Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Beginnings and Endings

It’s the official first day of Spring today, heralding the beginning of this wonderful season of hope and new life. Just lately the sun has been trying to push it’s shiny, happy face out from in between the curmudgeonly clusters of clouds but mostly it’s been an airborne sea of grey from horizon to horizon. Thankfully the flowers don’t seem to mind and have sprouted their frilly loveliness all the same.

I try and get out and about for a little walk every day unless it’s bucketing down and have watched with great pleasure as Spring bursts forth again.

I’ve planted a few bulbs and alpines in my garden this year, and now I don’t always have to go to the park for a dose of flower therapy. You see, we lost our beloved cat, Tigger, a few weeks ago (I can only just bring myself to write about it now) and have laid him to rest in the garden. The newly planted flowers and a spiky shrub (in memory of his rather spiky character) are dedicated to his memory.

It will remind us of the happiness and bright moments he brought with him since he adopted us as his owners, and the house as his home shortly after we installed a cat flap for our three newly acquired RSPCA rescue cats around 8 years ago.

He loved our secure and shady garden and often spent time out there, sleeping, prowling and generally just skulking in the shrubbery.

The daffodils have shot up in the last few weeks since Tigger passed away and I’ve sprinkled some meadow flower seeds around to attract some of the butterflies that Tigger loved to chase, or in latter years just watch lazily, in the summer months.

Flowers have been sprouting indoors this week too. I have another mini blanket on the hook. Or really I should say I have had a multitude of hexagons on the hook. No blanket yet but hopefully it will start to take shape soon.

A woolly garden of super-simple chain petal flowers are blooming all around the house.

I’m using a mix of bright and pastel shades of pretty much any colours I can find lying about.

The emphasis is on using up odd scraps of yarn. I have a lot of small spheres of hand wound ends that are perfect for a project like this.

These tiny hexagons are a pleasure to hook up. I’m starting off with a yellow centre for each flower and then randomly picking two colours – one for the petals and one for the hexagon.

They’re fast and fun and I love the lack of colour repetition as almost endless combinations get chucked into the basket one after the other.

It’s tempting to pick them up at anytime when I have more than a few minutes to spare, as is proved here in my paint spattered overalls. I couldn’t resist making a few more while waiting for a coat of paint to dry in the bathroom.

After making my first batch I laid them out to see if if I liked the way the colours were working together.

And yes! I certainly did!!

Mojo is being a good cat, and doing the usual ‘is it soft enough for my butt’ testing. That’s a thumbs up and a butts down from Mojo then.

Pogo had other ideas of what was important to test for. In his case he decided to try out the play value. It seems they mess up pretty well after a jolly good roll around in.

That won’t last long of course as the fun of tossing individual hexagons around will come to an abrupt end once they’re all crocheted together.

Enjoy it while you can Pogo, you bad, bad cat!

In light of such delinquent behaviour I’ve decided that the safest place for all my hexagons is firmly skewered onto knitting needles. That way I can keep an eye on them and minimise the claw cags and soggy teeth marks.

Storing them this way also means I can see at a glance which colours I have the most or least of.

And of course, they can all then be ready at hand (or feet) for cosy, sofa sprawling crochet sessions. PJs and fluffy slippers on, candles lit, hook in hand and hexagons proliferating. How lovely.

This simple and bright little project has helped a tiny bit to distract me from the sadness of losing Tigger. Crochet is the perfect form of therapy for me. I find it gently distracting and incredibly relaxing, like a productive form of meditation. Now some time has passed I’m trying to focus less on how much I miss him and more on reflecting on all there was to be thankful for in knowing him, and knowing we gave him a life of luxury, comfort and love in his elderly years.

I’ll sign off this post by sharing a few photos from previous blog posts of my beautiful, difficult tempered, but incredibly rewarding misfit cat.

Rest in peace Tigger.


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Easter Baskets – All Finished!

