Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Dreaming of the Sea

The summer is pretty much over and I’ve been ‘staycationing’ year. Not having managed to escape to some heavenly beach retreat with my tent and sleeping bag I thought I’d bring a taste of the coast to me instead by creating a set of seaside inspired characters. One creature led to another and another until I ended up with four different patterns based on two distinct body shapes and a mini friend with a shape all of it’s own. I’ve bundled them into one bumper pattern and called it ‘Ocean Buddies’.

Ocean Buddies Pattern

This pattern has been through a few evolutions as I played around finding the right proportions and it proved to be the perfect picking in and out of pattern to take outside and work on in my garden while I daydreamed about being beside the seaside.

I’m not completely high and dry here in my favorite spot because we have a tiny pond in the shade of a shrub I can never remember the name of. I have even made a little shingle beach and scattered around a few of my scavenged fossils to remind me of past beach-combing adventures in Watchet on the Somerset coast.

Little 4 ply, 2 mm hook narwhal contemplates a dip but is somewhat put off by the film of duckweed. Can’y say I blame him. I wont be dipping my toes in either, no matter how hot it gets!

The Ocean Buddies accompanied me on landlocked car journeys up the motorway when we did take the odd day trip to Lancashire to visit relatives.

Annoyingly, I failed to bring any safety eyes or stuffing on this particular occasion (an early start you see, and my brain is rarely fully engaged until midday) and so my relaxing crochet session was properly scuppered. Aaaagh! The thought of three hours+ in the car with idle hands was almost too much to bear. Luckily I had started sewing a pompom trim onto my project basket the night before so I solved the fidgety fingers problem by painstakingly stitching on the rest of the trim.

Quite a fiddly process, with tiny stitches and a wickedly sharp needle for such a bumpy journey but I managed it with just the odd finger prick here and there to show for it.

By the time we got to our destination I had a very pretty pimped up basket. To be honest I can’t think of many things that don’t look better with pom poms attached. Do you see the green, green grass of my mother-in-laws garden? It really does put my coarse, dandelion infested back yard patch of scrub to shame.

Laddie, previously having belonged to said mother-in-law before we adopted him after she got poorly, and thus having been the joint owner of the garden perfection above, is so used to a fine weed free lawn that he appears to disapprove of my more slapdash approach to green spaces. So much so that he can only tolerate being in its vicinity if there is a wooden tray between the ground and his butt!

I also can’t help thinking he’s planted himself next to the lawnmower and rake as a sort of reprimand. Maybe I’ll get into this gardening malarkey one of these days. When there’s a showdown between the hook and the shears the hook will win out everytime!

In the mean time I’m content to use crocheted rugs to hide the multitude of unmown sins, unswept prickly leaves, miscellaneous weeds and bare patches of earth. The rag yarn crochet makes things a bit comfier and adds a bit of colour – a real plus point when all the flowers I have tried to grow are constantly eaten by slugs and snails.

Pesticide free, organic gardening is easy when you let the weeds take over, and rather good for the wildlife too no doubt. Everything has an up side! I think I’ll make this unkempt approach my horticultural hallmark.

As lovely as this unusually warm summer has been I have to admit that the heat did get the better of me from time to time. A shady spot in the studio with the slatted blinds sending the daylight coolly up in towards the ceiling went a long way to redressing the heatwave when things got too hot outside.

Crisp white walls and a clean white desk all add to the oasis like calm in here.

Mojo is not too keen on the savage sunshine at the peak of summer so I often found him in my crochet corner waiting to keep me company whenever I scuttled inside for a cool down.

It’s a little more difficult to get hold of my wool while he is around but we always manage to share it in the end.

When we got back from our day trip up north I attempted to put my newly embellished basket to good use as storage but before I could fill it with the next batch of yarn Mojo had crept in and wound himself into it – while it was still on my lap.

Yeah I know that look – ‘move me on at your peril human, I shall sulk for an hour if you do’ – or meows to that effect. So you see Mojo has a nice new cat bed. A bit on the small side maybe but it doesn’t seem to bother him one little bit.

