Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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New Additions

Lots of new things have been happening around here over recent months. Mainly in the form of new amigurumis, patterns and patterns-in-progress but we have had another addition to the clan which isn’t actually crocheted for once! Can you guess? If it’s not crocheted then it must be… a cat! And so I’m really excited to introduce you to our lovely Laddie.

As you’ve probably gathered, he’s got quite a pronounced cleft lip but other than slightly bowed legs and a few oddly formed toes on his front feet – none of which seems to bother him in the slightest – he’s a regular friendly, sweet-natured, slightly scruffy old tabby cat. No one knows exactly what his age is as he was discovered in my mother-in-law’s garden where he appeared from the hedgerow as a flea-bitten, skinny stray about twelve years ago.

The Cats Protection charity estimated he was maybe between 5 and 7 years old back then, so he is probably at least 17 by now. My mother-in-law is obviously considerably older than that (unless you take the old cat years maths equation into account) and due to her advancing years has been finding it difficult to care for him recently. We eventually ended up bringing him home with us and hoped and prayed he would settle in OK – especially as we already have two other cats to think about and Laddie is used to being the star of his one cat show.

They are all keeping their distance from each other for the most part, with just the odd growl and hiss if any of them get too close and even that’s getting better by the day as they all learn about how to share the space with the new dynamic going on. They’re not exactly best friends yet but they seem to be putting up with each other tolerably well.

I think the look on Mojo’s face says it all…

And Laddie’s expression isn’t much better – although the lack of a top lip always makes him look a little on the grumpy side!

Despite by best efforts in encouraging Laddie to take his many and prolonged naps in an actual cat bed he has decided that my crochet corner is his favorite spot in the whole house.

He has definitely made himself at home there. He’s quite a poser too!

He’s as keen on finding out more about my crochet as the other cats are and likes to get in on the act if there’s a camera clicking away.

And if he’s not in my comfy armchair he occasionally prefers to groom and snooze, equally inconveniently, on the chair in front of my computer…

…as well as taking a regular prowl up and down my desk – usually when I’m trying to edit photos or write up patterns there!

As if I didn’t already have enough cat hair to combine with the yarn fluff floating around the place! Oh well, with my excessive love of yarn and cat’s I’ve long ago resigned myself to a daily anti-histamine tablet and sporadic bouts of violent sneezing.

On the crochet front my latest finished creation and addition to the family is a super cuddly version of my Bobbin the Bear pattern using James C. Brett’s Flutterby Chunky yarn. I got the idea from seeing SherrasYarnTails version of my monkeys in the February Ami-Along at amigurumipatterns.net (there’s a lovely photo of her monkey duo in this blog post). As soon as I saw them I was itching to have a go with some chunky chenille yarn myself.

This is probably the easiest and fastest to complete pattern in my collection so it was the perfect choice for a car journey up North to visit relatives. I managed to make several pieces in the car and then finished off the rest of the bits once I got home.

As Laddie is so often sprawled out in my studio armchair I’ve recently taken to crocheting on the sofa in the kitchen. We had a bit of a revamp of the whole room a month ago and now I love it in here so much! It’s bright and airy and the addition of the sofa means I can put my feet up and get really comfortable while I while away the hours with yarn and hook.

Naturally, Mojo and Rubick are just as keen on the new piece of furniture as I am, so there is a bit of a turf war going on here as well as upstairs in my studio with Laddie. I might as well just bin all of the cat beds I’ve bought!

At least they’ve been kind enough to leave me a little space in the middle.

Progress on the chenille bear crept on until she was all done and looking very cute in her frilly top. Now it’s her turn to have a lounge around on the sofa. This yarn was gorgeous to crochet with. It’s soft and sumptuous and I really love the almost pixelated effect of the chunky stitches. I shall definitely be working with it again in the near future.

As well as this bit of up-sizing I’ve been doing some more down-sizing too.

As it was time for Drake the Dragon’s pattern to go to single release I wanted to work through the final PDF to double check for errors, cross referencing it with the original version. I’ve already made about five Drake’s during the process of designing and checking the written instructions for the Dragons, Unicorns and More Fantasy Amigurumi book so I thought it would make the repetition of this task more interesting if I made my dragon in 4 ply yarn with a 1.75 mm hook instead of the usual DK yarn and a 3 mm hook.

I had some 12 mm cat style safety eyes which were the perfect fit. A pair of good quality glass eyes really bring a creature to life.

This cute mini project traveled with me around the house and in the car for a week or so until finally a baby dragon was born!

Drake and Dora were thrilled when their little dragonling was eventually hatched.

They’ve named him Daniel and you can see how they dote on him already!

While I was scouting around for more 4 ply yarn I found these cute as a button tiny 10 gram balls by Katia Yarns (I bought mine from a local market but you can get them online here).

Before long I had crocheted a sweet toadstool and just a little bit later, inspired by all the beautiful new colours I had just purchased I’d hooked up a whole lot more than I’d originally intended.

Now I have a bumper crop to turn into bag charms, ready for my next craft show.

