Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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New Additions

Lots of new things have been happening around here over recent months. Mainly in the form of new amigurumis, patterns and patterns-in-progress but we have had another addition to the clan which isn’t actually crocheted for once! Can you guess? If it’s not crocheted then it must be… a cat! And so I’m really excited to introduce you to our lovely Laddie.

As you’ve probably gathered, he’s got quite a pronounced cleft lip but other than slightly bowed legs and a few oddly formed toes on his front feet – none of which seems to bother him in the slightest – he’s a regular friendly, sweet-natured, slightly scruffy old tabby cat. No one knows exactly what his age is as he was discovered in my mother-in-law’s garden where he appeared from the hedgerow as a flea-bitten, skinny stray about twelve years ago.

The Cats Protection charity estimated he was maybe between 5 and 7 years old back then, so he is probably at least 17 by now. My mother-in-law is obviously considerably older than that (unless you take the old cat years maths equation into account) and due to her advancing years has been finding it difficult to care for him recently. We eventually ended up bringing him home with us and hoped and prayed he would settle in OK – especially as we already have two other cats to think about and Laddie is used to being the star of his one cat show.

They are all keeping their distance from each other for the most part, with just the odd growl and hiss if any of them get too close and even that’s getting better by the day as they all learn about how to share the space with the new dynamic going on. They’re not exactly best friends yet but they seem to be putting up with each other tolerably well.

I think the look on Mojo’s face says it all…

And Laddie’s expression isn’t much better – although the lack of a top lip always makes him look a little on the grumpy side!

Despite by best efforts in encouraging Laddie to take his many and prolonged naps in an actual cat bed he has decided that my crochet corner is his favorite spot in the whole house.

He has definitely made himself at home there. He’s quite a poser too!

He’s as keen on finding out more about my crochet as the other cats are and likes to get in on the act if there’s a camera clicking away.

And if he’s not in my comfy armchair he occasionally prefers to groom and snooze, equally inconveniently, on the chair in front of my computer…

…as well as taking a regular prowl up and down my desk – usually when I’m trying to edit photos or write up patterns there!

As if I didn’t already have enough cat hair to combine with the yarn fluff floating around the place! Oh well, with my excessive love of yarn and cat’s I’ve long ago resigned myself to a daily anti-histamine tablet and sporadic bouts of violent sneezing.

On the crochet front my latest finished creation and addition to the family is a super cuddly version of my Bobbin the Bear pattern using James C. Brett’s Flutterby Chunky yarn. I got the idea from seeing SherrasYarnTails version of my monkeys in the February Ami-Along at amigurumipatterns.net (there’s a lovely photo of her monkey duo in this blog post). As soon as I saw them I was itching to have a go with some chunky chenille yarn myself.

This is probably the easiest and fastest to complete pattern in my collection so it was the perfect choice for a car journey up North to visit relatives. I managed to make several pieces in the car and then finished off the rest of the bits once I got home.

As Laddie is so often sprawled out in my studio armchair I’ve recently taken to crocheting on the sofa in the kitchen. We had a bit of a revamp of the whole room a month ago and now I love it in here so much! It’s bright and airy and the addition of the sofa means I can put my feet up and get really comfortable while I while away the hours with yarn and hook.

Naturally, Mojo and Rubick are just as keen on the new piece of furniture as I am, so there is a bit of a turf war going on here as well as upstairs in my studio with Laddie. I might as well just bin all of the cat beds I’ve bought!

At least they’ve been kind enough to leave me a little space in the middle.

Progress on the chenille bear crept on until she was all done and looking very cute in her frilly top. Now it’s her turn to have a lounge around on the sofa. This yarn was gorgeous to crochet with. It’s soft and sumptuous and I really love the almost pixelated effect of the chunky stitches. I shall definitely be working with it again in the near future.

As well as this bit of up-sizing I’ve been doing some more down-sizing too.

As it was time for Drake the Dragon’s pattern to go to single release I wanted to work through the final PDF to double check for errors, cross referencing it with the original version. I’ve already made about five Drake’s during the process of designing and checking the written instructions for the Dragons, Unicorns and More Fantasy Amigurumi book so I thought it would make the repetition of this task more interesting if I made my dragon in 4 ply yarn with a 1.75 mm hook instead of the usual DK yarn and a 3 mm hook.

I had some 12 mm cat style safety eyes which were the perfect fit. A pair of good quality glass eyes really bring a creature to life.

This cute mini project traveled with me around the house and in the car for a week or so until finally a baby dragon was born!

Drake and Dora were thrilled when their little dragonling was eventually hatched.

They’ve named him Daniel and you can see how they dote on him already!

While I was scouting around for more 4 ply yarn I found these cute as a button tiny 10 gram balls by Katia Yarns (I bought mine from a local market but you can get them online here).

Before long I had crocheted a sweet toadstool and just a little bit later, inspired by all the beautiful new colours I had just purchased I’d hooked up a whole lot more than I’d originally intended.

Now I have a bumper crop to turn into bag charms, ready for my next craft show.

I’ll be making a free pattern for them soon which I’ll post on this blog once it’s ready.

In other crochet news that is not amigurumi related, I have been very hard at work in the evenings making 100 crochet flowers for a friends country themed wedding later this year.

The Bride-to-be wants 50 crocheted sunflowers and 50 crocheted daisies. No small order, but once I got into the flow it was very enjoyable and has brightened up more than a few wintry evenings, daydreaming of the summer and all the wedding fun to be had this June.

Rubick is very serious about guarding the daisies from harm…

…and his diligent care meant that I finished all 100 without a hitch and now have them ready for delivery to the bride.

My granny stitch shawl, pulled from an old magazine, is progressing nicely. I’m having to add on a few rows to the original pattern, otherwise it would have been finished by now. The model in the photo must be the size of an average eight year old! Either that or my tension is way tighter than it should be. I’ve got plenty of this tweedy looking yarn left so luckily it’s not going to be a problem to make it a bit bigger.