This new sleeping arrangement has the added bonus of freeing up the rest of my chair for me. Instead of a furry, sprawling, purring cat rug draped over the entire seat Moji now likes to roll himself up like pill bug, tuck his head in and forget all about the outside world for a bit. Sounds rather appealing to be honest. Perhaps we should have human sized hibernation baskets to disappear into from time to time!

It frees up space for Orwell too. We all share and share alike here. A happy family of people, cats and crochet!

Mojo managed to prise himself out of the comfort of my stash basket when he saw the stage was set for a photo-shoot, sneaking in just in time for his cameo role.

Despite the intrusion I eventually took some shots I was happy with.

I have a new Nikon camera and have been experimenting with using it in manual mode so some of the colours are a bit more uneven than I would like but I think I’m getting the hang of it. Practice make perfect and and all that.

I’ve also been watching some YouTube videos on how to get whiter backgrounds for product photography by using Adobe Photoshop.

I’m learning so much that isn’t crochet related at the moment. None of it as much fun as crochet itself – but it comes quite close.

As summer draws to a close and chances of a holiday on some windswept beach diminish for another year I can’t say that I’m too heartbroken. I’ve had a wonderful summer at home with my family, my cats, my crochet and my imagination. A winning combination in my opinion!

So from Wendy the Whale…

…Sheamus the Shark…

…Nigel the Narwhal…

…Daphne the Dolphin…

…and, last but not least (though by far the smallest), Stephanie the Starfish…

…we bid yourselves goodbye for now and the summer farewell for another year.

I have a big bunch of autumn/winter projects to be getting on with over the next few weeks. (Spoiler alert – sneak peak for one of them below!)…

I’m aiming to tie up all the loose ends on my current WIPs and share in my next post. I hope you’ll join me then!


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A Medley of Monsters

Can you hear that strange shuffling and scratching noise? Are you tempted to take a peek and find out what’s going on?

Well, don’t be alarmed, it turns out that it’s just the sound that my new brood of monsters make when they start twirling around on their twelve tiny toes. And as they only start twirling when they’re giddy with joy (or maybe the twirling is what makes them giddy with joy…) at least you know they’ll be in a good mood when you eventually manage to catch up with them.

These mischief making Tippy Toe Monsters will keep you on your own toes as you try and keep them out of trouble, but those big bug eyes have a way of melting your heart. No matter how naughty they are it seems that these  can get away with anything!

They got away with hassling Mojo for quite a long time. They even tried (successfully) to photo bomb his portrait session with his new cat pal.

Ever get the feeling you’re being watched? it was all too much for mini Mojo but major Mojo sat it out. A crochet blanket on a desk next to your human is a prize worth fighting for.

Make yourself comfy Mojo. They wont bite!

He gave them one of his hard stares as a warning against any further encroachment of his space, wondered why there was an out of season snowman present, and then snoozed off quite indifferently.

Contrary to popular myth, Tippy Toe Monsters aren’t only about running around making mischief. Sometimes they can be really helpful. They kept an eye on my grammar and made the most excellent spellcheckers when I was tapping away at the keyboard.

And those great glowering, globular eyes are also really rather good at spotting mistakes in stitch counts or round numbering on the paper patterns.

Tippy Toe Monsters have a fabulous eye (or three) for colour so I asked them to choose a bright and cheery palette for their soon to be crocheted friends. They all thought that we should definitely incorporate some orange.

But they couldn’t agree on much else between them. After a bit of bickering and lot of random yarn grabbing we eventually chose these delicious candy shades.

Then I got to work making a ton of tiny toes…

…and a great many eyeballs along with other necessities for monster making such as stumpy arms and pointy horns.

Never knowingly giving up an opportunity to get in on the act Mojo threatened to brush aside all micro crochet elements with a single sweep of his twitchy tail.

Then someone opened a pouch of cat food and his razor sharp hearing meant he was bounding off, luckily not scattering my hard work all over the floor as he went.

As well as being watched by an ever growing crowd of monsters I’ve had lots of disembodied eyeballs peering at me too.

With so many composite pieces to crochet it took me a long time to finish them all. Car journey’s, bus journeys and trips to visit friends are good for this sort of pick and mix approach so wherever I went, my basket went too. There were a few weeks back there while I mass produced toes and eyeballs on an almost industrial scale, squeezing a few more in whenever I had a spare couple of minutes and cracking on with a vengeance when I had an hour or two.

