Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Paksha the Peacock

I know it’s been a while since I last managed to list a pattern in any of my online shops but the big news today is that I finally managed it! Hopefully there’ll be quite a few more in the foreseeable future as now that the current influx of book submissions and commissions are under control I have managed to gather together a well organised backlog of designs waiting in my in tray that just need a little tweaking and testing before they’re fit for public consumption.

Paksha the Peacock was originally designed for a magazine. It’s unbelievable how time flies by so fast but the two year contract is up and I am now free to list the pattern myself. I had fun tweaking the colours until they were near perfect. The original peacock had to be made with the colours already supplied in a yarn pack so this was a good chance to change things up a little.

Even though peacocks have a very definite colour scheme you can see how easy it is to great great results with just blues and yellow. But really, any similar or not so similar yarns would look great. (I wonder what a pink peacock would work out like? Rather pretty I should think).

As you can’t buy the original kits from the magazine I’ve sourced my alternative colours from a range of yarns which I fell in love with only recently. I have gone a bit crazy and bought myself the entire range of Paintbox Simply DK yarns which are now sitting prettily on one of my shelves with all the yarn shades neatly displayed on wooden pegs. I’m getting very organised in my old age you know!

I usually pick up random scraps of yarn balls from my existing stash as i certainly have plenty to choose from but for anyone who’s curious as to how to achieve the quintessential peacock look I made a note of the colours I used on the one below in case anyone wanted more info on what I considered to be the optimal peacock colours for this pattern.

I bought mine from LoveKnitting and ended up with free postage because I can’t help buying yarn in quantities much larger than is actually necessary for any particular project. Did I really need one in every colour? Well, I’m quite sure it will all come in handy sooner or later!

These are all Paintbox Yarns Simply DK shades. From left to right we have: Dark blue – 139, Turquoise – 133, Lime green – 128, Grass Green – 129, Gold -123 and Cream – 102.

Deep, jewel like colours and an obsessive fondness for preening make Paksha one of the finest sights at the palace. With his showy display of tail feathers and dashing good looks Paksha has all the peahens running around after him. You might think that all this attention would go straight to his head but Paksha isn’t at all conceited and his claws are always firmly planted on the ground.

In fact sometimes he seems more interested in showing off his magnificent tail to other peacocks instead of chasing after the ladies. It’s probably just nature’s age old case of mine’s bigger/better/more colourful than yours!

The peacocks are small enough to sit nicely in the palm of your hand so they don’t use up much yarn.

They’re also easier to sew together than you might think, despite there being quite a lot of individual tail feathers, I’ve managed to come up with a foolproof way to attach them all to each other with a minimum amount of hassle.

He’s such a fussy thing when it comes to his appearance it would be criminal not to do those feathers justice and you’d probably get a good pecking or two off Paksha if he ends up looking anything other than totally dapper so I have added plenty of photo’s to help you along and lots of tips and tricks to make sure your peacock turns out to be the envy of his brothers and the sweetheart of all the peahens.

This one is very interested in his new, soon to be completed, rival.

However it doesn’t take long for the initial wary eyeing up of each other until they’re good pals. I think they both feel grand enough and that there’s enough room in the palace gardens for the both of them and so a rather lovely friendship has developed.

They’re fascinated by their first incarnation, Prince, and how he managed to gain some fame by getting himself interviewed for a popular magazine. If there is anything that peacocks really, really love it’s a bit of attention. The more paparazzi around the better!

These two are also very interested in how their pattern comes together and how all the photos they had to pose for are being used.

Pattern making is not all yarn and hooks. Sometimes its screen and keyboards too. Though I infinitely prefer the former combo I have come to have a fondness for the entire pattern creating process over the years. Probably because my computer skills have improved – however marginally – to make the technical, non yarny side of things a bit more stress free.

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As a final tweak to the original pattern I turned the wing motifs into bunting.

I can think of lots of places in my house that this bright and cheerful string of plumage would add a sparkle to if Paksha would let me have it back…

But for now they are feathering his nest and making him look as pretty as a picture in all his photo shoots.

