Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Keeping Warm

I’ve been really enjoying the turn of the seasons from summer to autumn. It’s always such a fun time with all the promise of warming festivals made to cheer up our transition from bright sunshine and lovely long days to the cosy drawing in of autumn evenings. Crispy leaves, bonfires, fireworks, candles, pumpkin soup, boots, jumpers and woolly mittens. With a bit of preparation it’s quite easy to enjoy the novelty of a cold snap and all the atmosphere it brings.

My bat garland has graced the fireplace for several weeks now and a whole heap of candles are on daily standby, ready to banish the gloom of a 5pm blackout.

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They certainly cheer the place up and help to keep the chill out.

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Oswald the Owl adds a touch of forest charm, nestled cosily in the corner and the Pumpkin Patch People came out to play too.

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Real pumpkins were carved in honour of this year’s family obsession with Pokemon Go.

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A Golbat and a Duskull.

We’ve walked an awful lot more than usual over the last few months in the pursuit of these virtual creatures. My son has even mastered the art of catching pokemon for two. Now his girlfriend doesn’t miss out while she’s at work. How sweet!

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As a result of all the pumpkin carving, along with the fact the local supermarket had grossly overstocked and were giving away pumpkins by the trolleyful to anyone who wanted them, several cauldrons full of hearty pumpkin soup have been made to help us glow on the inside too.

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Soup through a straw is a new revelation for me and means its even easier to eat and type/crochet/browse the internet at the same time with minimal spillage onto yarn or keyboards. Hallelujah!

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A Halloween ghost walk at Hanbury Hall got us in the mood for Tricks and Treats.

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There were plenty of tricks involved here, and some treats too, but I won’t spoil any surprises for people who may go along next year.

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I’ll just tell you that they certainly put on a good show for us and we weren’t short of apparitions accompanied by blood curdling screams and things going BUMP! in the night.

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Blankets were crocheted to keep out the drafts…

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…while watching fireworks from the comfort of my home.

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But sometimes it’s good to get a worm’s eye view from right underneath so it was lovely to be invited to a Bonfire/Birthday Party at my sister-in-laws gorgeously quaint Cotswolds cottage where a huge fire crackled and popped all night long.

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Sparklers were lit…

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…food was scoffed, drink was drunk and the loudest fireworks I’ve ever heard were set soaring into the night sky.

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With all that Autumn fun to enjoy it’s no surprise that it’s still high on my list of favorite seasons (along with winter, spring and summer – depends which season I’m in to be honest, but they’re all definitely up there in my top four!).

I’ve been wrapping up and getting out and about whenever I get the chance. It’s almost as if nature sets all those leave on fire to help make up for the nip the air.

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Though some of summer’s colour still remains here and there.

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Now I couldn’t get too close for the last photo as this poor squirrel was in a total panic as to where to run to with his prized rice cake.

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I’ve no idea where he got it from but he’s certainly not up for sharing. That ought to help him pack on a few calories for the winter (something I’m actively trying not to do myself!).

As well as enjoying all the autumn festivities I’ve also been making a huge effort to finish off a few WIPS. If you remember, there was the Autumn Berries Poncho, the hare’s trophy head, and the Spring Dots Blanket. And also a skull shawl (which I refrained from blogging about as it was a birthday present so didn’t want to spoil the surprise). I’ve also been working on a number of amigurumi projects for my ‘day job’ that I’m intending to share soon. So for all of you who have missed the usual cramming in of crochet into my blog posts, never fear – the next few posts should more than make up for this ones lack!


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Happy Halloween 2015!

It’s here again! The end of the harvest season and the official beginning of winter. I’ve been doing my best to add a touch of spooky and a glimmer of warmth to the house over the last few days with the usual array of pumpkins, spider webs, ghosts, candy, lanterns and the odd bit of amigurumi thrown in here and there.

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My welsh dresser is full to bursting and really is quite a cheery sight, though of course it all looks so much more atmospheric by night.

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I’ve been having fun making pom poms this week too. All of them in Halloween colours of course.

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They’re easy-peasy to make with my clever little Clover pompom maker and I managed to whizz up a whole bunch in just a few minutes.

Pompoms

They are a very satisfying thing to make and this particular batch was destined for decorative garlands. I found the perfect black and white twine with a hint of silver sparkle to thread them all together…

Twine

…and set to with pom pom stringing gusto.

