Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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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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Trophy Heads and a Forest Themed Christmas

I’m back to work for real this week and have been busy finishing up commissions and sorting paperwork but I didn’t want to stomp straight on with the new year without indulging in a bit of Christmas nostalgia and sharing a few photos of my lovely festive holiday at home.

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There has been lots of cat cuddling and a fair amount of recreational crochet. Pretty much a perfect lull after a very busy year.

The trophy heads from Vanessa Mooncie’s book have been my favorite Christmas break projects. I started the hare and then started the stag before I finished the hare because I’m a bit impulsive like that when it comes to crochet. My Christmas decorations had a very pronounced woodland theme this year and I thought the stags head would look fabulous as a centre piece.

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As it turns out I didn’t get the stag or the hare entirely finished before Christmas but they were both completed by the New Year thanks to taking a week or so off from designing my own patterns. It sure is good to have a break sometimes and get that hook hooking up a pattern where someone else has done all the hard work for you!

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These heads have been very enjoyable projects for dark, frosty nights, and lazy Christmas pyjama clad holidays, keeping warm with the central heating blazing away, and an endless supply of mugs of hot tea, usually provided by hubby who’s also been on holiday. It’s no bad kind of life anyway you look at it.

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Lots of fairy lights kept the winter gloom at bay and made the lounge my most favorite place to be this Christmas. I had a Winter tree and a Christmas tree up this year.

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

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

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All thankfully left alone by the cats. I think my moggies are getting a bit long in the tooth to take much interest in climbing trees either indoors or outdoors these days.

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It’s difficult not to feel content when you are surrounded by a myriad of twinkling lights and some well placed crocheted friends.

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Evie and Elvis got their stockings ready…

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…while Mojo enjoyed some Christmas bliss of his own…

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…and waited expectantly by his stocking for Father Christmas to fill it up with Dreamies and catnip and crocheted mice.

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My trophy heads progressed nicely while hogging the sofa and watching cheesy Christmas films as often as I could. Having been laid low with a bit of a cold and a hideously hacking cough for  most of the last few weeks this was a very welcome way to recuperate whenever circumstances permitted.

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A visually resplendent chill-fest with the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit box sets ticks all the right boxes for a good night in.

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When duty called and shopping or visiting was required I occasionally ventured out on a car trip, taking my crochet with me, obviously. Every moment counts.

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It was rather exciting to see my deer head taking shape, bit by bit. There were quite a lot of separate elements and some very clever construction work involving sheets of card and sturdy wire to make sure everything was going to end up with enough strength and structure to support a piece of work of this scale.

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Tigger wasn’t too impressed to be asked to pose with the antlers, but then Tigger is never too impressed by anything much.

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He soon fell asleep pressed up against my leg for warmth so I don’t think I could have offended him very badly despite that look on his face.

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In between crocheting, presents needed to be wrapped up. I wondered if Pogo was hinting that it’s time to re-home him via the medium of a Christmas gift. Sorry Poges, there’s no chance of that – I love you tooooo much! Actually I think he just likes the rustle of the paper and the kick from the power trip that sees me rifling through my Christmas wrappings box looking for alternative trimmings until he decides to move of his own accord.

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My knitted cats are a lot less hassle!

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It’s been a super Christmas even though I’ve nearly coughed my lungs up onto my lap for much of it. I’m feeling much better now and  the decorations have been safely stashed away for next year. Oh boo hoo. I’ve left the big twiggy tree up though and re-installed the little twiggy tree from the mantelpiece to the hearth.

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The shock from being chock-a-block with fairy lights to the stark reality of a Christmas well spent, but spent nonetheless, would have been too much to bear all at once so I’m keeping the home fires burning with a few cheery, twinkly corners and plenty of candles to see me through until spring.

And the really good post Christmas news is that both the stag head and the Hare head are finished and have taken up their permanent residence on the back wall of the lounge. They may not have been ready for Christmas itself but I was quite excited to take down a few of the strings of lights and Christmas cards to make way for them. I love how they turned out. They’re definitely going to be year-round feature.

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In fact I love them so much I’ve already started on a third pattern from the book. This time I’m making the ram, with a few colour changes. As this is strictly a thrifty stash buster I’m making do with yarn I already have. I’m also using my totally gorgeous stitch markers made for me as a Christmas gift by a very talented crafty friend.

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

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

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…Stan the Stag…

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…and Harry the Hare…

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…will have to make do with Mojo as company.

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Now I’m the proud owner of personalised cat head stitch markers and two magnificent crocheted trophy heads – how about crocheted cat head portraits of my moggies for the wall?

I can’t quite work out if that’s a great and quirky idea or just a little bit too freaky. I’ll have to think about that one!


