Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Let’s Catch Up! Polly, Alice and Izzy

OK! Let’s do it… I’ve finally had a chance to have a good mooch through my archived photos. I’ve been puzzling about where to start with this blog post for a few weeks now. I figured I’d read back through my last newsy post from July 2020 to give myself a refresher and then take it from there.

Last time I was here I had just finished the pattern for Pjeter and Petra Puffin and had begun working on a princess and an axolotl. So lets start with a few Princess pics.

It was summer and I spent some cosy pyjama days crocheting on the downstairs sofa. It’s not always that warm in summer – especially the early mornings – so if you think that fleecy leggings are a bit weird in July they’re not so odd around here!

I had bought a greenhouse when the first lockdown was announced and was really glad to be able to double up it’s use as an extra workspace. My three grown-up boys as well as my husband were still mostly working from home so I escaped out to the garden whenever I could as the crowd took over the house in what was, in more normal times, usually my exclusive daytime domain.

It didn’t take long for the cats to encroach on that space either though!

Hmmm – so four people working in the house and three cats in my new greenhouse. Maybe I need a shed too!

As ever though I found a way to work around the kitties – stealing in and planting my backside on the chair by stealth when they weren’t looking.

Despite the musical chairs type problem of finding a suitable workspace, the princesses multiplied, stitch by stitch.

And here they are in all their medieval, romantic court finery…

 

With a few tweaks I was able to create a cheeky nod to Anna and Elsa form Frozen. Ah, the adaptabilty of crochet!

Then along came Alice the Axolotl. She was a special request from a friend and, to be quite honest with you, I didn’t even know what an axolotl looked like then! As soon as I saw a picture of one I knew this was going to be fun but that the challenge would be in making the gills. I ended up using a 2 ply cotton crochet thread for the frilly bits and she turned out so cute.

While doing my research I found out that they come in many different colours so I raided the wool wall and opened up the stash boxes to match up all the different flavours closely as possible .

I say flavours intead of colours because they reminded me of ice cream hues when they were made.

And so I named them accordingly. From left to right we have Lemon, Vanilla, Pistachio, Strawberry and Blackcurrant. Yum! But the one that went on the pattern cover was called Alice because I love my designs to have alliterative names whenever possible!

Next (though with a little bit of overlap as I rarely finish one design before I’m racing ahead and working on another) came Drake the Dragon’s new buddy – Izzy the Ice Dragon.

The weather was great and I continued to work outside as much as I could.

Lyra is all grown up now and hugely improved healthwise since her operation to fix her feeding issues when she was a kitten. She’s turned into a small but bright and sparky little thing that is always in the running for a bit of yarn action.

She loves to keep a close eye on what I’m doing.

And she seemed to have a special liking for being around Izzy

Having been expertly overseen by Lyra the final incarnations were ready (or maybe inyarnations would be a better word? – if it actually existed of course!).

I made a little version too. My favorite way to shake up the pattern testing repetition, especially as I didn’t make any major colour variations for this character as I wanted to fit her tones in with the icy theme.

Now this hasn’t been in precicely the exact chronological order because of my short attention span when it comes to starting much more than one crochet design at a time but I hope it’s given a little insight into what happened in the first half of my blogging absence.

I blame all the lockdowns and the chaos of a houseful of homeworkers for my sabbatical but things are a bit more normal around here now and I have exclusive use of my studio again without having to share the computer and other tech with anyone else. I’ve got one more catch up blog post then we’ll see if I find it easier to pop by and say hello a bit more often!

 


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Hello 2022!

It’s been a while – like a long, long while but Moji-Moji’s crochet mojo is finally back!

I’m kickstarting 2022 by collaborating with those lovely people over at amigurumi.com to bring you an ami-along event that I have had soooo much fun designing for. The ami-along runs from the 12th January to February 7th so you’ll have plenty of time to crochet up your own fantastically fabulous flock of flighty feathered friends (yes – I still love a good alliteration!)

So without further ado let me introduce to you to the new chicks on the block.

I had such a trouble deciding which birds I wanted to create but in the end I plumped for this these colourful cuties.

