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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Basket Cases

Now that spring is in the air I’m feeling my energy levels beginning to rise. Not that they’ve been particularly low but that extra bit of daylight at the beginning and end of every day, and even a few blasts of sunshine – short lived but all the more appreciated – are definitely giving me an edge.

I had a big delivery of yarn a few weeks ago and couldn’t wait to get started on some new ideas for a set of spring themed baskets. Finding aran weight yarn in a really wide selection of pretty colours has been a bit of a problem for me up until now. The balls are often massive 300g yarn mountains and the colours usually more muted than I would prefer – lots of creams and greys, dusty pinks and blues which are I suppose more geared up towards the traditional jumpers for which aran is often intended than the chunky amigurumi I wanted to make. So I was delighted to stumble on these Paintbox yarns while trawling some of my favorite online yarn haunts.

Ooooh those balls of yarn look so tasty they’re almost edible. Just as much of a delight as the vibrancy and variety of colours in the range is the way they feel. They are silky soft and have proved to be a joy to use. Which was just as well as I’ve spent a great many hours slaving away trying to create the *perfect* set of spring characters and then morph them into bag form. I decided to design these bags with doubled up yarn for the main body of the bag as this gives a really solid shape which doesn’t sag very easily. It’s worked well for my other bag collections so ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’!

I’m sure you’ll all know what a temptation it is to just rip off those ball bands and get crocheting before the postman has even managed to get to the end of your street. I have the same impulsive urges when faced with new yarn, but recently I’ve been making myself defer the pleasure of immediate gratification in favour of carefully cataloguing each and every colour before any crocheting can take place. It’s not easy to curb the impulse and resist the call of yarn and hook, but ultimately it’s been worth the effort.

I’ve (mostly) done this with new yarn for the last year and I have to say it’s a system that’s come in handy quite a few times. Especially for magazine commission work where I’m sometimes asked to remake an old design that I no longer have a copy of and also supply the publisher with a shopping list. I’m not a naturally organised type of person but with a bit of effort I can fake it quite well these days!

My little hole punch in the shape of a rabbit made the task much more fun and was on trend for what I was about to embark on. I just love it when a theme comes together!

Now I just can’t wait for a good excuse to order the rest of the colours in this gorgeous range. I think I may be in need of some Christmassy greens and reds next, and maybe a few more neutral shades for bears and squirrels and other fluffy non- season themed baskets.

My Lamb, Rabbit and Chick Bags have proved popular with little Easter egg hunters over the last few years. I know a lot of people have made them as gift bags too.

I’ve kept a pink lamb bag from the original set of makes all for myself and it’s often found storing my latest mini project – usually socks or gloves as it’s just the right size. I don’t do much knitting at the moment but when I get the urge to do a row or two it’s great to reach out and put my hands on it straight away. And in the meantime, between these rare bouts my project is sitting pretty waiting for me.

With the spring theme firmly in mind and all the new yarn sorted and stashed I got busy designing a set of bags more in line with the Halloween Bucket Heads in their construction. First of all I hooked up some basic body parts.

No, there’s not going to be a crazy rooster bag (yet) but messing around with some of the elements from two of the bags was a great way to get further inspiration for a later date. Things are not going to be quite what they may seem in these two pictures.

It’s really cheering to be working with such happy colours and I’ve also bought a few blooms for the studio to ramp up the level of spring inspiration. Those hyacinths smell just gorgeous. Their aromatherapy is helping elevate my mood as well.

Pink and yellow from Mother Nature…

…and yellow, orange and scrummy turquoises from of Paintbox yarns.

If you haven’t guessed already which animals I’m making then now is the time to let you in on the secret. In the end the various bits of amigurumi stopped looking like a rooster and were sewn together in the order they were originally intended.

A fancy frog with a cheeky wide-mouthed grin…

…and a chirpy chick with a ridiculously fluffy hairdo. A bit like mine, only much more yellow.

There have also been some other colours going on which are a bit less bright but just as spring-like in their own way.

Pink’s a big favorite of mine at any time of the year and it fits in so nicely with the Easter theme. Minnie and I are are the only girls in the whole family (hubby, 3 boy humans and three boy cats) so we like to get our fix of pink whenever we can!

When it was my turn to hog the pink yarn I put it to good use and crocheted up a lamb basket.

To go with the softer and more natural colour theme a rabbit also joined the gang.

