Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Yetis and Bigfoots

Well hello peeps! Long time, no see!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They are learning to get along rather nicely now.

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

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

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

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

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

 


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2020 Here I come!

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

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

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

…to this…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Looping the Loops

All this cold weather, unseasonable snow and bitingly cold winds (can it really be springtime?) have made me yearn for a project that encourages me to spend any spare time comfortably embedded in the house, out of harms way from the vagaries that the British weather throws at us.

And as pretty as such scenes are for an hour or two on a brisk walk through the park or during a snowman making session in the back garden there really is nothing as blissful to me as a cosy indoor nook, and a lapful of yarn.

Looking around my studio I had no shortage of sadly neglected projects that I could have been getting on with. However, not being the kind of person to let an out of control work in progress pile get in the way I walked the path I tread most often and decided to start a brand new project instead. Well, we’ve all been there and done that many more times than is decent or proper, haven’t we?

Inspired by the sumptuous look of the loop stitch cushion cover I made for my bed a few years ago I embarked on another circular project that has been on my mind since buying a bargain basement footstool a while back.

It was a very cheap and cheerful ¬£3 and is nice and sturdy with lovely wooden legs but a black and white cotton fabric top that’s not really my style.

Replacing the monochrome stripes with gorgeous spirals of bright yarn was way more my thing and I fancied that the loopstitch would be perfect for adding a little grooviness and a soft and squishy haven under my tired feet every time I had the urge to put them up.

From little metaphorical acorns…

…do loopy metaphorical oak trees grow.

I suppose it’s more of a sapling at this stage but with all that cold weather keeping me home it was just a case of round and round in circles until it started to take shape.

In the end though I decided the first circle wasn’t quite turning out the way I wanted. The colours were very pretty but the total randomness wasn’t really doing it for me so I stopped right here…

…and started all over again. I grouped similar colours together in bands this time which gave them much more impact. I also switched hook sizes up from a 3 mm to a 4 mm this time so that the fabric would have more elasticity when stretching it over the stool. This also had the benefit of making the whole thing grow a little faster and the looser tension was much easier on my hands.

Sadly I couldn’t stay tucked up forever, no matter how cold the weather was out there in the big wide world so eventually it was time to head outdoors and take a train trip to visit a friend and call in on a yarn shop on the way to bolster supplies. I packed up all the yarn for my project very conveniently inside the work itself and popped in a few tools of the trade.

No more snow left on the station by now but an icy chill on Platform One meant I very nearly didn’t get my crochet out… though in the end I couldn’t resist!

With a quarter of an hour to while away I managed a few loops huddled on the bench. The going was slow as my fingers were a bit reluctant to make the necessary movements in such low temperatures but I persevered. Not a great amount of progress was made but it was perfect for keeping my lap warm!

When the train arrived I had the special thrill of managing to find a whole four seater table area all to myself. Seems there weren’t too many other travelers braving sub zero temperatures today.

I crocheted another round in the comfort of the warm and nearly empty train but this was only a short journey so it was soon time to disembark. Loop stitches are not as quick as regular stitches but the rhythmic repetition is just as relaxing as any round of single crochets. I had meant to do a bit more once I arrived at my friend’s flat but in the end we were so busy chatting and catching up that I didn’t even get it out of my bag.

Plenty of time to get stuck in again once I was home and all tucked up in my pyjamas. Crocheting in bed definitely beats crocheting on a windy railway station any day.

Can you tell that Pogo agrees? He can be found snoozing away on the blankets for at least 70% of his time. He makes me think of of ‘Bagpuss, oh, Bagpuss¬†Oh, fat, furry cat puss, wake up and look at this thing that I bring’. Except he’s not pink and stripy but he is a bit tubby and very sleepy.

Rubick prefers to get involved with the yarn rather than take a nap.

Oh, the energy of youth! It would be a brave person who tries to winkle a ball of yarn from underneath this tuxedo firecracker!

Eventually I do sneak the balls of yarn back one by one and some time later I have actually finished all the loop stitch rounds. Just the ends to knot together and trim at this point. It feels like such a luxury and somehow a bit of a cheat not to have to darn them in but no-ones going to be seeing this side of the cover once it’s in place. Hurrah!

