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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A Medley of Monsters

Can you hear that strange shuffling and scratching noise? Are you tempted to take a peek and find out what’s going on?

Well, don’t be alarmed, it turns out that it’s just the sound that my new brood of monsters make when they start twirling around on their twelve tiny toes. And as they only start twirling when they’re giddy with joy (or maybe the twirling is what makes them giddy with joy…) at least you know they’ll be in a good mood when you eventually manage to catch up with them.

These mischief making Tippy Toe Monsters will keep you on your own toes as you try and keep them out of trouble, but those big bug eyes have a way of melting your heart. No matter how naughty they are it seems that these  can get away with anything!

They got away with hassling Mojo for quite a long time. They even tried (successfully) to photo bomb his portrait session with his new cat pal.

Ever get the feeling you’re being watched? it was all too much for mini Mojo but major Mojo sat it out. A crochet blanket on a desk next to your human is a prize worth fighting for.

Make yourself comfy Mojo. They wont bite!

He gave them one of his hard stares as a warning against any further encroachment of his space, wondered why there was an out of season snowman present, and then snoozed off quite indifferently.

Contrary to popular myth, Tippy Toe Monsters aren’t only about running around making mischief. Sometimes they can be really helpful. They kept an eye on my grammar and made the most excellent spellcheckers when I was tapping away at the keyboard.

And those great glowering, globular eyes are also really rather good at spotting mistakes in stitch counts or round numbering on the paper patterns.

Tippy Toe Monsters have a fabulous eye (or three) for colour so I asked them to choose a bright and cheery palette for their soon to be crocheted friends. They all thought that we should definitely incorporate some orange.

But they couldn’t agree on much else between them. After a bit of bickering and lot of random yarn grabbing we eventually chose these delicious candy shades.

Then I got to work making a ton of tiny toes…

…and a great many eyeballs along with other necessities for monster making such as stumpy arms and pointy horns.

Never knowingly giving up an opportunity to get in on the act Mojo threatened to brush aside all micro crochet elements with a single sweep of his twitchy tail.

Then someone opened a pouch of cat food and his razor sharp hearing meant he was bounding off, luckily not scattering my hard work all over the floor as he went.

As well as being watched by an ever growing crowd of monsters I’ve had lots of disembodied eyeballs peering at me too.

With so many composite pieces to crochet it took me a long time to finish them all. Car journey’s, bus journeys and trips to visit friends are good for this sort of pick and mix approach so wherever I went, my basket went too. There were a few weeks back there while I mass produced toes and eyeballs on an almost industrial scale, squeezing a few more in whenever I had a spare couple of minutes and cracking on with a vengeance when I had an hour or two.

As all the toes are crocheted together there is not nearly as much sewing involved as you might think. The monsters get really excited when they’re waiting for their eyes. They really do bring these little rascals to life!

Although it’s very difficult to gauge their exact mood until their mouths are embroidered. One small black stitch makes all the difference to their personalities.

It wasn’t really necessary to make quite as many as I did but I had so much fun playing with all the colours and combining them in different ways that it was very very difficult to stop!

Often working into the night with my messy desk strewn with crochet, notebooks and a token cat I eventually ended up with more monsters than I really needed!

I absolutely must get some craft shows booked so I can offload a few to loving new homes!

I reckon I’ve had my fill of monster making for now. I’m sure I’ll be back creating more in the future but there are quite a few other projects to finish off in the meantime. If, unlike myself, you haven’t reached monster saturation point yet you can purchase the pattern for Tippy Toe Montsers below. I’d love to see how yours turn out so don’t forget you can message me on my mojimojidesign Facebook page and send me a pic or two if you find the time 🙂

Tippy Toe Monster Pattern

 

I’m working up a new pattern called Ocean Buddies this week and have been having a blast playing about with sparkly yarn and a nifty little technique for making the perfect narwhal tusk.

There will also be a whale, a dolphin, a shark and a little starfish included in this particular friend group. I’m looking forward to finishing these buddies soon. I also have three new designs to get ready for Zoomigurumi 9 so it will be a busy couple of weeks around here. But as I’m doing what I love I know how fast it will fly by!