And it’s a good job I do have lots of spare yarn because it looks like I’m going to have to make a blanket version for Rubick and Mojo and as well. It’s been a great hit with them both. Perhaps if I cover one of their cat beds with it I’ll get my sofa back!

Other things I’m currently working on are some mini hedgehogs…

…and last but not least, a revamped version of my Hazel the Rescue Cat pattern. It’s taking way longer than I had hoped because I can’t decide how many different kinds of cats to include (there will be at least four options) and I’m also still undecided as to how to write them all up in the most economical way possible without too much unnecessary repetition of the instructions. One thing I do know is that one of the options is going to be a tabby in honour of Laddie.

I already have a Rubick doppelganger…

…so I guess it has to be Mojo’s turn next. Then I’m thinking that a Siamese, a calico, a tortoiseshell and maybe a longhair would be fun to make too. After all you can never have too many cats around (said the mad cat lady!)


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Monkey Madness!

A big thanks to all of you who joined in with the February Ami-Along over at amigurumipatterns.net.

I managed to get my mini versions finished in time to show them off on the forums so now Mavis and Marvin have their hands full with their little monkey twins. Imagine the chaos these two are going to bring… and the love too, of course!

I really enjoyed seeing all the amazingly inventive interpretations of my design. Mavis and Marvin have never looked so good! Here’s a little montage of some of my favorites (if yours is there and you have a social media you’d like me to add, please feel free to let me know).

From top left to bottom right the creators of these cheeky monkeys are: Amigurumiliker, anggihyuka, BeetleAtBay, Bashacat, bonekikinhos, ChantalO, cherryltf, ChiaraFirever, defysocietyarts, Iamthedishwasher, Jellybubble18, JenniD, PenguinPlaceCrafts, lynda, MamaPia, Mikkycrafts, NomadCreation, PerImpStitches, sandaroo, Pipsqueak,  Sharnie, sloviska, Dace, Telle and last but not least, Yarnimals.

I love how they are all so different!

There are always lots of prizes on offer at the Ami-Alongs and this one was no exception.

Because this was the February event, and ran close to Valentine’s Day, the hosts of the Ami-Along awarded a prize for the most romantic picture which was won by Amigudolls. Two little monkeys with tails entwined in the shape of a love heart. Awww, just too cute!

Love was definitely in the air because HoneyBunnyAmigurumis won the prize as the most voted for by fellow Ami-Alongers with this heart-meltingly sweet bride and groom.

I was given the very difficult task of choosing a personal favourite and after much deliberation eventually plumped for this 1920’s looking Flapper couple by CheerfulChameleon.

I’m really rather envious of that magnificent fringed dress and all of the fancy jewellery. Her very dapper partner looks like a million dollars too. Wherever they’re planning on heading off to, I have a feeling these two are going to have a fabulous time painting the town red, all dressed up to the nines.

NinaLisa made a beautiful pink furry version, with the suitably glamorous name of Malvina.,,

…as well as a more traditional monkey pair to which she added a cute, smiley banana friend (free banana pattern by Barbara Strasser of Esbelotta.com here)

MadMomAli made a couple of monkeys in Hogwarts House colours. Now there is no mistaking where their allegiances lie!

And I am in love with this photo from myrtille95470 of her newly crocheted monkey wasting no time in making a firm friend of her cat.

And isn’t this photo of lucyjay’s three monkeys in the classic ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ poses wonderful!

Secretsparrow made a very inventive superhero trio. I feel sure that world is a much safer place now we have these fighting on the side of all that’s good!

These chunky monkeys by SherrasYarnTails, made with bulky weight Premier Parfait chenille yarn, has got me all excited to have a go at supersizing some of my other amigurumis.

I’ve been having trouble sourcing a similar yarn that’s available in the UK but have managed to find a selection by James C. Brett called Flutterby Chunky. The colours are quite limited but I can imagine a teddy bear in the lovely soft tones that I’ve been able to get hold of.

It will make a nice change from all the recent downsizing I’ve been doing. It’s a lot of fun making mini-gurumis with 4 ply yarn and a 1.75 mm hook but it really makes my hands ache after a while! I hope that crocheting with this thick chenille yarn will be a little kinder on my wrists and knuckles.

If I can find a similar yarn in a dark brown I shall attempt a maxi-gurumi monkey or two to add to my ever growing collection of primates (and a sloth).

What a lot of crochet going on! The Ami-Alongs happen regularly every month where a different designer gets to showcase a brand new and exclusive design. It’s been great fun and such a lovely way to connect with fellow amigurumi enthusiasts. I’ve shared tips, tricks, and anecdotes and have learnt a lot from others too! Thanks so much to all who joined in for your enthusiasm, support and general chit-chat. If you haven’t had a go at one of these yet but it sounds like something you might be interested in then check out the latest news on the  Ami-Along page to see what’s happening at the moment!

(If you’re a monkey fan and missed this event, Marvin and Mavis’s pattern is now available as a single pattern purchase here).

I’m working on another free pattern for a little toadstool bag charm at the moment so expect another blog post soon! In the meantime Mavis, Marvin, the twins and myself all bid you goodbye and wish you many hours of happy crocheting!


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Mavis and Marvin Monkey

Hello there and Happy Valentine’s to you all!

If you want to show your crochet the love here’s a heads up to get ready for a whole lot of merriment because Mavis and Marvin the mischievous monkeys are coming over for a play-date! In fact, as of today, their pattern will be available exclusively for one month over at Amigurumipatterns.net’s Ami-Along. As an extra bonus all Ami-Along participants can get 30% off all my other patterns in my AmigurumiPatterns Moji-Moji Design shop!

Mavis and Marvin are bursting with energy and love making their friends smile with their clever aerobic antics, so be sure to take them to the park where they can burn off all that energy. But be warned! Unless you are an Olympic athlete you may find it a challenge to keep up with them as they jump all over the swings and swing all over the climbing frames. Those curly monkey tails just love to wrap around anything they can find. If Mavis and Marvin should disappear for a while don’t forget to check the tree tops. That’s where they usually like to hide away.

