Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Katie the Caterpillar

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

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!

Katie-Lunch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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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?!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Not a bad match at all!

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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.

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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…

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…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.

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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!

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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 🙂

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!


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Easter Baskets

Hello all! I’ve been working flat out again this week. I’m somewhat alarmed at how fast Easter is approaching! I’ve had an idea to make some Easter egg hunt baskets for a while now, but couldn’t seem to find a time to make it happen. Well, there’s nothing like a tight deadline for focusing the mind, and with just a few weeks to go the idea has finally hatched and become a reality. And what fun they were to make as well! Now I’m in so much of a springy mood I might just bounce right off into space!

Three Easter Treat Bags by Moji-Moji Design

They’re made in the style of handy little totes with a cheeky dollop of fake fur yarn and some Easter themed embellishments.

I crocheted carrots for the bunny…

Bunny Easter Treat bag by Moji-Moji Design

… pretty flowers for the lamb…

Lamb Easter Treat Bag - by Moji-Moji Design

… and stripy mini eggs for the chick.

Chick Easter Treat Bag - by Moji-Moji Design

But there’s no reason you can’t shake it up a little and mix and match all these embellishments to come up with your own version of the Easter bags.

I’m planning on making some extra eggs, flowers and carrots to decorate my Easter twig tree this year. I’ll post some pictures when I’m done 🙂

Easter Treat Bags - by Moji-Moji Design

In the mean time I hope you’re all having lots of fun with your Easter preparations. (I’m going to start mine by eating all those foil wrapped chocolate eggs now the photos are finished!)  x


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Hola!

The Mexican blanket is growing and growing. I’m steadfastly crocheting a row or two, or a few squares most evenings and pretty much 90% of it has been made while wearing pyjamas. A very cosy and comfy project it’s turning out to be.

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Because of the time I spent accurately working out the stitch counts, the theory is that all the row elements should match up perfectly.  But the stripes made up of mini squares are ending up a fair bit longer than the granny stripes and I think that’s due to the chained row that gives the extra colour blip between the rows of shells. My chains tend to have a slightly tighter tension than the rest of my crochet. I guess I’ll have to learn to loosen up a bit with them. I’ve not found it to be a big problem though, it just needs a bit of pinning to take up the extra length nice and evenly then it’s easier to match stitch for stitch, particularly if I’m working in less than perfect light conditions. And let’s face it, the rest of the family don’t want to spend cosy Movie Nights sitting in a floodlit room, so the light is often ambient rather than practical for a lot of my winter evening projects.
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The need for all that matching up did give me the idea to make Carlos the Cactus though, so I could have a totally Mexican vibe going on while I worked! I love having him around to help but he’s turned out to be an obsessive perfectionist and gets pretty prickly if I try to cut corners and go crocheting along without pinning everything in place first. (I might be self projecting here a bit 😉 )

You can see him keeping his beady eyes on the proceedings here. He’s also really good at holding onto all my yarn needles with those handy little hands of his. I just wish he was equally adept at sewing in the yarn ends too! Ah well, you can’t have it all.

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Here you can see the discrepancy in the lengths of the granny square panels alongside all the pieces that I’ve managed to crochet together so far. It looks like it would never match up but it always does, and the blanket will stretch a little with use – so any minimal puckering will most likely even out itself out after it’s been dragged around and snuggled up in for a while. This is about a third done now, not including the border.

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And also not including these strips that have yet to be joined. When these are all crocheted together I think I’ll be at least half way done. Wey hey, we’re getting somewhere now!

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My cactus pincushion has been useful for helping out with other projects too, so now he can usually be found on my desk with his best friend Dante the Donkey (If you’ve read my previous blog post you’ll understand why they’re inseparable!) and my other favorite pincushion – my felted sheep on a hill. One of the first sculptures I made when I was going through my needle felting phase. I should have enough pins handy for multiple projects on the go now. Which is a good thing because I still haven’t learnt to finish one job before I start another.

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While Carlos is busy helping out, Dante has been trying to make friends with  two of my cats. The cats are much more concerned with napping on the new blanket should I dare to leave it unattended for a nano second or two.