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#AmiguruMay – Part One

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

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

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

Day 1 – Current WIP

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

Day 2 – Inspirations

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

Day 3 – Tools

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

Day 4 – The Smallest

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

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

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

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

Day 7 – Favorite Yarn

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

Day 8 – Animals

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

Day 9 – How and When I Started

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

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

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

Day 10 – My First Ami

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

Day 11- The Biggest

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

Day 12 – Safety Eyes

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

Day 13 – Top Tip

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

Day 14 – Favorite Pattern

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

Day 15 Hands at Work

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

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


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Tiny Toadstools

Looking through my sketchbooks and perusing my to-do lists I came to the conclusion it was about time I got organised and wrote up the free toadstool pattern that I’ve been meaning to do for a while now (I see a February date in the notebook and it is May already!). I’ve got way too many scribbled down ideas just waiting to blossom into fully formed patterns so here’s to having one less unfinished project left to worry about!

These Tiny Toadstools (or Mini Mushrooms if you prefer) measure approximately 2″ (5 cm) tall. They use only very small amounts of yarn and take about 30 minutes from start to finish so you can have your very own little crop of fungi in next to no time!

Materials:
Each toadstool requires approximately 1 gram each of Red and White 4 ply yarn plus 2 grams of polyester toy stuffing.

You’ll also need a 1.75 mm crochet hook, a pair of scissors, a yarn needle, stitch marker and a pair of tweezers (to help stuff the toadstool with).

*click here for a printable version of this pattern*

Pattern notes:
This pattern uses US sc (UK dc) throughout.

The invisible decrease (invdec) method is used throughout this pattern apart from on the back loop only crochet in Rnds 10 and 19 where the single crochet decrease (sc2tog) is used instead.

For stitch abbreviation meanings refer to the table at the end of the free pattern page. For those not familiar with invdec and sc2tog I’ve included photos below to show the difference.

Tie off and trim the colour change between the cap and the stalk on the inside of your work.

French knots are used to add the dots to the mushroom cap.

Toadstool Cap:

With Red yarn make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second chain from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: [Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times. (9 sts)
Rnd 3: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times. (12 sts)
Rnd 4: [Sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times. (15 sts)
Rnd 5: [Sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 6: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (24 sts)
Rnds 7-9: Sc in each st around. (3 rounds)

Toadstool Stalk:
(See pictures 1-9 below for details on sc2tog and invdec techniques)

Change to White yarn.
Rnd 10: Working in back loops only: [Sc in each of next 2 st, sc2tog] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 11: [Sc in next st, invdec] 6 times. (12 sts)
Rnd 12: [Sc in each of next 2 st, invdec] 3 times. (9 sts)
Rnds 13-14: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Rnd 15: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st] 3 times. (12 sts)
Rnds 16-17: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Rnd 18: [Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 19: Working in back loops only: [Sc in next st, sc2tog] 6 times. (12 sts)
Rnd 20: Invdec 6 times. (6 sts)

Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail of approximately 27″ (70 cm) for finishing.

Single crochet 2 together (sc2tog) in back loops only (pictures 1-6)

Insert hook into next back loop, yarn over hook (1) and pull up a loop (2 loops on your hook) (2), insert hook into next back loop, yarn over hook (3) and pull up a loop (3 loops on your hook) (4), yarn over hook (5) and pull through all 3 loops on hook to complete the decrease (6).

Invisible decrease (invdec) (pictures 7-9)

Insert hook into front loops only of the next 2 stitches (3 loops on hook), yarn over hook (7), pull yarn through first 2 loops on hook (2 loops left on hook), yarn over hook (8), pull yarn through last 2 loops on hook to complete the decrease (9).

To Finish:

Your toadstool will lack a bit of shape at this point but don’t worry because we’re going to be remedying that in the next stages.

Use your tweezers to stuff the mushroom through the 6 stitch hole (10). Thread yarn tail onto yarn needle, pick up front loop only of remaining 6 stitches (11). Pull tight to close the hole and fasten with a small knot.

Insert the needle through the center of the base coming out where you want the first French Knot to be (12). Pull tightly on the yarn as you pull it through to flatten the bottom of the stalk.

Hold the yarn tight to keep the bottom flat and begin to make your first French knot by inserting the needle into the stitch space below and exiting where the needle first came out (13). Wrap the yarn 4 times around the needle (14), press onto the wrapped yarn with your thumb as you carefully pull the needle through to form the knot. Pull on the knot gently to neaten it (15).

Insert needle into stitch space at bottom of knot, coming out underneath the knot between Rnds 11 and 12 of toadstool (16-17). Insert needle 1 stitch away from last exit point, this time coming out where you want the second knot to be (18).