You will probably be able to tempt them back to earth with a handful of roasted peanuts and foam banana sweets. As these are their favorite treats you could even use the promise of them to encourage Mavis and Marvin to sit quietly for a minute (but absolutely no more than that – I can assure you!).

I was asked to come up with a brand new design especially for the Ami-Along in the middle of January and it’s been a great kick start to the new year. As usual I began with a quick sketch in my dog-eared graph paper note book.

And it wasn’t long before a cute crocheted face followed.

There was a bit of tweaking and refining to do but this little monkey pattern went smoothly right from the start. It was fun to play around with the colours for the clothing.

 

Next thing I knew,  I had a boy monkey swinging off my hook and dashing around the studio too.

Marvin sports a smart bow tie at his neck and a straight hem on his sweater. Mavis’s has a scalloped edge and she wears a little bow proudly on her ear, making her the prettiest primate for miles around.

But what they both have in common is a love of stripes, a cheeky smile and the curliest tails you ever did see!

A lot of note taking and a heap of pattern writing later and I’ve got almost enough to make a whole troop.

I’ve even started on a couple of baby monkeys made with 4 ply yarn and a 1.75 mm hook. Oh my goodness! They are turning out so sweet!

I hope to be back to share a little more of the mini monkeys’ progress along with a round up of other news soon. I’m planning on finishing sewing mini Marvin together this afternoon. Well there are certainly worse ways to spend the day!

I’ll also be hopping in and out of the forums, answering questions and sharing tips and tricks (for the next month) so do come on over, share your progress and ask away!

Mavis, Marvin and myself are very much looking forward to meeting you there and seeing what ape-mazing amigurumis you create!

 


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Mini Christmas Stocking Pattern

It’s never too early to start your Christmas prep! Well, that’s what I think anyway, and if you agree with me you might like to start by hooking up a few miniature stockings to get you in the mood. If that’s simply a far too bonkers idea in February don’t forget to bookmark or download the pattern for later on in the year.

These dinky little socks are approximately 5″ (13 cm) long – so they’re the perfect size for pixies, elves and fairies to hang by the fireplace on Christmas Eve. If you happen to be a human they might be a bit small for that but you can employ them for a multitude of other uses instead.

They make fabulous tree decorations, mini gift bags, party favors, festive dinner table knife and fork holders or – if you are feeling very industrious – how about making a set of 24 for an advent calendar? String them up, number them and stuff with sweets and tiny treats to really build that Christmas excitement.

I made two calendars last year and really would recommend getting stuck in as soon as possible if you fancy having a go at that. I’s best to look on it as a bit of a crochet marathon and not a sprint – if you want to avoid a repetitive strain injury that is. In this case it really is slow and steady that wins the race.

For the stockings above I used a combination of James C. Brett’s Twinkle Range and various other glittery yarns that I have collected over the years. Being the magpie that I am, any yarn with a hint of a bling has to come home with me to brighten up my nest.

I also have a great back up plan for when I can’t find the exact shade of sparkly yarn I need. I get my little elf helper to wind some balls of plain acrylic doubled up with a thin strand of silver thread I bought a while ago off eBay. The cone cost around £12 but as there’s at least a squillion yards on there I reckon it was really good value. I don’t think I’ll have to be stocking up on that again anytime soon!

If you don’t have a wool winder, or a helpful elf, to combine the two threads into one ball, you can just ply them as you crochet. The latter technique can get a bit tangly if you’re not too careful though, so beware and take your time, paying special attention not to get in a knot while you’re working on the stripes.

Feeling a Christmas tingle yet? If you are then go gather up your supplies and let’s get hooking a stocking 🙂

Materials:
Each stocking requires around 5 grams each of light tone and dark tone DK yarn in a colour of your choice and 10 grams of white DK yarn.

You’ll also need a 2.5 mm crochet hook, a pair of scissors, a yarn needle and a decorative button.

*click here for a printable version of this pattern*

Pattern notes:
This pattern uses US sc (UK dc) throughout.

When making the stripes be sure to carry the unused yarn up the inside of the work. There’s no need to cut and tie off every time you change colour.

Crochet over all the yarn ends as you finish with them (apart from the final white yarn ends on the cuff and toe) so there will be hardly any darning in to do afterwards.

Cuff – Working in rows, in back loops only.

With White yarn make 13 ch (foundation chain).
Row 1: Starting in second ch from hook, sc in each st to end, turn. (12 sts)

Note: 1 ch at start of each row does not count as a st.
Rows 2-31: 1 ch, sc in each st to end, turn. (12 sts) (30 rows)
Row 32: 1 ch, sc in each st to end.

Closing Row: (Right side) 1 ch, fold cuff in half length ways, taking care to line up the row ends. Making sure stitches go through both layers to join: sc in each of next 32 row ends.
Cut White yarn, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Leg – Working in continuous spiral rounds.

Leave a white yarn end for sewing up the back of the cuff later. Crochet over all other yarn ends as you go.
Rnd 1: 
With Right Side facing, pull up a loop of Dark Tone yarn in the last st of the Closing Row, 1 ch (does not count as a st), sc in same st as join, sc in first st of Closing Row to join into a circle, then sc in each of next 30 st. (32 sts)

Rnd 2: Sc in each st around.
Change to Light Tone yarn.

If you prefer you can slst loosely in the first stitch to help minimise the ‘step’ between the colours.


Rnds 3-4: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Change to Dark Tone yarn.
Rnds 5-6: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Change to Light Tone yarn.
Rnds 7-8: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Change to Dark Tone yarn.
Rnds 9-10: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Change to Light Tone yarn.
Rnds 11-12: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Change to Dark Tone yarn.
Rnds 13-14: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Cut Dark Tone yarn. Change to Light Tone yarn.
Rnds 15-16: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Cut Light Tone yarn and mark the stitch directly under the split at the back of the cuff.

Heel – Working in rows.