Mojo doesn’t appear to be very impressed with Dante’s approaches!

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Time for evasive tactics by way of an emergency grooming session.

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Ah well, maybe Minnie will be more accommodating…

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…Or maybe not! Different evasive tactic seen here, just close your eyes and pretend to be asleep!

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Then go and seek refuge in a box on a tucked away shelf in among the early prototypes for Orwell.

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This week I also managed to finish writing up the Orwell pattern for my own shops at long last, so you can now get his pattern in my Etsy and Ravelry stores as a single purchase for any of you who want to buy just him on his own. Today and tomorrow are the last few days of the Zoomigurumi 4 pre-sale event if you prefer to get Orwell’s pattern together with 14 other cute as button designs at a bargain price of £13.50. I’ve just got my trusty calculator out (I’m no Rachel Riley styley maths whiz, that’s for sure!) and that works out at 90 pence a pattern. Can’t wait for my copy to arrive!

You’ll find Tessa Van Riet-Ernst’s (aka Woolytoons) mop headed Leopold the Lion in this volume too. He’s currently over in Belgium helping Joke get the books packed up and shipped out over the next few days. Seems that my moggies aren’t the only cats who like to get involved in anything crochet related, particularly if it involves sitting on it!

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Here’s a teeny reminder of the lovely characters you’ll find nestled between the pages!

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They’ll be sure to keep you busy and remove all your excuses for idly hanging around like this furry fella!

Not that there’s anything wrong with being idle of course, if that’s what you fancy. I keep telling myself I’m going to take a break when I’ve finished all the crochet projects lined up in my head and in my sketchbook – approximately scheduled for the 12th of Never Ever 🙂

I’m off to do some more blanket in the mean time. In fact I intend to dedicate a large proportion of this weekend to making some serious progress here. Orwell’s taken a shine to it. I think he’s looking forward to it being finished, and who am I to disappoint?!

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I’ll be back with more updates soon and some pictures of my lovely pink and turquoise crochet flowers that I’m trying out for my next project, perfect for a fresh looking spring blanket that I’ve set my heart on. See, I told you it’s impossible for me to finish one project before I start another! I’ll post a picture of them next time, when I’m 100% happy with the colours. Bye for now and wishing you all a happy weekend! x


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Dante and Carlos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Have a happy weekend!

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xoxox


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Christmas Corkers

We’re getting so close to Christmas now and I’m finally starting get into the festive mood, helped along splendidly by this little troop of winter wine cork cosies!820ChristmasCorkersLineup

I had just as much fun coming up with the patterns for these as I did drinking the wine in the first place! They proved popular on my Facebook page and I’ve had lots of requests for the pattern. So as an early Christmas present to all my lovely followers here it is.

You will need:

Fizzy wine corks similar to these:

Corks
Light worsted weight (double knit) yarn in green, white, black, red, and any other colours you prefer.
3.25 mm crochet hook.
Yarn needle.
Polyester toy stuffing.
A selection of beads and bells to decorate.
White paint and paintbrush (emulsion paint works well).
Felt tip pens in red, black and orange.
Pink pencil crayon.
Scissors.
A suitable fabric glue (something like UHU or Bostick).
MaterialsAnd now we have everything collected together let’s get hooking 🙂

US crochet terms are used throughout. See here for a simple to use conversion chart for UK terms.

Square brackets [ ] indicate a group of stitches to be worked the amount of times stated after the brackets. Asterisk * indicates a point of repeat

