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Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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#AmiguruMay – Part Two

As Promised in my previous post #AmiguruMay – Part One, here is the second installment of pictures and musings from the latter half of the merry month of May.

This challenge was set by Ilaria of Airali Design and the idea was to post a photo inspired by pre-determined prompts for every day in May. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed making them!

Day 16 – Stash

This is my wall of yarn where I keep all the stuff I use the most. As I’m currently in the middle of designing multiple new patterns a few gaps have opened up in my stash. The baby monkeys have made themselves quite at home in the extra spaces 😁 🐵 They’d better make the most of it while they can as I’ll be going yarn shopping soon to plug the gaps 🤗

Day 17 – Textures

I love adding a bit of loop stitch into my patterns when fluffyness is required. Pandora the Poodle and her friends just love their bouffant hair-dos 🐩🐩🐩

Day 18 – The Cutest

This is Hamish the Hamster. He’s so darn cute he gets away with regularly raiding the strawberry patch even though he’s rather greedy and usually makes off with the whole crop. As well as grabbing a good armful of these juicy treats he’s always sure to stuff his cheeks as well!

(This photo is different to the one I used on Instagram as it was too few pixels for my blog).

Day 19 – Creative Goals

My creative goals at the moment are to finish off ALL my WIPs (it’s a nice dream anyway) and then start on some brand new patterns with a clean slate. Oh, and to get my desk all tidy again would be a bonus!

Day 20 – Favorite Book

One of my favorite pattern books is Amigurumi Monsters by @amigurumipatterns . I love designing monsters and letting my imagination run wild. My Jeepers and Creepers are featured in this one and I would love to make all the other monsters in this book if I ever get the time. Another thing to add to the wish list!

Day 21 – Mark Your Rounds

I mark my rounds with a good quality plastic stich marker – colour coordinated to the project in hand where possible 😊❤🧡💛💚💙💜

Day 22 – Photography

I take all my own photos and it’s been a real learning curve over the years. I now have a dedicated photography area in the corner of my studio with a great lights set up so I can take my product shots day or night. Trouble is the warm lamps attract all my cats like moths to a flame so they’re often photobombing my attempts at getting the perfect pic! Basking in the limelight here is Minnie, who sadly passed away last year 😔. Lovely memories of her though 😻

Day 23 – Dreaming Of…

With all this lovely sunshine around I’ve been dreaming of a trip to the beach. I could really do with a holiday and I might even meet a mermaid or two 😉

Day 24 – Ami Friends

Papa Penguin and Baby Pierre have made some great friends at the local toddler group. What a mess those babies make with all their toys though!

Day 26 – Sewing Pieces Together

Sewing pieces together is my least favorite part of the amigurumi process. In the hook versus needle showdown the hook comes out top every time! Still, it has to be done and it is rather satisfying to see your ami creations come to life, bit by bit. I like to use mattress stitch for sewing on the arms, legs, heads, tails etc. and for flat patches my favorite method is backstitch.

Day 25 – Stuffing

Oopsie! I missed this one out and fell behind with. I blame being away on a Hen Weekend and coping with a nasty tooth abscess at the same time (ouchie)

My favorite stuffing is any brand of high loft polyester fibre. I always use tweezers to stuff the smaller pieces of amigurumi such as arms, legs or tails. Tweezers are also good for adding extra stuffing to larger pieces to add in some more subtle shaping.

Day 27 – For…

For ‘the love of it’! I fell head over heels for this art form as soon as I saw some examples on the internet. Now I just can’t stop crocheting. I’m even happy making multiples of the same pattern – which is a good job as I do all of my own pattern testing, which requires quite a few copies to be made as I sift through the patterns line by line searching for mistakes and dodgy stitch counts.

Day 28 – Favorite Stitch

Apart from the standard single crochet – which I love for its simplicity and essential usefulness for making amigurumi my other favorite stitch is loop stitch. I’ve used it for Lion’s manes, chicken nests, hedgehogs and poodles, to name a few. I also enjoy making furnishings with it. I have so far made a round cushion, a couple of footstool covers and am currently working on a loopy tote bag.