I finished off the part that would gather underneath with a round of single crochet followed by a round of [1 sc, 1 ch, skip 1 sc] repeated to the end to make a round of small eyelets. A final round of sc after that and it was finished. I fashioned a thin cord made of 200 ch and threaded that in and out of the eyelets to pull everything tight and tied in a bow to secure the whole thing in place.

In future I will up the hook size slightly to make the single crochets a bit looser as they were considerably tighter than the loop stitches and needed a bit of initial stretching to get these final rounds over the top of the footstool. But I wrestled it on in the end and am really pleased with the outcome.

It’s fun and vibrant and is going to cheer my tired old feet and grey soaked winter eyes up no end.

Now it has pride of place in my crochet corner.

I’m gradually yarn bombing everything I can find in here. All the colourful cushions are a great tonic when the clouds just keep on rolling in. They can dump shovelfuls of snow or bucketfuls of rain on the other side of the window but I shall mostly be found crocheting in here until things warm up a bit out there. The yellow blooms on the Forsythia in the garden are telling me that spring has sprung but until the thermometer raises itself a few degrees in agreement I’m staying in as much as possible!


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Trophy Heads and a Forest Themed Christmas

I’m back to work for real this week and have been busy finishing up commissions and sorting paperwork but I didn’t want to stomp straight on with the new year without indulging in a bit of Christmas nostalgia and sharing a few photos of my lovely festive¬†holiday at home.

mojo-snuggly

There has been lots of cat cuddling and a fair amount of recreational crochet. Pretty much a perfect lull after a very busy year.

The trophy heads from Vanessa Mooncie’s book¬†have been my favorite Christmas break projects. I started the hare and then started the stag before I finished the hare because I’m a bit impulsive like that when it comes to crochet. My Christmas decorations had a very pronounced woodland theme this year and I thought the stags head would look fabulous as a centre piece.

christmas-decs

As it turns out I didn’t get the stag or the hare entirely finished before Christmas but they were¬†both completed¬†by the New Year thanks to taking a week or so off from designing my own patterns. It sure is good to have a break sometimes and get that hook hooking up¬†a pattern where someone else has done all the hard work for you!

hare

These heads have been very enjoyable¬†projects for dark, frosty nights, and lazy Christmas pyjama clad holidays, keeping warm with the central heating blazing away, and an endless supply of mugs of hot tea, usually provided by hubby who’s also been on holiday. It’s no bad kind of life anyway you look at it.

hare-back

Lots of fairy lights kept the winter gloom at bay and made the lounge my most favorite place to be this Christmas. I had a Winter tree and a Christmas tree up this year.

two-trees

Lots of sweet robins and exotic glittery twittery species decorated the branches of the twiggy tree.

winter-twigs

On the pine tree there was a cramming of baubles and owls, bells and toadstools.

my-tree

All thankfully left alone by the cats. I think my moggies are getting a bit long in the tooth to take much interest in climbing trees either indoors or outdoors these days.

little-robin

It’s difficult not to feel content when you are surrounded by a myriad of twinkling lights and some well placed crocheted friends.

mr-snow

Evie and Elvis got their stockings ready…

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…while Mojo enjoyed some Christmas bliss of his own…

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…and waited expectantly¬†by his stocking for Father Christmas to fill it up with Dreamies and catnip and crocheted mice.

mojo-and-his-stocking

My trophy heads progressed nicely while hogging the sofa and watching cheesy Christmas films as often as I could. Having been laid low with a bit of a cold and a hideously hacking cough for  most of the last few weeks this was a very welcome way to recuperate whenever circumstances permitted.

deer-head

A visually resplendent chill-fest with the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit box sets ticks all the right boxes for a good night in.

christmas-cosy

When duty called and shopping or visiting was required I occasionally ventured out on a car trip, taking my crochet with me, obviously. Every moment counts.

deer

It was rather exciting to see my deer head taking shape, bit by bit. There were quite a lot of separate elements and some very clever construction work involving sheets of card and sturdy wire to make sure everything was going to end up with enough strength and structure to support a piece of work of this scale.

