Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Hundreds of Hexies

Woohoo! It took a little while but I have at last finished the first batch of hexies! At this stage I thought they were the only batch of hexies I’d need – however there was a change of plan somewhere along the line but I’ll tell you more about that later…

Next came the happy task of joining them all together.

I love the colours and had a great deal of fun playing around with their placement. There is so much satisfaction in seeing all those individual elements coming together to create one flat smooth, neatly grafted whole.

Work has been ticking along with this blanket on and off. I’ve been hooking up a hexie or two or joining long and short rows whenever possible.

Rubick is growing fast, almost as fast as the blanket, and is as lively and curious as ever. He still loves sitting on my WIPs any chance he gets, but then I never knew a cat that didn’t!

All those loose ends and oodles of soft blanketty goodness are too much for a fun loving, comfort seeking kitty to resist.

When I do get a cat free moment I’ve steadily crocheted, darned and snipped my way along, squeezing in what I can between my amigurumi designing, taking a row or two to join up wherever I go. There’s been little stacks of hexies in the bedroom, in the studio, on the sofa and even in the car.

Mojo is slowly getting used to having Rubick around. Not so much hissing at each other anymore…

…though there’s a bit of a disgruntled look going on here in the background! Maybe Mojo isn’t quite prepared to make a best buddy of the interloper yet.

I had planned on making a pretty border to round the blanket off nicely but in the end I decided to repurpose it into a covering for the back of my chair. This has to be the easiest bit of upholstery I’ve ever done as all that was required was some firm tucking in of the blanket edges into the creases of the chair and Hey Presto! Just like magic, my chair has had a whole new makeover and looks like a million dollars. Well, maybe half a million, as it is actually only half finished right now.

It’s worked a treat and is a very snug fit. So there was me thinking my hexie project was nearly over when in fact I’m now going to need to make a second piece to cover the seat pad. Good job the daisies are such a pleasure to make. I didn’t waste much time on getting started on the second leg of hexie heaven.

A very long car journey from Worcester to Luton, accompanying my oldest son to his new digs and new job as a graphic designer (woohoo – very proud of him of course!) gave me a great opportunity to get making another batch of beauties.

Sunshine and showers were the order of the day. And what a long day it was.

Sunbeams all morning and a lap full of colour would put a smile on anyones face.

But even a turn in the weather on the way back home may have dampened the scenery but not the spirit.

I was chuffed to bits to get all of my second set of hexies completed and the ends darned in as well. With just enough time left to spend finishing my Caron Cake scarf.

All it needs now are some tassels attached to either end and I have another finished project under my belt (or rather, round my neck).

That was certainly a most mammoth, butt numbing, car journey and I felt really glad to get back home and stretch my legs again. The rain had set in well and truly by now but grey skies are not such a calamity when I have this gorgeously cosy thing going on in the studio.

The cats know it’s the best spot in the house and I have to agree. This really is my happy place and the word blessed doesn’t even begin to sum up how lucky I feel.

I shall continue to combat the rainy day blues by crocheting rainbows. I’m slowly working on yarn bombing every spare square foot of my favorite corner of the earth. Watch out Rubick… you might be next! Wouldn’t he look cute in a little patchwork jumper and a hat?!


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Daisy Chain Holiday Hexies

Thanks to the welcome glut of bank holidays over recent weekends I’ve been able to make lots of progress with my latest blanket.

The carefully stacked hexi kebabs were getting longer and longer…

…until at last I had a basketful, all ready and waiting to be joined together in holy crochet matrimony.

Mojo got involved in helping me decide which order to join the hexies in. I think this blanket is going to prove as popular with the cats as all my other crochet blankets have been!

We eventually settled for this random distribution of colours, taking care that no two hexies of the same colour would end up next to each.

After spending so long on the decision making, I deemed it wise to invest a little more time skewering each strip of hexies onto separate, numbered knitting needles. I had a pretty strong hunch that if I didn’t my beautiful layout would soon be ruined by a playful cat. All those mouselike yarn tails would surely be too much to resist!

