Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Yetis and Bigfoots

Well hello peeps! Long time, no see!

This coronavirus lockdown, which much of the world is in to some degree or other, has played havoc with my routines but thankfully not my creativity. We have a full house here with all five of us working or studying from home. It’s lovely to have everyone around all day, every day, and more importantly to know they are safe and well – but it has been more than a little distracting! I’m used to having the house to myself for much of the week so this has been a very different experience.

I’m still managing to come up with new designs (the easy bit), and finding the time here and there to write them up (the hard bit). Here’s a pattern I finished up a little while ago but never got around to showing you all.

I was waiting for a flurry of late winter/early spring snow so that I could take this little monster up to the top of the Malvern Hills and get some peachy perfect shots of Eustace the Yeti at his most comfortable in the high altitudes. Now all threat of snow is gone for another year without so much as a flake hitting the ground, not that I could have taken him out for a day trip anyway as it turned out, with lockdown coming upon us all in the way that it did. Maybe Eustace will be luckier next year.

Instead I am happy to share pictures of Eustace the Yeti and his cousin Boris the Bigfoot taken around the house. They don’t seem to mind being confined too much. Their goofy grins give it all away!

We have a little garden we can venture into when the weather is nice. And when the weather is not so nice we can admire it from the studio window. (Well, those of us who have had our heads sewn on already anyway).

As usaul I got a bit over zealous with my hook and where two or three yetis would have done I had to go on and make more just for the sheer hell of it. I downsized from the original with these cutsie tootsie little balls of Katia amigurumi yarn. It’s a bit thinner than my regular DK weight but so lovely and soft to use.

I combined the Katia yarn with some 4 ply mohair yarn and my miniaturised monsters turned out adorable.

It wasn’t long before the whole hairy family were amassed together, cats and all.

Luna, Lyra and Loki continue to wreak big kitten havoc. Especially Luna (in the middle) who is definitely the liveliest one out of the sisters. Lyra (right) is not far behind for crazy antics and Loki (left) is a real chilled back babe who loves nothing better than snoozing in the sun and having tummy rubs (and not looking at the camera when you want her to).

While the yetis never got there snowscape photoshoot they had plenty of time under the studio lights. Funny how Loki can put her best side to the camera when I really don’t want her to! Photography takes ages around here with so many curious cats checking out the action.

Lyra also weedled her way in to enjoy some chill time under the warming lamps with eustace.

I think he likes the company. I did take a few shots without cats – eventually.

I didn’t even have to ask them to say cheese. This lot just never stop grinning.

Lockdown rules means I’m getting plenty of use out of my excersise bike. It’s one of my favorite ways to keep fit because it is so easy to crochet at the same time.

I love to do two things at once if possible. Time is scarce so why waste it? I’ve very sensibly never tried to crochet while out jogging though. I think we can all imagine how that would end if I did!

Mojo and Lyra take a peak out of the window together.

They are learning to get along rather nicely now.

As well as working on new designs I have used the extra time spent at home to tidy up and refresh my studio area. A rainbow lamp I bought a while ago helps to cheer up the space even on the dullest of days.

This really is my happy place. I feel so blessed to have a colourful and inspiring sanctuary tucked away in a cosy corner of the house. It’s taken a lot of time and a lot of tweaking to get it how I like it but it’s pretty much there now.

I’ve been very thankful for the garden too during tis stay at home phase and have even began a miniature veggie patch. I haven’t actually been out of my front door for over eight weeks now, (thanks to hubby who has done all of the two weekly grocery shops) and I haven’t been bored one bit. With a ton of yarn, a ton of cats and a ton of grownup offspring sharing the space there really never is a dull moment.

I’ve missed seeing my other family and all my friends but know that more good times for meeting and treating will come. I’m content to wait a while longer and chat on the phone or Zoom instead. It will be lovely to get together in crowds again one of these days, but in the meantime I’ll leave all that sort of socialising to the this bunch…

I hope you have all been coping as best you can in these really challenging times. If you can’t go out much right now, do what makes you happy at home, and keep safe!

 


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2020 Here I come!

I hope you all had a lovely end to 2019 and an equally lovely start to 2020!

With all the energy and verve I can muster I am welcoming in this new year with a positive outlook peppered with a decent amount of inspiration and a heavy dose of commitment. I have a lot new of ideas and a ton of unfinished WIPs to tackle and am determined to (try to!) finally catch up with myself this year.

