bit narky when people refer to him only as Frankenstein’s monster.

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It isn’t very good for his self esteem not to have his own identity so he’s claiming back his individuality at last. We discussed what his preferred name might be and ‘Fred’ seemed like a decent, no-nonsense, everyday kind of a name that would be easy to live up to. He’s a down to earth guy at heart, despite his unusual appearance, and would love nothing better than to just fit in with the crowd.

Fred-Heads
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Ghost-Heads

Gilbert is a friendly little chap who really appreciates the ease with which he can blend into the crowds at this time of year.

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He loves to gate crash as many Halloween parties as he can find because most people think he’s wearing fancy dress and consequently hardly ever scream and run away when they see him floating into view. Even the fact that he’s apparently floating is often put down as a perceptual error on behalf of the beholder due to the ingestion of large amounts of witches brew or pumpkin punch. Be sure to look over your shoulder when you go Trick or Treating – Gilbert’s always where the action is, and even though he can’t actually eat any candy himself, being a ghost and all, he does love to watch the smiles on the children’s faces as their goodie bags fill up. Gilbert’s pet spider, Spot, accompanies him on all his ethereal adventures.

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Pumpkin-Heads

Pamela is sporting a happy, zig-zaggy sort of smile because she’s been waiting all summer for harvest time and now it’s finally here.

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Ever since she was a tiny pip pushed into the warm dark soil back in the spring she couldn’t wait for the Fall when the farmer would visit the patch to pick out which pumpkin would be his best bet to win a prize at this year’s horticultural show. Pretty Pamela was duly presented before the judges in the produce tent and was thrilled to win first place in the Miss Gorgeous Gourd category. She’s now looking forward to a great season showing off her veggie credentials, opening supermarkets and doing lots of charity work.

Pumpkin-Heads
Spider-line

Now that I have my Halloween head on I’m going to finish sprucing up my kitchen dressers with a few more spooky decorations then I’ll be back to share the photos with you all. I’m being nagged into it you see. Pamela’s become so used to all the attention lately and is insisting that she get’s to be in at least one more blog post!

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See you all back here soon!


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Blackberries and Raspberries

On the way home from our visit to the Leigh Spinning Mill last weekend, I began another granny square project. It’s a sure fire way to brighten up even the most monotonous stretches of motorway.

Grans

I found these two James C. Brett Marble yarns in pink and purple for £1.99 a ball back at the beginning of the summer, so I snapped up three of each and stashed them away until I could find a use for them.

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 What a heavenly combination, just like raspberries and blackberries, perfect for an autumnal project.

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Blackberries are particularly abundant around here right now. I’ll be having a picking spree soon and baking apple and blackberry pies until everyone is heartily sick of them. An autumn ritual that can’t be dispensed with! On a slightly more unhealthy note these colours also match up perfectly to one of my favourite childhood sweet treats – Raspberry and Blackberry Domes. Anyone else remember these? They look so realistic at first glance.

Rasberry-domes

What a shame they don’t count towards your five-a-day fruit and veg quota. I could happily eat a bucketful of these in one go!

GrannySquares

Motorway journeys are seldom plain sailing these days and it doesn’t take long until we get stuck in loads of traffic, but on the plus side a pile of fruity squares begins to stack up nicely as I while away the snail-pace miles. They’re proving to be just as addictive as the last batch I made. This project might turn into a big one!

Crochet

It feels good to have a change from crocheting shawls. Three in a row from the same pattern is enough for anybody, I’m sure. I had a lot of fun making them though and the pattern was a doddle. Here are the finished ones I made for myself. I’ve had to move my mannekin into the bathroom due to the sheer lack of space in my overcrowded studio, but I think it looks quite nice in there now I’ve got used to it. My crochet projects are stealthily taking over the entire house so it’s only fair that the bathroom should have its fair share too!

Summer-shawls

I’ve just got the edging to finish on the third shawl and a heap of tassels to attach. This one will probably end up as a Christmas gift. I’ve started the process of thinking about who is going to get what this year. I’ve bought my wrapping paper and Christmas cards already. (Well, it is October, there’s no time to lose!)

This is the shawl I started on my seaside holiday in August and it looks like the scales on a mermaid’s tail (or a fish, of course, if you’re the more down to earth type). Those beautiful shimmering greens catch the light so prettily. I hope the recipient I have in mind is going to like it as much as I do. You can find Mimi Alelis’ free shawl pattern at mycrochetstuff.blogspot.co.uk.

Mermaid-Shawl

By following just the first 8 lines I also made a pretty scarf. I used a Rowan yarn by Kaffe Fassett. It’s made of pure lambswool and has hardly any twist to it at all so you have to be quite careful as you work because it can break quite easily. Strictly no yanking or losing your temper with this one! Once it’s taken on a knitted or crocheted structure it’s very sturdy though, so I should be getting a lot of wear out of this as the weather gets colder.

Lattice-scarf

Here’s a close up of the yarn I used (shade 431).

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Because this was bargain bucket yarn and they had it in blue too (shade 432), that’s now also sitting in my stash baskets  waiting for its moment to shine.

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Initially they were bought because they’re pure wool, which I knew would felt really well. My original intention was to make some felted slippers or little crocheted tote bags. I’m still looking forward to getting on with that when I’ve got some extra time.

For now though, I’m well and truly stuck into my next big spare-time project. I’ve got a plan, of sorts, and everything is packed up in a handy basket ready to follow me around for the next few weeks, or maybe months.

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I’d forgotten quite how relaxing it is to make the humble granny square. It will be lovely to get back to basics and crochet away the darker evenings with these berry bursts of scrumptious delight.

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There are plenty of new amigurumi designs to be working on during daylight hours so something a little less mentally taxing will tick all the boxes for the cosy wind-down evenings.

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As long as I get the taxing versus relaxing life balance right, harmony will rule. So here’s looking forward to a happy, hooky, bristling with berries, amigurumi by day, granny squares by night kind of autumn ahead.