Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Very Berry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Citrus Twist

The summer sun has been doing it’s best to get the upper hand over the rain clouds this week. It seems a pretty evenly fought battle but temperatures have stayed high so even in the rain there’s been a more tropical feeling than is often experienced around these parts. Very fitting then that I find myself with a commission to finish this week that has all the warm reds, oranges and yellows with a nice dash of rainforest green thrown in for good measure to match the mood of the weather.

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I’ve had a very pleasant time making these fiery sunburst circles, sitting in the lounge in the early evenings watching various sunsets over the week – of which this one was one of the best.

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Loving how the sunset colours are echoed in my current work. Just like it always makes me that little bit extra happy when my nail varnish matches my crochet too. I don’t know why these small details please me so much, but they do!

I’m not naturally a citrus end of the spectrum kinda gal but I’ve really enjoyed working with these colours. That’s the pleasure of special commissions really. They make you jump outside of your normal comfort zone and open you up to trying something new. I especially like how the crisp white sets of all these juicy fruity tones.

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I think Mojo is pretty impressed with this colour combo too. He shows his approval by getting as close to them as possible in order to admire them better.

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And they’re very comfy too.

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While working on these squares I was reminded of my citrus wedge bags – the first projects I ever made by crocheting with clarn, (cloth yarn – see here for an earlier post about working with clarn and a few tips on how to make it). I made these bags several years ago and then packed them away, so tracking them down was a bit of a challenge. After a good root about in my various boxes of past projects I managed to find the orange one…

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I use this lime one to store toy stuffing in so it was closer to hand. This is the best photo I came up with here as Mojo sabotaged the event. Although this surely more accurately comes under the category of feline enhancement rather than true sabotage. Isn’t he beautiful?!

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Further inspired by the tutti frutti orange/lemon/lime theme I took a bit of time out and improvised me a quick and crafty little e-book holder ready for taking along on summer picnics, and for my festival date – (all booked up and paid for so gotta go now, whatever the weather!). We have a few more camping weekends lined up too, so my kindle will be invaluable. Love that it’s backlit so I can read in the tent without a torch.

And all my light up crochet hooks have arrived so I can crochet in the dark too!

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Very exciting! With the double joy of light up books and light up hooks there is now absolute zero chance of getting bored after the sun goes down. Obviously not so much of a problem at festivals but more of a re-assurance when we are roughing it under canvas in various remote parts of the British countryside.

So now I have a new found love of all things fruity and zesty. These colours are so summery.citrus

I’m glad to have re-discovered my cloth bag, it fits in a treat and I’m the proud to be the owner of a set of homemade bags for all holiday eventualities! (Check out my free pattern for the mini owl necklace purses here).

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Hopefully their radiance will act as a sunshine charm and I might even manage to get a tan this year. Our Welsh and Scottish camping holidays have traditionally involved battling high winds and torrential rain for the most part but I’m ever optimistic that for our next venture we’ll be living the dream, swimming in the sea, lolling on the beach and generally complaining about the infernal heat and accidental sunburn, drinking warm wine – or tea made with curdled milk – from a cool box that has managed to remain anything but cool and pointedly avoiding having to go inside the tent during daylight hours for fear of spontaneously combusting. What’s not to love, huh? It would certainly be a novel experience for us!

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Talking of holidays, though this is actually more of an emigration, I’m pleased to say that Orwell the third (I have the first and the second is in Belgium with his book publisher) has arrived safely in Boston, Massachusetts where he is starting his new life as the official mascot for the Boston Palm Oil Action Team. Great work going on there to raise awareness of palm oil issues and to help save the natural rainforest habitat of these beautiful creatures. So proud he’ll be doing his bit!

This is him just before his departure… complete with airmail ticket, pictures of his old home, a map of his new home, some snacks (in keeping with the general citrus theme of this post I feel compelled to point out the satsuma and the orange flavoured cup cake in the photo – his favorite nibbles!) and, of course, his passport. We can’t run the risk of him being turned away at customs!

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…and here he is, fresh out of the box at his new destination. I’m glad to see he’s arrived smiling and unruffled by his epic journey!

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If you’re local to Boston on Saturday 11th July there is a Palm Oil Awareness Day event going on there, organized by The Team. Check out the BPOAT Facebook page for more info. I’ve donated six free Orwell patterns for the Wheel of Fortune and there are other great prizes too. You’ll even get to meet Orwell in person!

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

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… she’s got that citrus twist going on too, these are definitely turning out to be this season’s big colours – in my world anyway!