Pull on the yarn to begin forming the flat underside shaping of the gills (19). Keeping the tension on the yarn to maintain the shape, create your second French Knot in the same way as the first, finishing by coming out underneath the knot between Rnds 11 and 12 again (20). Continue in this way all around, pulling on the yarn as you go, until your mushroom has the desired shape. Once you are happy with the shape sew more French knots every few stitches (21) until you have the amount of spots you require.

Hide the yarn end inside the toadstool when you have finished.

I added a loop with some jewelry fixings and >Ta-dah!< I now have a really cute toadstool charm.

Looks pretty sweet dangling from my Instax Mini! Of course one toadstool leads to another…

…especially when you have such a gorgeous selection of Katia 10g amigurumi balls to play with.

Well, I just couldn’t resist, could you?!


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New Additions

Lots of new things have been happening around here over recent months. Mainly in the form of new amigurumis, patterns and patterns-in-progress but we have had another addition to the clan which isn’t actually crocheted for once! Can you guess? If it’s not crocheted then it must be… a cat! And so I’m really excited to introduce you to our lovely Laddie.

As you’ve probably gathered, he’s got quite a pronounced cleft lip but other than slightly bowed legs and a few oddly formed toes on his front feet – none of which seems to bother him in the slightest – he’s a regular friendly, sweet-natured, slightly scruffy old tabby cat. No one knows exactly what his age is as he was discovered in my mother-in-law’s garden where he appeared from the hedgerow as a flea-bitten, skinny stray about twelve years ago.

The Cats Protection charity estimated he was maybe between 5 and 7 years old back then, so he is probably at least 17 by now. My mother-in-law is obviously considerably older than that (unless you take the old cat years maths equation into account) and due to her advancing years has been finding it difficult to care for him recently. We eventually ended up bringing him home with us and hoped and prayed he would settle in OK – especially as we already have two other cats to think about and Laddie is used to being the star of his one cat show.

They are all keeping their distance from each other for the most part, with just the odd growl and hiss if any of them get too close and even that’s getting better by the day as they all learn about how to share the space with the new dynamic going on. They’re not exactly best friends yet but they seem to be putting up with each other tolerably well.

I think the look on Mojo’s face says it all…

And Laddie’s expression isn’t much better – although the lack of a top lip always makes him look a little on the grumpy side!

Despite by best efforts in encouraging Laddie to take his many and prolonged naps in an actual cat bed he has decided that my crochet corner is his favorite spot in the whole house.

He has definitely made himself at home there. He’s quite a poser too!

He’s as keen on finding out more about my crochet as the other cats are and likes to get in on the act if there’s a camera clicking away.

And if he’s not in my comfy armchair he occasionally prefers to groom and snooze, equally inconveniently, on the chair in front of my computer…

…as well as taking a regular prowl up and down my desk – usually when I’m trying to edit photos or write up patterns there!

As if I didn’t already have enough cat hair to combine with the yarn fluff floating around the place! Oh well, with my excessive love of yarn and cat’s I’ve long ago resigned myself to a daily anti-histamine tablet and sporadic bouts of violent sneezing.

On the crochet front my latest finished creation and addition to the family is a super cuddly version of my Bobbin the Bear pattern using James C. Brett’s Flutterby Chunky yarn. I got the idea from seeing SherrasYarnTails version of my monkeys in the February Ami-Along at amigurumipatterns.net (there’s a lovely photo of her monkey duo in this blog post). As soon as I saw them I was itching to have a go with some chunky chenille yarn myself.

This is probably the easiest and fastest to complete pattern in my collection so it was the perfect choice for a car journey up North to visit relatives. I managed to make several pieces in the car and then finished off the rest of the bits once I got home.

As Laddie is so often sprawled out in my studio armchair I’ve recently taken to crocheting on the sofa in the kitchen. We had a bit of a revamp of the whole room a month ago and now I love it in here so much! It’s bright and airy and the addition of the sofa means I can put my feet up and get really comfortable while I while away the hours with yarn and hook.

Naturally, Mojo and Rubick are just as keen on the new piece of furniture as I am, so there is a bit of a turf war going on here as well as upstairs in my studio with Laddie. I might as well just bin all of the cat beds I’ve bought!

At least they’ve been kind enough to leave me a little space in the middle.

