Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Zoomigurumi 5

Well, here we are again with another new book launch from amigurumipatterns.net.Zoomoigurumi-5I had great fun being involved in Zoomigurumi 5. My fluffy alpaca, also known as Alicia, has gone off to Belgium to join her fellow bookmates. If you feel inspired to have a go at any, or all, of these crocheted characters you can get hold of a copy of the book here.Z5banner_LARGE-v3

As you can see, Alicia is in very good company with 14 other cuties just waiting to jump off your crochet hook.

I’ve already made a Kaan the Crocodile by Carolina Guzman (One and Two Company), during the initial proofreading phase.kaan-crocHe was a pleasure to make, of course, and now I have another character to keep me company at my desk.KaanCroc-and-PompomsHe soon became best friends with Alicia’s grey fleeced cousin, Althea, and they’re now inseparable. They were both very good at helping me spot any last minute tweaks to the patterns and text. Alicia has been blessed with patience and is very calm and focused while Kaan’s beady eyes never miss a thing. A dream team!Alicia-and-KaanThough I’ve never heard of a crocodile and an alpaca hitting it off before, there’s always a first time…alpaca crocHe is a fine looking fellow, I’m sure everyone would want to be best buddies with him if they met him!Kaan-2And in case Alicia should get jealous here’s a little triptych of her own, taken by Joost De Wolf, the book’s official photographer.AliciaI hope that’s whet your whistle and got you all excited about the brand new characters! Alicia has had a couple of new reincarnations already, again, from the pattern testing phase. There’s this chubby, cuddly looking fella made by Bregje Zeijen.BregjeZeijenAnd this cute pink version made by Natalie Van Dalen. I love how Natalie changed the look with furry eyelash yarn. She’s like a big ball of gorgeous candy floss!NatalieVanDalenOne of the things I love about amigurumi patterns is that it’s so easy to put your own spin on things by changing a colour, or a yarn type. You can upsize or downsize by experimenting with different hook sizes and yarn weights. It’s always exciting to see other peoples interpretations. Thanks to all who send me photos or post them on my Moji-Moji Facebook page. I’m always thrilled to see them.Z4banner_medium-v2

Don’t forget you can always post your Zoomigurumi makes to amigurumipatterns Facebook page too.characterszoomi5I can’t wait to find out what you’ll be making once you get your copy. Do tell, I’m all ears!


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Katie the Caterpillar

I feel like I’ve seriously had my work cut out keeping focused lately, what with so much going on around here. It’s the summer holidays so no-one is in their usual routine. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fabulous having a houseful of my own kids, even one back from uni for a few weeks, but it’s hard to concentrate too! Having said that, I’ve made an heroic effort and actually managed to complete the write up of Katie the Caterpillar’s pattern. I love how she turned out with all those jazzy stripes. I hope you do too!

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Now of course I’m biased but I do think that colourful Katie is already a true beauty, with those distinctive markings and big yellow eyes – I’m quite sure she’ll be the talk of the town when she finally decides to become a butterfly. For now though, she’s in no hurry to grow up, it’s just so much fun being a caterpillar. When she’s not playing in the garden with her friends you’ll probably find her chomping her way through a juicy apple with a side salad of crunchy leaves – she’s got a lot of plumping up to do before she’s ready for that cocoon!

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It all began as I was sitting testing the final draft of my Papa penguin pattern. As is often the case it was the colours that inspired me. The black, orange and yellow I was using in his design got me thinking of a caterpillar – with the addition of a big splodge of green they would be perfect, and an image immediately popped into my head.  So I did a quick sketch, just a simple doodle really, but that’s all I generally need to start me off. Taking a much needed break from scanning penguin pattern lines I picked up my hook and got going.

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For me this is where the true designing comes in, keeping a keen eye on the proportions as I crochet, ripping back any sections that don’t look quite right and starting again where necessary. This part went pretty smoothly and I made sure I wrote down my hieroglyphical markings as I went along. This is my shorthand, as I hate to get bogged down in too much writing when the creative flow is at full force. Nine times out of ten I’m able to turn my scratchings into a neatly laid out pattern. Sometimes I do get stuck on deciphering things, especially if I leave it more than a day or two, but if I do end up scratching my head and thinking ‘what the …?’ I can usually  work out what I did by counting rounds and stitches on the crochet work itself.