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Toadstools and Fringes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Every basket should have one!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Gardening Versus Crochet

We’ve had a good dose of sunshine this weekend here in Worcester. It’s been lovely to be able to take some time out and just enjoy the garden for a few days. I began by tidying up a few of the pots and tubs in the back yard. Some of my pansies have survived the winter despite an obvious all out attack from the slugs and snails, leaving the odd patch of bare soil here and there.

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Now you never know with the English climate if this might actually be the only real sunshine we get all year. Then again, we’re just as likely to have a heatwave too but, just in case, I’m taking no chances and getting my quota of sunbeams while I can.

So this weekend I’ve practically lived in the garden. Not to say I haven’t been ‘working’ of course. I’ve alternated short bursts of gardening with much longer bursts of blanket making. Now that’s the kind of ratio of chores to crochet that I like! You can see a visual representation of this in the photo below. A very small bag of gardening tools is dwarfed by a very big basket of crochet. That’s called getting your priorities right!

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On Saturday I tidied up the sunny spot near the back door. Sweeping it clear of last years leaves and squashed up, shriveled grapes (technically raisins I suppose, though I didn’t fancy eating any!) and hunkered down here for a while, much to the disgruntlement of Tigger who prefers to think he owns this bit of bench whenever the sun comes out.

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Though as the day warms up I actually don’t mind a shady spot so I move on over…

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…and Tigger moves on in. I think he’s daring me to reclaim the space but you can see he’s getting quite old these days and I think he deserves a spot of sunbathing on a comfy blanket. He can stretch out in style now!

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In between the sweeping and the dead-heading good progress was made with my crochet, so I felt very inspired to do the same on Sunday – weather permitting. And permit it did. In fact it was even warmer than Saturday.

The colours in my blanket really look pretty in bright sunshine. I’m suddenly feeling really impatient to get it finished.

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On Sunday I moved up the garden, sweeping a path through yet more leaves and winter’s strewn debris. There were lots of twigs and flower pots everywhere as a result of a spate of strong winds a few weeks ago, but it was worth doing just to sit and admire my handiwork from a new vantage point. This bit of the garden gets a patch of sun into the evening so I’ll be spending some well earned down time at the end of most sunshiny days here, I hope, hooking away at a project or two as the year progresses.

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It’s not long until Tigger discovers the newest desirable residence in the garden! Let’s see if I can squeeze in there as well. I know he likes to sprawl a lot but I think there’s room for two of us.

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Looks like he’s preparing himself to tolerate my company…maybe. Or is that a look of love? It’s so hard to tell with Tigger sometimes.

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Tigger is closely followed by Mojo whose nose looks slightly out of joint by Tigger’s presence on the bench next to me.

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But he patiently waits until the coast is clear and then takes up position, just as the sun comes out again. And here we sit for a good long while, companionably listening to the cathedral bells coupled with the wood pigeons cooing and the seagulls squawking. Very pleasant indeed.

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As a result I have very nearly finished my Mexican inspired striped blanket. I have to join it in the middle either side of the last Granny Square stripe as I chose to work the piece in two halves to make it more portable for car journeys and general out-and-aboutings, of which there have been a few this Easter.

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Monday evening’s work was to join the two and then to decide – to darn or not to darn. You see initially I was thinking of some sort of tasseled border so I could escape my nemesis of hours spent with a tapestry needle. I infinitely prefer the hours spent with a crochet hook instead! But looking at it I figured the yarn ends were a bit sparse to make a decent fringe without adding in a lot more of them to the edges of the blanket.

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It was going to be less time consuming to weave them all in than it would be to cut and trim the rest of the yarn needed for the tassels.

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Besides the edges do look quite raw and a bit wobbly, despite my careful attempts at keeping everything as even as possible so I think the addition of a border of simple Granny Stripes will work wonders. That’s decided then.

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So as the sun begins to sink I make a good start on those pesky yarn tails. Kept extra warm by the return of Mojo who settles down on my lap for another long while.

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Hopefully I’ll be finishing this project off in dribs and drabs over the coming week. I intend to make the most of any more sunshine. It’s been a real pleasure to work in good light for a change. This blanket was started as a winter cheerer, an antidote to grey days spent in woolly jumpers, and dark evenings tucked up indoors, curtains drawn, lights down low and heating up high.

Here are the yarn tails I’ve dealt with so far, now I’ve just got the same amount to do on the other side and then on with the final border.

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I’m glad that on closer inspection in the harsh light of day there are not too many mistakes or miscounted stitches. Those that are there don’t notice much anyway when you look at it in all its glory. It even looks pretty neat on the back as most of the darned ends are at the edges. I can’t wait to show you the finished thing!

