Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Giles the Giraffe Takes to the Road

With a long road trip and a mixed bag of bad weather to contend with I’ve had plenty of opportunity to get out my hook and start creating again. My latest pattern is for this cheeky lopsided smiled giraffe whom I’ve called Giles.

It’s been a while since I worked on a design that wasn’t for a book or a magazine so it felt really refreshing to do something ‘just for me’ for a change. No deadlines, no working to commission, no liaising. Don’t get me wrong, I thrive on all of that too, but sometimes it’s nice to take it all down a notch and just create on an impulse exactly what I feel like making.

Giles made a super little travelling companion on a very slow and laborious trip Up North to visit relatives. He was so excited to be packed away ready for his first journey out of the house. He does look rather pleased at the prospect of a great adventure!

We headed downstairs to the kitchen and a step closer to beginning our journey…

…then out of the front door, into the car and onto the motorway. Woohoo! Hurrah!

Giles loved this bit the very best of all. Turns out he’s a giraffe with a need for speed. Yes, this little guy’s a bit of a thrill seeker! I was a teensy bit excited myself as this was my first trip in our new car. Our poor old Toyota Estima had given up for good during the heavy snows and icy temperatures of a few weeks ago. Now we have a Nissan Elgrand with six captain chair style seats and all the space I could possibly need for my endless yarny clutter.

Unfortunately the amount of road works that spring up everywhere these days makes driving a bit of a chore and it wasn’t long before the traffic ground to a halt and then proceeded to crawl along at a snails’s pace.

Now you know that feeling when sometimes amigurumi making, – and particularly something like pattern testing – is requesting more concentration of you than you think you can give? Well that’s where I was at for the first hour of the journey. I blame it on the early start but my brain would only cope with this simple ultra-repetitive four line repeat of this scarf. I’d already memorized the pattern before the journey began so it was the perfect busy hands project for when by head was in cruise mode.

Our visit was fun. Lots of gossip was caught up with and fine pub food was consumed. On the way back I decided to try out sitting in the back (or rather the middle) of the car. I made myself a comfy work area, got settled in a squishy leather chair and felt very decadent while I was at it. I think I could get used to this. Giles looks like he was born for this sort of luxury too and has made himself quite at home on the seat next to me! Oh and I did try to put a seat belt on him but he’s a touch on the tiny side and it wouldn’t fit. Having never seen a booster seat for 14 inch tall giraffes I made him promise to sit still, tucked safely behind the yarn, or he would be back in the rucksack until we got home. With that threat hanging over him he was as good as gold and sat quietly, watching intently as a pink and a blue giraffe began to take shape.

Once we arrived back the sun was still out and after more than our fair share of snow and rain and wind recently it seemed too good an opportunity to miss so we headed for the garden. Rolling out a picnic rug and unpacking my bag I carried on with pattern testing. I’m still getting used to the fact that I have a lawn to play on this summer and oh boy am I loving it! So much nicer than the fence to fence patio area that was down before.

The cats love the lawn too. What a wonderful place to sit and watch the birds.

It wasn’t long before Minnie came to stake a claim on the rug and the crochet by firmly plonking herself down on both.

Oh well. I was just about crocheted out for the day at that point anyway. lots of progress on Pinky and Bluey had been made.

Just to be extra sure there were no glaring errors in the pattern I went through it yet again in the studio the next day and not too long after I am now the proud owner of not one, not two…

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…not three…

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…but four sweetly smiling giraffes.

What a bunch of cuties, and perfect for my craft stall!

If you want to have a go at making one the pattern is available from any of my online shops or, if you live in or near Worcester, come visit me at the Worcester Show in Gheluvelt Park on the 12th August and meet Giles the Giraffe in person. I’d love to see you there!

In the meantime I will be busy making lots more amigurumi and a few more scarves to stock up my stall as well as perfecting my new pattern for a pair of Tippy Toed monsters Called Timothy and Tabitha who will be heading over to Belgium to feature in a second volume of Amigurumi Monsters published by Meteoor Books over at AmigurumiPatterns.net.

