Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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!

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

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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 🙂


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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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…

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…not three…

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…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.

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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!

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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 🙂

 


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Cyrus the Cyclops

There’s been a population explosion of colourful copies of Cyrus the Cyclops in my studio over the past week. Something of a monster baby boom in fact.

I absolutely loved making these. This was one of those patterns that really flowed and came to fruit with hardly any hitches at all. I had a definite idea in my head, which I doodled down in my trusty graph paper notebook. I’ve been buying loads of these from Tiger every time I find them in stock. I Love a good graph paper notebook as they’re perfect for scribbling columns of pattern formulating numbers in but they can be so difficult to find here in the UK. I think it’s more of a continental thing really, so hooray for Tiger!

This pattern just screamed out to be worked in all sorts of bright and cheery monster colours and before I knew it I had another couple of cyclopes hanging around on my desk, admiring their pen and ink portraits. And that wasn’t to be the last of them either.

The weather has been soooo cold around here lately that it’s been a case of donning slipper boots, fingerless mitts, woolly scarves and several layers of leggings and jumpers to keep my body temperature up while I’m spending such a lot of time being perfectly stationary apart from the minor waggling of a crochet hook and the occasional reaching over to the coffee table to grab a pair of scissors or a new ball of yarn. Even with the central heating ticking away in the background it’s difficult to eliminate drafts and cold spots in this creaky old Victorian house, and I’m a terrible one for feeling the cold anyway.

Thankfully I often have the additional warmth supplied by the close proximity of the cats who treat me like a human hot water bottle whenever the temperatures plummet.

What snuggly winter bliss! Yes, my lap is under there somewhere, but it just got a bit trickier to reach for those scissors!

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Cyrus is one of those sweet and simple patterns that really shouldn’t have taken me too long to write. Well, those of you who know me know that once I start crocheting anything that I love I find it really hard to know when to stop. The truth is I just cant wait to see what the next one will look like with all his minor variations of stripes and colours. As soon as one was off the hook I found I’d picked up another ball of yarn and was making 6 sc into the second ch from the hook and starting all over again!

At least I know the pattern has been tested to within an inch of its life! I’m also intending to do a few more fairs and events this year so these will come in handy as future stock for the craft circuit rounds. I’m certainly not going to have to worry about an under-stocked stall if I carry on at this rate.

A tray full of monsters makes the perfect cat bed… apparently. Though I can think of comfier looking places myself. I think the kitties just like to get right in the way, especially if they haven’t been petted for a while due to their owners obsessive obsession with her new designs. Tut tut.

Much as I love the therapeutic crocheting of round after round of bright spirals there is always the dreaded sewing up to be done. It was somewhere around this point in time that I looked with dismay at all those spidery yarn ends and wondered, not for the first time, why oh why didn’t I deal with them as I went along!

My monster pencil case seems to share my open mouthed horror at the task ahead. Or is he just smirking at my idiocy?

A good few hours, and rather a lot of episodes of Bagpuss later (I stumbled upon the entire two series on Amazon Prime and couldn’t resist a trip down memory lane!) all my monsters were fully assembled and fidgeting about waiting to cause a bit of monster mayhem.

Can you guess their favorite game? It’s ‘I Spy With My Little Eye’. Although there is actually nothing very little about each of their eyes in proportion to their bodies, they do like the fact that I Spy is always played with reference to just the one eye, of which they are obviously very proud owners.

When I was little I always used to wonder why it was only the one eye we spied with but now I think maybe the Cyclops invented the game. This lot took to it like it was in their genes so you never know, it could be the truth.

The photo shoot was fun as these guys and gals are always smiling and love to strut their stuff in the bright lights.

They’re also very good at balancing (with the help of a strategically placed pin or two).

After all that it was back to the desk and the computer to get them their little spot in the listings limelight.

You can find the pattern in any of my online shops but if you like buying patterns in a bundle with the yarns to make them then check out my LoveCrochet shop where I have recently spent many hours updating all my listings to include either the exact yarn colours or those that are the closest match – depending on the availability of their yarn stock- to those I used in my patterns. It’s not strictly necessary for any of my designs but if you like to get the whole lot together and maybe aren’t so confident at substituting your own yarn then this might be something to consider.

Making myself do this for most of my pattern collection has made me much more organised when it comes to cataloging all the various yarns that I use. Even if you don’t get the bundle from LoveCrafts and want some advice on the best yarns to use for any particular pattern of mine just give me a shout. I have notes on nearly all my yarn choices now and I’m always happy to help 🙂

Well, it’s time to say goodbye from me and my wonderfully woolly wide eyed friends.

