Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


10 Comments

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!


20 Comments

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!


11 Comments

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


12 Comments

A Little Bit of This and That

There’s so much going on at the moment it’s difficult to know where to start so I’m going to start right here and end up at the end of the post and hopefully I will have made a bit of sense somewhere in between.

Casting my mind back to a few weekends ago I started crocheting a mitten on a long car journey to Cardiff. Oldest son was finally moving the last of his things to Luton where he recently started his new job. After we picked up his furniture and other items he won’t be in need of for the next 6 months we drove over to Penarth and treated ourselves to fish and chips on the pier (not exactly in harmony with my current low carb regime but what the heck! You can’t go to the seaside and not have fish and chips. Some things just have to be endured!

A little bit of crochet on the beach with a steaming hot cup of tea rounded off our dinner perfectly.

I’m not following a pattern for these mittens but have made it up as I go along. I’ve jotted down some notes so hopefully I’ll be able to reproduce it accurately the second time to make an identical pair.

The notes are rudimentary but should be adequate. As long as I haven’t accidentally left anything out it should be OK.

I’ve been busy with two submissions for a new book due out next year. Here’s a sneak peak at the patterns.

One for a rather rotund chicken called Cheryl.

Slightly more extensive notes were made here. Yeah I know, what a mess of scribbles and scratches, but I have this method of quickly taking notes as I go along down to a fine art by now and can hopefully write up the fully formed pattern from them. I don’t like to break my creative flow by getting too technical at this stage so this is the best method for me by far.

There is also a hamster called Hamish who will be making it into print later on. Here’s the beginnings of his little head, nestled cosily among the final batch of hexies which are eventually going to make up a seat cover for my crochet arm chair.

Hamish has been stuffing those cheeks with some tasty treats. I think there’s a strawberry in one side and a couple of peanuts in the other. Sounds like the perfect healthy breakfast to me!

I’d better not make too many of these or they’re going to eat me out of house and home!

I’ll be exhausted trying to keep up with the constant munching. Lets hope this crop of strawberries will keep Hamish happy for a while.

There has been a welcome swathe of very hot weather sweeping the country recently. Now I’m much more of a hot house flower than a frost resistant variety so I’ve welcomed the sunshine and blistering heat with open arms. Just as this seagull greets the sight of unattended food down at Brown’s Restaurant with open wings!

Note to self never to leave lunch unattended where seagulls are likely to be.

The most lovely thing about a heatwave is walking round the river and taking the time to watch the sunset while still basking in the warmth that the blazing sun has left behind.

As well as writing two new patterns for publishing I’ve been testing a pattern written by Noah of  Younique Crafts. I just love this cuddly triclops and can’t wait to see the new book with all the other cute and crazy looking monsters in it.

I may have mentioned before about how much I love to make eyeballs so I was in my element with Noah’s design.

And Jeepers and Creepers were thrilled to meet a fellow book buddy, and they immediately invited him to take up lifelong membership of the Three Eyed Monster’s Club.

Of course, he gracefully accepted and now all three (friends, not eyeballs) are inseparable.

I’ve also been asked by lovecrochet.com to design a pattern based on a real life cat who was re-homed from Battersea Cat’s and Dog’s Home. She’s called Hazel and the poor thing only has one eye due to a road traffic accident. She’s still smiling though, thanks to all the love and affection she’s getting from her new owners. The pattern will be available in August 2017 and the proceeds from all pattern sales will go to Battersea Cat’s and Dog’s Home for six months to raise money on behalf of all the canine and feline orphans that reside there as they wait for their forever homes.

Amigurumi Hazel looks quite pleased to have insinuated herself onto the prime window spot with a very relaxed Mojo.

Minnie’s not so happy about the newcomer!

I think she thinks here’s been enough domestic upheaval to manage what with having Rubick around and now another interloper? Oh purrrlease…

Rather unfortunately I seem to like cats more than cats like cats, if you see what I mean. But harmony is being achieved between our four furry friends (and  couple of crocheted ones) at a slow and steady pace. A bit of hissing (mainly from hyper reactive Mojo) the odd claws-retracted bout of fisticuffs (Pogo likes to box Rubick’s ears just gently when he oversteps the mark) and Minnie simply pulls that face, nearly all of the time, if the kitten is anywhere in sight. Lots more TLC and some clever mentoring and I’m sure we’ll all be one big happy bundle of co-habitation soon enough.

