Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Happy Halloween 2015!

It’s here again! The end of the harvest season and the official beginning of winter. I’ve been doing my best to add a touch of spooky and a glimmer of warmth to the house over the last few days with the usual array of pumpkins, spider webs, ghosts, candy, lanterns and the odd bit of amigurumi thrown in here and there.

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My welsh dresser is full to bursting and really is quite a cheery sight, though of course it all looks so much more atmospheric by night.

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I’ve been having fun making pom poms this week too. All of them in Halloween colours of course.

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They’re easy-peasy to make with my clever little Clover pompom maker and I managed to whizz up a whole bunch in just a few minutes.

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They are a very satisfying thing to make and this particular batch was destined for decorative garlands. I found the perfect black and white twine with a hint of silver sparkle to thread them all together…

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…and set to with pom pom stringing gusto.

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Simple but effective and now I have plans to make another bunch of white pom poms and string them up on candy cane coloured twine for Christmas – but let’s get Halloween out of the way first!

Some of the the chip fork characters got similar treatment.

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Their little sweaters are perfect for threading them up with.

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Mojo was keen to see what’s happening as I tweaked and twiddled with my Halloween decorations until I was happy with them.

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Gilbert Ghost seemed to fit the mantelpiece very nicely so I settled on this set up in the end.

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And to let the trick or treaters know we’re up for a visit or two I’ve quickly thrown a few things together in the window.

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The spider webs looks more like an ectoplasmic blob, but I guess that fits the general theme pretty well too! Maybe it’s the ghostly spirit of that poor skinny fella dangling in the middle.

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It’s not been all Halloween prep this week though. I’ve also been working on my poncho – when I can get to it that is!

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It’s proving very popular as the new must-have cat blanket, but as you can see I am getting nearer to completion with everything joining up nice and neatly. It looks to be a good size now as it just drapes down to my elbows so with a row or two to neaten the edge and a fringe of some sort to finish it all off it should be just about perfect for keeping me warm in the winter months ahead but not too big and cumbersome to get in the way while I’m crocheting.

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Now I have a spot of pumpkin carving to do before it get’s dark then some pumpkin soup to make for supper.

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Ahh, how I love these little rituals that mark the passing of the year 🙂

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On that note, the Pumpkin Patch People and myself would all like to wish you a fun and candy filled Halloween. All treats and no tricks please. Enjoy!


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Halloween Sporks

In this instance the term spork doesn’t relate to that genius spoon/fork hybrid so familiar to those of us who can’t resist a take-away salad bowl or pasta pot, but is actually a truncation of spooky forks. Now let me explain why… We’ve had a fair few trips to the seaside this year and with a trip to the seaside comes the inevitable Great British tradition of a fish in batter and stodgy, lard heavy chips on the beach – eaten as fast as possible to minimise the potential for a gust of wind to blow sand in your lunch or for a cheeky seagull to snatch it from your lap as you gaze winsomely out to sea. Ah the pleasures of al fresco eating!

Consequently we have ended up with a collection of chip forks going spare. I was just about to clear the extras out of the camping bag and put them onto the chimenea for a bit of added fuel when I was sure I heard one of them shouting “I’m a cat waiting to happen!” in a tiny little chip fork sized voice. So I set to with a few basic art materials and sure enough – a cat emerged.

As it’s Halloween soon I thought I’d decorate it a bit more so it would look cute in the candy bowl. As most things in life are made much nicer with a bit of crochet I hooked it up a sweater in orange and purple stripes and immediately started wondering what else I could make. I’m always pleased to have an excuse to do a bit of doodling and colouring in so I scribbled up a few other ideas inspired by the classic chip fork shape.

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I think these would be great little treasure hunt gifts for Halloween parties or, even better, a fun DIY kid’s project for the half term – providing you have indulged in a sufficiently large amount of fish and chips this summer and have a habit of picking up a few spares forks every time like us. The only other things you will need are marker pens and a white pencil crayon, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, small buttons, glue, yarn and a crochet hook.