Top tip when working stripes – don’t be in a massive hurry like I was and end up with a horrid tangle like this. It takes ten times as long to sort out as it does to gently untwist each colour as you go along!

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After a few hours the first pieces of the caterpillar are off the hook, stuffed with fiberfill and pinned together.

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It sure does get hot sometimes in my south facing studio. The slatted blinds can only screen out so much of the sun while still leaving me enough to see what I’m doing, so when it gets to be too hot to handle I like to work outdoors.

It’s lovely to spread the blankets out in the dappled shade, hoping to catch a breeze or two.

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I have a new gadget, which I love! A pretty little yarn cutter flower. I’m always losing my scissors when I’m working, although they are usually not far away, at the bottom of a basket, down the side of the sofa, or I’m even just sitting on them (potential big ‘ouch’ there!) Now my new yarn cutter can be worn around my neck so I can trim those yarn ends without the perpetual rummaging around.

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It has a useful fine needle threader in the base too. It’s been a real boon, I just want to know where this gadget has been hiding all my life and why I never had one before!

Katie #1 gets to explore the garden while I work on Katie #2

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But she pops back regularly to see what I’m doing. She likes to keep an eye on my progress!

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It’s not long before she has a playmate to chat to as they chew through the grapevine.

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The pattern’s eventually ready for it’s final formatting. Time to bundle everything up and head indoors as I need the computer for this bit.

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Polishing up the how-to photos and creating a front cover are the next stages.

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Looking good! Now a final run through to triple check… and then there were three!

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Time to introduce them to the rest of my garden inspired creepy crawly patterns. Shelley the Snail, Spencer the Spider and the little frogs from an earlier Minimals pattern are thrilled to join in the fun.

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All in all, the caterpillar has taken me about a month, dipping in when I’ve had the time and dipping out to finish other projects and commissions, but it’s great to have another job crossed off the list of things to finish up. I have a herd of alpacas vying for my attention next. I’m also still working on the alley cat, a shawl and stitching together some nearly finished amigurumi from the past two years of pattern designing.

If any of you lovely people out there have an idea for an animal I haven’t made yet, or a new spin on one I have already made, I’m all ears. Just leave a comment here or let me know on Facebook. I’d love to hear your thoughts, after all we can’t let the Work in Progress pile get too small!


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Very Berry

Another week has shot past and I’m still enamoured with the circular granny motif I was working on last week. Trying out a softer look for them this time with soft and dreamy ice creamy berry colours in romantic pinks and purples. Raspberry ripple or blueberry burst springs to mind and makes me want to head straight for the freezer for a scoop or two!

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A rather pretty match to the Sweet Williams that are currently gracing my window ledge here in the studio.

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I’ve so much work to get through at the moment but I’m refusing to panic and instead just thanking my lucky stars that my job involves such an abundance of crochet. It’s been four years now since I first picked up a hook and  painstakingly followed a couple of Youtube videos. I can remember struggling to hold the yarn correctly – a lifetime of prior knitting experience can confuse your fine motor skills like that when you suddenly try to switch to a brand new technique.  It was a serious case of knotted up fingers and thumbs and terrible tension and it was just a teeny bit frustrating!  So, so glad I didn’t give up though – I’m still showing no signs whatsoever of getting bored of my ‘new’ favorite craft.

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The busier the better is my motto and there’ll be no slacking around here with Mojo keeping a stern eye on me to make sure I’m moving forward at a steady pace, working through my to-do list.

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Many of my deadlines are self imposed but I do get very tenacious about sticking to them once I’ve made my mind up. I decided I’ve got to get some sort of grip on works in progress this week so have been spending some of my spare time completing the crocheted seat pads for my newly decorated kitchen. I love them! They’re comfy and practical and were cheap as chips to make. I found an ingenious way of avoiding having to use a zip too – thereby elevating their thrift status up another notch or two. The only thing I had to buy was the cushion pads to go inside them.

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I really like how they’ve all turned out unique and not quite matching. I’m only using fabric I already have for this project which adds to their upcycled charm!

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These raggy ends are an integral part of the zipless finish . They’re easy to undo if I need to wash the cushion covers and they also form the ties that attach the cushions to the chairs. There’s nothing more annoying than slip sliding about and losing your cushion mid meal… Well, there probably are much more annoying things than that but the fewer minor irritations in life, the better! And I like the little bows when the cushions are in place.