I’ll be making a free pattern for them soon which I’ll post on this blog once it’s ready.

In other crochet news that is not amigurumi related, I have been very hard at work in the evenings making 100 crochet flowers for a friends country themed wedding later this year.

The Bride-to-be wants 50 crocheted sunflowers and 50 crocheted daisies. No small order, but once I got into the flow it was very enjoyable and has brightened up more than a few wintry evenings, daydreaming of the summer and all the wedding fun to be had this June.

Rubick is very serious about guarding the daisies from harm…

…and his diligent care meant that I finished all 100 without a hitch and now have them ready for delivery to the bride.

My granny stitch shawl, pulled from an old magazine, is progressing nicely. I’m having to add on a few rows to the original pattern, otherwise it would have been finished by now. The model in the photo must be the size of an average eight year old! Either that or my tension is way tighter than it should be. I’ve got plenty of this tweedy looking yarn left so luckily it’s not going to be a problem to make it a bit bigger.

And it’s a good job I do have lots of spare yarn because it looks like I’m going to have to make a blanket version for Rubick and Mojo and as well. It’s been a great hit with them both. Perhaps if I cover one of their cat beds with it I’ll get my sofa back!

Other things I’m currently working on are some mini hedgehogs…

…and last but not least, a revamped version of my Hazel the Rescue Cat pattern. It’s taking way longer than I had hoped because I can’t decide how many different kinds of cats to include (there will be at least four options) and I’m also still undecided as to how to write them all up in the most economical way possible without too much unnecessary repetition of the instructions. One thing I do know is that one of the options is going to be a tabby in honour of Laddie.

I already have a Rubick doppelganger…

…so I guess it has to be Mojo’s turn next. Then I’m thinking that a Siamese, a calico, a tortoiseshell and maybe a longhair would be fun to make too. After all you can never have too many cats around (said the mad cat lady!)


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Monkey Madness!

A big thanks to all of you who joined in with the February Ami-Along over at amigurumipatterns.net.

I managed to get my mini versions finished in time to show them off on the forums so now Mavis and Marvin have their hands full with their little monkey twins. Imagine the chaos these two are going to bring… and the love too, of course!

I really enjoyed seeing all the amazingly inventive interpretations of my design. Mavis and Marvin have never looked so good! Here’s a little montage of some of my favorites (if yours is there and you have a social media you’d like me to add, please feel free to let me know).

From top left to bottom right the creators of these cheeky monkeys are: Amigurumiliker, anggihyuka, BeetleAtBay, Bashacat, bonekikinhos, ChantalO, cherryltf, ChiaraFirever, defysocietyarts, Iamthedishwasher, Jellybubble18, JenniD, PenguinPlaceCrafts, lynda, MamaPia, Mikkycrafts, NomadCreation, PerImpStitches, sandaroo, Pipsqueak,  Sharnie, sloviska, Dace, Telle and last but not least, Yarnimals.

I love how they are all so different!

There are always lots of prizes on offer at the Ami-Alongs and this one was no exception.

Because this was the February event, and ran close to Valentine’s Day, the hosts of the Ami-Along awarded a prize for the most romantic picture which was won by Amigudolls. Two little monkeys with tails entwined in the shape of a love heart. Awww, just too cute!

Love was definitely in the air because HoneyBunnyAmigurumis won the prize as the most voted for by fellow Ami-Alongers with this heart-meltingly sweet bride and groom.

I was given the very difficult task of choosing a personal favourite and after much deliberation eventually plumped for this 1920’s looking Flapper couple by CheerfulChameleon.

I’m really rather envious of that magnificent fringed dress and all of the fancy jewellery. Her very dapper partner looks like a million dollars too. Wherever they’re planning on heading off to, I have a feeling these two are going to have a fabulous time painting the town red, all dressed up to the nines.

NinaLisa made a beautiful pink furry version, with the suitably glamorous name of Malvina.,,

…as well as a more traditional monkey pair to which she added a cute, smiley banana friend (free banana pattern by Barbara Strasser of Esbelotta.com here)

MadMomAli made a couple of monkeys in Hogwarts House colours. Now there is no mistaking where their allegiances lie!

And I am in love with this photo from myrtille95470 of her newly crocheted monkey wasting no time in making a firm friend of her cat.

And isn’t this photo of lucyjay’s three monkeys in the classic ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ poses wonderful!

Secretsparrow made a very inventive superhero trio. I feel sure that world is a much safer place now we have these fighting on the side of all that’s good!

These chunky monkeys by SherrasYarnTails, made with bulky weight Premier Parfait chenille yarn, has got me all excited to have a go at supersizing some of my other amigurumis.

I’ve been having trouble sourcing a similar yarn that’s available in the UK but have managed to find a selection by James C. Brett called Flutterby Chunky. The colours are quite limited but I can imagine a teddy bear in the lovely soft tones that I’ve been able to get hold of.

It will make a nice change from all the recent downsizing I’ve been doing. It’s a lot of fun making mini-gurumis with 4 ply yarn and a 1.75 mm hook but it really makes my hands ache after a while! I hope that crocheting with this thick chenille yarn will be a little kinder on my wrists and knuckles.