Pompom-string

Simple but effective and now I have plans to make another bunch of white pom poms and string them up on candy cane coloured twine for Christmas – but let’s get Halloween out of the way first!

Some of the the chip fork characters got similar treatment.

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Their little sweaters are perfect for threading them up with.

Halloween-garland

Mojo was keen to see what’s happening as I tweaked and twiddled with my Halloween decorations until I was happy with them.

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Gilbert Ghost seemed to fit the mantelpiece very nicely so I settled on this set up in the end.

Gilbert

And to let the trick or treaters know we’re up for a visit or two I’ve quickly thrown a few things together in the window.

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The spider webs looks more like an ectoplasmic blob, but I guess that fits the general theme pretty well too! Maybe it’s the ghostly spirit of that poor skinny fella dangling in the middle.

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It’s not been all Halloween prep this week though. I’ve also been working on my poncho – when I can get to it that is!

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minnie

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It’s proving very popular as the new must-have cat blanket, but as you can see I am getting nearer to completion with everything joining up nice and neatly. It looks to be a good size now as it just drapes down to my elbows so with a row or two to neaten the edge and a fringe of some sort to finish it all off it should be just about perfect for keeping me warm in the winter months ahead but not too big and cumbersome to get in the way while I’m crocheting.

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Now I have a spot of pumpkin carving to do before it get’s dark then some pumpkin soup to make for supper.

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Ahh, how I love these little rituals that mark the passing of the year 🙂

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On that note, the Pumpkin Patch People and myself would all like to wish you a fun and candy filled Halloween. All treats and no tricks please. Enjoy!


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Halloween Sporks

In this instance the term spork doesn’t relate to that genius spoon/fork hybrid so familiar to those of us who can’t resist a take-away salad bowl or pasta pot, but is actually a truncation of spooky forks. Now let me explain why… We’ve had a fair few trips to the seaside this year and with a trip to the seaside comes the inevitable Great British tradition of a fish in batter and stodgy, lard heavy chips on the beach – eaten as fast as possible to minimise the potential for a gust of wind to blow sand in your lunch or for a cheeky seagull to snatch it from your lap as you gaze winsomely out to sea. Ah the pleasures of al fresco eating!

Consequently we have ended up with a collection of chip forks going spare. I was just about to clear the extras out of the camping bag and put them onto the chimenea for a bit of added fuel when I was sure I heard one of them shouting “I’m a cat waiting to happen!” in a tiny little chip fork sized voice. So I set to with a few basic art materials and sure enough – a cat emerged.

As it’s Halloween soon I thought I’d decorate it a bit more so it would look cute in the candy bowl. As most things in life are made much nicer with a bit of crochet I hooked it up a sweater in orange and purple stripes and immediately started wondering what else I could make. I’m always pleased to have an excuse to do a bit of doodling and colouring in so I scribbled up a few other ideas inspired by the classic chip fork shape.

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I think these would be great little treasure hunt gifts for Halloween parties or, even better, a fun DIY kid’s project for the half term – providing you have indulged in a sufficiently large amount of fish and chips this summer and have a habit of picking up a few spares forks every time like us. The only other things you will need are marker pens and a white pencil crayon, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, small buttons, glue, yarn and a crochet hook.

materials

alien

My boys are too old to want to spend their time doing this sort of crafty thing anymore but I’m not!  These are the ones I’ve finished so far:

A Frankenstein’s Monster, a ghost and a cat,

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A devil, an alien and a vampire bat.

Spook-Forks

Now they’re made they won’t be wasted. I shall offload these, along with the usual candy, onto any trick or treaters who happen to stop my way. Thank goodness I still have a valid reason for colouring in chip forks and crocheting them sweaters! (Which are made with oddments of Double Knit yarn and a size C (2.75mm) hook and are simply Ch 7, join with a slip stitch to make a ring then single crochet (UK double crochet) 7 rounds, in case you wanted to know the details).

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You might have noticed the lovely new creamy white background on my latest photos. You see, I got around to painting my desk this weekend. It went from this…

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…to this…

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(Mojo is confused to find no clutter on it as I bundle everything into boxes ready for the re-vamp)

…to this…

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..and finally, to this…

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It really didn’t take long for all the clutter to come back. It is a slightly different set of clutter though, with a more rationalised pile of only my essential everyday necessities to hand – more or less, and for the time being, at least!