Pull up a loop of White yarn in the seventh stitch to the right of the marked stitch. 1 ch (does not count as a st) sc in same st as join, sc in each of next 14 st, turn. (15 sts)

Note: 1 ch at start of each row does not count as a st.
Row 2: 1 ch, sc in each of next 10 st, turn. (10 sts)
Row 3: 1 ch, sc in each of first 5 st, turn. (5 sts)

Row 4: 1 ch, sc in each of next 5 st, sc in next st of Row 1, turn. (6 sts)

Row 5: 1 ch, sc in each of next 6 st, sc in next st of Row 2, turn. (7 sts)

Crocheting in each extra stitch from the row below creates the shaping for the heel.

Row 6: 1 ch, sc in each of next 7 st, sc in next st of Row 1, turn. (8 sts)
Row 7: 1 ch, sc in each of next 8 st, sc in next st of Row 2, turn. (9 sts)
Row 8: 1 ch, sc in each of next 9 st, sc in next st of Row 1, turn. (10 sts)
Row 9: 1 ch, sc in each of next 10 st, sc in next st of Row 2, turn. (11 sts)
Row 10: 1 ch, sc in each of next 11 st, sc in next st of Row 1, turn. (12 sts)
Row 11: 1 ch, sc in each of next 12 st, sc in next st of Row 2, turn. (13 sts)
Row 12: 1 ch, sc in each of next 13 st, sc in next st of Row 1, turn. (14 sts)
Row 13: 1 ch, sc in each of next 14 st, sc in next st of Row 2. (15 sts)
Cut White yarn.

Foot – Working in continuous spiral rounds.

Rnd 1: Pull up a loop of Dark Tone yarn in st at center of Row 13 of heel (there should be 7 heel stitches either side of this stitch), 1 ch (does not count as a st) sc in same st, sc in each of next 7 st of heel, skip first st of leg, sc in each of next 15 st, skip next st, sc in each of next 7 st of heel. (30 sts)

Rnd 2: Sc in each st around.
Change to Light Tone yarn.
Rnds 3-4: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Change to Dark Tone yarn.
Rnd 5-6: Sc in each st around.
Cut Dark Tone Yarn. Change to Light Tone yarn.
Rnds 7-8: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Cut Light Tone yarn.

Toe – Working in continuous spiral rounds.

Change to White yarn.
Rnd 1: Sc in each st around.

Rnd 2: [Sc in each of next 8 st, dec] 3 times. (27 sts)
Rnd 3: [Sc in each of next 7 st, dec] 3 times. (24 sts)
Rnd 4: [Sc in each of next 2 st, dec] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 5: [Sc in next st, dec] 6 times. (12 sts)
Rnd 6: Dec 6 times. (6 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for finishing. Thread yarn tail onto yarn needle, pick up front loop only of remaining 6 stitches. Pull tight to close the hole. Fasten off.

Weave in end. Sew back seam of Cuff together. Weave in the yarn ends.b Sew a decorative button to front center of Cuff.

Closing Loop
Leaving a long yarn tail at beginning, pull up a loop of White yarn in stitch at middle of back half of Cuff, make 12 ch (you may need to adjust your chain length to suit your button size), fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for sewing.
Thread yarn tail onto yarn needle. Insert needle into base of 12 ch and tie yarn tails together. Weave in ends.

Hanging loop
Leaving a long yarn tail at beginning, pull up a loop of White yarn in stitch at back edge of Cuff, in line with back of heel, make 24 ch, fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for sewing.
Thread yarn tail onto yarn needle. Insert needle into base of 24 ch and tie yarn tails together. Weave in ends.

Fill with treats and put Closing Loop over button to close the top of the Stocking.

*click here for a printable version of this pattern*

xxx 🙂 Happy Hooking! 🙂 xxx

 


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Zoomigurumi 8

 

Well here we go again! It’s time for Zoomigurumi 8 already. Yet another fantastic collection of amigurumi toys to delight the young and the young at heart. I’m definitely in the second category these days but that’s a whole lot better than not being in either!

My Pablo the Parrot has made the grade this year and is featured on pages 63-69 where there are lots of photos of him showing off his wonderful plumage as well as some step by step pictures to help with making him.

Pablo likes dancing to Flamenco music. He reckons his frills and ruffs are a match for any of those man-made fancy pants outfits he’s seen the professional dancers wearing on the telly.

This chatty parrot will tell you all about himself and his hobbies if you take the time to ask him. To be honest, he’ll even tell you if you don’t ask him!

Pablo is keeping company with a host of other cute ‘n’ quirky creatures nestled within the pages of Zoomigurumi 8.

 

There’s the usual wide variety of styles and skill levels, though there’s nothing in there that a dedicated beginner couldn’t handle. That’s the joy of amigurumi… It’s very easy to get the hang of and once your flying with that hook it’s just so much fun honing those skills.

This time around I had the pleasure of testing out Elisa Sartori’s Woody the Beaver pattern. He’s such a sweetie. I adore his goofy teeth and that adorable flippy floppy tail finishes him off a treat.

You can see more of her lovely patterns at her Etsy shop – Elisa’s Crochet. It’s well worth a look if you like your amigurumis bursting with character!

This chap is Woody by name and Woody by nature. He loves to get his teeth stuck into anything made out of trees so, to save my furniture, I have added twigs and pine cones to the list of things to bring back from my river walks and they’re keeping him out of trouble so far!

Designing Pablo was a bit of a challenge as I wanted to work out a simple way to make the many different coloured ruffles without any sewing together.

It took a few attempts but I got there in the end and found a super simple solution. Working out the best maths for the decreases while still allowing for the correct number of stitches to create full rounds of shell stitches was the most difficult part but I landed on a very elegant equation and now I’ve done all the hard work so you don’t have to!

Picking out colours for this design was high up on my list of the fun things I got to do.

I have no shortage of yarn in every imaginable colour so I soon also had an alternative to Pablo’s brilliant blues.

As these little birds are so quick to whip up it wasn’t long until Pablo had found himself a buddy. I love a rainbow so, working with that idea, I came up with a simplified colour combo for a ruby macaw. She’s called Scarlett and the pair of them couldn’t be happier together!

