Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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#AmiguruMay – Part One

I took part in my first Instagram challenge last month. Set up with such fabulous attention to detail by Ilaria of Airali Design fame, the idea was to post a photo every day from May 1st – 31st on the very cleverly titled hashtag of AmiguruMAY. Ilaria even made us all printable sheets to help organize our thoughts and plan a full months worth of posts, which really did come in handy for someone as scatterbrained as me!

I’m usually horribly unorganized when it comes to social media and though I love making posts and connecting with people, thanks to the everyday demands of creating new patterns, finishing deadlines, decluttering workspaces, replying to emails and answering queries to name a few of my daily distractions (as well as all the unspeakably horrid housework and other mundanities of life), remembering to post regularly sometimes falls behind. So this time I vowed to keep up, and apart from the odd slip (bank holiday excesses, Hen Weekend, tooth abscess, poorly cat to vets, among other excuses!) I think I kept up rather well.

So, especially for those of you who don’t have an Instagram account (you should get one – it’s great fun!) and for anyone who already follows me but doesn’t mind a recap of last months prompts and pretty pictures, here is Part One Days 1-15 of #amigurumay, complete with the accompanying witterings that fell out of my head as I went along. (Part 2 – Days 16-31 to follow shortly).

Day 1 – Current WIP

My current WIP is a super soft fluffy cat. Having a blast crocheting with this lovely yarn by King Cole. Four more colourways arrived in the post yesterday and more cat’s eyes are on order so there will be kitties everywhere soon – just how I like it!

Day 2 – Inspirations

One of my big inspirations is the natural world and it’s abundance of cute and quirky creatures. While I’m crocheting the amigurumi my mind starts working overtime creating little characters and stories for them and so they then become an inspiration in themselves.
This is Cyril the Squirrel who is Head Gardener at Nutsford Manor. Of all the seasons he loves autumn the best because he can put his bushy tail to work sweeping up the fallen leaves while collecting acorns and conkers for his winter pantry.

Day 3 – Tools

A comfy crochet hook is so important but my favorite Clover ones were all a muddy yellow so I painted them in rainbow colours and added a liberal sprinkling of polka dots.
Also couldn’t live without my stitch markers, and my upcycled pincushion made from an old egg cup keeps all the smaller bits and bobs to hand ‚̧

Day 4 – The Smallest

So far my tiniest amigurumis are a downsizing of the rabbit and mouse from my ‘Minimals – Little Pet Shop’ pattern.
As these are even smaller than the original minimals they should probably be called micromals instead ūüėĀ

I made these with 2 ply crochet cotton and a 1.5 mm hook (while wearing my strongest pair of reading glasses!)

Day 5 – Introduce Yourself & Day 6 – Designer or Maker

Running a bit behind myself after a mega busy bank holiday weekend so doing two days at once here…
My name’s Janine and I love to crochet. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to turn my hobby into my job and now I design crochet patterns under my shop name of Moji-Moji Design. I think that’s covered both topics quite well… short but sweet! ūüėČ ūüć¨

Day 7 – Favorite Yarn

Tricky one this as I just love yarn of all types. I usually favor DK weight acrylics for my amigurumi but am having a bit of a love affair with these tiny 10g balls of cotton yarn by Katia at the moment. The colours are gorgeous and they’re the perfect size for mini crochet projects on the go. As you can see I’ve gone a bit crazy for mushrooms recently!

Day 8 – Animals

I’ve made a lot of animal amigurumi patterns over the years. Here’s a selection of some of my favorites.

Day 9 – How and When I Started

I first got into toy making when my three boys were small. I was also childminding around that time and I loved making toys for all the kiddies in my life – and there were lots of them! I could only knit back then and these aliens were a favorite with us all.

I remember thinking how great it would be to create my own characters but found designing flat pieces for seaming up, or juggling four needles to create a 3D piece, really difficult so I put my ambitions on hold for a while and enjoyed following other people’s patterns instead.

My joy at discovering the almost seamless amigurumi crochet method and the ability to self publish on Etsy about six years ago was immense! Those two things were real game changers for me and I never looked back! ūüĎĆūüėĀūüĎć

Day 10 – My First Ami

I’ve done a double take on this one and included my very, very first ever ami (in the Instax photo) which was a fox from a free pattern I found on Nimoe’s Blog and also the first ami I designed myself – twin lambs called Lulu and Lollo. I was thrilled when they were chosen to be in¬†#Zoomigurumi2about 6 years ago. This was my first experience of being published and definitely helped push my amigurumi ambitions to the next level!