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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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Katie the Caterpillar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Very Berry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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A Spring in my Step

Well, we’ve had a mixed bag as far as the weather goes this week so I made sure to make the most of the super warm sunshine that was squeezed in between the grey drizzle and grey skies. I bought my first bunch of spring daffodils during a trip into town on one of the finer days (first time this year without a winter coat on!) Here they are cheering up the bathroom window.

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As pretty as they looked there (admittedly, they’ll look a bit prettier once they’ve bloomed), I had second thoughts and ended up moving them into my studio so I could enjoy them as I work. After all, I spend a lot of my time in this room and I thought their cheery yellow would have a nice effect on my mood whatever the British spring decides to throw at us. Hey, they were only 99p, I might go mad and buy another bunch or two for the bathroom as well!

So on the studio windowsill they went. There was a slight problem with this plan though. The windowsill is usually the territory of my cats, who take turns, particularly when the sun is out, to do a little bit of basking there. It’s nice and close to where I sit –  they do love to have company – and with a great view of all the garden birds, it’s obviously a much sought after spot for a bit of feline rest and relaxation. Mojo soon stepped up to investigate the invasion of his sacred space. First a good rub.

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Then he tried, and almost succeeded, in tipping it over by clawing at it. I only just managed to stop him in time. I really don’t need a big dose of daffodil water all over the studio!

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Mojo’s determined to get to the bottom of this, quite literally!

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As I mentioned earlier, it’s not been all sunshine and daffodils recently. Along with plenty of rain we also had a little hail storm. Naturally I took the baby penguins out for a bit of exercise. They need to run off steam at that age. I’m sure everyone with a toddler knows all about that. These three fluff bundles loved the cold feet treatment.

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I’ll be working on a new pattern for them over the next few weeks. I want to crochet them an igloo to play in as well, so there will be some constructional challenges ahead there, but it should be fun.

It’s been raining again today, and all of last night too, but I enjoyed the taste of spring as and when it graced us with its presence, and hopefully there will be plenty more no coat, blue sky days ahead in the not too distant future.

I suspect you will have noticed that I’ve been dabbling around with my banner and blog backgrounds as it’s not exactly easy to miss! I’ve also cheered up my Etsy shop and Facebook page with the new look. I hope you all like the seasonal spring theme!  Now even if the weather is not to be relied on, it’s always going to be a bright and cheery forecast in Moji-Moji Land 🙂

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With spring  in mind I began work on a set of Easter baskets earlier this week. My main challenge has been trying to find yarn in the exact colours I’m imagining in my head. Here’s a sneak peak at my work in progress. So far, so good.

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But oh! The perils of buying yarn online. I was so excited this morning when the postman brought my eBay bargains. It clearly says ‘Lime’ on the label. And it looked pretty limey and fresh on my computer monitor.  I hoped it would make a really good  grassy effect to finish off the baskets. Well, I don’t know about you but (Health and Safety Note: Please put your sunglasses on before you proceed to the next photo) this is not my idea of what Lime green looks like!

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I’ve photographed my new yarn along with other things I consider to be lime coloured, including an actual lime, for comparison purposes! Even this picture doesn’t do justice to the particular shade of 1980’s, radioactively fluorescent, neon yellow, bile like psychedelia that it actually is in real life.

Ah well, it’s certainly bright, if not particularly beautiful. Having said that, it could make a funky crochet monster, then it might be said to be beautiful after all. I suppose it’s all about context. It’s just not the soft spring green I was after! Back to the drawing board for the rest of the Easter baskets then… Either way I plan to have them finished by next week, I’ll just have to improvise a bit on my initial ideas. It will take a little longer to get them all finished now but that’s just part and parcel of the process really.

At least I have my Mother’s Day gifts sorted. We like to keep things simple around here. Cheap and cheerful is another way of putting it! After all, it really is about the thought you put into things. So I thought long and hard and decided… I would crochet some sunflower coasters – my mum’s favorite flower. I found a pretty bone china mug to sit sweetly on top of them, and some cute buttons too – which I plan to make into a brooch of some sort. A jar of posh coffee and a bar of dark chocolate will finish it all off nicely.

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I made the coasters from a pattern I found in Issue 69 of LGC Knitting and Crochet magazine and I just changed the colours slightly. My next plan is to make a whole batch of them with a bigger hook and turn them into a blanket for my bedroom. I’ve started playing with other colours already, even though I haven’t finished my Mexican blanket yet. I just couldn’t resist a little dabble!

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The two at the bottom right and centre are a rough indicator of the kind of colours I’m thinking of. But before I get too carried away I have to deal with all these yarn ends on this old friend…

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I only need to add two more Granny Square stripes (already made), join the two large pieces together in the centre and, goodness, the end is really within sight now! I may be able to show you the finished blanket next time I’m here. Or I may not, depending on my attention span and my determination not to get distracted, but either way, whether I stick to the plan or not, I’m sure I’ll have something or other to show you!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mum’s out there. Have a great Sunday!