Progress on the chenille bear crept on until she was all done and looking very cute in her frilly top. Now it’s her turn to have a lounge around on the sofa. This yarn was gorgeous to crochet with. It’s soft and sumptuous and I really love the almost pixelated effect of the chunky stitches. I shall definitely be working with it again in the near future.

As well as this bit of up-sizing I’ve been doing some more down-sizing too.

As it was time for Drake the Dragon’s pattern to go to single release I wanted to work through the final PDF to double check for errors, cross referencing it with the original version. I’ve already made about five Drake’s during the process of designing and checking the written instructions for the Dragons, Unicorns and More Fantasy Amigurumi book so I thought it would make the repetition of this task more interesting if I made my dragon in 4 ply yarn with a 1.75 mm hook instead of the usual DK yarn and a 3 mm hook.

I had some 12 mm cat style safety eyes which were the perfect fit. A pair of good quality glass eyes really bring a creature to life.

This cute mini project traveled with me around the house and in the car for a week or so until finally a baby dragon was born!

Drake and Dora were thrilled when their little dragonling was eventually hatched.

They’ve named him Daniel and you can see how they dote on him already!

While I was scouting around for more 4 ply yarn I found these cute as a button tiny 10 gram balls by Katia Yarns (I bought mine from a local market but you can get them online here).

Before long I had crocheted a sweet toadstool and just a little bit later, inspired by all the beautiful new colours I had just purchased I’d hooked up a whole lot more than I’d originally intended.

Now I have a bumper crop to turn into bag charms, ready for my next craft show.

I’ll be making a free pattern for them soon which I’ll post on this blog once it’s ready.

In other crochet news that is not amigurumi related, I have been very hard at work in the evenings making 100 crochet flowers for a friends country themed wedding later this year.

The Bride-to-be wants 50 crocheted sunflowers and 50 crocheted daisies. No small order, but once I got into the flow it was very enjoyable and has brightened up more than a few wintry evenings, daydreaming of the summer and all the wedding fun to be had this June.

Rubick is very serious about guarding the daisies from harm…

…and his diligent care meant that I finished all 100 without a hitch and now have them ready for delivery to the bride.

My granny stitch shawl, pulled from an old magazine, is progressing nicely. I’m having to add on a few rows to the original pattern, otherwise it would have been finished by now. The model in the photo must be the size of an average eight year old! Either that or my tension is way tighter than it should be. I’ve got plenty of this tweedy looking yarn left so luckily it’s not going to be a problem to make it a bit bigger.

And it’s a good job I do have lots of spare yarn because it looks like I’m going to have to make a blanket version for Rubick and Mojo and as well. It’s been a great hit with them both. Perhaps if I cover one of their cat beds with it I’ll get my sofa back!

Other things I’m currently working on are some mini hedgehogs…

…and last but not least, a revamped version of my Hazel the Rescue Cat pattern. It’s taking way longer than I had hoped because I can’t decide how many different kinds of cats to include (there will be at least four options) and I’m also still undecided as to how to write them all up in the most economical way possible without too much unnecessary repetition of the instructions. One thing I do know is that one of the options is going to be a tabby in honour of Laddie.

I already have a Rubick doppelganger…

…so I guess it has to be Mojo’s turn next. Then I’m thinking that a Siamese, a calico, a tortoiseshell and maybe a longhair would be fun to make too. After all you can never have too many cats around (said the mad cat lady!)


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Monkey Madness!

A big thanks to all of you who joined in with the February Ami-Along over at amigurumipatterns.net.

I managed to get my mini versions finished in time to show them off on the forums so now Mavis and Marvin have their hands full with their little monkey twins. Imagine the chaos these two are going to bring… and the love too, of course!

I really enjoyed seeing all the amazingly inventive interpretations of my design. Mavis and Marvin have never looked so good! Here’s a little montage of some of my favorites (if yours is there and you have a social media you’d like me to add, please feel free to let me know).

From top left to bottom right the creators of these cheeky monkeys are: Amigurumiliker, anggihyuka, BeetleAtBay, Bashacat, bonekikinhos, ChantalO, cherryltf, ChiaraFirever, defysocietyarts, Iamthedishwasher, Jellybubble18, JenniD, PenguinPlaceCrafts, lynda, MamaPia, Mikkycrafts, NomadCreation, PerImpStitches, sandaroo, Pipsqueak,  Sharnie, sloviska, Dace, Telle and last but not least, Yarnimals.