Row by row I threaded them onto to knitting needles labelled from one to twenty.

All the fun of joining the short sides of each hexi began with new kitten, Rubick, looking on curiously.

What a lot of hard work he makes of any attempt to crochet! Pouncing on yarn tails while inadvertently digging ten tiny claws into legs, arms and stomach is one of his very favorite pastimes. Ouch!

I sought refuge from such capers by crocheting in my cat-free car whenever possible over both of the bank holiday weekends.

A trip to Malvern amid classic April showers over Easter weekend was the first such break from kitten caring since he had arrived with us days before. I left my middle son and his girlfriend in charge of keeping an eye on him and enjoyed a crochet filled car journey followed by a peaceful stroll around the town centre.

Back at home and time to settle down on the sofa with an Easter egg and a cup of tea. With all the hexagons finally joined into strips, I now had a zillion ends to darn in so was going to need the sugar rush to keep me going!

Middle son and girlfriend had done a splendid job of wearing out the kitten with various fun and games, so the peace continued all afternoon as zonked out Rubick snoozed contentedly under the sofa.

Mojo was glad of the quiet afforded to us by Rubick’s epic nap too. Having a baby fur-brother suddenly invade his house has been somewhat of a test for him but he seems to be taking it a little better as each day goes by, while Pogo and Minnie are still keeping their distance whenever possible!

Slowly but surely I darned in the ends and the strips begin to look very neat and dapper.

The following weekend we took a trip up to Lancashire to visit hubby’s mum. The long car journey gave me plenty of time to pick up where I left off after the Easter break. Even traffic jams are sources of joy (though sadly not for hubby who’s driving) as the longer I’m in the car the more crochet I’m getting done.

See the smug smile on the cactus’ face? She knows exactly how I feel!

The traffic eventually cleared  and our speed picked up to hubby’s satisfaction. After more than two hours in the car most of the yarn ends were sewn in and neatly trimmed, leaving just those at the ends which are going to be used to join the half hexagons that I’ve yet to make, to fill in those half hexagon shaped dents that you get at the end of each row.

To make sure all the rows stay in the correct order I used a big stitch holder, so they can’t get muddled up.

The sun shone wonderfully on us as we reached our destination. A bit of spring sunshine crochet al fresco was just the tonic after being cramped up in a muggy car surrounded by unappealing grey tarmac and petrol fumes.

Due to an over-abundance of paving (hopefully being replaced with something greener this year) my garden at home looks more like a car park than a recreational park so I avail myself of a spot on the luscious lawn of mum-in-law’s garden and sit back to admire the flowers, both crocheted and real life.

Creaky knees being what they are there is only so much time they can handle being crossed legged on the lawn though but, hey – that’s what garden chairs are for, after all.

I happily followed the sun around all day, from one chair to another, chatting, sewing, crocheting, eating, and drinking tea until it was time for the journey back home.

It had been a lovely day spent doing all my favorite things and with plenty of light still left in the late spring evening I couldn’t wait to begin joining the strips together on the journey home.

I’m really happy with the way it’s turning out.

All the time I had to spend away from Rubick was certainly put to best use getting ahead with the blanket as much as possible, but I missed his crazy antics and was more than happy to have my progress slowed again when I got home. I think he’s was pleased to see me, and half of the new blanket, too!


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Chasing the Sunshine

It’s been a real pleasure to see such a profusion of  bright colours on my riverwalk in recent weeks.

When the sun shines I get myself up and out of the house for a 4 mile round trip as often as I can be bothered. It’s rather tempting to just sit working in my pyjamas during the winter and early spring months but not really all that good for morale or the waistline in the long term!

Dodging the rain and chasing the rays is still a main preoccupation as the former is abundant and the latter is still relatively scarce, though getting better by the day. At least for now!