If I can find a similar yarn in a dark brown I shall attempt a maxi-gurumi monkey or two to add to my ever growing collection of primates (and a sloth).

What a lot of crochet going on! The Ami-Alongs happen regularly every month where a different designer gets to showcase a brand new and exclusive design. It’s been great fun and such a lovely way to connect with fellow amigurumi enthusiasts. I’ve shared tips, tricks, and anecdotes and have learnt a lot from others too! Thanks so much to all who joined in for your enthusiasm, support and general chit-chat. If you haven’t had a go at one of these yet but it sounds like something you might be interested in then check out the latest news on the  Ami-Along page to see what’s happening at the moment!

(If you’re a monkey fan and missed this event, Marvin and Mavis’s pattern is now available as a single pattern purchase here).

I’m working on another free pattern for a little toadstool bag charm at the moment so expect another blog post soon! In the meantime Mavis, Marvin, the twins and myself all bid you goodbye and wish you many hours of happy crocheting!


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Mavis and Marvin Monkey

Hello there and Happy Valentine’s to you all!

If you want to show your crochet the love here’s a heads up to get ready for a whole lot of merriment because Mavis and Marvin the mischievous monkeys are coming over for a play-date! In fact, as of today, their pattern will be available exclusively for one month over at Amigurumipatterns.net’s Ami-Along. As an extra bonus all Ami-Along participants can get 30% off all my other patterns in my AmigurumiPatterns Moji-Moji Design shop!

Mavis and Marvin are bursting with energy and love making their friends smile with their clever aerobic antics, so be sure to take them to the park where they can burn off all that energy. But be warned! Unless you are an Olympic athlete you may find it a challenge to keep up with them as they jump all over the swings and swing all over the climbing frames. Those curly monkey tails just love to wrap around anything they can find. If Mavis and Marvin should disappear for a while don’t forget to check the tree tops. That’s where they usually like to hide away.

You will probably be able to tempt them back to earth with a handful of roasted peanuts and foam banana sweets. As these are their favorite treats you could even use the promise of them to encourage Mavis and Marvin to sit quietly for a minute (but absolutely no more than that – I can assure you!).

I was asked to come up with a brand new design especially for the Ami-Along in the middle of January and it’s been a great kick start to the new year. As usual I began with a quick sketch in my dog-eared graph paper note book.

And it wasn’t long before a cute crocheted face followed.

There was a bit of tweaking and refining to do but this little monkey pattern went smoothly right from the start. It was fun to play around with the colours for the clothing.

 

Next thing I knew,  I had a boy monkey swinging off my hook and dashing around the studio too.

Marvin sports a smart bow tie at his neck and a straight hem on his sweater. Mavis’s has a scalloped edge and she wears a little bow proudly on her ear, making her the prettiest primate for miles around.

But what they both have in common is a love of stripes, a cheeky smile and the curliest tails you ever did see!

A lot of note taking and a heap of pattern writing later and I’ve got almost enough to make a whole troop.

I’ve even started on a couple of baby monkeys made with 4 ply yarn and a 1.75 mm hook. Oh my goodness! They are turning out so sweet!

I hope to be back to share a little more of the mini monkeys’ progress along with a round up of other news soon. I’m planning on finishing sewing mini Marvin together this afternoon. Well there are certainly worse ways to spend the day!

I’ll also be hopping in and out of the forums, answering questions and sharing tips and tricks (for the next month) so do come on over, share your progress and ask away!

Mavis, Marvin and myself are very much looking forward to meeting you there and seeing what ape-mazing amigurumis you create!

 


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Mini Christmas Stocking Pattern

It’s never too early to start your Christmas prep! Well, that’s what I think anyway, and if you agree with me you might like to start by hooking up a few miniature stockings to get you in the mood. If that’s simply a far too bonkers idea in February don’t forget to bookmark or download the pattern for later on in the year.

These dinky little socks are approximately 5″ (13 cm) long – so they’re the perfect size for pixies, elves and fairies to hang by the fireplace on Christmas Eve. If you happen to be a human they might be a bit small for that but you can employ them for a multitude of other uses instead.

They make fabulous tree decorations, mini gift bags, party favors, festive dinner table knife and fork holders or – if you are feeling very industrious – how about making a set of 24 for an advent calendar? String them up, number them and stuff with sweets and tiny treats to really build that Christmas excitement.

I made two calendars last year and really would recommend getting stuck in as soon as possible if you fancy having a go at that. I’s best to look on it as a bit of a crochet marathon and not a sprint – if you want to avoid a repetitive strain injury that is. In this case it really is slow and steady that wins the race.

For the stockings above I used a combination of James C. Brett’s Twinkle Range and various other glittery yarns that I have collected over the years. Being the magpie that I am, any yarn with a hint of a bling has to come home with me to brighten up my nest.

I also have a great back up plan for when I can’t find the exact shade of sparkly yarn I need. I get my little elf helper to wind some balls of plain acrylic doubled up with a thin strand of silver thread I bought a while ago off eBay. The cone cost around £12 but as there’s at least a squillion yards on there I reckon it was really good value. I don’t think I’ll have to be stocking up on that again anytime soon!