After a string of technical glitches, computer meltdowns and problems with file and photo uploads last night I’ve eventually managed to list my Easter Basket patterns. Woah – there were some serious internet gremlins at work around midnight but all seems to have reverted to normal this morning. How odd. Perhaps my computer just needed a good night’s sleep!

After the work in progress pictures that I posted yesterday it’s time to share how the baskets finally turned out, complete with all the finishing touches and enhanced by a liberal scattering of Easter treats.

I’ve made two sets of patterns. First up is a chick and frog duo. I’ve been in need of some bright colours on my hook to escape the winter doldrums and hooking up stitch after stitch with these vibrant yellows and greens was the best medicine I could have had. I loved looping the loops for the chicks ‘feathers’ and think they give him a dashing sort of handsomeness!

Making the bulgy crazy eyes for the frog was fun too. But then I love any excuse to crochet eyeballs. Sometimes I make them just for the hell of it and as a result I now have a big jar full. Is that a bit weird?

Do you want to see my jar of random eyes? Of course you do! The frogs are quite fascinated with them.

Roly poly eyeballs make for a great game of marbles, and they’re also good for disguising yourself as a scary monster.

From cute to terrifying with the aid of a few contact lenses and  a well placed prosthetic eyeball. That’s their outfits sorted for Halloween then!

Using a more neutral colour palette I also made a lamb and a rabbit.

A knobbly bobble stitch gives the lamb a fluffy looking fleecy hairdo and the rabbit has a jaunty loop stitch top knot. (If you haven’t tried either of these stitches before rest assured they’re super easy peasy and a full set of instructions and photos for each ‘fancy’ stitch needed is included in each pattern.

I hooked up two of each design in different weight yarns to see how the sizing would be affected.

You’ve already met big frog and little frog, but here they are without their disguises.

And here’s a peek at big chick and little chick…

…big lamb and little lamb…

…and finally, big rabbit and little rabbit.

The big ones are made with Aran yarn and the smaller ones with double knit (DK).

When they’re not larking around, the frogs (and the rather more well behaved chick) will happily store a nice amount of chocolate goodies from your Easter egg hunt.

As will the Rabbit and Lamb.

Both sizes are roomy enough for plenty of treats so you can use whichever yarn you’ve got to hand.

But you don’t have to stop at chocolates. They make unique gift bags for all sorts of things, or use them as storage pots and even flower pots. They’re sure to add a bit of fun and frolics to your surroundings however you use them.

From all of us over here, to all of you out there – Happy Springtime!

Rabbit and Lamb Pattern

Chick and Frog pattern


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Craving Colour

I don’t know what it’s been like in your part of the world recently but here in England it has been grey and damp and dark and damp and drizzly and damp and dour and dismal and – did I mention damp at all? Well, I think you get the picture and I’m so ready for a bit of sunshine! All this gloomy weather and grey skies has had me reaching for my yarn baskets and picking out the brightest colours I could find, then wrapping up against the cold in my vibrant Mexican blanket for some colour therapy crochet.

horace-hand

In my thirst for a burst of eye dazzlement I made a pair of Hairy Horaces in the most uplifting summery sky blue and sunny yellow shades of furry yarn that I could get my hands on.

horaces-in-the-making

They turned out as cheery looking as I’d hoped. I love these cuddly fellas with their 70’s, jumpsuited disco vibe. If they don’t brighten the place up then nothing will!

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I managed to finish the pattern and upload it into my Etsy shop  and felt all the better for it.  It’s always good to cross another thing off the to-do list.

(If you need a dose of Horace’s flamboyant fabulousness you can find his pattern here).