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My boys are too old to want to spend their time doing this sort of crafty thing anymore but I’m not!  These are the ones I’ve finished so far:

A Frankenstein’s Monster, a ghost and a cat,

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A devil, an alien and a vampire bat.

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Now they’re made they won’t be wasted. I shall offload these, along with the usual candy, onto any trick or treaters who happen to stop my way. Thank goodness I still have a valid reason for colouring in chip forks and crocheting them sweaters! (Which are made with oddments of Double Knit yarn and a size C (2.75mm) hook and are simply Ch 7, join with a slip stitch to make a ring then single crochet (UK double crochet) 7 rounds, in case you wanted to know the details).

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You might have noticed the lovely new creamy white background on my latest photos. You see, I got around to painting my desk this weekend. It went from this…

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…to this…

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(Mojo is confused to find no clutter on it as I bundle everything into boxes ready for the re-vamp)

…to this…

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..and finally, to this…

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It really didn’t take long for all the clutter to come back. It is a slightly different set of clutter though, with a more rationalised pile of only my essential everyday necessities to hand – more or less, and for the time being, at least!

I recently took the time to sort out (some of) my yarn stash too. Now it’s on show, instead of it all being hidden away in an assortment of baskets and boxes and I’m hoping this will make designing new amigurumi easier, as I can see the colours all together. It will certainly save me time rooting about randomly, trying to find a colour that I’m not even sure I’ve got!

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And anyway, it looks so pretty. It’s a crying shame to hide all that beautiful yarn. Now I smile everytime I look at it. ‘Tis a glorious thing to behold, my own personal wonderwall! It feels good to be a few steps nearer to having the studio of my dreams. Plenty more to do yet but I’m feeling very happy in here in the meantime, crafting away at every available opportunity.

I’ve a little Halloween project in mind for this yarn bundle next.

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Wishing you all a Happy Halloween Week!

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Have fun!


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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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A Weekend at Home

Chanting the mantra ‘Rain, rain, go away, come back another day’ has had no effect whatsoever around here so it’s been a weekend tucked up indoors, catching up with much of my crochet works in progress. Well, it needs to be done and there are worse ways to spend rainy afternoons. In fact it’s rather nice to have some cosy time in the house. Mojo has found his new favorite spot. Staring wistfully out into the drizzle from the comfort of one of my new kitchen seat pads. There is an excellent view of the garden from there and Moji is making the most of it.

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Minnie has nabbed herself a spot in a spotty, polka dotty, plastic picnic salad bowl!

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It’s barely big enough but she’s whiled away many hours snoozing in there, so it must be comfier than it looks.

I’ve spent a fair bit of time over the past few days designing a new alpaca pattern and then creating them in lots of colours. Here’s the production line in full swing. It’s my own personal alpaca farm. Six colours so far… well, I really enjoy working with the soft and fluffy textured yarns, and I just couldn’t seem to stop myself!

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They’ve got their eyes on those tasty strawberries by the looks of it.

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I was busy making these last week, on a somewhat sunnier day.

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A little snack for me too. Alpacas aren’t the only ones who love strawberries!

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Pogo often watches me crochet, sitting side by side on our squashy sofa. He’s just waiting for a yarn end to pounce on. Usually straight into my lap, huge claws and all!

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There’s plenty of yarny entertainment for him as I finish up this latest batch.

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Lovely home days with all the cats for company make me very happy. Just time for a break to bake a loaf of bread ready for lunch. Oh yum. This butternut squash and parmesan bread filled the house with delicious smells that cheered us all up. It tasted amazing too! Chopped black olives and rosemary made it extra special and it’s great therapy for crunched up crochet hands as all the mixing and kneading gets the circulation flowing around my fingers again.

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Bas’s  (Zabbez.com) Butterfly Bree and Baby Calin were finished up just in time for the proofreading deadline for the new Parent and Baby Animals book. I love the way the sparkly blues have worked out. This pattern would look fabulous in so many different colour combinations. One to let your imagination go wild with!