Nature switching between the relative extremes our weather throws at us always makes me appreciate the good days more, especially when they’re hemmed in on all sides by the bad ones. Life wouldn’t be nearly so vital or exciting without the contrasts.

There are flashes of colour everywhere I look. In an ancient stone wall by the cathedral…

…or the more industrial canalside setting.

All guaranteed to send me back to my studio with a bigger smile than when I left and much more energy and inspiration with which to pick up my hook again.

Back at home I’m still crocheting a woolly garden for one of my blanket projects and the number of flowers has grown steadily, just as they have outside in the real world.

I’ve only managed to scribble up the flower notes so far but I’m planning on taking a bunch of photos of how to crochet the whole hexi motif next.

My hexis are coming along nicely. I’ve arranged them in graded colours so I can see what I’m missing from the overall colour balance.

They make a super cat mattress.

But then so does a lap. My kitties are never short of a bit of comfort and I’m never short of the joy they bring. It’s a win win situation for us all!

The bright blanket I began a few weeks ago is undergoing a surprise metamorphosis into a cushion for my cat crochet chair. As I’m making the hexis into a blanket I though another cushion might be more useful instead.

One of my mandalas is also having a change of use and is going to be made into a round cushion instead of a covering for a footstool as I misjudged the shaping of the sides and it came out more flat than tubular! I’m still not sure how that happened, but it seems that double and treble crochets don’t shape up in a similar way to the single crochets I mostly use for my amigurumi.

So it’s back to the drawing board for a fancy looking footstool cover but onwards and outwards – making a few more rounds to finish the cushions.

I’m continuing to work on both mandalas, on and off. More off than on lately as the rounds take longer to complete as they get bigger (stating the obvious, I know!), so I’m just getting one round done every now and again, in between other projects.

It’s been gorgeous to see a flash or two of sunshine through the studio window…

…even if most of the light is soaked up by a feline solar ray sponge before it can reach me.

One thing’s for sure – my window needs a jolly good clean. There’s nothing like a blast of low slanting spring sunshine for showing up the grime of winter!

A favorite part of this time of year for me is when the clocks go forwards and the evenings suddenly become lighter for longer, meaning that evening walks become a frequent fixture when hubby gets back from work.

It really is a lovely way to round off the day and my legs and back are mostly grateful for a good stretch after hours of crocheting, or hunching over a keyboard.

Here’s a gorgeous little scene from one of this week’s crepuscular rambles. Such a pretty sight and plenty more to come as the evenings continue to lengthen out.

I still like the cosy after dark hours, but they feel even nicer after an evening stroll. I’ve got lots of ends to darn in on the mandalas…

…and the daisy hexagons too so there’s plenty of end-of-the day, brainfog-friendly sort of work to keep me busy for a while yet .

I’ve actually come to quite enjoy darning in ends as my crochet obsession deepens. A bit of sewing and snipping keeps my hands happily engaged while my mind can wander off, or get itself involved in whats on the TV, or allow my ears to fully engage with the programmes on Radio 4. No need to deliberate for ages about colour combinations or to twist my grey matter into knots counting rows and stitches. Pure crafty relaxation!

I hope you’ve got plenty of that sort of thing lined up for yourselves over the weekend. I’m certainly planning on getting my fair share, and possibly a bit more!


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Craving Colour

I don’t know what it’s been like in your part of the world recently but here in England it has been grey and damp and dark and damp and drizzly and damp and dour and dismal and – did I mention damp at all? Well, I think you get the picture and I’m so ready for a bit of sunshine! All this gloomy weather and grey skies has had me reaching for my yarn baskets and picking out the brightest colours I could find, then wrapping up against the cold in my vibrant Mexican blanket for some colour therapy crochet.

horace-hand

In my thirst for a burst of eye dazzlement I made a pair of Hairy Horaces in the most uplifting summery sky blue and sunny yellow shades of furry yarn that I could get my hands on.

horaces-in-the-making

They turned out as cheery looking as I’d hoped. I love these cuddly fellas with their 70’s, jumpsuited disco vibe. If they don’t brighten the place up then nothing will!