Christmas Tree

820trees

With Green yarn make 2 ch. (Alternate rounds with a light and dark green yarn if you prefer)
Rnd 1: 3 sc in second ch from hook. (3 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each of next 3 st. (6 sts)
Rnd 3: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 5 st. (7 sts)
Rnd 4: Sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 3 st. (8 sts)
Rnd 5: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 7 st. (9 sts)
Rnd 6: Sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 4 st. (10 sts)
Rnd 7: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 9 st. (11 sts)
Rnd 8: Sc in each of next 5 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 5 st. (12 sts)
Rnd 9: [Sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times. (15 sts)
Rnd 10: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 11: [Sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times. (18 sts)
Rnds 12-16: Sc in each st around. (5 rounds)
Rnd 17: * Slst in next st, 4 ch, Slst in next st, repeat from * to end.
Fasten off, weave in the yarn end.
Stuff the top two thirds of the tree. Put a little glue all around the fattest end of the cork, position the tree so that the frilly edge is roughly level with the bottom of the fattest part of the cork. Hold in place securely until glue has set.
Now you can sew on your seed beads, sequins, mini pompoms etc. Or leave it plain for a natural look.

Little Elf

820elves

Hat
With White yarn make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 3 sc in second ch from hook. (3 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each of next 3 st. (6 sts)
Change to your chosen Second Colour here and continue alternating the colours each round until the end.
Rnd 3: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 4: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 5 st. (7 sts)
Rnd 5: Sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 3 st. (8 sts)
Rnd 6: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 7 st. (9 sts)
Rnd 7: Sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 4 st. (10 sts)
Rnd 8: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 9 st. (11 sts)
Rnd 9: Sc in each of next 5 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 5 st. (12 sts)
Rnd 10: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 11 st. (13 sts)
Rnd 11: Sc in each of next 6 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 6 st. (14 sts)
Rnd 12: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 13 st. (15 sts)
Rnd 13: Sc in each of next 7 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 7 st. (16 sts)
Rnd 14: 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 15 st. (17 sts)
Rnd 15: Sc in each of next 8 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in each of next 8 st. (18 sts)
Fasten off, weave in the yarn end.
Glue to top and back of fattest end of cork. Fold tail over and sew in place with a few stitches. Sew a small pom pom or bell to the end.
Scarf
With your chosen Second Colour yarn make 37 ch.
Change to White yarn.
Row 1:  Starting in second ch from hook, sc in each ch to end, turn. (36 sts)
Change to your chosen Second Colour yarn
Row 2: 1 ch (does not count as a st), sc in each st to end. (36 sts)
Fasten off and tie ends together in a knot. Trim to make a small ‘tassel’. Tie around elf’s neck. Draw on the eyes and mouth using felt tip pens in black and red. Colour in rosy cheeks with a pink pencil crayon.

Toadstool

820toadstool

With Red yarn make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 3: Sc in each of next 6 st. (12 sts)
Rnd 4: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 5: [Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 6: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 7: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (24 sts)
Rnd 8: [Sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (30 sts)
Rnd 9: [Sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (36 sts)
Rnd 10: Sc in each st around.
Change to White yarn.
Rnd 11: Working in back loops only: [Sc in each of next 4 st, dec] 6 times. (30 sts)
Rnd 12: [Sc in each of next 3 st, dec] 6 times. (24 sts)
Rnd 13: [Sc in each of next 2 st, dec] 6 times. (18 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for finishing. Stuff top part of toadstool. Fit opening of toadstool over top of fattest part of cork. Thread the yarn tail onto your needle and sew in and out of stitches on the final round. Pull tight to form a snug fit just under the fattest part of the cork. Secure with a knot then pinch the edge of the toadstool together and sew a few stitches through the pinched edge of the toadstool to form the shaping.  With White yarn,  embroider a few French Knots onto the top of the toadstool, or use white seed beads or sequins, or tiny buttons.

Snowman

820snowmen

First paint your cork white, then allow to dry.
Hat
With Black yarn make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: Sc in each of next 6 st. (12 sts)
Rnd 3: [Sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times. (15 sts)
Rnd 4: Working in back loops only: Sc in each st around.
Rnds 5-6: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Change to your chosen Second Colour
Rnd 7: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 8: [Sc in each if next 3 st, dec] 3 times. (12 sts)
Rnd 9: Working in front loops only: [Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 10: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (24 sts)
Fasten off, weave in the yarn end.
Scarf
With your chosen Second Colour yarn make 37 ch.
Row 1:  Starting in second ch from hook, sc in each ch to end. (36 sts)
Fasten off, weave in ends.
Stuff the hat and glue directly on top of fattest part of cork. Tie scarf around neck. Draw on the eyes, mouth, carrot nose and buttons using felt tip pens in black and orange. Colour in rosy cheeks with a pink pencil crayon.