I’m also testing a super cute Bobby the Dinocorn pattern by Little Aqua Girl for the fantasy creatures themed book due out in August. This dinocorn will be one of Drake the Dragons book fellows and I cant wait to see how she turns out. And neither can Drake who is too excited to keep out of the project basket.

Things are busy around here, that’s for sure, but that’s the way (uh huh, uh huh) I like it!


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My First Moji-Moji Craft Stall

Its been a funny old week, having had a total break from my normal routine. I found that time was flying even faster than usual and the craft fair I had signed myself up for, many months ago, was suddenly very nearly upon us. Now I don’t know about you but I always work much better under a tight deadline and so leaving the vast bulk of the preparation and organisation to be crammed into just over a week was probably the best way of tackling it for me personally.

As you can see, I managed to fill my 10 foot long table quite nicely in the end!

The stall sign was both a labour of love and a feat of engineering. But it should last me for a while as it is made out of very sturdy laser cut plywood. Each piece was individually painted by myself and a very patient friend (it took about six hours of paintbrush wielding between us) and was then pieced back together, jigsaw style, and glued onto a backing board.

A lot of work, I know, but well worth the effort. Weirdly there were still three pieces left over that we just couldn’t figure out where to fit. Very odd, but the sign didn’t look any the worse for it so we got straight on with the job of sticking it down. This involved turning it over while sandwhiched between two boards, taping it together along the back, brushing with generous amounts of PVA glue and then weighting it down overnight with anything I could find. Mainly my vast collection of cookbooks, the ever overflowing laundry basket and anything else heavy enough to help but light enough to lift.

And tadah! Here it is after it’s final coat of varnish.

The sign was a good start but I needed things to sell too. Obviously I have a generous supply of ready made amigurumis which were only in need of digging out and showing off.

They all looked a little startled to be seeing the light of day again!

Amigurumis aside, I really felt I wanted to offer a bit more variety to potential customers. So with that thought in mind I embarked on making up a whole batch of crochet kits. I actually really enjoyed this process once I got into the swing of it, though I’m quite happy to take a break from the endless winding and weighing of balls of yarn for a while now!

They next job was to package them up and squirrel them away into boxes along with the all the equipment and notions necessary to create the finished articles.

One week of winding, weighing, measuring, graphic designing, printing, box folding, bag filling and label sticking, and I had my first collection of finished kits to sell. Six different types in all. I would have liked to do more but there’s always next time!

My very helpful sign painting partner also dedicated a whole evening to making me some badges with the Moji-Moji logo cat on (you know who you are and you’re a star – thanks a million!).

I love these so much. Think I might have to invest in my very own badge making machine soon. Maybe one for the Christmas list if Santa is still listening, I have been very, very good this year, I promise!

I found my stash of owl purses (my free tutorial is here if you fancy making some).

And I dug out and blinged up some of my Mini Party Treats by adding a few sprinkles of seed beads and multi-coloured yarn.

I forgot how much I like playing around with toy food!

Looks good enough to eat huh?

I also had a small supply of extra books featuring some of my designs to take with me. A great way of introducing my customers to the topic of the new Amigurumi Monsters book (more on that in the next post) and as there was a recent outbreak of Jeepers and Creepers (who are featuring in the book) spawning in the studio I had plenty of examples to take along as conversation starters. I figured you couldn’t miss all those eyes staring at you as they followed you around the field!

I did have to spend a fair bit of time thoroughly picking them over for kitten hairs though. Oops!

The night before the show everything was stacked and ready to go and an early night beckoned.

My youngest son kindly came along to help set everything up and keep things running smoothly behind the scenes, tidying the table during the lulls and restocking after the rushes.