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The latest two don’t quite capture the giddy fluorescent heights of the original horace with his dayglo yellow fur, but it’s actually quite nice to be able to look at them without needing a pair of sunglasses!

horace-three

I’ve used King Cole Moments yarn for all of my Hairy Horaces. If you’re at all nervous about using eyelash type yarns I would recommend starting out by playing around with a ball of this stuff. I’ve used lots of different brands and weights of novelty yarns over the last few years and this one is silky smooth and much easier than most to crochet with as it doesn’t snag up too easily. There’s enough filament to make an impressive amount of fluff but not too much that it obscures the central yarn cord as you crochet – which can make it difficult to see the individual stitches.

kingh-cole-moments-yarn

I’ve treated myself to s few more zingy shades as it’s pretty inexpensive too. One ball makes one monster so I could have a rainbow of them soon!

Still on the theme of summer brights, I bought this gorgeous paisley cushion on an impulse the other day  – all part of my colour craving symptoms I think.

monster-medley

Maybe it was difficult to resist because it matched my monsters so well and those gorgeous colours were already swimming around in my head.  Anyway I was so enamoured with the pinks and purples and the accents of supernova bright yellows and oranges in my new cushion that I ended up pulling all the matching balls of yarn off my shelves and began cooking up an idea to create some woolly furnishings to go with it.

bright-yarn

I’ve had it in my mind to cover a boring beige footstool that I acquired a while ago. Crochet was the obvious medium for me to do this in. I did think about sewing one as I have a stash of pretty fabrics but somehow whenever it comes down to a straight fight between sewing and crochet the crochet always wins out these days.

mini-mandala

This sort of round and round in circles thing is very moreish, so I ignored the chores and carried on for a little while longer.

footstool-cover

This was closely followed later that evening (when all chores were eventually done – do you see my halo?) by the beginnings of a lap blanket to match the beginnings of the footstool cover.

mini-stripey-blanket-begins

I’m just improvising stitches as I go. It’s quite exciting to see what unfolds and the beautiful thing about crocheting (as opposed to knitting) is that if I don’t like a particular combination it’s so, so easy to frog backwards with only the one live stitch to worry about at any one time.

paisley-cushion

An evenings work resulted in a nice chunk of blanket.

crochet-furnishings

Minnie likes it very well so far…

mini-blanket

minnie-snooze

… and so do the Horaces.

monster-snuggles

This swatch of blanket is the perfect size for the monsters right now but my mission is to make it the perfect size for me so that my crochet corner is a heart lifting sanctuary of warm and squishy crochet delightfulness.

my-crochet-corner

I’ve made a good start anyway, and am finding myself looking forward to each long dark cosy evening so I can let the yarn shine out and get a few more rows and rounds done.

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It’s all  going to be rather jazzy by the time I’ve finished.

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And really, who needs actual sunshine when you’ve got all this yarny joy around to cheer the place up?!


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2016 – My Year in Pictures

Before I reach the end of January and become too entrenched in the excitements and challenges of a whole new year ahead I’ve taken a little bit of time to reflect on my past year’s worth of blog posts. It’s been a wonderful trip down memory lane.

More than once I’ve found myself thinking ‘Gosh! was that really only last year?’. Looking through the posts it often felt like I’d packed so much in that the things coming up in my 2016 news feed seem more like distant memories rather than recent events (recent on a geological time scale at least!).  Picking out nine photos from each month has been a meditative and thoughtful task. I love how it crystallizes in my mind the achievements from last year and also serves to focus my energies on the things I intend to do this year.

I hope you enjoy this abridged and truncated journey into 2016’s best of the bunch creative moments! If any of the pictures intrigue you enough to want to know more, click on the montage and it will take you to a page with that month’s blog posts on so you can read the stories behind the images.

January

01jan-2016

February

02feb-2016

March

03mar-2016

April

04apr2016

May

05may2016

June

06jun-2016

July

07jul-2016

August

08aug-2016

September

09sep-2016

October

10oct-2016

November

11nov-2016

December

12dec-2016

Now I’m going to concentrate on a gazillion new projects for 2017!

If you’d like to see more from previous years click the links below.