Oh Mojo! Am I not giving you enough attention? Time for another sit down protest then!

Moji

Now all we need is a little snow for the perfect Christmas. Looks like a digital snow flurry will have to do for now!

820Christmasmedley


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The week I’d rather forget

Well, what a week it’s been. And, no, for once I don’t mean in a good way. I just found out about the horrendous new legislation coming in from the EU on January 1st, compelling anyone who sells any digital services/products to work out and pay VAT to all 28 member states of the EU separately and according to who has purchased what from each country.

I really don’t want to get all bogged down with details here – this is supposed to be my ‘happy place’, but the more I’ve looked into it the more I see that compliance is not only going to be onerous, but the way things stand at the moment, completely impossible. The systems just don’t exist to enable individual sellers to do what they have to do in order to keep trading legally. There is a UK petition here for those of you who would like to have a look. It includes a summary too which outlines some of the problems.  The adding of your signature would be hugely appreciated by myself and many others who find themselves quite shockingly and unexpectedly mixed up in this bureaucratic nightmare.

Here’s a great link you may want to read on Ysolde Teague’s Blog. She puts it so much better than I ever could. If you design and sell anything via email like I do then it’s a must read. If you love to buy craft patterns, eBooks, printable stationary, meditation courses, music – to name but a few – from any of us independent designer/sellers then I suggest you have a look too because if things don’t change significantly over the next few weeks there will be a lot of us closing down our beloved businesses before this legislation becomes law on New Years day 2015.

If you’ve read Ysolde’s post and the whole topic now has you intrigued, panicked, crying, having a nervous breakdown or just plain curious here’s another good source of information for you on Heather Burns Idea15 Blog. I don’t want to add to your dismay, but knowledge is power, after all.

Right, now that’s been said, let’s have some fun, because there’s only so much angst I can take at any one time.

(Takes deep, deep breath).

Here’s a little Christmas scene to cheer us all up. Well, it is December already! Not only have these tubby-tummied elves built their first snowman, but they’ve also managed to make a Christmas pudding and put their tree up. Wow, I need to catch up fast. I’ve seriously got to get my Christmas wiggle on!820pudds1This is also the time of year when we try to make huge efforts in our otherwise very busy lives to see family and friends who live far away. It’s always so exciting to catch up face to face on a years worth of news or sometimes more. There’s nothing like a big hug, a bit of present swapping and a good chin wag to warm the very cockles of your heart! All the Facebooking and texting or even gossiping on the phone just can’t compare. My next few weekends are full of just such jaunts. Snow people love these kind’s of pre-Christmas shenanigens too. I don’t need to tell you how happy these guys are to have a good old get together. It’s written all over their faces 🙂820snowpyramid As well as getting together on their home continent on the perma-snow and ice of the arctic circle, they love to travel. As soon as southerly temperatures plummet into the minus numbers they start heading as far south as they can get. I expect you’ve seen them, magically popping up in parks and gardens near you, as soon as the first decent snowfall settles! I’ve had a few postcards from their jollies already that I’d love to share with you.

First the girls went on holiday exploring the forests in Canada…SnowladyPostcardThen the boys decided a spot of skiing would be in order. Here they are in the French Alps…on-the-piste!The baby snowmen aren’t big enough for all that wilderness trecking or alpine sporting but they do love to play together at their local ice rink.820skatingThey’ve dressed up in all the different colours of the rainbow so their mum’s and dad’s know who’s who. Of course their mum’s and dad’s would never really get their own children muddled up but it can be a bit tricky to tell the difference when they’re skating around that fast. Here’s Mr. and Mrs. Snowdon with the triplets, Willy, Nilly and Milly,  and of course not forgetting their new baby Billy.820SnowfamilyAwww, what a lovely Christmas they’re going to have with a houseful of smiling snowbabies. You can adopt some snowbabies here if you want to make your Christmas just as much fun. The pattern’s free and they don’t eat much (yarn) so you can afford to adopt as many as you like!