820horace-3

I managed to finish the pattern and upload it into my Etsy shop  and felt all the better for it.  It’s always good to cross another thing off the to-do list.

(If you need a dose of Horace’s flamboyant fabulousness you can find his pattern here).

820two-horace2

The latest two don’t quite capture the giddy fluorescent heights of the original horace with his dayglo yellow fur, but it’s actually quite nice to be able to look at them without needing a pair of sunglasses!

horace-three

I’ve used King Cole Moments yarn for all of my Hairy Horaces. If you’re at all nervous about using eyelash type yarns I would recommend starting out by playing around with a ball of this stuff. I’ve used lots of different brands and weights of novelty yarns over the last few years and this one is silky smooth and much easier than most to crochet with as it doesn’t snag up too easily. There’s enough filament to make an impressive amount of fluff but not too much that it obscures the central yarn cord as you crochet – which can make it difficult to see the individual stitches.

kingh-cole-moments-yarn

I’ve treated myself to s few more zingy shades as it’s pretty inexpensive too. One ball makes one monster so I could have a rainbow of them soon!

Still on the theme of summer brights, I bought this gorgeous paisley cushion on an impulse the other day  – all part of my colour craving symptoms I think.

monster-medley

Maybe it was difficult to resist because it matched my monsters so well and those gorgeous colours were already swimming around in my head.  Anyway I was so enamoured with the pinks and purples and the accents of supernova bright yellows and oranges in my new cushion that I ended up pulling all the matching balls of yarn off my shelves and began cooking up an idea to create some woolly furnishings to go with it.

bright-yarn

I’ve had it in my mind to cover a boring beige footstool that I acquired a while ago. Crochet was the obvious medium for me to do this in. I did think about sewing one as I have a stash of pretty fabrics but somehow whenever it comes down to a straight fight between sewing and crochet the crochet always wins out these days.

mini-mandala

This sort of round and round in circles thing is very moreish, so I ignored the chores and carried on for a little while longer.

footstool-cover

This was closely followed later that evening (when all chores were eventually done – do you see my halo?) by the beginnings of a lap blanket to match the beginnings of the footstool cover.

mini-stripey-blanket-begins

I’m just improvising stitches as I go. It’s quite exciting to see what unfolds and the beautiful thing about crocheting (as opposed to knitting) is that if I don’t like a particular combination it’s so, so easy to frog backwards with only the one live stitch to worry about at any one time.

paisley-cushion

An evenings work resulted in a nice chunk of blanket.

crochet-furnishings

Minnie likes it very well so far…

mini-blanket

minnie-snooze

… and so do the Horaces.

monster-snuggles

This swatch of blanket is the perfect size for the monsters right now but my mission is to make it the perfect size for me so that my crochet corner is a heart lifting sanctuary of warm and squishy crochet delightfulness.

my-crochet-corner

I’ve made a good start anyway, and am finding myself looking forward to each long dark cosy evening so I can let the yarn shine out and get a few more rows and rounds done.

mandala-beginnings

It’s all  going to be rather jazzy by the time I’ve finished.

monster-playtime

And really, who needs actual sunshine when you’ve got all this yarny joy around to cheer the place up?!


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Random Project Round Up

I hope you all had a fab Christmas holidays and have made some New Year resolutions which are going to be fun to keep.

I’m determined not to get in a muddle by having too many crochet projects on the go at any one time this year. I’m pretty good at starting things but finishing them off… well, that’s been a whole different thing. This is fine up to a point, but the main problem is the amount of storage space that unfinished bundles of yarn and supplies, heads, limbs, torsos and granny squares take up in various baskets and boxes all around the house. So I put my mind and all my spare time during November and some of December to getting these projects finished off, once and for all.

