10 Years of Mochimochi Land: All the Boos

Mochimochi Land has now been a thing for 10 whole years! While I’m taking care of a newborn and not getting much knitting done for a little while, I thought I’d share some highlights from a decade of Mochimochi Land.

It’s October! A good time to pay tribute to my all-time most popular knitting pattern, Boo the Bat!

Boo debuted in fall of 2008, so this little funny creature has been on the scene for a whole nine years now, and it tickles me that Boos continue to pop up on the internet on a monthly basis.

As of this posting, there are 1,130 Boos listed on Ravelry, which means there are at least a few thousand more hanging out somewhere. Here are a few new kids on the block, via Ravelry.

Top row:
SpringPeeper’s Bitty Bat, tzipporahfeiga’s Boo, knitjvf70’s Brown Bat, eLoomator’s Boo Bats
Middle row:
schicken’s Boo, LateClematis’ Hi said the little leather-winged bat, Jayannell’s Rosita, Elly22’s Bats
Bottom row:
mimulus’ CutieBoo, co314’s Batty-nuggets, Practicalmagic’s Boo the Bat, Serine23’s Batty

I always love seeing how diverse they all are! The personality knitters can pack into one small bat represents to me the beauty of all handmade toys.

And because we’re looking back at 10 years of Mochimochi Land, here are some notable Boos from previous years.

Top row (from left to right):
lazydayartifacts’ Boo the Bat, BreiKonijn’s Boo the Bat 4, okate’s 2014 Ornament Swap, Kristysnowedin’s 2,Bats
Middle row:
gizmonic’s Boo the Bat, wojostitches’ Bats!, mimulus’ Baby boo, knittergoddss’ Boo the Bat
Bottom row:
ljsheppard’s Boo, Azashenya’s CCW 9, Triestina’s Boo Bat, Aelys’ Boo the Bat

Top row (from left to right):
MarleenS’s Vleermuisje, laulaula’s Boo the W, roblingt’s Trevor, LiddyLee’s Boo the Bat, bioniclaura’s Bats About You
Middle row:
SlpBeauty’s I Didn’t Know They Did it All with Rubber Bands!, Prana451’s Batty!, tinypurrs’ Pink Moon Bat, blueangelfish83’s Bat mobile, angrymeerkat’s Halloween wreath
Bottom row:
ClarkMelissa’s Boo the Bat, Julia123’s Boo-tiful Sparkles, SlpBeauty’s Boo!, ginskye’s Bat 1 and Bat 2, kerroknits’ Boo the Bat

Left to right, top to bottom: Boos by aranyita, PurpleIrisCrafts, CrochetAmy, iamkashi, Fios, kendraja, MissSophie, minkey, sleeplessnscandia, RueDeekins, okate, ImpEmberStar

If you haven’t knitted a Boo, it’s a pretty simple project that should take only a day or two to finish. The wings (which include a variation generously contributed by Carissa Browning) button up for those times when your bat is feeling shy, then can open wide for your bat to say BOO!

The pattern for Boo the Bat is available as a PDF download in my shop here and also in the Mochimochi Ravelry Store.

10 Years of Mochimochi Land: Tiny Knitting

Mochimochi Land has now been a thing for 10 whole years! While I’m taking care of a newborn and not getting much knitting done for a little while, I thought I’d share some highlights from a decade of Mochimochi Land.

I wouldn’t have been able to sustain Mochimochi Land over ten years without finding big new challenges to help my work stretch and grow. In 2009, I had just finished writing my first book of knitting patterns, Knitting Mochimochi, and I was looking for something new to do in my realm of knitted toys. The big new thing, I decided, was quick and small, and so my month of knitting tiny things began.

The first tiny thing was a tiny knitted brain. I love designing toys, and there’s something so satisfying about coming up with a concept, sketching it, and knitting it in a couple hours’ time. I posted a photo of the brain to my blog, and soon I was hearing requests for other tiny things from knitters and non-knitters alike. So I decided to knit a tiny thing a day for a month. That proved to be so addictive that I continued the challenge on a weekly basis for two entire years!

That’s a lot of tiny knitting. And when I was ready for a (tiny) break and no longer made a new miniature every week, I still continued knitting tiny stuff frequently. It turns out that just about everything you can think of is fun to knit in miniature. And when I think about it, it seems like I’ve tried to knit just about everything: an umbrella, a traffic cone, a helicopter, a computer, a raincloud, a Trump…

But there will always be new tiny things to knit. And I’m tickled when I see things that other knitters have come up with—just check out the entries from these past photo contests!

You can see more of the tiny stuff that I’ve knitted over the years here. Some of the tinys made their way into a book of patterns, and even more patterns are available for purchase and for free.

10 Years of Mochimochi Land: Gnomes vs. Snowmen

Mochimochi Land has now been a thing for 10 whole years! While I’m taking care of a newborn and not getting much knitting done for a little while, I thought I’d share some highlights from a decade of Mochimochi Land.

In 2011 the character art organization Pictoplasma asked me if I would like to be a part of their gallery walk for their upcoming NYC conference. My friends at gallery hanahou (which has since closed, sadly) graciously let me use their space, so about 5 months later the epic battle between gnomes and snowmen commenced!