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Who ya gonna call?

Ghostbusters?! Well seriously, there’s no need for that with this friendly bunch of ghosts. I promise you they mean no harm and only want to add a bit of spooky specialness to your Halloween decorations this Fall. Calling up a bunch of guys armed with Proton Packs might just be overreacting a slight bit. And of course there’s also the ever present, and very dangerous reality, of total protonic reversal if you cross the streams. No one wants a dose of that, believe me!

Scroll down for my free pattern and let the physical and the phantom abide together in peace and harmony this Halloween!

ghostlineup2
I got my glow in the dark eyes for the larger ghost from Suncatcher Eyes. I found so many colors, sizes and styles to choose from. It’s safety eye heaven! If you’re looking for something just that little bit special do pop on over and have a browse, you’ll be totally spoilt for choice!

Ghost Pattern

(US crochet terms are used throughout. See here for a simple to use conversion chart for UK terms).
Materials:
You will need:
Large Ghost – Worsted weight (Aran/10 ply) yarn and size H (5mm) hook.
Small Ghost – Light worsted weight (DK/8 ply) yarn and size D (3.25mm) hook.
White yarn
A small length of Black yarn.
Fiberfill (polyester) stuffing.
White chenille stick (pipe cleaner) or a piece of white felt (for the arms).
Safety eyes: Large ghost – 12 mm, Small ghost – 9 mm (or use beads/yarn/buttons instead).
Tapestry needle.
Instructions:
With White yarn make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each of next 6 st. (12 sts)
Rnd 3: [sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnds 4-6: Sc in each stitch around. (3 rounds)
Insert safety eyes in between Rnds 4 and 5.
Rnd 7: working in back loops only: [Sc in next st, sc2tog] 6 times. (12 sts)
Stuff head.
Rnd 8: [Sc2tog] 6 times. (6 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for finishing. Thread yarn tail onto tapestry needle, pick up front loop only of remaining 6 stitches, pull tight to close the hole. Weave in end.
Rnd 9: Hold head upside down and pull up a loop of White yarn in any leftover front loop from Rnd 7. 1 ch (does not count as a st), sc in same st as rejoined yarn, sc in each remaining leftover front loop to end, Slst to next st, turn. (18 sts)
Rnd 10: 3 ch (counts as first dc), skip stitch at base of 3 ch, dc in each remaining st to end, Slst to top of 3 ch, turn. (18 sts)
Rnd 11: 3 ch (counts as first dc), dc in stitch at base of 3 ch, 2 dc in each remaining st to end, Slst to top of 3 ch, turn. (36 sts)
Rnds 12-13: 3 ch (counts as first dc), skip stitch at base of 3 ch, dc in each remaining st to end, Slst to top of 3 ch, turn. (36 sts)
Rnd 14: 3 ch (counts as first dc), skip stitch at base of 3 ch, dc in next st, skip next st, [dc in each of next 2 st, skip next st] to end, Slst to top of 3 ch. (24 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for finishing.
To Finish:
Insert a length of pipe cleaner through Rnd 6 at side of head, then through stitch at center base of head and finally out through the opposite side of Rnd 6 of head, (or you can cut out two hands from white felt and sew these to the sides of your ghost if you prefer). Thread yarn tail onto tapestry needle and sew a line of running stitches in between Rnds 13 and 14, pull tight to gather up, fasten off and weave in end. (See pictures below).

Use a strand of Black yarn to sew a little V shape for mouth. And there you have your finished ghost.

The pipe cleaner arms make them very easy to attach to a twiggy tree or you could sew on a loop of yarn or clear nylon twine and hang them in a window or from door frames.DSCN5382
Each ghost takes approximately 20 minutes to make so there can be no excuses for not having a whole hoard of these little horrors in time for Halloween! Just don’t reach for the phone when they’re around. They tend to get a little jumpy!

Happy Hooking everyone!