Rubick has a nice new cat tower-block on which to expend some of that crazy energy that kittens have. I’m hoping that if I wear him out that he’ll give my old and grumpy cats a bit more of a break from chasing their tails and generally trying to make too much physical contact for which they’re not quite ready yet.

If we’re lucky all that charging around and running up and down his furry tower gives us all a few moments of peace…

Zzzzzzz.

Pogo allows Rubick to get quite close now, though I have to say that face is enough to frighten the toughest of cats, or people too come to that!

When I’ve not been either mentoring the cats or working on book patterns or crocheting up charity commissions I took out a little time to make myself a pretty coaster.

I still have the matching mandala cushions to finish up. It’s really just the backs that need crocheting so I’ve put them on my to do sooner rather than later list. I shall aim to get them finished this week. That will be a perfect mini project for the summer evenings and not too taxing, or too bulky for the heat.

In the meantime one of the cushion fronts has ended up lining Rubick’s sleeping corner but it’s been much too hot for curling up, better to do the heatwave sprawl!

I’d also like to finish up the Daisy Chain Hexie seat pad cover to add the finishing touches to my green wing backed crochet corner arm chair. I’ve made another batch of 100 hexies so far and have begun to slip stitch them together across the short rows. I’ve a fair way to go yet but this is another project that can be picked up and worked on in fragments whenever I get a chance.

It’s all been a bit too warm for mittens but I finished up the first one anyway. Now I have to make the other one. It will be cold enough again, and too soon as well, if the great British summer sticks to its usual form.

I love the variegated marbled yarn that I’ve used for this Mitts but I can’t find the ball band anywhere so can’t share with you what it’s called. I think it may have been by Sirdar… If anyone knows the name of this yarn please do let me know what it is! I’d quite like to get another ball and make a scarf to match – but the other mitten must come first. I have enough projects on the go as it is!


14 Comments

Hundreds of Hexies

Woohoo! It took a little while but I have at last finished the first batch of hexies! At this stage I thought they were the only batch of hexies I’d need – however there was a change of plan somewhere along the line but I’ll tell you more about that later…

Next came the happy task of joining them all together.

I love the colours and had a great deal of fun playing around with their placement. There is so much satisfaction in seeing all those individual elements coming together to create one flat smooth, neatly grafted whole.

Work has been ticking along with this blanket on and off. I’ve been hooking up a hexie or two or joining long and short rows whenever possible.

Rubick is growing fast, almost as fast as the blanket, and is as lively and curious as ever. He still loves sitting on my WIPs any chance he gets, but then I never knew a cat that didn’t!

All those loose ends and oodles of soft blanketty goodness are too much for a fun loving, comfort seeking kitty to resist.

When I do get a cat free moment I’ve steadily crocheted, darned and snipped my way along, squeezing in what I can between my amigurumi designing, taking a row or two to join up wherever I go. There’s been little stacks of hexies in the bedroom, in the studio, on the sofa and even in the car.

Mojo is slowly getting used to having Rubick around. Not so much hissing at each other anymore…

…though there’s a bit of a disgruntled look going on here in the background! Maybe Mojo isn’t quite prepared to make a best buddy of the interloper yet.

I had planned on making a pretty border to round the blanket off nicely but in the end I decided to repurpose it into a covering for the back of my chair. This has to be the easiest bit of upholstery I’ve ever done as all that was required was some firm tucking in of the blanket edges into the creases of the chair and Hey Presto! Just like magic, my chair has had a whole new makeover and looks like a million dollars. Well, maybe half a million, as it is actually only half finished right now.

It’s worked a treat and is a very snug fit. So there was me thinking my hexie project was nearly over when in fact I’m now going to need to make a second piece to cover the seat pad. Good job the daisies are such a pleasure to make. I didn’t waste much time on getting started on the second leg of hexie heaven.

A very long car journey from Worcester to Luton, accompanying my oldest son to his new digs and new job as a graphic designer (woohoo – very proud of him of course!) gave me a great opportunity to get making another batch of beauties.

Sunshine and showers were the order of the day. And what a long day it was.