 

This time they’re off to play ‘Bye Bye With My Little Eye’ which is a new game we invented where all the mischievous monsters get to take a long, restful nap while I get on with some other work!

And while they are quietly drifting off to a single lullab’eye’ I’m off to finish testing Drake the Dragon’s pattern for the upcoming Fantasy Creatures book.

We’re having so much snow here at the moment that I shall be glad of a few more fire breathing dragons to help keep those drafty old Victorian House chills at bay.

Keep warm and wonderful, wherever you are!

Cyrus the Cyclops Pattern can be found on * Etsy  * Ravelry  * LoveCrochet *


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Grab a Coffee and Let’s Catch Up!

Oh my goodness. Where have the last few months gone?! Silly question, really. They have gone the way of every yesterday, and every last weekend and every yesteryear and vanished into the past. I think that time just goes by even faster the busier you are, and I have been rather busy recently.

I have a lot to show you now that I have eventually managed to sit my self down, coffee to the left, mouse to the right and keyboard stuck in the middle with me… Now I finally find myself eager to get this catch up post out of the way so that I feel freer to get back into a nicely organised blog writing routine like I used to!

So here goes… Picking up where I left off, Drake the Dragon came 5th overall in the Fantasy Creatures amigurumi competition. Yay for Drake and a big thank you to all who voted! There were over 700 entries in the end so I’m very pleased with that result.

So pleased, in fact, that I made Drake a big marshmallow on a stick for toasting with his nose flames as a reward for doing so well. Other smiley news is that there is going to be a fantasy creatures amigurumi book inspired by the competition and Drake will be featuring in it alongside 14 other magical and quirky designs (I’ve had a sneak preview of his book-fellows and I can report that they are all 100% cute!). That does mean, however, that I won’t be publishing his pattern in my online shops until after the book release but I’ll keep you all informed about release dates as and when they come to light.

Shortly after my last post the Halloween decorations came down. I like to keep them up until the Christmas ones come out to play. The winter evenings are so dark and dull, my twinkly fairy lights, plethora of pumpkins and abundance of warm autumnal colours help keep me cheerful through the worst of it.

And so Pumpkin Patch People were replaced with the newly written up pattern for the Christmas Elf Quartet (adapted from a design I made for a magazine a couple of years ago – some of you may recognize it). I tried several colourways until I found my perfect combination.

Love these lime and bottle greens together with the red and the silver grey.

And very good were they at helping with the Christmas decorations this year!

Tah-dah! Job done!

They also featured as star attractions on my mantelpiece.

Christmas was fabulous. especially now two of the boys have girlfriends. The feminine element meant that thoughtful gift wrapping and giving was raised to a whole new level and it was lovely to have some girly company over the holidays too. My boys are all fabulous human beings, but they don’t do Christmas like the girls do Christmas!

Rubick enjoyed helping, or getting in the way, which ever way you prefer to look at it.

Too cute!

Though he is a bit of a liability this one. Not long after these photos were taken he came back from one of his garden hopping jaunts with a massive gaping cut in his side. I’ll spare you the photos of his untreated wound but, several visits to the vets and hundred pounds later he was doing quite a good Frankenstein’s Monster impression with eight stitches and a lovely bald patch to show for it all.

By the way, this is what happens when I quickly sneak out of bed in the early morning to make a cup of tea,. Rubick has grabbed the warm spot with a look of ‘finder’s keepers, losers weepers’. Oh well, never one to argue with the cats I just made an early start that day and drank my tea in the studio instead!

It snowed a couple of times over the holidays. The first time it melted away again almost as soon as it had landed. Mojo was fascinated with God’s bad dandruff day!

Then a little while later it snowed a lot…

About six inches of the lightest fluffiest snow I’ve seen for a few years.

I absolutely had to go and make a snowman who wasn’t made of yarn for a change.

I couldn’t get the boys motivated to come and help. I think they’re probably way to old at 19 and 20 years to get overly excited about a bit of snow (not sure what happened to me then!). So I built him on my own. He was a bit rushed as I could only find a single glove with fingers in it due to my passion for fingerless mitts, of which I have many, all lovingly hand knitted by myself, but all completely useless for making anything out of snow. So the other hand was wrapped in a sock which did nothing to keep out the icy wetness. That’s my excuse for why my real snowman looks a bit wonky and not very well finished. I didn’t want to risk not being able to crochet due to frostbite!