There was a lot going on at the Worcester Show but I didn’t get to take many photos as I was kept very busy all day behind my stall but for those of you who are curious about the event you can see snapshots of some of the best moments from previous years on their official site in the Gallery section. There was belly dancing, water zorbing, live music, biggest cabbage, longest runner bean, roundest dahlia, best use of recycling, competitive crafts, face painting, fantastic food and fine wine, bonsai beauties, a dog show, sport events, a fairground, and of course the market stalls…  to name just a few.

All in all it was a very successful and enjoyable day. The weather was kind to us and the hours just whizzed by. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to chat and to those who bought a little something to take away with them. It was lovely to meet you all and I hope to see you again next year, if not before!

And for those that weren’t there, thank you for reading this and sharing my day with me via my blog.

I appreciate all your support and the encouragement that helps me to indulge in my gloriously yarn surrounded lifestyle and passion for amigurumi!


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Paksha the Peacock

I know it’s been a while since I last managed to list a pattern in any of my online shops but the big news today is that I finally managed it! Hopefully there’ll be quite a few more in the foreseeable future as now that the current influx of book submissions and commissions are under control I have managed to gather together a well organised backlog of designs waiting in my in tray that just need a little tweaking and testing before they’re fit for public consumption.

Paksha the Peacock was originally designed for a magazine. It’s unbelievable how time flies by so fast but the two year contract is up and I am now free to list the pattern myself. I had fun tweaking the colours until they were near perfect. The original peacock had to be made with the colours already supplied in a yarn pack so this was a good chance to change things up a little.

Even though peacocks have a very definite colour scheme you can see how easy it is to great great results with just blues and yellow. But really, any similar or not so similar yarns would look great. (I wonder what a pink peacock would work out like? Rather pretty I should think).

As you can’t buy the original kits from the magazine I’ve sourced my alternative colours from a range of yarns which I fell in love with only recently. I have gone a bit crazy and bought myself the entire range of Paintbox Simply DK yarns which are now sitting prettily on one of my shelves with all the yarn shades neatly displayed on wooden pegs. I’m getting very organised in my old age you know!

I usually pick up random scraps of yarn balls from my existing stash as i certainly have plenty to choose from but for anyone who’s curious as to how to achieve the quintessential peacock look I made a note of the colours I used on the one below in case anyone wanted more info on what I considered to be the optimal peacock colours for this pattern.

I bought mine from LoveKnitting and ended up with free postage because I can’t help buying yarn in quantities much larger than is actually necessary for any particular project. Did I really need one in every colour? Well, I’m quite sure it will all come in handy sooner or later!

These are all Paintbox Yarns Simply DK shades. From left to right we have: Dark blue – 139, Turquoise – 133, Lime green – 128, Grass Green – 129, Gold -123 and Cream – 102.

Deep, jewel like colours and an obsessive fondness for preening make Paksha one of the finest sights at the palace. With his showy display of tail feathers and dashing good looks Paksha has all the peahens running around after him. You might think that all this attention would go straight to his head but Paksha isn’t at all conceited and his claws are always firmly planted on the ground.

In fact sometimes he seems more interested in showing off his magnificent tail to other peacocks instead of chasing after the ladies. It’s probably just nature’s age old case of mine’s bigger/better/more colourful than yours!

The peacocks are small enough to sit nicely in the palm of your hand so they don’t use up much yarn.

They’re also easier to sew together than you might think, despite there being quite a lot of individual tail feathers, I’ve managed to come up with a foolproof way to attach them all to each other with a minimum amount of hassle.

He’s such a fussy thing when it comes to his appearance it would be criminal not to do those feathers justice and you’d probably get a good pecking or two off Paksha if he ends up looking anything other than totally dapper so I have added plenty of photo’s to help you along and lots of tips and tricks to make sure your peacock turns out to be the envy of his brothers and the sweetheart of all the peahens.

This one is very interested in his new, soon to be completed, rival.

However it doesn’t take long for the initial wary eyeing up of each other until they’re good pals. I think they both feel grand enough and that there’s enough room in the palace gardens for the both of them and so a rather lovely friendship has developed.

