Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Dreaming of the Sea

The summer is pretty much over and I’ve been ‘staycationing’ year. Not having managed to escape to some heavenly beach retreat with my tent and sleeping bag I thought I’d bring a taste of the coast to me instead by creating a set of seaside inspired characters. One creature led to another and another until I ended up with four different patterns based on two distinct body shapes and a mini friend with a shape all of it’s own. I’ve bundled them into one bumper pattern and called it ‘Ocean Buddies’.

Ocean Buddies Pattern

This pattern has been through a few evolutions as I played around finding the right proportions and it proved to be the perfect picking in and out of pattern to take outside and work on in my garden while I daydreamed about being beside the seaside.

I’m not completely high and dry here in my favorite spot because we have a tiny pond in the shade of a shrub I can never remember the name of. I have even made a little shingle beach and scattered around a few of my scavenged fossils to remind me of past beach-combing adventures in Watchet on the Somerset coast.

Little 4 ply, 2 mm hook narwhal contemplates a dip but is somewhat put off by the film of duckweed. Can’y say I blame him. I wont be dipping my toes in either, no matter how hot it gets!

The Ocean Buddies accompanied me on landlocked car journeys up the motorway when we did take the odd day trip to Lancashire to visit relatives.

Annoyingly, I failed to bring any safety eyes or stuffing on this particular occasion (an early start you see, and my brain is rarely fully engaged until midday) and so my relaxing crochet session was properly scuppered. Aaaagh! The thought of three hours+ in the car with idle hands was almost too much to bear. Luckily I had started sewing a pompom trim onto my project basket the night before so I solved the fidgety fingers problem by painstakingly stitching on the rest of the trim.

Quite a fiddly process, with tiny stitches and a wickedly sharp needle for such a bumpy journey but I managed it with just the odd finger prick here and there to show for it.

By the time we got to our destination I had a very pretty pimped up basket. To be honest I can’t think of many things that don’t look better with pom poms attached. Do you see the green, green grass of my mother-in-laws garden? It really does put my coarse, dandelion infested back yard patch of scrub to shame.

Laddie, previously having belonged to said mother-in-law before we adopted him after she got poorly, and thus having been the joint owner of the garden perfection above, is so used to a fine weed free lawn that he appears to disapprove of my more slapdash approach to green spaces. So much so that he can only tolerate being in its vicinity if there is a wooden tray between the ground and his butt!

I also can’t help thinking he’s planted himself next to the lawnmower and rake as a sort of reprimand. Maybe I’ll get into this gardening malarkey one of these days. When there’s a showdown between the hook and the shears the hook will win out everytime!

In the mean time I’m content to use crocheted rugs to hide the multitude of unmown sins, unswept prickly leaves, miscellaneous weeds and bare patches of earth. The rag yarn crochet makes things a bit comfier and adds a bit of colour – a real plus point when all the flowers I have tried to grow are constantly eaten by slugs and snails.

Pesticide free, organic gardening is easy when you let the weeds take over, and rather good for the wildlife too no doubt. Everything has an up side! I think I’ll make this unkempt approach my horticultural hallmark.

As lovely as this unusually warm summer has been I have to admit that the heat did get the better of me from time to time. A shady spot in the studio with the slatted blinds sending the daylight coolly up in towards the ceiling went a long way to redressing the heatwave when things got too hot outside.

Crisp white walls and a clean white desk all add to the oasis like calm in here.

Mojo is not too keen on the savage sunshine at the peak of summer so I often found him in my crochet corner waiting to keep me company whenever I scuttled inside for a cool down.

It’s a little more difficult to get hold of my wool while he is around but we always manage to share it in the end.

When we got back from our day trip up north I attempted to put my newly embellished basket to good use as storage but before I could fill it with the next batch of yarn Mojo had crept in and wound himself into it – while it was still on my lap.

Yeah I know that look – ‘move me on at your peril human, I shall sulk for an hour if you do’ – or meows to that effect. So you see Mojo has a nice new cat bed. A bit on the small side maybe but it doesn’t seem to bother him one little bit.

This new sleeping arrangement has the added bonus of freeing up the rest of my chair for me. Instead of a furry, sprawling, purring cat rug draped over the entire seat Moji now likes to roll himself up like pill bug, tuck his head in and forget all about the outside world for a bit. Sounds rather appealing to be honest. Perhaps we should have human sized hibernation baskets to disappear into from time to time!

