Free Pattern: Carnie Zebra

This is an intermediate-level BONUS pattern from Adventures in Mochimochi Land, now available from book sellers everywhere. (Signed copies are available from the Mochimochi Shop!)

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Carnivalville couldn’t keep running without the help of its hard-working animal carnies. Carnie monkeys take the tickets, carnie elephants sell balloons, and carnie zebras climb way up high to check the soundness of all the tents. (They’re also known to sneak naps while they’re up there.)

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A few people have asked me for the zebra’s pattern since his debut in Adventures in Mochimochi Land, so I’m happy to share it here.

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Interview: Lorna and Jill Watt of Knits for Life

I have something really special to share today—an interview with Lorna and Jill Watt, the yarnbombing geniuses behind Knits for Life!

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Not only is this an interview with two yarn artists who astound me with their large-scale and very original projects, it comes in the form of a transcribed conversation between Lorna and Jill. Having a conversation in response to my questions was their idea, and I think it really captures their personalities so much better than a written interview ever would have. (See, I said they were geniuses!)

I’ve decided to post the interview in full because it’s just too much fun!

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Inspiration: Contemporary Katsina Dolls

Over the 4th of July weekend my mom took me to the Philbrook Museum in downtown Tulsa, where they have an exhibition of Hopi katsina dolls through September 6th. (I’d always known them as kachinas, but apparently “katsina” is closer to the correct pronunciation.)

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I was always drawn to katsinas during our summer trips to New Mexico when I was a kid, and I’m still crazy about them. Their forms and colors are just so lively, and they’re all a little bit scary and a little bit funny. I like the idea of having deities that look like this.

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The katsinas in this exhibition are all contemporary, and were made as art pieces by Hopi artists. I took pictures of just a few, the ones that most delighted me.

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I love how this guy is wearing a sports jacket and pants. There’s something about him that reminds me of Japan, actually…

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And this one definitely reminded me of something from a Hayao Miyazaki movie, particularly Spirited Away. I didn’t do a good job of documenting the artists responsible for each of these, but this one I know was made in 2009 by Hopi artist Wilmer Kaye (whose dolls you can find to purchase via that link). (Actually, I couldn’t resist and just purchased one myself!)

I’ve been taking some time this summer to make things out of clay, and I’m so glad I saw this exhibition when I did—it’s given me lots of ideas. (I’ll probably show a bit of what I’ve been up to soon.) If you can make it to Tulsa sometime in the next month or so, definitely check out this show!

The Summer Squee Sale is Back and Bigger than Ever!

I guess I’m a day late since July 15th is suddenly a big date for sales, but anyway—we’re bringing back our summer sale and it’s bigger than ever! And it lasts all the way through the end of July!

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Through July 31st, take 20% off EVERYTHING in the Mochimochi Shop (including patterns, kits, books, hand-knitted mochis, and more) with the code SUMMERSQUEE.

It’s a great chance to pick up projects you’ve had your eye on for a while, or check out some stuff that you didn’t even know was in the shop. (It’s gotten to be a really bieg shop in recent years, after all.)

By the way, this sale does not apply to purchases made in the Mochimochi Land Ravelry store, but if you buy a patterns here and would like to have them in your Ravelry library, just get in touch and I’ll be happy to do that.

I hope you’re all having a great summer so far!

Tiny Dolphin Class at Sifu August 8th

On August 8th I’m returning to Sifu Design Studio in Chicago for a tiny dolphin knitting class!

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This is a project class that will be perfect for intermediate knitters who are looking to pick up some new skills in the realm of toys. We’ll cover joining two rounds into one, short rows, and picking up and knitting stitches. Everyone will go home with a tiny dolphin, or at least a good start to one that they can finish at home in an hour or so.

Because this class is happening during the Chicago Yarn Crawl, I’m going to stick around after the class to sign copies of my new book, so even if you can’t make it to the class, I hope to see you afterward!

Get all the details and sign up on the Sifu website.