Love is, quite literally, in the air. Aww, how tweet!

In fact things are going so well that Pablo has asked Scarlett to marry him.

And she said YES!

So then they asked Woody to be Best Man.

And he said YES! too. Happy Days!

No wonder Woody looks so insanely happy. I’m sure the parrots would too if it wasn’t for those awfully stiff beaks of theirs.

I have a feeling there are many more stories to be told by the characters in this book once they’ve jumped off the hook. I’d love to hear what yours get up to!

You can order paperback copies over at AmigurumiPatterns.Net where you’ll be able to download the PDF version too, so there’s nothing to stop you getting stuck in straight away. The perfect solution for keeping you busy while you await your precious package!

🙂 Wishing you a zillion hours of zany Zoomigurumi 8 fun 🙂

 


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From Autumn to Winter

The transition through the seasons is never a straightforward one here in England. The weather can pretty much do anything at anytime but there is usually an overall trend that can be easier to see in retrospect. True to form, the weather has been unseasonably warm one day and then unseasonably cold the next over the past few weeks.

I have enjoyed a splendid autumn and thanks, in part, to spraining my wrist – which has made amigurumi-ing a bit of a challenge to say the least, I’ve found other crafts and activities that aren’t so taxing to take it’s place for a bit while my ligaments heal and right themselves ready for a new start in the New Year. Heaven forbid I should sustain permanent damage and never be able to make amigurumi again! My heart truly sinks at such a thought.

I’ve started running to fill the gap and have rediscovered my love of the great outdoors.

Sunshine or frost, it’s feels fabulous and energizing to get outside and see what’s going in the big wide world on a much more regular basis.

It’s all too easy to stay tucked up inside but I have to say I feel so much better for making myself get up and go!

I took an expedition to find some conkers and stumbled on a bumper crop thanks to a storm the day before.

A walk or jog around the river is always a tonic and sunny autumn days are my favorite kind.

The colours are so beautiful and I love the crunch of crispy leaves underfoot.

I feel so lucky to have all this practically on my doorstep.

Of course it’s lovely to get tucked up indoors too, and feels even better after a good foray outdoors. 

We’ve been carving pumpkins for the hearth…

…and making and displaying my crocheted pumpkin collection too…

These crocheted gourds were not very taxing to make and I spent quite a few cosy October evenings sewing up the flat rib sections to make little three dimensional balls of autumnal loveliness. Check out the free pattern here.

Rubick is very proud of my handiwork and was very happy to lend his innate Halloweeniness to the photos.

What a handsome chap <3

We’ve had plenty of snuggle time with my recently completed Persian Tiles project and so I thought I’d get busy on another cosy throw. There can never be too many blankets. That’s one thing the cats and I can always agree on.

While tight little amigurumi stitches are a challenge right now I’m not experiencing the same problems with granny blankets, so that seemed one of the obvious ways to channel my creative energy.

I began this grey tone blanket sometime last year but ended up shelving it when life got too busy. I didn’t actually remember just how many hexagons I’d made so I was pleasantly surprised by the larger than anticipated  amount when I eventually dug them out of the old pillowcase into which they’d been stuffed. 

It’s been blissfully therapeutic joining them all together. I usually go for brighter colours but have to admit there is something serenely soothing about a palette of greys. And very wintry too so it’s a perfect project for a frosty November/December.

And what do the Mojo and Rubick think?

They think it’s mighty fine of course!

Though Rubick prefers the basket with all the yarn in if the truth be told.

Or sometimes a shopping bag is just as nice, especially if your human is planning on leaving for a trip to town with it right at that very moment.

As well as blanket making I also gave a class on amigurumi to a group of lovely ladies. They made some snowmen and even the absolute beginners made good progress over our hour and a half session. I’d like to do more of these next year as it was such fun and so nice to get to know a bunch of new people and teach them all the basics and not so basics depending on their different skill levels. I even learnt a few new tricks myself off some of them!

I thoroughly enjoyed making up these cute little kits to take to the lessons. There is something very satisfying about getting a production line going and seeing it all come together.

My free pattern for the Mini Snowmen is here if you need a few for your tree or as cracker gifts, present toppers, party favors, keyrings or any other uses that spring to mind.

Because one project is never enough, alongside my winter hexie blanket I am also working on a poncho design picked out of an old magazine I was browsing. I can’t resist a pretty poncho and as I had a bunch of gorgeous yarn in beautiful mottled shades just waiting for their moment to shine this seemed to be the ideal marriage.

These big loose granny shells in double crochets are bliss to make. And so fast with a chunky hook. It’s a super simple pattern consisting of two large triangles joined together so it’s perfect the car journeys and bus journeys and really just anytime at all where too much concentration is a tall order.

Sculpey crafting has been another fun revelation and addition to my craft catalogue. I’ve made a few Christmas presents with this oven bake clay. I’ll  reveal all once the intended recipients have opened their pressies on Christmas day, but in the mean time I can show you some little buttons I’ve made.


Some of them are a little rough and ready, but not bad for a first attempt. I see great possibilities here. It can be tricky, and expensive too, to find just the right colour, size and shape of buttons to adorn my amigurumis so I’m thrilled to have discovered a fast and easy way to make my own.

With all these other projects going on, and still mostly trying to avoid any large doses of amigurumi while I’m on the mend, I decided to have a go at tidying my studio. When I decide to have a sort out things always get worse before they get better – as you can clearly see below!

I wish I could show you the finished heavenly bliss of a fully functioning immaculately tidy studio space but let’s just say I’m not quite there yet. Maybe next time I’ll be able to reveal what it would look like in a perfect world (if I haven’t messed it up again by then!).

I’ll leave you with a hint of a project that I began working on a while ago…

I’m hoping to write up a free pattern for it very soon. It’s Christmas related, as you can probably guess from the twinkles in the yarn, so I really need to get a move on with that one.

If you’re in the mood for some festive crochet you could always make a Penny the Pine Tree. 

She’ll add a bit of seasonal charm to your creative space and transforms from pine tree to Christmas tree with the addition of shiny decorations in the form of pins.