They’re fascinated by their first incarnation, Prince, and how he managed to gain some fame by getting himself interviewed for a popular magazine. If there is anything that peacocks really, really love it’s a bit of attention. The more paparazzi around the better!

These two are also very interested in how their pattern comes together and how all the photos they had to pose for are being used.

Pattern making is not all yarn and hooks. Sometimes its screen and keyboards too. Though I infinitely prefer the former combo I have come to have a fondness for the entire pattern creating process over the years. Probably because my computer skills have improved – however marginally – to make the technical, non yarny side of things a bit more stress free.

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As a final tweak to the original pattern I turned the wing motifs into bunting.

I can think of lots of places in my house that this bright and cheerful string of plumage would add a sparkle to if Paksha would let me have it back…

But for now they are feathering his nest and making him look as pretty as a picture in all his photo shoots.

If you want to make a feathery show off of your own you can find Paksha’s Pattern in my Ravelry Store


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A Little Bit of This and That

There’s so much going on at the moment it’s difficult to know where to start so I’m going to start right here and end up at the end of the post and hopefully I will have made a bit of sense somewhere in between.

Casting my mind back to a few weekends ago I started crocheting a mitten on a long car journey to Cardiff. Oldest son was finally moving the last of his things to Luton where he recently started his new job. After we picked up his furniture and other items he won’t be in need of for the next 6 months we drove over to Penarth and treated ourselves to fish and chips on the pier (not exactly in harmony with my current low carb regime but what the heck! You can’t go to the seaside and not have fish and chips. Some things just have to be endured!

A little bit of crochet on the beach with a steaming hot cup of tea rounded off our dinner perfectly.

I’m not following a pattern for these mittens but have made it up as I go along. I’ve jotted down some notes so hopefully I’ll be able to reproduce it accurately the second time to make an identical pair.

The notes are rudimentary but should be adequate. As long as I haven’t accidentally left anything out it should be OK.

I’ve been busy with two submissions for a new book due out next year. Here’s a sneak peak at the patterns.

One for a rather rotund chicken called Cheryl.

Slightly more extensive notes were made here. Yeah I know, what a mess of scribbles and scratches, but I have this method of quickly taking notes as I go along down to a fine art by now and can hopefully write up the fully formed pattern from them. I don’t like to break my creative flow by getting too technical at this stage so this is the best method for me by far.

There is also a hamster called Hamish who will be making it into print later on. Here’s the beginnings of his little head, nestled cosily among the final batch of hexies which are eventually going to make up a seat cover for my crochet arm chair.

Hamish has been stuffing those cheeks with some tasty treats. I think there’s a strawberry in one side and a couple of peanuts in the other. Sounds like the perfect healthy breakfast to me!

I’d better not make too many of these or they’re going to eat me out of house and home!

I’ll be exhausted trying to keep up with the constant munching. Lets hope this crop of strawberries will keep Hamish happy for a while.

There has been a welcome swathe of very hot weather sweeping the country recently. Now I’m much more of a hot house flower than a frost resistant variety so I’ve welcomed the sunshine and blistering heat with open arms. Just as this seagull greets the sight of unattended food down at Brown’s Restaurant with open wings!

Note to self never to leave lunch unattended where seagulls are likely to be.

The most lovely thing about a heatwave is walking round the river and taking the time to watch the sunset while still basking in the warmth that the blazing sun has left behind.

As well as writing two new patterns for publishing I’ve been testing a pattern written by Noah of  Younique Crafts. I just love this cuddly triclops and can’t wait to see the new book with all the other cute and crazy looking monsters in it.

I may have mentioned before about how much I love to make eyeballs so I was in my element with Noah’s design.

And Jeepers and Creepers were thrilled to meet a fellow book buddy, and they immediately invited him to take up lifelong membership of the Three Eyed Monster’s Club.

Of course, he gracefully accepted and now all three (friends, not eyeballs) are inseparable.