This is a sweet little fox I began making from Zoomigurumi 2 for my brothers birthday in November 2015, but this poor fella sat languishing for many months when I ran out of yarn with only one ear to go and with not enough days left to order more yarn and get him to his destination on time. So he ended up being a year late to the birthday party. But it was still a birthday party and better to turn up late than never!

foxy

My brother is very musical and wasted no time giving Foxy his first guitar lesson after his safe arrival in Scotland.

starstruck-foxy

Foxy is now totally star struck and is rumoured to be applying for Britain’s Got Talent 2017.

Back in the summer I began a skull shawl for my gothic-loving sister-in-law’s birthday. You can find this fabulous pattern over at Kungen et Majkis Blog where it is written out in both Swedish and English and also comes with great photos to help you on your way.

minnie-not-sharing

This was a little outside of my comfort zone as it’s a world away from the easy peasy repetitive rounds of amigurumi. May I suggest that if this is your first time at attempting something like this you omit the wine altogether, at least until you get the pattern very established! I had to frog most of the second set of skull repeats (about ten rows) due to slight over imbibement. Well, in my defense it was a lovely sunny Friday evening and a glass or two of cool white wine seemed like such a good idea at the time…

friday-crochet

Back on track and a bunch of summer evenings were spent chasing patches of sunlight around the garden and crocheting a few more rows each day.

sunny-bench

And then I got stuck as I ran out of yarn again! It was almost finished here way back in June, but then got shelved for a while until I eventually crocheted a plain black bobble fringe onto it in early November as part of my WIP elimination drive. However, in my excitement to post it to my sis-in-law in time for her big day I forgot to take a photo of that bit.

skulls

I hooked up a sloth for a friend’s Christmas present. With all good intentions I began this project in September but only got as far as his head which has been staring very forlornly at me from a shelf for far too long. I spent a weekend in mid November making him whole and with my first Christmas present all done began to feel a little more on top of things.

slocombe

I finished testing this gorgeous Red Panda pattern by Little Muggles.

red-panda

Red panda and Oswald the Owl are going to be bookmates in Zoomigurumi 6. Keep an eye out over on AmigurumiPatterns.net for more info on the release date and details of the other stars of the show.

Mojo kept me warm while I got started. Lap time gets so much more important as the weather chills down.

proofreading

Pogo also kept me company and got quite heavily involved as I neared completion of all the separate parts.

proofread-panda

There was a  little bit of friendly wrestling with the head.

red-panda-head2

But after carefully prizing it away from those loving jaws (I’m sure he was only trying to give it a kiss rather than rip it to shreds!) Red Panda turned out rather well.

red-panda4

Pogo took another well earned nap after all that excitement. Glad to see him appreciating the Spring Dots blanket that was also completed last month.

My very own Oswald the Owl underwent his final few remakes to ensure all was as near perfect as possible with the pattern before it was sent off for it’s final proofreading sessions and a version of Oswald himself was posted to the publishers.

twoowls

And so another line was drawn under another book submission.

Do you remember the Monster competition a month or so back? A big thanks to those of you who voted. It was great to see so many people getting involved. Though none of my monsters made the top three (not too surprising as there were over 420 design submitted in the end!) I am really thrilled to tell you that Jeepers and Creepers are going to be one of the fifteen monster designs featured in a new book to be released around August 2017.

creepy-critters

You may recall that it’s this pair of scamps that are responsible for rolling up those dust bunnies you find under the bed or lurking behind the sofa. I’m looking forward to making these two in a range of different complementary colour pairings during the pattern testing phase.

I still have to do a proper write up, which means translating my scrawls into a nice neat manuscript but that’s a loose end that’s still got to be dealt with and will be a priority this January. A bonus of having the competition to work towards was that some of the monsters I’d been doodling over the last year finally got to make it off the page. Now I have a clutch of new beasties all designed and crocheted up. It’s just a case of writing up the PDFs for those as well. Another nice little job for the new year.