Sunbeams all morning and a lap full of colour would put a smile on anyones face.

But even a turn in the weather on the way back home may have dampened the scenery but not the spirit.

I was chuffed to bits to get all of my second set of hexies completed and the ends darned in as well. With just enough time left to spend finishing my Caron Cake scarf.

All it needs now are some tassels attached to either end and I have another finished project under my belt (or rather, round my neck).

That was certainly a most mammoth, butt numbing, car journey and I felt really glad to get back home and stretch my legs again. The rain had set in well and truly by now but grey skies are not such a calamity when I have this gorgeously cosy thing going on in the studio.

The cats know it’s the best spot in the house and I have to agree. This really is my happy place and the word blessed doesn’t even begin to sum up how lucky I feel.

I shall continue to combat the rainy day blues by crocheting rainbows. I’m slowly working on yarn bombing every spare square foot of my favorite corner of the earth. Watch out Rubick… you might be next! Wouldn’t he look cute in a little patchwork jumper and a hat?!


12 Comments

Zoomigurumi 6

oswald_banner_820

Another year has rushed by and another edition of the Zoomigurumi series of amigurumi-packed books has bloomed into a reality. We’re on to number six now and this one is just as full as ever of cute crocheted characters.

z6banner_instagram-copy

I made an owl pattern back in the summer at the same time that I was designing my chameleon. That was a great riot of colour for sure and the theme seemed to be lots of stripes and big staring eyes!

owls-and-chameleons

Oswald the Owl was put forward as a potential for the new book and, happily for me, he passed the audition!

820two-owls

After being accepted, all the pattern writing and testing had to be done which involved a number of duplicate Oswalds being made.

lots-of-owls-and-a-chick

Sometimes they were crocheted at my desk or in the lounge…

ossie-owl

…and sometimes they were crocheted outdoors, enjoying the warmth of the sun – sadly missed at this time of year.

outdoor-owls

Doesn’t that look idyllic? Roll on next summer, it will soon be Pimms O’clock again!

pims-oclock

I can’t wait to be setting up the day bed in the yard again for some serious crochet al fresco.

As work progressed with the book I volunteered to proofread another contributor’s pattern and was given Little Muggle’s Rudy the Red Panda.

red-panda1

All the individual pieces looked sweet enough but the cute factor just soared sky high when I sewed them together and embroidered the nose.

red-panda-zoomi6

This is my finished attempt, strutting his stuff on my desk.

Of course if you are going to be bookfellows then it’s very important that you learn to get along. Oswald is not too sure the first time that Rudy tries to climb into his nest.

red-panda-and-owl

But Oswald soon finds out that Rudy means no harm and he relaxes a little bit.

red-panda-and-owl-2

Before you know it Rudy has wriggled his way into Oswald’s nest – and into his heart.

the-owl-and-the-panda

It’s a snug fit but they’ll certainly keep each other warm that way!

Oswald also gets along fine with the Nesting Rainbow Owls. Just as well really, as that nest did belong to them first.

owly-family

(My free Rainbow Nesting Owls pattern can be downloaded from here if you worry that your Oswald might get a bit lonely, or if you feel he needs a nice snuggly nest to keep him safe!).

rainbow3

It’s not long before all the owls are one big happy family – with a friendly red panda for company.

owls-and-red-panda

Here’s another look at all the lovely characters in the book, just in case you weren’t tempted enough already!

A special presale price of £15.95, including worldwide shipping, is available until 25th February 2017 and you’ll be sent a downloadable PDF version as soon as your order is complete so you can start crocheting straight away – if you can actually choose which one to start with that is!

The website at amigurumipatterns.net has more information on Zoomigurumi 6 if you want to know more.