I’ve also been asked by lovecrochet.com to design a pattern based on a real life cat who was re-homed from Battersea Cat’s and Dog’s Home. She’s called Hazel and the poor thing only has one eye due to a road traffic accident. She’s still smiling though, thanks to all the love and affection she’s getting from her new owners. The pattern will be available in August 2017 and the proceeds from all pattern sales will go to Battersea Cat’s and Dog’s Home for six months to raise money on behalf of all the canine and feline orphans that reside there as they wait for their forever homes.

Amigurumi Hazel looks quite pleased to have insinuated herself onto the prime window spot with a very relaxed Mojo.

Minnie’s not so happy about the newcomer!

I think she thinks here’s been enough domestic upheaval to manage what with having Rubick around and now another interloper? Oh purrrlease…

Rather unfortunately I seem to like cats more than cats like cats, if you see what I mean. But harmony is being achieved between our four furry friends (and  couple of crocheted ones) at a slow and steady pace. A bit of hissing (mainly from hyper reactive Mojo) the odd claws-retracted bout of fisticuffs (Pogo likes to box Rubick’s ears just gently when he oversteps the mark) and Minnie simply pulls that face, nearly all of the time, if the kitten is anywhere in sight. Lots more TLC and some clever mentoring and I’m sure we’ll all be one big happy bundle of co-habitation soon enough.

Rubick has a nice new cat tower-block on which to expend some of that crazy energy that kittens have. I’m hoping that if I wear him out that he’ll give my old and grumpy cats a bit more of a break from chasing their tails and generally trying to make too much physical contact for which they’re not quite ready yet.

If we’re lucky all that charging around and running up and down his furry tower gives us all a few moments of peace…

Zzzzzzz.

Pogo allows Rubick to get quite close now, though I have to say that face is enough to frighten the toughest of cats, or people too come to that!

When I’ve not been either mentoring the cats or working on book patterns or crocheting up charity commissions I took out a little time to make myself a pretty coaster.

I still have the matching mandala cushions to finish up. It’s really just the backs that need crocheting so I’ve put them on my to do sooner rather than later list. I shall aim to get them finished this week. That will be a perfect mini project for the summer evenings and not too taxing, or too bulky for the heat.

In the meantime one of the cushion fronts has ended up lining Rubick’s sleeping corner but it’s been much too hot for curling up, better to do the heatwave sprawl!

I’d also like to finish up the Daisy Chain Hexie seat pad cover to add the finishing touches to my green wing backed crochet corner arm chair. I’ve made another batch of 100 hexies so far and have begun to slip stitch them together across the short rows. I’ve a fair way to go yet but this is another project that can be picked up and worked on in fragments whenever I get a chance.

It’s all been a bit too warm for mittens but I finished up the first one anyway. Now I have to make the other one. It will be cold enough again, and too soon as well, if the great British summer sticks to its usual form.

I love the variegated marbled yarn that I’ve used for this Mitts but I can’t find the ball band anywhere so can’t share with you what it’s called. I think it may have been by Sirdar… If anyone knows the name of this yarn please do let me know what it is! I’d quite like to get another ball and make a scarf to match – but the other mitten must come first. I have enough projects on the go as it is!


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Zoomigurumi 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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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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Katie the Caterpillar

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

Katie-Caterpillar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Katy3

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

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

Katie5

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

Katie3

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

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

Three-caterpillars

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

Katie6

katie-party

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

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


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Creepy Crawlies, Butterflies and Flowers

It’s been a week of creepy crawlies! With my Katy the Caterpiller pattern so very nearly completed I’ve also been sent a pattern to test for the new ‘Parent and Baby’ amigurumipatterns.net book. I volunteered to proofread a random pattern and quite by chance have ended up with another caterpillar to crochet – this time complete with his butterfly mommy. This beautiful design by Bas den Braver is going to be a fun little project to keep me busy over the next few days.

Zabbez Bree and Calin

Awww – cute!!

