Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


10 Comments

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.

z6banner_instagram-copy

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!

820two-owls

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

lots-of-owls-and-a-chick

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

ossie-owl

…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.

red-panda1

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

red-panda-zoomi6

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.

red-panda-and-owl

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

red-panda-and-owl-2

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

the-owl-and-the-panda

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!).

rainbow3

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 🙂


5 Comments

Diggory and Dave the Dancing Dogs

There’s a few more days left yet to get your entries in to amigurumipatterns.net‘s circus themed design competition and I’ve been getting a lot of nagging from a couple of puppies called Diggory and Dave who are desperate to join in the fun.

Diggory-and-Dave

When they heard what the theme was they sat up and begged me to let them take part. Apparently it turns out that – having watched one too many videos on Youtube of Pudsey the dog competing in and eventually winning Britain’s Got Talent in 2012, they have been inspired to learn some clever tricks and get on the stage themselves. What better way for them to hone those skills and satisfy their thirst for stardom than to join a circus?

Well, I’m a sucker for a great big pair of doughy puppy eyes, and with two pairs to contend with I just had to let them get their way on this one.

ami

I asked Tilly Mouse what she thought, as her whole family have been performing in the Big Top for generations. (Read more about Tilly and her sisters here). Tilly told me that the circus she lived with was lots of fun and everyone was very kind to one another. She promised to get these two enthusiastically bouncy dogs an audition and immediately began making them a pair of matching outfits.

Tilly

Tilly finally decided not to follow in the family tradition and join the trapeze act with her siblings. She didn’t really like heights too much and preferred to concentrate on creating fabulous costumes for all the other circus acts instead.

I helped her turn a little corner of my studio into a creative space all for herself where she can sit and concentrate on crafting.

Tilly-Mouse

Now Tilly comes for crochet lessons and a nice chat whenever she can get away.

Mojo has a sneaking suspicion that a mouse may have taken up residence in the studio…

mojojo

…but Tilly keeps really still so he won’t notice her among all the crochet! He soon wanders off for a nap and work can commence again.

moj

It isn’t long before Diggory comes to pay a visit to see how his costume is coming along.

Crochet-lessons

He loves the cute leg warmers and is very impatient to wear his stripy pointed hat. To speed things up he gets himself busy choosing the right buttons for it.

Diggory

Dave comes to join them for a fitting too.

Costumes

After a little discussion between them, Diggory decides to wear the blue cuffs and hat while Dave agrees to wear the red ones.

circus-outfits

Mojo comes back to check things out but Tilly feels quite safe this time with Diggory and Dave at her side. I think Mojo just want’s a bit of the limelight too. Maybe he’ll be the next one to want to run off and join the circus.

Momo

Now it’s time to finish making the dancing props. Diggory and Dave think that hoops and balls will be a good start and before the day is up Tilly has made them a whole basketful of delights.

Toy-basket

She is one busy little mouse!

pup-toys

All puppies love new toys to play with and these two are no exception.

toys

They’re so excited when they see their colourful toys that they can hardly sit still and immediately start to rifle through, making a big mess.

Playtime

Oh well, toys are for play, not display!

Time for them to use some of that energy and start rehearsing. They want to learn to juggle and dance at the same time. That’s sure to impress the audience.

Circus-dogs

I’m pleased to tell you that the rehearsals kept them very busy and stopped them chewing up the house and barking at the postman.

Indeed, all the practice sessions have resulted in a very special act called the Juggling Jig. It’s unique to Diggory and Dave and after an audition with the circus this week I’m thrilled to tell you that they have been asked to join!

Mojo, on the other hand, failed his audition. He has a bad cattitude and isn’t so ready to please as the dogs. Firstly, he wouldn’t wear a funny outfit and secondly, his only real talent is for breaking the world record for the most snoozing in a single day. Even though I could gaze at him lovingly for hours as he snores away I’m not so sure the general public would have found it quite so endearing!