It frees up space for Orwell too. We all share and share alike here. A happy family of people, cats and crochet!

Mojo managed to prise himself out of the comfort of my stash basket when he saw the stage was set for a photo-shoot, sneaking in just in time for his cameo role.

Despite the intrusion I eventually took some shots I was happy with.

I have a new Nikon camera and have been experimenting with using it in manual mode so some of the colours are a bit more uneven than I would like but I think I’m getting the hang of it. Practice make perfect and and all that.

I’ve also been watching some YouTube videos on how to get whiter backgrounds for product photography by using Adobe Photoshop.

I’m learning so much that isn’t crochet related at the moment. None of it as much fun as crochet itself – but it comes quite close.

As summer draws to a close and chances of a holiday on some windswept beach diminish for another year I can’t say that I’m too heartbroken. I’ve had a wonderful summer at home with my family, my cats, my crochet and my imagination. A winning combination in my opinion!

So from Wendy the Whale…

…Sheamus the Shark…

…Nigel the Narwhal…

…Daphne the Dolphin…

…and, last but not least (though by far the smallest), Stephanie the Starfish…

…we bid yourselves goodbye for now and the summer farewell for another year.

I have a big bunch of autumn/winter projects to be getting on with over the next few weeks. (Spoiler alert – sneak peak for one of them below!)…

I’m aiming to tie up all the loose ends on my current WIPs and share in my next post. I hope you’ll join me then!


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Autumnal inspiration

There’s been plenty to stir the senses again this autumn, so as we head into winter I thought I’d share a few of the things that have been fun to do over the past couple of weeks. There was the usual collecting of goodies and making them into something tasty. The blackberries are still filling up a large part of my freezer and the apples are still being picked from our tiny, but very fruitful tree. Lob both ingredients into a pan with a tablespoon of sugar and you get this pinky-purple scrumptiousness…

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…just waiting to be turned into a blackberry and apple pie. A yummy breakfast made yummier with fresh apple slices and a bunch of grapes from the vine. Most of the grapes are fermenting gassily in a big tub ready to be turned into Chateau Holmes 2015 wine but there are a few more bunches left yet, for the blackbirds and me.

Breakfast

One of my favorite snacks for this time of year is roasted pumpkin seeds and with lots of pumpkins to get through there’s been no shortage of these crunchy nibbles for salad and soup sprinkles or just for plain old snacking. Here they are before and after they got a good roasting.

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I think these were my tastiest yet. The secret is to leave some of the pumpkin flesh on – don’t rinse them clean first. I swooshed them around in a little olive oil, and a pinch each of celery salt, smoked paprika, cumin and turmeric. I think that’s probably not a totally bona fide authentic spice mix – more along the lines of some weird and totally made up ‘fusion’ cooking, but it worked for me!

The glory of roasting pumpkin seeds is you can have fun experimenting with whatever is in your spice rack and see what you prefer. Better than a packet of crisps to munch on, any day!

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To satisfy my sweet tooth I made a couple of pumpkin pies too. My favorite being a recipe by Abel and Cole which was more of an egg custard type thing but with a very definite pumpkin hit to the tastebuds.

Now I will be the first to admit it’s not going to win any awards for its physical beauty, but just like people, true beauty is more than skin deep and in the light of that observation this pie is a cracker. What it lacked in looks it more than made up for in taste!

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Treats at the ready I got a little bit of knitting time in at the kitchen table. As it was a Friday night I ditched the cup of tea and indulged in a glass of Chateau Holmes 2014 wine instead – for inspirational purposes of course.

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A very good homemade wine for washing down homemade pumpkin pie while knitting homemade mittens!

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I’ve been really enjoying knitting these mitts and have even attempted to write up the pattern, but oh my! It’s a whole different ball game to writing crochet patterns.

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I think I’ve got a lot to learn yet. I’ve been so obsessed with crochet for these past three years that my knitting skills have become a little rusty to say the least, but practice makes perfect. These mittens were intended as an accompaniment to my Autumn Berries Poncho. The green is a new addition to contrast with the pinks and purples and adds an extra bit of oomph.

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A colour combo that was inspired by the yearly show of gorgeously coloured leaves on my grape vine along with the original blackberry and raspberry theme.