It’s been another fun adventure with Meteoor Books. There’s a new book dedicated entirely to cute and cuddlesome monsters coming out next which will feature my Jeepers and Creepers pattern so be sure to check back from time to time for more about that 🙂


7 Comments

A Splash of Spring and a Burst of Bright Yarn

It been a case of ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ around here over the weekend. What a tonic to see the sun and, even better, feel the warmth of it on your skin (or on your fur if you’re a cat).

pom8

I’d promised myself I would begin to sort out my increasingly messy desk, and tackle some of the ongoing projects that are helping to keep it messy, but this sort of weather can’t be sniffed at after a long wet winter so hubby and I decided to squeeze in a speedy cycle ride around the river to get us a good dose of sunshine and bank up those vitamin D levels.

projects

I figured my jumble of WIPs wouldn’t be going anywhere in a hurry and would still be waiting for me when I got back. It would have been a shame to have holed up indoors all day and missed the loveliness. A bright blue sky makes everything so much more wonderful.

worcs

Severn-walk

cycling

worcester2

We managed three laps around the river, working out at around ten miles so it felt pretty virtuous too. And, yes, my desk was still messy and all my work in progresses were still waiting patiently for me to finish them off. Time to set to and get busy. As it happened, going for an invigorating bike ride in the fresh air acted as a cheery tonic that put a spring in my step for the rest of the day and I’m sure it made me much more productive and happier too.

The pompom cushion I began at Christmas was my main priority as I’d finished up crocheting the front and back pieces on Friday evening so it was pretty much all ready to assemble.

pom6

I’d already threaded the pompoms onto some yarn to make two-tone strings of different colours so it was just a matter of playing around with them until they looked right.

pom1

I began by arranging them in the classic rainbow order.

pompom-rainbow

It was a harmonious combination but I felt it needed more randomness. Breaking up the blocks of similar colours would give it a bit more punch.

DSCN0904

I’ve got lots of spare pompoms rolling around the studio or stashed away in pots and baskets so mixing up the colour sequences and adding in a few more  here and there to make strings longer or taking a few away to make them shorter – depending on their new placement – wasn’t a problem. Eventually I ended up with something that was evolving like this…

pompomtute15

I kept all the trimmings from the pom poms and made a wildly woolly cocktail.

DSCN0934

Don’t worry, I’m not that yarn obsessed that I’m actually going to attempt to drink it! I just thought the rainbow fluff was much too pretty to throw away so I’m saving it for a felting project. I can see great possibilities there.

I attached the pompoms onto the crocheted background by stitching down the string that threads them all together. It worked a treat, and ended up really dense with the weight and feel of a piece of carpet.

Time to run it past quality control…

Mojo-on-pompoms

Does it pass the all important ‘8 out of 10 cats prefer’ test?…

cat-pompom

Well, 2 out of 2 cats who visited the studio today definitely prefer sitting on it.

When they had vacated the half way finished cushion top I steadily applied myself to attaching the next rounds of pompoms –  in between other less pleasing jobs, like cooking and cleaning.

I was loving how it was turning out and I even woke up very early on Sunday morning to sew a few more rounds in bed with a cuppa. I don’t normally do early starts at the weekend but because I was all excited to get finishing it off I made an exception this time.

crafting-in-bed

At this stage a few more turquoise pompoms were all that was needed.

pompom-cushion

I soon had just the right amount to cover the crocheted top perfectly.

pompomtute16

Next, I joined the  top and bottom pieces together with a round of single crochet stitches, incorporating a zipper, and then put the cushion pad inside. At this point, having seen it all together, I felt it needed another row of pompoms to cover the joining seam. I’m having a love affair with pink and red at the moment so I settled on finishing it off in that colour combo.

pompomtute30

Just another eighty or so pompoms to go then. And just when I thought I was all done! I may have been feeling all pompommed out by then but, as all you dedicated crafters will know, it’s no good doing a half hearted job and then looking at the fruits of your labour with regret and remorse. It’s gotta be right and this last row will finish it off a treat.

pom9

Time for another catisfaction test…Oh yes, these are definitely soft enough.

pom10

pom11

Got to be ready to pounce on the wool during the pompom winding phase…

pom12

…and it’s best to keep an eye on them from all angles…

pom13

…unless you get distracted by a bird flying past the window.

minnie-the-bushbaby

What do you think of Minnie’s bushbaby impression? She’s a natural, don’t you think?

After all the excitement of playing with yarn and watching the wildlife in the garden it’s time for a nap. What better place than… no prizes for guessing… on the new cushion!

pom15

pom16

I’m not sure it’s going to be easy to get my fair share of comfy time with this cushion once it’s finished. There have been ownership issues over it since the beginning. Even a basket of pompoms is appealing to my furry feline friend.

minnie-basket

I think I know what to get her for next Christmas. It’s a good job I have all these spares.

poms

We’re definitely going to need more than one of these scrummy cushions around here!