In the run up to Christmas I began working on some new Christmas gift bags.

With all the fairy lights twinkling and scented candles lit I made the most of the cosy evenings to crochet a few rows whenever the busy pre-Christmas schedule would allow.

I had lots of fun crocheting with this beautiful tinsel yarn by King Cole.

But alas, after the elves, I didn’t quite manage to squeak out any new festive patterns before Christmas itself was upon us. But the character bags are still a work in progress and will most definitely be up and ready long before this year’s festive season begins!

For now though I’m working on some new stuff that has nothing to do with the holidays. A New Year (well, not quite anymore!) and a new start.

This is another design I made for the same magazine as the elves. I was originally going to call him Beginner’s Bear as he is so quick and easy to crochet. If you have four hours to spare you can make one of these from beginning to end and, with just a single crochet stitch and some very simple shaping to handle, he really is a doddle. In fact, if you are a reasonably fast crocheter and know what you are doing then this bear can even be made in around three hours. Almost instant gratification!

I’ve used up lots of scraps and small leftover balls of yarn from previous projects for these bears so there are some small spaces opening up in my stash baskets, ready to be filled with more almost immediately, I’ve no doubt!

I decided in the end to call the finished bear Bobbin, so it can be a girl or a boy and s/he is my first fully finished pattern of 2018.

As late to the party as we are, myself and the new bears on the block would like to wish you all a tremendously wonderful new year ahead!

Now I am finally back into the swing of pattern writing I have plenty more up my sleeve.

This is the sort of thing cluttering up my desk this week. Yes, some more monsters are on the way. Oh, I get to make more eyeballs! What joy – though I’ve also spent a small fortune on safety eyes again.

I’ll be making a blog post about these new creations next. Now I’ve finally caught up with myself I’m going to try very hard not to let things slip so far behind again. Well, only time will tell if I manage it and with the rate of knots time seems to be slipping by I’m going to have to try very hard indeed!

Thanks for reading, and see you all again… soon!


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Mother of Dragons

Well the best laid plans… you probably know the rest! To sum it up, I just don’t seem to get as much crochet done as I would like at the moment but in between the distractions of the everyday I have managed to breathe life into a rather cuddly dragon for a fantasy creature themed competition being hosted at AmigurumiPatterns.net. I’ve had a yearning to make a dragon for a while and as there is nothing quite like a challenge and a deadline for focusing the mind so I thought I’d grab this opportunity and set my self to the task.

And Ta-dah! A pensive golden-eyed, frilly-winged, spiky-spined fella called Drake.

I started with few scrappy drawings, hastily scribbled down. I’m always in a mad rush to cut straight to the hook and yarn stage when I have a new idea but these rough sketches help to give me an idea of the amount of different pieces I’ll need to create the image sitting pretty in my head.

Seated or standing was the main question at this point.

In the end I plumped for seated as I preferred the way this would look from different angles.

There are quite a few separate components to this design but they sew together really easily. This dragon has a very chunky thing going on so it’s not as fiddly to assemble as it may look. There is a place for everything and when everything is sewn in place according to the pattern instructions it’s pretty much foolproof!

It really didn’t take too long before he was fully assembled and ready for a photoshoot.

It actually took longer to get the first photoshoot done as Minnie refused to move from the warmth of the bright lights and with this recent cold weather snap I can’t say I blame her! She did eventually get up and wander off, probably in search of food and I  began clicking away with camera.

Now for a big smile 😀 Say ‘Cheese’ Drake 😀 (Do dragons even eat cheese I wonder?)

Drake’s a doddle to photograph and has a couple of good sides he wanted to show off for you all.

As a result I took quite a few snaps.

Including his magnificent rear view. When it come to dragons I like big butts and I cannot lie…

Of course one Dragon, or one of anything I ever crochet, is never enough so I got busy trying out another colour combination to keep things lively as I ran through the pattern again to test for mistakes.

I decided on blue eyes and a lilac dragon this time.

Another day, another mound of dragon bits ready to morph into another wooly pal.

Purple Drake and Green Drake enjoy a chin wag about dragonny things like what’s the best way to keep a fire stoked in the belly, or how to keep those wings in tip top condition.

I’m loving the effect of the big glass eyes on the first two but I’m well aware that not everyone will have these lovely shiny peepers in their stash and may not care to shell out on a pair either so I made a dragon with woolen eyes too. I feel this one needs a bit of tweaking yet but the green ring sets off the black plastic safety eyes very nicely.