Here they are all pinned together and waiting for their final tweaks.

I set some time aside for playing around with buttons and beads and bits of felt.

The embellishing part of the process is always very satisfying, not least because it means the end is in sight. The whole journey from initial sketch to the very last stitch is all great fun but it’s nice to see an idea that was scribbled down weeks ago finally come to fruition.

I ended up making one of each design with my new Aran yarn and one with random balls of double knit that I always have lying around. I was curious to see what the size difference would be and to see which I liked the best but I ended up liking them both the same. They’re all  roomy enough for gathering a good stash of those little palm sized chocolate eggs that the Easter bunny so kindly hides around the garden.

In case the Easter bunny doesn’t visit me this year (because I might be too old, I guess) I’ve hedged my bets and bought my own haul of goodies. I need them for photographic purposes anyway so there’s not much point waiting until next month. I can’t show the Easter baskets off to their full advantage without stuffing them full of foil wrapped chocolate loveliness. I did buy rather a lot though. It’s very easy to get carried away! Ahh well, I can’t complain about having the sort of job where I get to buy yarn and chocolate as necessary work expenses!

However, I’m not sure how long the Easter stash will last now it’s been discovered by this lot of greedy eyed monsters and a sweet toothed orangutan… I’m just saying – if it all gets eaten it won’t be down to me…honestly.

Once those final tweaks are made I’ll have a whole batch of cover photos to shoot and then I’ll be back to show you how they turned out. I’m going to get a wiggle on and hopefully get all photos finished today – before the Easter eggs have a chance to go missing!


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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.

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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.

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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.

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An evenings work resulted in a nice chunk of blanket.

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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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Zoomigurumi 6

oswald_banner_820

Another year has rushed by and another edition of the Zoomigurumi series of amigurumi-packed books has bloomed into a reality. We’re on to number six now and this one is just as full as ever of cute crocheted characters.

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I made an owl pattern back in the summer at the same time that I was designing my chameleon. That was a great riot of colour for sure and the theme seemed to be lots of stripes and big staring eyes!

owls-and-chameleons

Oswald the Owl was put forward as a potential for the new book and, happily for me, he passed the audition!

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After being accepted, all the pattern writing and testing had to be done which involved a number of duplicate Oswalds being made.

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Sometimes they were crocheted at my desk or in the lounge…

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…and sometimes they were crocheted outdoors, enjoying the warmth of the sun – sadly missed at this time of year.

outdoor-owls

Doesn’t that look idyllic? Roll on next summer, it will soon be Pimms O’clock again!

pims-oclock

I can’t wait to be setting up the day bed in the yard again for some serious crochet al fresco.

As work progressed with the book I volunteered to proofread another contributor’s pattern and was given Little Muggle’s Rudy the Red Panda.

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All the individual pieces looked sweet enough but the cute factor just soared sky high when I sewed them together and embroidered the nose.

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This is my finished attempt, strutting his stuff on my desk.

Of course if you are going to be bookfellows then it’s very important that you learn to get along. Oswald is not too sure the first time that Rudy tries to climb into his nest.

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But Oswald soon finds out that Rudy means no harm and he relaxes a little bit.

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Before you know it Rudy has wriggled his way into Oswald’s nest – and into his heart.

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It’s a snug fit but they’ll certainly keep each other warm that way!

Oswald also gets along fine with the Nesting Rainbow Owls. Just as well really, as that nest did belong to them first.

owly-family

(My free Rainbow Nesting Owls pattern can be downloaded from here if you worry that your Oswald might get a bit lonely, or if you feel he needs a nice snuggly nest to keep him safe!).

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It’s not long before all the owls are one big happy family – with a friendly red panda for company.

owls-and-red-panda

Here’s another look at all the lovely characters in the book, just in case you weren’t tempted enough already!

A special presale price of £15.95, including worldwide shipping, is available until 25th February 2017 and you’ll be sent a downloadable PDF version as soon as your order is complete so you can start crocheting straight away – if you can actually choose which one to start with that is!

The website at amigurumipatterns.net has more information on Zoomigurumi 6 if you want to know more.

It’s been another fun adventure with Meteoor Books. There’s a new book dedicated entirely to cute and cuddlesome monsters coming out next which will feature my Jeepers and Creepers pattern so be sure to check back from time to time for more about that 🙂


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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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

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…Stan the Stag…

stanley-stag

…and Harry the Hare…

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…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!