Check out all of Bas’s other patterns on his Zabbez website. They’ll be sure to put a smile on your face! They certainly put one on mine with their floral themes and hot zingy colours. Don’t these little characters just make you want to get out in the garden and make it bloom?!

zabbez-flowers

I’d love to have a go at growing more and varied types of flowers in my tubs and pots (pansies and geraniums have been my best successes so far) but I’ve got a problem with slugs and snails – I can’t bring myself to ‘dispatch’ them in any way – so most of my green fingered efforts end up looking like this… An unholy holy mess for sure!

SnailLunch

Chilli plants are apparently delicious for lunch (if you’re a snail that is, I prefer a bit of iceberg lettuce myself). At least I know exactly who the culprits are this time. Sheldon and Shelby look rather pleased with themselves for finding such a tasty morsel but at least they had the manners to blush when I caught them red handed – or rather, green footed. But as cute as this pair is there’s a whole army of the more brown and slimy kind coming out every night to wreak havoc. Luckily I had the foresight to keep a few chilli plants inside on the kitchen windowsill, so if my outdoor ones don’t survive they’ll be my back up plan. If you have similar gardening disasters to mine you might take comfort in crocheting some of these flower people instead, secure in the knowledge that Bas’s tribute to the garden folks are totally snail proof!

ZabbezFlowers

It’s not just the chilli plants that have suffered in my garden. I planted 20 marigolds and a sunflower seedling out in the border just over two weeks ago. Sad to say they’ve all vanished before they even got a proper root hold! Ah well, I never learn. I’m actually quite happy to resort to shop bought flowers to cheer the place up anyway. Hubby bought me these last weekend because they matched my Katy the Caterpillar project that I was working on at the time. How thoughtful 🙂 And what excellent rationale for choosing the colour scheme of my little gift. He knows the kind of details that make me happy!

Sunflower

Not a bad match at all!

caterpillar

And though the petals are starting to drop there’s still a lot of life left in my lovely bunch of summer sun.Sunflower2

Back to testing out the Butterfly Bree and Caterpillar Calin pattern – I thought I would change the colours slightly as I work through it, mainly because I bought some beautiful sparkly yarn recently with some Christmas makes in mind and I’m itching to try it out. I’m making my version of Bree look more like one of these Blue Morpho specimens. I love the depth of colour in these amazing creatures – I could just stare at that dreamy blue all day.

Morphos

But I don’t have time for too much staring at it, so even better than that I’ll crochet with it instead.

A quick rummage around the stash baskets and all materials are gathered together. Yarns at the ready…

Morpho-Yarn

…pattern printed, essential kit located… and we’re off!

Making-Bree

Papa Penguin and Baby Pierre are fascinated to meet two of their fellow stars from the new book. Pierre has already made plans to take Calin to the park to play on the swings and Papa is going to introduce Bree to the other parents at Pierre’s pre-school.

PapaBree

Hopefully I’ll have finished making them in time for my next post so you can see how they turned out. Papa and Pierre can’t wait – parent and toddler group is going to be so much more fun with new friends to take along!


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Good Eggs (And Bad Ones Too)

It’s the start of the Easter school/college holidays today, so where has all the sunshine gone?! It’s grey and cold and all the spring promise has dissolved into gloomy drizzle. Ah well, my colourful crochet projects can always be relied on to cheer the place up. This week I’ve been playing with sock yarn and making a load of tiny little eggs for my Easter decorations.

I used the pattern I featured in this post with a 3mm hook and various oddments of 4 ply to create micro eggs, one step smaller than the mini eggs. Then I made a half dozen with a 2mm hook and ended up with nano eggs. Now at first glance these eggs don’t look all that small next to those balls of wool.

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This picture might explain why!

Mini-yarn-mojimojidesign

You see, all is not what it seems. Instead of the usual 50 gram or 100 gram balls of yarn these are a dinky 10 grams each. How cute is that?! I just couldn’t resist them, though I’m sure this is not the most cost effective way to buy yarn, I’m a total sucker for anything in miniature so they simply had to come home with me once I’d spotted them. Normally it’s a case of the more the merrier when it comes to yarn but I made an exception for these. They’re not for crocheting with, just for looking at… It’s the little things that make you happy 🙂

Sock-yarn-eggs-mojimojidesi

I made all these eggs out of previous sock project leftovers.