The lovebirds on the bower seat would make the cutest gift for Valentine’s day, or anytime you want to let love shine.

This little cockatoo looks so proud of himself when his fluffy head feathers go into full on ‘up’ mode! I just love it when they do that! You can almost hear him saying ‘look at me aren’t I just so grand!’. And I have to say I do agree.

Or maybe budgies are more your thing? I loved creating the colourways for this little chap and the embroidery was a hoot to do (or should I say a ‘tweet’?). Just a few well placed stitches made a world of difference and really gave them some authenticity.

Now who doesn’t love a hoopoe? What a crazy looking chap. I’ve never been lucky enough to see one in the wild but I have my own miniature crocheted version to cheer me up now. That marvelous crest is surely a sight for sore eyes and puts a smile on my face every time.

The magesty of the bald eagle is hard to beat, though these two are a little more larger on the cute factor than the fearsome predator factor. Are they getting all lovey dovey, or squaring up for a fight on who gets the biggest fish here? Hard to tell really. Personally I’m hoping it’s the former.

Finally we have the sweetest pair of cockatiels. Two’s company and three wouldn’t fit on the bower seat anyway. This pair are alway deep in gossip. They’ll merrily twitter away about anybody’s business. I would advise against telling them anything that you want to keep a secret. It could be front page of the News of the World before you know it!

Do you have a favourite? I’d love to know!

I’m not sure what Luna and Loki think of them – and my goodness haven’t they grown since they were in my last blog post! – but I’m hoping their intentions are honourable. Thankfully neither of them are any good at catching real life birds. When we do get feathered visitors in the garden they prefer to shout and squeak at them from the comfort of the window sill in my studio. They certainly have a bird’s eye view from up there.

You may have noticed that my studio has had a bit of a redecoration since the last time I posted, but I’ll save the details of that for a future post (teaser alert!).

In the meantime it would be great to see you over on the ami-along forum. I’ll be there to answer questions and help with the competition judging (be sure to check out the great prizes to be had!).

All ami-along details can be found here

Have the best day!

 


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Yetis and Bigfoots

Well hello peeps! Long time, no see!

This coronavirus lockdown, which much of the world is in to some degree or other, has played havoc with my routines but thankfully not my creativity. We have a full house here with all five of us working or studying from home. It’s lovely to have everyone around all day, every day, and more importantly to know they are safe and well – but it has been more than a little distracting! I’m used to having the house to myself for much of the week so this has been a very different experience.

I’m still managing to come up with new designs (the easy bit), and finding the time here and there to write them up (the hard bit). Here’s a pattern I finished up a little while ago but never got around to showing you all.

I was waiting for a flurry of late winter/early spring snow so that I could take this little monster up to the top of the Malvern Hills and get some peachy perfect shots of Eustace the Yeti at his most comfortable in the high altitudes. Now all threat of snow is gone for another year without so much as a flake hitting the ground, not that I could have taken him out for a day trip anyway as it turned out, with lockdown coming upon us all in the way that it did. Maybe Eustace will be luckier next year.

Instead I am happy to share pictures of Eustace the Yeti and his cousin Boris the Bigfoot taken around the house. They don’t seem to mind being confined too much. Their goofy grins give it all away!

We have a little garden we can venture into when the weather is nice. And when the weather is not so nice we can admire it from the studio window. (Well, those of us who have had our heads sewn on already anyway).

As usaul I got a bit over zealous with my hook and where two or three yetis would have done I had to go on and make more just for the sheer hell of it. I downsized from the original with these cutsie tootsie little balls of Katia amigurumi yarn. It’s a bit thinner than my regular DK weight but so lovely and soft to use.

I combined the Katia yarn with some 4 ply mohair yarn and my miniaturised monsters turned out adorable.

It wasn’t long before the whole hairy family were amassed together, cats and all.

Luna, Lyra and Loki continue to wreak big kitten havoc. Especially Luna (in the middle) who is definitely the liveliest one out of the sisters. Lyra (right) is not far behind for crazy antics and Loki (left) is a real chilled back babe who loves nothing better than snoozing in the sun and having tummy rubs (and not looking at the camera when you want her to).