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The little bows are quick and easy to untie if I want to make my wire bench into a somewhat comfier affair. Dappled shade in the shelter of the ever expanding grape vine is a little piece of summer heaven.

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Just the spot for making a few strawberry accessories for a new amigurumi design I’m working on. Hopefully to be revealed in the next week or two.

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I’ve also been working on re-making the caterpillar, testing the pattern and tweaking the overall shape as I go. I think I have it spot on now…

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But I’ll only know for sure when I’ve assembled all the bits. And goodness, what a lot of bits…

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…mainly in the form of legs, which is only to be expected when you’re making a caterpillar I suppose.

Plenty more to get on with and the sun is still shining so I’m heading off out to the garden again to attach those limbs where they rightly belong, then a few more crocheted strawberries, maybe a bit more rag crochet (table mats and coasters this time) and whatever other projects that jumble into my head demanding attention! That’s the rest of my weekend sorted. I hope your’s will be just as much fun!

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Bye Bye for now from myself and the lepidopteran larvae! x


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Dante and Carlos

I’m very happy to be able to say I’ve finally finished my Dante the Donkey and Carlos the Cactus pattern. These little guys were originally inspired by my Mexican blanket project *all those pretty colours*  and were just the most fun characters to make.

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They’ve also turned out to be the best and most devoted amigos ever!

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They first met in the Mexican desert after Dante got lost straying too far from his family’s rancho. Carlos the Cactus chatted away enthusiastically and shook his maracas to cheer the little donkey up as he rested his weary legs through the long, dark night. By the time the sun rose and the morning shone its welcoming light, they were firm friends. Bored of being mostly alone in the desert with only the other cacti for company, Carlos persuaded Dante to dig up his roots and put him in a terracotta pot so he could travel around with his new found soul mate wherever he roamed.

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With Carlos along for the ride and offering some much needed moral support, you’ll doubtless be relieved to know that Dante eventually managed to find his way back home. Now the two of them spend sunny days and starry nights planning their next daring adventure together. Carlos has said he’ll travel to the ends of the earth just to be with his new friend. Dante’s a little more cautious about wandering too far again after his recent incident, but whatever they do they’ve agreed that they’ll do it together. Here’s proof that best friends can come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes make the most unlikely alliances!

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Happy as he is with his new life, Carlos still likes to meet up with his old succulent chums from time to time. Since he started wearing his jazzy pot he appears to have sparked a new fashion.  Now all the best dressed cacti are sporting one! Well, it certainly makes them more mobile – as long as they can get a friendly donkey to carry them about that is. Here they are getting ready for the local Fiesta.

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Dante sets up a food stall to sell some of his homegrown carrots and specialty basil flavored hay to the other hungry donkeys…

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…While Carlos and his friends make a bit of pocket money supplying firecrackers to liven up the crowds, and homemade sombreros to keep them cool. Very enterprising!

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Have a happy weekend!

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xoxox


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Zoomigurumi 4

Yes, it’s title number 4 in the Zoomigurumi series already. I’ve been lucky enough to have some of my amigurumi designs included in both Zoomigurumi 2 and 3 in the past which were great experiences. Time has ticked inexorably on at its usual steady pace and I’m excited to tell you that the newest book in the collection is now available to order. You can meet my oh-so-friendly and really-rather-cheeky baby orangutan in this edition. His name is Orwell, and he’s my new favorite fur baby.

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As you can see, he loves hanging about in trees.  He also likes eating fruit and causing mischief – lots of both of those! Because of his debut in Zoomigurumi 4 he’s had to move to Belgium to be with the publisher. Parting was a bit on the sad side, but he was really looking forward to his new life and I’m sure he’ll do a good job of helping to promote the book. He’s a very confident and outgoing little chap.

Before Orwell left for his great journey via parcel mail I made another baby orangutan called Orson to keep me company. Here’s Orwell and Orson larking around just before Orwell emigrated.

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They had lots of fun together before they parted ways and are now dedicated pen-pals. We get to hear all about Orwell’s life in Belgium with his new friends. I heard lately that he was a very well behaved model when it came time to take the portrait shots to go alongside his pattern. No-one said photographing wildlife was easy, just ask David Attenborough, but when you look inside this book, I think you’ll agree it went swingingly well!

