Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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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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An Autumn walk

We’re well on our way into September now and all the boys are back to their various educational establishments, including the eldest, whose left home again after a three month visit to continue his studies at Cardiff Uni. The house is quiet for the first time in a long time. Just me and the four cats today. It feels a bit weird but I think I’ll get used to it.

I’ve certainly got plenty of things to keep me busy over the next month or so. But I’m starting off slowly this week and so today I thought I’d take a leisurely walk around the river to keep my spirits up and remind myself of the pleasure in occasional solitude. But here’s a little company already! How sweet to see Pumpkin Patch Pete and Pumpkin Patch Polly out for a stroll together, holding hands and enjoying all their favorite Autumn coloursPumpkin-walkThe weather is beautiful and sunny… It’s certainly not raining on my parade!DSCN4887There was a thick spread of mist earlier on but it’s clearing up nicely now.

Shelley the Snail has been enjoying a few excursions while everything is still slightly damp and squelchy on the grassy verges…ShelleyRiver…and the River Severn is serene and swan filled in the early morning, before the canoe and narrow boat owners and the pleasure boat pleasure seekers are up and about. DSCN4890Oh dear, I think the swans think that I’ve brought some edible treats for them to nibble on, but I’m sadly empty handed apart from my camera and my house key – neither of which is of any use to a peckish swan! I’m sure there’s plenty of fish and river weeds in there to keep them going though. They all look pretty well fed to me.

So does Spencer the Spider for that matter. It appears that he’s moved out of my shed and has been busy renovating his new holiday home, situated in a highly desirable corner of the railings and boasting magnificent riverside views. Now there’s a piece of prime real estate if ever I saw it, but Spencer, you know you’re welcome to move back into my shed as soon as the winter weather gets too much for you… 820SpencerDiglis… and what a lovely web you’ve spun! It’s the perfect spot for catching a flying bug feast for your breakfast. Now I’m off over the bridge to the other side of the river and through the fields in search of a feast of my own.

It’s not long until I’ve tracked down a big bunch of blackberries. A few handfuls of those will go down a treat and give me a mini sugar rush to get me all the way back home again!DSCN4901Now my batteries are recharged after a well earned sit down on a well placed bench and a good munch supplied by the brambles. It’s time to move along, and, oh, hello! it’s the Pumpkin Patch People again. They get around faster than you would think with those tiny little legs of theirs!PumpkimsWe have a polite chat about the weather and our plans for Halloween. Then I can’t help noticing that the pickings are looking very luscious and abundant this year so I’ve made a note to myself to come back again very soon to gather some of these rose hips, and haws to make some Hedgerow Jelly with (perfect to add to the elderberries from my garden).

These sloes will be just the job for making a big batch of sloe gin, in plenty of time for Christmas, and the remaining blackberries, well, they never seem to make it home, they’re just too delicious as they are and usually get eaten on the way, but if I do find a big glut of them they’re most likely to find their way into an apple and blackberry pie.

With nature’s bounty being so generous this year I didn’t think it would be long until I bumped into Cyril the Squirrel, having a little forage around for his larder. That’s a mighty fine collection you’ve got there my lad!CyrilBenchThose shiny, fresh new conkers are a prize worth foraging for and some tasty pine nuts too. It’s Cyril’s lucky day! I’m tempted to stop and have a conker fight but I don’t have any spare shoe laces with me. Maybe next time! I’ve got another mile to go before I get back home so I wave goodbye and head off back across the river again.

So much for occasional solitude, but it’s been rather nice to bump into so many of my woolly friends instead 😉

I have to admit it’s been no great surprise to see them all down here enjoying themselves in their own particular ways, after all who would want to stay indoors on such a gorgeous day as this?