As all the toes are crocheted together there is not nearly as much sewing involved as you might think. The monsters get really excited when they’re waiting for their eyes. They really do bring these little rascals to life!

Although it’s very difficult to gauge their exact mood until their mouths are embroidered. One small black stitch makes all the difference to their personalities.

It wasn’t really necessary to make quite as many as I did but I had so much fun playing with all the colours and combining them in different ways that it was very very difficult to stop!

Often working into the night with my messy desk strewn with crochet, notebooks and a token cat I eventually ended up with more monsters than I really needed!

I absolutely must get some craft shows booked so I can offload a few to loving new homes!

I reckon I’ve had my fill of monster making for now. I’m sure I’ll be back creating more in the future but there are quite a few other projects to finish off in the meantime. If, unlike myself, you haven’t reached monster saturation point yet you can purchase the pattern for Tippy Toe Montsers below. I’d love to see how yours turn out so don’t forget you can message me on my mojimojidesign Facebook page and send me a pic or two if you find the time ūüôā

Tippy Toe Monster Pattern

 

I’m working up a new pattern called Ocean Buddies this week and have been having a blast playing about with sparkly yarn and a nifty little technique for making the perfect narwhal tusk.

There will also be a whale, a dolphin, a shark and a little starfish included in this particular friend group. I’m looking forward to finishing these buddies soon. I also have three new designs to get ready for Zoomigurumi 9 so it will be a busy couple of weeks around here. But as I’m doing what I love I know how fast it will fly by!


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A Clowder of Cats

Not to be confused with a Chowder of Cats! There’s no cat soup allowed around here under any circumstances! In case you hadn’t heard, a clowder is the collective term for a bunch of domestic cats, and as it fits in perfectly with my alliteration obsession A Clowder of Cats was the perfect name for my new pattern. I’ve certainly crocheted enough of these fun-some furballs to warrant the use of a jolly good descriptive collective noun.

I had a lot of fun (and a few headaches too) with this pattern as I wanted to be able to make as many different types of cat markings as possible. After spending way too long umming and aahing and hooking and frogging I eventually came up with a variety of stripes and patches that can be used in different combinations to make a whole load of different kitties.

I made one to look like Mojo, who can’t resist a rug thrown out in the garden…

… or a blanket on my desk…

…or a place mat on the kitchen coffee table. Seems he likes following his little crocheted friend around!

Rubick was startled to find he was not the center of attention for once and that there was no mini-me in sight for him.

Though of course I had made him one too. In fact this was one of the first variations I worked on.

What a handsome fella and such a poser as well. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!

Then there was Laddie to deal with. This ever so slightly grumpy old man has had a few minor spats with the other cats since he moved in last December so I really didn’t want to cause anymore upset by making him jealous!

His crocheted portrait looks as disgruntled as he does.

We’ve had some super weather, in between lots of rain, and I’ve made every effort to get out in the garden and make the most of the sunshine whenever I could.

It made me smile to see them peeping at me as I worked away making the rest of the litter. It’s like they couldn’t wait to see who would pop off the hook next.

I’m happy to say our new lawn is still mostly green and not too threadbare. It’s survived its first year, so hopefully with a bit more TLC we will have a well established green space for the foreseeable future. I love it so much more than the flagstones that were there before. Even if mowing it can be a bit of a pain sometimes – oh but the smell is delightful! – I like the idea of worms underneath and the whole green eco-system thing going on.

Rubick is also a fan of the lawn.

Mojo thinks it’s OK but nowhere near as good as a big, padded cushion.

Laddie prefers perching up by the pond where he can keep a strict eye out for trouble. He assured me he definitely wasn’t waiting there in order to ambush any unsuspecting frogs. I didn’t really believe him so I built a lot of log frog shelters for them to hide safely in. Just in case.

I’ve never had a long haired cat of my own so in lieu of the real thing – where there’s a hook there’s a way – I set to and made a couple of fluffy versions to add to my collection.

King Cole’s Embrace yarn was fabulous for this and it comes in several colours that are totally purrfect for making these cats. It just needs a bit of work with a suede brush once all the pieces are crocheted and sewn together to really bring out the fluffiness.