There have been several reasons for a lack of productivity in recent months. The most fun one being the ongoing care of my three beautiful kittens – really more in the category of small cats these days. In the last few months they’ve grown from this…

…to this…

Even though they’re growing up they still get into lots of trouble. They love digging up plant pots, climbing curtains, legs (ouch!), and bookcases and generally getting in the way, particularly if yarn is involved.

My purr babies are now 6 months old and it’s been plain sailing with two of them. The smallest one – Lyra – had special needs that we only noticed when she was weaned and it has been very challenging to get her to grow. After lots of vets visits and a few tests she was diagnosed with ‘persistent right aortic arch’ where some of the her blood vessels ended up in the wrong place while she was still developing in the womb resulting in her oesophagus being very constricted just below the base of the heart which caused all the problems with eating and swallowing.

Getting her to stay strong has been very time consuming, but I was up for the challenge and fed her a tiny amounts of liquid gruel every hour hoping that some of the food would trickle through to her stomach before she could throw it up. I even crocheted her a little sling with two leg holes and handles at the back so I could hold her upright while she ate, and for 10 minutes after each feed to help it go down, without risk of squeezing the wriggly little madam too hard.

We were told that she wouldn’t survive without an operation to correct her condition, so that made the decision to go ahead very easy. I hated having to take her to Bristol – about an hours drive – but knew that the Small Animal Hospital at Langford would be the best place for her to have such a rare and specialist procedure done.

My heart broke to see her looking like one of the cast of Prisoner Cell Block H.

But she slept peacefully most of the way while holding my hand with her tine paw so I hope she wasn’t too traumatised. To cut a long story short the operation was a great success. They snipped away the constricting vessel and checked for normal dilation of the oesophagus and after a few days she was well enough for us to visit. Here we are at the hospital having cuddles.

The hardest part was leaving her again but the staff were fabulous and she seemed quite content to head off back to the ward with them when our hour was up. Being the awesome trooper that she is she continued to do well and we went to pick her up the next day >happy dance<.

Her stitches were a proper fright-sight but she had some good pain meds and we were instructed to start her on a diet of pate consistency food, fed from an elevated position to begin with. All meals stayed down splendidly which was a joyous thing to us all! She was so happy to be back with her sisters and her street view, but most of all was delighted to scoff down some real meaty looking food for the first time in her life. But, oh, that bald patch ūüėē.

Home comforts are plentiful around here and we made sure she had lots of love, warmth, fine food and cosy nooks to aid her recovery.

I am over the moon to tell you we now know for sure that the operation was a great success, and, while she’ll never have a fully functioning eosophagus she has enough motility there to get plenty of mashed up wet food into her stomach, evidenced by the fact that she is growing again and is lively and thriving since coming out of hospital. At the last vets visit she actually weighed more than her sister Luna – but not more than Loki who is turning out to be a very long legged and solidly built girl!

With the weight of Lyra’s health problems taken off my mind I endeavoured to enjoy the rest of November and the run up to Christmas, though I developed a tooth abcess which put a bit of a blight on things. Amid the pain, antibiotics and eventual extraction I worked on a teeny tiny rehash of my Teeny Tiny Snowman pattern for inclusion in Qing Fibres advent calendar.

I added a few stars and some round beads to create a Christmas dangler that showed off two of their lovely yarns – Hero Suri (deep blue fluffy) and Rambutan (variegated).

Katt from Qing Yarns handsomely rewarded me for my efforts with a few skeins of their Pond yarn. I immediately put it to good use making the Vine Lace Scarf by Marin J Malchior from my favourite go-to tome ‘Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders’ and so I have another WIP hanging around ūüėĮ Oops! This one is good for car journeys as the repeat is small and easy to remember and I only need one ball of yarn at a time so I’ll be adding a few rows whenever the road calls.

We decorated the house on the 1st of the month as is our tradition. No big tree this year due to the monkey-like antics of the kittens, but I pulled in a small pot-grown conifer from the garden and put lights and trinkets on that. They couldn’t really climb it but they did their best to make off with as many baubles as possible.

