Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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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!


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Too Many Monsters?

Here’s a ponderous question for you. How many monsters are too many monsters?

During the past few months I haven’t been able to get enough of these brightly boggle eyed beasties and as a result I’ve created two more fully finished monster patterns and made a lot more others besides.

Firstly I finished a pattern started nearly a year ago (I know – shocking how time flies!) This pattern started out as a pair of three eyed monsters originally called Lotty and Dotty.

They were one of my entries in the AmigurumiPatterns.com design contest last October. They thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the contest and aren’t at all jealous of Jeepers and Creepers for making it into the Monster Amigurumi book. However they did go on the back burner for a bit, but every monster has his day and they have finally emerged into the footlights and now have their own pattern in my Ravelry shop.

I’m often finding it difficult to keep up with myself these days but I’ve made a big effort to finish off several archived projects recently.

The most sensible thing to do was to work on a couple of monster designs at the same time, while I was in a monster mood. I tweaked Lotty and Dotty’s pattern notes, hastily scribbled into my notebook so long ago, and made them into three different characters.

Spotty is the closest relative of the original pair. His three eyes probably give that fact away.

To shake things up a bit I gave the new version of Lotty two eyes.

And the new Dotty now has one eye.

All together they make one big, happy family of proudly pimpled monsters. They get soooo excited every time it rains eyeballs. I should reckon there’s a few good games of marbles to be had with that downpour!

My favorite part of these crazy creatures? It’s gotta be those Jazz Hands!

While I was in the mood for a marathon eyeball making spree I finished off another similar design. I called these Stalk Eyed Monsters.

Love how they have no qualms at all about staging a mass invasion of my desk!

They’ve even weedled their way onto my computer screen.

For reasons which are quite obvious the green one is called Trevor the Treble Eyed.

Double Eyed Dorothy, most unsurprisingly has two eyes… Yes, the clues are in the names here folks.

Poor old Single Eyed Samuel has to make do with just the one eye, but what he lacks in depth perception he more than makes up for in being able to spy over tall walls and fences.

There’s no getting away from that feeling of being watched around here. Monsters or cats, there’s always a beady eye or two (or three, or four, or five, or a squillion…) pointing in my general direction.

While I’m tucked up in my cosy arm chair, making a bucket load of eyeballs…

…monsters peek out from everywhere and the cats take their turns keeping me company.

But who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by these mischievous little creatures, either the furry or the woolly kind.

After finishing the Stalk Eyed Monsters I had a rummage through my 4 ply yarn stash and decided to have a go at downsizing them. Picking up a 2 mm hook I set to the task.

Very soon, Trevor, Dorothy and Samuel had a little brother or sister to keep them company. The little ones really look up to their older siblings.

As well as making my own designs I couldn’t resist creating a family of Toby the Triclopses by Noah of Younique Crafts, another crazy creature featured in the Amigurumi Monsters book. I’ve been making them mainly on car journeys when it’s often easier to indulge myself by following someone else’s pattern instead of writing a new one of my own.

Working up these big, fat eyeballs always puts a smile on my face and now I have three three eyed Tobys. As well as being bookfellows with Jeepers and Creepers they also like hiding out with them under the table in my bedroom, right next to the radiator.

They had better enjoy it while they can because as soon as the weather gets colder they’ll be fighting the cats for that spot!

These are just some of the monsters that I’ve crocheted so far this year.

So back to the original question of how many monsters is too many monsters? I’m still not sure but I think I may be getting close here!

I’m now officially taking a break from creating and crocheting these oddball beasties for a while. I have other monster designs in the pipeline, hiding out between the pages of my sketchbook, but I really need to concentrate on other projects for a while now.

I’ll be announcing some news on a new pattern which will be the focus of the next Ami-Along organised by AmigurumiPatterns starting on the 9th of October 2017. If you look carefully you may be able to spot a sneak peak of a small part of it in one of the photos in this blog post. I can’t wait to share more news about that with you all once things get underway!