Orwell says his new home is very comfortable and he’s loving his new celebrity status. Seeing all his colourful new friends from Zoomigurumi 4 I think you’ll understand the enthusiasm he has for his new life. Just take a look here. You can tell there’s never going to be dull moment with such a diverse range of pals to play with. Don’t they all look fun?

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Orson, however, is glad that he got to stay at home as he’s a lot more reserved and much shyer than his brother. He likes a quiet life, hanging from the light fittings and watching TV – mainly educational nature programmes such as Life on Earth or Blue Planet. He loves to read too. Science and crochet books are among his favorites. They help him try to answer those age old questions that we all ask from time to time, such as ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Where did I come from?’

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While the book was being prepared it was my task to proofread Lisa Jestes super cute Frog pattern. Time to get all the kit together (making sure everything is as color co-ordinated as possible!)

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It’s not long until this cheeky gangle-legged amphibian – only known as ‘Froggy’ at this  stage, but later officially named Kirk for his book appearance – is taking shape very nicely.

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Eventually he’s all done. That’s another job finished and crossed off my list, and a new member added to our ever growing amigurumi family. Turns out Kirk and Orson are getting on splendidly. They particularly loved exploring the garden together. They’re both naturally gifted tree climbers with those languid long limbs of theirs.

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Kirk is pleased to find some other frogs in the garden. Yes, there is a pond there somewhere, under all that duckweed! I agree it looks like it needs a bit of love before Kirk can fully appreciate it as his new swimming pool. Mental note to self to have a tidy-up-the-garden weekend soon.

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And Kirk just loves Orson to give him a ride on his shoulders so he can take in all the sights. Hmm, I need to tidy up this bit of the garden too!

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Finally we’re back inside so Kirk can get to meet the Moji-Moji frog fraternity. As you can see, he settles right in for a group hug and a rousing round of The Frog Chorus ‘We all stand together’, or to put it more accurately ‘sit together’ in this case. Happy days!

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So there we have a few of the jolly japes enjoyed by two of the 15 cute characters from Zoomigurumi 4.

If you want to add this book to your collection, or check out the other Zoomigurumi books be sure to visit amigurumipatterns.net/books.

I wonder what adventures your Zoomigurumi creations will get up to? 😉


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Sunshine, Stripes and New Amigurumis

It’s been a busy week! I’m finally finding my feet again after Christmas and beginning to be a little more productive. I’ve been working on finishing my twin elephants, Eleanor and Elijah.

Here’s a little sneak peak at my elephant babies. The pattern will be out very soon, I just have to make the cover, give the whole thing a final check and it should be good to go.

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Eleanor and Elijah turned out bigger than I had originally planned, they sort of grew and grew as they went along – rather like me over the Christmas break! I just love their cuddly rotundness though, they’re kind of cute in their overstretched pinafore and overalls!

This week I’ve also been working at a steady pace, stitch by vibrant stitch on my winter warmer Mexican Stripe blanket. It’s moving pretty quickly now due to the double crochets (or triples to my UK friends). That’s a stitch that is very easy on my poor overworked wrist and knuckles too. After all the tightly tensioned single crochets (UK doubles) used in my amigurumi, it’s good therapy to change stitches and loosen up for a while. Here’s my progress so far.

Stripe-blocks

As you can see I’m concentrating on getting blocks of stripes crocheted and then joined together. I like to work in chunks like that. A row of Granny Squares then a block of Granny Stripes, alternating the tasks to get some variety as I work. It’s getting there but I’ve still got a long way left to go. I’m enjoying this project lots. It’s having the desired effect of cheering up my January, even if it has actually been much sunnier than expected so far. It’s still been cold and the days are still too short, though they have been unexpectedly sweet.

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These sunbeams just make the blanket look even jollier! Oh, and I tidied my studio last weekend. What a huge task that was. I remember doing the same post Christmas purge on unnecessary clutter around this time last year and writing about it here. My tidy studio was a pleasure to behold for all of, well, around a fortnight or so! Let’s hope I can keep it nice for a bit longer this time. Like at least three weeks, or maybe even a month!! Too ambitious? We’ll see. I’ve even tidied up my Granny Square centres by skewering them onto knitting needles. Mmmm, yummy yarn Kebabs!