I love how they are all so different!

There are always lots of prizes on offer at the Ami-Alongs and this one was no exception.

Because this was the February event, and ran close to Valentine’s Day, the hosts of the Ami-Along awarded a prize for the most romantic picture which was won by Amigudolls. Two little monkeys with tails entwined in the shape of a love heart. Awww, just too cute!

Love was definitely in the air because HoneyBunnyAmigurumis won the prize as the most voted for by fellow Ami-Alongers with this heart-meltingly sweet bride and groom.

I was given the very difficult task of choosing a personal favourite and after much deliberation eventually plumped for this 1920’s looking Flapper couple by CheerfulChameleon.

I’m really rather envious of that magnificent fringed dress and all of the fancy jewellery. Her very dapper partner looks like a million dollars too. Wherever they’re planning on heading off to, I have a feeling these two are going to have a fabulous time painting the town red, all dressed up to the nines.

NinaLisa made a beautiful pink furry version, with the suitably glamorous name of Malvina.,,

…as well as a more traditional monkey pair to which she added a cute, smiley banana friend (free banana pattern by Barbara Strasser of Esbelotta.com here)

MadMomAli made a couple of monkeys in Hogwarts House colours. Now there is no mistaking where their allegiances lie!

And I am in love with this photo from myrtille95470 of her newly crocheted monkey wasting no time in making a firm friend of her cat.

And isn’t this photo of lucyjay’s three monkeys in the classic ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ poses wonderful!

Secretsparrow made a very inventive superhero trio. I feel sure that world is a much safer place now we have these fighting on the side of all that’s good!

These chunky monkeys by SherrasYarnTails, made with bulky weight Premier Parfait chenille yarn, has got me all excited to have a go at supersizing some of my other amigurumis.

I’ve been having trouble sourcing a similar yarn that’s available in the UK but have managed to find a selection by James C. Brett called Flutterby Chunky. The colours are quite limited but I can imagine a teddy bear in the lovely soft tones that I’ve been able to get hold of.

It will make a nice change from all the recent downsizing I’ve been doing. It’s a lot of fun making mini-gurumis with 4 ply yarn and a 1.75 mm hook but it really makes my hands ache after a while! I hope that crocheting with this thick chenille yarn will be a little kinder on my wrists and knuckles.

If I can find a similar yarn in a dark brown I shall attempt a maxi-gurumi monkey or two to add to my ever growing collection of primates (and a sloth).

What a lot of crochet going on! The Ami-Alongs happen regularly every month where a different designer gets to showcase a brand new and exclusive design. It’s been great fun and such a lovely way to connect with fellow amigurumi enthusiasts. I’ve shared tips, tricks, and anecdotes and have learnt a lot from others too! Thanks so much to all who joined in for your enthusiasm, support and general chit-chat. If you haven’t had a go at one of these yet but it sounds like something you might be interested in then check out the latest news on the  Ami-Along page to see what’s happening at the moment!

(If you’re a monkey fan and missed this event, Marvin and Mavis’s pattern is now available as a single pattern purchase here).

I’m working on another free pattern for a little toadstool bag charm at the moment so expect another blog post soon! In the meantime Mavis, Marvin, the twins and myself all bid you goodbye and wish you many hours of happy crocheting!


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Mavis and Marvin Monkey

Hello there and Happy Valentine’s to you all!

If you want to show your crochet the love here’s a heads up to get ready for a whole lot of merriment because Mavis and Marvin the mischievous monkeys are coming over for a play-date! In fact, as of today, their pattern will be available exclusively for one month over at Amigurumipatterns.net’s Ami-Along. As an extra bonus all Ami-Along participants can get 30% off all my other patterns in my AmigurumiPatterns Moji-Moji Design shop!

Mavis and Marvin are bursting with energy and love making their friends smile with their clever aerobic antics, so be sure to take them to the park where they can burn off all that energy. But be warned! Unless you are an Olympic athlete you may find it a challenge to keep up with them as they jump all over the swings and swing all over the climbing frames. Those curly monkey tails just love to wrap around anything they can find. If Mavis and Marvin should disappear for a while don’t forget to check the tree tops. That’s where they usually like to hide away.