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Battersea Cats and Dogs Home

A few months ago the team at lovecrochet.com got in touch with me and asked if I would be interested in designing a bespoke charity pattern in aid of Battersea Cats & Dogs home. Obviously, as a cat fanatic with rescue kitties of my own, this cause is very close to my heart so it was an easy decision to say yes straight away.

I was asked to base my design on a real life cat called Hazel who came to Battersea Cats & Dogs Home after a road traffic accident where she sadly lost one of her eyes. The vets also found that she was now blind in her other eye as the accident had damaged the remaining optic nerve. So sad, I know, though the good news is that she has since been adopted as an indoor-only cat and has settled in really well. I’m told her new owner, Natalie, is amazed at how playful and loving she is.

After some doodling and thinking and studying of Hazel’s photos I came up with a design for a seated cat that captured her likeness as close as the yarn and hook would allow without having to over complicate the pattern. I think she turned out pretty cute!

It didn’t take too long to crochet her a friend who we then called Walnut. Were not sure if Walnut only has one eye or if this is just a cheeky wink going on!

I made a slight modification to the stripes on the face for the second one and this got me thinking how easy it would be to make tweaks to the colour changes in the pattern to create all sorts of different cats.

Here’s one I made to keep Rubick company.

Rubick is still patiently trying to ingratiate himself with the other cats and I think his charm offensive is beginning to pay off though the oldies are still inclined to give him a bop on the nose if he oversteps the mark and muscles in on their space a bit too much.

Three out of four cats sleeping peacefully on the same bed is a big achievement around here!

I decided to make a few more cats and soon crocheted up a white one called Snowball and a silver tabby called Greystoke.

Unlike the real thing, Rubick’s Mini-me and the other crocheted kitties don’t mind how close he gets and are quite happy to share the cat tower with him.

Minnie already looks a bit like Hazel so no need to make a double for her…

Though I think Minnie has a bit of an attitude problem regarding her doppelganger!

Who’s going to be the first one to pounce on the catnip mouse?

Though their markings may be quite different, the one thing they all have in common is that they love to look out of windows.

There’s a cosy ledge in the lounge where they can watch the weather rolling in above and the neighbour’s cats coming and going in the street below.

And theres a roomy ledge in my studio which is perfect for spying on the birds flitting around the garden and in and out of the grape vine.

I have plans to make more such as a Siamese and a long haired breed too, but for now this fab four will have to do.

As tempting as it is to make a whole clowder of cats I have a couple of other projects needing my immediate attention over the next few weeks. and these four already take my household cat count up to eight. No wonder I’m always sneezing!

If you want to get hold of Hazel’s pattern you can find it here. All of the pattern sale fees will go directly to Battersea Cats and Dogs Home to help with their valuable work so there’s never been a better excuse to treat yourself!

The crocheted version of Hazel had a lovely time time meeting some of the residents at Battersea and took a special shine to this cute Tabby kitten who was waiting her forever home to be found. (photo credit: LoveCrochet.com)

There are also other cat patterns to choose from over on their website and if your more of a dog lover there are plenty of canine inspired designs too.

The whole of Love Crochet’s Battersea blog post and more information on the other designers and patterns found in the charity promotion can be found here and will be available until the end of November 2017.

Maggie Coles’ cat, on holiday by the seaside, is the first Hazel I’ve seen so far. It’s reassuring to see our typical British summer holiday weather going on there! (photo credit: Maggie Coles).

Isn’t she a cutie? I like the use of the variegated yarn to create the unique patterning.

I’m as curious as any cat ever was to see what versions you come up with so don’t forget to post on Facebook or Instagram and use the #StitchFurBattersea to join in the fun!

For now this purrfectly pawesome patter of tiny paws says thank you to all who support Battersea Cats & Dogs home and look forward to being adopted themselves someday!


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Monster Madness

I’m a bit late with this post but wanted to give a heads up to anyone who doesn’t already know that the Amigurumi Monsters book is now available to order from amigurumipatterns.net

The pre-sale phase lasts until Wednesday 23rd August, 2017 so if you like to get a bargain follow the link above and it will take you straight to the ordering page.