2015

2014


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Trophy Heads and a Forest Themed Christmas

I’m back to work for real this week and have been busy finishing up commissions and sorting paperwork but I didn’t want to stomp straight on with the new year without indulging in a bit of Christmas nostalgia and sharing a few photos of my lovely festive holiday at home.

mojo-snuggly

There has been lots of cat cuddling and a fair amount of recreational crochet. Pretty much a perfect lull after a very busy year.

The trophy heads from Vanessa Mooncie’s book have been my favorite Christmas break projects. I started the hare and then started the stag before I finished the hare because I’m a bit impulsive like that when it comes to crochet. My Christmas decorations had a very pronounced woodland theme this year and I thought the stags head would look fabulous as a centre piece.

christmas-decs

As it turns out I didn’t get the stag or the hare entirely finished before Christmas but they were both completed by the New Year thanks to taking a week or so off from designing my own patterns. It sure is good to have a break sometimes and get that hook hooking up a pattern where someone else has done all the hard work for you!

hare

These heads have been very enjoyable projects for dark, frosty nights, and lazy Christmas pyjama clad holidays, keeping warm with the central heating blazing away, and an endless supply of mugs of hot tea, usually provided by hubby who’s also been on holiday. It’s no bad kind of life anyway you look at it.

hare-back

Lots of fairy lights kept the winter gloom at bay and made the lounge my most favorite place to be this Christmas. I had a Winter tree and a Christmas tree up this year.

two-trees

Lots of sweet robins and exotic glittery twittery species decorated the branches of the twiggy tree.

winter-twigs

On the pine tree there was a cramming of baubles and owls, bells and toadstools.

my-tree

All thankfully left alone by the cats. I think my moggies are getting a bit long in the tooth to take much interest in climbing trees either indoors or outdoors these days.

little-robin

It’s difficult not to feel content when you are surrounded by a myriad of twinkling lights and some well placed crocheted friends.

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Evie and Elvis got their stockings ready…

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…while Mojo enjoyed some Christmas bliss of his own…

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…and waited expectantly by his stocking for Father Christmas to fill it up with Dreamies and catnip and crocheted mice.

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My trophy heads progressed nicely while hogging the sofa and watching cheesy Christmas films as often as I could. Having been laid low with a bit of a cold and a hideously hacking cough for  most of the last few weeks this was a very welcome way to recuperate whenever circumstances permitted.

deer-head

A visually resplendent chill-fest with the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit box sets ticks all the right boxes for a good night in.

christmas-cosy

When duty called and shopping or visiting was required I occasionally ventured out on a car trip, taking my crochet with me, obviously. Every moment counts.

deer

It was rather exciting to see my deer head taking shape, bit by bit. There were quite a lot of separate elements and some very clever construction work involving sheets of card and sturdy wire to make sure everything was going to end up with enough strength and structure to support a piece of work of this scale.

deer-head-progress

Tigger wasn’t too impressed to be asked to pose with the antlers, but then Tigger is never too impressed by anything much.

tigger-and-the-antlers

He soon fell asleep pressed up against my leg for warmth so I don’t think I could have offended him very badly despite that look on his face.

tigger-snuggles

In between crocheting, presents needed to be wrapped up. I wondered if Pogo was hinting that it’s time to re-home him via the medium of a Christmas gift. Sorry Poges, there’s no chance of that – I love you tooooo much! Actually I think he just likes the rustle of the paper and the kick from the power trip that sees me rifling through my Christmas wrappings box looking for alternative trimmings until he decides to move of his own accord.

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My knitted cats are a lot less hassle!

cats-and-trees

It’s been a super Christmas even though I’ve nearly coughed my lungs up onto my lap for much of it. I’m feeling much better now and  the decorations have been safely stashed away for next year. Oh boo hoo. I’ve left the big twiggy tree up though and re-installed the little twiggy tree from the mantelpiece to the hearth.

winter-scene

The shock from being chock-a-block with fairy lights to the stark reality of a Christmas well spent, but spent nonetheless, would have been too much to bear all at once so I’m keeping the home fires burning with a few cheery, twinkly corners and plenty of candles to see me through until spring.