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Here she is next to Bas’s original colourway. It sure was a lovely pattern to follow.

I found out a few days ago that Papa and Pierre have made it on to the front cover of the book. I’m so thrilled, it’s like the icing on the cake and I can’t wait to see the whole book layout. Joke always does such a fantastic job of compiling all the cute designs. Not long to wait now, as pre-sale will be starting in early September over at amigurumipatterns.net.

Amigurumi Parent and Baby Animals Book

Thanks to all who voted for Papa and Pierre.

Come rain or shine, have a great week folks!


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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.

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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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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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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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Stash that Cash – Little Owl Purses

I’ve hooked up a few of these wide-eyed owl necklace purses recently and thought I would share the ins and outs of how I made them with you in case you want to have a go yourself.

They’re useful, decorative and a bit quirky and are an ideal festival accessory for keeping a bit of cash handy when you’re out and about all day, larking around in bunting strewn, tent clad fields of freaked out, cosmic awesomeness. (I like festivals, can you tell?)

So if you have a fancy to make one of your own, I’ll be happy to show you how.

Firstly you’ll need to gather together your equipment and materials. These are the usual suspects such as scissors, stitch marker, tapestry needles and, of course your crochet hook.820Owl-Purse-materials-

You will also need yarn in any colour of your choice for the main part of the purse plus a small amount of brown/orange for the beak and ear tufts and some white for the eyes. I made a few of these with aran (worsted) weight yarn and a 4 mm hook and a few more with double knit (light worsted) weight yarn and a 3 mm hook. You can see how the various sizes work out here and decide which you like best. If you want a bigger purse try doubling up your yarn and using a larger hook.820Sizes

Add a couple of black buttons, a 1 cm press stud (snap fastener), a length of sewing cotton and you’re ready to begin.

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(US crochet terminology is used throughout, for abbreviations and UK conversion chart take a look here)

Head and Body
With Blue yarn make 2 ch. (Or substitute any other colour that tickles your fancy).
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each of next 6 st. (12 sts)
Rnd 3: [sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 4: [sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (24 sts)820fig-1

Rnds 5-13: sc in each st to end. (9 rounds)
Now continue working in rows.
Note: 1 ch at beginning of each row does not count as a stitch.
Row 1: sc in each of next 12 st, turn820fig-2

Row 2: Working in front loops only:  1 ch, sc in all 12 st, turn. (12 sts)820fig-3

Row 3: 1 ch, miss next st, sc in the next 9 sts, miss next st, sc in the last st, turn. (10 sts)
(Picture below shows where to put the first stitch)820fig-4

Row 4: 1ch, miss next st, sc in each of the next 7 st, miss next st, sc in last st, turn. (8 sts)
Row 5: 1ch, miss next st, sc in each of next 5 st, miss next st, sc in last st, turn. (6 sts)
Row 6: 1ch, miss next st, sc in each of next 3 st, miss next st, sc in last st, turn. (4 sts)
Row 7: 1ch, miss next st, sc in next st, miss next st, sc in last st, turn. (2 sts)
Row 8: 1ch, miss next st, sc in last st. (1 st)
Fasten off, weave in the yarn tails.

Beak
With Brown yarn make 2ch.
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: [sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times. (9 sts)
Rnd 4: [sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times. (12 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for sewing.

Eyes
Make 2
With White yarn make 2ch.
Rnd 1:  6 sc into second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each of next 6 st. (12 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for sewing.

Now you will have all these pieces ready to transform into an owl.820fig-0

To make up
Sandwich the pointed end of the purse flap inside the beak and sew in place.820fig-6

Sew the eyes to the flap directly above the beak spacing them slightly apart. The neatest way to do this is to use back stitch in between the V shapes of the final round.

Sew a black button to each eye patch. Weaving in the ends inside the beak.