If you don’t have a wool winder, or a helpful elf, to combine the two threads into one ball, you can just ply them as you crochet. The latter technique can get a bit tangly if you’re not too careful though, so beware and take your time, paying special attention not to get in a knot while you’re working on the stripes.

Feeling a Christmas tingle yet? If you are then go gather up your supplies and let’s get hooking a stocking 🙂

Materials:
Each stocking requires around 5 grams each of light tone and dark tone DK yarn in a colour of your choice and 10 grams of white DK yarn.

You’ll also need a 2.5 mm crochet hook, a pair of scissors, a yarn needle and a decorative button.

*click here for a printable version of this pattern*

Pattern notes:
This pattern uses US sc (UK dc) throughout.

When making the stripes be sure to carry the unused yarn up the inside of the work. There’s no need to cut and tie off every time you change colour.

Crochet over all the yarn ends as you finish with them (apart from the final white yarn ends on the cuff and toe) so there will be hardly any darning in to do afterwards.

Cuff – Working in rows, in back loops only.

With White yarn make 13 ch (foundation chain).
Row 1: Starting in second ch from hook, sc in each st to end, turn. (12 sts)

Note: 1 ch at start of each row does not count as a st.
Rows 2-31: 1 ch, sc in each st to end, turn. (12 sts) (30 rows)
Row 32: 1 ch, sc in each st to end.

Closing Row: (Right side) 1 ch, fold cuff in half length ways, taking care to line up the row ends. Making sure stitches go through both layers to join: sc in each of next 32 row ends.
Cut White yarn, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Leg – Working in continuous spiral rounds.

Leave a white yarn end for sewing up the back of the cuff later. Crochet over all other yarn ends as you go.
Rnd 1: 
With Right Side facing, pull up a loop of Dark Tone yarn in the last st of the Closing Row, 1 ch (does not count as a st), sc in same st as join, sc in first st of Closing Row to join into a circle, then sc in each of next 30 st. (32 sts)

Rnd 2: Sc in each st around.
Change to Light Tone yarn.

If you prefer you can slst loosely in the first stitch to help minimise the ‘step’ between the colours.


Rnds 3-4: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Change to Dark Tone yarn.
Rnds 5-6: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Change to Light Tone yarn.
Rnds 7-8: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Change to Dark Tone yarn.
Rnds 9-10: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Change to Light Tone yarn.
Rnds 11-12: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Change to Dark Tone yarn.
Rnds 13-14: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Cut Dark Tone yarn. Change to Light Tone yarn.
Rnds 15-16: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Cut Light Tone yarn and mark the stitch directly under the split at the back of the cuff.

Heel – Working in rows.

Pull up a loop of White yarn in the seventh stitch to the right of the marked stitch. 1 ch (does not count as a st) sc in same st as join, sc in each of next 14 st, turn. (15 sts)

Note: 1 ch at start of each row does not count as a st.
Row 2: 1 ch, sc in each of next 10 st, turn. (10 sts)
Row 3: 1 ch, sc in each of first 5 st, turn. (5 sts)

Row 4: 1 ch, sc in each of next 5 st, sc in next st of Row 1, turn. (6 sts)

Row 5: 1 ch, sc in each of next 6 st, sc in next st of Row 2, turn. (7 sts)

Crocheting in each extra stitch from the row below creates the shaping for the heel.

Row 6: 1 ch, sc in each of next 7 st, sc in next st of Row 1, turn. (8 sts)
Row 7: 1 ch, sc in each of next 8 st, sc in next st of Row 2, turn. (9 sts)
Row 8: 1 ch, sc in each of next 9 st, sc in next st of Row 1, turn. (10 sts)
Row 9: 1 ch, sc in each of next 10 st, sc in next st of Row 2, turn. (11 sts)
Row 10: 1 ch, sc in each of next 11 st, sc in next st of Row 1, turn. (12 sts)
Row 11: 1 ch, sc in each of next 12 st, sc in next st of Row 2, turn. (13 sts)
Row 12: 1 ch, sc in each of next 13 st, sc in next st of Row 1, turn. (14 sts)
Row 13: 1 ch, sc in each of next 14 st, sc in next st of Row 2. (15 sts)
Cut White yarn.

Foot – Working in continuous spiral rounds.

Rnd 1: Pull up a loop of Dark Tone yarn in st at center of Row 13 of heel (there should be 7 heel stitches either side of this stitch), 1 ch (does not count as a st) sc in same st, sc in each of next 7 st of heel, skip first st of leg, sc in each of next 15 st, skip next st, sc in each of next 7 st of heel. (30 sts)

Rnd 2: Sc in each st around.
Change to Light Tone yarn.
Rnds 3-4: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Change to Dark Tone yarn.
Rnd 5-6: Sc in each st around.
Cut Dark Tone Yarn. Change to Light Tone yarn.
Rnds 7-8: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Cut Light Tone yarn.