Sunday afternoon was spent walking around the river. After Saturday’s ten mile bike trip my backside couldn’t face the saddle again just yet (maybe I need a pompom saddle cover – there’s an interesting idea!). It was good to travel at a different pace anyway, you get to see different things that way. So many flowers are springing to life now. A sunshiny day at this time of year is just the best thing, but two in a row – and at the weekend as well – that’s bliss!

spring-montage

Sunday evening delivered a beautiful sunset, adding a final sparkle to a couple of lovely days packed with luminous colour, both in and out of the studio.

sunset-march

Now I’ve very nearly reached the end of this project. Only a few more pompoms to go…

pompom-cushion22

I’ll be back to post some pictures once the last round is in place and I’ve nearly finished a photo tutorial on how to make one of these cushions yourself should pompom fever be gripping you with the same intensity that it’s been gripping me! Hope to see you back here sometime soon!


5 Comments

Zoomigurumi 5

Well, here we are again with another new book launch from amigurumipatterns.net.Zoomoigurumi-5I had great fun being involved in Zoomigurumi 5. My fluffy alpaca, also known as Alicia, has gone off to Belgium to join her fellow bookmates. If you feel inspired to have a go at any, or all, of these crocheted characters you can get hold of a copy of the book here.Z5banner_LARGE-v3

As you can see, Alicia is in very good company with 14 other cuties just waiting to jump off your crochet hook.

I’ve already made a Kaan the Crocodile by Carolina Guzman (One and Two Company), during the initial proofreading phase.kaan-crocHe was a pleasure to make, of course, and now I have another character to keep me company at my desk.KaanCroc-and-PompomsHe soon became best friends with Alicia’s grey fleeced cousin, Althea, and they’re now inseparable. They were both very good at helping me spot any last minute tweaks to the patterns and text. Alicia has been blessed with patience and is very calm and focused while Kaan’s beady eyes never miss a thing. A dream team!Alicia-and-KaanThough I’ve never heard of a crocodile and an alpaca hitting it off before, there’s always a first time…alpaca crocHe is a fine looking fellow, I’m sure everyone would want to be best buddies with him if they met him!Kaan-2And in case Alicia should get jealous here’s a little triptych of her own, taken by Joost De Wolf, the book’s official photographer.AliciaI hope that’s whet your whistle and got you all excited about the brand new characters! Alicia has had a couple of new reincarnations already, again, from the pattern testing phase. There’s this chubby, cuddly looking fella made by Bregje Zeijen.BregjeZeijenAnd this cute pink version made by Natalie Van Dalen. I love how Natalie changed the look with furry eyelash yarn. She’s like a big ball of gorgeous candy floss!NatalieVanDalenOne of the things I love about amigurumi patterns is that it’s so easy to put your own spin on things by changing a colour, or a yarn type. You can upsize or downsize by experimenting with different hook sizes and yarn weights. It’s always exciting to see other peoples interpretations. Thanks to all who send me photos or post them on my Moji-Moji Facebook page. I’m always thrilled to see them.Z4banner_medium-v2

Don’t forget you can always post your Zoomigurumi makes to amigurumipatterns Facebook page too.characterszoomi5I can’t wait to find out what you’ll be making once you get your copy. Do tell, I’m all ears!


5 Comments

Diggory and Dave the Dancing Dogs

There’s a few more days left yet to get your entries in to amigurumipatterns.net‘s circus themed design competition and I’ve been getting a lot of nagging from a couple of puppies called Diggory and Dave who are desperate to join in the fun.

Diggory-and-Dave

When they heard what the theme was they sat up and begged me to let them take part. Apparently it turns out that – having watched one too many videos on Youtube of Pudsey the dog competing in and eventually winning Britain’s Got Talent in 2012, they have been inspired to learn some clever tricks and get on the stage themselves. What better way for them to hone those skills and satisfy their thirst for stardom than to join a circus?

Well, I’m a sucker for a great big pair of doughy puppy eyes, and with two pairs to contend with I just had to let them get their way on this one.

ami

I asked Tilly Mouse what she thought, as her whole family have been performing in the Big Top for generations. (Read more about Tilly and her sisters here). Tilly told me that the circus she lived with was lots of fun and everyone was very kind to one another. She promised to get these two enthusiastically bouncy dogs an audition and immediately began making them a pair of matching outfits.