The latter part of 2016 also saw me finish off my Autumn berries poncho. A lovely mix of raspberry pinks and blackberry purples. You can see the poncho’s sweet beginnings here. You’ll notice the date of that blog post is well over a year ago so this was long overdue for it’s finishing touches.

poncho-schematic

I’m glad I cracked on and got this finished especially as the weather has turned so cold. It’s perfect for wearing around the house and as the cold snap looks set to continue for a while I’m going to be mighty pleased with my gift from me to me!

ponch-and-cat-and-apple

Lovely scrummy,snugly, squishy-squashy, soft as a cloud cosiness.

poncho

To think the humble granny square could look so pretty.

There is still a large basket of amigurumi body parts left over, though I fear some of these projects may have lost their way for good. Minnie seems to like them though so I’ll keep them around for a while longer yet. You never know when inspiration might strike and some of those bits and pieces may someday be transformed into something wonderful. One basket of oddments is within the realms of what my storage situation can deal with, especially if it doubles up as a cat bed.

minnie-in-the-amigurumi

But before I get carried away thinking about how to turn this basket of random shapes into new characters I have several brand new designs (mainly monsters and a princess) and a few older ones (the Trapeze Mice and Dancing Dogs, as well as a troop of carol singers that missed the Christmas deadline) to get listed on Etsy etc. The older ones have all been featured in books and magazines and now it’s time to make them available as single purchase patterns.

With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work I’m aiming to get the remainder of the backlog of new designs finished and listed by the end of February. Then I really will feel like I’ve had a creative spring clean ready for some new ideas for Easter and beyond. So much to look forward to this year. Let the fun begin!

Happy 2017 everyone!

 


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Summer Fun

Recently I’ve been finding myself craving after hot bright summery colours. Probably due to the almost continual rain and grey skies emanating from above. In a fit of summery over-confidence I recently bought a duvet cover for my outdoor day bed in a multitude of jazzy colours – citrus hues, turquoises and hot pinks , and what a fabulous thing it was to brighten up the yard! I bought a double sized cover to fit a double sized mattress topper but failed to take into account how much larger a duvet is than the mattress it sits upon so I ended up having to cut it down quite a lot and sew up one of the edges. It’s been a while since I dusted off my faithful old Huskystar sewing machine but I soon got the hang of it again.

sewing

Aren’t those colours just so scrummy?

I even had enough off cuts of fabric left to make a few matching cushion covers. As sewing is not my strongest craft, in terms of anything technical, I aimed to make the design as simple as possible and sewed a straightforward envelope back to slip the cushions in and out of come laundry time.

day-bed

The cushions are now a perfect match for the two pillowcases that came with the duvet set, I now have a very comfy lounging area for indulging in my garden crochet time.

granny-squares

Now it was just a matter of settling in a couple of baskets of yarn along with various crochet projects (and at least one cat).

sunny-day-bed

The addition of a little sunshine is always welcome…

jumping-up

…as is a blanket to finish (so nearly, nearly there at last!)

mojo-and-the-blanket

I’ll finish it when Mojo moves.

mojo-in-the-blanket

No matter, he can have his woolly nest,  I should be working on the chameleon anyway.

shy-chameleon

This is my first attempt, but his face and jaw were a bit heavy. In fact, some insensitive person asked him ‘why the long face?’ which just made him feel very self conscious and sent him scuttling for refuge amongst the yarn.

shy-guy

It’s wasn’t long until the duvet colours had inspired a change of striping on my original chameleon design. I started out with blues and greens but really liked the additional yellows, oranges and magentas of my sewing project and thought they would be a perfect addition to add a bit of spark.

bright-start

The hot bright colours were a joy to work with and as the sun squeaked out of a cloudy gap, I felt like we were experiencing a taste of a tropical Rio summer – just right for the start of the 2016 Olympics.

two-cam

True to the camouflaging nature of chameleons, subsequent incarnations were morphing into something much more in harmony with their surroundings. Chameleon number two also had a cuter, shorter face and things felt like they were coming together just perfectly.

long-tail

I ended up making a few more with different coloured spines. I just love the colour tweaking elements of pattern designing. Re-making each one with a slightly different twist sure helps to brighten up the whole process.