Mojo-Puppies

Oh well, judging from his face it looks like Mojo may have thought better of his transient ambitions and is now treating the whole episode with the utmost contempt!

Puppy-duo

Diggory and Dave on the other hand, are over the moon at the prospect of an exciting new adventure. I’m going to miss them but what is life for if not for following your dreams? Go for it Dave! Go for it Diggory! I just hope they come back and visit whenever they can 🙂

Dancing-puppies

Do you have an idea for a character? You can find out how to enter and all about the prizes here.

The competition is open until Friday November 27th 2015.

contestcircus_banner_characters

Good luck if you’re participating and don’t forget to have your say by voting for your favourites from 1st December 2015!


20 Comments

Trixie, Trudy and Tricia, the Trapeze Triplets.

baubles-row

Roll up, Roll up! There’s a new competition in town organised by those lovely people over at amigurumipatterns.net.

Do you remember the one last year with the theme of Parent and Baby Animals? Or the year before, calling for Animals at Work? Well this time it’s all about acrobats and clowns, strongmen and tightrope walkers, flame eaters, death defying stunts, sawdust, popcorn and candyfloss… Yes, you’ve guessed it, this year’s theme is the ‘The Circus’!

If you’re interested in taking part just click on the image below and it will take you to the page with all the details you’ll need to know on how to enter, what you could win, and how and when to vote for your favorites.

Circus-Competition

As usual the competition is open to anyone, whether you’re a pattern writer or free wheeler, beginner or experienced, full time crochet addict or part time dabbler. As well as the fun of taking part there are some great prizes up for grabs too. So pick up your hook and see where the inspiration takes you!

I love any excuse to get creative with a couple of miles of yarn and a bunch of single, double and treble crochets so after a bit of tinkering, a little unraveling, and a whole heap of the aforementioned stitches, I managed to get the idea floating around in my head translated into reality without too much hassle.

baubles-row

So now it’s time to announce my own competition entry and the arrival in town of the Travelling Mouse Circus, showcasing for the first time ever (…Drum roll please….)

The World Renowned Rodent Trio – Trixie, Trudy and Tricia, the Tremendously Talented and Terrifyingly Tricky Trapeze Triplets!

Mouse-Trapeze-021

Three of the lightest and most nimble limbed creatures performing mind blowingly astonishing aerial maneuvers for your delight and amusement.

Mouse-Trapeze-03

Personally speaking, I’m not great with heights but these three mice don’t bat an eyelid. They were born to the circus, quite literally, as their mom made a nest in the hay cart that carries the food for the dancing ponies. They have the circus in their blood and have been watching their parents performing remarkable feats on the tightrope and the trapeze since they were tiny babies. As soon as they were old enough to squeak they pestered mommy mouse to make them pretty little tutus and leotards of their own. From that day on Trixie, Trudy and Tricia could always be found practising their balancing tricks whenever they had a spare moment, until they were finally accomplished enough to transcend to the heady heights of the Big Top itself.

Now it wasn’t long until they had a couple of little sisters (twins, no less), who look up to their triplet siblings with wonder and awe and who hope to be just as elegant and accomplished as them when they grow up.

diptych-1

The twins – Tilly and Tara, watch their older sisters during rehearsals and help out however they can, highering and lowering the trapezes or tidying up the props after the performance.

Quints

When the younger ones are old enough this ensemble of squeaking siblings are hoping to perform together as a quintet. You can imagine how proud of their acrobatic offspring their mom and dad must be!

Mouse-Trapeze-71

However, there is one of these five who is slightly more timid than the rest. Tilly worries that one of her sisters may fall and so she always sits underneath during rehearsals, anxiously waiting to catch them if they do. Maybe Tilly will feel braver as she grows up or maybe this family will have to settle for an act that’s a quartet instead. Only time will tell!

Little-mouse

Tilly has many other talents to compensate for her lack of daring. She happens to be particularly good at sewing and is already pestering me to teach her to crochet, often preferring to be amongst the yarn or sorting through the buttons than in the spotlight with the greasepaint and the cheering crowds.