And the really good post Christmas news is that both the stag head and the Hare head are finished and have taken up their permanent residence on the back wall of the lounge. They may not have been ready for Christmas itself but I was quite excited to take down a few of the strings of lights and Christmas cards to make way for them. I love how they turned out. They’re definitely going to be year-round feature.

two-trophys

In fact I love them so much I’ve already started on a third pattern from the book. This time I’m making the ram, with a few colour changes. As this is strictly a thrifty stash buster I’m making do with yarn I already have. I’m also using my totally gorgeous stitch markers made for me as a Christmas gift by a very talented crafty friend.

stitch-meowkers

She made me a set of four, each one a beautifully accurate portrait of each of my cats. How lovely is that!

4-cat-meowkers

So while I while away my spare time making another trophy head to fill another space on the wall…

trophy-heads

…Stan the Stag…

stanley-stag

…and Harry the Hare…

harry-hare

…will have to make do with Mojo as company.

three-heads

Now I’m the proud owner of personalised cat head stitch markers and two magnificent crocheted trophy heads – how about crocheted cat head portraits of my moggies for the wall?

I can’t quite work out if that’s a great and quirky idea or just a little bit too freaky. I’ll have to think about that one!


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Random Project Round Up

I hope you all had a fab Christmas holidays and have made some New Year resolutions which are going to be fun to keep.

I’m determined not to get in a muddle by having too many crochet projects on the go at any one time this year. I’m pretty good at starting things but finishing them off… well, that’s been a whole different thing. This is fine up to a point, but the main problem is the amount of storage space that unfinished bundles of yarn and supplies, heads, limbs, torsos and granny squares take up in various baskets and boxes all around the house. So I put my mind and all my spare time during November and some of December to getting these projects finished off, once and for all.

This is a sweet little fox I began making from Zoomigurumi 2 for my brothers birthday in November 2015, but this poor fella sat languishing for many months when I ran out of yarn with only one ear to go and with not enough days left to order more yarn and get him to his destination on time. So he ended up being a year late to the birthday party. But it was still a birthday party and better to turn up late than never!

foxy

My brother is very musical and wasted no time giving Foxy his first guitar lesson after his safe arrival in Scotland.

starstruck-foxy

Foxy is now totally star struck and is rumoured to be applying for Britain’s Got Talent 2017.

Back in the summer I began a skull shawl for my gothic-loving sister-in-law’s birthday. You can find this fabulous pattern over at Kungen et Majkis Blog where it is written out in both Swedish and English and also comes with great photos to help you on your way.

minnie-not-sharing

This was a little outside of my comfort zone as it’s a world away from the easy peasy repetitive rounds of amigurumi. May I suggest that if this is your first time at attempting something like this you omit the wine altogether, at least until you get the pattern very established! I had to frog most of the second set of skull repeats (about ten rows) due to slight over imbibement. Well, in my defense it was a lovely sunny Friday evening and a glass or two of cool white wine seemed like such a good idea at the time…

friday-crochet

Back on track and a bunch of summer evenings were spent chasing patches of sunlight around the garden and crocheting a few more rows each day.

sunny-bench

And then I got stuck as I ran out of yarn again! It was almost finished here way back in June, but then got shelved for a while until I eventually crocheted a plain black bobble fringe onto it in early November as part of my WIP elimination drive. However, in my excitement to post it to my sis-in-law in time for her big day I forgot to take a photo of that bit.

skulls

I hooked up a sloth for a friend’s Christmas present. With all good intentions I began this project in September but only got as far as his head which has been staring very forlornly at me from a shelf for far too long. I spent a weekend in mid November making him whole and with my first Christmas present all done began to feel a little more on top of things.

slocombe

I finished testing this gorgeous Red Panda pattern by Little Muggles.

red-panda

Red panda and Oswald the Owl are going to be bookmates in Zoomigurumi 6. Keep an eye out over on AmigurumiPatterns.net for more info on the release date and details of the other stars of the show.