Day 29 – Proud Moment

I’ve felt rather proud of all my book and magazine features. I never dreamed that anything like this would happen when I first started out on this wonderful journey. It was a proud moment indeed when I was asked by Crochet Now magazine to make four seasonal character patterns along with some accessories for the 2017 diary planner. Little fox was very pleased to see himself and all his friends in print too!

Day 30 – Not Only Amigurumi

…but still crochet. When I’m not amigurumiing I’m usually making a blanket or a shawl or maybe some gloves or a scarf. I’m never happier than when I’ve got something on the hook and these easy repetive projects are great for when I’m too tired or distracted to concentrate on designing my own patterns.

Day 31 – Amigurumi Shelfie

I always like to keep a few monsters hanging around to brighten up my life. This is my dedicated monster shelf. I’d fit more on if I could but I’m so short of storage and shelf space is at a premium!
Thanks @airali_gray for organising this event. It’s flown by and been lots of fun! x

That’s all folks! I’m really glad I made the effort to join in. If you want to see more of my Instagram posts you can find me here @mojimojidesign

I’m not guaranteeing I’ll be posting every single day without fail but I am going to mostly try and keep up this momentum. Hop on over and see if I can be true to my word! It would be great to hook up there 🙂


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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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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‘.

820dragon-green-0

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.

820Unicorns_cover_highres

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!

Drake-the-Dragon-2.jpg

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.

Drake-pattern

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.

Drake-and-Dora.jpg

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.

two-dragons.jpg

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 🙂


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Daisy and Duke

Having been making a concerted effort to tidy up around my studio recently, I unearthed more than a few WIPs lurking around at the backs of shelves, under my desk and really just about anywhere there was a spare few inches of space in which to cram a basket, box, bag or stray ball of yarn into.

sausage-dog-pieces

Time to tackle at least one of them, I thought to myself, and decided to start with my dachshund pattern. I invented this a while ago for a UK crochet magazine and had really wanted to give it a few tweaks to add in some more pattern elements before listing it in my shops.

I remember starting this with good intentions last summer (or was it the summer before?! I really am not too sure, such is the fleet-footedness of time these days) but events ran away with me and my fickle crochet hook found new yarn to charm and somehow these sausagy cylinders of cuteness were retired into the shadows for a much longer time than I’d intended.

The majority of the pattern was already written but I had wanted to make a smaller dachshund too. Who doesn’t love a tiny puppy after all?! And so I tweaked and twiddled the original pattern and came up with a miniature version.

puppies

Now Daisy and Duke are part of one big happy family and never get a minutes peace any more.

daisy-duke-3

Rubick is a little jealous of all the attention they are getting during one of our photo shoots, but as any cat around here knows, that’s easily remedied by insinuating yourself in between the camera lens and the subject, preferably at a critical time when the shot is just about to be taken.

Rubick-and-the-sausage-dogs

I did eventually manage to get all the pictures I needed without Rubick in them, though it took a while!

Now you can see why Daisy is called Daisy – it’s because of the Daisy in her ear.

daisy-and-puppy-11

Duke is called Duke because he sports a terribly posh bow tie.

duke-and-puppy-1

And the puppies are known fondly as Skip and Skitter because they skip and skitter around all day long with an insane amount of energy. Daisy and Duke don’t mind though. They have lots of fun joining in. Burying bones is one of their favorite pastimes so I crocheted a few to keep them entertained.

I found some pretty silver coloured ‘Made Wth Love’ charms on eBay that were perfect for their collars.

660charms

Well, it’s not a lie. The dachshunds are indeed made with love – as are all my amigurumi <3

A row of cute faces…

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…and… dare I say it…

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…cute butts too. Cheeky!

Well, you know what they say – if you’ve got it, flaunt it!

dacshund-family-0

Yes, mission well and truly accomplished and no small feat either because since I started making my Persian Tiles Blanket it has taken quite a lot of discipline to put those gorgeous kaleidoscopic mandalas down and pick up the amigurumis instead. But I feel very pleased to have tackled at least one of my half finished, half baked ideas. Just another twenty or so to go.