Mouse-helper

She’s a wonder with a needle and thread and dreams of designing and making outfits for the whole circus one day. In the meantime she loves to practice her skills stitching together the bunting that covers the inside of the Big Top during the shows. As any self respecting sewing fanatic knows, you can never have too much bunting!

little-helper

All of the sisters have a say when it comes to making their trapeze rigs, and goodness, they have so many suggestions I had a hard time keeping up with their ideas. Such a lot of chatter going on.

Mice-Trapeze

carlos-and-the-mice

Poor Carlos the Cactus isn’t used to having so much company, being more comfortable sitting and thinking, all alone in the desert. He just watches the goings on quietly from behind a big ball of yarn and offers up the pins every now and again when we have to secure a flag or a bauble in place. He’s such a sweety, I think you can see from his blushing cheeks and his cheeky little smile that he secretly loves the lively company.

Mice-helpers

Thankfully the mice approve of how the work has progressed on their latest piece of equipment.

Trapeze-in-progress

trapeze-rig

They’ve inspected the ropes very thoroughly. No self respecting trapeze artist would leave something so important to someone else. They’re nice and strong, with no frayed ends or loose knots, so I’m glad to say they passed the test.

pom-poms

All the buttons were carefully matched up to complement this season’s outfits.

Buttons-and-beads

Even the ends of the trapeze bars have been made to match.

I sure hooked up a lot of crocheted baubles during this project. I’m looking forward to teaching Tilly how to make some so she can help out with these when she finally gets her crochet skills to match up with her sewing skills.

round-bowl

It’s a relief to have finished this project to the satisfaction of all the mice. They were very demanding taskmasters, but perfectionists always are. And I’m glad of their perfectionism, after all you wouldn’t want anything less from performers of such dangerous and daring stunts.

Now you know a little bit more about them be sure to book your tickets the next time the circus is in town. You won’t be disappointed!

Mouse-Trapeze-01

Each light as a feather mouse will surely thrill and delight you with their agility and courage as they fly through the air with the greatest of ease, gliding with skill from trapeze to trapeze. They’ve even promised me they’ll sign your programmes and give you a tour behind the scenes. Just tell them Janine sent you 🙂

baubles-row


4 Comments

Alpacas and Spinning

I’ve just finished the book version of Alicia the Alpaca so it’s been another exciting week with another project satisfyingly ticked off the to-do list.

820AlpacaPoses

She now has a little blanket to wear because it can get very cold in the Peruvian Andes. Her blanket comes complete with panniers so she can go shopping at the local market and have somewhere to stash her bargain buys.

It was lots of fun playing around with different colour schemes and combinations and I managed to use up some of my smaller scraps of leftover yarn.

DSCN9948

(This pattern will be appearing in Zoomigurumi 5, coming out around the beginning of next year).

I’ve gone a bit crazy about this alpaca and have ended up making eight so far. everytime I see a new colour in this fluffy yarn I get the urge to make another one!

DSCN9893

I think I’ll be able to open a fully stocked alpaca farm at this rate. Maybe I’ll end up with so much spare fleece that I’ll never have to buy any more yarn. Although I’ll have to learn to spin first. A skill which has so far eluded me despite acquiring a beautiful spinning wheel a couple of years ago. I really must get around to getting it up and running so I can get some practice in with it. I had a few goes when I first bought it and managed to spin a bit of lumpy, bumpy, bit too twisty yarn and then the string came unwound and the spindle kept flying off and I eventually gave up through sheer frustration. I really do want to give spinning another go though as it would be so useful to add that to my repertoire of textile skills while also providing me with the perfect excuse for owning a herd of real life alpacas. What would the cats think to that I wonder?!

As we’re on the subject of spinning it seems as good a time as any to mention our trip up north to visit relatives on Saturday as we made a visit to the Leigh Spinners Mill in Lancashire to see the UK’s largest unrestored steam engine. Now, happily being brought back to its former working glory by a team of enthusiastic volunteers.