Day 11- The Biggest

My biggest amigurumi so far is an up-sizing of my Bobbin the Bear pattern using chunky chenille yarn and a 4.5 mm hook. Loved working with this Flutterby yarn. It’s so soft and I really like the effect of the puffy looking stitches. I’ll definitely be using it again in future projects.

Day 12 – Safety Eyes

I use safety eyes in most of my amigurumi. Good quality eyes really makes a face come to life as this little dragon face proves rather well ūüĎÄ

Day 13 – Top Tip

My top tip is to take your time when sewing your amigurumi together. Like many of us crocheters the sewing element comes lower down on my list of enjoyable tasks but it’s often the neatness of the assembled pieces that will take your amigurumi to a whole new level of professionalism.
I generally use mattress stich for sewing on appendages and back stitch for flat patches. A knitting needle is a great tool for skewering parts together. It avoids the use of fiddly pins and is easy to adjust until you get the placement perfect.

Day 14 – Favorite Pattern

As I am usually busy designing my own patterns I rarely get to try out other people’s. So I thought I’d do a quick check of my Etsy stats and see which pattern is the favorite with my customers at the moment. Turns out it’s Dante the Donkey and Carlos the Cactus. Seems that people like the heartwarming friendship between a quadruped and a succulent! ūüĆĶ‚̧ ūüźé

Day 15 Hands at Work

Technically speaking this is paws at work, not hands, but Tilly Mouse wanted to tell you how much she loves helping me with my crochet. Sewing on buttons is her speciality.

There are a few loose ends for some new designs I need to tidy up over the next few days but I’ll be back soon to post the second part of my AmiguruMay adventure!


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An amigurumi comes to life

After being rudely awakened at 5 o’clock last Friday¬†morning by Mojo the cat bringing a loudly chirruping starling into my bedroom, I wasn’t going to go back to sleep any time soon so I decided to start early and¬†spend¬†the¬†day giving my Cyril the Squirrel pattern a final run through before I listed it in my online shops. The best way for me to test my own patterns is to leave the whole thing for a while and then to come back to it when I’m fresh and the stitch counts and number of rows are no longer seared into my brain.¬†(Don’t worry about the starling, I rescued it, rested it for a while in a bird cage¬†I keep handy for just such emergencies and it flew off into the sky an hour later). To make the repeating of projects more fun I like to change the colour and/or the hook size to make the whole process¬†slightly different each time. This time I’ve pushed the hook size right down to a 2 mm and am going to make this squirrel in a soft grey and a slightly fluffy cream yarn, both by Rowan and bought from a local yarn store sale for ¬£1 a ball. What a bargain bonanza!¬†Although, of course, this means I buy much¬†more than I really need thus diminishing the money saving¬†aspect. But then again, how much is too much?! I’m sure it will all come in handy sooner or later.

Squirrel7

My other favorite bits and pieces and amigurumi essentials are all gathered together into a wicker project tray. So we’re ready to go. The sun is shining and I have a whole day, dedicated to crochet, stretching ahead of me. Bliss. I’ve even got a few extra hours to play with thanks to my Mojo alarm call!

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By 10am I’ve had a lazy breakfast, several cups of tea, become distracted by Pinterest and Facebook and also, the main aim of the day of course,¬†hooked up all¬†these squirrel parts. I printed out a copy of the pattern in the end and turned the computer off ¬†so no chance of any further internetty time wasting diversions. It’s just too much temptation to have a quick click here and there when it’s on and one of the main things about pattern testing is total focus on the job in hand! The smaller than usual hook choice has been something of a challenge, making my fingers ache a little and proving a tough deal to feed the safety eyes through, but where there’s a will there’s a way and I manage to soldier on. It’s going to be nice to have a smaller version of Cyril to join the crew of my ever growing squirrel family.

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A few more hours later and all squirrel parts are completed. Minor tweaks are made to the word file, which is then made into a PDF ready for uploading later. Squirrel5

One of the really fun parts for me is joining all the components together, embroidering on any features and seeing it come to life as a fully fledged character. Squirrel1

But¬†of course everyone knows that amigurumi¬†don’t really come to life. That is, not until the Blue Fairy pays a visit and says¬†those magic words:

‚ąó¬†“Little squirrel made of twine, awake! The gift of life is thine.”¬†‚ąó

sBlueFairyMagic1

Hooray! My squirrel is finally really real. It turns out this one’s a girl and she’s called Cheryl. Just like any self respecting, fashion conscious lady rodent¬†she want’s to choose her own outfit. So off we go to¬†explore the yarn stash and see what’s on offer. Hmm, yes I think the red would be perfect too¬†and that¬†fiery¬†orange trim will¬†finish it off a treat. Now measurements are taken and details must be decided. Cheryl doesn’t want a flat cap like Cyril, she prefers a much more feminine wide brimmed sun hat. Back to the drawing board for that one then.