As well as getting your hands on my pattern for Jeepers and Creepers you’ll also be able to crochet all these other crazy characters to keep them company.

I think you’ll agree there’s something there for everybody, as long as they like monsters of course. But then who could resist when they’re all as cute as these?

One of the things I love about monsters is the endless colour combinations. I couldn’t resist making a whole rainbow of mine. Here they are with a bunch of spare eyeballs that they rounded up during one of their more mischievous moments.

Jeepers and Creepers have an urge to herd things. They’re like the monster equivalent of a sheepdog, though they’re much too tiny for a flock of sheep to take any notice of as they easily get lost in the long grass.

Did you ever wonder what that noise coming from under the bed was? Were you brave enough to take a look in the middle of the night? If you were very quiet and very quick you may have glimpsed one or two of these cheeky monsters staring back at you in wide-eyed wonder.

Their three big eyes help them to peer about in the gloomy spaces under your furniture where they spend a lot of their time indulging their herding instinct by rolling up household fluff into dust bunnies. Even if you’re not fast enough to see these shy little monsters for yourself you may well have found a dust bunny or two to prove their existence. There are certainly plenty of those sneezy, wheeze inducing things in my house, but then that’s hardly surprising when there are so many members of Jeepers and Creepers family living under my roof – though my lack of passion for vacuuming when there’s crochet to be done also adds to the problem, I’m quite sure!

Their pattern was kindly tested for the book by three different crocheters and these are the results…

From left to right these goggle eyed creations were made by Stephanie, Iris Dongo and Stephanie Plets. Thank you ladies, you did an awesome job!

Wanting to have my fair share of the fun I also volunteered to test a pattern and got to make Toby the Triclops by Noah (Younique Crafts).

Toby is a very, very cuddly kind of monster – even his eyeballs are squishy! Two of my under-bed-sweepers were thrilled with their new pal and scurried on over for a big cuddle. They’re not really bothered about personal space and just assume every monster they meet wants a squeeze!

Toby looks a bit startled by this, but then he looks a bit startled by most things. That’s what happens when you can’t blink because you’ve got no eyelids.

I loved him so much I made another. This time, instead of DK yarn and 3 mm hook I used 4 ply yarn and a 2 mm hook.

Toby is convinced it’s his long lost little sister, Tabitha. She’s was too young to remember them being separated so she can’t say for sure but knows that she has always dreamed of having a big brother. I have to say, there is a very striking family resemblance so Toby may well be right!

A family re-union is always a lovely occasion but now Jeepers and Creepers are feeling a bit left out.

Oh well, they’ve always got each other – and million dust bunnies- to play with.

If you still haven’t had enough of making monsters after you have diligently made your way through this newest book, I’m currently finishing writing up a few more patterns for strange and alien looking creatures so keep your eyes peeled for more news about that coming very soon!


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My First Moji-Moji Craft Stall

Its been a funny old week, having had a total break from my normal routine. I found that time was flying even faster than usual and the craft fair I had signed myself up for, many months ago, was suddenly very nearly upon us. Now I don’t know about you but I always work much better under a tight deadline and so leaving the vast bulk of the preparation and organisation to be crammed into just over a week was probably the best way of tackling it for me personally.

As you can see, I managed to fill my 10 foot long table quite nicely in the end!

The stall sign was both a labour of love and a feat of engineering. But it should last me for a while as it is made out of very sturdy laser cut plywood. Each piece was individually painted by myself and a very patient friend (it took about six hours of paintbrush wielding between us) and was then pieced back together, jigsaw style, and glued onto a backing board.

A lot of work, I know, but well worth the effort. Weirdly there were still three pieces left over that we just couldn’t figure out where to fit. Very odd, but the sign didn’t look any the worse for it so we got straight on with the job of sticking it down. This involved turning it over while sandwhiched between two boards, taping it together along the back, brushing with generous amounts of PVA glue and then weighting it down overnight with anything I could find. Mainly my vast collection of cookbooks, the ever overflowing laundry basket and anything else heavy enough to help but light enough to lift.