Free Pattern: Sand Pennies

This is a beginning-level BONUS pattern from Adventures in Mochimochi Land, now available from book sellers everywhere. (Signed copies are available from the Mochimochi Shop!)

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We hold on to summer days at the beach with little treasures gathered there, but this little knit is perfect for those of us whose feet are stuck under a desk instead of in the sand this summer. In Adventures in Mochimochi Land, the Soggy Sea is scattered with these lovely little sand pennies. Use them to carry for good luck, or to embellish your knitted aquarium!

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Sheila’s Hexiscenes

One of my favorite mochimochi knitters is Sheila, aka QueenofSheeba on Ravelry, whose funny and creative projects have appeared on this blog from time to time. THIS time she’s been up something that I really wish I’d thought of first: combining mochis with hexipuffs to make mini dioramas she calls hexiscenes!

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Not Betty [Biscuit the Baker pattern from Adventures in Mochimochi Land]

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Do you wanna build a snowman? [Tiny Christmas Tree from Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi, Mochimochi Snowmen]

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Tim Ber [Tiny Lumberjack from Tiny People 2]

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Mawwiage [Tiny Bride & Groom from Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi]

I asked Sheila where this idea came from, and this is what she said:

The Hexiscenes actually started out on a sad note. We got the call that my beloved mother-in-law had just entered a hospice for final care. (Sob) I didn’t know the rules for flowers in the facility etc but HAD to bring her something so she knew how much I love her and was thinking about her when I wasn’t there. (Sob! Sob!) It had to be knit and something she could just hold in her hand. It ended up being this:

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We go together like peas and carrots [Tiny Baby Bunnies]

That is how the Hexiscene was created ~ with me crying my way through the first one!!! Now every one I make I smile (and cry a little!) thinking “Donna would have loved this!”

It’s touching how small knitted things can contain so much meaning. As you saw above, Sheila has continued to make many more hexiscenes—aside from being perfect little gifts, they seem to feed her dual addictions to tiny mochis and hexipuffs:

I have a thing for tinys as you know AND a thing for Hexipuffs. I have made about a bajillion puffs for chair back cushions, footstool covers, pillows, toys, and heading for five (yup-CRAZY) window quilts! I’m thinking in this drafty old farmhouse I should just start sticking them to the walls as I finish them for warmth-hehe. Not so practical for cleaning though… The point is I don’t want to stop making them OR tinys as you know!

I would love to post all of Sheila’s hexiscenes, but there are just too many at this point. OK, here’s one more—they’re getting more elaborate!

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Under the sea [Ichigo the Adventurer from Adventures in Mochimochi Land, Tiny Nosey Fish]

OK, I only have so much bandwidth, so I encourage you to check out Sheila’s project page to see more.

Project Gnome Diplomacy Update

Update to this update: Diny at Everyday Mooonday sent me these photos of the gnomes on their diplomatic mission—some are being given away with cafe orders, and others are being mailed out to friends of the gallery!

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Time for an update on your tiny gnome diplomats!

The show at Seoul’s Everyday Mooonday gallery has now come down. I’m told that there were many visitors for the month that it was up, including plenty of cute kids.

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Now the diplomats are ready to go on their official mission! Diny, the director at Everyday Mooonday, tells me that they’ve started giving them away through the gallery’s cafe. Each one comes with a little tag like this:

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This one reads, “Hello I’m a gnome. Happy to meet you.”

There are several different requests on the tags, including:

“Please give me to a stranger.”

“Please give me to someone you meet today.”

“Please give me to someone who looks like they’re celebrating something!”

“Please give me to someone you really love.”

“Please give me someone who looks sad.”

“Please give me someone who says hello to you today for the first time!”

So with the help of the people who visit the gallery, your 333 little gnomes will spread smiles all over the city of Seoul—and probably beyond!

You can learn more about how this project got started here. Because of the great participation and the fun we’ve had, I’d love to do another similar project (whether with more gnome diplomats or something else) in the future!