This blanket was really only supposed to be an evenings and weekend kind of thing but it’s been so much fun I have to admit it has occasionally encroached just a little bit on my official working hours!

minnie-and-the-pups

Minnie apparently gives a squish of approval to the finished mutts but I think she is really edging in on trying to fill up my  project basket with herself now she knows the dachshunds are about to leave their in-progress resting place for good.

As it happens, it didn’t take them long to relocate to somewhere else where they could cause a bit more trouble and perhaps burrow under the blanket pieces to avoid another sharp clawing from a well meaning but misguided feline who is definitely in need of a manicure.

dachshund-fun

Now I have an empty basket crying out to be filled with more yarn, or maybe another unfinished project that will no doubt be started and abandoned and then restarted somewhere down the line. Or maybe the basket will just be commandeered by an invading cat. There’s no shortage of those around here!

crochet-garden

Whittling down the WIP list is always an ongoing battle but things get done eventually.

It may take a couple of years or more sometimes, but the thrill of putting a big tick next to something on my humongous To-Do list never gets boring. And the thrill of having a big To-Do list of crochet related projects is exciting enough in itself, if I’m completely honest with you. No chance of boredom setting in here any time soon!


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Fantasy Creatures – Love is Blossoming!

Another week, or maybe a wee bit longer, and another amigurumi project has been unfolding here. I thought I’d pick up right where I left off last time. Things have been bobbing along on a stream of creativity and lots of progress has been made. The last time I saw you was just as I was beginning to test a sweet little – well not so little as it turned out – Bobby the Dinocorn Pattern for the Fantasy Creatures book (still due out in August as far as I know). I used DK yarns for my version instead of 4 ply so she got a bit supersized in the process but that really only made her all the more cuddly. This is a pattern by Little Aqua Girl. She makes the cutest stuff so do be sure to check out her Instagram if you like this sort of thing!

Drake has been very excited about his new companion and can barely take his eyes off her, even if she is still only in bits.

Though I did manage to get some uninterrupted crochet done by sneaking out to the garden with a cheeky glass of red after Drake’s bedtime. Loving all this evening sun we’ve been blessed with lately.

There is nothing quite as lovely as sitting peacefully in the dappled shade, playing about with pretty colours and counting down the pieces until they are all present and correct and ready to be sewn together.

Minnie joined me later when I got out a blanket. Damp grass is OK for the kitties but a layer of warm crochet is always so much better!

When Drake woke up from his sleep and tumbled downstairs the next morning I had my adoring big eyed audience back. He is just as fascinated with watching Bobby spring to life today as he was yesterday and I actually couldn’t get rid of him as you’ll see from the photos! So I put Drake to good use, holding all my notions and essential kit and asked him not to ask too many questions while I was counting rounds and stitches.

I did get persuaded into taking a photo of Drake and his new friend even though she was only at the halfway stage by now. We pinned and balanced a few pieces together and snapped away. It’s always good to take a break from crocheting and see how things are coming along every now and again. Yep, she’s looking good!

Not too much later and Bobby was really beginning to take shape. The unicorn horn and those floppy ears are just too cute and really start to bring her to life.

But as soon as as the final touch of pretty blossoms were sewn to Bobby’s head I knew that love was going to be blossoming between them. They have an unmistakable look of excitement on their little faces! This is going to be an enduring friendship, I can feel it 🙂

Retiring to the swinging chair in the garden they got settled down and chatted away in the spring sunshine.

It seems these elusive fantasy creatures have a lot to talk about once they get together. I suppose being such a rarity it’s always lovely to meet another of your kind, or at least of a similar kind.

Ah! The look of love!

I can’t wait to meet the other characters from the book and can only hope they all get on as well as these two. I have a feeling they will and that I will probably be making a few more for my own collection once my copy of the book arrives. Well, we all need a little escapism every now and again. Don’t you agree?

I’ll be immersing myself in a bit more escapism soon with some new fantasy/monster designs and I’ll have an update on progress of the Amigurumi Monsters 2 book co-starring Timothy and Tabitha – the Tippy Toe Monsters.

Here’s a sneak peek of them taking a sneak peek at you.

There’s also news of a surprise opportunity for some of my old favorites, Spotty, Lotty and Dotty. No wonder they look so excited with their Jazz hands waving around!