And tadah! Here it is after it’s final coat of varnish.

The sign was a good start but I needed things to sell too. Obviously I have a generous supply of ready made amigurumis which were only in need of digging out and showing off.

They all looked a little startled to be seeing the light of day again!

Amigurumis aside, I really felt I wanted to offer a bit more variety to potential customers. So with that thought in mind I embarked on making up a whole batch of crochet kits. I actually really enjoyed this process once I got into the swing of it, though I’m quite happy to take a break from the endless winding and weighing of balls of yarn for a while now!

They next job was to package them up and squirrel them away into boxes along with the all the equipment and notions necessary to create the finished articles.

One week of winding, weighing, measuring, graphic designing, printing, box folding, bag filling and label sticking, and I had my first collection of finished kits to sell. Six different types in all. I would have liked to do more but there’s always next time!

My very helpful sign painting partner also dedicated a whole evening to making me some badges with the Moji-Moji logo cat on (you know who you are and you’re a star – thanks a million!).

I love these so much. Think I might have to invest in my very own badge making machine soon. Maybe one for the Christmas list if Santa is still listening, I have been very, very good this year, I promise!

I found my stash of owl purses (my free tutorial is here if you fancy making some).

And I dug out and blinged up some of my Mini Party Treats by adding a few sprinkles of seed beads and multi-coloured yarn.

I forgot how much I like playing around with toy food!

Looks good enough to eat huh?

I also had a small supply of extra books featuring some of my designs to take with me. A great way of introducing my customers to the topic of the new Amigurumi Monsters book (more on that in the next post) and as there was a recent outbreak of Jeepers and Creepers (who are featuring in the book) spawning in the studio I had plenty of examples to take along as conversation starters. I figured you couldn’t miss all those eyes staring at you as they followed you around the field!

I did have to spend a fair bit of time thoroughly picking them over for kitten hairs though. Oops!

The night before the show everything was stacked and ready to go and an early night beckoned.

My youngest son kindly came along to help set everything up and keep things running smoothly behind the scenes, tidying the table during the lulls and restocking after the rushes.

There was a lot going on at the Worcester Show but I didn’t get to take many photos as I was kept very busy all day behind my stall but for those of you who are curious about the event you can see snapshots of some of the best moments from previous years on their official site in the Gallery section. There was belly dancing, water zorbing, live music, biggest cabbage, longest runner bean, roundest dahlia, best use of recycling, competitive crafts, face painting, fantastic food and fine wine, bonsai beauties, a dog show, sport events, a fairground, and of course the market stalls…  to name just a few.

All in all it was a very successful and enjoyable day. The weather was kind to us and the hours just whizzed by. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to chat and to those who bought a little something to take away with them. It was lovely to meet you all and I hope to see you again next year, if not before!

And for those that weren’t there, thank you for reading this and sharing my day with me via my blog.

I appreciate all your support and the encouragement that helps me to indulge in my gloriously yarn surrounded lifestyle and passion for amigurumi!


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Handmade Fun

These last couple of weeks have been full of handmade fun and a desire to get organized and finish up a few projects.

I had a bid tidy up of all my yarn odds and ends which had somehow ended up strewn accross the studio floor (naughty kitten Rubick adding to the chaos by chasing them under shelves and chairs and desks) and shoved them, rather unceremoniously, back in their relevant pidgeon holes in the Moji-Moji wall of yarn. It’s a little more haphazardly filled than it was originally but the colours are roughly in their correct places and the important thing is that I can see what I’ve got at a glance. So useful when I’m mid design and need to scan what colours I have as quickly as possible so as not to break the creative flow by getting distracted rummaging around in dark corners of shelves and hidden baskets. As an added bonus, it keeps them dust and cat hair free too.