He fits in a treat with his less follically blessed brothers and sisters.

I actually started and finished a simpler version of this pattern about eighteen months ago as a collaboration with LoveCrafts.com in aid of Battersea Cats and Dogs Home. You can read more about that in a previous blog post here. The original design was based on a temporary lodger there called Hazel, now happily re-homed, who had lost an eye in a road traffic accident.

It was lovely to see my sadly departed Minnie pop up again while I was looking through photographs from around that time. Hazel and Minnie have similar coloured markings so this one doubled up nicely as Minnie’s mini-me.

I shall never be in any danger of forgetting my Rainbow Bridge cats with all the pictures I’ve taken of them. Every cat I’ve ever had has loved being around when I’m crocheting so we have shared much quality time together over the years. They’re all such a blessing in their own unique ways.

As well as adding in a lot more options to the updated version of the pattern I’ve also added a muzzle. I thought it made them look a tad more realistic especially when viewing from a side profile.

If you like the look of Hazel’s flatter face better I have included the original pattern as an extra PDF in my Etsy store – completely free when you buy the main pattern. There is some rather nifty colour change work on her legs too which could be incorporated into the other cats if you have a more speckly tortoisehell type of feline in mind.

The cats took over my life for a while back there. Crowding out my desk…

…watching me work…

…and waiting patiently in a line when it came to dinner time.

They were as good as gold when it came to their photo shoot for the pattern. Sitting up straight and looking into the camera – whenever I shook a bag of Dreamies behind it!

Now I have a whole host of crocheted cats to add to my collection of real ones and to my collection of cat pottery, pencil cases, mugs, pens, notebooks, clocks, bags etc. etc. If you can name it and it has a cat on it I probably have it!

If any proof were needed of my mania for collecting such items here’s a photo of my new shelf, now gracing the wall above my computer.

My cat clock even wags it’s tail ūüôā

Hmm… too many cats? Maybe. Crazy Cat Lady? Definitely!


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Zoomigurumi 6

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Another year has rushed by and another edition of the Zoomigurumi series of amigurumi-packed books has bloomed into a reality. We’re on to number six now and this one is just as full as ever of cute crocheted characters.

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I made an owl pattern back in the summer at the same time that I was designing my chameleon. That was a great riot of colour for sure and the theme seemed to be lots of stripes and big staring eyes!

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Oswald the Owl was put forward as a potential for the new book and, happily for me, he passed the audition!

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After being accepted, all the pattern writing and testing had to be done which involved a number of duplicate Oswalds being made.

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Sometimes they were crocheted at my desk or in the lounge…

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…and sometimes they were crocheted¬†outdoors, enjoying the warmth of the sun – sadly missed at this time of year.

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Doesn’t that look idyllic? Roll on next summer, it will soon be Pimms O’clock again!

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I can’t wait to be setting up the day bed in the yard again for some serious crochet al fresco.

As work progressed with the book I volunteered to proofread another contributor’s¬†pattern¬†and was given Little Muggle’s Rudy the Red Panda.

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All the individual pieces looked sweet enough but the cute factor just soared sky high when I sewed them together and embroidered the nose.

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This is my finished attempt, strutting his stuff on my desk.

Of course if you are going to be bookfellows then it’s very important that you learn to get along. Oswald is not too sure the first time that Rudy tries to climb into his nest.

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But Oswald soon finds out that Rudy means no harm and he relaxes a little bit.

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Before you know it Rudy has wriggled his way into Oswald’s nest – and into his heart.

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It’s a snug fit but they’ll certainly keep each other warm that way!

Oswald also gets along fine with the Nesting Rainbow Owls. Just as well really, as that nest did belong to them first.

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(My free Rainbow Nesting Owls pattern can be downloaded from here if you worry that your Oswald might get a bit lonely, or if you feel he needs a nice snuggly nest to keep him safe!).

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It’s not long before all the owls are one big happy family – with a friendly red panda for company.

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Here’s another look at all the lovely characters in the book, just in case you weren’t tempted enough already!

A special¬†presale price¬†of ¬£15.95, including worldwide shipping, is¬†available until¬†25th February 2017 and you’ll be sent a downloadable PDF version as soon as your order is complete so you can start crocheting straight away – if you can actually choose which one to start with that is!