Come back soon and the monster’s and I will be sure to tell all.


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Giles the Giraffe Takes to the Road

With a long road trip and a mixed bag of bad weather to contend with I’ve had plenty of opportunity to get out my hook and start creating again. My latest pattern is for this cheeky lopsided smiled giraffe whom I’ve called Giles.

It’s been a while since I worked on a design that wasn’t for a book or a magazine so it felt really refreshing to do something ‘just for me’ for a change. No deadlines, no working to commission, no liaising. Don’t get me wrong, I thrive on all of that too, but sometimes it’s nice to take it all down a notch and just create on an impulse exactly what I feel like making.

Giles made a super little travelling companion on a very slow and laborious trip Up North to visit relatives. He was so excited to be packed away ready for his first journey out of the house. He does look rather pleased at the prospect of a great adventure!

We headed downstairs to the kitchen and a step closer to beginning our journey…

…then out of the front door, into the car and onto the motorway. Woohoo! Hurrah!

Giles loved this bit the very best of all. Turns out he’s a giraffe with a need for speed. Yes, this little guy’s a bit of a thrill seeker! I was a teensy bit excited myself as this was my first trip in our new car. Our poor old Toyota Estima had given up for good during the heavy snows and icy temperatures of a few weeks ago. Now we have a Nissan Elgrand with six captain chair style seats and all the space I could possibly need for my endless yarny clutter.

Unfortunately the amount of road works that spring up everywhere these days makes driving a bit of a chore and it wasn’t long before the traffic ground to a halt and then proceeded to crawl along at a snails’s pace.

Now you know that feeling when sometimes amigurumi making, – and particularly something like pattern testing – is requesting more concentration of you than you think you can give? Well that’s where I was at for the first hour of the journey. I blame it on the early start but my brain would only cope with this simple ultra-repetitive four line repeat of this scarf. I’d already memorized the pattern before the journey began so it was the perfect busy hands project for when by head was in cruise mode.

Our visit was fun. Lots of gossip was caught up with and fine pub food was consumed. On the way back I decided to try out sitting in the back (or rather the middle) of the car. I made myself a comfy work area, got settled in a squishy leather chair and felt very decadent while I was at it. I think I could get used to this. Giles looks like he was born for this sort of luxury too and has made himself quite at home on the seat next to me! Oh and I did try to put a seat belt on him but he’s a touch on the tiny side and it wouldn’t fit. Having never seen a booster seat for 14 inch tall giraffes I made him promise to sit still, tucked safely behind the yarn, or he would be back in the rucksack until we got home. With that threat hanging over him he was as good as gold and sat quietly, watching intently as a pink and a blue giraffe began to take shape.

Once we arrived back the sun was still out and after more than our fair share of snow and rain and wind recently it seemed too good an opportunity to miss so we headed for the garden. Rolling out a picnic rug and unpacking my bag I carried on with pattern testing. I’m still getting used to the fact that I have a lawn to play on this summer and oh boy am I loving it! So much nicer than the fence to fence patio area that was down before.

The cats love the lawn too. What a wonderful place to sit and watch the birds.

It wasn’t long before Minnie came to stake a claim on the rug and the crochet by firmly plonking herself down on both.

Oh well. I was just about crocheted out for the day at that point anyway. lots of progress on Pinky and Bluey had been made.

Just to be extra sure there were no glaring errors in the pattern I went through it yet again in the studio the next day and not too long after I am now the proud owner of not one, not two…

blue-and-pink-giraffes

…not three…

three-giraffes

…but four sweetly smiling giraffes.

What a bunch of cuties, and perfect for my craft stall!

If you want to have a go at making one the pattern is available from any of my online shops or, if you live in or near Worcester, come visit me at the Worcester Show in Gheluvelt Park on the 12th August and meet Giles the Giraffe in person. I’d love to see you there!

In the meantime I will be busy making lots more amigurumi and a few more scarves to stock up my stall as well as perfecting my new pattern for a pair of Tippy Toed monsters Called Timothy and Tabitha who will be heading over to Belgium to feature in a second volume of Amigurumi Monsters published by Meteoor Books over at AmigurumiPatterns.net.