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Autumn-inspiration

I even managed to squeeze a bit of knitting in during a very chilled out day at a local spa to celebrate a friends birthday. Of course it’s impossible to relax entirely unless there is some yarn involved somewhere! It was quite lovely to sit and knit a few rounds in between swimming, reading, having a slap up lunch, (undoing all the good work from powering up and down the pool!), lolling in the jacuzzi and sweating out the toxins in the sauna. I could get used to this!

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The mittens turned out pretty well considering my hands are more usually bent into a shape that accommodates a crochet hook rather than four double pointed knitting needles!

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Love, love, love the colours and I especially like the way the yarn gently fades from one tone to another – just like autumn leaves do – giving each mitten it’s own distinctive look.

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I did make a few mistakes with this method of knitting in the round. I found it quite difficult to keep the stitches even at the point when you swap needles. I did OK on the knit rounds, but the purl rounds were a bit trickier. I was also pretty good at dropping stitches here and there but I picked them up and fudged them back into the knitting with a semi haphazard kind of technique so maybe no-one will notice except me!

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It’s just a case of finishing off the border on my poncho next. That shouldn’t take too long, a few evenings this week ought to do the trick. Hmm, I think I need a matching hat next. But that poses a big dilemma – to knit or to crochet? I’d better go and have a mooch around on pinterest and see where the inspiration takes me next!


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Pumpkins, Monsters and Spooks

Yes it’s that time of year again! Out come the woolly blankets, snuggly jumpers, mittens, hats and leg warmers (I feel the cold acutely!). On the plus side, there is suddenly lots more time for designing new crochet creations now all the summer holidays and general fine weather gallivanting is over.

In celebration of this change of seasons I’ve made a new pattern that I hope you’re all going to like!

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So please come along and meet Fred Monster, Gilbert Ghost and Pamela Pumpkin.

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I felt inspired to make them due to the need to brighten up my welsh dressers in light of the lack of light – in the form of sunshine – coming through my kitchen windows recently. I hope these three colourful characters will help to put a smile on your face as we head towards the cold, dark, dank and generally very gloomy months ahead. They’ve certainly cheered me up. They were a pleasure to make and the whole design process went without a hitch this time.

It was a case of doodle…

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to done…

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…in no time at all (well, about a week actually, but that’s pretty good going for me!)

These Halloween characters are a good 16″ tall from tip to toe and are weighted with plastic pellets so they can sit solidly on any shelf, table or chair. If you prefer you can leave out the beads and stuff with fiberfill, or similar, for a kid friendly cuddly toy. I don’t really do ‘scary’ when it comes to Halloween, so if you’re a bit of a softy like me then maybe these will appeal to your inner child!

Now I’d like to tell you a little bit more about each one…

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Fred-Heads

Frightful Fred get’s a bit narky when people refer to him only as Frankenstein’s monster.

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It isn’t very good for his self esteem not to have his own identity so he’s claiming back his individuality at last. We discussed what his preferred name might be and ‘Fred’ seemed like a decent, no-nonsense, everyday kind of a name that would be easy to live up to. He’s a down to earth guy at heart, despite his unusual appearance, and would love nothing better than to just fit in with the crowd.

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Ghost-Heads

Gilbert is a friendly little chap who really appreciates the ease with which he can blend into the crowds at this time of year.

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He loves to gate crash as many Halloween parties as he can find because most people think he’s wearing fancy dress and consequently hardly ever scream and run away when they see him floating into view. Even the fact that he’s apparently floating is often put down as a perceptual error on behalf of the beholder due to the ingestion of large amounts of witches brew or pumpkin punch. Be sure to look over your shoulder when you go Trick or Treating – Gilbert’s always where the action is, and even though he can’t actually eat any candy himself, being a ghost and all, he does love to watch the smiles on the children’s faces as their goodie bags fill up. Gilbert’s pet spider, Spot, accompanies him on all his ethereal adventures.

Ghost-Heads
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Pumpkin-Heads

Pamela is sporting a happy, zig-zaggy sort of smile because she’s been waiting all summer for harvest time and now it’s finally here.

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Ever since she was a tiny pip pushed into the warm dark soil back in the spring she couldn’t wait for the Fall when the farmer would visit the patch to pick out which pumpkin would be his best bet to win a prize at this year’s horticultural show. Pretty Pamela was duly presented before the judges in the produce tent and was thrilled to win first place in the Miss Gorgeous Gourd category. She’s now looking forward to a great season showing off her veggie credentials, opening supermarkets and doing lots of charity work.