To make the ear tufts take 3 x 10cm strands of brown yarn, fold in half and, inserting your crochet hook from back to front, pull up a loop of all three strands in the corner of one side of the purse. Feed the ends through the loop and pull tight to form a tassel. Trim to 3cm long. Repeat for other side.

Use sewing cotton and a small needle to sew one half of the press stud to the back of the beak and the other half to its matching place about halfway down the body. You’ll end up with a neat way to close your purse and keep your treasures safe.This is what the open purse looks like once everything is sewn in place.820fig-16

The owl purse looks sweet as it is and I have one of these in my go-everywhere bag to keep my keys together and stop them scratching my phone or my sunglasses. However, a great big tote bag is not always the best take along if you are planning an evening lightfooting it dancing to your fave band so to make your mini purse into a hands free necklace purse just follow the next steps.

Neck cord
Pull up a loop of Blue yarn in a leftover front loop from Row 2, right next to one of the ear tufts. Chain as many as you require to give you the desired length (I made 150 ch),  then make one Slst into the leftover front loop next to the ear tuft on the opposite side. Weave in all ends securely on the inside of the purse.

And – Hey Presto! – you have a cute little purse for your coins, lipbalm, fairy dust, lucky rune, hair band and/or other diminutive festival essentials.

820Two-Owls

I got a bit addicted to making these and spent a whole afternoon hooking up an array of different colours.820Owls

I’m hard pressed to choose a favorite so I’m going to be packing all of these up to take with me. 820Owl-jumble

A colour to suit every mood (as long as it’s happy!)820Owl-Purse-Rainbow

And if I still can’t decide what colour to wear on the day I’ll pick the all in one rainbow number with the crazy kaleidoscope eyes. Although there might be a case to state that this one has been to one too many festivals already, right!?820Swirl

Peace, love and happy hooking, man!820RainbowPurse


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Toadstools and Fringes

Hubby and the boys have been off from school/college/work last week. We’ve all enjoyed a home based holiday this time, with a few days out and a few days in. We were all hoping for a full week of bright blue skies but had our optimism rewarded with more clouds, more rain and far less sunny spells than was desirable. On our home days I’ve been dashing out to the garden at every opportunity and dashing in again at the first few spots of rain! It’s been so windy out there but that’s not stopped me getting as much crochet and garden time as I can, and lots of progress was made with the fancy edging to my blanket.

DSCN8144

It’s a cosy project to work on when the weather is less than clement, with me wrapping myself up in the whole thing as I hook my way around the edge. It’s been rather nice to spend this week with all the family about, surrounded by home comforts. I don’t think we’ll be going away properly until the summer heats up a bit. My bones ache just thinking about sleeping under damp canvas with the howling wind that we’ve had plenty of lately, rattling at the guy ropes. Oh I am longing for a bit of warmth and some balmy nights! But while I patiently wait for my dream weather we have the chimenea to keep us warm.

Chimenea

Just what I need as the day gets even cooler while I carry on with the fringed border I’ve finally decided on. As you can see, we have no shortage of old bits of furniture to burn to keep me warm throughout the evening. Those are the remnants of the kid’s wicker toy chests in the background, dumped at the back of the garden a few years ago. It’s certainly time to get rid of them for good now. Though nature and the elements seem to be doing a pretty reasonable job of disintegrating them, we have been enjoying hastening the process by feeding them to the flames. Although it’s sad in some ways that the time for toys is past, It’s heartening to see the boys begin to launch into their own journeys and adventures in life.

I love to sit for hours watching the embers glowing and the flames dancing in the dark. The smell of wood smoke is most delightful, reminding me of the countless campsite and beach fires we’ve lit over the years, in other more exotic, wild and windy corners of the country.