An American magazine called Annie’s Crochet contacted me about featuring two of my Halloween Longlegs dolls in their 2020 Fall edition. It was rather strange to be working on such an out of season project but it was enjoyable and not too taxing. Perfect for the Christmas run up, which is always such a busy time with non-work related things. I took my time re-writing the pattern to suit the magazine style and remaking the dolls to send to Indiana for the photoshoot.

I even did some of the donkey work during Christmas visits to relatives.

It’s always nice to have a bit of colour to feast the eyes upon with so much grey tarmac all around!

Eventually they were labelled up and sent off to their new home. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they look in the magazine later this year.

So with all commissions done and dusted and Christmas presents bought and wrapped, everything was going exceedingly well until Christmas Eve when I succumbed to a vomity bug, which rapidly went around the whole family, each day striking down a different victim, until Christmas week was over. Oh well, such is the way the cookie crumbles. I came out of the holiday season 4 lbs lighter so that was something to smile about at least! I still got plenty of ‘just for fun’ crochet done over the holidays. I’ve been methodically working my way through this 100 snowflakes pattern book by Caitlin Sainio.

I’ve had this book sitting around for a few years but never got around to having a go until now. It’s been a fun project to snuggle up with. Pyjamas, kittens, crochet – the dream team.

Despite the kitten curiosity I made all of these and pinned them out on one of my foam tiles to be blocked, though the pins proved to be a temptation for little paws and had to be removed from sight once they had discovered them.

Aren’t they so pretty?! It’s my ambition to make every one from the book, maybe for this year’s Chrsitmas window display. Plenty of time left yet to get the other 89 made!

I finished crocheting my poncho/cardigan/shawl/cape/cloak. Not really sure what to call it to be honest, but I do know it is very warm and brightens up the winter days when the heating is on save mode (AKA off).

It was just waiting for the tassels here. I spent an hour or so cutting lengths of yarn and attaching them at the row ends and it really did make a nice difference to the weight and swish of the garment. Well worth the extra time it took and the extra hassle of fighting Luna for the yarn ends.

After all that ‘helping’ Luna has staked a partial claim to the finished garment and often likes to snuggle in the generous folds of the granny stripes.

We can keep each other warm this way. She was purring so loudly when I took this photo, and I would have been too if it was humanly possible!

I have a raft of new Christmas patterns that I never managed to get out in time. Here’s a close-up peak at one of the characters.

I got carried away making so many tiny ornament sized characters that I didn’t have time to write up the patterns for them in the end. I’ve shelved them for now but will be getting back on with finishing these festive designs a little later this year – in plenty of time for Christmas 2020 I hope.

In the meantime they make a very good overspill cat bed for when Loki needs a little bit of space from Luna.

There are plenty of other patterns for me to finish writing and checking over the coming weeks and true to my New Year’s resolution to clear the back log I’ve started with a Yeti pattern. Maybe it will work a charm and bring us some snow, We haven’t had a single flake this year in Worcester (apart from the ones I crocheted). Not so unusual in itself but sadly missed all the same.

Eustace the Yeti and I will be thrilled if we get to enjoy even one white-out snow day before the spring!


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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!

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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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.

autumn-display

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

autumn-glowing

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

pumpkin-people

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

pumpkins

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!

duo-pokemonning

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.

pumpkin-soup

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!

soups

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

hanbury-hall

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.

hanbury-banquet

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.

hanbury-qc

Blankets were crocheted to keep out the drafts…

cosy-evenings

…while watching fireworks from the comfort of my home.

worcester-fireworks

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.

bonfire-2

Sparklers were lit…

sparkler

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

firework-montage

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.

orb

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

cosmia

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.

squirrel

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.

Halloween-Dresser

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.

Lantern-light

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

pompoms2

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.

Sporks2

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.

Mojo-Halloween

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.

window

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.

Skelly

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!

pogo2

minnie

mojo2

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.

Poncho2

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

outdoors

Ahh, how I¬†love these little rituals that mark the passing of the year ūüôā

Pumpkin-People

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.

notes

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,

Sporks

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).

forks

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…

DSCN9885

…to this…

DSCN0323

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

…to this…

desk

..and finally, to this…

studio

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.

H

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…

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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.

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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.

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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 РWorsted weight (Aran/10 ply) yarn and size H (5mm) hook.
Small Ghost РLight 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 Р12 mm, Small ghost Р9 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 ūüôāBucket2

Happy Trick or Treating to all you Halloween Fanatics!