Toe – Working in continuous spiral rounds.

Change to White yarn.
Rnd 1: Sc in each st around.

Rnd 2: [Sc in each of next 8 st, dec] 3 times. (27 sts)
Rnd 3: [Sc in each of next 7 st, dec] 3 times. (24 sts)
Rnd 4: [Sc in each of next 2 st, dec] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 5: [Sc in next st, dec] 6 times. (12 sts)
Rnd 6: Dec 6 times. (6 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for finishing. Thread yarn tail onto yarn needle, pick up front loop only of remaining 6 stitches. Pull tight to close the hole. Fasten off.

Weave in end. Sew back seam of Cuff together. Weave in the yarn ends.b Sew a decorative button to front center of Cuff.

Closing Loop
Leaving a long yarn tail at beginning, pull up a loop of White yarn in stitch at middle of back half of Cuff, make 12 ch (you may need to adjust your chain length to suit your button size), fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for sewing.
Thread yarn tail onto yarn needle. Insert needle into base of 12 ch and tie yarn tails together. Weave in ends.

Hanging loop
Leaving a long yarn tail at beginning, pull up a loop of White yarn in stitch at back edge of Cuff, in line with back of heel, make 24 ch, fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail for sewing.
Thread yarn tail onto yarn needle. Insert needle into base of 24 ch and tie yarn tails together. Weave in ends.

Fill with treats and put Closing Loop over button to close the top of the Stocking.

*click here for a printable version of this pattern*

xxx 🙂 Happy Hooking! 🙂 xxx

 


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Summer’s End

It’s been a long and hot summer this year, which makes a change for this part of the world. I’m certainly not complaining and have loved seeking out every bit of sunshine that has come my way. Crocheting outdoors has been a perpetual pleasure. I do love it when my studio is the garden!

Al-fresc-crochet

I’ve been particularly enjoying working on the Persian Tiles blanket that I started at the beginning of the summer.

blanket-edging

Last time I showed you my progress I was just starting to join the tiles together. It didn’t take me very long, and soon after that I started with the edging. This is still my favorite part of blanket making. The satisfaction of being near the end of a big project and the repetitive long stretches creating simple stitch groups is very soothing to my soul.

tiles-blanket-border

Edging is such a perfect pastime for long car journeys too. There has been no big, long holiday for us this year, just a few days out instead. As we crawled along the motorway (why is the traffic always so bad these days?) I always had my favorite project with me and happily hooked the miles away.

tofu-cute

This summer I have been making the most of being with my cats – especially Minnie and Pogo – because we received some sad news about both of them earlier this year when they were diagnosed with the same kind of inoperable cancer. Heart breakingly we had to say goodbye to them within weeks of each other just a short while ago.

pogo-and-the-crochet-stars

I often wondered if they were brother and sister but no-one is really sure of their exact relationship. We adopted them from a rescue shelter ten years ago after they had been brought in when their previous owner moved house and left them behind to fend for themselves. So perhaps they were actually siblings after all and there was a genetic pre-disposition that could explain our terrible bad luck in having to deal with two similar diagnoses so close to each other.

They arrived at our home on the same day and left us almost at the same time. I hope they’re still looking out for each other, wherever they are now.

Minnie-steals-a-spot

I like to think they’re on that Rainbow Bridge I’ve heard so much about recently. I miss them such a lot but am thankful for all the beautiful memories made from our journey together and the privilege of being able to have them both in my life in the first place.

pogo-and-the-blanket

Now I have just two cats and I’m going to be sure to appreciate every single minute of their company with even more mindfulness.

mojo-and-the-tiles-blanket

Mojo doesn’t need to be asked twice to try out the nearly completed blanket and as the weather takes a cooler turn I have been working on the remainder of the edging indoors.

last-rounds-persian-tiles

I do like being tucked up cosy and crocheting in pyjamas so I find myself looking forward to the autumn when I’ll be able to indulge in much more of that sort of thing.

Mojo-getting-skitty

I can see there will be competition for the new blanket from the get go!  I’m sure Mojo and I will be able to work out an amicable time share – which usually runs along the lines of >once Mojo’s got bored of it and wandered off then it’s my turn<

mojo-lounging

Glad to see my creative talents are so openly admired though.

I have to admit, the final piece is really rather gorgeous!

persian-tiles-throw

As I’ll  be spending more time indoors over the next few months I have embarked upon a great big clear out of my studio. Things had got a bit chaotic over recent months, what with being out and about a bit more, working in the garden lots and looking after poorly cats, my workspace became a bit of a dumping ground, .

I’ve begun the great clean up by sorting through my collection of amigurumi. Gathering it all together from their various storage places was a huge feat in itself. There was no room in my studio to sift through this crochet mountain so my youngest son helped me carry it all downstairs where we took over the kitchen for the whole day and proceeded to catalogue anything and everything as it came to hand. They have now been assigned to storage crates where I can easily get at them when needed.

my-amigurumi-mountain

I reckon that this is about two thirds of my amigurumi collection. I sure have been a busy bee these last six years! As I’m hoping to re-photograph a lot of my earlier amigurumi and update my pattern listings, being able to find what I need at a moments notice is going to make the task a whole lot easier.