Chimenea2

Crocheting in the dark is a challenge too far however, and so the hook was exchanged for a glass of wine while my creaky knuckles enjoyed a well deserved but reluctant rest from the final round of the blanket. The setting of the sun will not be much of an excuse for long though, as I’ve treated myself to a set of crochet lite hooks, which, as the name implies, light up! How exciting is that!? They will be super-super useful on camping holidays, at festivals and on night time car journeys. I can even crochet in bed while hubby snores away. Oh my goodness, will I ever sleep again?

Crochet-lite

Determined to make the very best of any breaks in the clouds, I packed up a my biggest basket with enough yarn and hooks for a variety of different projects to make my garden-to-house-to-garden hopping easier and faster. Though I’ve inevitably been leaving bits of essential crochet kit in the exact opposite places to where I need them. The solution was obviously to yarn bomb the basket with a bespoke toadstool themed crochet station. From humble beginnings…

Toadstool

To full blown toadstool glory that looks like it’s straight out of a fairy tale!

Ftoadstool

Two toadstools and a dangling strawberry will keep all my bits and bobs close and handy and stop the pins and hooks and needles getting tangled up and buried among the yarn. Because it’s actually attached to my project basket it won’t get lost or left out in the rain either.

820Toadstools

Every basket should have one!

820Mushrooms2

Now I’ll be able to whiz along with my projects without constantly searching for bits of my kit.

I’m so close to finishing the Mexican blanket now. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s seems to be taking forever. It’s turned into a bit of a whopper and is much, much bigger than I originally intended. This unexpected woolly growth spurt came about because I made the blanket in two separate halves and when I joined them together the whole thing looked way too long and thin for my liking, necessitating the addition of several strips of granny stripe borders down the long side to fatten it up. Then there was the final border to take into account. Not content with a simple shell edge this time I delved deep into this wonderful book by Edie Eckman and, after much deliberation, ended up choosing a border made up of four different rows.

Crochet-Borders-Book

After adding the first three rounds of my chosen border pattern it was bigger still. No surprise there really, the more you add the bigger it gets, not rocket science, I know!

fblanket3

Now there are a humongous amount of stitches to crochet the tassels to. Eek! What was begun by the light of the chimenea is continued by the light of the sun. A tasty apple will surely provide me with enough of a sugar rush to get to the end once and for all…

fblanket2

… or maybe not. There are a LOT of chains and double crochets in the tasseled edge so it’s taking me ages. All the same, I love how it’s turning out and I can’t wait to take it camping with me. I’m going to be having sweet and snuggly under canvas dreams wrapped up in this colourful beauty, even if the summer temperatures stubbornly persist in being on the low side all year.

One short side and two thirds of the first long side finished. There is light at the end of the Mexican blanket tunnel!

Fringe2

Yes, the end is nigh and I’m soooo excited. Barring a major catastrophe, the next time I post I should definitely be showing you the completed article in all it’s stripy, dotty, crazy-fringed, technicolour magnificence!

basket

When that’s finished I’m going to line my basket with this toadstool print from my fabric stash, then I’m going to finish redecorating the kitchen, but I’m getting ahead of myself again. The blanket’s going to take precedence over everything for the next few spare hours I get. Bring it on!


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Yarn Shop Day 2015

Just a quick post to let you guys know that on Saturday 2nd May it’s Yarn Shop Day here in the UK. There are so many fun events going on up and down the country. I’m going to be at Emm’s in Droitwich from 11am to answer any crochet related questions (as best I can!).

You’ll also be able to pick up a free pattern for this cute little mouse which I’ve designed exclusively for this special day. So if you’re in the area do pop in and say hi, and if you’ve got the time I’d love to show you how to make one of your own – (all materials supplied, and all completely free – How good is that?!)

YarnShopDayMouseMojiMojiDesign

And for those of you not living in Worcestershire check out the Let’s Knit website for a list of participating shops in your area.

MouseTrioMojiMojiDesign

There’s sure to be something for everybody. You can find more recent Yarn Shop Day news on the LGC Knit & Crochet Facebook page too.

It’s going to be fun, fun fun. I hope you can make it! x