3-chams

I have a few more photos to take this afternoon (…please don’t rain!), then I’ll be uploading the pattern into my online shops, and then I’ll be finished with another WIP. I should have lots more fancy chameleon photos to show you in the next post or two. I hope you’ll be more impressed than Mojo appears to be. He loves my blankets but distrusts all my amigurumi. I guess he’s just a jealous guy when it comes to other critters.

mojo-and-the-Chameleon

My Spring Circles blankets and cushions are inching towards completion. I have just a few more feet of the bobble border to finish on the cushions. Then they will match the blanket a treat and my bed will be a crochet haven. I’m planning on taking them down to the river for a photoshoot as my garden is a bit too small with lots of crabby, grubby edges, to do such a large project justice. Sounds like a good excuse for a picnic this weekend anyhow (…please don’t rain!)

old-and-new-crochet

It was quite satisfying to see how my latest crochet cushions complement my very first granny square blanket – started this time four years ago during the 2012 London Olympics – oh my, how time flies.

bobble-edge-cushions

So far the bobble trim is crocheted all around the Spring Circles blanket and onto two of the three cushions. I added some extra stuffing to the cushions as well. There’s nothing worse that a saggy pillow that doesn’t stand firm and show off all that lovely stitching and finishing!

So, lots to do, including the hare’s head trophy, an owl pattern for a new Zoomigurumi book and the princess pattern that keeps on getting sidelined, some proofreading and my brand new polka dots blanket, which started out like this…

polka-dots

…and  is now looking more like this…

blanket-strips

I think this last one could be the perfect project for keeping hands busy while I watch this year’s Olympic Games during my tired out evening slumps. Right, now let’s get some medals, or rather, let’s watch some other people get some medals. Personally I’m too obsessed with my crochet to have a go myself.

I’m quite happy to loll about on the day bed and watch the action from my ipad while hooking up a round or two more of whatever it is that comes to hand.

chameleon-and-flowers

(Oh, and please don’t rain…did I mention that before…)


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Life is Fruitful

granny-stripe

It’s harvest time again over in my part of the world. Not that I live on a farm or anything but I try to get my hands on a bit of freshly picked produce when I can.

I’ve always loved this time of year with it’s crisp sharp air and bursts of slanted sunshine so I’ve been feeling very satisfied to have found some quality time to enjoy the last snippets of pleasingly mild weather before the big lock down of November, December and January. There have been several jaunts across the fields to collect my favourite blackberries, so abundant, so juicy and so free!

blackberries

I love making the effort to gather these wild berries every year and of course they taste much better than shop bought ones. Well worth the scratches and stained hands that are the inevitable result of hedgerow foraging.

Autumn-Berries

And there is always the bonus of  picking the odd bunch of pretty weeds to grace a rustic corner of a windowsill somewhere. Clover and buttercups mainly, with a few stems of wild grasses thrown in for good measure. Just as pretty as any shop bought flowers if you can cultivate an appreciation for their less cultivated nature.

Wild-flowers

My recently acquired bargain-bin Emma Bridgewater wellies are a bit late for this years festival season but perfect for negotiating muddy potholes and smelly cow pats – the inevitable bedfellows of any serious walk in the country!

Autumn1s

Home from the fields and back into the urban jungle the harvest continues in my modest little garden. there’s no room for an allotment area or anything even close to it but I have had some very gratifying success with my second-year crop of apples. The five that grew last season have been succeeded by closer to 50 this time.

apples-line

They’re quite small and not up to the usual supermarket beauty parade standards but that only makes me love them more! I probably need to do some pruning to maximise next year’s crop, but I’m not sure how so I will be off scouring the internet to look that one up. I don’t have the greenest fingers in the land, but hopefully this little sapling will get the TLC it deserves and not end up consigned to a silent disappearance among the more dominant foliage in the borders – the sort of foliage that has proved it’s survival credentials by actually thriving under my not so vigilant or expert care -or the garden Rambo’s as we like to call them.

apples

Over the years a fig tree, clematis, blueberry bush and some Livingstone Daisies have all mysteriously disappeared from this very spot while I wasn’t looking. Seems like the apple tree might be bucking the trend!