Tilly

Tilly finally decided not to follow in the family tradition and join the trapeze act with her siblings. She didn’t really like heights too much and preferred to concentrate on creating fabulous costumes for all the other circus acts instead.

I helped her turn a little corner of my studio into a creative space all for herself where she can sit and concentrate on crafting.

Tilly-Mouse

Now Tilly comes for crochet lessons and a nice chat whenever she can get away.

Mojo has a sneaking suspicion that a mouse may have taken up residence in the studio…

mojojo

…but Tilly keeps really still so he won’t notice her among all the crochet! He soon wanders off for a nap and work can commence again.

moj

It isn’t long before Diggory comes to pay a visit to see how his costume is coming along.

Crochet-lessons

He loves the cute leg warmers and is very impatient to wear his stripy pointed hat. To speed things up he gets himself busy choosing the right buttons for it.

Diggory

Dave comes to join them for a fitting too.

Costumes

After a little discussion between them, Diggory decides to wear the blue cuffs and hat while Dave agrees to wear the red ones.

circus-outfits

Mojo comes back to check things out but Tilly feels quite safe this time with Diggory and Dave at her side. I think Mojo just want’s a bit of the limelight too. Maybe he’ll be the next one to want to run off and join the circus.

Momo

Now it’s time to finish making the dancing props. Diggory and Dave think that hoops and balls will be a good start and before the day is up Tilly has made them a whole basketful of delights.

Toy-basket

She is one busy little mouse!

pup-toys

All puppies love new toys to play with and these two are no exception.

toys

They’re so excited when they see their colourful toys that they can hardly sit still and immediately start to rifle through, making a big mess.

Playtime

Oh well, toys are for play, not display!

Time for them to use some of that energy and start rehearsing. They want to learn to juggle and dance at the same time. That’s sure to impress the audience.

Circus-dogs

I’m pleased to tell you that the rehearsals kept them very busy and stopped them chewing up the house and barking at the postman.

Indeed, all the practice sessions have resulted in a very special act called the Juggling Jig. It’s unique to Diggory and Dave and after an audition with the circus this week I’m thrilled to tell you that they have been asked to join!

Mojo, on the other hand, failed his audition. He has a bad cattitude and isn’t so ready to please as the dogs. Firstly, he wouldn’t wear a funny outfit and secondly, his only real talent is for breaking the world record for the most snoozing in a single day. Even though I could gaze at him lovingly for hours as he snores away I’m not so sure the general public would have found it quite so endearing!

Mojo-Puppies

Oh well, judging from his face it looks like Mojo may have thought better of his transient ambitions and is now treating the whole episode with the utmost contempt!

Puppy-duo

Diggory and Dave on the other hand, are over the moon at the prospect of an exciting new adventure. I’m going to miss them but what is life for if not for following your dreams? Go for it Dave! Go for it Diggory! I just hope they come back and visit whenever they can 🙂

Dancing-puppies

Do you have an idea for a character? You can find out how to enter and all about the prizes here.

The competition is open until Friday November 27th 2015.

contestcircus_banner_characters

Good luck if you’re participating and don’t forget to have your say by voting for your favourites from 1st December 2015!


7 Comments

Gardening Versus Crochet

We’ve had a good dose of sunshine this weekend here in Worcester. It’s been lovely to be able to take some time out and just enjoy the garden for a few days. I began by tidying up a few of the pots and tubs in the back yard. Some of my pansies have survived the winter despite an obvious all out attack from the slugs and snails, leaving the odd patch of bare soil here and there.

ss0

Now you never know with the English climate if this might actually be the only real sunshine we get all year. Then again, we’re just as likely to have a heatwave too but, just in case, I’m taking no chances and getting my quota of sunbeams while I can.

So this weekend I’ve practically lived in the garden. Not to say I haven’t been ‘working’ of course. I’ve alternated short bursts of gardening with much longer bursts of blanket making. Now that’s the kind of ratio of chores to crochet that I like! You can see a visual representation of this in the photo below. A very small bag of gardening tools is dwarfed by a very big basket of crochet. That’s called getting your priorities right!