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When I’m working on a project I’m a sucker for matching up my accessories the best I can. It’s not always possible to do this 100% just with what I already have lying about, but I reckon I got pretty close this time. Stash bag, pencil case, scissors… all gathered up together to keep this particular project organized, handy and ready to follow me on car journeys and bus trips of varying lengths, as needs be. A great grab-and-go ensemble! I’m loving all the hot pinks!

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Now the missing must-have accessory for a Mexican Blanket is surely a Mexican Cactus to be my faithful sidekick and trusty pincushion. So I took a teensy  break from the Granny Stripes to whip one up. Now I’m pleased to introduce Carlos the Cactus. Here he is lurking in amongst the yarn and crochetwork.

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Look! He’s waving to you! What a happy chappy 🙂

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Now to transfer the pins from the toadstool. Time for some Cactus acupuncture.

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That’s better!  He’s promised to be on hand to lend me pins every time I need to attach the squares to the stripes. You see this has turned out not to be an exact art. Even though I’ve been sure to match up the stitch count across the Granny Square stripes and the Granny Stripe stripes, the Granny Square stripes always end up a little longer than the Granny Stripe stripes (tongue twister time there!). I think the squares are just a bit more prone to stretching but all of that is put right with a bit of careful pinning and all squares and stripes match up beautifully in the end. Phew!

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So January turned out to be pretty good after all. I’ve decided there are worse things than dark chilly evenings tucked up with crochet in a warm cosy home. I get the feeling that Minnie agrees with me too!

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One blissed out cat, settling in for the night… and hogging all the yarn and blanket pieces while she’s at it!

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Keep warm and cosy folks!

See you soon with an update on my new amigurumi designs!


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Papa Penguin and Baby Pierre

If you’ve been over to my Facebook page recently you might have read about the new design competition over at amigurumipatterns.net. This year’s competition is ‘parent and baby animals’. You can imagine how a theme like that just ups the amigurumi cuteness factor to stratospheric levels!

Everyone seems to be mad about penguins at the moment, and I have to confess, I’m no exception. So, inspired by the idea of a father and son combination I got myself busy designing and hooking up these two characters – Papa Penguin and Baby Pierre.

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Papa Penguin is such a loving and conscientious father and will do anything to protect his new son. Mama Penguin happily goes off for a few weeks to feed on fish and build her strength back up after the exhausting effort of creating and laying such a fine large egg. She feels safe in the knowledge that Papa will be doing a great job of hatching and looking after their precious baby until she gets back.

But as dedicated to fatherhood as Papa is, no-one said being a first time parent was going to be easy! Baby Pierre cried a lot when he was first hatched. It seemed he just didn’t like the cold very much at all and was always trying to hitch a ride on Papas feet or whining to be picked up and carried. As his little chick grew bigger and became too heavy to carry, Papa had the brilliant idea of building a snug buggy from Pierre’s old egg shell. Pierre calls it his ‘snuggy’ and I think you can see how happy he is with his new present!

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And now Papa’s got his flippers free again. It’s a good job too because once Pierre’s friends saw him being pushed around in such fine style they all wanted a snuggy of their own. Papa’s been inundated with requests from all the other daddy penguins and has got quite a queue of orders building up already. Well, I’m not surprised, it does look very comfy in there and those antarctic winds can be fearsomely chilly!

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Here’s Papa in his workshop busy making up his first order while Pierre and his friends argue about whose turn it is to sit in the buggy!

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Pierre is growing up fast though, as chicks do, and is finally beginning to get used to the antarctic weather. These days you might even find him happily making snowballs and skating on the ice with his playmates from the nursery. Even a penguin who’s so prone to cold feet wants to join in the fun sometimes!Penguin-snowball-fight1

But he still loves to have a good snuggle in his re-purposed eggshell at the end of a busy day.

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When he outgrows it he’s going to put it by until he has chicks of his own to care for. Then he can tell them the tale of their clever grandpapa’s invention of the very first penguin pram!


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Christmas Corkers

We’re getting so close to Christmas now and I’m finally starting get into the festive mood, helped along splendidly by this little troop of winter wine cork cosies!820ChristmasCorkersLineup

I had just as much fun coming up with the patterns for these as I did drinking the wine in the first place! They proved popular on my Facebook page and I’ve had lots of requests for the pattern. So as an early Christmas present to all my lovely followers here it is.