Oh and I love these colours!

Now that I have three fire breathing babies I have officially named myself ‘Mother of Dragons’ just like Daenerys Targaryen. Well maybe not ‘just like’. That might be pushing things a bit far! For a start no-one calls me Khaleesi and thankfully I didn’t have to personally hatch my babies in a roasting funeral pyre. I much prefer the crochet method for that. But I’m proud to say my own brood are not quite as unruly as Daenearys’s overgrown hatchlings. In fact they’re extremely tame by comparison but that’s the way I prefer them, for sure!

If you fancy spending a little time away from the hassles of the everyday world and like the idea of getting lost in a wonderfully fantastical alternative universe where anything is possible and all sorts of mystical and magical creatures co-exist in perfect harmony then you can check out the other entries here and get busy voting for your favorites. You’ll be spoilt for choice between all the fairies, mermaids, unicorns, yetis, sprites, dragons and much, much more!

Voting will begin on December 1st and end on December 8th 2017. Good luck to all who entered. It’s going to be a tough contest this time, but may the best creature win!


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Tommy and Tammy Ami-Along

As you may or may not know by now, the lovely and inventive people at AmigurumiPatterns.net have been running various monthly Ami-Alongs since July.

Each month a different designer gets to take the spotlight with a brand new design of their own devising. Well, maybe you guessed what I’m about to say? Yep, this month it’s my turn! I was thrilled to be asked to come up with a new character especially for this event and to be a part of such a fun, community adventure. I soon got my thinking cap on and before I knew it Tommy and Tammy, the tortoise twins, were born.

When I see these pictures they make me think of first graders setting off to school for the first time with their new hats and matching rucksacks.

The pattern will be available for the next month (until November 13th 2017) by joining the ami-along. Participants will also have access to the forum where you can get involved posting pictures of your work, asking me random questions or simply chatting to each other about favorite yarns, tips and techniques. There are also some great prizes on offer in categories such as ‘best finished character’ and ‘most original/interesting question’ (chosen by me at the end of the ami-along), plus more mystery completions that will be revealed as the month goes on.

If you like the idea of participating you can find out more details over at the Ami-Along intro page. I do hope you’ll join us! I’ve seen one familiar face over there already (hello Katy!) and would love to find out how you all get on making your own little torties.

At around 6″ (10 cm) tall, my tortoises work up fairly quickly, so no huge time commitment is necessary, but of course you can spend the entire month making a whole bunch of them if you like.

I really enjoyed playing around with different colour combinations during the design and testing phases.

These are my favorites, but the possibilities are endless.

I hope you don’t think it rude of them to turn their backs on you but they’re very keen to show off their fancy shells.

If you don’t have the time this month you could always join in and make a tiny tortoise. This is part of the same pattern and are Tommy and Tammy’s favorite cuddly toys to take along on their adventures.

Contrary to a tortoise’s usual slow motion nature these little palm sized sweeties fly off the hook at great speeds. I absolutely had to make a set in an entire rainbow of colours. A great little stash buster for using up all those odds and ends of yarn I know you’ve all got lying around!

Snugged up in my comfy arm chair the first set of twins were busily hooked into existence…

…followed closely by their diminutive friends. I really can never make just one of anything. Or even only two or three.

These minigurumis were so satisfying to make, and once one sweet shell was finished I couldn’t wait to pick up another scrap of yarn and make another…and another…

…and another, etc. etc.

I found out that a group of tortoises is called a ‘creep’. I get the idea behind the choice of terminology but somehow it doesn’t really seem to do them justice. Tortoises are mostly solitary anyway but Tommy, Tammy and the toy tortoises would beg to differ there. They love company and are usually found hanging around together – and it’s not at all creepy!

In fact this pair are quite inseparable and with a warm hat, a cosy shell and their favorite toy tortoises in tow, Tommy and Tammy often head off on grand adventures, camping out for days at a time. Due to their slow pace they never manage to get very far, but they’re more than content to plod along. They know that a happy life isn’t about rushing to your destination, but more about enjoying the journey.

When the sun shines and the weather is warm enough they look pretty cute without their hats too.

Nothing wrong with a bald head, as hubby insists on telling me. To be honest, I have to agree it suits him as much as it suits the tortoises!

Well, that’s all for now folks. Hope to see you later for some tortoise related tittle tattle over on the forums!