deer-head-progress

Tigger wasn’t too impressed to be asked to pose with the antlers, but then Tigger is never too impressed by anything much.

tigger-and-the-antlers

He soon fell¬†asleep pressed up against my leg for warmth so I don’t think I could have offended him very badly despite that look on his face.

tigger-snuggles

In between crocheting, presents needed to be wrapped up. I wondered if Pogo was¬†hinting that it’s time to re-home him via the medium of a Christmas gift. Sorry Poges, there’s no¬†chance of that – I love you¬†tooooo much! Actually I think he just likes the rustle of the paper and the kick from the power trip that sees me rifling through my Christmas wrappings box looking for alternative trimmings until he decides to move of his own accord.

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My knitted cats are a lot less hassle!

cats-and-trees

It’s been a super Christmas even though I’ve nearly coughed my lungs up onto my lap for much of it. I’m feeling much better now and ¬†the decorations have been safely stashed away for next year. Oh boo hoo. I’ve left the big twiggy tree up though and re-installed the little twiggy tree from the mantelpiece to the hearth.

winter-scene

The shock from being chock-a-block with fairy lights to the stark reality of a Christmas well spent, but spent nonetheless, would have been too much to bear all at once so I’m keeping the home fires burning with a few cheery, twinkly corners and plenty of candles to see me through until spring.

And the really good post Christmas news is that both the stag¬†head and the Hare head are finished and have taken up their permanent residence on the back wall of the lounge. They may not have been ready for Christmas itself but I was quite excited to take down a few of the strings of lights and Christmas cards to make way for them. I love how they turned out. They’re definitely going to be year-round feature.

two-trophys

In fact I love them so much I’ve already started on a¬†third pattern from the book. This time I’m making the ram, with a few colour changes. As this is strictly a thrifty stash buster I’m making do with yarn I already have. I’m also using my totally gorgeous stitch markers made for me as a Christmas gift by a very talented crafty friend.

stitch-meowkers

She made me a set of four, each one a beautifully accurate portrait of each of my cats. How lovely is that!

4-cat-meowkers

So while I while away my spare time making another trophy head to fill another space on the wall…

trophy-heads

…Stan the Stag…

stanley-stag

…and Harry the Hare…

harry-hare

…will¬†have to make do with Mojo as¬†company.

three-heads

Now I’m the proud owner of personalised¬†cat head stitch markers and two magnificent crocheted trophy heads –¬†how about crocheted cat head portraits of my moggies for the wall?

I can’t quite work out¬†if that’s a great and quirky idea or just a little bit too freaky. I’ll have to think about that one!


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Sunshine, Stripes and New Amigurumis

It’s been a busy week! I’m finally finding my feet again after Christmas and beginning to be a little more productive. I’ve been working on finishing my twin elephants, Eleanor and Elijah.

Here’s a little sneak peak at my elephant¬†babies. The pattern will be out very soon, I just have¬†to make the cover, give the whole thing¬†a final check and it should be¬†good to go.

EliDuo2

Eleanor and Elijah¬†turned out bigger than I had originally planned, they sort of grew and grew as they went along – rather like me over the Christmas break! I just love their cuddly rotundness though, they’re kind of cute in their overstretched pinafore and overalls!

This week I’ve also been working at a steady pace, stitch by vibrant stitch on my winter warmer Mexican Stripe blanket. It’s moving pretty quickly now due to the double crochets (or triples to my UK friends). That’s a stitch that is very easy on my poor overworked¬†wrist and knuckles too. After all the tightly tensioned¬†single crochets (UK doubles) used in my amigurumi, it’s good therapy to change stitches and loosen up for a while. Here’s¬†my progress so far.

Stripe-blocks

As you can see I’m concentrating on getting blocks of stripes crocheted and then joined together. I like to work in chunks like that. A¬†row of¬†Granny Squares then a¬†block of Granny Stripes, alternating the tasks to get some¬†variety as I work. It’s getting there but I’ve¬†still got a long¬†way left to go. I’m enjoying this project lots. It’s having the desired effect of cheering up my January, even if it has actually been much sunnier¬†than expected so far. It’s still been cold and the days are still too short, though they have been unexpectedly sweet.

