Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Zoomigurumi 5

Well, here we are again with another new book launch from amigurumipatterns.net.Zoomoigurumi-5I had great fun being involved in Zoomigurumi 5. My fluffy alpaca, also known as Alicia, has gone off to Belgium to join her fellow bookmates. If you feel inspired to have a go at any, or all, of these crocheted characters you can get hold of a copy of the book here.Z5banner_LARGE-v3

As you can see, Alicia is in very good company with 14 other cuties just waiting to jump off your crochet hook.

I’ve already made a Kaan the Crocodile by Carolina Guzman (One and Two Company), during the initial proofreading phase.kaan-crocHe was a pleasure to make, of course, and now I have another character to keep me company at my desk.KaanCroc-and-PompomsHe soon became best friends with Alicia’s grey fleeced cousin, Althea, and they’re now inseparable. They were both very good at helping me spot any last minute tweaks to the patterns and text. Alicia has been blessed with patience and is very calm and focused while Kaan’s beady eyes never miss a thing. A dream team!Alicia-and-KaanThough I’ve never heard of a crocodile and an alpaca hitting it off before, there’s always a first time…alpaca crocHe is a fine looking fellow, I’m sure everyone would want to be best buddies with him if they met him!Kaan-2And in case Alicia should get jealous here’s a little triptych of her own, taken by Joost De Wolf, the book’s official photographer.AliciaI hope that’s whet your whistle and got you all excited about the brand new characters! Alicia has had a couple of new reincarnations already, again, from the pattern testing phase. There’s this chubby, cuddly looking fella made by Bregje Zeijen.BregjeZeijenAnd this cute pink version made by Natalie Van Dalen. I love how Natalie changed the look with furry eyelash yarn. She’s like a big ball of gorgeous candy floss!NatalieVanDalenOne of the things I love about amigurumi patterns is that it’s so easy to put your own spin on things by changing a colour, or a yarn type. You can upsize or downsize by experimenting with different hook sizes and yarn weights. It’s always exciting to see other peoples interpretations. Thanks to all who send me photos or post them on my Moji-Moji Facebook page. I’m always thrilled to see them.Z4banner_medium-v2

Don’t forget you can always post your Zoomigurumi makes to amigurumipatterns Facebook page too.characterszoomi5I can’t wait to find out what you’ll be making once you get your copy. Do tell, I’m all ears!


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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…

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to done…

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…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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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.

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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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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.

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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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Katie the Caterpillar

I feel like I’ve seriously had my work cut out keeping focused lately, what with so much going on around here. It’s the summer holidays so no-one is in their usual routine. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fabulous having a houseful of my own kids, even one back from uni for a few weeks, but it’s hard to concentrate too! Having said that, I’ve made an heroic effort and actually managed to complete the write up of Katie the Caterpillar’s pattern. I love how she turned out with all those jazzy stripes. I hope you do too!

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Now of course I’m biased but I do think that colourful Katie is already a true beauty, with those distinctive markings and big yellow eyes – I’m quite sure she’ll be the talk of the town when she finally decides to become a butterfly. For now though, she’s in no hurry to grow up, it’s just so much fun being a caterpillar. When she’s not playing in the garden with her friends you’ll probably find her chomping her way through a juicy apple with a side salad of crunchy leaves – she’s got a lot of plumping up to do before she’s ready for that cocoon!

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It all began as I was sitting testing the final draft of my Papa penguin pattern. As is often the case it was the colours that inspired me. The black, orange and yellow I was using in his design got me thinking of a caterpillar – with the addition of a big splodge of green they would be perfect, and an image immediately popped into my head.  So I did a quick sketch, just a simple doodle really, but that’s all I generally need to start me off. Taking a much needed break from scanning penguin pattern lines I picked up my hook and got going.

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For me this is where the true designing comes in, keeping a keen eye on the proportions as I crochet, ripping back any sections that don’t look quite right and starting again where necessary. This part went pretty smoothly and I made sure I wrote down my hieroglyphical markings as I went along. This is my shorthand, as I hate to get bogged down in too much writing when the creative flow is at full force. Nine times out of ten I’m able to turn my scratchings into a neatly laid out pattern. Sometimes I do get stuck on deciphering things, especially if I leave it more than a day or two, but if I do end up scratching my head and thinking ‘what the …?’ I can usually  work out what I did by counting rounds and stitches on the crochet work itself.

Top tip when working stripes – don’t be in a massive hurry like I was and end up with a horrid tangle like this. It takes ten times as long to sort out as it does to gently untwist each colour as you go along!

