Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Lesson of the Sloth

My new pattern has been a lot longer in the making than I had originally anticipated and I’m still not quite there yet, but progress is definitely being made. I’m making a cute and cuddlesome sloth. The lengthy and protracted timescale hasn’t been down to the deadly sin of sloth on my behalf though. In fact quite the opposite. I’ve put a lot of time into this particular design and I’ve made an almost annoying amount of changes to my initial creation. Oh dear, I truly thought I’d have this one sorted and all bundled up into a pretty PDF within a week. Not so!

So far the latest version looks like this…

slocombe

No claws yet, but you can get a good idea of the finished look, though more adjustments have not been ruled out yet! When I began this project I honestly thought that all that would be needed were some minor tweaks of my Orwell the Orangutan pattern. A change to the face, obviously, and the famous three toes instead of those cute little ape hands, but it actually turned out to be much more complicated than that. In the end every body part changed a fair bit but I’m so glad I went the extra mile. One thing the last three years spent immersed in amigurumi design has taught me is that the details really matter.

The first face I made was sort of cute… but not quite the look I was after… on reflection, it did have that air of simmering evil that some sloths have perfected!

slocombe-the-sloth

There are hundreds of sloth pictures on the internet so I had no problems doing a bit of research in front of the computer.

sloth-gallery-2

Apart from when Mojo came to pay me a visit, insisting on planting himself firmly between me and the screen. Yes, you’re just as cute as any sloth Mojo.

mojo-and-the-sloth

I had plenty of suitable yarns in a variety of sloth-like hues in the stash baskets. I chose some of King Cole’s ‘Moments’ yarns for the furry bits. It comes in a wide variety of animal inspired shades, and brighter colours too. I’m using a combination of ‘Squirrel (1612)’, ‘Beaver (497)’ and ‘Koala (499)’ this time.

sloth-yarns

I also fished out the all-natural coloured yarns I bought on my visit to the Toft Alpaca Farm. (If alpacas are your thing, you can read all about that in this blog post). These 100% natural yarns are so soft and tactile to use. They make a nice change from my usual acrylics.

sloth-7

They are just the right colour too. And Mojo sure loves the smell of that alpaca!

mojo-and-the-sloth-3

I’m eventually allowed to continue without further feline intervention.

sloth

When I was imagining the final outcome, I tried to boil down their essential slothiness into a way that could best be interpreted as easily as possible with amigurumi techniques. The main characteristics that set them apart are those dark downward eye markings….

sloth-2

The long, chopstick claws…

sloth-6

…and that look of having stuck their face in the peanut butter jar and eaten the lot, complete with quirky smile that says ‘so what if I have, it was totally worth it’!

sloth-3

I experimented with a couple of different shades of brown for the eye markings and the jury’s still out on which is my favorite. I’ll save that decision for after these two are assembled and finished off.

sloth-heads

To my great consternation, the dark brown furry yarn has posed a bit of a problem for me… Can you see why?

spider-yarn

Any of you out there with a huge spider phobia will have got it right away. Those little trimmings have the most terrible habit of curling up, and out of the corner of my eye they’ve made me jump on more than one occasion. (You really have to be a bona fide arachnophobe to understand!).

Just another reason to try and keep my desk tidy. I’m supposed to be using my trimmings jar to stop the bits getting all over the house but despite Norris’ help and encouragement I keep forgetting!

koala

As a result there are now yarn trimmings in every room in the house and there was enough right down at the bottom of the bed to make a jumper when I last changed the sheets. I think they get stuck to my fluffy bed socks when I’m tramping around the house and then wriggle off at night! Note to self – must try and vacuum a bit more.

So as slow as progress has been with the sloth I have to say that it’s quite a fitting problem to have in this instance. As I said before, it’s not been for lack of dedication to the project but more a case of some painstaking trial and error. It’s lovely when a design just falls effortlessly off the hook, perfect first time around in all respects, but it can’t be guaranteed and in the end it’s more important to get things right than to rush at it. As a consequence he’s still a work in progress, with final tweaks to make over the next few days or so.

This is another early version of the sloth but Orwell doesn’t seem to mind his imperfections.

slocombe-and-orwell

My baby orangutan is a lively bundle of energy and always up to mischief so his new friend might help to slow him down a bit. After all, life’s not a race, it’s a journey.