SunshineBlanket

These sunbeams just make the blanket look even jollier! Oh, and I tidied my studio last¬†weekend. What a huge task that was. I remember doing the same post Christmas purge on unnecessary clutter¬†around this time last year and writing about it here. My¬†tidy studio was a pleasure to behold for all of, well, around a fortnight or so! Let’s hope I can keep it nice for a bit longer this time. Like at least three weeks, or maybe even a month!!¬†Too ambitious? We’ll see. I’ve even tidied up my Granny Square centres by skewering them onto knitting needles. Mmmm, yummy yarn Kebabs!

Kebabs

When I’m working on a project I’m a sucker for matching up my accessories the best I can. It’s not always possible to do this 100% just with what I already have lying about, but I reckon I got pretty close this time.¬†Stash¬†bag, pencil case, scissors… all gathered up together to keep this particular project organized, handy and ready to follow me on car journeys and bus trips of varying lengths, as needs be. A great grab-and-go ensemble! I’m loving all the hot pinks!

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Now¬†the missing must-have accessory for a Mexican Blanket is¬†surely a Mexican Cactus to be my faithful sidekick and trusty¬†pincushion. So I took a teensy¬† break from the Granny Stripes¬†to¬†whip one up. Now I’m pleased to introduce Carlos the Cactus. Here he is lurking¬†in amongst the yarn and crochetwork.

MexicanMedley

Look! He’s waving to you!¬†What a happy chappy¬†ūüôā

Fiesta

Now to transfer the pins from the toadstool. Time for some Cactus acupuncture.

Cactus-Pincushion

That’s better! ¬†He’s promised to be on hand to lend me pins every time I need¬†to attach the squares to the stripes. You see this has turned out¬†not to be an exact art. Even though I’ve been sure to match up the stitch count across the Granny Square stripes and the Granny Stripe stripes, the Granny Square stripes always end up a little longer than the Granny Stripe stripes (tongue twister time there!).¬†I think the squares are just a bit¬†more prone to stretching¬†but all of that is put right with a bit of careful pinning and all squares and stripes match¬†up beautifully in the end. Phew!

Patches-and-Stripes

So January turned out to be pretty good after all. I’ve decided there are worse things than dark chilly¬†evenings tucked up with crochet in a warm cosy home. I get the feeling that Minnie agrees with me¬†too!

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One blissed out cat, settling in for the night… and hogging all the yarn and blanket pieces¬†while she’s at it!

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Keep warm and cosy folks!

See you soon with an update on my new amigurumi designs!


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Winter Blues? No Thanks!

Christmas is over, the New Year’s celebrations have been and gone with a pyrotechnic bang and, as so often happens at this time of year, I’m¬†feeling in need of a pick me up. The wine consumption is very sensibly down to zero as part of my traditional New Year austerity measures, chocolate and cake are out of the picture until the extra few pounds¬†of Christmas indulgence¬†is banished from my waistline. With all that in mind, and with grey skies from one horizon to the next, this begs the question of how’s a girl supposed to cheer herself up through the¬†long dark winter? Well, of course there’s always crochet and there’s always colour, so I’ve started a brand new Blues-Chaser blanket!

While searching for inspiration I started thinking where in the world would I really like to be right now if I could get away from all this drizzly, cold, grey English weather? ¬†Mexico would be good –¬†with it’s¬†sunshine and super bright colour palettes that are guaranteed to put a person in a perky mood!¬†¬†As a trip to sunnier climes¬†is not currently a¬†realistic¬†option, a quick search for ‘Mexican Colours‘ on Pinterest seemed to be the next best thing. And even though I can’t hop on a plane and be there myself, I have to say that this was nearly as good therapy. I think you’ll agree when you see some of my favorite images. Got your shades ready? Prepare to be dazzled!

Mexican-ColoursAnd in case that’s not enough of a cheery blast for you here are some more sizzlingly gorgeous picks.820Mexican-Colours-2Then¬†to the yarn stash for a big rummage around to¬†see if I could match up that Fiesta feeling. This is going to be another thrifty blanket – also part of the New Year austerity measures mentioned above,¬†so I really can’t buy in any more balls of wool for this one. Not that that should be any kind of problem as my long term addiction to popping into any and all yarn shops I happen to pass by has always necessitated at least one 50g purchase of something soft and luscious. I must surely have enough wool around for a hundred blankets by now! (New Year’s Resolution – no more buying yarn unless absolutely necessary. New Year’s conundrum – define ‘absolutely necessary’!)