You will need:

Fizzy wine corks similar to these:

Corks
Light worsted weight (double knit) yarn in green, white, black, red, and any other colours you prefer.
3.25 mm crochet hook.
Yarn needle.
Polyester toy stuffing.
A selection of beads and bells to decorate.
White paint and paintbrush (emulsion paint works well).
Felt tip pens in red, black and orange.
Pink pencil crayon.
Scissors.
A suitable fabric glue (something like UHU or Bostick).
MaterialsAnd now we have everything collected together let’s get hooking 🙂

US crochet terms are used throughout. See here for a simple to use conversion chart for UK terms.

Square brackets [ ] indicate a group of stitches to be worked the amount of times stated after the brackets. Asterisk * indicates a point of repeat

Christmas Tree

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With Green yarn make 2 ch. (Alternate rounds with a light and dark green yarn if you prefer)
Rnd 1: 3 sc in second ch from hook. (3 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each of next 3 st. (6 sts)
Rnd 3: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 5 st. (7 sts)
Rnd 4: Sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 3 st. (8 sts)
Rnd 5: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 7 st. (9 sts)
Rnd 6: Sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 4 st. (10 sts)
Rnd 7: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 9 st. (11 sts)
Rnd 8: Sc in each of next 5 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 5 st. (12 sts)
Rnd 9: [Sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times. (15 sts)
Rnd 10: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 11: [Sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times. (18 sts)
Rnds 12-16: Sc in each st around. (5 rounds)
Rnd 17: * Slst in next st, 4 ch, Slst in next st, repeat from * to end.
Fasten off, weave in the yarn end.
Stuff the top two thirds of the tree. Put a little glue all around the fattest end of the cork, position the tree so that the frilly edge is roughly level with the bottom of the fattest part of the cork. Hold in place securely until glue has set.
Now you can sew on your seed beads, sequins, mini pompoms etc. Or leave it plain for a natural look.

Little Elf

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Hat
With White yarn make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 3 sc in second ch from hook. (3 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each of next 3 st. (6 sts)
Change to your chosen Second Colour here and continue alternating the colours each round until the end.
Rnd 3: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 4: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 5 st. (7 sts)
Rnd 5: Sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 3 st. (8 sts)
Rnd 6: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 7 st. (9 sts)
Rnd 7: Sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 4 st. (10 sts)
Rnd 8: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 9 st. (11 sts)
Rnd 9: Sc in each of next 5 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 5 st. (12 sts)
Rnd 10: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 11 st. (13 sts)
Rnd 11: Sc in each of next 6 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 6 st. (14 sts)
Rnd 12: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 13 st. (15 sts)
Rnd 13: Sc in each of next 7 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 7 st. (16 sts)
Rnd 14: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 15 st. (17 sts)
Rnd 15: Sc in each of next 8 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 8 st. (18 sts)
Fasten off, weave in the yarn end.
Glue to top and back of fattest end of cork. Fold tail over and sew in place with a few stitches. Sew a small pom pom or bell to the end.
Scarf
With your chosen Second Colour yarn make 37 ch.
Change to White yarn.
Row 1:  Starting in second ch from hook, sc in each ch to end, turn. (36 sts)
Change to your chosen Second Colour yarn
Row 2: 1 ch (does not count as a st), sc in each st to end. (36 sts)
Fasten off and tie ends together in a knot. Trim to make a small ‘tassel’. Tie around elf’s neck. Draw on the eyes and mouth using felt tip pens in black and red. Colour in rosy cheeks with a pink pencil crayon.

Toadstool

820toadstool

With Red yarn make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 3: Sc in each of next 6 st. (12 sts)
Rnd 4: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 5: [Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 6: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 7: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (24 sts)
Rnd 8: [Sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (30 sts)
Rnd 9: [Sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (36 sts)
Rnd 10: Sc in each st around.
Change to White yarn.
Rnd 11: Working in back loops only: [Sc in each of next 4 st, dec] 6 times. (30 sts)
Rnd 12: [Sc in each of next 3 st, dec] 6 times. (24 sts)
Rnd 13: [Sc in each of next 2 st, dec] 6 times. (18 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for finishing. Stuff top part of toadstool. Fit opening of toadstool over top of fattest part of cork. Thread the yarn tail onto your needle and sew in and out of stitches on the final round. Pull tight to form a snug fit just under the fattest part of the cork. Secure with a knot then pinch the edge of the toadstool together and sew a few stitches through the pinched edge of the toadstool to form the shaping.  With White yarn,  embroider a few French Knots onto the top of the toadstool, or use white seed beads or sequins, or tiny buttons.