Lesson learnt – you just can’t rush a good sloth, so with that in mind he’ll be  ready when he’s ready and not a moment sooner. Yup, and I’m totally chilled with that!


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A Change of Scenery

It was only for a few hours but it was certainly a very pleasant change and such a thrill to be heading for the sea again after a long damp, drizzly winter in landlocked Worcester. Despite the day starting amid a deluge of heavy rain, the weather forecast for Wales was optimistic so hubby and I set off on a two hour car ride to the coast. Undeterred by the general drabness outside I got myself comfy in the back seat with my colourful crochet installed in the passenger seat beside me. No room in the front for the both of us you see!

Penarth

Always time for a coffee stop on the way. This magical beany liquid does a good job of stopping me nodding off on car journeys which means super productivity on the granny square front.

Penarth-2

As predicted by those clever people at the Met Office, the clouds started to thin out as we crossed the border into Wales and as soon as we arrived at our destination the sun was out and shining in all it’s radioactive glory.

wheels

Yipee, all my dreams were answered! So we trotted off into town to buy some sandwiches (and some yarn of course) and then headed off to see the sea front.

Penarth-beach

I’ve been using quite a lot of variegated yarns recently for mitten knitting so these new yarns will be a good replacement for the stuff I’ve used up and will be all ready to go when I get the urge to make a few more pairs. Got to keep those stash levels in the healthy ‘full-to-bursting’ category! I made sure to buy some more ‘manly’ colourways too, as my boys are not really into the pretty pink and rainbow look… I’ll save those brighter ones for me.

Oh what a gorgeous view. I love the smell of seaweed and salt and the sound of seagulls and I love walking aimlessly along the shoreline, crunching through the broken shells and shingle, watching the boats go by.

Penarth-sea

All that Ozone makes you hungry though. Good job we got stocked up.

crisp

Time to head back to the sea wall and get munching on our goodies.

picnic

And time too, to square up a few more circles and watch the world sail by.

circless

beachin

We follow the sun down to the waves and away from the shade of the sea wall as the afternoon gets later.

beach-crochet

I could stay here like this forever, but of course it won’t be warm and sunny for much longer and so we move on for a final walk.

beachy

This time we head in the opposite direction and make for the pier.

railings

Watching a big container ship heading for Cardiff is surprisingly engaging!

tanker2

tanker

That’s us two nosey boat watchers on the right and a random nosey boat watcher on the left. It’s so peaceful and calming to just hang around sometimes, doing nothing much, with no particular agenda, simply making time to take in the surroundings and be fully present in the moment.

shadows-on-the-sea

As the early evening chill starts to set in a cup of piping hot tea has the desired warming and revivifying effect as we admire the views from our new vantage point.

penarth-pier

And then it’s time to head off home where I get to add my newly squared circles to the pile of others waiting patiently to become enough to make a blanket.

bunny

Not quite there yet, but it’s jolly good fun trying!

crochet-granny-squares

Now I have a bit of seaside in my latest make. I love how I’ll be reminded of all the places that I’ve been to with my blanket as it continues to grow.

As the weather get ever brighter heading on towards the summer, I’m hoping for plenty more recreational adventures to add to the blankety memory bank, each contained within a random square or two. Granted, I’m not at all likely to remember exactly which square was made where but the tapestry of my travels and travails over the next few months will all be woven in somewhere.


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Blanket Beginnings

It’s been a while since I have had a big project on my hook. The kind that requires a fearsome degree of commitment and a bucketful of love for repetition. Luckily, once I’ve set my mind to something, I have a plentiful resource of both of those things and so – it’s happening again!

It began with a few balls of yarn and some scribbles in my notebook. As soon as I saw how the colours were coming together I knew this was going to be a joy to work.

Circles

Taking a good look around my bedroom I’d decided a while ago it really was in need of cheering up a bit. I’ve painted the walls a soft aqua thinking it would be a very calming colour, and it is, that much is true, but coupled with a plain duvet it’s looking much more dull and boring than restful and relaxing. I’ve looked everywhere for some suitable bedding in just the right colours to give the room a real lift but haven’t found anything I like at all, leading me to conclude that if I can’t find what I want I’ll just have to make it instead. So these new granny squares are already stamped with their new destination and project ‘Spice up the Bedroom’ begins!