SS

On Saturday I tidied up the sunny spot near the back door. Sweeping it clear of last years leaves and squashed up, shriveled grapes (technically raisins I suppose, though I didn’t fancy eating any!) and hunkered down here for a while, much to the disgruntlement of Tigger who prefers to think he owns this bit of bench whenever the sun comes out.

DSCN7583

Though as the day warms up I actually don’t mind a shady spot so I move on over…

DSCN7581

…and Tigger moves on in. I think he’s daring me to reclaim the space but you can see he’s getting quite old these days and I think he deserves a spot of sunbathing on a comfy blanket. He can stretch out in style now!

Tigger

In between the sweeping and the dead-heading good progress was made with my crochet, so I felt very inspired to do the same on Sunday – weather permitting. And permit it did. In fact it was even warmer than Saturday.

The colours in my blanket really look pretty in bright sunshine. I’m suddenly feeling really impatient to get it finished.

DSCN7666

On Sunday I moved up the garden, sweeping a path through yet more leaves and winter’s strewn debris. There were lots of twigs and flower pots everywhere as a result of a spate of strong winds a few weeks ago, but it was worth doing just to sit and admire my handiwork from a new vantage point. This bit of the garden gets a patch of sun into the evening so I’ll be spending some well earned down time at the end of most sunshiny days here, I hope, hooking away at a project or two as the year progresses.

DSCN7635

It’s not long until Tigger discovers the newest desirable residence in the garden! Let’s see if I can squeeze in there as well. I know he likes to sprawl a lot but I think there’s room for two of us.

DSCN7655

Looks like he’s preparing himself to tolerate my company…maybe. Or is that a look of love? It’s so hard to tell with Tigger sometimes.

DSCN7647

Tigger is closely followed by Mojo whose nose looks slightly out of joint by Tigger’s presence on the bench next to me.

DSCN7662

But he patiently waits until the coast is clear and then takes up position, just as the sun comes out again. And here we sit for a good long while, companionably listening to the cathedral bells coupled with the wood pigeons cooing and the seagulls squawking. Very pleasant indeed.

DSCN7689

As a result I have very nearly finished my Mexican inspired striped blanket. I have to join it in the middle either side of the last Granny Square stripe as I chose to work the piece in two halves to make it more portable for car journeys and general out-and-aboutings, of which there have been a few this Easter.

DSCN7681

Monday evening’s work was to join the two and then to decide – to darn or not to darn. You see initially I was thinking of some sort of tasseled border so I could escape my nemesis of hours spent with a tapestry needle. I infinitely prefer the hours spent with a crochet hook instead! But looking at it I figured the yarn ends were a bit sparse to make a decent fringe without adding in a lot more of them to the edges of the blanket.

ss2

It was going to be less time consuming to weave them all in than it would be to cut and trim the rest of the yarn needed for the tassels.

ss3

Besides the edges do look quite raw and a bit wobbly, despite my careful attempts at keeping everything as even as possible so I think the addition of a border of simple Granny Stripes will work wonders. That’s decided then.

ss5

So as the sun begins to sink I make a good start on those pesky yarn tails. Kept extra warm by the return of Mojo who settles down on my lap for another long while.

ss6

Hopefully I’ll be finishing this project off in dribs and drabs over the coming week. I intend to make the most of any more sunshine. It’s been a real pleasure to work in good light for a change. This blanket was started as a winter cheerer, an antidote to grey days spent in woolly jumpers, and dark evenings tucked up indoors, curtains drawn, lights down low and heating up high.

Here are the yarn tails I’ve dealt with so far, now I’ve just got the same amount to do on the other side and then on with the final border.

ss7

I’m glad that on closer inspection in the harsh light of day there are not too many mistakes or miscounted stitches. Those that are there don’t notice much anyway when you look at it in all its glory. It even looks pretty neat on the back as most of the darned ends are at the edges. I can’t wait to show you the finished thing!

It’s getting chilly again as I head in and call it a day. The view west from my garden is gorgeous with the wispy clouds and gentle glow that heralds the end of another lovely evening.

ss4

I feel very lucky to have such a pleasant little spot to spend my time in and the sunset behind the cathedral is the icing on the cake, even if I have to stand on tip toes and peek over the fence to actually see it!