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Hola!

The Mexican blanket is growing and growing. I’m steadfastly crocheting a row or two, or a few squares most evenings and pretty much 90% of it has been made while wearing pyjamas. A very cosy and comfy project it’s turning out to be.

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Because of the time I spent accurately working out the stitch counts, the theory is that all the row elements should match up perfectly.  But the stripes made up of mini squares are ending up a fair bit longer than the granny stripes and I think that’s due to the chained row that gives the extra colour blip between the rows of shells. My chains tend to have a slightly tighter tension than the rest of my crochet. I guess I’ll have to learn to loosen up a bit with them. I’ve not found it to be a big problem though, it just needs a bit of pinning to take up the extra length nice and evenly then it’s easier to match stitch for stitch, particularly if I’m working in less than perfect light conditions. And let’s face it, the rest of the family don’t want to spend cosy Movie Nights sitting in a floodlit room, so the light is often ambient rather than practical for a lot of my winter evening projects.
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The need for all that matching up did give me the idea to make Carlos the Cactus though, so I could have a totally Mexican vibe going on while I worked! I love having him around to help but he’s turned out to be an obsessive perfectionist and gets pretty prickly if I try to cut corners and go crocheting along without pinning everything in place first. (I might be self projecting here a bit 😉 )

You can see him keeping his beady eyes on the proceedings here. He’s also really good at holding onto all my yarn needles with those handy little hands of his. I just wish he was equally adept at sewing in the yarn ends too! Ah well, you can’t have it all.

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Here you can see the discrepancy in the lengths of the granny square panels alongside all the pieces that I’ve managed to crochet together so far. It looks like it would never match up but it always does, and the blanket will stretch a little with use – so any minimal puckering will most likely even out itself out after it’s been dragged around and snuggled up in for a while. This is about a third done now, not including the border.

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And also not including these strips that have yet to be joined. When these are all crocheted together I think I’ll be at least half way done. Wey hey, we’re getting somewhere now!

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My cactus pincushion has been useful for helping out with other projects too, so now he can usually be found on my desk with his best friend Dante the Donkey (If you’ve read my previous blog post you’ll understand why they’re inseparable!) and my other favorite pincushion – my felted sheep on a hill. One of the first sculptures I made when I was going through my needle felting phase. I should have enough pins handy for multiple projects on the go now. Which is a good thing because I still haven’t learnt to finish one job before I start another.

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While Carlos is busy helping out, Dante has been trying to make friends with  two of my cats. The cats are much more concerned with napping on the new blanket should I dare to leave it unattended for a nano second or two.

Mojo doesn’t appear to be very impressed with Dante’s approaches!

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Time for evasive tactics by way of an emergency grooming session.

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Ah well, maybe Minnie will be more accommodating…

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…Or maybe not! Different evasive tactic seen here, just close your eyes and pretend to be asleep!

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Then go and seek refuge in a box on a tucked away shelf in among the early prototypes for Orwell.

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This week I also managed to finish writing up the Orwell pattern for my own shops at long last, so you can now get his pattern in my Etsy and Ravelry stores as a single purchase for any of you who want to buy just him on his own. Today and tomorrow are the last few days of the Zoomigurumi 4 pre-sale event if you prefer to get Orwell’s pattern together with 14 other cute as button designs at a bargain price of £13.50. I’ve just got my trusty calculator out (I’m no Rachel Riley styley maths whiz, that’s for sure!) and that works out at 90 pence a pattern. Can’t wait for my copy to arrive!

You’ll find Tessa Van Riet-Ernst’s (aka Woolytoons) mop headed Leopold the Lion in this volume too. He’s currently over in Belgium helping Joke get the books packed up and shipped out over the next few days. Seems that my moggies aren’t the only cats who like to get involved in anything crochet related, particularly if it involves sitting on it!

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Here’s a teeny reminder of the lovely characters you’ll find nestled between the pages!

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They’ll be sure to keep you busy and remove all your excuses for idly hanging around like this furry fella!

Not that there’s anything wrong with being idle of course, if that’s what you fancy. I keep telling myself I’m going to take a break when I’ve finished all the crochet projects lined up in my head and in my sketchbook – approximately scheduled for the 12th of Never Ever 🙂

I’m off to do some more blanket in the mean time. In fact I intend to dedicate a large proportion of this weekend to making some serious progress here. Orwell’s taken a shine to it. I think he’s looking forward to it being finished, and who am I to disappoint?!

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I’ll be back with more updates soon and some pictures of my lovely pink and turquoise crochet flowers that I’m trying out for my next project, perfect for a fresh looking spring blanket that I’ve set my heart on. See, I told you it’s impossible for me to finish one project before I start another! I’ll post a picture of them next time, when I’m 100% happy with the colours. Bye for now and wishing you all a happy weekend! x