Leigh_Spinners_Leigh

It really is a beautiful building and while some of it is still in use making carpets and synthetic turf a lot of the main structure is lying empty. The plan is to eventually do it all up and balance community led projects with commercial and business lets. I’d love to have a workshop in a building like that. There’d be plenty of room to store my gargantuan yarn stash! Ah well, I’ll be having to make do with squeezing everything into my home studio for the foreseeable future, but one can dream. At least I have to limit my yarn buying due to space constraints, which is probably a good thing or who knows where my yarn habit would end?!

Here’s the main engine room as it looked on Saturday. Everyone was busy, mainly scrubbing at rust and rubbing grease on things as far as I could tell, but I’m sure it’s actually much more complicated than that. I’m no expert on these things so I won’t go waffling on about the mechanics and uses. You can visit the Leigh Spinners Mill website for more details on the history and future plans for this impressive 1920’s cotton mill. They’re sure to have their facts right over there!

Spinning-Mill3

Having a nose around the internet to see what I could find out about the place I found some beautiful shots of the engine house taken before the restoration began. The one that really struck me is this image below, taken by Mark and featuring on his wonderfully atmospheric website called Off Limits Photos which showcases his talent for sniffing out the abandoned, derelict and dilapidated buildings and structures of the past. This photo really highlights the amount of restoration work that has gone on already.

offlimitsphotos.com

That’s an awful lot of pigeon poop to clean up before you can even get started on the fun bit!

On a much less grand scale I’ve got my own spinning related restoration to undertake if I’m going to get anywhere at all with this tricky craft. The string has become hopelessly tangled and the spindles need cleaning off, but I’m thankful I don’t have to scrape a ton of pigeon-poop off it before I start, or worry about getting pistons working or things exploding. A bit of TLC, some pedal power and a bit of expert guidance would probably do the trick here.

Spinning-Wheel

It is a fine looking piece of kit and deserves much more respect than it’s currently receiving. I found out that there is an alpaca farm not too far from me. They advertise spinning classes on their website Simply Alpaca. I’m so tempted to have a go. Maybe spinning lessons are what I want for Christmas this year. I probably need to start dropping hints to my family… maybe they’re even reading this 😉 It could make a perfect new challenge for a new year.

Here are some of the yarns they make at Simply Alpaca. All from their own fleeces.

Alpaca-yarn

Such gorgeous natural colours and not at all slubby and gnarly like my own attempts. This is the only fragment that remains of my foray into the world of spinning, but it will give you an idea of how much practice I’m going to need!

DSCN9987

If I do book a spinning class I might take some of my own herd along to meet the inhabitants. The farm also offers camelid handling courses that could help me keep this lot in check!

alpaca-feeding-time

Actually, they’re pretty well behaved on the whole. They’re just messy eaters, especially when they’re all fighting over the last of the seasons strawberries.

alpaca-herd

Alpaca-Lunch

Looks like no one’s owning up to who spilled the feeding trough. Well, you know what they say – what happens in the herd, stays in the herd. I can’t tell who the guilty culprit is, they all look like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths!


20 Comments

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!

Katie-Caterpillar

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!

Katie-Lunch

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.

KK1

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!

kksjpg

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

Katie

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.

Katie2

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.

Katie4

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

Katy3

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

820KC

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

Katie5

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.

Katie3

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

820Katie-the-Caterpillar

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

Three-caterpillars

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.

Katie6

katie-party

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!


11 Comments

Creepy Crawlies, Butterflies and Flowers

It’s been a week of creepy crawlies! With my Katy the Caterpiller pattern so very nearly completed I’ve also been sent a pattern to test for the new ‘Parent and Baby’ amigurumipatterns.net book. I volunteered to proofread a random pattern and quite by chance have ended up with another caterpillar to crochet – this time complete with his butterfly mommy. This beautiful design by Bas den Braver is going to be a fun little project to keep me busy over the next few days.