You will probably be able to tempt them back to earth with a handful of roasted peanuts and foam banana sweets. As these are their favorite treats you could even use the promise of them to encourage Mavis and Marvin to sit quietly for a minute (but absolutely no more than that – I can assure you!).

I was asked to come up with a brand new design especially for the Ami-Along in the middle of January and it’s been a great kick start to the new year. As usual I began with a quick sketch in my dog-eared graph paper note book.

And it wasn’t long before a cute crocheted face followed.

There was a bit of tweaking and refining to do but this little monkey pattern went smoothly right from the start. It was fun to play around with the colours for the clothing.

 

Next thing I knew,  I had a boy monkey swinging off my hook and dashing around the studio too.

Marvin sports a smart bow tie at his neck and a straight hem on his sweater. Mavis’s has a scalloped edge and she wears a little bow proudly on her ear, making her the prettiest primate for miles around.

But what they both have in common is a love of stripes, a cheeky smile and the curliest tails you ever did see!

A lot of note taking and a heap of pattern writing later and I’ve got almost enough to make a whole troop.

I’ve even started on a couple of baby monkeys made with 4 ply yarn and a 1.75 mm hook. Oh my goodness! They are turning out so sweet!

I hope to be back to share a little more of the mini monkeys’ progress along with a round up of other news soon. I’m planning on finishing sewing mini Marvin together this afternoon. Well there are certainly worse ways to spend the day!

I’ll also be hopping in and out of the forums, answering questions and sharing tips and tricks (for the next month) so do come on over, share your progress and ask away!

Mavis, Marvin and myself are very much looking forward to meeting you there and seeing what ape-mazing amigurumis you create!

 


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Monster Madness

I’m a bit late with this post but wanted to give a heads up to anyone who doesn’t already know that the Amigurumi Monsters book is now available to order from amigurumipatterns.net

The pre-sale phase lasts until Wednesday 23rd August, 2017 so if you like to get a bargain follow the link above and it will take you straight to the ordering page.

As well as getting your hands on my pattern for Jeepers and Creepers you’ll also be able to crochet all these other crazy characters to keep them company.

I think you’ll agree there’s something there for everybody, as long as they like monsters of course. But then who could resist when they’re all as cute as these?

One of the things I love about monsters is the endless colour combinations. I couldn’t resist making a whole rainbow of mine. Here they are with a bunch of spare eyeballs that they rounded up during one of their more mischievous moments.

Jeepers and Creepers have an urge to herd things. They’re like the monster equivalent of a sheepdog, though they’re much too tiny for a flock of sheep to take any notice of as they easily get lost in the long grass.

Did you ever wonder what that noise coming from under the bed was? Were you brave enough to take a look in the middle of the night? If you were very quiet and very quick you may have glimpsed one or two of these cheeky monsters staring back at you in wide-eyed wonder.

Their three big eyes help them to peer about in the gloomy spaces under your furniture where they spend a lot of their time indulging their herding instinct by rolling up household fluff into dust bunnies. Even if you’re not fast enough to see these shy little monsters for yourself you may well have found a dust bunny or two to prove their existence. There are certainly plenty of those sneezy, wheeze inducing things in my house, but then that’s hardly surprising when there are so many members of Jeepers and Creepers family living under my roof – though my lack of passion for vacuuming when there’s crochet to be done also adds to the problem, I’m quite sure!

Their pattern was kindly tested for the book by three different crocheters and these are the results…

From left to right these goggle eyed creations were made by Stephanie, Iris Dongo and Stephanie Plets. Thank you ladies, you did an awesome job!

Wanting to have my fair share of the fun I also volunteered to test a pattern and got to make Toby the Triclops by Noah (Younique Crafts).

Toby is a very, very cuddly kind of monster – even his eyeballs are squishy! Two of my under-bed-sweepers were thrilled with their new pal and scurried on over for a big cuddle. They’re not really bothered about personal space and just assume every monster they meet wants a squeeze!

Toby looks a bit startled by this, but then he looks a bit startled by most things. That’s what happens when you can’t blink because you’ve got no eyelids.

I loved him so much I made another. This time, instead of DK yarn and 3 mm hook I used 4 ply yarn and a 2 mm hook.

Toby is convinced it’s his long lost little sister, Tabitha. She’s was too young to remember them being separated so she can’t say for sure but knows that she has always dreamed of having a big brother. I have to say, there is a very striking family resemblance so Toby may well be right!