So far I’m sticking to this palette, although I always start out with just a few colours and then I’m often tempted to add in more at a later date so I’m making no promises at this point in time about how it might actually end up looking!

circles-7

One thing I am sure about is that this is going to make a very pretty throw for the bed and probably some matching cushions too.

Mojo may be wondering if there’ll be less time for fussing if I’m wrapped up with such a big project. I can see the disapproval on his face already!

circles-8

I’m sure he won’t mind snuggling up on it once it’s finished though and in the meantime he’s quite happy with a bit of lap space while I crochet around him.

mojo-nap

As this project is going to be so large I’ve upgraded my basket from this…

circles-6

…to this.

circles-3

My super sized project basket is now packed up with all the things I’ll need to keep the crochet in full flow. Minnie is already eyeing up the sleeping space potential of yet another cosy, wool lined nest.

circles-4

I’ve made a zillion tiny circles for the centre of each square and have finished some of the first colour combinations. They’re reminding me of all the soft and bright, melt in the mouth candy colours of the Easter holidays so I’m calling this blanket ‘Spring Circles’.

circles2

There have been patches of good weather here and there so I’ve been playing a game of Catch Me if You Can with the sunshine and making sure I get outside when the opportunity arises, to smell the flowers and listen to the birdsong and make a few more squares.

It’s surprising how different the colours look in the unforgiving glare of direct sunlight. They look much stronger and punchier. I’m still liking them though, so I must be onto a winner.

circles-10

Oh, and this time, I’m darning in all the ends as I go.

darning

I can still remember the horror of being faced with sewing in the yarn tails on seventy or eighty squares all at once the last time I made a similar blanket and I’m not revisiting an ocean of darning like that ever again!

Lighter, longer, warmer evenings mean less falling asleep early, or scuttling off to bed with a good book to escape the cold, and more time and energy for creativity. The exrta hours of daylight also mean pyjamas before dark which always feels just a little bit decadent, but oh so good!

pjs

My arc-handled basket is perfect for draping all my colours over so that it’s simply a case of grab and hook. It makes changing colours so easy and I can reach all the different yarn ends even when Pogo hunkers down for his share of lap time – though it would help a lot if he would let go of the end I’m currently in the middle of using.

pogs

Ouchy, those are some serious claws too!

Tigger prefers to use the yarn curtain as a screen for a spot of surreptitious spying. I dread to think what he might be planning. There’s always an evil gleam in Tigger’s eye, but he’s never quite tried to eat us alive yet.

tigger-2

The usual mix of rainy days and sunny spells is nothing at all unusual for April around here, but I really don’t mind what the heavens throw at us. I’m equally happy snugged up indoors watching raindrops trickling down the windows or lolling about outdoors trying to get the sun to coax out an early freckle or two.

lanterns

Crochet, tea and scones make me gloomy weather proof.

Scones

And when the sun shines – I’m gone.

circles-9

This is going to be a lovely project to pass the time, wherever I find myself. A good dose of Sunday Morning crochet in bed is such a great start to the day.

little-circles

Busy hands hooking tiny circles while waiting for the day to get going from the comfort of a king size bed is a wonderful thing indeed. I’m just falling more and more in love with these colours and feel so excited to get it all finished.

circles-blanket

I can’t wait to be waking up every morning to such a bright and cheery eyeful in the form of a beautiful crochet blanket. I reckon my Spring Circles blanket is going to have me leaping out of bed full of the joys of the spring after which they’re named! Well that might be pushing it a bit far, I’m so much more of an owl than a lark, but it’s certainly going to help!


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Pompom Cushion Tutorial

Having had a few requests for how to make my pompom cushion I’ve compiled a more in depth post for those of you who would like to make one or for those that are simply curious about the process of how I turned a heap of pompoms into a useful and sturdy piece of home furnishing.

It’s pretty easy to do but I thought some step by step pictures would help out a bit, as well as a few hints and tips along the way.

pompom-cush

First of all you’ll need to make a whole heap of pompoms. This is not as daunting as it sounds. With a shop bought pompom maker, or even just a simple fork, you can whizz up batches of these in front of the TV, listening to the radio, lolling about in the garden or on long car/train/plane journeys, in the dentist’s waiting room or even talking on the phone. The bit by bit approach is an excellent strategy here.