Next in line for a good shake up were my yarn cubbies. There is something very, very satisfying about making yarn rainbows and filling in all the gaps I’ve made in my stash over the past few months.

yarn-cubbies

The studio’s not immaculately tidy yet but we’re getting there.

yarn-cubbies-and-rubick

You can tell how exhausting all this cleaning up is from Rubick’s demeanor. That’s exactly how I felt after a few hours. Watching me hard at work is obviously just as tiring!

tidy-studio

And this is where I’m at now, all tidied up (mostly) and my summer project blanket on standby to bring a little brightness to the sun starved autumn/winter days ahead.

The special thing about a big crochet project like this is that you pour your heart and soul into it for so long. Lovingly creating it stitch by stitch as life rolls by in parallel motion, ultimately the end result has precious memories woven into the very fabric of it. My Persian Tiles blanket has the record breaking heat of this summer twisted into its fibres alongside warm memories of the companionship of Minnie…

minnie-on-the-blanket

…and Pogo…

pogo-garden-snoozing

…and how the cats, the crochet and me had a wonderful last summer together in our little garden, making the most of every colourful, relaxing, sun soaked minute.

 


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Crocheting for Fun

Technically, all the crocheting that I do can really be classed as fun, I mean, it’s crochet right? But sometimes it’s nice to take a break from designing my own patterns and all the thinking and fretting about what colours, proportions and stitches to use. Sometimes what I want to do is pick up a hook and someone else’s pattern, stuff a basket with pre-chosen yarn and simply revel in the bliss of crocheting something beautiful without the constant decision making that normally accompanies my hook ‘n’ yarn time.

Persian-Tiles-project

With that thought in mind, and a whole calendar full of of light airy summer evenings and sunny (fingers crossed!) weekend afternoons stacking up in the near future I set myself the delightful task of browsing the internet for a suitable summer project.

It didn’t take long for me to settle on this gorgeous Persian Tiles blanket. The pattern is designed by Jane Crowfoot and the Eastern Jewels colour scheme for this version is the work of Lucia Dunn.

(If you feel like you’re up for the challenge the whole pack can be ordered from Minerva Crafts here). I thought it was a snip at £29.99 and I reckon I deserve a treat every now and again so I didn’t hesitate to click the buy now button. I couldn’t wait to get started, so lucky for me it was only a couple of days until the postman arrived bearing gifts.

colour-scheme

After ripping open the packaging and giving all the jewel like colours a proper squeeze I had a good read through the notes and scanned a few of the pattern rounds to reassure myself I would be able to handle this.

It’s a different ball game altogether from amigurumi, but I’m always keen to improve on my crochet skills and this looked like it was going to be just the right amount of brain strain to make it interesting to work up but not so much of a brain drain that I’d end up with a headache.

mandala

I started in the late evening of the day my package arrived and hooked my way diligently through each round, feeling super excited every time I got to join in a new colour.

Luckily for me hubby is a sound sleeper so when I found I couldn’t put my hook down and the clock hands were heading towards midnight it wasn’t really a big problem. Tucked up in bed, cats and hubby snoozing all around and a huge pile of yarn to turn into crochet gold, I worked on and on through the night, determined to finish the first tile before I got some shut eye.

mandala-evenings

And true to my intentions, I did it. One down and fifteen to go. Yay!

finished-tile

The very next day I loaded up a wicker basket with all the essentials so I’d have my summer project ready to grab and go wherever my fancy took me.

Persian-Tiles-basket

I love to crochet in the garden whenever it’s sunny, or when it is at least warm and not raining – often the best we can hope for in this temperate English climate!

project-basket

Pogo made a good job of guarding the precious firstborn Persian Tile…

pogo-guards-the-crochet

…while I got on with the rest. I think he’s impressed with my craftsmanship, or is he judging me harshly? Those cat faces are so difficult to interpret sometimes…

mandala-project-case

This is quite a complicated design at first glance but as I got used to each individual round on the first tile I knew it would be much easier to remember the repeats without looking constantly at the pattern if I made all the first rounds of the next fifteen tiles one after the other, then all the second rounds followed by all the third rounds and so on.

mandala centres

Putting the pieces onto stitch holders once each round was finished made sure that I kept them in the right order and made it easier to cross check which yarn ball I should be using next for each piece.

crochet-blanket-beginnings

It has been so exciting to see the colours play against each other in such a big variety of combinations – all of them mouth-wateringly juicy and a joy to behold.

crochet-circles

Cat inspection status – passed and approved – but not enough of it yet to warrant sitting on so, for a change, Mojo moves swiftly along.

mojo-and-the-circles

I’ve been making an effort to darn in the yarn tails as I go. There are lots of colour changes in these motifs and if I left them all until the end I could see that this may get to be very disheartening. So, tapestry needle at the ready, battle was commenced at least every round or two.

persian-tiles-basket-2

The crochet motifs themselves may not represent significant cat tempting comfort at this early stage in their development but the yarn basket certainly does.