Zabbez Bree and Calin

Awww – cute!!

Check out all of Bas’s other patterns on his Zabbez website. They’ll be sure to put a smile on your face! They certainly put one on mine with their floral themes and hot zingy colours. Don’t these little characters just make you want to get out in the garden and make it bloom?!

zabbez-flowers

I’d love to have a go at growing more and varied types of flowers in my tubs and pots (pansies and geraniums have been my best successes so far) but I’ve got a problem with slugs and snails – I can’t bring myself to ‘dispatch’ them in any way – so most of my green fingered efforts end up looking like this… An unholy holy mess for sure!

SnailLunch

Chilli plants are apparently delicious for lunch (if you’re a snail that is, I prefer a bit of iceberg lettuce myself). At least I know exactly who the culprits are this time. Sheldon and Shelby look rather pleased with themselves for finding such a tasty morsel but at least they had the manners to blush when I caught them red handed – or rather, green footed. But as cute as this pair is there’s a whole army of the more brown and slimy kind coming out every night to wreak havoc. Luckily I had the foresight to keep a few chilli plants inside on the kitchen windowsill, so if my outdoor ones don’t survive they’ll be my back up plan. If you have similar gardening disasters to mine you might take comfort in crocheting some of these flower people instead, secure in the knowledge that Bas’s tribute to the garden folks are totally snail proof!

ZabbezFlowers

It’s not just the chilli plants that have suffered in my garden. I planted 20 marigolds and a sunflower seedling out in the border just over two weeks ago. Sad to say they’ve all vanished before they even got a proper root hold! Ah well, I never learn. I’m actually quite happy to resort to shop bought flowers to cheer the place up anyway. Hubby bought me these last weekend because they matched my Katy the Caterpillar project that I was working on at the time. How thoughtful 🙂 And what excellent rationale for choosing the colour scheme of my little gift. He knows the kind of details that make me happy!

Sunflower

Not a bad match at all!

caterpillar

And though the petals are starting to drop there’s still a lot of life left in my lovely bunch of summer sun.Sunflower2

Back to testing out the Butterfly Bree and Caterpillar Calin pattern – I thought I would change the colours slightly as I work through it, mainly because I bought some beautiful sparkly yarn recently with some Christmas makes in mind and I’m itching to try it out. I’m making my version of Bree look more like one of these Blue Morpho specimens. I love the depth of colour in these amazing creatures – I could just stare at that dreamy blue all day.

Morphos

But I don’t have time for too much staring at it, so even better than that I’ll crochet with it instead.

A quick rummage around the stash baskets and all materials are gathered together. Yarns at the ready…

Morpho-Yarn

…pattern printed, essential kit located… and we’re off!

Making-Bree

Papa Penguin and Baby Pierre are fascinated to meet two of their fellow stars from the new book. Pierre has already made plans to take Calin to the park to play on the swings and Papa is going to introduce Bree to the other parents at Pierre’s pre-school.

PapaBree

Hopefully I’ll have finished making them in time for my next post so you can see how they turned out. Papa and Pierre can’t wait – parent and toddler group is going to be so much more fun with new friends to take along!


7 Comments

Citrus Twist

The summer sun has been doing it’s best to get the upper hand over the rain clouds this week. It seems a pretty evenly fought battle but temperatures have stayed high so even in the rain there’s been a more tropical feeling than is often experienced around these parts. Very fitting then that I find myself with a commission to finish this week that has all the warm reds, oranges and yellows with a nice dash of rainforest green thrown in for good measure to match the mood of the weather.

citruss

I’ve had a very pleasant time making these fiery sunburst circles, sitting in the lounge in the early evenings watching various sunsets over the week – of which this one was one of the best.

sunset

Loving how the sunset colours are echoed in my current work. Just like it always makes me that little bit extra happy when my nail varnish matches my crochet too. I don’t know why these small details please me so much, but they do!