Snowman

820snowmen

First paint your cork white, then allow to dry.
Hat
With Black yarn make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: Sc in each of next 6 st. (12 sts)
Rnd 3: [Sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times. (15 sts)
Rnd 4: Working in back loops only: Sc in each st around.
Rnds 5-6: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Change to your chosen Second Colour
Rnd 7: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 8: [Sc in each if next 3 st, dec] 3 times. (12 sts)
Rnd 9: Working in front loops only: [Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 10: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (24 sts)
Fasten off, weave in the yarn end.
Scarf
With your chosen Second Colour yarn make 37 ch.
Row 1:  Starting in second ch from hook, sc in each ch to end. (36 sts)
Fasten off, weave in ends.
Stuff the hat and glue directly on top of fattest part of cork. Tie scarf around neck. Draw on the eyes, mouth, carrot nose and buttons using felt tip pens in black and orange. Colour in rosy cheeks with a pink pencil crayon.

Oh Mojo! Am I not giving you enough attention? Time for another sit down protest then!

Moji

Now all we need is a little snow for the perfect Christmas. Looks like a digital snow flurry will have to do for now!

820Christmasmedley


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The week I’d rather forget

Well, what a week it’s been. And, no, for once I don’t mean in a good way. I just found out about the horrendous new legislation coming in from the EU on January 1st, compelling anyone who sells any digital services/products to work out and pay VAT to all 28 member states of the EU separately and according to who has purchased what from each country.

I really don’t want to get all bogged down with details here – this is supposed to be my ‘happy place’, but the more I’ve looked into it the more I see that compliance is not only going to be onerous, but the way things stand at the moment, completely impossible. The systems just don’t exist to enable individual sellers to do what they have to do in order to keep trading legally. There is a UK petition here for those of you who would like to have a look. It includes a summary too which outlines some of the problems.  The adding of your signature would be hugely appreciated by myself and many others who find themselves quite shockingly and unexpectedly mixed up in this bureaucratic nightmare.

Here’s a great link you may want to read on Ysolde Teague’s Blog. She puts it so much better than I ever could. If you design and sell anything via email like I do then it’s a must read. If you love to buy craft patterns, eBooks, printable stationary, meditation courses, music – to name but a few – from any of us independent designer/sellers then I suggest you have a look too because if things don’t change significantly over the next few weeks there will be a lot of us closing down our beloved businesses before this legislation becomes law on New Years day 2015.

If you’ve read Ysolde’s post and the whole topic now has you intrigued, panicked, crying, having a nervous breakdown or just plain curious here’s another good source of information for you on Heather Burns Idea15 Blog. I don’t want to add to your dismay, but knowledge is power, after all.

Right, now that’s been said, let’s have some fun, because there’s only so much angst I can take at any one time.

(Takes deep, deep breath).

Here’s a little Christmas scene to cheer us all up. Well, it is December already! Not only have these tubby-tummied elves built their first snowman, but they’ve also managed to make a Christmas pudding and put their tree up. Wow, I need to catch up fast. I’ve seriously got to get my Christmas wiggle on!820pudds1This is also the time of year when we try to make huge efforts in our otherwise very busy lives to see family and friends who live far away. It’s always so exciting to catch up face to face on a years worth of news or sometimes more. There’s nothing like a big hug, a bit of present swapping and a good chin wag to warm the very cockles of your heart! All the Facebooking and texting or even gossiping on the phone just can’t compare. My next few weekends are full of just such jaunts. Snow people love these kind’s of pre-Christmas shenanigens too. I don’t need to tell you how happy these guys are to have a good old get together. It’s written all over their faces 🙂820snowpyramid As well as getting together on their home continent on the perma-snow and ice of the arctic circle, they love to travel. As soon as southerly temperatures plummet into the minus numbers they start heading as far south as they can get. I expect you’ve seen them, magically popping up in parks and gardens near you, as soon as the first decent snowfall settles! I’ve had a few postcards from their jollies already that I’d love to share with you.