If you want to make a feathery show off of your own you can find Paksha’s Pattern in my Ravelry Store


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Zoomigurumi 6

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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!

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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.

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

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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.

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(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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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…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.

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

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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.

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Dave comes to join them for a fitting too.

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

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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.

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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.

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She is one busy little mouse!

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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 🙂

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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.

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


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Trixie, Trudy and Tricia, the Trapeze Triplets.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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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 🙂

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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.

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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.

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(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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!


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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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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?!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Not a bad match at all!

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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.

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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…

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

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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.

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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!


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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And they’re very comfy too.

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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…

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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?!

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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!

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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).

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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!

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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!

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…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!

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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!

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

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… 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!


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Pretty Pastels

It’s been an out of the ordinary kind of week this time. Two boys off from school and college for the Easter holidays and one back from Uni. How lovely to see a bit more of them for a change, chatting over tea breaks and meal times and enjoying the odd trip to town and the cinema. But equally nice to just know that they’re around and about in the house, doing their own thing and being independent teens. That means that I get my free time too for a spot of crochet or a bit of Easter decorating.

My bunny sketches are transforming into their yarn equivalents very pleasingly. I’ve worked out the basic pattern and now have all the fun of experimenting with colours. I prefer to finalize the details with hook and yarn as I go along, but these finished dolls are going to be a pretty close match to these doodles, more or less – except for the ears, and the collars and the carrot buttons!

The proportions are going to be roughly the same anyway…

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I have a lovely work basket full of soft spring pastels to play with for the bunny outfits. I was hoping to have this pattern finished by now, but spending the extra time with the boys was fun and I know that’s not a decision I’ll live to regret. Anyway, bunnies aren’t just for Easter, they’re for life and I’m sure these bunnies will love to be treasured all year round. Well let’s be honest, who wouldn’t?

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Lots of buttons and beads to play around with as well. Another part of the design process that I love, though I usually end up keeping it simple, I like to assess all the options and use it as an excuse to have a nosey through my many boxes of notions and nick-nacks.

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I really enjoy making double patterns as it gives me more scope to expand my ideas, and I have the added bonus of knowing my creations have a trusty friend to call their own! Boy bunny is looking snazzy all dressed up in blue and lemon but I’ve become a bit obsessed with pink and aqua at the moment so that’s what girl bunny will be wearing. I’ve been happily pinning gorgeous images, devoted exclusively to that colour combo over on Pinterest. Here are just a few of my favorites…

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You can find these lovely images (from left to right) on these equally lovely websites:

vintage-home.co.uk    houseofturquoise.com

cocorosetextiles.blogspot.co.uk     ana-rosa.tumblr.com

I’ve been experimenting with putting various hues of pink and aqua together, for fun and inspiration, trying out bits of yarn here and there, to get the shades a picture perfect match to the hues dancing around in my head. Those little Granny Squares in the middle are the very beginning of another big project. This one will be a soft, squishy coverlet for my bed. Just a few more rows to finish on the Mexican blanket and then I can give myself full permission to go tumbling head over heels on this new adventure.

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As busy as this week has been there was a little time left over to decorate my Easter tree, so I went about carefully unwrapping my collection of festive eggs and hanging them from these twiggy boughs. With the addition of my recently crocheted micro chicks and eggs (free pattern here) I think it looks just grand. It will have pride of place in the center of the kitchen table for the next few days at least. Although it may turn out to be longer, after all I still have some snowflakes hanging up from Christmas in the bay window!

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Just time to tidy up the mess I’ve made and then I’m going to sit down and admire my handiwork.

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There’s a chocolate bunny whose been earmarked, or maybe I should say earlopped, to enjoy with a cup of tea. I reckon I’ve earned a treat, and its only a few hours until Easter Day!

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Enjoy your weekend folks!

And for those who celebrate, have a Happy Easter.

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xxx


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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? 😉