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An amigurumi comes to life

After being rudely awakened at 5 o’clock last Friday morning by Mojo the cat bringing a loudly chirruping starling into my bedroom, I wasn’t going to go back to sleep any time soon so I decided to start early and spend the day giving my Cyril the Squirrel pattern a final run through before I listed it in my online shops. The best way for me to test my own patterns is to leave the whole thing for a while and then to come back to it when I’m fresh and the stitch counts and number of rows are no longer seared into my brain. (Don’t worry about the starling, I rescued it, rested it for a while in a bird cage I keep handy for just such emergencies and it flew off into the sky an hour later). To make the repeating of projects more fun I like to change the colour and/or the hook size to make the whole process slightly different each time. This time I’ve pushed the hook size right down to a 2 mm and am going to make this squirrel in a soft grey and a slightly fluffy cream yarn, both by Rowan and bought from a local yarn store sale for £1 a ball. What a bargain bonanza! Although, of course, this means I buy much more than I really need thus diminishing the money saving aspect. But then again, how much is too much?! I’m sure it will all come in handy sooner or later.

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My other favorite bits and pieces and amigurumi essentials are all gathered together into a wicker project tray. So we’re ready to go. The sun is shining and I have a whole day, dedicated to crochet, stretching ahead of me. Bliss. I’ve even got a few extra hours to play with thanks to my Mojo alarm call!

Squirrel3

By 10am I’ve had a lazy breakfast, several cups of tea, become distracted by Pinterest and Facebook and also, the main aim of the day of course, hooked up all these squirrel parts. I printed out a copy of the pattern in the end and turned the computer off  so no chance of any further internetty time wasting diversions. It’s just too much temptation to have a quick click here and there when it’s on and one of the main things about pattern testing is total focus on the job in hand! The smaller than usual hook choice has been something of a challenge, making my fingers ache a little and proving a tough deal to feed the safety eyes through, but where there’s a will there’s a way and I manage to soldier on. It’s going to be nice to have a smaller version of Cyril to join the crew of my ever growing squirrel family.

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A few more hours later and all squirrel parts are completed. Minor tweaks are made to the word file, which is then made into a PDF ready for uploading later. Squirrel5

One of the really fun parts for me is joining all the components together, embroidering on any features and seeing it come to life as a fully fledged character. Squirrel1

But of course everyone knows that amigurumi don’t really come to life. That is, not until the Blue Fairy pays a visit and says those magic words:

 “Little squirrel made of twine, awake! The gift of life is thine.” ∗

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Hooray! My squirrel is finally really real. It turns out this one’s a girl and she’s called Cheryl. Just like any self respecting, fashion conscious lady rodent she want’s to choose her own outfit. So off we go to explore the yarn stash and see what’s on offer. Hmm, yes I think the red would be perfect too and that fiery orange trim will finish it off a treat. Now measurements are taken and details must be decided. Cheryl doesn’t want a flat cap like Cyril, she prefers a much more feminine wide brimmed sun hat. Back to the drawing board for that one then.

Squirrel8

A little more hooking later and ‘Voila’ … Cheryl in her Cherry Red ensemble. We even went and picked some daisies from her cottage garden, one to decorate her hat and a whole bunch for the kitchen table. DSCN3673

If you want to adapt the Cyril the Squirrel pattern into Cheryl the Squirrel here’s a free pattern extra for how I made her wide brimmed hat and the little flowers:

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Note: Pattern written in US terms. Us single crochet (sc) is equivalent to UK double crochet (dc)

Hat
With the same sized hook you used for the main pattern and Red Yarn make 2 ch.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st to end. (12 sts)
Rnd 3: [Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 4: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (24 sts)
Rnds 5-6: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Change to Orange yarn.
Rnd 7: Sc in each st around.
Rnd 8: Working in Front Loops only: [Sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (30 sts)
Change to Red yarn.
Rnd 9: Sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st, ch 6, skip next 5 st, [Sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc innext st] 2 times, ch 6, skip next 5 st, sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st. (36 sts)
Rnd 10: [Sc in each of next 5 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (42 sts)
Rnd 11: [Sc in each of next 6 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (48 sts)
Change to Orange yarn.
Rnd 12: Sc in each st around.
Fasten off, weave in ends.