First the girls went on holiday exploring the forests in Canada…SnowladyPostcardThen the boys decided a spot of skiing would be in order. Here they are in the French Alps…on-the-piste!The baby snowmen aren’t big enough for all that wilderness trecking or alpine sporting but they do love to play together at their local ice rink.820skatingThey’ve dressed up in all the different colours of the rainbow so their mum’s and dad’s know who’s who. Of course their mum’s and dad’s would never really get their own children muddled up but it can be a bit tricky to tell the difference when they’re skating around that fast. Here’s Mr. and Mrs. Snowdon with the triplets, Willy, Nilly and Milly,  and of course not forgetting their new baby Billy.820SnowfamilyAwww, what a lovely Christmas they’re going to have with a houseful of smiling snowbabies. You can adopt some snowbabies here if you want to make your Christmas just as much fun. The pattern’s free and they don’t eat much (yarn) so you can afford to adopt as many as you like!


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Pressing Projects

I took myself off for a little stroll around the river to do a bit of leaf collecting last weekend, with a view to pressing some and keeping them for posterity. Well for a few weeks anyway. I thought a nice autumn leaf bunting/garland would be pretty hanging on my wall. So, with the help of my ancient flower press that I’ve had since the 1980’s…820flowerpress…and a  hard backed craft book for the larger specimens, some paper towels and a heap of pretty leaves, my youngest son and I got to work.820leavesAnd what a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

We figured that patterns like these deserved to be preserved. (Yes, I’m a poet too!)

All the colours that spring to mind when thinking of the autumn are in those leaves. I also scattered some in front of the fire to dry naturally so they’d have a much more crinkly look, (rather like me these days!)820grateFast forward a little bit and here they are, all rustic and glorious in one of my favorite old chippy china bowls…820chippybowl…and I’m loving how they echo some of the colours in my almost-very-nearly-finished poncho. I may have started it last season but I think the colours are just right for this season.820ponchoI’ve only got to put the rest of the tassels on and darn in a few more ends. One last heave-ho push and it will be ready to wear just in time for the cold snap, especially useful when we’ve just been told to expect a month of storms ahead! My house is old and draughty so it will be nice to have a woolly buffer zone made by my own fair hands to swan around in this winter. So far as the usual British climate goes, we’ve had more than our fair share of sunshine and tropical temperatures this year. It couldn’t have been any hotter when I started making this poncho during a trip to Weymouth.DSCN4115The squares have actually turned out to be a crazy mix of the rich reds and browns of autumn thrown in with this gorgeous azure blue of the sea at Chesil Beach, which all seems very fitting – like I’ve crocheted the memory of that glorious day into a winter comfort. The bright reds in my poncho will remind me of the accidental sunburn too. Oops!DSCN4108Wow, it’s good to look back and remember all that fabulous weather, I’m very glad of this years copious sunshine and feel I can more cheerfully face the winter months with a little more vitamin D and a lot more happy sunny memories stored away!820ponI’ve been around the poncho once and put tassels in every chain space, but I think the fringe needs to be more dense. It will hang better too with the extra weight. I cut a few more 12″ lengths to finish the fringing, counting out the right amount of threads, so as not to waste any precious yarn. That’s stage one of the final push done and dusted.DSCN5781Stage 2 is to get distracted piddling around with the colours for no obvious reason, other than it’s fun! Look, I made a still life in the style of Van Gogh. This ones called ‘Sunset Over the Malvern Hills’ 820tassOr how about ‘Starry Night with Fish’?820fishReally, it’s no wonder it’s taking me so long to get it finished! And then, the inevitable Minnie Interlude. Aww bless.820allmineOn with the Daisy Blanket instead then. The end is in sight for this project too.DSCN5744Which begs the question, how long until another of my cats turns up and decides they just have to have a nap in this pile of woolly heaven? I’ll let you know… but I already suspect it won’t be too long. Perhaps we’ll all curl up in it this chilly autumn night and be glad of the warmth and the company!SlippersOr I might go work on my new Elephant pattern. This is Elijah and he’s looking kind of cute so far.820ellyIt appears he enjoys snuggling up in blankets too. In fact he’s refusing to come out until I crochet him a girlfriend. He says he’s too shy to go on Etsy on his own. He’s made me promise to start making Eleanor tomorrow at the latest. So that’s my plan, unless I get distracted again by random things, like housework, though I’ll try my very best not to let that happen 🙂