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After a few hours the first pieces of the caterpillar are off the hook, stuffed with fiberfill and pinned together.

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It sure does get hot sometimes in my south facing studio. The slatted blinds can only screen out so much of the sun while still leaving me enough to see what I’m doing, so when it gets to be too hot to handle I like to work outdoors.

It’s lovely to spread the blankets out in the dappled shade, hoping to catch a breeze or two.

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I have a new gadget, which I love! A pretty little yarn cutter flower. I’m always losing my scissors when I’m working, although they are usually not far away, at the bottom of a basket, down the side of the sofa, or I’m even just sitting on them (potential big ‘ouch’ there!) Now my new yarn cutter can be worn around my neck so I can trim those yarn ends without the perpetual rummaging around.

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It has a useful fine needle threader in the base too. It’s been a real boon, I just want to know where this gadget has been hiding all my life and why I never had one before!

Katie #1 gets to explore the garden while I work on Katie #2

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But she pops back regularly to see what I’m doing. She likes to keep an eye on my progress!

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It’s not long before she has a playmate to chat to as they chew through the grapevine.

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The pattern’s eventually ready for it’s final formatting. Time to bundle everything up and head indoors as I need the computer for this bit.

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Polishing up the how-to photos and creating a front cover are the next stages.

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Looking good! Now a final run through to triple check… and then there were three!

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Time to introduce them to the rest of my garden inspired creepy crawly patterns. Shelley the Snail, Spencer the Spider and the little frogs from an earlier Minimals pattern are thrilled to join in the fun.

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All in all, the caterpillar has taken me about a month, dipping in when I’ve had the time and dipping out to finish other projects and commissions, but it’s great to have another job crossed off the list of things to finish up. I have a herd of alpacas vying for my attention next. I’m also still working on the alley cat, a shawl and stitching together some nearly finished amigurumi from the past two years of pattern designing.

If any of you lovely people out there have an idea for an animal I haven’t made yet, or a new spin on one I have already made, I’m all ears. Just leave a comment here or let me know on Facebook. I’d love to hear your thoughts, after all we can’t let the Work in Progress pile get too small!


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A Weekend at Home

Chanting the mantra ‘Rain, rain, go away, come back another day’ has had no effect whatsoever around here so it’s been a weekend tucked up indoors, catching up with much of my crochet works in progress. Well, it needs to be done and there are worse ways to spend rainy afternoons. In fact it’s rather nice to have some cosy time in the house. Mojo has found his new favorite spot. Staring wistfully out into the drizzle from the comfort of one of my new kitchen seat pads. There is an excellent view of the garden from there and Moji is making the most of it.

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Minnie has nabbed herself a spot in a spotty, polka dotty, plastic picnic salad bowl!

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It’s barely big enough but she’s whiled away many hours snoozing in there, so it must be comfier than it looks.

I’ve spent a fair bit of time over the past few days designing a new alpaca pattern and then creating them in lots of colours. Here’s the production line in full swing. It’s my own personal alpaca farm. Six colours so far… well, I really enjoy working with the soft and fluffy textured yarns, and I just couldn’t seem to stop myself!

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They’ve got their eyes on those tasty strawberries by the looks of it.

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I was busy making these last week, on a somewhat sunnier day.

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A little snack for me too. Alpacas aren’t the only ones who love strawberries!

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Pogo often watches me crochet, sitting side by side on our squashy sofa. He’s just waiting for a yarn end to pounce on. Usually straight into my lap, huge claws and all!

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There’s plenty of yarny entertainment for him as I finish up this latest batch.

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Lovely home days with all the cats for company make me very happy. Just time for a break to bake a loaf of bread ready for lunch. Oh yum. This butternut squash and parmesan bread filled the house with delicious smells that cheered us all up. It tasted amazing too! Chopped black olives and rosemary made it extra special and it’s great therapy for crunched up crochet hands as all the mixing and kneading gets the circulation flowing around my fingers again.

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Bas’s  (Zabbez.com) Butterfly Bree and Baby Calin were finished up just in time for the proofreading deadline for the new Parent and Baby Animals book. I love the way the sparkly blues have worked out. This pattern would look fabulous in so many different colour combinations. One to let your imagination go wild with!

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Here she is next to Bas’s original colourway. It sure was a lovely pattern to follow.

I found out a few days ago that Papa and Pierre have made it on to the front cover of the book. I’m so thrilled, it’s like the icing on the cake and I can’t wait to see the whole book layout. Joke always does such a fantastic job of compiling all the cute designs. Not long to wait now, as pre-sale will be starting in early September over at amigurumipatterns.net.