While the yetis never got there snowscape photoshoot they had plenty of time under the studio lights. Funny how Loki can put her best side to the camera when I really don’t want her to! Photography takes ages around here with so many curious cats checking out the action.

Lyra also weedled her way in to enjoy some chill time under the warming lamps with eustace.

I think he likes the company. I did take a few shots without cats – eventually.

I didn’t even have to ask them to say cheese. This lot just never stop grinning.

Lockdown rules means I’m getting plenty of use out of my excersise bike. It’s one of my favorite ways to keep fit because it is so easy to crochet at the same time.

I love to do two things at once if possible. Time is scarce so why waste it? I’ve very sensibly never tried to crochet while out jogging though. I think we can all imagine how that would end if I did!

Mojo and Lyra take a peak out of the window together.

They are learning to get along rather nicely now.

As well as working on new designs I have used the extra time spent at home to tidy up and refresh my studio area. A rainbow lamp I bought a while ago helps to cheer up the space even on the dullest of days.

This really is my happy place. I feel so blessed to have a colourful and inspiring sanctuary tucked away in a cosy corner of the house. It’s taken a lot of time and a lot of tweaking to get it how I like it but it’s pretty much there now.

I’ve been very thankful for the garden too during tis stay at home phase and have even began a miniature veggie patch. I haven’t actually been out of my front door for over eight weeks now, (thanks to hubby who has done all of the two weekly grocery shops) and I haven’t been bored one bit. With a ton of yarn, a ton of cats and a ton of grownup offspring sharing the space there really never is a dull moment.

I’ve missed seeing my other family and all my friends but know that more good times for meeting and treating will come. I’m content to wait a while longer and chat on the phone or Zoom instead. It will be lovely to get together in crowds again one of these days, but in the meantime I’ll leave all that sort of socialising to the this bunch…

I hope you have all been coping as best you can in these really challenging times. If you can’t go out much right now, do what makes you happy at home, and keep safe!

 


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2020 Here I come!

I hope you all had a lovely end to 2019 and an equally lovely start to 2020!

With all the energy and verve I can muster I am welcoming in this new year with a positive outlook peppered with a decent amount of inspiration and a heavy dose of commitment. I have a lot new of ideas and a ton of unfinished WIPs to tackle and am determined to (try to!) finally catch up with myself this year.

There have been several reasons for a lack of productivity in recent months. The most fun one being the ongoing care of my three beautiful kittens – really more in the category of small cats these days. In the last few months they’ve grown from this…

…to this…

Even though they’re growing up they still get into lots of trouble. They love digging up plant pots, climbing curtains, legs (ouch!), and bookcases and generally getting in the way, particularly if yarn is involved.

My purr babies are now 6 months old and it’s been plain sailing with two of them. The smallest one – Lyra – had special needs that we only noticed when she was weaned and it has been very challenging to get her to grow. After lots of vets visits and a few tests she was diagnosed with ‘persistent right aortic arch’ where some of the her blood vessels ended up in the wrong place while she was still developing in the womb resulting in her oesophagus being very constricted just below the base of the heart which caused all the problems with eating and swallowing.

Getting her to stay strong has been very time consuming, but I was up for the challenge and fed her a tiny amounts of liquid gruel every hour hoping that some of the food would trickle through to her stomach before she could throw it up. I even crocheted her a little sling with two leg holes and handles at the back so I could hold her upright while she ate, and for 10 minutes after each feed to help it go down, without risk of squeezing the wriggly little madam too hard.

We were told that she wouldn’t survive without an operation to correct her condition, so that made the decision to go ahead very easy. I hated having to take her to Bristol – about an hours drive – but knew that the Small Animal Hospital at Langford would be the best place for her to have such a rare and specialist procedure done.

My heart broke to see her looking like one of the cast of Prisoner Cell Block H.

But she slept peacefully most of the way while holding my hand with her tine paw so I hope she wasn’t too traumatised. To cut a long story short the operation was a great success. They snipped away the constricting vessel and checked for normal dilation of the oesophagus and after a few days she was well enough for us to visit. Here we are at the hospital having cuddles.