It’s getting chilly again as I head in and call it a day. The view west from my garden is gorgeous with the wispy clouds and gentle glow that heralds the end of another lovely evening.

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I feel very lucky to have such a pleasant little spot to spend my time in and the sunset behind the cathedral is the icing on the cake, even if I have to stand on tip toes and peek over the fence to actually see it!


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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.

SunshineBlanket

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!

Kebabs

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.

MexicanMedley

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

Fiesta

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

Cactus-Pincushion

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!

Patches-and-Stripes

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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Winter Blues? No Thanks!

Christmas is over, the New Year’s celebrations have been and gone with a pyrotechnic bang and, as so often happens at this time of year, I’m feeling in need of a pick me up. The wine consumption is very sensibly down to zero as part of my traditional New Year austerity measures, chocolate and cake are out of the picture until the extra few pounds of Christmas indulgence is banished from my waistline. With all that in mind, and with grey skies from one horizon to the next, this begs the question of how’s a girl supposed to cheer herself up through the long dark winter? Well, of course there’s always crochet and there’s always colour, so I’ve started a brand new Blues-Chaser blanket!

While searching for inspiration I started thinking where in the world would I really like to be right now if I could get away from all this drizzly, cold, grey English weather?  Mexico would be good – with it’s sunshine and super bright colour palettes that are guaranteed to put a person in a perky mood!  As a trip to sunnier climes is not currently a realistic option, a quick search for ‘Mexican Colours‘ on Pinterest seemed to be the next best thing. And even though I can’t hop on a plane and be there myself, I have to say that this was nearly as good therapy. I think you’ll agree when you see some of my favorite images. Got your shades ready? Prepare to be dazzled!

Mexican-ColoursAnd in case that’s not enough of a cheery blast for you here are some more sizzlingly gorgeous picks.820Mexican-Colours-2Then to the yarn stash for a big rummage around to see if I could match up that Fiesta feeling. This is going to be another thrifty blanket – also part of the New Year austerity measures mentioned above, so I really can’t buy in any more balls of wool for this one. Not that that should be any kind of problem as my long term addiction to popping into any and all yarn shops I happen to pass by has always necessitated at least one 50g purchase of something soft and luscious. I must surely have enough wool around for a hundred blankets by now! (New Year’s Resolution – no more buying yarn unless absolutely necessary. New Year’s conundrum – define ‘absolutely necessary’!)

After digging deep I eventually found these lurking around and they were just right for what I had in mind.Mexican-YarnI mentioned in an earlier post about my Daisy Blanket that I wanted to make something stripy this time. Oh boy, I loved doing these stripes. They’re a very relaxing and low concentration kind of endeavor. I made a slight variation on the granny stripe theme by adding in little blips of contrasting colour in between the larger stripes. I think the smaller points of colour really zazz the whole thing up. Very happy with this so far.820-Mex-StripesThen I got to thinking that it might be a bit samey after a while and that it might lose its punch a bit as the blanket grows bigger and bigger as there will be no solid blocks of colours to add impact. Lots of the images I found of Mexican textiles had plain stripes alternating with patterned stripes, which I really liked. My solution to the lack of variety was to put in a few rows of mini Granny Squares to shake things up a little.820-Mex-GranNow that the colours are sorted, the basic maths is calculated and a rough idea of a design is forming it’s time to pack up a basket with all the necessaries and get hooking!Mexican Blanket BasketThis is going to be fun. The colours make me smile just to look at them and should provide a nice fix to carry me through until the spring. Whatever the weather for the next few months the only winter ‘blues’ that are allowed around here are being crocheted into this comforting blanket.Mex-Blanket1Come rain, snow, hail, gale or just plain old sombre grey skies, I’ve got me a bright and happy place to dip in and out of as and when I need it!Mexican-RumpleAnd just in case you need another dose of Mexican colour therapy here are some pretty, eye popping pinatas. Ooh, those colours are so lush!Pinatas-1 Pinatas-2

Question: Who put the Sombre into Sombrero? Answer: No-one!


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2014 – My Year in Pictures

I’ve just been having a little trip down memory lane going through my old posts and it’s really brought home to me what a lovely way this is to store my highlights (and occasionally my lowlights) in a way that is easy to assemble and fun to flick through. Blogging has been a bit like scrap booking but without all the paper off cuts and sticky glue to deal with! I’ve always been terrible with a paper diary of any kind, and after the initial novelty buzz of owning my first digital camera about ten years ago, my photo albums took a dive as well, with most of my precious pictures now locked into old back up drives or on soon to be defunct CD roms etc. This is my new era, when I have finally moved into the modern age!