Amigurumi Parent and Baby Animals Book

Thanks to all who voted for Papa and Pierre.

Come rain or shine, have a great week folks!


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Easter Baskets

Hello all! I’ve been working flat out again this week. I’m somewhat alarmed at how fast Easter is approaching! I’ve had an idea to make some Easter egg hunt baskets for a while now, but couldn’t seem to find a time to make it happen. Well, there’s nothing like a tight deadline for focusing the mind, and with just a few weeks to go the idea has finally hatched and become a reality. And what fun they were to make as well! Now I’m in so much of a springy mood I might just bounce right off into space!

Three Easter Treat Bags by Moji-Moji Design

They’re made in the style of handy little totes with a cheeky dollop of fake fur yarn and some Easter themed embellishments.

I crocheted carrots for the bunny…

Bunny Easter Treat bag by Moji-Moji Design

… pretty flowers for the lamb…

Lamb Easter Treat Bag - by Moji-Moji Design

… and stripy mini eggs for the chick.

Chick Easter Treat Bag - by Moji-Moji Design

But there’s no reason you can’t shake it up a little and mix and match all these embellishments to come up with your own version of the Easter bags.

I’m planning on making some extra eggs, flowers and carrots to decorate my Easter twig tree this year. I’ll post some pictures when I’m done 🙂

Easter Treat Bags - by Moji-Moji Design

In the mean time I hope you’re all having lots of fun with your Easter preparations. (I’m going to start mine by eating all those foil wrapped chocolate eggs now the photos are finished!)  x


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Hola!

The Mexican blanket is growing and growing. I’m steadfastly crocheting a row or two, or a few squares most evenings and pretty much 90% of it has been made while wearing pyjamas. A very cosy and comfy project it’s turning out to be.

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Because of the time I spent accurately working out the stitch counts, the theory is that all the row elements should match up perfectly.  But the stripes made up of mini squares are ending up a fair bit longer than the granny stripes and I think that’s due to the chained row that gives the extra colour blip between the rows of shells. My chains tend to have a slightly tighter tension than the rest of my crochet. I guess I’ll have to learn to loosen up a bit with them. I’ve not found it to be a big problem though, it just needs a bit of pinning to take up the extra length nice and evenly then it’s easier to match stitch for stitch, particularly if I’m working in less than perfect light conditions. And let’s face it, the rest of the family don’t want to spend cosy Movie Nights sitting in a floodlit room, so the light is often ambient rather than practical for a lot of my winter evening projects.
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The need for all that matching up did give me the idea to make Carlos the Cactus though, so I could have a totally Mexican vibe going on while I worked! I love having him around to help but he’s turned out to be an obsessive perfectionist and gets pretty prickly if I try to cut corners and go crocheting along without pinning everything in place first. (I might be self projecting here a bit 😉 )

You can see him keeping his beady eyes on the proceedings here. He’s also really good at holding onto all my yarn needles with those handy little hands of his. I just wish he was equally adept at sewing in the yarn ends too! Ah well, you can’t have it all.

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Here you can see the discrepancy in the lengths of the granny square panels alongside all the pieces that I’ve managed to crochet together so far. It looks like it would never match up but it always does, and the blanket will stretch a little with use – so any minimal puckering will most likely even out itself out after it’s been dragged around and snuggled up in for a while. This is about a third done now, not including the border.

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And also not including these strips that have yet to be joined. When these are all crocheted together I think I’ll be at least half way done. Wey hey, we’re getting somewhere now!

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My cactus pincushion has been useful for helping out with other projects too, so now he can usually be found on my desk with his best friend Dante the Donkey (If you’ve read my previous blog post you’ll understand why they’re inseparable!) and my other favorite pincushion – my felted sheep on a hill. One of the first sculptures I made when I was going through my needle felting phase. I should have enough pins handy for multiple projects on the go now. Which is a good thing because I still haven’t learnt to finish one job before I start another.

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While Carlos is busy helping out, Dante has been trying to make friends with  two of my cats. The cats are much more concerned with napping on the new blanket should I dare to leave it unattended for a nano second or two.

Mojo doesn’t appear to be very impressed with Dante’s approaches!

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Time for evasive tactics by way of an emergency grooming session.

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Ah well, maybe Minnie will be more accommodating…

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…Or maybe not! Different evasive tactic seen here, just close your eyes and pretend to be asleep!