Minnie-steals-a-spot

I turned my back for a few seconds and this furry interloper appeared as if from nowhere and made herself right at home.

minnie-snoozing

Far be it from me to come between a cat and their nap time so I toddled off to have a cuppa and catch up on some of the odd household jobs on the never ending to-do list.

Pogo-in-the-shade

In my small city garden it’s necessary to chase the sunshine, or shade – depending on the ambient temperature and my mood – from one corner to the other so I have been making good use of the Mexican Blanket I crocheted a couple of years ago to create a cosy spot as and when and where I need it.

Rubick-keeps-me-company

Rubick knows a good spot when he see it too. There’s plenty of room to spare on the blanket so no worries there. Such sweet company, even if I’m at constant risk of a good old leg-clawing as he randomly and unexpectedly decides to stab at a jiggling yarn end every now and again!

project-progress

After a few pleasant evenings, and the odd few hours carved out of a weekend or two, more than satisfactory progress was being made. I found myself really looking forward to downing my amigurumi hook at the end of the working day only to almost immediately exchange it for a different hook in order to work another few rounds of mandala magic.

Fast forward a little bit and I’m now at the stage where the star shapes have been completed.

mandala-stars

At this rate the project isn’t going to take up all of my summer as I had first imagined. I think I may have been guilty of a touch of crochet gluttony here, but there are surely much worse sins than that so I’m going to carry on cramming in every spare minute I can with this lovely heart lifting project until it’s finished.

You see Pogo’s happy little face here? Well, that just about sums up how I’m feeling about this fledgling blanket too.

pogo-and-the-crochet-stars

As much as I am enjoying the journey I’m so excited to reach the end so that I can add it to my ever growing pile of crocheted furnishings. There’s a fair way to go yet but I’m looking forward to every minute of it!


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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…

blue-and-pink-giraffes

…not three…

three-giraffes

…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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Looping the Loops

All this cold weather, unseasonable snow and bitingly cold winds (can it really be springtime?) have made me yearn for a project that encourages me to spend any spare time comfortably embedded in the house, out of harms way from the vagaries that the British weather throws at us.

And as pretty as such scenes are for an hour or two on a brisk walk through the park or during a snowman making session in the back garden there really is nothing as blissful to me as a cosy indoor nook, and a lapful of yarn.

Looking around my studio I had no shortage of sadly neglected projects that I could have been getting on with. However, not being the kind of person to let an out of control work in progress pile get in the way I walked the path I tread most often and decided to start a brand new project instead. Well, we’ve all been there and done that many more times than is decent or proper, haven’t we?

Inspired by the sumptuous look of the loop stitch cushion cover I made for my bed a few years ago I embarked on another circular project that has been on my mind since buying a bargain basement footstool a while back.

It was a very cheap and cheerful £3 and is nice and sturdy with lovely wooden legs but a black and white cotton fabric top that’s not really my style.

Replacing the monochrome stripes with gorgeous spirals of bright yarn was way more my thing and I fancied that the loopstitch would be perfect for adding a little grooviness and a soft and squishy haven under my tired feet every time I had the urge to put them up.

From little metaphorical acorns…

…do loopy metaphorical oak trees grow.

I suppose it’s more of a sapling at this stage but with all that cold weather keeping me home it was just a case of round and round in circles until it started to take shape.

In the end though I decided the first circle wasn’t quite turning out the way I wanted. The colours were very pretty but the total randomness wasn’t really doing it for me so I stopped right here…

…and started all over again. I grouped similar colours together in bands this time which gave them much more impact. I also switched hook sizes up from a 3 mm to a 4 mm this time so that the fabric would have more elasticity when stretching it over the stool. This also had the benefit of making the whole thing grow a little faster and the looser tension was much easier on my hands.

Sadly I couldn’t stay tucked up forever, no matter how cold the weather was out there in the big wide world so eventually it was time to head outdoors and take a train trip to visit a friend and call in on a yarn shop on the way to bolster supplies. I packed up all the yarn for my project very conveniently inside the work itself and popped in a few tools of the trade.

No more snow left on the station by now but an icy chill on Platform One meant I very nearly didn’t get my crochet out… though in the end I couldn’t resist!

With a quarter of an hour to while away I managed a few loops huddled on the bench. The going was slow as my fingers were a bit reluctant to make the necessary movements in such low temperatures but I persevered. Not a great amount of progress was made but it was perfect for keeping my lap warm!

When the train arrived I had the special thrill of managing to find a whole four seater table area all to myself. Seems there weren’t too many other travelers braving sub zero temperatures today.

I crocheted another round in the comfort of the warm and nearly empty train but this was only a short journey so it was soon time to disembark. Loop stitches are not as quick as regular stitches but the rhythmic repetition is just as relaxing as any round of single crochets. I had meant to do a bit more once I arrived at my friend’s flat but in the end we were so busy chatting and catching up that I didn’t even get it out of my bag.

Plenty of time to get stuck in again once I was home and all tucked up in my pyjamas. Crocheting in bed definitely beats crocheting on a windy railway station any day.