In any decor scheme there’s always room for one more tree. Especially a little one like this!


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Pretty Little Pumpkins

pumpkin borderI hope you all had a spookylicious time this Halloween! Now some of you might think it’s a little late in the day for a pumpkin pattern – but in my view pumpkins are for all of autumn and not just for carving freaky faces into. So, undaunted by the lateness of the hour, I’ve been busy stirring a potion in my crochet cauldron to bring you a pattern for a crop of gorgeous gourds.

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There are three sizes to choose from, all on the smallish side and all quick and simple to make. Whether you’re into Halloween shenanigans or not these are perfect for adding a touch of autumnal charm, even after the real pumpkins are past their best by dates.
pumpkin-sketchwork
To make each pumpkin you will need around 6-12 grams of DK yarn. Pretty much any yarn will do but I used James C. Brett’s Twinkle range for this because they come in the most lovely colours and are as cheap as they are cheerful. With so many long dark evenings ahead of us it’s lovely to have some sparkle around the house at this time of year to brighten things up a bit.
pumpkin-materials
You’ll also need a 3 mm crochet hook, a pair of scissors and a yarn needle. Lastly, add in some polyester toy stuffing (and maybe a steaming mug of spiced pumpkin latte) and we’re ready to go.

(Click here to download a printable version)pumpkin border
Pattern notes:
This pattern uses US sc (UK dc) throughout.

Leave a 4″ yarn tail at the beginning of the foundation chain for tying off the gathered crochet fabric later.

The pumpkins can be made in a single colour or, if you prefer stripes, you can change colours every two rows.

You will need approx 12 g of yarn for the large pumpkin, 8 g for the medium one and 4 g for the small one.

For the pumpkin body make all stitches in the back loops only (see below).
pumpkin-foundation-chainblo-photos
Working rows in the back loops only creates the ribs that give the pumpkin its structure.pumpkin-stripspumpkin borderLarge Pumpkin (9 cm diameter)
Make all stitches in back loops only.
With Color 1 make 25 ch (foundation chain).
Row 1: (Right side) Starting in second ch from hook, sc in each st to end, turn. (24 sts)
(1 ch at beginning of each row are the turning chains and do not count as a stitch).
Rows 2-47: 1 ch, sc in each st to end, turn. (46 rows)
Row 48: 1 ch, sc in each st to end.
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for sewing.
With right side facing outwards bring the last row up to meet the foundation chain. Align the stitches and whipstitch the seam together, placing stitches through the back loops only of the last round and into the leftover loops of the foundation chain all the way along. Make a knot in the last stitch. Do not cut the yarn.pumpkin-seaming-composite
Use the needle to thread the rest of the yarn end through the very top loops of the ribs only.pumpkin-gathering-comp.jpg
When you have threaded the yarn through all of the rib tips pull gently to gather them up together and tie the two yarn ends securely. Stuff firmly with polyester toy stuffing.pumpkin-gathering-comp-1.jpg
Using matching yarn, and leaving a 4″ tail at the beginning, thread the needle through the very top loops of the ribs just as you did for the other end. When you have threaded the yarn through all of the rib tips, pull on both ends of the yarn to gather them up together. Tie the two yarn ends securely and hide them inside the pumpkin.pumpkin-gathering-bottom-2
The holes that are left will vary depending on the size of your pumpkin but don’t worry about that. We will be hiding this with a stalk and a base later.three-pumpkins.jpg
You can leave your pumpkin round or you can flatten it by threading a long piece of yarn through the pumpkin from the bottom to the top then down to the bottom again, making sure to catch a stitch at the edge of the hole each time. Repeat this at various points around the edges of the holes at both ends. Pull on the yarn gently each time you pass it back through to give the desired shape. When you have finished, tie the ends off at the base and hide the ends inside the pumpkin.pumpkin-shaping.jpg
Large Pumpkin Stalk
Make all stitches in both loops.
With Color 2 make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 5 sc in second ch from hook. (5 sts)
Rnd 2: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 3: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 2 st. (6 sts)
Rnds 4-5: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Rnd 6: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 5 st. (7 sts)
Rnd 7: [Sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 3 st. (8 sts)
Rnd 8: 2 sc in each st around. (16 sts)
Rnd 9: [Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 8 times. (24 sts)
Rnd 10: Sc in each st around.
Fasten off. leaving a long tail for sewing. Stuff the stalk and position over one of the open holes. Sew the last round of the stalk to the top of the pumpkin.pumpkin-top-comp.jpg
Large Pumpkin Base
With Color 2 make 2 ch.
Make all stitches in both loops.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around. (12 sts)
Rnd 3: [Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (18 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing.
Sew the last round of the base to the bottom of the pumpkin in the same way as you did for the stalk.pumpkin-base-comp.jpg
Now you’ve got the hang of that here are two smaller sizes for some even quicker makes!pumpkin borderMedium Pumpkin (7 cm diameter)
Make all stitches in back loops only.
With Color 1 make 19 ch (foundation chain).
Row 1: (Right side) Starting in second ch from hook, sc in each st to end, turn. (18 sts)
(1 ch at beginning of each row are the turning chains and do not count as a stitch).
Rows 2-35: 1 ch, sc in each st to end, turn. (34 rows)
Row 36: 1 ch, sc in each st to end.
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for sewing.starry border-
Medium Pumpkin Stalk
Make all stitches in both loops.
With Color 2 make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 5 sc in second ch from hook. (5 sts)
Rnds 2-3: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 4: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 2 st. (6 sts)
Rnd 5: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 6: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 5 st. (7 sts)
Rnd 7: 2 sc in each st around. (14 sts)
Rnd 8: sc in each st around.
Fasten off. leaving a long tail for sewing.starry border-
Medium Pumpkin Base
With Color 2 make 2 ch.
Make all stitches in both loops.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around. (12 sts)
Fasten off. leaving a long tail for sewing.
To make up, follow large pumpkin instructions above.pumpkin borderSmall Pumpkin (5 cm diameter)
Make all stitches in back loops only.
With Color 1 make 13 ch (foundation chain).
Row 1: (Right side) Starting in second ch from hook, sc in each st to end, turn. (12 sts)
(1 ch at beginning of each row are the turning chains and do not count as a stitch).
Rows 2-23: 1 ch, sc in each st to end, turn. (22 rows)
Row 24: 1 ch, sc in each st to end.
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for sewing.starry border-
Small Pumpkin Stalk
Make all stitches in both loops.
With Color 2 make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 5 sc in second ch from hook. (5 sts)
Rnds 2-3: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 4: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 2 st. (6 sts)
Rnd 5: Sc in each st around.
Fasten off. leaving a long tail for sewing.starry border-
Small Pumpkin Base
With Color 2 make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Fasten off. leaving a long tail for sewing.
To make up, follow large pumpkin instructions above.pumpkin border