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Then go and seek refuge in a box on a tucked away shelf in among the early prototypes for Orwell.

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This week I also managed to finish writing up the Orwell pattern for my own shops at long last, so you can now get his pattern in my Etsy and Ravelry stores as a single purchase for any of you who want to buy just him on his own. Today and tomorrow are the last few days of the Zoomigurumi 4 pre-sale event if you prefer to get Orwell’s pattern together with 14 other cute as button designs at a bargain price of £13.50. I’ve just got my trusty calculator out (I’m no Rachel Riley styley maths whiz, that’s for sure!) and that works out at 90 pence a pattern. Can’t wait for my copy to arrive!

You’ll find Tessa Van Riet-Ernst’s (aka Woolytoons) mop headed Leopold the Lion in this volume too. He’s currently over in Belgium helping Joke get the books packed up and shipped out over the next few days. Seems that my moggies aren’t the only cats who like to get involved in anything crochet related, particularly if it involves sitting on it!

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Here’s a teeny reminder of the lovely characters you’ll find nestled between the pages!

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They’ll be sure to keep you busy and remove all your excuses for idly hanging around like this furry fella!

Not that there’s anything wrong with being idle of course, if that’s what you fancy. I keep telling myself I’m going to take a break when I’ve finished all the crochet projects lined up in my head and in my sketchbook – approximately scheduled for the 12th of Never Ever 🙂

I’m off to do some more blanket in the mean time. In fact I intend to dedicate a large proportion of this weekend to making some serious progress here. Orwell’s taken a shine to it. I think he’s looking forward to it being finished, and who am I to disappoint?!

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I’ll be back with more updates soon and some pictures of my lovely pink and turquoise crochet flowers that I’m trying out for my next project, perfect for a fresh looking spring blanket that I’ve set my heart on. See, I told you it’s impossible for me to finish one project before I start another! I’ll post a picture of them next time, when I’m 100% happy with the colours. Bye for now and wishing you all a happy weekend! x


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Dante and Carlos

I’m very happy to be able to say I’ve finally finished my Dante the Donkey and Carlos the Cactus pattern. These little guys were originally inspired by my Mexican blanket project *all those pretty colours*  and were just the most fun characters to make.

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They’ve also turned out to be the best and most devoted amigos ever!

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They first met in the Mexican desert after Dante got lost straying too far from his family’s rancho. Carlos the Cactus chatted away enthusiastically and shook his maracas to cheer the little donkey up as he rested his weary legs through the long, dark night. By the time the sun rose and the morning shone its welcoming light, they were firm friends. Bored of being mostly alone in the desert with only the other cacti for company, Carlos persuaded Dante to dig up his roots and put him in a terracotta pot so he could travel around with his new found soul mate wherever he roamed.

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With Carlos along for the ride and offering some much needed moral support, you’ll doubtless be relieved to know that Dante eventually managed to find his way back home. Now the two of them spend sunny days and starry nights planning their next daring adventure together. Carlos has said he’ll travel to the ends of the earth just to be with his new friend. Dante’s a little more cautious about wandering too far again after his recent incident, but whatever they do they’ve agreed that they’ll do it together. Here’s proof that best friends can come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes make the most unlikely alliances!

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Happy as he is with his new life, Carlos still likes to meet up with his old succulent chums from time to time. Since he started wearing his jazzy pot he appears to have sparked a new fashion.  Now all the best dressed cacti are sporting one! Well, it certainly makes them more mobile – as long as they can get a friendly donkey to carry them about that is. Here they are getting ready for the local Fiesta.

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Dante sets up a food stall to sell some of his homegrown carrots and specialty basil flavored hay to the other hungry donkeys…

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…While Carlos and his friends make a bit of pocket money supplying firecrackers to liven up the crowds, and homemade sombreros to keep them cool. Very enterprising!

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Have a happy weekend!

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xoxox


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Zoomigurumi 4

Yes, it’s title number 4 in the Zoomigurumi series already. I’ve been lucky enough to have some of my amigurumi designs included in both Zoomigurumi 2 and 3 in the past which were great experiences. Time has ticked inexorably on at its usual steady pace and I’m excited to tell you that the newest book in the collection is now available to order. You can meet my oh-so-friendly and really-rather-cheeky baby orangutan in this edition. His name is Orwell, and he’s my new favorite fur baby.

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As you can see, he loves hanging about in trees.  He also likes eating fruit and causing mischief – lots of both of those! Because of his debut in Zoomigurumi 4 he’s had to move to Belgium to be with the publisher. Parting was a bit on the sad side, but he was really looking forward to his new life and I’m sure he’ll do a good job of helping to promote the book. He’s a very confident and outgoing little chap.