A family re-union is always a lovely occasion but now Jeepers and Creepers are feeling a bit left out.

Oh well, they’ve always got each other – and million dust bunnies- to play with.

If you still haven’t had enough of making monsters after you have diligently made your way through this newest book, I’m currently finishing writing up a few more patterns for strange and alien looking creatures so keep your eyes peeled for more news about that coming very soon!


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My First Moji-Moji Craft Stall

Its been a funny old week, having had a total break from my normal routine. I found that time was flying even faster than usual and the craft fair I had signed myself up for, many months ago, was suddenly very nearly upon us. Now I don’t know about you but I always work much better under a tight deadline and so leaving the vast bulk of the preparation and organisation to be crammed into just over a week was probably the best way of tackling it for me personally.

As you can see, I managed to fill my 10 foot long table quite nicely in the end!

The stall sign was both a labour of love and a feat of engineering. But it should last me for a while as it is made out of very sturdy laser cut plywood. Each piece was individually painted by myself and a very patient friend (it took about six hours of paintbrush wielding between us) and was then pieced back together, jigsaw style, and glued onto a backing board.

A lot of work, I know, but well worth the effort. Weirdly there were still three pieces left over that we just couldn’t figure out where to fit. Very odd, but the sign didn’t look any the worse for it so we got straight on with the job of sticking it down. This involved turning it over while sandwhiched between two boards, taping it together along the back, brushing with generous amounts of PVA glue and then weighting it down overnight with anything I could find. Mainly my vast collection of cookbooks, the ever overflowing laundry basket and anything else heavy enough to help but light enough to lift.

And tadah! Here it is after it’s final coat of varnish.

The sign was a good start but I needed things to sell too. Obviously I have a generous supply of ready made amigurumis which were only in need of digging out and showing off.

They all looked a little startled to be seeing the light of day again!

Amigurumis aside, I really felt I wanted to offer a bit more variety to potential customers. So with that thought in mind I embarked on making up a whole batch of crochet kits. I actually really enjoyed this process once I got into the swing of it, though I’m quite happy to take a break from the endless winding and weighing of balls of yarn for a while now!

They next job was to package them up and squirrel them away into boxes along with the all the equipment and notions necessary to create the finished articles.

One week of winding, weighing, measuring, graphic designing, printing, box folding, bag filling and label sticking, and I had my first collection of finished kits to sell. Six different types in all. I would have liked to do more but there’s always next time!

My very helpful sign painting partner also dedicated a whole evening to making me some badges with the Moji-Moji logo cat on (you know who you are and you’re a star – thanks a million!).

I love these so much. Think I might have to invest in my very own badge making machine soon. Maybe one for the Christmas list if Santa is still listening, I have been very, very good this year, I promise!

I found my stash of owl purses (my free tutorial is here if you fancy making some).

And I dug out and blinged up some of my Mini Party Treats by adding a few sprinkles of seed beads and multi-coloured yarn.

I forgot how much I like playing around with toy food!

Looks good enough to eat huh?

I also had a small supply of extra books featuring some of my designs to take with me. A great way of introducing my customers to the topic of the new Amigurumi Monsters book (more on that in the next post) and as there was a recent outbreak of Jeepers and Creepers (who are featuring in the book) spawning in the studio I had plenty of examples to take along as conversation starters. I figured you couldn’t miss all those eyes staring at you as they followed you around the field!

I did have to spend a fair bit of time thoroughly picking them over for kitten hairs though. Oops!

The night before the show everything was stacked and ready to go and an early night beckoned.

My youngest son kindly came along to help set everything up and keep things running smoothly behind the scenes, tidying the table during the lulls and restocking after the rushes.

There was a lot going on at the Worcester Show but I didn’t get to take many photos as I was kept very busy all day behind my stall but for those of you who are curious about the event you can see snapshots of some of the best moments from previous years on their official site in the Gallery section. There was belly dancing, water zorbing, live music, biggest cabbage, longest runner bean, roundest dahlia, best use of recycling, competitive crafts, face painting, fantastic food and fine wine, bonsai beauties, a dog show, sport events, a fairground, and of course the market stalls…  to name just a few.

All in all it was a very successful and enjoyable day. The weather was kind to us and the hours just whizzed by. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to chat and to those who bought a little something to take away with them. It was lovely to meet you all and I hope to see you again next year, if not before!