Pumpkin-Heads
Spider-line

Now that I have my Halloween head on I’m going to finish sprucing up my kitchen dressers with a few more spooky decorations then I’ll be back to share the photos with you all. I’m being nagged into it you see. Pamela’s become so used to all the attention lately and is insisting that she get’s to be in at least one more blog post!

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See you all back here soon!


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Awesome Autumn

It seems we’re well on our way to a proper Autumn at last. Slow to get going this year because of all the unseasonably warm weather, a big storm a few days ago has blown the leaves down and those left on the trees are turning deeper shades of red and orange every day. Time to cosy up! And now I remember all the things I love about this time of year. And lots of them involve yarn or food! Here are a random selection of ten of them.
1) A cosy combination of, skinny jeans, sturdy boots and fake fur.
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Just right forexploring the autumn countryside on one of my favorite Malvern walks. It’s a long hard slog to get to the top but it’s always worth it for the views.

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Even if it’s about to pour down with rain!
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2) Re-discovering my collection of hand knitted socks. Yes I know I can buy a pair of socks for a fraction of the cost and save time too, but where’s the fun in that!
820socks3) Knitting more socks. A girl can never have too many pairs and the 4 ply stash has to be used up somehow, if only so I can go out and buy more.


I found some great free patterns over at Dyed Jems Yarn Company. I might try these sweet pumpkin coloured Waffle Socks next, or maybe the Rippled Lace or the Lattice pattern.


All my socks have been plain stocking stitch so far. It might be time to ramp things up a notch! Although Minnie seems to have taken a proprietorial stance with the sock yarn now. Perhaps I can persuade her to let go of it if I promise to knit some for her!
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4) Shiny new Horse Chestnuts fresh out of their armour. Whose up for a conker fight?
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5) Freshly collected Sweet Chestnuts, roasted and eaten while they’re hot with a glass of cold milk. Oh so yummy! (Don’t forget to split the skins first or they’ll explode!)
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The milk and the chestnuts do wonders for each other. If you’ve never tried them together before, I highly recommend it.
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6) Colourful fingerless gloves that keep my hands warm while I work. I want to knit another pair of these soon with some of my sock yarn stash… but not until I finish these chunky crocheted boot cuffs. I’ve got way too many part finished projects as it is!
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7) Making red wine with this year’s bumper crop of small, but beautifully formed grapes. It took longer than I expected to squeeze all the grapes by hand, but it was so satisfying and possibly even more fun than popping bubble wrap!


Now to rack it a few times until it’s crystal clear, bottle it up and wait a year. Five gallons ought to be enough to get us through next winter!
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And just look at those gorgeous leaves from the grapevine. It would be enough to grow it for those patterns alone, the grape crop is just an added bonus! Had to get a closeup. Just wow!
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8) Pumpkins, of course. I love having these scattered around the house adding a splash of autumn colour.
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9) Carving pumpkins and eating Pumpkins is all good too! Here’s my Halloween lantern…
820lanternDSCN5715…and the soup from the excavated pulp, complete with roasted, spiced pumpkin seeds for scattering on top.
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10) And my final autumn joy in this list, my nearly completed set of blanket squares, I’ve been making a couple, or sometimes more, every evening, spurred on by the recent drop in temperatures. It’s getting quite chilly around here at last, so I’m going to need it sooner rather than later.
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Hopefully I’ll be showing you the finished daisy blanket in the not too distant future!
So all in all, autumn’s pretty awesome really.
Wishing you all a good share of blessings too!


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Bucket Loads of Fun!

Hooray! Just launched a new pattern for Halloween! Now I know I’m cutting it a bit fine time wise but these Bucket Head Trick or Treat bags are crocheted with doubled up worsted weight (aran/10 ply) yarn and a big hook so they really don’t take that long to make.

Come and meet my empty headed and empty bellied Vampire, Witch and Pumpkin who are just waiting to be filled up with loads of Halloween candy 🙂820HalloweenLineThey’ve got dangly arms and legs and a comfy handle to carry them around with.

Even though my kids are a bit too old to go trick or treating now I shall be making them one each and filling it with their favorite chocolate. Because chocolate is the one thing they don’t seem to have outgrown yet! (I’m still waiting too!)