The website at amigurumipatterns.net has more information on Zoomigurumi 6 if you want to know more.

It’s been another fun adventure with Meteoor Books. There’s a new book dedicated entirely to cute and cuddlesome monsters coming out next which will feature my Jeepers and Creepers pattern so be sure to check back from time to time for more about that ūüôā


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A Splash of Spring and a Burst of Bright Yarn

It been a case of ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ around here over the weekend. What¬†a tonic to see the sun and, even better, feel the warmth of it on your skin (or on your fur if you’re a cat).

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I’d promised myself I¬†would begin to sort out my¬†increasingly messy desk, and tackle some of the ongoing projects that are helping to keep it messy, but this sort of weather can’t be sniffed at after a long wet winter¬†so hubby and¬†I decided to squeeze in¬†a speedy cycle ride around the¬†river to get us a good dose of sunshine and bank up those vitamin D levels.

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I figured my¬†jumble of WIPs wouldn’t be going anywhere in a hurry and would still be waiting for me when I got back. It would have been a shame to have holed up indoors all day and missed the loveliness. A bright blue sky makes everything so much more wonderful.

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Severn-walk

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We managed three laps around the river, working out at around ten miles so it felt pretty virtuous too.¬†And, yes, my desk was still messy and all my work in progresses were still waiting patiently for me to finish them off. Time to set to and get busy.¬†As it happened, going for an invigorating bike ride in the¬†fresh air acted as a cheery tonic that put a spring in my step for the rest of the day and I’m sure it made me much more productive¬†and¬†happier too.

The pompom cushion I began at Christmas was my main priority as I’d finished up crocheting the front and back¬†pieces¬†on Friday evening so it was pretty much all ready to assemble.

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I’d already threaded the¬†pompoms¬†onto some yarn to make two-tone strings of different colours so it was just a matter of playing around with them until they looked right.

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I began by arranging them in the classic rainbow order.

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It was a harmonious combination but I felt it needed more randomness. Breaking up the blocks of similar colours would give it a bit more punch.

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I’ve got¬†lots of spare pompoms rolling around the studio or stashed away in pots and baskets so mixing up¬†the colour sequences and adding in a few more ¬†here and there to make strings longer or taking a few away to make them shorter¬†–¬†depending on their new placement – wasn’t a problem. Eventually¬†I ended up with something that was evolving like this…

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I kept all the trimmings from the pom poms and made a wildly woolly cocktail.

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Don’t worry, I’m not that yarn obsessed that I’m actually going to attempt to drink it! I¬†just thought the rainbow fluff was¬†much¬†too pretty to throw away so I’m saving it¬†for a felting project. I can see great possibilities there.

I attached the pompoms onto the crocheted background by stitching down the string that threads them all together. It worked a treat, and ended up really dense with the weight and feel of a piece of carpet.

Time to run it past quality control…

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Does it pass the all important ‘8 out of 10¬†cats prefer’ test?…

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Well, 2 out of 2 cats who visited the studio today definitely prefer sitting on it.

When they had vacated the half way finished cushion top I steadily applied myself to attaching the next rounds of pompoms Р in between other less pleasing jobs, like cooking and cleaning.

I was loving how it was turning out and I even woke up very early on Sunday morning to¬†sew a few more rounds in bed with a cuppa. I don’t normally do early starts at the weekend but because I was all excited to get finishing it¬†off I made an exception this time.

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At this stage a few more turquoise pompoms were all that was needed.

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I soon had just the right amount to cover the crocheted top perfectly.

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Next, I¬†joined¬†the ¬†top and bottom pieces together with a round of single crochet stitches, incorporating a zipper, and then put the cushion pad inside. At this point, having seen it all together, I felt it needed another row of pompoms to cover the joining seam. I’m having a love affair with pink and red at the moment so I¬†settled on finishing¬†it off in that colour combo.

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Just another eighty¬†or so pompoms to go then. And just when I thought I was all¬†done! I may have been feeling all pompommed out by then¬†but, as all you dedicated crafters will know, it’s no good doing a half hearted job and then looking at the fruits of your labour with regret and remorse. It’s gotta be right and this last row will finish it off a treat.