And for those that weren’t there, thank you for reading this and sharing my day with me via my blog.

I appreciate all your support and the encouragement that helps me to indulge in my gloriously yarn surrounded lifestyle and passion for amigurumi!


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Paksha the Peacock

I know it’s been a while since I last managed to list a pattern in any of my online shops but the big news today is that I finally managed it! Hopefully there’ll be quite a few more in the foreseeable future as now that the current influx of book submissions and commissions are under control I have managed to gather together a well organised backlog of designs waiting in my in tray that just need a little tweaking and testing before they’re fit for public consumption.

Paksha the Peacock was originally designed for a magazine. It’s unbelievable how time flies by so fast but the two year contract is up and I am now free to list the pattern myself. I had fun tweaking the colours until they were near perfect. The original peacock had to be made with the colours already supplied in a yarn pack so this was a good chance to change things up a little.

Even though peacocks have a very definite colour scheme you can see how easy it is to great great results with just blues and yellow. But really, any similar or not so similar yarns would look great. (I wonder what a pink peacock would work out like? Rather pretty I should think).

As you can’t buy the original kits from the magazine I’ve sourced my alternative colours from a range of yarns which I fell in love with only recently. I have gone a bit crazy and bought myself the entire range of Paintbox Simply DK yarns which are now sitting prettily on one of my shelves with all the yarn shades neatly displayed on wooden pegs. I’m getting very organised in my old age you know!

I usually pick up random scraps of yarn balls from my existing stash as i certainly have plenty to choose from but for anyone who’s curious as to how to achieve the quintessential peacock look I made a note of the colours I used on the one below in case anyone wanted more info on what I considered to be the optimal peacock colours for this pattern.

I bought mine from LoveKnitting and ended up with free postage because I can’t help buying yarn in quantities much larger than is actually necessary for any particular project. Did I really need one in every colour? Well, I’m quite sure it will all come in handy sooner or later!

These are all Paintbox Yarns Simply DK shades. From left to right we have: Dark blue – 139, Turquoise – 133, Lime green – 128, Grass Green – 129, Gold -123 and Cream – 102.

Deep, jewel like colours and an obsessive fondness for preening make Paksha one of the finest sights at the palace. With his showy display of tail feathers and dashing good looks Paksha has all the peahens running around after him. You might think that all this attention would go straight to his head but Paksha isn’t at all conceited and his claws are always firmly planted on the ground.

In fact sometimes he seems more interested in showing off his magnificent tail to other peacocks instead of chasing after the ladies. It’s probably just nature’s age old case of mine’s bigger/better/more colourful than yours!

The peacocks are small enough to sit nicely in the palm of your hand so they don’t use up much yarn.

They’re also easier to sew together than you might think, despite there being quite a lot of individual tail feathers, I’ve managed to come up with a foolproof way to attach them all to each other with a minimum amount of hassle.

He’s such a fussy thing when it comes to his appearance it would be criminal not to do those feathers justice and you’d probably get a good pecking or two off Paksha if he ends up looking anything other than totally dapper so I have added plenty of photo’s to help you along and lots of tips and tricks to make sure your peacock turns out to be the envy of his brothers and the sweetheart of all the peahens.

This one is very interested in his new, soon to be completed, rival.

However it doesn’t take long for the initial wary eyeing up of each other until they’re good pals. I think they both feel grand enough and that there’s enough room in the palace gardens for the both of them and so a rather lovely friendship has developed.

They’re fascinated by their first incarnation, Prince, and how he managed to gain some fame by getting himself interviewed for a popular magazine. If there is anything that peacocks really, really love it’s a bit of attention. The more paparazzi around the better!

These two are also very interested in how their pattern comes together and how all the photos they had to pose for are being used.

Pattern making is not all yarn and hooks. Sometimes its screen and keyboards too. Though I infinitely prefer the former combo I have come to have a fondness for the entire pattern creating process over the years. Probably because my computer skills have improved – however marginally – to make the technical, non yarny side of things a bit more stress free.

peacock-bunting-beads

As a final tweak to the original pattern I turned the wing motifs into bunting.

I can think of lots of places in my house that this bright and cheerful string of plumage would add a sparkle to if Paksha would let me have it back…

But for now they are feathering his nest and making him look as pretty as a picture in all his photo shoots.

If you want to make a feathery show off of your own you can find Paksha’s Pattern in my Ravelry Store