In my ongoing bid to zazz up my studio and turn it into my dream space I finished turning the stripy sampler I began back in February into a cushion cover for my comfy crocheting chair by simply folding it over onto itself, crocheting down the sides and sewing on some buttons to the overlapped part. It’s a bit wobbly by anyone’s standards but it’s bright and cheerful and is the perfect size and optimum squishyness to add a bit of extra support to my crochet cricked spine. I’m planning on writing up a pattern for a similar sampler piece so will have a new one on the hook soon. Maybe this one will make it into a fully fledged blanket this time…

Some welcome time out of the studio was spent visiting The Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall where I was delightfully distracted from obsessing about crochet and deliciously drawn into having a dabble with some other crafts.

In all the excitement I forgot to take pictures while I was there, apart from this rather splendid wicker bear, but I took some snaps of my retail therapy treasure haul when I got home.

I treated myself to a charming bone china mug made by Julia Davey. I’m in love with all things woodland and was completely captivated by the whimsical characters making their way around the outside in such a pretty procession.

Any excuse for another cuppa!

My second stop in the marquee of handmade delights was at the Artcuts stand where there was a tempting collection of delicate die cuts on offer. I could have spent a fortune here but was as restrained as I could humanly be and settled for buying just one packet of rabbits, a packet of stars and a set of wooden bunting.

I’ve been stashing packs of self adhesive fabric from Tiger into my studio whever I’ve seen new colourways appearing and the bunting was the perfect reason to finally rip open the cellophane and start making inroads into it.

It really was as simple as cut, peel and stick. Such fun, and not a crochet hook in sight!

I decided to string it up like so. Some sturdy cotton thread and a few pretty beads to help keep the wooden flags slightly spaced was all I needed to add.

Everthing’s a toy to Rubick. Bunting no exception!

My floral and polka dotty bunting has ended up taking pride of place in my studio window. It may help to distract me from the fact that my garden is such a terrible weedy nightmare at the moment! With all the rain and this sudden burst of warm weather, green stuff of all descriptions has sprung up between every crack. Nature is forcing a takeover and I’m too busy crafting to care!

There were some eye dizzyingly beautiful selections of Japanese Chiyogami papers at The Handmade Fair that were far too pretty to leave behind.

A plumptious packet of scrumptios squares made it into my shopping bag, primarily with my youngest son in mind. He has had a thing for origami ever since he was little, so I felt sure he’d be inspired into action by these striking kimono inspired patterns.

He loved the patterns and soon got busy. I had the bonus of a hands on origami lesson from him and can now make my own cranes without too much of a headache. I’m not so fast as my son but between us we soon got through the whole pack. Each paper as beautiful as the last, irresistably drawing us on to make another, and another until every last paper was used up.

When we were finished we decided that making them into a mobile would be the best way to do them justice so we searched the cellar and found an old bamboo stick. From my craft drawers in the studio we gathered glass beads and super fine fishing line, a pair of scissors, a needle and two hooks for hanging the finished masterpiece and we were good to go.

Youngest son sat for hours with me in the studio stringing them up with a most admirable display of patience.

The finished result looks spectacular in his bedroom, especially with the shadows dancing on the wall behind. It was so lovely to spend some quality time with him, making and chatting and enjoying each others company. At seventeen he’s usually at college studying IT, playing on his computer, or dashing out with friends, just as you would expect at that age, so this was a special kind of day for me.

Of course I did squeeze in some crochet too this week. Grabbing my bundle of self striping yarn and stuffing it into my tote bag for crochet-on-the-go.

A bus trip over to visit my mum gave me a good half hour of spare time, mostly traveling through a rural idyll of bright yellow fields studded with occasional oak trees and telegraph poles. A half hour is not so long for getting stuck into a project but about right to make it worthwhile hooking few more rows of my delicious self striping Caron Cake scarf.

Easy peasy rows of chains are turning into a beautiful fisherman’s net pattern that has the perfect drape. We’re not exactly having the sort of weather that would warrant wearing such a chunky winter weight project right now but I persevere because I know it will be cold again soon enough. Too soon probably, but at least I’ll have my scarf to keep me warm.

My mum and I decided on a walk up the Malvern Hills together. Such a tough climb up, but worth every creak of the knee and drop of sweat to see such beautiful views. I never ever get bored of this scenery.