I’m also testing a super cute Bobby the Dinocorn pattern by Little Aqua Girl for the fantasy creatures themed book due out in August. This dinocorn will be one of Drake the Dragons book fellows and I cant wait to see how she turns out. And neither can Drake who is too excited to keep out of the project basket.

Things are busy around here, that’s for sure, but that’s the way (uh huh, uh huh) I like it!


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Looping the Loops

All this cold weather, unseasonable snow and bitingly cold winds (can it really be springtime?) have made me yearn for a project that encourages me to spend any spare time comfortably embedded in the house, out of harms way from the vagaries that the British weather throws at us.

And as pretty as such scenes are for an hour or two on a brisk walk through the park or during a snowman making session in the back garden there really is nothing as blissful to me as a cosy indoor nook, and a lapful of yarn.

Looking around my studio I had no shortage of sadly neglected projects that I could have been getting on with. However, not being the kind of person to let an out of control work in progress pile get in the way I walked the path I tread most often and decided to start a brand new project instead. Well, we’ve all been there and done that many more times than is decent or proper, haven’t we?

Inspired by the sumptuous look of the loop stitch cushion cover I made for my bed a few years ago I embarked on another circular project that has been on my mind since buying a bargain basement footstool a while back.

It was a very cheap and cheerful £3 and is nice and sturdy with lovely wooden legs but a black and white cotton fabric top that’s not really my style.

Replacing the monochrome stripes with gorgeous spirals of bright yarn was way more my thing and I fancied that the loopstitch would be perfect for adding a little grooviness and a soft and squishy haven under my tired feet every time I had the urge to put them up.

From little metaphorical acorns…

…do loopy metaphorical oak trees grow.

I suppose it’s more of a sapling at this stage but with all that cold weather keeping me home it was just a case of round and round in circles until it started to take shape.

In the end though I decided the first circle wasn’t quite turning out the way I wanted. The colours were very pretty but the total randomness wasn’t really doing it for me so I stopped right here…

…and started all over again. I grouped similar colours together in bands this time which gave them much more impact. I also switched hook sizes up from a 3 mm to a 4 mm this time so that the fabric would have more elasticity when stretching it over the stool. This also had the benefit of making the whole thing grow a little faster and the looser tension was much easier on my hands.

Sadly I couldn’t stay tucked up forever, no matter how cold the weather was out there in the big wide world so eventually it was time to head outdoors and take a train trip to visit a friend and call in on a yarn shop on the way to bolster supplies. I packed up all the yarn for my project very conveniently inside the work itself and popped in a few tools of the trade.

No more snow left on the station by now but an icy chill on Platform One meant I very nearly didn’t get my crochet out… though in the end I couldn’t resist!

With a quarter of an hour to while away I managed a few loops huddled on the bench. The going was slow as my fingers were a bit reluctant to make the necessary movements in such low temperatures but I persevered. Not a great amount of progress was made but it was perfect for keeping my lap warm!

When the train arrived I had the special thrill of managing to find a whole four seater table area all to myself. Seems there weren’t too many other travelers braving sub zero temperatures today.

I crocheted another round in the comfort of the warm and nearly empty train but this was only a short journey so it was soon time to disembark. Loop stitches are not as quick as regular stitches but the rhythmic repetition is just as relaxing as any round of single crochets. I had meant to do a bit more once I arrived at my friend’s flat but in the end we were so busy chatting and catching up that I didn’t even get it out of my bag.

Plenty of time to get stuck in again once I was home and all tucked up in my pyjamas. Crocheting in bed definitely beats crocheting on a windy railway station any day.

Can you tell that Pogo agrees? He can be found snoozing away on the blankets for at least 70% of his time. He makes me think of of ‘Bagpuss, oh, Bagpuss Oh, fat, furry cat puss, wake up and look at this thing that I bring’. Except he’s not pink and stripy but he is a bit tubby and very sleepy.

Rubick prefers to get involved with the yarn rather than take a nap.

Oh, the energy of youth! It would be a brave person who tries to winkle a ball of yarn from underneath this tuxedo firecracker!