The hardest part was leaving her again but the staff were fabulous and she seemed quite content to head off back to the ward with them when our hour was up. Being the awesome trooper that she is she continued to do well and we went to pick her up the next day >happy dance<.

Her stitches were a proper fright-sight but she had some good pain meds and we were instructed to start her on a diet of pate consistency food, fed from an elevated position to begin with. All meals stayed down splendidly which was a joyous thing to us all! She was so happy to be back with her sisters and her street view, but most of all was delighted to scoff down some real meaty looking food for the first time in her life. But, oh, that bald patch 😕.

Home comforts are plentiful around here and we made sure she had lots of love, warmth, fine food and cosy nooks to aid her recovery.

I am over the moon to tell you we now know for sure that the operation was a great success, and, while she’ll never have a fully functioning eosophagus she has enough motility there to get plenty of mashed up wet food into her stomach, evidenced by the fact that she is growing again and is lively and thriving since coming out of hospital. At the last vets visit she actually weighed more than her sister Luna – but not more than Loki who is turning out to be a very long legged and solidly built girl!

With the weight of Lyra’s health problems taken off my mind I endeavoured to enjoy the rest of November and the run up to Christmas, though I developed a tooth abcess which put a bit of a blight on things. Amid the pain, antibiotics and eventual extraction I worked on a teeny tiny rehash of my Teeny Tiny Snowman pattern for inclusion in Qing Fibres advent calendar.

I added a few stars and some round beads to create a Christmas dangler that showed off two of their lovely yarns – Hero Suri (deep blue fluffy) and Rambutan (variegated).

Katt from Qing Yarns handsomely rewarded me for my efforts with a few skeins of their Pond yarn. I immediately put it to good use making the Vine Lace Scarf by Marin J Malchior from my favourite go-to tome ‘Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders’ and so I have another WIP hanging around 😯 Oops! This one is good for car journeys as the repeat is small and easy to remember and I only need one ball of yarn at a time so I’ll be adding a few rows whenever the road calls.

We decorated the house on the 1st of the month as is our tradition. No big tree this year due to the monkey-like antics of the kittens, but I pulled in a small pot-grown conifer from the garden and put lights and trinkets on that. They couldn’t really climb it but they did their best to make off with as many baubles as possible.

An American magazine called Annie’s Crochet contacted me about featuring two of my Halloween Longlegs dolls in their 2020 Fall edition. It was rather strange to be working on such an out of season project but it was enjoyable and not too taxing. Perfect for the Christmas run up, which is always such a busy time with non-work related things. I took my time re-writing the pattern to suit the magazine style and remaking the dolls to send to Indiana for the photoshoot.

I even did some of the donkey work during Christmas visits to relatives.

It’s always nice to have a bit of colour to feast the eyes upon with so much grey tarmac all around!

Eventually they were labelled up and sent off to their new home. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they look in the magazine later this year.

So with all commissions done and dusted and Christmas presents bought and wrapped, everything was going exceedingly well until Christmas Eve when I succumbed to a vomity bug, which rapidly went around the whole family, each day striking down a different victim, until Christmas week was over. Oh well, such is the way the cookie crumbles. I came out of the holiday season 4 lbs lighter so that was something to smile about at least! I still got plenty of ‘just for fun’ crochet done over the holidays. I’ve been methodically working my way through this 100 snowflakes pattern book by Caitlin Sainio.

I’ve had this book sitting around for a few years but never got around to having a go until now. It’s been a fun project to snuggle up with. Pyjamas, kittens, crochet – the dream team.

Despite the kitten curiosity I made all of these and pinned them out on one of my foam tiles to be blocked, though the pins proved to be a temptation for little paws and had to be removed from sight once they had discovered them.

Aren’t they so pretty?! It’s my ambition to make every one from the book, maybe for this year’s Chrsitmas window display. Plenty of time left yet to get the other 89 made!

I finished crocheting my poncho/cardigan/shawl/cape/cloak. Not really sure what to call it to be honest, but I do know it is very warm and brightens up the winter days when the heating is on save mode (AKA off).