To download a printable version click the image below!


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Amigurumi Monsters 2

Oh dear! I’m a bit late with this post – I always seem to be running around chasing my tail these days – but in the time honored way of ‘better late than never’ here we go!

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I’m happy to announce that Amigurumi Monsters 2 is all finished and looking fabulous and is now available to order over at AmigurumiPatterns bookshop!

This volume features not one, but two of my monster families.

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Firstly there’s Timothy and Tabitha (top row, second left) then Spotty, Lotty and Dotty (bottom row, right-hand corner).

Some of you may already know the latter as they’ve been available in my online stores for a while. (You can read more about these three in my ‘Too many Monsters?’ blog post).

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They had a last minute invite as a space unexpectedly cropped up and needed to be filled. Ever obliging and always up for an adventure Spotty, Lotty and Dotty jumped at the chance of re-locating to a new life on the continent.

monster-group

There does appear to be a couple of grumpy faces in there but you’ve only got to look at those jazz hands to see how happy they really are, even the ones who will be left behind. After all, no one does jazz hands when they’re sad do they?

spotty-on-the-top.jpg

There was a bit of fuss as they all squeezed into the box but every one managed to find a comfy spot in the end and they were soon on the plane and heading towards their new future.

The next two monsters were commissioned especially for the book and go by the tongue- twistingly tremendous title of of Timothy and Tabitha the Tippy-Toe monsters.

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They were whittled down from a selection of four different variations. Actually, there were more than four in the initial design stage but these are the only ones to make it off the hook so far but there are plenty more ideas to come. I just love making monsters!

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Choosing colours for these tri-eyed, dozen-toed monsters was great fun and the original Timothy waded in with some useful suggestions.

choosing-colours-for-Timothy

I completely love this partcular combination of lime green and jade green for the toes.

Timothy-and-the-toes

Yarn chosen and hook at the ready, it wasn’t long before there were several more Tippy Toe monsters invading any available spaces in my work area.

scuttling-creatures

With so many toes they can move about quite quickly and it takes some doing to keep an eye on any potential mischief they might get up to with my hooks and notions.

It’s a good job I have a few extra eyes on hand to help me out here.

eyes

 

Next came another car journey and another chance to crochet. Testing the pattern this time by making a final couple of monsters before it was sent away for the other proofreaders to double check.

Tabitha-in-the-car

A little tootle up the motorway provided a good opportunity to get this pair used to travelling before they do the whole airmail thing later on. It was a good job we did because Tabitha gets very car sick. Her poor face says it all!

Timothy-and-Tabitha-on-a-journey

Timothy was the sweetest companion and took it upon himself to look after Tabitha. His soothing words and gentle re-assurance went a long way to helping her feel more relaxed.

Timothy-and-Tabitha

Some travel pills on the day of departure helped with he rest and now they are enjoying seeing themselves alongside Spotty, Lotty, Dotty and a host of other crazy looking characters inside the covers of Amigurumi Monsters 2.

mosters-2

If you’re anything like me and simply can’t get enough of making weird and whacky creatures then there’s plenty in both of the Monster titles to keep you going for quite a while.

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These bright and bubbly bundles of monster madness sure put a big smile on my face. I hope they do the same for you!

 


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Summer’s End

It’s been a long and hot summer this year, which makes a change for this part of the world. I’m certainly not complaining and have loved seeking out every bit of sunshine that has come my way. Crocheting outdoors has been a perpetual pleasure. I do love it when my studio is the garden!

Al-fresc-crochet

I’ve been particularly enjoying working on the Persian Tiles blanket that I started at the beginning of the summer.

blanket-edging

Last time I showed you my progress I was just starting to join the tiles together. It didn’t take me very long, and soon after that I started with the edging. This is still my favorite part of blanket making. The satisfaction of being near the end of a big project and the repetitive long stretches creating simple stitch groups is very soothing to my soul.

tiles-blanket-border

Edging is such a perfect pastime for long car journeys too. There has been no big, long holiday for us this year, just a few days out instead. As we crawled along the motorway (why is the traffic always so bad these days?) I always had my favorite project with me and happily hooked the miles away.

tofu-cute

This summer I have been making the most of being with my cats – especially Minnie and Pogo – because we received some sad news about both of them earlier this year when they were diagnosed with the same kind of inoperable cancer. Heart breakingly we had to say goodbye to them within weeks of each other just a short while ago.

pogo-and-the-crochet-stars

I often wondered if they were brother and sister but no-one is really sure of their exact relationship. We adopted them from a rescue shelter ten years ago after they had been brought in when their previous owner moved house and left them behind to fend for themselves. So perhaps they were actually siblings after all and there was a genetic pre-disposition that could explain our terrible bad luck in having to deal with two similar diagnoses so close to each other.

They arrived at our home on the same day and left us almost at the same time. I hope they’re still looking out for each other, wherever they are now.