Eventually I do sneak the balls of yarn back one by one and some time later I have actually finished all the loop stitch rounds. Just the ends to knot together and trim at this point. It feels like such a luxury and somehow a bit of a cheat not to have to darn them in but no-ones going to be seeing this side of the cover once it’s in place. Hurrah!

I finished off the part that would gather underneath with a round of single crochet followed by a round of [1 sc, 1 ch, skip 1 sc] repeated to the end to make a round of small eyelets. A final round of sc after that and it was finished. I fashioned a thin cord made of 200 ch and threaded that in and out of the eyelets to pull everything tight and tied in a bow to secure the whole thing in place.

In future I will up the hook size slightly to make the single crochets a bit looser as they were considerably tighter than the loop stitches and needed a bit of initial stretching to get these final rounds over the top of the footstool. But I wrestled it on in the end and am really pleased with the outcome.

It’s fun and vibrant and is going to cheer my tired old feet and grey soaked winter eyes up no end.

Now it has pride of place in my crochet corner.

I’m gradually yarn bombing everything I can find in here. All the colourful cushions are a great tonic when the clouds just keep on rolling in. They can dump shovelfuls of snow or bucketfuls of rain on the other side of the window but I shall mostly be found crocheting in here until things warm up a bit out there. The yellow blooms on the Forsythia in the garden are telling me that spring has sprung but until the thermometer raises itself a few degrees in agreement I’m staying in as much as possible!


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Zoomigurumi 7

It’s that Zoomigurumi time of year again and now we are all the way up to number seven and if you love to crochet you might well find yourself in seventh heaven once you get your hands on a copy!

I have two designs in this volume. A clucky chicken called Cheryl and a fat cheeked hamster called Hamish and I’ve been so excited to see the finished book!

There are 13 other amigurumi buddies keeping Cheryl and Hamish company.

Are you ready for cuteness overload?! Well here goes…

So crochet hooks at the ready, which one are you going to be making first?

I’ve already made my first one (not including Hamish and Cheryl, of course) when I helped test Kristi Tullus’s Xander the Zebra pattern.

As I was doing this around Christmas time I opted for candy cane colours for my version. Kristi’s impeccably made original is in the middle. When I get me some leisure time I’m going to be having a go at a few more of the different characters from the book.

Designing Hamish was super fun. I especially liked working out how to make him a pair of cheek pouches roomy enough to keep him happy. He was going to have to have big ones because he’s a greedy little scamp and I knew they’d be brimming full of spare snacks most of the time.

It’s no trouble at all getting hamsters to eat their five a day. Strawberries, blueberries, carrots – it’s all good as far as a Hamish and his friends are concerned.

hamster-row

They can’t quite keep their beady eyes off the cake though.

Well, a little treat every now and again won’t do any harm. Eat up hammies, I think you suit those tubby tummies just as well as those chubby cheeks, and you never know when a bout of hibernation will be necessary. You’ll need those fat stores then!

The photo shoot for the book evidently went very well this time.

I wasn’t there, as this happens at the publishers in Belgium, but I can see that both Hamish and Cheryl behaved beautifully and struck all the poses that the photographer wanted.

Cheryl is very proud of her nest full of eggs and her smartly groomed feathers so didn’t need to be asked twice when it came to showing off her future offspring or strutting her stuff in a rather self-satisfied, perfectly preened manner.

She’s a very chatty chicken and clucks and squawks all day long. You can usually hear a cacophony of ‘tasty corn’, ‘hands off my eggs’ and ‘what fine feathers I’ve got’ – bouncing around the hen house in ear-splitting chicken speak. But be warned! When she gets together with her chooky chums things can reach a whole new level on the noise-o-meter.

There’s lots of fun to be had out of chicken coop gossip!

two-chickens-2

And I hope you’ll agree there’s lots of fun to be had out of Zoomigurumi 7 too.

If you order your paperback copy here  you’ll be able to download the PDF version straight away, so no annoying wait for the postman before you can get crocheting. And if you’re anywhere near as impatient as me that can only be a good thing!

🙂 Wishing you many hours of happy Zoomigurumi 7 menagerie making 🙂