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I love the randomness that the variegated yarn gives them. They were such fun to crochet as there was an air of mystery as to how each one would turn out.

A few years ago these two nests were found in my mum and dad’s garden, blown out of the trees by a gale, thankfully way past the nesting season. I love how they are so different but both equally beautifully made. I think the nest on the left may be a wren’s nest but I’ve got no idea about the maker of the other one. If anyone knows which particular species made each nest, please tell me. I’d love to know!

Nests-mojimojidesign.com

Such remarkable feats of construction with just a little beak to work with! They always amaze me every time I get them out to have a look at them.

Nest-mojimojidesign

They made very handy photo props for my crocheted eggs which, I think, turned out to be pretty much the right size for them. These nests are so delicate now, I like to keep them mostly tucked away for safe keeping.

Natural-nest-mojimojidesign

I had a go at making my own nest out of yarn scraps, but it’s a bit of a poor effort by comparison. Pretty colours though!

Woolly-nest=mojimojidesign

Then I made a sturdier version, still not as good as the real thing but a lovely way to show off a clutch of mini eggs. I’m planning on making several of these as place settings for my Easter Sunday lunch table.

Littlle-nest-mojimojidesign

I cheated and used a ready made miniature grapevine wreath about 3 inches across, then just added some natural rafia, a few paper flowers and, of course, the crocheted eggs. Sweet!

Making-nests-mojimojidesign

Inspired by my success with the crocheted eggs I fancied having a go at dying the real thing. Spurred into action by all these beautiful pictures on Pinterest, I boiled my eggs, lovingly wrapped them in paper towels, doused them in food colouring and waited for the magic to be revealed.

Egg-dying-mojimojidesign

Well, I hate to disappoint you all, but it didn’t exactly work out. In fact the results were so unspectacular that I didn’t even bother to take a photo. Just imagine half a dozen standard brown hens eggs…. and, well,  that pretty much sums up the results! The only food colouring I had was the gel type and it just didn’t cut the mustard. I had a sneaky feeling this wouldn’t be the visual treat I was hoping for when my hands weren’t even stained after all that rolling and wrapping.

The paper towels turned out pretty good though. Like kaleidoscopic cosmic nebulae.

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Such a shame that gorgeous marbling didn’t transfer to the eggs. Not to be defeated, I’ve been back to Pinterest and seen some great ideas for dying eggs with natural ingredients like red cabbage and blueberries so I’m going to invest in some white goose eggs (white hens eggs seem to be as rare as hen’s teeth here in the UK) and give the egg dying another go.

So that’s my story of Easter crafts dabbling. I tried in vain to get my boys to join in with my eggscapades (sorry, there has to be at least one egg pun in here somewhere), but apparently it’s not the sort of thing that teenage boys are into these days.

Makes me feel a bit nostalgic for those other days, a few years back, when they loved getting involved in all my mad schemes. Here’s one that came to mind while I was reminiscing. A whole bunch of papier mache chick pinatas, filled with sweets and confetti that we all made together for a kids party we had. Each child took one home with them to smash open on Easter day.

Easter-Pinatas-mojimojidesi

The paper plate daffodils were fun to make too. Good times, but only natural for the boys to grow up and move on. I, on the other hand, have no intention of growing out of these things. Where’s my apron… I’ve got a date with a pan full of onion skins and beetroots. (If I get better results with the next batch of eggs I’ll be back to share with you all!)

Bye for now, and enjoy your weekend 🙂


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Eleven Things, Ten Minutes

So who’s got ten minutes to spare for a super quick, spring chick micro make? Did you say ‘me’? Then you’ll need to gather together eleven essential tools and materials and we can begin.