The idea for this little knitted art exhibit began to germinate when I watched a documentary on British history that featured the Bayeux Tapestry, a truly epic weaving that tells the story of the 11th Century Norman invasion of Britain from start to finish in a linear fashion.

I remember watching that documentary and falling in love with this mode of tactile storytelling, and thinking to myself that it would be interesting to pit two much-beloved characters against each other, in ways both playful and also somewhat violent, and see how people felt about that.

There was a lot of knitting involved.

And a lot of mess in our small Brooklyn apartment.

Once I had about a 100 each of gnomes and snowmen (with knitting help for the snowmen provided by some awesome local knitters), I got to put together the scenes, which was great fun.

And it was the biggest thrill to have people show up at the opening and experience the cutest battle ever in Mochimochi Land!

If you missed it in the gallery, you may have seen a smaller version of Gnomes vs Snowmen at one of the Vogue Knitting LIVE shows over the past few years.

You can see more photos from the battle at my personal website.

10 Years of Mochimochi Land: Woodins

Mochimochi Land has now been a thing for 10 whole years! While I’m taking care of a newborn and not getting much knitting done for a little while, I thought I’d share some highlights from a decade of Mochimochi Land.

Way back in 2007, some mysterious creatures made their web debut on Knitty.com. They’re a bit hard to spot at first, but take a look at the right edge of the banner…

The Woodins wasn’t my first knitting pattern, but, appearing in one of the most popular knitting websites, it was the first design that many people saw from me. It was all a dream come true, because I was already a fan of Knitty and I designed this pattern because I had heard from Amy Singer herself about submitting to her online magazine.

woodinsknitty

Seeing this photo again takes me back to living in NYC. The photo was taken in Central Park by my friend and coworker Makiko Sasanuma.

These little guys and their hollow spooky log home were inspired by the wordless characters in Miyazaki Hayao’s animations (like Totoro). As with many of my designs, I think, my time spent studying in Japan comes through in a big way. I also enjoyed coming up with the “freeform” knitting and purling technique that makes the bark on the log. Sometimes it pays to just make stuff up and see how it goes.

This is also a project that knitters have done some really fun stuff with—you can check out more than 200 such projects on Ravelry!

Speaking of Knitty, you can now become a patron of theirs!

Baby Eve

Our baby decided to arrive on the day of the eclipse!

She did not see what all the fuss was about.

Thanks to everyone who has sent their happy wishes to us! We’re enjoying our new little girl very much.

Things will be a bit quieter here than usual for the next few months, but I’m around and will be checking email and filling orders as they come. I’ll also share the finished mobile once it’s in a proper hanging position!

Buggy Mobile for Baby-to-be

My newest project is multidisciplinary—a bug-themed mobile for a baby on the way!

We’re expecting a baby girl to make her debut any day now. Ideally after I finish making this mobile, but we shall see!

Things may be a bit quieter than usual this fall while I take some time off, but I have some help with the shop, so shipping should more or less proceed normally.

The last time I made a mobile, it was lion themed for Leo, who is now 20 months old. It seems like last month that I was working on it!

littlelion5

Ann Arbor Stop-Motion Workshop Recap

Last month it was my pleasure to lead a stop-motion animation workshop at the Ann Arbor District Library. This was my first time trying such a workshop, and I was lucky enough to have a big group of enthusiastic would-be animators of all ages attend. (I could tell from the start that they would be jumping right in, because it was a beautiful July Saturday in this beautiful college town, and they had chosen to spend the afternoon in a basement with me!)

After a presentation of my various animation projects, along with some examples of approaches that were very different from mine, everyone broke up into teams to make their own animations. The library supplied iPod Touches loaded with the Stop Motion Studio app (yes, this is the coolest library, and it’s totally worth becoming a card holder even if you don’t live in the area), and they also had plenty of models and craft supplies for people to use. Many participants came with their own materials, from paper to Legos to knitted mochis!

As people finished up their short animations, we gathered around the devices to see the results, and I was impressed by just how different everyone’s projects were. The animations were both narrative and non-narrative, things shot overhead and against the wall, scenes with backgrounds and at least one that incorporated a self-portrait.

A couple of people have shared their results with me—here’s a short one starring knitted patriots that Sara made.

And here’s a cool origami animation shared by a participant named Kevin—he made this after the workshop, based on what he experimented with at the library.

Is it bad to say that this was way more fun than teaching a knitting class? Well, fortunately knitting and animating are not mutually exclusive activities. I do hope to have the opportunity to do this again soon at another venue.

Thank you to Erin at the Ann Arbor District Library and to everyone who came to the workshop!

Funds Raised for Oceana

Thanks to your help, Mochimochi Land donated over $200 to Oceana!

It was great to do this little fundraiser and get lots of support and enthusiasm from knitters. Of course, this contribution is a mere drop in the ocean, but every little bit does something, and talking about climate change and other environmental issues is a first step toward prioritizing it in our lives and culture.

If you’d like to do something good for the Arctic and for all ocean life, please check out this worthy nonprofit and consider supporting them regularly.

I’ll be adding the Tiny Frozen Friends patterns on Ravelry soon, so those of you who requested me to add them there will get them in the next few days.