Well, who would?

The tired out, gravity fighting leg stretch fatigue hit me on the bus heading back to Worcester but I wasn’t so tired that I couldn’t manage to add a few more rows to my scarf.

Don’t you just love it when the colours of the bus match your crochet? A little bit of unexpected harmony in an otherwise crazy and random world.

I’ve been busy with two new amigurumi designs and am really hoping to finish my Daisy Chain Hexi blanket this bank holiday weekend so I should have lots of crochet to share with you next time.

Wishing you all a fab weekend full of wonderful things!


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Lots of Monsters and a Tiny Kitty

My most exciting news this week is that we have a new addition to the family – and not the amigurumi family this time but a real life, living, breathing, actual bundle of fur in the form of a most adorable kitten!

He’s called Rubick and is around 11 weeks old. Oh my goodness what a handful he is! I have never had a kitten before, and never expected that I would. I’ve always been too easily bamboozled by the sob story of the ‘no-one-wants-me-I’ve been stuck-in-here-for-months’ adult cats at the RSPCA, but fate has brought this little fella my way after my son’s girlfriend’s cat gave birth to a litter of five in February and I’m not complaining!

He’s one of the tiny fluffies, I’m not sure which one exactly, in this big kitty pile!

Vendra-and-her-kittens

Mummy cat is neutered now, so there’ll be no more pattering of tiny paws and this particular set of tiny paws technically belong to my son and may move with him when he gets his own place one day, but for now I intend to enjoy every minute of having a mischievous energy bomb of a new fur baby in the house.

I’m going to try really hard not to spam you with too many pics, though he has been hanging around me a lot while I’ve been (trying to do some) crocheting. Any moving yarn is like an industrial grade magnet for him. It’s a good job it’s been the Easter holidays and no deadlines are currently looming or I’d be in real trouble!

As it stands, I’ve been enjoying his company and getting short bursts of crochet in whenever and wherever I can, usually during Rubick’s nap times (aww, see, it’s just like having a real baby!).

Of course he loves to snuggle up on anything made of yarn – what cat doesn’t? So I’ve made him a few cosy spots where he can snooze near to me during the long hours my son is at work. Rubick’s used to the familiarity of his mum and four other siblings and my other cats haven’t taken to him yet, so I worry about him feeling lonely.

Kitten permitting,  I’ve been working on a whole rainbow of monsters during the pattern testing for this design.

Jeepers and Creepers are my contribution to the compilation book that resulted from last year’s Design-a-Monster competition. This mischief making duo are currently winging it via airmail to Belgium.

This is them just before they stowed away in the box and headed off to the post office.

Those silly old monsters forgot to pack their dust bunny friends so I had to post them off separately when I found them down the back of the desk during the Spring Bank Holiday tidy up.

In all fairness it probably wasn’t Jeepers and Creepers who were to blame as the new kitten on the block loves both cardboard boxes and pompoms and caused a great deal of havoc during the parcelling up process where rolls of tape, packing materials and several of the dust bunnies went flying around – with Rubick skittering after them.

We’re all sorted now though, and the dust bunnies are finally on their way to the continent in a jiffy bag all of their own, probably accompanied by a cat hair or two.

Once I started down the harmonious path of rainbow gloriousness I just couldn’t stop adding in more and more gradients until I had a basket of appendages in every colour of the rainbow and a few more besides…

… and a matching hoard of bodies too.

After carefully laying them out on the floor in the right order Pogo decided I’d made him a perfect place to sit.

What is it with cats and circles?! Not that the formation remained circular for very long, but Pogo was happily settled in and didn’t seem to care too much by then.

Once I managed to regroup them I decided to pair them with their opposite partners on the colour wheel.

I think that should be rather eye catching.

Talking of eyes…

… as each monster has more than his or her fair share of ocular organs I ended up having to make a very, very lot of them! At this point I’m wondering why I really needed a Jeepers or Creepers in every colour, but I’m in too deep to stop now.