Now the grapes are a different matter entirely. There’s absolutely no stopping them, they’re evidently much more Rambo than Shrinking Violet, and we have fruit hanging from all three walls of my courtyard this year. The vine continues to pour down its bounty on us just outside the back door and is now beginning to display the annual spectacle of autumnal patterns and colours.

agrapes

It’s been nice enough on some days to sit at the garden table and get a bit of hooky in, and with plenty of goodies to keep nature’s own sugar rush topped up I’m a happy bunny!

autumn

It is getting markedly chillier though. But that’s good because the lowering temperatures are inspiring me to push on faster with my new autumn berries inspired poncho.

Autumn3s

Lots of squares have been leaping off the hook during the evenings this past week. I have a full compliment now just awaiting the yarn end darning marathon. Not surprisingly, I didn’t manage to hold fast to my resolution to darn each square as I go. Once I get that hook in my hand I’m an unstoppable crochet machine and just find myself dashing on to the next square as soon as the previous one is finished and tossed into the basket.

Here are a few of the wiggly wormy culprits, waiting patiently in a quiet corner of the lounge, ready for my next spare batch of ten or twenty minutes. Slowly does it, I’ll get there in the end!

Autumn2s

Still, there are worse jobs than sewing in a million ends while enjoying the autumn air and a cake or two with a big pot of tea – a more unhealthy form of sugar rush here, but what the heck. Initially I thought the ghost was looking a bit shocked about the amount of calories on my plate but in retrospect it’s probably because I stuck knitting needles in his eyes.

outside

I’ve also been weaving in at the kitchen table while hubby cooks something delicious on the other side of the room.

aponcho

…Pogo likes to join in when he can…

pogo

Or I’ve been sitting on a squishy sofa with warm feet in fluffy slippers…

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…as a sleepy Mojo gets on with his own type of cosy in the corner. If you can’t wear fluffy slippers then tucking your paws into a fluffy blanket will have to do!

slippers2

This really is the sort of job you can do anywhere, and in little bite size pieces too. I’ve packed a few squares, a tapestry needle and a pair of scissors in my handbag and have so far darned in some ends on the bus, in the car, waiting for a dental appointment and even in the queue at the post office! Though I try to be neat and tidy I think I may have left a trail of yarn ends most places I’ve been in recent days. If anyone wanted to track me down they could probably follow a forensic trail of wool, like Hansel and Gretel’s bread crumbs, right back to my front door. Just as well I’m too busy crocheting to get up to no good. The litter squad might be on my case though!

All that intermittent darning is paying off and I’m around two thirds done with it all now.

berry-squares2

berry

I made some notes for my poncho earlier on so I would know how many squares to make but also to remind myself of the yarn type, weight and shade and the hook size I used. I find it’s all too easy to forget those details after the briefest of time lapses if I don’t scribble it down as I go along.

ponco-map

So far things are adhering nicely to my intended plan and one half of the poncho is ready to be joined. After the monotony of dealing with stray yarn ends, making the finished squares into a useful piece of fabric is always a thrill.

berry-squares3

I can’t wait to be wearing my new blackberry and raspberry poncho. It’s going to be a really warm and toasty addition to my winter wardrobe and will remind me of the autumn sun. I’m going to have many hours of happy hooky, cocooned in there over the next few months, especially as I frugally keep the heating off when it’s just me in the house during the day. I’d better be off then, those ends won’t weave themselves in, more’s the pity.

I’ll be back to share the fruits of my labour with you very soon!

granny-stripe