Mojo kept me warm while I got started. Lap time gets so much more important as the weather chills down.

proofreading

Pogo also kept me company and got quite heavily involved as I neared completion of all the separate parts.

proofread-panda

There was a  little bit of friendly wrestling with the head.

red-panda-head2

But after carefully prizing it away from those loving jaws (I’m sure he was only trying to give it a kiss rather than rip it to shreds!) Red Panda turned out rather well.

red-panda4

Pogo took another well earned nap after all that excitement. Glad to see him appreciating the Spring Dots blanket that was also completed last month.

My very own Oswald the Owl underwent his final few remakes to ensure all was as near perfect as possible with the pattern before it was sent off for it’s final proofreading sessions and a version of Oswald himself was posted to the publishers.

twoowls

And so another line was drawn under another book submission.

Do you remember the Monster competition a month or so back? A big thanks to those of you who voted. It was great to see so many people getting involved. Though none of my monsters made the top three (not too surprising as there were over 420 design submitted in the end!) I am really thrilled to tell you that Jeepers and Creepers are going to be one of the fifteen monster designs featured in a new book to be released around August 2017.

creepy-critters

You may recall that it’s this pair of scamps that are responsible for rolling up those dust bunnies you find under the bed or lurking behind the sofa. I’m looking forward to making these two in a range of different complementary colour pairings during the pattern testing phase.

I still have to do a proper write up, which means translating my scrawls into a nice neat manuscript but that’s a loose end that’s still got to be dealt with and will be a priority this January. A bonus of having the competition to work towards was that some of the monsters I’d been doodling over the last year finally got to make it off the page. Now I have a clutch of new beasties all designed and crocheted up. It’s just a case of writing up the PDFs for those as well. Another nice little job for the new year.

The latter part of 2016 also saw me finish off my Autumn berries poncho. A lovely mix of raspberry pinks and blackberry purples. You can see the poncho’s sweet beginnings here. You’ll notice the date of that blog post is well over a year ago so this was long overdue for it’s finishing touches.

poncho-schematic

I’m glad I cracked on and got this finished especially as the weather has turned so cold. It’s perfect for wearing around the house and as the cold snap looks set to continue for a while I’m going to be mighty pleased with my gift from me to me!

ponch-and-cat-and-apple

Lovely scrummy,snugly, squishy-squashy, soft as a cloud cosiness.

poncho

To think the humble granny square could look so pretty.

There is still a large basket of amigurumi body parts left over, though I fear some of these projects may have lost their way for good. Minnie seems to like them though so I’ll keep them around for a while longer yet. You never know when inspiration might strike and some of those bits and pieces may someday be transformed into something wonderful. One basket of oddments is within the realms of what my storage situation can deal with, especially if it doubles up as a cat bed.

minnie-in-the-amigurumi

But before I get carried away thinking about how to turn this basket of random shapes into new characters I have several brand new designs (mainly monsters and a princess) and a few older ones (the Trapeze Mice and Dancing Dogs, as well as a troop of carol singers that missed the Christmas deadline) to get listed on Etsy etc. The older ones have all been featured in books and magazines and now it’s time to make them available as single purchase patterns.

With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work I’m aiming to get the remainder of the backlog of new designs finished and listed by the end of February. Then I really will feel like I’ve had a creative spring clean ready for some new ideas for Easter and beyond. So much to look forward to this year. Let the fun begin!

Happy 2017 everyone!

 


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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Well hello there!

It’s Christmas Eve already and I just thought I’d drop by quickly in the midst of the last minute present wrapping and food prep to wish those of you who celebrate, a very Merry Christmas.

winter-scenes

For those who don’t celebrate, I wish you the happiest of holidays.

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And Peace and Goodwill to everyone on Planet Earth.

snowpyramid

Whatever you get up to at this time of year I hope you’re all having fun!

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XxXxX