I’ll just have to grit my teeth and get on with it.

I think Jeepers and Creepers were as much startled to see so many monster bottoms sticking up in the air as I was at the thought of sewing them together in such great numbers!

Actually, it was rather fun once I got into the swing of it.

I think it’s going to be worth while. What a jolly bunch they’re going to be!

And even though I tried so hard not to flood you with endless photos of my cute-as-a-button kitten, I’m going to have to leave you with a montage – because I just can’t hold back any longer!

Shhh… he’s napping again now, time to sew a few more monster body parts together!


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Daisy Chain Hexi Tutorial

I’ve called these ‘Daisy Chain Hexies’ because the petals of the daisies are made out of chains and they’re finished off in a hexagon shape. It’s seemed as good a name as any and a better one than most.

Having had a few requests about how to make them I thought it was about time for a sharing post. These little motifs are fun and fast and very addictive. You’ll soon end up with a stack of them just itching to be made into something beautiful!

I’ve written the pattern out below, followed by a set of annotated photos for those of you who prefer a few visuals to help you along.

Materials: Light Worsted Weight (DK) yarns in all your favorite colors. The centers of my daisies are yellow and then the petals and hexagons are made from odds and ends left over from other projects. It’s all rather random, but I think that just adds to the charm.

Equipment: 3 mm crochet hook, scissors, yarn needle.

A note on terminology: I have used US terms in this pattern. The stitches you will need are: slst (slip stitch), sc (single crochet), dc (double crochet), ch (chain) and ch sp (chain space).

UK terminology replaces sc (single crochet) with dc (double crochet) and replaces dc (double crochet) with tr (treble crochet).

(For more info on the differences between US and UK terminology see the conversion chart at the bottom of my free patterns page).

Round brackets ( ) indicate a group of stitches to be worked into the same st/ch sp.

Square brackets [ ] indicate a group of stitches to  be worked the amount of times stated after the brackets.

The Pattern:

With yellow yarn  make 2 ch.

Rnd 1: 6 sc into second ch from hook, join with a slst to first sc. Cut yarn. (6 sts)

Rnd 2:  Pull a loop of blue yarn through the slst, *(slst, 5 ch, slst) in next st, repeat from * to end. Cut yarn and fasten off. (6 petals made)

Tie the matching coloured yarn ends together in pairs at the back of the work. Darn in the ends and trim close to work.

Rnd 3: Pull a loop of green yarn through any 5 ch sp, [4 ch, slst in next 5 ch sp] 6 times.

Rnd 4: (Slst, 3 ch, 2 dc, 2 ch, 3 dc) in next 4 ch sp, *(3 dc, 2 ch, 3 dc) in next 4 ch sp. Repeat from * to end. Slst in top of 3 ch to join. Cut yarn and fasten off, leaving a 14″ (35 cm) length of yarn. Thread the long yarn tail to the back of the work and sew through the back of the next few stitches until you reach a corner. This long yarn can be used for joining the hexagon to another.

The Pictures:

1: With yellow yarn make 2 ch.   2: 6 sc in second ch from hook.

3: Join with a slst in first st. Cut yellow yarn.  4: Pull a loop of blue yarn through the slst.

5: Pull on end of yellow yarn to tighten slst.  6: Slst in next st.

7: Make 5 ch and slst in same stitch as first slst.  8: Make a slst, 5 ch, and a second slst in each st around. You will now have 6 petals. Cut blue yarn and fasten off.

9: Knot the blue yarn ends together. Do the same with the yellow yarn ends.  10: Use your yarn needle to weave in all ends. Trim ends close to work.

11: Your finished flower will look like this.  12:Pull up a loop of green yarn in any of the 5 ch sp.

13: Make 4ch.  14: Slst in next 5 ch sp.

15: Continue making 4 ch followed by a slst into next 5 ch sp to the end of the round.  16: Slst into next 4 ch sp.

17: Make 3 ch.  18: Make 2 dc in first 4 ch sp, followed by 2 ch.