I thought it would be fun to pick out nine photos from each month, so here I present to you some of my favorite moments from 2014… My year in pictures 🙂

January
January14-Montage

February
February14-Montage

March
March2014-Montage

April
April14-Montage

May
May14-Montage

June
June14

July
July14-Montage

August
August14-Montage

September
September14-Montage

October
October14-Montage

November
November14-Montage

December
December14 Montage

The main thing I’ve enjoyed about blogging is the focus it’s given me to communicate the key points of my year, not just to others but to myself as well. My original intention when I started this blog just over a year ago was primarily to showcase my new amigurumi designs and to make some free patterns and tutorials. Then the Blog bug kicked in and I soon found out it was fun to photograph and write a little bit about other stuff too, such as weekends away, day trips out and the more hobbyist side of my crochet which has been mainly getting to grips with granny squares and blanket/poncho making this year.

My blog has been a great memory enhancer and the visual elements of blogging have really appealed to me. I like capturing special moments in time, a distillation of experiences in an otherwise sensory overloaded world. Another added bonus is the improvement of my photography skills too. Taking really good pictures of my products was the part I found most difficult when I first began Moji-Moji Design, but it’s now becoming more and more enjoyable to me as I get to grips with my camera and learn what makes a hot shot and what makes it not so hot! I’ve still got heaps to learn but that will be part of 2015’s journey. Here’s to never having a dull moment (unless I feel like one that is!)


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Pushing On With The Daisies

Hip, Hip Hooray! All my Daisy Blanket squares are finally crocheted together, and the blanket is just in need of a finished border. The end is in sight and the whole project has provided me with a very welcome burst of colour therapy to get me through these wet, grey and generally pretty dreary late autumn days we’ve been experiencing around here lately. We have had some sunshine today though, so I took advantage of the light to take a few pictures.DaisyLinesIt’s difficult not to smile quietly inside when you are tucked up on the sofa, hooking a methodic row of little shells, lap all warm and toasty underneath the blanket, along with the the odd cat too. It’s a bit tricky turning the corners with a furry lump hunkered down in the middle of your yarny endeavor, but if you could hear how loudly Mojo was purring you wouldn’t want to move him either!DSCN5835Then it’s Pogo’s turn. Well, we can’t give the cats any cause for jealousy issues, so they’re all welcome for a cuddle and a snuggle. I just do what I can, when I can and the cats rule the roost, as usual.PogoThough I really love the yellow centres of the daisies I just couldn’t get used to the white/yellow/white stripe I originally made for the edge in this next photo. I decided that I wanted the border to be made of richer colours, so the work you see here has now been unpicked! There’s no point spending all that time on something just to have it niggle at you because it’s not exactly right.DSCN5845So I stripped it back to the first round of white edging and began again. I’ve got this far… and already I like the purple better.DSCN5963Some orange, pinks and greens should set it all off a treat. I hope so anyway, as unraveling hours of work is always a bit of a drag. Here’s the blanket basking in today’s bit of sun as it glances through the french windows in the kitchen.DSCN5953I’m always keen to get as much free warmth as possible at this time of year and it’s been lovely spending some time hooking at the kitchen table, soaking up the rays and watching the colours sing.KitchenCrochetGet it while you can, that’s what I say 🙂FlowersThe blanket is a bit puffy and doesn’t quite lie flat in places but that’s really the result of using a random collection of mis-matched yarns, even if they are all labelled as Double Knit. This is a ‘thrifty’ blanket though, and as such I have only used the yarns I’ve had to hand, so I think it’s wobbly, bobbly nature should be embraced in celebration of all that is cheap and cheerful!DSCN5977Mojo doesn’t seem to mind it’s lumpy qualities. He knows cosy when he sees it. Much better than the bare wood for sitting on and I suppose the more it’s squashed by a cat’s backside the flatter it’s likely to end up!MojoSittingIs that a mouse? Quick, pounce!MojoPounceDSCN5969Oh, no, it’s just a ball of wool with a crochet hook in it.DSCN5970Much better than playing with the real thing Mojo. Just try not to snag up the blanket while you’re at it!

So there we have it. Just a few more rounds to do, and a few more ends to darn in over the course of this weeks evenings. Then I can start on the next one. Oooh, how exciting. I might try my hand at some stripes next. I’d better be off then, I’ve got several hundred Pinterest images to scroll through in search of my next inspiration. It’s a tough life 😉