Squirrel8

A little more hooking later and ‘Voila’ … Cheryl in her Cherry Red ensemble. We even went and picked some daisies from her cottage garden, one to decorate her hat and a whole bunch for the kitchen table. DSCN3673

If you want to adapt the¬†Cyril the Squirrel pattern into Cheryl the Squirrel here’s a free pattern extra¬†for how I made her¬†wide brimmed hat and the little flowers:

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Note: Pattern written in US terms. Us single crochet (sc) is equivalent to UK double crochet (dc)

Hat
With the same sized hook you used for the main pattern and Red Yarn make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st to end. (12 sts)
Rnd 3: [Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 4: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (24 sts)
Rnds 5-6: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Change to Orange yarn.
Rnd 7: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 8: Working in Front Loops only: [Sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (30 sts)
Change to Red yarn.
Rnd 9: Sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st, ch 6, skip next 5 st, [Sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc innext st] 2 times, ch 6, skip next 5 st, sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st. (36 sts)
Rnd 10: [Sc in each of next 5 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (42 sts)
Rnd 11: [Sc in each of next 6 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (48 sts)
Change to Orange yarn.
Rnd 12: Sc in each st around.
Fasten off, weave in ends.

Flower
With White yarn make 4 ch, Slst in first ch, [3 ch, Slst in same ch as first Slst] 4 times. (5 petals)
Fasten off. Make a yellow French Knot in center of flower. Sew to front of hat at the side of one of the ear slits.¬†Fit hat over Cheryl’s ears. Add a little stuffing to shape and with a strand of Red yarn sew Rnd 9¬†in place to top of head.

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Chapeau 
Avec la  même taille de crochet que vous avez utilisé pour le modèle principal et le fil Rouge.
Faire ch 2.
Rg 1: 6 ms dans la 2ième ml à partir du crochet du crochet. (6 pts)
Rg 2: 2 ms dans chaque m jusqu’à la fin. (12 pts)
Rg 3: [Ms dans la m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suivante] 6 fois. (18 pts)
Rg 4: [Ms dans chacune des 2 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv] 6 fois. (24 pts)
Rg 5: 6 ms dans chaque m du tour. (2 tours)
Changer de fil Orange.
Rg 7: Ms dans chaque m du tour.
Rg 8: Travailler seulement sur les boucles avant: [ms dans chacune des 3 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv] 6 fois. (30pts)
Changer de fil Rouge.
Rg 9: Ms dans chacune des 4 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv, 6 ml, sauter les 5 m suiv, [Ms dans chacune des 4 m suiv, 2 ms dans m suiv] 2 fois, 6 ml, sauter les 5 m suiv, ms dans chacune des 4 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv. (36pts)
Rg 10: [Ms dans chacune des 5 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv] 6 fois. (42 pts)
Rg 11: [Ms dans chacune des 6 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv] 6 fois. (48 pts)
Changer de fil Orange.
Rg 12: Ms dans chaque m du tour. Arrêter, Rentrer les fils.

Fleur
Avec le fil Blanc faire 4 ml, mc dans la 1ière ml, [3 ml, mc dans la même ml que la 1ière mc] 4 fois. (5 pétales)
Couper le fil. Faire un Point de NŇďud (French Knot) Jaune dans le centre de la fleur. Coudre √† l’avant du chapeau sur le c√īt√© de l’une des fentes de l’oreille. Placer le chapeau sur les oreilles de Cheryl. Ajouter un peu de rembourrage au chapeau et avec un brin de fil rouge coudre au Rg 9 sur le haut de la t√™te.

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Here we have Cyril and Cheryl deep in¬†discussion about the relative merits of vegetable versus¬†flower gardening. Personally I’m partial to a bit of both but not much good at either! Squirrels

I have a huge soft spot for squirrels¬†it’s true, and Cheryl¬†is the fifth one I’ve made so far. One is in Belgium with the book publisher but the other four¬†are currently living here with me. ¬†These are all made with light worsted weight (DK) yarn but I’ve varied the hook size from 3.75mm all the way down to to 2mm.¬†Come and meet the gardening gang!

From left to right we have Cyril, Errol, Beryl and Cheryl.

SquirrelLineup

I do enjoy¬†making these squirrels so who knows how many I’ll end up with?! I’m going to have to open up that second Etsy shop and re-home some of my ever growing cache of amigurumis at some point. Ah, but parting will be such¬†sweet sorrow!