I recently took the time to sort out (some of) my yarn stash too. Now it’s on show, instead of it all being hidden away in an assortment of baskets and boxes and I’m hoping this will make designing new amigurumi easier, as I can see the colours all together. It will certainly save me time rooting about randomly, trying to find a colour that I’m not even sure I’ve got!

Wonderwall

And anyway, it looks so pretty. It’s a crying shame to hide all that beautiful yarn. Now I smile everytime I look at it. ‘Tis a glorious thing to behold, my own personal wonderwall! It feels good to be a few steps nearer to having the studio of my dreams. Plenty more to do yet but I’m feeling very happy in here in the meantime, crafting away at every available opportunity.

I’ve a little Halloween project in mind for this yarn bundle next.

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Wishing you all a Happy Halloween Week!

Spooky-Lineup

Have fun!


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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…

Halloween-doodles

to done…

spooky-studio

…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.

Fred-Heads
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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.

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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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Who ya gonna call?

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

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

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

Ghost Pattern

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

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

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

Happy Hooking everyone!


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Even More Bucket Loads of Fun

Well, you can’t have too much fun can you? So after a few requests from friends in response to my last collection of Bucket Head bags, I’ve made a second set of different characters to brighten up your Trick or Treat adventures, or just to add a bit of holiday magic to your Halloween decorations this year. This time I have Frankenstein’s Monster, a Candy Corn Man and a Scarecrow to introduce to you.Bucketlineup2If your favorite character wasn’t included in the last set then maybe these will be more to your liking 🙂Bucket2

Happy Trick or Treating to all you Halloween Fanatics!


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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!)


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Trick or Treat!

Autumn (or Fall for my friends over the pond) is fast approaching and my thoughts are turning yet again to all the wonderful cosy treats and celebrations that always cheer up our journey into the tail end of the year. With dark nights beginning to draw in, a chill in the early morning and late evening air and a definite lack of sunshine around here, there are less reasons to be lolling around in the garden or lazing on the beach and more reasons to be tucked up under a favorite Granny Square blanket, warm and glowing with the pleasure of a new crochet project or two, or three, or four, or in the case of this new pattern – five!

So come and meet my new, Autumn season bunch of mini makes.820HallySquareIt’s another one in the Minimals range and I’ve called this one ‘Teeny Halloweeny’  – mainly because they’re really rather teeny and extremely Halloweeny!

This gang of diminutive Fright Night dress ups will promise to be the life and soul of your Halloween party.820woodsThey may well be the cutest Trick or Treaters that you’ll ever find knocking at your door and they’re certainly every bit as sweet as all that candy they hope you’re going to give them!DSCN4785I’ve  had such a lot of fun designing these diminutive Trick or Treaters. They work up nice and fast and it’s very satisfying to have your finished results so quickly. I’m planning on making a whole crowd to hand out to my real life Trick or Treaters this year, along with the usual selection of lollipops and chocolates. I can’t wait 🙂

Who’s missing the summer already? Not me!


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The last of the pumpkins

As it’s now time to replace all things autumnal with all things wintry I thought it would be a good idea to get our last pumpkins from this years Halloween celebrations chopped up and put to good use.

Pumpkin-soup

After roasting the pumpkin in a tray with garlic, rosemary, thyme, a few carrots and an onion for a good half hour, the Pumpkin Patch People and I decided to make a delicious and warming soup. We just added some organic vegetable stock, ground black pepper, a great big dollop of creme fraiche, and a squeeze of lemon.

Then a quick whizz in the blender, a gentle re-heating on the stove, and it was ready to eat. Easy peasy!

Of course after all their help growing and harvesting on the allotment this autumn the Pumpkin Patch People had to have their fair share of the bounty too. Here they are, about to give thanks and tuck in to their steaming hot cups of soup. Oooh, there’s nothing like the taste of home grown veggies!

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Oh, and if you think that the Pumpkin Patch People look very relaxed with all this pumpkin chopping, roasting, and liquidizing going on, it’s because they know we are vegetarians just like they are, and would never eat a pumpkin if it also had a head, let alone such a cute smile!