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Time for another catisfaction test…Oh yes, these are definitely soft enough.

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Got to be ready to pounce on the wool during the pompom winding phase…

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…and it’s best to keep an eye on them from all angles…

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…unless you get distracted by a bird flying past the window.

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What do you think of Minnie’s¬†bushbaby impression? She’s a natural, don’t you think?

After all the excitement of playing with yarn¬†and watching the wildlife in the garden it’s time for a nap. What better place than… no prizes for guessing… on the new cushion!

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I’m not sure it’s going to be easy to get my fair share of comfy time with this cushion once it’s¬†finished. There have been ownership issues over it¬†since the beginning. Even a basket of pompoms is appealing to my furry feline friend.

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I think I know what to get her for next Christmas. It’s a good job I have all these spares.

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We’re definitely going to need more than one of these scrummy cushions around here!

Sunday afternoon was spent walking¬†around the river. After Saturday’s¬†ten mile bike trip my backside couldn’t face the saddle again just yet (maybe I need a pompom saddle cover – there’s an interesting idea!). It was good to travel at a different pace¬†anyway, you get to see different things that way. So many flowers are springing to life now. A sunshiny day at this time of year is just the best thing, but two in a row – and at the weekend as well – that’s bliss!

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Sunday evening delivered a beautiful sunset, adding a final sparkle to a couple of lovely days packed with luminous colour, both in and out of the studio.

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Now I’ve very nearly reached the end of this project. Only a few more pompoms to go…

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I’ll be back to post some pictures once the last round is in place¬†and¬†I’ve nearly finished a photo tutorial on how to make one of these cushions¬†yourself should pompom fever be gripping you with the same intensity that it’s been gripping me! Hope to see you back here sometime soon!


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Zoomigurumi 5

Well, here we are again with another new book launch from amigurumipatterns.net.Zoomoigurumi-5I had great fun being involved in Zoomigurumi 5. My fluffy alpaca, also known as Alicia, has gone off to Belgium to join her fellow bookmates. If you feel inspired to have a go at any, or all, of these crocheted characters you can get hold of a copy of the book here.Z5banner_LARGE-v3

As you can see, Alicia is in very good company with 14 other cuties just waiting to jump off your crochet hook.

I’ve already made a Kaan the Crocodile by Carolina Guzman (One and Two Company), during the initial proofreading phase.kaan-crocHe was a pleasure to make, of course, and now I have another character to keep me company at my desk.KaanCroc-and-PompomsHe¬†soon became¬†best friends with¬†Alicia’s grey fleeced cousin, Althea, and they’re now inseparable. They were both very good at helping me spot any last minute tweaks to the patterns and text. Alicia has been blessed with patience and is very calm and focused while Kaan’s beady eyes never miss a thing. A dream team!Alicia-and-KaanThough I’ve never heard of a crocodile and an alpaca hitting it off before, there’s always a first time…alpaca crocHe is a¬†fine looking fellow, I’m sure everyone would want to be best buddies with him if they met him!Kaan-2And in case Alicia should get jealous here’s a little triptych of her own, taken by Joost De Wolf, the book’s official photographer.AliciaI hope that’s whet your whistle and got you all excited about the brand new characters! Alicia has had a couple of new reincarnations already, again, from the pattern testing phase. There’s this¬†chubby, cuddly looking fella made by Bregje Zeijen.BregjeZeijenAnd this cute pink version made by Natalie Van Dalen. I love how Natalie¬†changed the look¬†with¬†furry eyelash yarn. She’s like a big ball of gorgeous candy floss!NatalieVanDalenOne of the things I love about amigurumi patterns is that it’s so easy to put your own spin on things by changing a colour, or a yarn type. You can upsize or downsize by experimenting with different hook sizes and yarn weights. It’s always exciting to see other peoples interpretations. Thanks to all who send me photos or post them on my Moji-Moji¬†Facebook page. I’m always thrilled to see them.Z4banner_medium-v2

Don’t forget you can always post your Zoomigurumi makes to amigurumipatterns Facebook page too.characterszoomi5I¬†can’t wait to find out¬†what you’ll be making once you get your copy. Do tell, I’m all ears!