Flower
With White yarn make 4 ch, Slst in first ch, [3 ch, Slst in same ch as first Slst] 4 times. (5 petals)
Fasten off. Make a yellow French Knot in center of flower. Sew to front of hat at the side of one of the ear slits. Fit hat over Cheryl’s ears. Add a little stuffing to shape and with a strand of Red yarn sew Rnd 9 in place to top of head.

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Chapeau 
Avec la  même taille de crochet que vous avez utilisé pour le modèle principal et le fil Rouge.
Faire ch 2.
Rg 1: 6 ms dans la 2ième ml à partir du crochet du crochet. (6 pts)
Rg 2: 2 ms dans chaque m jusqu’à la fin. (12 pts)
Rg 3: [Ms dans la m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suivante] 6 fois. (18 pts)
Rg 4: [Ms dans chacune des 2 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv] 6 fois. (24 pts)
Rg 5: 6 ms dans chaque m du tour. (2 tours)
Changer de fil Orange.
Rg 7: Ms dans chaque m du tour.
Rg 8: Travailler seulement sur les boucles avant: [ms dans chacune des 3 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv] 6 fois. (30pts)
Changer de fil Rouge.
Rg 9: Ms dans chacune des 4 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv, 6 ml, sauter les 5 m suiv, [Ms dans chacune des 4 m suiv, 2 ms dans m suiv] 2 fois, 6 ml, sauter les 5 m suiv, ms dans chacune des 4 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv. (36pts)
Rg 10: [Ms dans chacune des 5 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv] 6 fois. (42 pts)
Rg 11: [Ms dans chacune des 6 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv] 6 fois. (48 pts)
Changer de fil Orange.
Rg 12: Ms dans chaque m du tour. Arrêter, Rentrer les fils.

Fleur
Avec le fil Blanc faire 4 ml, mc dans la 1ière ml, [3 ml, mc dans la même ml que la 1ière mc] 4 fois. (5 pétales)
Couper le fil. Faire un Point de Nœud (French Knot) Jaune dans le centre de la fleur. Coudre à l’avant du chapeau sur le côté de l’une des fentes de l’oreille. Placer le chapeau sur les oreilles de Cheryl. Ajouter un peu de rembourrage au chapeau et avec un brin de fil rouge coudre au Rg 9 sur le haut de la tête.

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Here we have Cyril and Cheryl deep in discussion about the relative merits of vegetable versus flower gardening. Personally I’m partial to a bit of both but not much good at either! Squirrels

I have a huge soft spot for squirrels it’s true, and Cheryl is the fifth one I’ve made so far. One is in Belgium with the book publisher but the other four are currently living here with me.  These are all made with light worsted weight (DK) yarn but I’ve varied the hook size from 3.75mm all the way down to to 2mm. Come and meet the gardening gang!

From left to right we have Cyril, Errol, Beryl and Cheryl.

SquirrelLineup

I do enjoy making these squirrels so who knows how many I’ll end up with?! I’m going to have to open up that second Etsy shop and re-home some of my ever growing cache of amigurumis at some point. Ah, but parting will be such sweet sorrow!


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Last Few Days of Pre-Sale

Just thought I’d do a quick post to spread the word! Amigurumi Animals at Work, the new book  compiled and designed by Joke Vermeiren from amigurumipatterns.net is available to order at great pre-sale prices for a few more days yet. (Pre-sale deal will end on the 31st May 2014).

It’s such a lovely, fun book, packed with original designs by amigurumi artists from all around the world. I thought you might like to take a peek at the full collection. You can see that my Cyril the Squirrel has been keeping very fine company indeed!

animalsatworkblock

You’ll be spoiled for choice as to which one to make first! I think I’m going to start with Mama Hen as I have a friend who loves to bake and who also happens to have a birthday coming up soon. Just perfect!


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Amigurumi Animals at Work

Hi everyone, I’m really pleased to be able to tell you that the new book from AmigurumiPatterns.net is finally available to order in pre-sale!