FreeTutorial -Tiny Chick by Moji-Moji Design

You will need:
1: Some Yellow and Orange light worsted weight (DK) yarn. (About 6 yards of yellow and 6 inches of orange).
2: Polyester toy stuffing – half a handful is plenty.
3: An orange button, around a half inch (12mm) diameter.
4: Two small round black beads – I used 4mm ones.
5: Black sewing cotton and…
6: … a sewing needle, to attach the beads.
7: A pair of scissors.
8: A yarn needle which will fit through the holes in the button.
9: A stitch marker.
10: A size D (3mm) crochet hook.
11: A pink pencil crayon for coloring the rosy cheeks.

Once you’ve got your crafty kit together you’ll be ready to make one of these chirpy little chicks.

Chicks - free pattern by Moji-Moji design

The Pattern:
US crochet terms are used throughout. (For UK version simply replace the sc with a dc).
For stitch abbreviations see here.

Body
Make 1.
With Yellow yarn make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: [Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times (9 sts)
Rnd 3: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 4: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times. (12 sts)
Rnd 5: Sc in each st around. (3 rounds)
Stuff chick.
Rnd 6: dec 6 times. (6 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for finishing. Thread the yarn tail onto a yarn needle, pick up the front loop only of the last 6 stitches and pull tight to close the hole. Use the same yarn end to sew the button to the bottom of the chick. Each time you pass the yarn back through the body of the chick be sure to go through the same stitch space where the yarn came out of. This will avoid making dents in the shape of your chick.

Once the button is attached, thread the yarn through the body going in and out of  various stitch spaces until the yarn is caught securely inside the stuffing. Pull the yarn tight to finish and snip off close to the chicks body. You can use this technique for hiding the yarn ends of the beak and wings too. No messy knots to worry about!

Chick-tutorial-2

If you want your chick to stand up soldier straight then use a button with an indentation in it and make sure this faces downwards. The yellow yarn that attaches the button will be neatly tucked away in this dent and you won’t get any wobbling. If your chicks are destined to be hanging decorations for your Easter twig tree, this detail won’t matter and you can use a flat button instead.

Wings
Make 2.
With Yellow yarn, and leaving a 3″ yarn tail at the beginning, make 3 ch.
Row 1: Slst in second ch from hook, slst in next ch, 3 ch, slst in second ch from hook, slst in next ch, slst in first ch.
Fasten off, leaving a 3″ yarn tail for sewing.  tie yarn tails together in a knot.

With a strand of orange yarn embroider a few horizontal running stitches for the beak. Sew on the bead eyes using the black sewing cotton and a fine needle.
Use both yarn tails to sew each wing to the side of the chick’s body, using the yarn tails from one of the wings to form the head tuft.

Chick-tutorial

Now it’s time for a visit to the beauty parlour for a haircut and a touch of makeup. Trim the tuft to a quarter inch or thereabouts and colour in some rosy cheeks with the pink pencil crayon.

Free Chick Tute - by Moji-Moji Design

That’s better, this little chick scrubs up well! Off she goes to visit the Easter fair where she buys iced carrot cookies and chats to the ladybirds.  The old-school chenille chicks are being a bit naughty and gossiping among themselves about the hip new chick with the cool crochet vibe, but I’m sure that once they find out what a sweet nature she has they’ll all be flocking to be her friend!

Little Chick - Free Pattern by Moji-Moji Design

If you’ve only got five spare minutes instead of ten, you could use the pattern for the chick’s body to make a stripy mini egg.

Mini Egg Charms by Moji-Moji design - free pattern

I attached some phone charm cords to mine so they can be used to adorn the branches of my wire tree. They’ll also make cute little presents for any Easter holiday visitors.

Free Chick and Eggs Pattern, Moji-Moji Design blog

Now I’ve started making a whole clutch of these eggs with gorgeous space dyed sock yarns and a 2mm hook. Do come back soon to see how they turn out! In the mean time, have fun with your new hatchlings!