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Halloween Sporks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A devil, an alien and a vampire bat.

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

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

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…to this…

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

…to this…

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..and finally, to this…

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

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

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

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

H

Wishing you all a Happy Halloween Week!

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Have fun!


4 Comments

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 ūüėČ )

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 ūüôā

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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Zoomigurumi 4

Yes, it’s title number 4 in the Zoomigurumi series already. I’ve been lucky enough to have some of my amigurumi designs¬†included in both Zoomigurumi 2 and 3 in the past which were great experiences.¬†Time has ticked inexorably on at its usual steady pace and I’m excited¬†to tell you that the newest book in the collection is now¬†available to order. You can meet my oh-so-friendly and really-rather-cheeky baby orangutan in this edition. His name is Orwell, and he’s my new favorite fur baby.

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As you can see, he loves hanging about in trees. ¬†He also likes eating fruit and causing mischief – lots of both of those! Because of his debut in Zoomigurumi 4 he’s had to move¬†to Belgium to be with the publisher. Parting was a bit on the sad side, but he was really looking forward to his new life and I’m sure he’ll do a good job of helping to promote the book. He’s a very confident and outgoing little chap.

Before Orwell left for his great journey¬†via parcel mail I made another baby orangutan called Orson to keep me company.¬†Here’s Orwell and Orson¬†larking around¬†just before Orwell¬†emigrated.

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They had lots of fun together before they parted ways and are now dedicated pen-pals. We get to hear all about Orwell’s¬†life in Belgium with his new friends. I heard lately that he was a very well behaved model when it came time to take the¬†portrait shots to go alongside¬†his pattern. No-one said photographing wildlife was easy, just ask David Attenborough,¬†but when you look¬†inside this¬†book, I think you’ll agree it went swingingly well!

Orwell¬†says his new home is very comfortable¬†and he’s loving his new celebrity status. Seeing all his colourful new friends from Zoomigurumi 4 I think you’ll understand the¬†enthusiasm he has for his new life. Just take a look here. You can tell there’s never going to be dull moment with such a diverse range of pals¬†to play with. Don’t they all look fun?

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Orson, however, is glad that he got to stay at home as he’s a lot more reserved and much shyer than his brother. He likes a quiet life, hanging from¬†the light fittings and watching TV – mainly educational nature programmes such as Life on Earth or Blue Planet. He loves to read too. Science and crochet books are among his favorites. They help him try to answer those age old questions that we all ask from time to time, such as¬†‘Who am I?’ and ‘Where did I come from?’

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While the book was being prepared it was my task to proofread Lisa Jestes super cute Frog pattern. Time to get all the kit together (making sure everything is as color co-ordinated as possible!)

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It’s not long until this cheeky¬†gangle-legged amphibian – only known as ‘Froggy’ at this¬† stage, but later¬†officially named Kirk for his book appearance¬†– is taking shape very nicely.

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Eventually he’s all done. That’s another job finished and crossed off my list, and a new member added to our ever growing amigurumi family. Turns out Kirk and Orson are getting on splendidly.¬†They particularly loved exploring the garden together. They’re both naturally gifted¬†tree climbers with those languid long limbs of theirs.

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Kirk is pleased to find some other frogs in the garden. Yes, there is a pond there somewhere, under all that duckweed! I agree it looks like it needs a bit of love before Kirk can fully appreciate it as his new swimming pool. Mental note to self to have a tidy-up-the-garden weekend soon.

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And Kirk just loves Orson to give him a ride on his shoulders so he can take in all the sights. Hmm, I need to tidy up this bit of the garden too!

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Finally we’re back inside so¬†Kirk can get¬†to meet¬†the Moji-Moji frog fraternity. As you can see,¬†he settles right in for a group hug and a rousing round of The Frog Chorus ‘We all stand together’, or to put it¬†more accurately¬†‘sit together’ in this case. Happy days!

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So there we have a few of the jolly japes enjoyed by two of the 15 cute characters from Zoomigurumi 4.

If you want to add this book to your collection, or check out the other Zoomigurumi books be sure to visit amigurumipatterns.net/books.

I wonder what adventures your Zoomigurumi creations will get up to? ūüėČ