Minnie-steals-a-spot

I like to think they’re on that Rainbow Bridge I’ve heard so much about recently. I miss them such a lot but am thankful for all the beautiful memories made from our journey together and the privilege of being able to have them both in my life in the first place.

pogo-and-the-blanket

Now I have just two cats and I’m going to be sure to appreciate every single minute of their company with even more mindfulness.

mojo-and-the-tiles-blanket

Mojo doesn’t need to be asked twice to try out the nearly completed blanket and as the weather takes a cooler turn I have been working on the remainder of the edging indoors.

last-rounds-persian-tiles

I do like being tucked up cosy and crocheting in pyjamas so I find myself looking forward to the autumn when I’ll be able to indulge in much more of that sort of thing.

Mojo-getting-skitty

I can see there will be competition for the new blanket from the get go!  I’m sure Mojo and I will be able to work out an amicable time share – which usually runs along the lines of >once Mojo’s got bored of it and wandered off then it’s my turn<

mojo-lounging

Glad to see my creative talents are so openly admired though.

I have to admit, the final piece is really rather gorgeous!

persian-tiles-throw

As I’ll  be spending more time indoors over the next few months I have embarked upon a great big clear out of my studio. Things had got a bit chaotic over recent months, what with being out and about a bit more, working in the garden lots and looking after poorly cats, my workspace became a bit of a dumping ground, .

I’ve begun the great clean up by sorting through my collection of amigurumi. Gathering it all together from their various storage places was a huge feat in itself. There was no room in my studio to sift through this crochet mountain so my youngest son helped me carry it all downstairs where we took over the kitchen for the whole day and proceeded to catalogue anything and everything as it came to hand. They have now been assigned to storage crates where I can easily get at them when needed.

my-amigurumi-mountain

I reckon that this is about two thirds of my amigurumi collection. I sure have been a busy bee these last six years! As I’m hoping to re-photograph a lot of my earlier amigurumi and update my pattern listings, being able to find what I need at a moments notice is going to make the task a whole lot easier.

Next in line for a good shake up were my yarn cubbies. There is something very, very satisfying about making yarn rainbows and filling in all the gaps I’ve made in my stash over the past few months.

yarn-cubbies

The studio’s not immaculately tidy yet but we’re getting there.

yarn-cubbies-and-rubick

You can tell how exhausting all this cleaning up is from Rubick’s demeanor. That’s exactly how I felt after a few hours. Watching me hard at work is obviously just as tiring!

tidy-studio

And this is where I’m at now, all tidied up (mostly) and my summer project blanket on standby to bring a little brightness to the sun starved autumn/winter days ahead.

The special thing about a big crochet project like this is that you pour your heart and soul into it for so long. Lovingly creating it stitch by stitch as life rolls by in parallel motion, ultimately the end result has precious memories woven into the very fabric of it. My Persian Tiles blanket has the record breaking heat of this summer twisted into its fibres alongside warm memories of the companionship of Minnie…

minnie-on-the-blanket

…and Pogo…

pogo-garden-snoozing

…and how the cats, the crochet and me had a wonderful last summer together in our little garden, making the most of every colourful, relaxing, sun soaked minute.

 


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Fantastic Fantasy Creatures

The wait is finally over and you can now get your hands on my pattern for Drake the Dragon. This portly little chap was chosen from the contestants of the Fantasy Creatures Design Contest of November/December 2017 and is currently available in a new title called ‘Unicorns, Dragons and More Fantasy Amigurumi‘.

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If you’re curious to see what fabulous ideas the amigurumi community came up with when presented with such an inspiring topic you can still check out the hundreds of other entries here.

You’ll now find Drake sitting alongside thirteen other fantastic fantasy creatures, also chosen from the competition. They sure are keeping him in the most splendid company inside the covers of this star-spangled volume.

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Now to take a peek at all of the other designs in the book…

So with hooks at the ready be prepared to be transported to a world of dreams and marvels. A delightful ticket to somewhere special and sparkly on even the most mundane of days. At its very best, that’s what crafting is about, don’t you agree?

I’ve made a Bobby the Dinocorn so far and have got my eye on crocheting a few more when time permits. Or at least daydreaming about crocheting a few more if I ever get the WIP pile shrunk to a manageable size!

Drake-and-Bobby

Several Drake the Dragons have already been duly conjured up, all as part of the design process, honing down those techniques and proportions until he was just right.

dragon-three

The final version that ended up as the official poster boy for the book had a cheeky grin and an air of excitement as he contemplated his journey to Belgium where the photographers would immortalize him in pixels, ready for his debut appearance in print.

Drake-the-Dragon-1.jpg

I changed the colours slightly to fit in better with the other designs at the request of the publisher and I have to say how much I love the olive green tone and mustard yellow. Mmmm, good enough to eat!

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When the draft manuscript of my dragon was sent over I took the opportunity of running through the pattern and re-creating yet another dragon to double check all was as it should be. This time I went for an equally tasty sounding, but very different, candy pink and lemon yellow colourway.

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The neighbours cat certainly seems to think that candy pink yarn is tasty anyway!

Lacey-yarn-eater

Drake looked on with all the enthusiasm of a big brother waiting for the arrival of a baby sister.

Drake-watching-Dora

When all the bits were made and ready to assemble Drake could hardly keep the smile off his face. But that’s not surprising really as I did sew it on very well with backstitch!

Dora-pieces

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Sitting in the shade by the garden pond I sewed all the pieces together one by one.

by-the-pond

A quick mid progress photo shoot and Drake’s baby sister – we named her Dora – does not so much look like a baby but more of a twin.

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Making a smaller one in sock yarn with a 2mm hook would be cute though! Something to try in the future, I think.

Eventually Dora is finished and we have another addition to our fantastical fantasy family.

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And with plenty more potential additions to go it’s going to be hard to choose who’s next.

Dragons, Unicorns and more

If you feel inspired to craft some fantasy fabulousness into your life all the book details are here.

So now you can get waving that crochet hook around and manifest your own little world of marvelous make-believe. Not that I’m saying these elusive creatures don’t exist somewhere in the real world of course, it’s just that by making your own you’ll be sure to bump into one or two as they fall off your hook. After all who hasn’t sometimes dreamed of having their own dragon, unicorn or fairy for a friend? I know I have!

Wishing you happy hooking 🙂