It was just waiting for the tassels here. I spent an hour or so cutting lengths of yarn and attaching them at the row ends and it really did make a nice difference to the weight and swish of the garment. Well worth the extra time it took and the extra hassle of fighting Luna for the yarn ends.

After all that ‘helping’ Luna has staked a partial claim to the finished garment and often likes to snuggle in the generous folds of the granny stripes.

We can keep each other warm this way. She was purring so loudly when I took this photo, and I would have been too if it was humanly possible!

I have a raft of new Christmas patterns that I never managed to get out in time. Here’s a close-up peak at one of the characters.

I got carried away making so many tiny ornament sized characters that I didn’t have time to write up the patterns for them in the end. I’ve shelved them for now but will be getting back on with finishing these festive designs a little later this year – in plenty of time for Christmas 2020 I hope.

In the meantime they make a very good overspill cat bed for when Loki needs a little bit of space from Luna.

There are plenty of other patterns for me to finish writing and checking over the coming weeks and true to my New Year’s resolution to clear the back log I’ve started with a Yeti pattern. Maybe it will work a charm and bring us some snow, We haven’t had a single flake this year in Worcester (apart from the ones I crocheted). Not so unusual in itself but sadly missed all the same.

Eustace the Yeti and I will be thrilled if we get to enjoy even one white-out snow day before the spring!


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What’s New Pussycat?

Well, there’s a few new things going on around here at the moment.

To start with, I have a pattern for a collection of Trick or Treat bags listed in my online stores. There’s a spider, a bat and, of course, a cat. This has been a couple of years in the making but after stopping and starting, getting distracted, sidetracked and then running out of time before last Halloween, I’ve finally got them done! It’s still a little later than I would have liked for this Halloween but I have a good excuse this time, which I shall reveal more about further down the post <<< (Teaser alert!)

For these bags I used the classic Halloween colour palette of orange, purple, green and black, combined with a heap of stripes to give them a recognizably seasonal look. I’m really pleased with how they turned out, I hope you like them too!

They are sturdy enough for the most rigorous use on any candy conjuring trip and can store enough goodies to keep you going until Christmas!

This really has been a dipping in and out of pattern. More often than not I do see my ideas through to the end but always with plenty of other projects shoehorned in along the way. I’m never going to be a one thing at a time kind of girl and I’ve made my peace with that at last. A much more laissez faire attitude to the WIPs mountain is definitely a good thing for me. ‘If you can’t beat it, add to it’ is my new motto!

This photo was taken around this time last year when I was testing through the first draft of the pattern. This version of the bag is still unfinished and stuffed in a drawer but I have every faith that it will see the light of day sometime in the near to distant future when it will be lovingly pieced together (probably).

All these bits below were eventually assembled into the finished articles, so I know I can do it when I set my mind to it.

With eight long legs for the spider, four medium ones for the cat and two short ones for the bat, plus three handles and the bags themselves it’s a good job I’m a fan of working stripes (I especially love how you don’t need to bother with a stitch marker to know where each round begins).

I’m thinking about Christmas now and have several jolly pattern bundles in mind for tree decorations and parcel toppers or just tiny gifts that are super quick to make, so watch out for a Moji-Moji Christmas Fest coming your way soon! (I thought it only polite to get Halloween out of the way first before I photo bomb you with elves, angels, robins and wreaths!)

On other crochet news – I have been steadily working towards completion of my Winter Greys Hexie Blanket, just in time for snuggling up as the evenings draw in and the weather gets colder. I started this blanket a couple of years ago and the final few motifs were finished last week.

The joining of the hexies was studiously overseen by Mojo and Rubick.

The blanket was tested for comfort in various positions from sitting to lying down and passed with flying colours. Or maybe that should be flying monochromes.

But it has taken me longer to finish the border than I anticipated. And the purrfect excuse for my crochet tardiness? Our feline family has recently grown again!

These cheeky sisters were born to a very young cat in a household that, for various reasons, couldn’t really cope with them (thankfully the mum cat is now spayed so no more accidental pregnancies for her!)

