Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


7 Comments

Basket Cases

Now that spring is in the air I’m feeling my energy levels beginning to rise. Not that they’ve been particularly low but that extra bit of daylight at the beginning and end of every day, and even a few blasts of sunshine – short lived but all the more appreciated – are definitely giving me an edge.

I had a big delivery of yarn a few weeks ago and couldn’t wait to get started on some new ideas for a set of spring themed baskets. Finding aran weight yarn in a really wide selection of pretty colours has been a bit of a problem for me up until now. The balls are often massive 300g yarn mountains and the colours usually more muted than I would prefer – lots of creams and greys, dusty pinks and blues which are I suppose more geared up towards the traditional jumpers for which aran is often intended than the chunky amigurumi I wanted to make. So I was delighted to stumble on these Paintbox yarns while trawling some of my favorite online yarn haunts.

Ooooh those balls of yarn look so tasty they’re almost edible. Just as much of a delight as the vibrancy and variety of colours in the range is the way they feel. They are silky soft and have proved to be a joy to use. Which was just as well as I’ve spent a great many hours slaving away trying to create the *perfect* set of spring characters and then morph them into bag form. I decided to design these bags with doubled up yarn for the main body of the bag as this gives a really solid shape which doesn’t sag very easily. It’s worked well for my other bag collections so ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’!

I’m sure you’ll all know what a temptation it is to just rip off those ball bands and get crocheting before the postman has even managed to get to the end of your street. I have the same impulsive urges when faced with new yarn, but recently I’ve been making myself defer the pleasure of immediate gratification in favour of carefully cataloguing each and every colour before any crocheting can take place. It’s not easy to curb the impulse and resist the call of yarn and hook, but ultimately it’s been worth the effort.

I’ve (mostly) done this with new yarn for the last year and I have to say it’s a system that’s come in handy quite a few times. Especially for magazine commission work where I’m sometimes asked to remake an old design that I no longer have a copy of and also supply the publisher with a shopping list. I’m not a naturally organised type of person but with a bit of effort I can fake it quite well these days!

My little hole punch in the shape of a rabbit made the task much more fun and was on trend for what I was about to embark on. I just love it when a theme comes together!

Now I just can’t wait for a good excuse to order the rest of the colours in this gorgeous range. I think I may be in need of some Christmassy greens and reds next, and maybe a few more neutral shades for bears and squirrels and other fluffy non- season themed baskets.

My Lamb, Rabbit and Chick Bags have proved popular with little Easter egg hunters over the last few years. I know a lot of people have made them as gift bags too.

I’ve kept a pink lamb bag from the original set of makes all for myself and it’s often found storing my latest mini project – usually socks or gloves as it’s just the right size. I don’t do much knitting at the moment but when I get the urge to do a row or two it’s great to reach out and put my hands on it straight away. And in the meantime, between these rare bouts my project is sitting pretty waiting for me.

With the spring theme firmly in mind and all the new yarn sorted and stashed I got busy designing a set of bags more in line with the Halloween Bucket Heads in their construction. First of all I hooked up some basic body parts.

No, there’s not going to be a crazy rooster bag (yet) but messing around with some of the elements from two of the bags was a great way to get further inspiration for a later date. Things are not going to be quite what they may seem in these two pictures.

It’s really cheering to be working with such happy colours and I’ve also bought a few blooms for the studio to ramp up the level of spring inspiration. Those hyacinths smell just gorgeous. Their aromatherapy is helping elevate my mood as well.

Pink and yellow from Mother Nature…

…and yellow, orange and scrummy turquoises from of Paintbox yarns.

If you haven’t guessed already which animals I’m making then now is the time to let you in on the secret. In the end the various bits of amigurumi stopped looking like a rooster and were sewn together in the order they were originally intended.

A fancy frog with a cheeky wide-mouthed grin…

…and a chirpy chick with a ridiculously fluffy hairdo. A bit like mine, only much more yellow.

There have also been some other colours going on which are a bit less bright but just as spring-like in their own way.

Pink’s a big favorite of mine at any time of the year and it fits in so nicely with the Easter theme. Minnie and I are are the only girls in the whole family (hubby, 3 boy humans and three boy cats) so we like to get our fix of pink whenever we can!

When it was my turn to hog the pink yarn I put it to good use and crocheted up a lamb basket.

To go with the softer and more natural colour theme a rabbit also joined the gang.

Here they are all pinned together and waiting for their final tweaks.

I set some time aside for playing around with buttons and beads and bits of felt.

The embellishing part of the process is always very satisfying, not least because it means the end is in sight. The whole journey from initial sketch to the very last stitch is all great fun but it’s nice to see an idea that was scribbled down weeks ago finally come to fruition.

I ended up making one of each design with my new Aran yarn and one with random balls of double knit that I always have lying around. I was curious to see what the size difference would be and to see which I liked the best but I ended up liking them both the same. They’re all  roomy enough for gathering a good stash of those little palm sized chocolate eggs that the Easter bunny so kindly hides around the garden.

In case the Easter bunny doesn’t visit me this year (because I might be too old, I guess) I’ve hedged my bets and bought my own haul of goodies. I need them for photographic purposes anyway so there’s not much point waiting until next month. I can’t show the Easter baskets off to their full advantage without stuffing them full of foil wrapped chocolate loveliness. I did buy rather a lot though. It’s very easy to get carried away! Ahh well, I can’t complain about having the sort of job where I get to buy yarn and chocolate as necessary work expenses!

However, I’m not sure how long the Easter stash will last now it’s been discovered by this lot of greedy eyed monsters and a sweet toothed orangutan… I’m just saying – if it all gets eaten it won’t be down to me…honestly.

Once those final tweaks are made I’ll have a whole batch of cover photos to shoot and then I’ll be back to show you how they turned out. I’m going to get a wiggle on and hopefully get all photos finished today – before the Easter eggs have a chance to go missing!


3 Comments

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.

moji-mojidesign

This picture might explain why!

Mini-yarn-mojimojidesign

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

Sock-yarn-eggs-mojimojidesi

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

tiny-eggs-mojimojidesign

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

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

Nests-mojimojidesign.com

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

Nest-mojimojidesign

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

Natural-nest-mojimojidesign

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

Woolly-nest=mojimojidesign

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

Littlle-nest-mojimojidesign

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

Making-nests-mojimojidesign

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

Egg-dying-mojimojidesign

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

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

DSCN7320

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

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

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

Easter-Pinatas-mojimojidesi

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

Bye for now, and enjoy your weekend 🙂


7 Comments

Eleven Things, Ten Minutes

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

FreeTutorial -Tiny Chick by Moji-Moji Design

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

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

Chicks - free pattern by Moji-Moji design

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

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

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

Chick-tutorial-2

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

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

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

Chick-tutorial

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

Free Chick Tute - by Moji-Moji Design

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

Little Chick - Free Pattern by Moji-Moji Design

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

Mini Egg Charms by Moji-Moji design - free pattern

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

Free Chick and Eggs Pattern, Moji-Moji Design blog

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