Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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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


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Dante and Carlos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Have a happy weekend!

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xoxox


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Sunshine, Stripes and New Amigurumis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Keep warm and cosy folks!

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


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Papa Penguin and Baby Pierre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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An Autumn walk

We’re well on our way into September now and all the boys are back to their various educational establishments, including the eldest, whose left home again after a three month visit to continue his studies at Cardiff Uni. The house is quiet for the first time in a long time. Just me and the four cats today. It feels a bit weird but I think I’ll get used to it.

I’ve certainly got plenty of things to keep me busy over the next month or so. But I’m starting off slowly this week and so today I thought I’d take a leisurely walk around the river to keep my spirits up and remind myself of the pleasure in occasional solitude. But here’s a little company already! How sweet to see Pumpkin Patch Pete and Pumpkin Patch Polly out for a stroll together, holding hands and enjoying all their favorite Autumn coloursPumpkin-walkThe weather is beautiful and sunny… It’s certainly not raining on my parade!DSCN4887There was a thick spread of mist earlier on but it’s clearing up nicely now.

Shelley the Snail has been enjoying a few excursions while everything is still slightly damp and squelchy on the grassy verges…ShelleyRiver…and the River Severn is serene and swan filled in the early morning, before the canoe and narrow boat owners and the pleasure boat pleasure seekers are up and about. DSCN4890Oh dear, I think the swans think that I’ve brought some edible treats for them to nibble on, but I’m sadly empty handed apart from my camera and my house key – neither of which is of any use to a peckish swan! I’m sure there’s plenty of fish and river weeds in there to keep them going though. They all look pretty well fed to me.

So does Spencer the Spider for that matter. It appears that he’s moved out of my shed and has been busy renovating his new holiday home, situated in a highly desirable corner of the railings and boasting magnificent riverside views. Now there’s a piece of prime real estate if ever I saw it, but Spencer, you know you’re welcome to move back into my shed as soon as the winter weather gets too much for you… 820SpencerDiglis… and what a lovely web you’ve spun! It’s the perfect spot for catching a flying bug feast for your breakfast. Now I’m off over the bridge to the other side of the river and through the fields in search of a feast of my own.

It’s not long until I’ve tracked down a big bunch of blackberries. A few handfuls of those will go down a treat and give me a mini sugar rush to get me all the way back home again!DSCN4901Now my batteries are recharged after a well earned sit down on a well placed bench and a good munch supplied by the brambles. It’s time to move along, and, oh, hello! it’s the Pumpkin Patch People again. They get around faster than you would think with those tiny little legs of theirs!PumpkimsWe have a polite chat about the weather and our plans for Halloween. Then I can’t help noticing that the pickings are looking very luscious and abundant this year so I’ve made a note to myself to come back again very soon to gather some of these rose hips, and haws to make some Hedgerow Jelly with (perfect to add to the elderberries from my garden).

These sloes will be just the job for making a big batch of sloe gin, in plenty of time for Christmas, and the remaining blackberries, well, they never seem to make it home, they’re just too delicious as they are and usually get eaten on the way, but if I do find a big glut of them they’re most likely to find their way into an apple and blackberry pie.

With nature’s bounty being so generous this year I didn’t think it would be long until I bumped into Cyril the Squirrel, having a little forage around for his larder. That’s a mighty fine collection you’ve got there my lad!CyrilBenchThose shiny, fresh new conkers are a prize worth foraging for and some tasty pine nuts too. It’s Cyril’s lucky day! I’m tempted to stop and have a conker fight but I don’t have any spare shoe laces with me. Maybe next time! I’ve got another mile to go before I get back home so I wave goodbye and head off back across the river again.

So much for occasional solitude, but it’s been rather nice to bump into so many of my woolly friends instead 😉

I have to admit it’s been no great surprise to see them all down here enjoying themselves in their own particular ways, after all who would want to stay indoors on such a gorgeous day as this?


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The Adventures of a Pampered Pooch

Hi guys! It’s the weekend again and I’ve been working flat out to fine tune my new pattern, Pandora the Poodle. She’s the poshest pooch you could ever hope to meet and here she is with two of her high-faluting canine pals, Porscha and Paloma.

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If you can keep Pandora in the style to which she is accustomed then she’d just LOVE to come and live with you (and so would I for that matter!). She’ll sit for ages tucked up in your Prada tote as you stop by at Tiffany’s – you did promise her a diamond collar, didn’t you?

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Shopping in Bond street is her favorite pastime, now will it be the pink outfit or the blue today? Oh the decisions a pampered poodle has to make!820pooch2

A little dash around Harrods is always sure to make her tail wag and if you take her for lunch at the Dorchester she absolutely pinky promises to be on her best behaviour. Cucumber sandwiches, fancy cupcakes and a pot of tea? Yum! She’s licking her lips already.

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Now there’s just enough time left for a visit to Vidal Sassoon on South Molton Street to get those poodle puffs into perfect tip top shape.

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You look lovely Pandora. And what a lot of shopping you have!

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If only my weekend was going to be half as fancy!! In fact mine’s going to be pretty good but I don’t think it’s going to be Pandora’s kind of thing. We’re roughing it again at another festival. Mud, cider and less than immaculate port-a-loos await us! Pandora was invited but she just shuddered in horror. She’s already booked herself in for a few days at the local five star kennels!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend, whether it’s a posh one, a roughing it one or something in between 🙂


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It’s Getting Chillier!

I know it’s sad to say it, but even though it’s only August, I can feel the weather starting to get colder. Though anything can still happen this chillier weather is making me think of the autumn. It will soon be back to school/college/uni for my boys and then Harvest Festivals and Halloween. In light of that I have started to think of some new patterns for this years holiday season and thought a good way to see what I’m missing from my Autumn/Fall collection would be to showcase the ones I already have.

So here’s a little round up of my current creations.

Frankie and Draco just love Halloween. It’s the only time of the year where they feel like they really fit in and they don’t even have to worry about a fancy dress outfit!DSCN0515

Morgana  and her faithful familiar Soots will be quite happy to bring along a specially concocted witches brew to spice up your Halloween party. But don’t forget to invite Merlin and Hoots as well. He doesn’t like to be left out and a grumpy wizard is not to be trifled with!

Then of course there is the sweet little Pumpkin Patch People. They’re very busy at the moment nurturing all the pumpkins in their garden ready for carving and decorating. They love pumpkins so much that they’ve even grown to resemble their favorite vegetable.pump2They make a wicked pumpkin soup and they even tell you how if you want to check it out here.DSCN1417So, even though there’s still a good chance of the Summer re-emerging yet, if it doesn’t I will console myself with looking forward to all the cosy loveliness and autumn/winter holiday season celebrations to come. I’m going to start by beginning some new Halloween inspired patterns to add to the collection. I’m thinking that the spiders are a good start.DSCN4330 They’re going to be having a new photo shoot when I can get my hands on a big pumpkin.

But what next? Is there anything in particular that you would like to be crocheting this Fall? Let me know and I’ll see what I can do 🙂 In the meantime, and just because I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to the memory of our quite uncharacteristic summer of sunshine and blistering heat, I’ve asked Merlin to make me a spell to  hold the rainy weather off a bit longer.WizzLooking out of my studio window today it seems like it could do either at the moment or maybe a bit of both. I have one more Summer festival by the sea to go to in a few weekends time. I’d love for it not to rain on our parade then! … I’m sure Merlin’s got it covered!