Can you tell that Pogo agrees? He can be found snoozing away on the blankets for at least 70% of his time. He makes me think of of ‘Bagpuss, oh, Bagpuss Oh, fat, furry cat puss, wake up and look at this thing that I bring’. Except he’s not pink and stripy but he is a bit tubby and very sleepy.

Rubick prefers to get involved with the yarn rather than take a nap.

Oh, the energy of youth! It would be a brave person who tries to winkle a ball of yarn from underneath this tuxedo firecracker!

Eventually I do sneak the balls of yarn back one by one and some time later I have actually finished all the loop stitch rounds. Just the ends to knot together and trim at this point. It feels like such a luxury and somehow a bit of a cheat not to have to darn them in but no-ones going to be seeing this side of the cover once it’s in place. Hurrah!

I finished off the part that would gather underneath with a round of single crochet followed by a round of [1 sc, 1 ch, skip 1 sc] repeated to the end to make a round of small eyelets. A final round of sc after that and it was finished. I fashioned a thin cord made of 200 ch and threaded that in and out of the eyelets to pull everything tight and tied in a bow to secure the whole thing in place.

In future I will up the hook size slightly to make the single crochets a bit looser as they were considerably tighter than the loop stitches and needed a bit of initial stretching to get these final rounds over the top of the footstool. But I wrestled it on in the end and am really pleased with the outcome.

It’s fun and vibrant and is going to cheer my tired old feet and grey soaked winter eyes up no end.

Now it has pride of place in my crochet corner.

I’m gradually yarn bombing everything I can find in here. All the colourful cushions are a great tonic when the clouds just keep on rolling in. They can dump shovelfuls of snow or bucketfuls of rain on the other side of the window but I shall mostly be found crocheting in here until things warm up a bit out there. The yellow blooms on the Forsythia in the garden are telling me that spring has sprung but until the thermometer raises itself a few degrees in agreement I’m staying in as much as possible!


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Monster Madness

I’m a bit late with this post but wanted to give a heads up to anyone who doesn’t already know that the Amigurumi Monsters book is now available to order from amigurumipatterns.net

The pre-sale phase lasts until Wednesday 23rd August, 2017 so if you like to get a bargain follow the link above and it will take you straight to the ordering page.

As well as getting your hands on my pattern for Jeepers and Creepers you’ll also be able to crochet all these other crazy characters to keep them company.

I think you’ll agree there’s something there for everybody, as long as they like monsters of course. But then who could resist when they’re all as cute as these?

One of the things I love about monsters is the endless colour combinations. I couldn’t resist making a whole rainbow of mine. Here they are with a bunch of spare eyeballs that they rounded up during one of their more mischievous moments.

Jeepers and Creepers have an urge to herd things. They’re like the monster equivalent of a sheepdog, though they’re much too tiny for a flock of sheep to take any notice of as they easily get lost in the long grass.

Did you ever wonder what that noise coming from under the bed was? Were you brave enough to take a look in the middle of the night? If you were very quiet and very quick you may have glimpsed one or two of these cheeky monsters staring back at you in wide-eyed wonder.

Their three big eyes help them to peer about in the gloomy spaces under your furniture where they spend a lot of their time indulging their herding instinct by rolling up household fluff into dust bunnies. Even if you’re not fast enough to see these shy little monsters for yourself you may well have found a dust bunny or two to prove their existence. There are certainly plenty of those sneezy, wheeze inducing things in my house, but then that’s hardly surprising when there are so many members of Jeepers and Creepers family living under my roof – though my lack of passion for vacuuming when there’s crochet to be done also adds to the problem, I’m quite sure!

Their pattern was kindly tested for the book by three different crocheters and these are the results…

From left to right these goggle eyed creations were made by Stephanie, Iris Dongo and Stephanie Plets. Thank you ladies, you did an awesome job!

Wanting to have my fair share of the fun I also volunteered to test a pattern and got to make Toby the Triclops by Noah (Younique Crafts).

Toby is a very, very cuddly kind of monster – even his eyeballs are squishy! Two of my under-bed-sweepers were thrilled with their new pal and scurried on over for a big cuddle. They’re not really bothered about personal space and just assume every monster they meet wants a squeeze!

Toby looks a bit startled by this, but then he looks a bit startled by most things. That’s what happens when you can’t blink because you’ve got no eyelids.

I loved him so much I made another. This time, instead of DK yarn and 3 mm hook I used 4 ply yarn and a 2 mm hook.

Toby is convinced it’s his long lost little sister, Tabitha. She’s was too young to remember them being separated so she can’t say for sure but knows that she has always dreamed of having a big brother. I have to say, there is a very striking family resemblance so Toby may well be right!

A family re-union is always a lovely occasion but now Jeepers and Creepers are feeling a bit left out.

Oh well, they’ve always got each other – and million dust bunnies- to play with.

If you still haven’t had enough of making monsters after you have diligently made your way through this newest book, I’m currently finishing writing up a few more patterns for strange and alien looking creatures so keep your eyes peeled for more news about that coming very soon!


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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!