Pompom making is the ultimate take-anywhere craft. Just be careful where you trim them. Some people get annoyed (sorry hubby) if they turn up to work in a smart suit all ready for their Monday morning meeting only to find they’re covered in a rainbow of fluff that has somehow become stuck to nearly every soft surface in the car.

double-pompoms

For handy tips and tricks to make the perfect pompom see my tutorial here.

double-pompoms

As well as a whole heap of pompoms you’ll need an 18″ round cushion pad and an 18″ zip, a 5 mm crochet hook, some Aran weight yarn (or worsted weight will do), a tapestry needle and a pair of scissors.

For the crochet bases I made two identical circles around 17″ in diameter. Making the crocheted pieces slightly smaller than your cushion pad ensures the finished piece will be nice and puffy once the pad is inserted.

pom4

To speed up the crocheting process use doubled up Aran (worsted weight) yarn with your 5 mm hook. Crocheting with two strands at a time will give you a thick and sturdy fabric that holds it’s shape well and is not prone to too much stretching.

If you’re not familiar with how to make a crochet circle, follow the increase method described in my pattern for recycled cloth  seat pads here. It’s about halfway down the post. Just keep increasing in this way (adding 6 stitches in each round) until your circles are the required size.

double-pompoms

Now you’ve got your crocheted bases and your pompoms ready, or at least enough for the first few rounds (there’s no need to overwhelm yourself and make them all at once) we can get started.

Begin by sewing one of your pompoms to the center of one of your crocheted circles.  I left the tying ends on this pompom and used both of them to sew it securely to the fabric. Tie off and weave in the ends at the back. For the eagle eyed among you, I later cut this pale blue pompom out and replaced it with a dark blue as I liked the look of it better, but you still get the idea, even if I messed up the continuity of the photos. I can get way too fussy sometimes!

pompomtute4

Next, cut a piece of strong yarn  to the required length and thread onto a tapestry needle. Make a string of pompoms by inserting  the tapestry needle through the center of each pompom, making sure your needle goes through the middle of the piece of yarn that you used to tie your pompom strands together.

You can roll the pompom around between your thumb and forefinger to feel for the doughnut shape if it’s not immediately obvious where it’s located. Don’t thread through from the side by mistake as your pompom will be liable to slip off the string.

pompom-string

You can make your pompom strings in any colour combinations you like. Once you’ve decided which colours you’re going to be using, thread enough of the pompoms onto a string that is long enough to encircle the previous round then tie the ends of the string together in a knot.

pom1-and-2

Place on your crocheted circle and use a strand of strong yarn to sew the string down onto the fabric placing one stitch in between each pompom all the way around.

poms-3-and-4

As the strings of pompoms get longer you will find it is useful to use the tail ends from the pompom threading yarn to sew one side in place with a stitch, tying off the yarn at the back of the fabric. Begin sewing between all pompoms from the opposite side of where the pompom string is secured to the fabric. This will help keep the circle in place as you sew.

poms-6-and-6

Measure each subsequent ring of pompoms around the previous one to ensure an exact fit.

pompomtute11

Make sure all stitches go over and under the yarn between each pair of pompoms. Pull on the stitches firmly to make sure each round is secured firmly in place.

poms7-and-8

Carry on in this way attaching the pompoms in rings to the top part of the cushion cover…

poms-9-and-10

…until it is entirely covered.

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Place the back circle onto the top circle and use two pins to mark a place large enough to fit in the zip.

pompomtute17

With a 5 mm hook and doubled up Aran yarn, join the top of the top of the cushion to the back using US single crochets (UK double crochets) through the stitches on the edge of both pieces. Start from point (a) and end at point (b) on pictures above and below.

a

When you reach point (b) continue single crocheting around the edge but now make your stitches in the top part of the cushion cover only. When you reach the end of the gap for the zip you will have arrived back at point (a). Turn your work over and continue crocheting back to point (b) placing your stitches in the back part of the cushion cover only.

ab

Once you reach point (b) again your cushion cover will look like this.

pompomtute25

Fasten off and weave in the yarn ends.

Unzipper the zip and pin into place making sure the teeth of the zip are neatly aligned just a fraction behind the edge of the crocheted pieces. Sew zipper in place with small back stitches.

pompomtute28

Your cushion will now close neatly.

pompomtute29

To hide the joining round of crochet add one more string of pompoms using the same technique as before.

pompomtute30

Once the joining round is covered with pompoms you’re all finished.

finished-pompom-cushion

I will guarantee this is going to be the comfiest cush your tush has ever sat on!