After digging deep I eventually found these lurking around and they¬†were¬†just right for what I had in mind.Mexican-YarnI mentioned in an earlier post¬†about my Daisy Blanket that I wanted to make something stripy¬†this time. Oh boy, I loved doing these stripes. They’re a very relaxing and low concentration kind of endeavor. I made a slight variation on the granny stripe theme by adding in little blips of contrasting colour in between the larger stripes. I think the¬†smaller points of colour really zazz¬†the whole thing up. Very happy with this so far.820-Mex-StripesThen I¬†got to thinking that it might be a bit samey after a while¬†and that it might lose its punch a bit as the blanket grows bigger and bigger as there will be¬†no solid¬†blocks of colours to¬†add impact. Lots of the images I found of Mexican textiles had plain stripes alternating with patterned stripes, which I really liked. My solution to the lack of variety¬†was¬†to put in a few rows of mini Granny Squares to shake things up a little.820-Mex-GranNow that the colours are sorted, the basic maths is calculated and a rough idea of a design is forming it’s time to pack up a basket with all the necessaries and get hooking!Mexican Blanket BasketThis is going to be fun. The colours make me smile just to look at them¬†and¬†should provide¬†a nice fix to carry me through until the spring. Whatever the weather for the next few months¬†the only winter ‘blues’ that are allowed around here are being crocheted into this comforting blanket.Mex-Blanket1Come¬†rain, snow, hail, gale or just plain old¬†sombre¬†grey skies, I’ve got me a bright and¬†happy place¬†to dip in and out of as and when I need¬†it!Mexican-RumpleAnd just in case you need another dose of Mexican colour therapy¬†here are some pretty, eye popping pinatas. Ooh, those colours are so lush!Pinatas-1 Pinatas-2

Question: Who put the Sombre into Sombrero? Answer: No-one!


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Is It Nearly Here Yet?!

Of course I’m referring to my all time favorite festival… Christmas. There are, admittedly, still¬†77 days left until the Big Day itself. That probably sounds like a lot to the non crafters amongst us, but those of us who love to dabble in the handmade know that¬†we really ought to be getting on with our seasonal¬†preparations already! So, with that in mind, I’ve made a cute little pattern for some of¬†my favorite Holiday characters.¬†Let’s raise a toast to the timely arrival of the Itsy Bitsy Christmas team!Christmas-ensemble2psdTheir small size makes them ideal for tree decorations, stocking stuffers, party favors or cracker gifts. ItsylineupI’m already busy making a whole host of angels in all the different colours of sparkly yarns from my stash to add some cuteness to my Christmas tree this year. But a helping¬†of elves, a baking tray of gingerbread ladies, or maybe¬†a blizzard of snowmen would look just as effective in a little festive corner of your home. As for Santa, well, we all know there can be only one!itsysqaureHere’s to visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads as we wend¬†our way towards¬†another winter of cosy dark evenings, warm woolly blankets, hot toddies, comfort foods and holiday crafting!


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Free Teeny Tiny Snowbaby Pattern

Is anybody dreaming of a White Christmas yet, or is it still just me and Bing?

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How about making up a bunch of these cute little guys while you’re waiting. These are the perfect size for Christmas decorations at around 3 ” tall when made with light worsted weight (DK) yarn and a Size C (2.75mm) hook. They only take about a half hour or less per snowman. If you start now you could have a whole tree full by Christmas!

Teeny tiny snowmen love to do synchronized skating on the ice.

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Even when they all fall down they make pretty synchronized circle shapes!

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Snowman_circle

Here are two teeny tiny snowmen with their even smaller teeny tiny teeny weeny friend. To make him just use sport weight (4 ply) yarn and a 2 mm hook. He measures about 2″. Perfect for a seasonal bag charm or a maybe a lovely one of a kind cracker gift.

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Enjoy!