They needed a new home where they would be safe and loved so I went to visit them at their temporary foster home (my son’s girlfriend’s house – which is how I came to know about them) and decided to take on Lyra because she has some special needs (she’s the one on the right in the photo above) as we thought it may be tricky to rehome her elsewhere. She was born really small and with a squashed up rib cage and strangely bent legs which needed to be treated with a special jacket and some physiotherapy.

Here she is at 5 weeks old after her legs had straightened up a bit once she started walking on them.

You can see how I fell in love so easily! But there’s more to tell yet…

Whenever we visited at her foster home she was always particularly close and pally with Luna (below) and it didn’t seem right to split them up, and so I agreed to take them both.

After a few more visits I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving Loki on her own and so, inevitably – as I’m such a soft touch when it comes to furry, purry four legged fluffy things, I ended up with all three!

Could anybody seriously be expected not to bring her home too if they had the chance?! Just look at that face!

After losing two of my beloved cats – Pogo and Minnie – to cancer last year I vowed ‘never again’. I couldn’t go through that loss if I didn’t have to, but sometimes fate intervenes and cat’s simply scamper into your life when you least expect it. It’s been a while now since they arrived and I’m not regretting my decision. Not one little bit. Someone has to love them now they’re in the world, so it might as well be me 😊💓

I turned the lounge into a kitten nursery, installing all the toys and baskets I could find and shifting the sofas around to accommodate the cat tower that Rubick no longer favours.

It didn’t take long for the little lovelies to settle in.

Naturally enough, the kittens severely complicated any yarn based endeavours…

… but I finished my blanket with them mostly snuggled inside it.

So that’s three more feline fans of my woolly creations. It sure feels good to have an entourage so appreciative of my handiwork!

Round and round I went with the lovely zigzagging edge taking shape. After a touch of embellishment with some surface crochet it was pretty much ready to add to my store of winter throws.

I was originally intending to add tassels to the pointed ends of the hem but decided it might be a better idea to wait until the kittens get a bit bigger and slightly less pouncy or they’ll be attacking them every time I move the blanket around!

They’re certainly not always as sleepy and compliant as Luna is here… and it didn’t take her too long to wake right up and start chewing on the hook once I got crocheting again.

Oh well – I’m content to make progress with my crochet when I can, and play with the kittens when I can’t. They’ll be grown up and lazy snoozers like the others soon enough and then there’ll be plenty of time to do what I like.

Occasionally they’re happy to sleep somewhere other than my lap so, letting sleeping kittens lie, I’ve been able to sneak off and get a bit of pattern writing done here and there. Not as much as I would have hoped but enough to keep my hand in for now.

Mojo, Rubick and Laddie are slowly taking to the new arrivals and they are providing us all with hours of entertainment with their high jinks and acrobatic antics. Rubick is  happy to sleep on the sofa knowing the girls are close by.

Mojo prefers to observe from a height where he feels safer.

Naturally the window spot is everyone’s favourite place.

But Mojo still sneaks back into his basket when he can.

My poncho has been growing. This has been yet another slow burning project but I felt much more motivated to finish it once it wasn’t so mind-bendingly hot outside anymore.

While I wasn’t working on those soothing granny stripe rows the poncho has been doubling up as a cat blanket for Rubick whenever I was daft enough to leave it lying around. Mmm, nice and hairy before I even get to wear it. Sneeze, sneeze!

I’m very close to finishing this so, cats and kittens willing, I’ll share the Ta-dah moment with you next time.

It’s been wonderful to spend so much time snuggling with our new family members and I’ve squeezed in a fair amount of knitting while they snoozed on or around me. As a result I should have a finished jumper to share with you…

…and as I’ve been making mittens with kittens too I’ll be able to reveal the finished mini masterpieces in my next post (I love the way they look so far and will be making more of these before the winter is out!)

After that I’ll be in full on Christmas mode. Time is ticking by, in the most pleasant way it has to be said, but I don’t want Christmas to come and go without getting my new festive patterns up like Halloween nearly did!

Happy Trick or treating to those of you taking part. May your bags be full of sweet treats and your winter evenings full of crafty projects. I’m really hoping mine will be!


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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

820Dora-pieces.jpg

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 🙂