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Last Few Days of Pre-Sale

Just thought I’d do a quick post to spread the word! Amigurumi Animals at Work, the new book ¬†compiled and designed by Joke Vermeiren from amigurumipatterns.net is available to order at great pre-sale prices for a few more days yet. (Pre-sale deal will end on the 31st May 2014).

It’s such a lovely, fun book, packed with original designs by¬†amigurumi artists from all around the world. I thought you might like to take¬†a peek at the¬†full collection. You can see that my Cyril the Squirrel has been keeping very fine company indeed!

animalsatworkblock

You’ll be spoiled for choice as to which one to make first! I think I’m going to start with Mama Hen as I have a friend who¬†loves to bake and who also happens to have a birthday coming up soon. Just perfect!


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Amigurumi Animals at Work

Hi everyone, I’m really pleased to be able to tell you that¬†the new book from AmigurumiPatterns.net is finally available to order in pre-sale!

From right now until May 31st 2014 you can pre-order a copy of the book and¬†you’ll also get a PDF version which you will be able to download immediately, so no boring¬†waiting to get started on your first Animals at Work cutie!

My contribution to¬†Joke Vermeiren’s¬†¬†beautifully put together volume is Cyril the Squirrel, whom, as you may remember, ¬†is the head gardener at Knutsford Manor.

This is Cyril with his assistant gardener and close friend, Errol. They made a raised bed for their prize carrot crop, but, goodness, the amount of weeding it needs… That’s where four paws are better than two!

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And don’t believe all the bad press about grey squirrels! Errol is just as lovable as his red cousins. I think he’s just as beautiful too!

Erro1l

For more information on Amigurumi Animals at Work and to see the other thirteen gorgeous designs featured in this book take a peek here. You can order the book and the instantly downloadable PDF version here.

For those of you who just want to buy Cyril’s pattern on it’s own, I’ll be releasing it as a single pattern purchase in my Etsy/Ravelry/Craftsy shops soon.¬†¬†I’ll keep you posted!


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And the winner is…

Remember the design competition I wrote about in which Cyril the Squirrel insisted on taking part? Well Cyril actually came 2nd in the end! I’m very proud of him and with over 260 entries and 4500 people casting their votes (thanks to all who took the time!) I think that makes the competition a resounding all round success!

Here’s Cyril on the podium with the other winners, Zorg the Paleontologist by Sandy O’Brien, and Monsieur Le Lobster Chef, by Joyce Overheul.

Animals at Work Design Competition

Now I’m very happy to announce he’s going to be in an amigurumi pattern book published by Joke Vermeiren and, of course, it’s all about animals and the marvelous jobs they do. Who’d have thought that so many animals would be good at so many different occupations!

Follow me on Facebook to be sure of updates about this exciting new book or check in with¬†AmigurumiPatterns.net¬†for more details and you’ll be able to make you very own set of industrious animals soon!

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Luckily I wrote the pattern as I went along so it’s just a matter of reformatting it to suit the style of the book. With the deadline for copy fast approaching I’d better make like Cyril with his nut stash and get cracking!


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Cyril the Squirrel – Head Gardener and Nut Gatherer

I absolutely love this time of year, the reds and russets of the trees, the cozy dark evenings, the thin, fresh autumn sunshine (if we’re lucky!). So, in honor of all things autumnal, I have created this design for a squirrel named Cyril. This bushy tailed fellow loves ¬†gardening. You could say it’s his passion. So he was thrilled to bits when he was offered the job of Head Gardener at Nutsford Manor, just down the lane from his mossy tree trunk home. He is, of course, naturally well equipped for the job with his huge bushy tail, which he puts to use to sweep the garden clean. ¬†So now, every autumn, he gathers all the fallen leaves and twigs in his wheelbarrow, ready to make bonfires to warm the chilly evenings. One of the perks of the job is being able to gather up enough acorns and horse chestnuts for his supper too, plus a few to stash away in his pantry ready for the winter!

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And then after I ¬†made him and he told me his story, I decided to enter him in a competition with the theme ‘Animals at Work’ as he fits the bill pretty well!

CyrilSquirrelComp

And the great thing is that this competition is open to everyone, wherever you live, amateur or professional, pattern writer or free-wheeling yarn doodler! It’s totally free to enter (yay!) and there are some great prizes too. If you want to be a part of the fun then head on over to Amigurumipatterns.net¬†¬†and have a look at what you could win and how you can take part. You’ve got until November 24th 2013 to get your entries in. Don’t worry if you’ve never made a written pattern before, you only need a photograph of your amigurumi to be eligible. So get out your hooks, rummage through your yarn stash and get creative!