As you can tell, all my cats are pleased as punch with it!

four-cats

I just want to know – when will it be my turn?!


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Curlicue the Unicorn

Hurrah! I finished my unicorn pattern last week. This one is very special because she has wings. I’ve heard people say that Pegasus is the only winged, odd toed ungulate mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae – but that’s just not true as you can see from my photographs of this elusive and magical creature.

Winged-Unicorn-(2)

Winged-Unicorn-2

I think the misinformation of a unicorn never having wings has come about simply because the wingless species is seen much more frequently roaming around in its twilight forest habitat than the winged type – who tends to prefer flitting about from cloud to cloud, mainly hidden from people’s everyday line of sight.

Unicorns-can-fly

In honour of her ringletted mane and tail this unicorn is named Curlicue.

I made her up in a sparkly silver grey yarn first of all before experimenting with a sparkly magenta.

Unicorn-lunch

Everyone knows that a unicorn has to be white but it’s wholly acceptable to make yours in a multitude of different mane colours. There’s a lot of unicorn diversity out there. Once you’ve learnt to spot these shy and skittish creatures you’ll be noticing a whole rainbow of them. Inspired by such a thought I tried out a couple of pretty variegated yarns as well.

twonicorns

All the usual stages of pattern designing have been diligently worked through. From the original sketches and yarn sourcing…

Winged-Unicorn

…to the working out of stitch counts, special techniques and embellishment details.

unicorn-sketchwork

Then the pattern testing stage, which is where I always enjoy mixing up the colours a bit to make sure the repetition of making several of the same thing doesn’t get too boring.

unicorn-pattern

Now I have a small herd in different colours all for myself.

four-unicorns

I have to admit to loving them all and if I had more spare time I’d like to make a unicorn in every kind of speciality yarn I could find. It is, however, time to move on to some other work for now. Four unicorns in enough to be going on with.

After the unicorn pattern was finished I got busy tidying up my desk in readiness for other work commitments that are due to be starting over the next few days. See, I have my surfaces back!

my-desk

Tidying as I go along – give or take a day or two – is my new cast iron rule. Though it is very tempting to just rush headlong into the next project and the next ball of yarn, it’s ultimately much more satisfying to do it in a clean and clutter free environment. A neat start every time I’m on the cusp of a new venture ensures I don’t get into too much of a yarn-tangly pickle!

unicorns-and-a-donkey

Among upcoming new ventures is is the preparation of my single purchase alpaca pattern ready for listing in my online shops.  (If you don’t want to wait you can get her pattern in the Zoomigurumi 5 book right now).

Just like with the unicorns, I had a great time making these up in a whole host of different colours. However, I think I got a bit carried away with these, even by my own definition, and went overboard with the re-makes. Two others have gone off to new homes as well, taking the grand total of alpacas up to ten! They are very quick to make though, and I adore working with that super soft, fluffy yarn. It gives such great results.

DSCN9893

This pink one is a favorite of mine. She’s become a favorite of Charlie Chick’s too.

lpaca-and-chick

Over the next week or so I’ll be getting involved in more pattern testing for a new circus themed book from amigurumipatterns.net. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it turns out. I’ve got two different designs going into this one, both of which I’ve sent off to the publisher already so it’s only a case of making whatever tweaks are necessary after the other testers have run through the patterns.

The trapeze mice have had their second incarnation.

trapezes

And so have Diggory and Dave, the lively little dancing dogs.

dig-dav

This could be the most colourful book to date. I think you’re going to love all the circus accessories and fancy outfit details that accompany each character.

Here’s a sneak peak at the front cover flanked by my two contributions to give you a feel of all that Big Top Magic coming your way. I’m very excited about this one and can’t wait to see how it looks when it’s all put together!

circus-book

My spare time project – the Spring Circles blanket is making progress too. I have an audience of fascinated quadrupeds who are all very interested in what’s going on.

unicorn-herd

I sure have plenty of things to keep me busy right now. There’s never a dull moment around here so long as there’s a hook and some yarn to hand!

three-unicorns

It’s lunch time for the unicorns, looks like they’re having a meal of golden hay and daisies. Sounds delicious, but I’m off for a more mundane cheese and pickle sandwich myself.