I’m not naturally a citrus end of the spectrum kinda gal but I’ve really enjoyed working with these colours. That’s the pleasure of special commissions really. They make you jump outside of your normal comfort zone and open you up to trying something new. I especially like how the crisp white sets of all these juicy fruity tones.

DSCN8727

I think Mojo is pretty impressed with this colour combo too. He shows his approval by getting as close to them as possible in order to admire them better.

citrus5

And they’re very comfy too.

820citrus2

While working on these squares I was reminded of my citrus wedge bags – the first projects I ever made by crocheting with clarn, (cloth yarn – see here for an earlier post about working with clarn and a few tips on how to make it). I made these bags several years ago and then packed them away, so tracking them down was a bit of a challenge. After a good root about in my various boxes of past projects I managed to find the orange one…

citrus7

I use this lime one to store toy stuffing in so it was closer to hand. This is the best photo I came up with here as Mojo sabotaged the event. Although this surely more accurately comes under the category of feline enhancement rather than true sabotage. Isn’t he beautiful?!

citrus8

Further inspired by the tutti frutti orange/lemon/lime theme I took a bit of time out and improvised me a quick and crafty little e-book holder ready for taking along on summer picnics, and for my festival date – (all booked up and paid for so gotta go now, whatever the weather!). We have a few more camping weekends lined up too, so my kindle will be invaluable. Love that it’s backlit so I can read in the tent without a torch.

And all my light up crochet hooks have arrived so I can crochet in the dark too!

citrus9

Very exciting! With the double joy of light up books and light up hooks there is now absolute zero chance of getting bored after the sun goes down. Obviously not so much of a problem at festivals but more of a re-assurance when we are roughing it under canvas in various remote parts of the British countryside.

So now I have a new found love of all things fruity and zesty. These colours are so summery.citrus

I’m glad to have re-discovered my cloth bag, it fits in a treat and I’m the proud to be the owner of a set of homemade bags for all holiday eventualities! (Check out my free pattern for the mini owl necklace purses here).

citrus3

Hopefully their radiance will act as a sunshine charm and I might even manage to get a tan this year. Our Welsh and Scottish camping holidays have traditionally involved battling high winds and torrential rain for the most part but I’m ever optimistic that for our next venture we’ll be living the dream, swimming in the sea, lolling on the beach and generally complaining about the infernal heat and accidental sunburn, drinking warm wine – or tea made with curdled milk – from a cool box that has managed to remain anything but cool and pointedly avoiding having to go inside the tent during daylight hours for fear of spontaneously combusting. What’s not to love, huh? It would certainly be a novel experience for us!

citrus4

Talking of holidays, though this is actually more of an emigration, I’m pleased to say that Orwell the third (I have the first and the second is in Belgium with his book publisher) has arrived safely in Boston, Massachusetts where he is starting his new life as the official mascot for the Boston Palm Oil Action Team. Great work going on there to raise awareness of palm oil issues and to help save the natural rainforest habitat of these beautiful creatures. So proud he’ll be doing his bit!

This is him just before his departure… complete with airmail ticket, pictures of his old home, a map of his new home, some snacks (in keeping with the general citrus theme of this post I feel compelled to point out the satsuma and the orange flavoured cup cake in the photo – his favorite nibbles!) and, of course, his passport. We can’t run the risk of him being turned away at customs!

820OrwellMojiMoji

…and here he is, fresh out of the box at his new destination. I’m glad to see he’s arrived smiling and unruffled by his epic journey!

820Orwell-in-Boston

If you’re local to Boston on Saturday 11th July there is a Palm Oil Awareness Day event going on there, organized by The Team. Check out the BPOAT Facebook page for more info. I’ve donated six free Orwell patterns for the Wheel of Fortune and there are other great prizes too. You’ll even get to meet Orwell in person!

200BPOAT

Back on track to this weeks work and I’ll leave you with a sneak preview of my next new design…

820Citrus9

… she’s got that citrus twist going on too, these are definitely turning out to be this season’s big colours – in my world anyway!