Before Orwell left for his great journey via parcel mail I made another baby orangutan called Orson to keep me company. Here’s Orwell and Orson larking around just before Orwell emigrated.

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They had lots of fun together before they parted ways and are now dedicated pen-pals. We get to hear all about Orwell’s life in Belgium with his new friends. I heard lately that he was a very well behaved model when it came time to take the portrait shots to go alongside his pattern. No-one said photographing wildlife was easy, just ask David Attenborough, but when you look inside this book, I think you’ll agree it went swingingly well!

Orwell says his new home is very comfortable and he’s loving his new celebrity status. Seeing all his colourful new friends from Zoomigurumi 4 I think you’ll understand the enthusiasm he has for his new life. Just take a look here. You can tell there’s never going to be dull moment with such a diverse range of pals to play with. Don’t they all look fun?

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Orson, however, is glad that he got to stay at home as he’s a lot more reserved and much shyer than his brother. He likes a quiet life, hanging from the light fittings and watching TV – mainly educational nature programmes such as Life on Earth or Blue Planet. He loves to read too. Science and crochet books are among his favorites. They help him try to answer those age old questions that we all ask from time to time, such as ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Where did I come from?’

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While the book was being prepared it was my task to proofread Lisa Jestes super cute Frog pattern. Time to get all the kit together (making sure everything is as color co-ordinated as possible!)

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It’s not long until this cheeky gangle-legged amphibian – only known as ‘Froggy’ at this  stage, but later officially named Kirk for his book appearance – is taking shape very nicely.

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Eventually he’s all done. That’s another job finished and crossed off my list, and a new member added to our ever growing amigurumi family. Turns out Kirk and Orson are getting on splendidly. They particularly loved exploring the garden together. They’re both naturally gifted tree climbers with those languid long limbs of theirs.

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Kirk is pleased to find some other frogs in the garden. Yes, there is a pond there somewhere, under all that duckweed! I agree it looks like it needs a bit of love before Kirk can fully appreciate it as his new swimming pool. Mental note to self to have a tidy-up-the-garden weekend soon.

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And Kirk just loves Orson to give him a ride on his shoulders so he can take in all the sights. Hmm, I need to tidy up this bit of the garden too!

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Finally we’re back inside so Kirk can get to meet the Moji-Moji frog fraternity. As you can see, he settles right in for a group hug and a rousing round of The Frog Chorus ‘We all stand together’, or to put it more accurately ‘sit together’ in this case. Happy days!

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So there we have a few of the jolly japes enjoyed by two of the 15 cute characters from Zoomigurumi 4.

If you want to add this book to your collection, or check out the other Zoomigurumi books be sure to visit amigurumipatterns.net/books.

I wonder what adventures your Zoomigurumi creations will get up to? 😉


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Even More Bucket Loads of Fun

Well, you can’t have too much fun can you? So after a few requests from friends in response to my last collection of Bucket Head bags, I’ve made a second set of different characters to brighten up your Trick or Treat adventures, or just to add a bit of holiday magic to your Halloween decorations this year. This time I have Frankenstein’s Monster, a Candy Corn Man and a Scarecrow to introduce to you.Bucketlineup2If your favorite character wasn’t included in the last set then maybe these will be more to your liking 🙂Bucket2

Happy Trick or Treating to all you Halloween Fanatics!


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Is It Nearly Here Yet?!

Of course I’m referring to my all time favorite festival… Christmas. There are, admittedly, still 77 days left until the Big Day itself. That probably sounds like a lot to the non crafters amongst us, but those of us who love to dabble in the handmade know that we really ought to be getting on with our seasonal preparations already! So, with that in mind, I’ve made a cute little pattern for some of my favorite Holiday characters. Let’s raise a toast to the timely arrival of the Itsy Bitsy Christmas team!Christmas-ensemble2psdTheir small size makes them ideal for tree decorations, stocking stuffers, party favors or cracker gifts. ItsylineupI’m already busy making a whole host of angels in all the different colours of sparkly yarns from my stash to add some cuteness to my Christmas tree this year. But a helping of elves, a baking tray of gingerbread ladies, or maybe a blizzard of snowmen would look just as effective in a little festive corner of your home. As for Santa, well, we all know there can be only one!itsysqaureHere’s to visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads as we wend our way towards another winter of cosy dark evenings, warm woolly blankets, hot toddies, comfort foods and holiday crafting!