From right now until May 31st 2014 you can pre-order a copy of the book and you’ll also get a PDF version which you will be able to download immediately, so no boring waiting to get started on your first Animals at Work cutie!

My contribution to Joke Vermeiren’s  beautifully put together volume is Cyril the Squirrel, whom, as you may remember,  is the head gardener at Knutsford Manor.

This is Cyril with his assistant gardener and close friend, Errol. They made a raised bed for their prize carrot crop, but, goodness, the amount of weeding it needs… That’s where four paws are better than two!

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And don’t believe all the bad press about grey squirrels! Errol is just as lovable as his red cousins. I think he’s just as beautiful too!

Erro1l

For more information on Amigurumi Animals at Work and to see the other thirteen gorgeous designs featured in this book take a peek here. You can order the book and the instantly downloadable PDF version here.

For those of you who just want to buy Cyril’s pattern on it’s own, I’ll be releasing it as a single pattern purchase in my Etsy/Ravelry/Craftsy shops soon.  I’ll keep you posted!


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And the winner is…

Remember the design competition I wrote about in which Cyril the Squirrel insisted on taking part? Well Cyril actually came 2nd in the end! I’m very proud of him and with over 260 entries and 4500 people casting their votes (thanks to all who took the time!) I think that makes the competition a resounding all round success!

Here’s Cyril on the podium with the other winners, Zorg the Paleontologist by Sandy O’Brien, and Monsieur Le Lobster Chef, by Joyce Overheul.

Animals at Work Design Competition

Now I’m very happy to announce he’s going to be in an amigurumi pattern book published by Joke Vermeiren and, of course, it’s all about animals and the marvelous jobs they do. Who’d have thought that so many animals would be good at so many different occupations!

Follow me on Facebook to be sure of updates about this exciting new book or check in with AmigurumiPatterns.net for more details and you’ll be able to make you very own set of industrious animals soon!

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Luckily I wrote the pattern as I went along so it’s just a matter of reformatting it to suit the style of the book. With the deadline for copy fast approaching I’d better make like Cyril with his nut stash and get cracking!


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When even the bad weather’s good!

There was no day trip out with my boys last weekend after all as the weather was unspeakably horrid with lashings of rain, hideous thunderstorms and some gale force winds thrown in for good measure – It was all just too tempting to stay tucked up indoors. Turns out, all that rain really is the perfect weather for ducks. You see, as a result of being housebound I managed to completely finish my pattern testing of Sarah from  Sarselgurumi’s Puddles the Duckling and, oh my! She turned out sweet! Take a look…

Sarsel-Duckling

And here she is making friends with two of my own Minimals, the duckling and the frog, they’re having a jolly good chat around the pond, and my little duck is not at all jealous now he has got to know Puddles better. In fact those two haven’t stopped quacking since they met and the poor frog is having a hard time getting a ribbet in edge ways!

QuackQuack

Here’s the rest of the Minimals-In the Garden gang, all sitting pretty together!

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Even though the weather was terrible last weekend, and continued to rain most of this week, the good thing is that as a result of all this staying home,  as well as being ahead of schedule with the pattern testing for Zoomigurumi 3 , I’ve also finished and sent off my own contribution (a hedgehog named Hedley, I’ll post some photos of him soon!) and  caught up with most of my paperwork, my accounts and the dreaded self assessment tax form. But I’m going a bit stir crazy now!

The sky still looks grey and like it’s threatening more rain soon but I’m going to take a cheeky Friday off anyway. I fancy a brisk walk to see how the floods are looking on the banks of the river Severn. (Spurred on  by the fact that my favorite yarn shop is only a quick detour from the river, around the cathedral and in to town!) Either way, come likely rain or unlikely shine, it will be good to stretch my legs after being cooped up indoors for the best part of a week. I might take the two ducklings with me to meet their Severn dwelling brethren! I guess they won’t need umbrella’s and wellington boots, being ducks and all, but I’ll definitely be taking mine!

What ever the weather where you are, have a fabulous weekend everybody!