19: Make 3 dc in first 4 ch sp.  2o: Make 3 dc, 2 ch and 3 dc in next 4 ch sp.

21: Continue making 3dc, 2 ch, 3 dc in each 4 ch sp to end of round.  22: Join with a slst in top of 3 ch from beginning of round.

23: Cut green yarn, leaving a 14″ (35 cm) tail.  This will be used to join one of the sides of the hexagon to its neighbour. 24: Pull yarn end through to fasten off.

25: Weave in the first yarn end on the back of the work.  26: Thread long yarn end from front to back of next stitch.

 

27: You should now have a neat, barely noticeable join in the edge of your crochet.  28: Thread the yarn end along the back of the work to one of the corners.

Your yarn is  now in the perfect place to begin joining this edge to the next hexagon when you come to join the motifs for your blanket, cushion, scarf or whatever else you would like to make.

I’ll be creating a tutorial for joining and finishing off the blanket next, including how to make half hexagons for filling in the edges of a blanket neatly.

In the meantime I hope you have fun making up your own rainbow of Daisy Chain Hexis!

Happy Easter and Happy Spring Bank Holiday Weekend to you all!


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Fergus the Fox and His Happy Family

We have another new addition to the Moji-Moji family today. This time it’s a wily old fox called Fergus.

Typical of all foxes, he’s bright eyed and bushy tailed and rather bushy around the cheeks too. This is the fox’s version of the recent trend in hipster beards and I think he carries it off very well!

Fergus loves the outdoors and can often be found running wild over open fields or through the woods. He’s also just as comfortable roaming the urban and suburban streets, being sure to wake you from your slumber every now and again as he knocks over a dustbin or two searching for a tasty treat.

It’s a new obsession of mine to make my amigurumi in different sizes during the pattern testing phase. There’s not much much room for shaking things up with the colour choices here as there are in some other patterns so I thought it would be fun to play around with sizing instead. As a result, it wasn’t long until Fergus happened to meet Fiona on one of his forays onto the local farm.

It seems that it was love at first sight for Fergus and he spent all of the next week mooning about the place, sighing and pining and whittling love hearts from fallen branches, all the while daydreaming about the beautiful Fiona.

With a pawful of wild flowers and his handmade wooden tokens of esteem he set off to track down and woo his fine foxy lady. Fergus used all his natural charm and Fiona was soon head over heels in love too.

Suffice it to say that one thing led to another, as they so often do, and soon Fergus and Fiona had a little cub on the way.

After a bit of a wait, as is perfectly normal for these sorts of occasions, a bouncing baby boy was born.

They called him Finlay, and Fergus and Fiona agreed that he really was the cutest little fluff ball they had ever seen.

Now they are the epitome of a happy family and have much fun and many adventures together.

Foraging for food is their favorite pastime. This fluffy faced threesome often spend their nights gathering mushrooms and moss to add a tasty twist to Fergus’s famous sparrow soup.

For those of you who are interested in the technicalities of the pattern Fergus was made with worsted weight (aran/10 ply) yarn, a 3.5 mm hook and 12 mm safety eyes. Fiona was made with light worsted weight (double knit/8 ply) yarn, a 3 mm hook and 10 mm safety eyes and, last but not least, baby Finlay was made with sport weight (sock/4 ply) yarn, a 2 mm hook and 8 mm safety eyes.

The fluffy patches are crocheted in loop stitch (fully explained in the pattern with text and photos) and then trimmed afterwards to make a pompom shape.

Here’s Fergus before a trip to the barbers…(and before he got his body and extremities attached).

…and after his trip… with nice neat whiskers and a full complement of limbs.

The same loop stitch technique is used for the tail.

A bit of snipping here and there and you’ll soon have a beautifully coiffured tail that any fox would be proud to call his or her own.

It’s nearly time for another night of hunting for food and annoying the farmer so Fergus the Fox and his family bid you all goodbye for now!

Fergus the Fox’s pattern is available on:

*Etsy*  *Ravelry*  *Craftsy* or *Amigurumipatterns*


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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.