Project Giant Gnome has been clicking along! With the first guy done in only a few weeks (thanks to super thick Hometown USA and Wool-Ease Thick & Quick generously provided by Lion Brand), I couldn’t resist jumping headfirst into making him a giant friend.
Looking at this picture again, I could probably get used to a rug like this in my living room. Because I had the pattern more or less worked out from the first giant gnome, and because I was out of stuffing after using 16 lbs of it on him, I knitted this one without any stuffing, just leaving the hole at the bottom to add later.
But the idea of shipping him off to Korea without getting a look at him first in his full-figured glory just didn’t sit right with me, so I went ahead and splurged on another 20 lbs of stuffing.
Yep, this is the kind of major purchase that excites me these days. (In case anyone is interested, I order my stuffing in bulk from Batt-Mart.)
And so I got to try out my plan of stuffing my giant gnome from the bottom.
This was real work! I was actually sweating by the end. Stuffing him just right involved much prodding and massaging, and I even had to sit on him a couple of times to get the polyester to take the shape I wanted. Whew!
So now I have two giant gnome faces staring at me all day while I work. In a couple of weeks, I’ll “deflate” them again for their big trip to Korea, and I’ll be stuck with about 30 lbs of stuffing at home to repurpose. (That’s going to make a whole lot of tiny kits!)
Why am I knitting giant gnomes? They’re for an art show at Everyday Mooonday gallery in Seoul next month! I’ll share the official announcement with a title and everything soon.
Many thanks to Lion Brand for providing yarn support for this ultimate gnome project!
We’ve got just about two months before my new book, Adventures in Mochimochi Land, is released!
As I mentioned in my last post about it, the book contains three utterly weird and fantastical stories set in Mochimochi Land. (Plus patterns!) Today I’d like to give you a taste of the first story, which is pretty appropriate because it’s all about foooood…
I’ll start with a photo that’s not in the book.
Often, while I’m setting up a scene, my photographer, the wonderful and talented Brandi Simons, is already shooting away so that she can adjust the lighting and camera settings. So we end up with lots of shots of me fiddling with tiny knitted stuff, which make for a fun record of the shoot. So you can see that we set up a miniature world for this story, but the scenery has to get pretty expansive in the background to fill out the shot. I learned that we could have used a lot more/bigger pieces of flat knitted fabric.
OK, on with the story!
And as you can see from the above photo, this story is set in the delectable Delicious District of Mochimochi Land, where half of the citizens are bakers and the other half are oven repairmen.
Our protagonist, Biscuit the baker, is a tiny entrepreneur with her own donut shop.
But donut shops are a dime a baker’s dozen in the Delicious District, and Biscuit wanted to stand out for once. One day, she had a bright idea!
She would invent a new culinary concoction that would make her famous and change baked goods forever in Mochimochi Land.
So when the sun went down, she sneaked off to a hidden cave located deep in the Muffin Mountains to retrieve a very secret ingredient.
(The ingredient is so secret that I’m not permitted to reveal here—you’ll have to see the book to find out what it is.)
Back in her bakery, Biscuit spliced the ingredients together in a petri dish, then put the concoction in the microwave.
Side note: here’s my dad making that teeny petri dish by cutting the end off of a small plastic vial.
Before Biscuit could brew a pot of coffee, the microwave sparked and flashed and exploded!
Leaving behind a very large, very bouncy donut.
Success! Biscuit was delighted with her creation, and she was ready to conquer the Delicious District with her big bouncy baked good. Little did she know that the donut was going to try to conquer Mochimochi Land in his own very disastrous way…
For the rest of this story, you’ll have to read the book!
Adventures in Mochimochi Land is coming out June 9th! It’s now available for preorder from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble, and from Powells, among other places. Signed copies are also available for preorder from me in the Mochimochi Shop. Or if you have a local bookstore or yarn store that you support, please ask them if they’ll carry it!
Move over tiny sheep, there’s a new tiny fiber animal in Mochimochi Land! (Just kidding, sheep, you can stay.)
Tiny alpaca have arrived in pattern form just in time for Easter or your springtime celebration of choice!
Just how tiny are tiny alpaca?
This pattern incorporates short rows (using the wrap & turn method) to get that perfectly alpaca shape, plus an inside-out technique for a purl-tastic coat with no purling required. Other techniques include I-cord and picking up stitches. All that, and you can still finish in a couple of hours!
Short rows can be an intimidating prospect if you’ve never tried them before, but they really are very simple. The Purl Bee has a clear tutorial, which might be where I learned it to begin with myself.
I find that the hardest part of short rows is just keeping track of where you are, and not losing count. This isn’t such a big deal with a small project like tiny alpaca—just don’t stop partway through doing a set of short rows to check your email, like I did. You will lose track!
As with the tiny sheep, I felt that the stakes were high with this pattern, because knitters know an alpaca when they see one. And even though short rows are pretty easy to do, I don’t totally know what I’m doing when I incorporate them in a design, so it took a few tries before I got it right. My imperfect practice alpaca:
Neck is too thick and bowed on the bottom one, neck is too skinny and weak on the top one. (But they’re beautiful in their own unique legless way, of course!)
The one thing I was certain of when I designed these guys was that I wanted to use alpaca yarn to make them. My LYS Windy Knitty came through with fingering-weight Titus by baa ram ewe, which worked great in combination with Cascade Heritage for the face and legs. Titus is not an inexpensive yarn, but if you’re really into alpaca you can make 40 or 50 alpaca with one skein, so that’s a bargain. And of course, any basic fingering-weight yarn will work great for this pattern—and you don’t even have to use fingering-weight yarn, for that matter. All tiny patterns can scale up!
I’m hoping we’ll have an animation starring tiny alpaca one of these days. For now, you can purchase the pattern as a PDF download from the Mochimochi Shop!
As of April 1st, we’ve received a total of 86 gnomes for Project Gnome Diplomacy!
I’m feeling a bit like an April fool myself today, because I had these delightful Euro candies all ready to send out to anyone whose gnome arrived today…
…and then no gnomes showed up! Silly gnomes. So the candies will go to the next three people whose gnomes arrive.
These little guys of all shapes, sizes and colors are headed for Korea next month to be a part of a Mochimochi Land art show. You have until April 21st to send us your gnomes—find out more about this project here. And keep an eye on Instagram for gnome updates whenever we have new arrivals!
Update: The tiny alpaca pattern is now available!
Thank you for all the fantastic tiny alpaca tongue twisters over the weekend! I was reading them all aloud this morning and cracking myself up at just how bad I was at it.
It turns out that alpacas are not very good at tongue twisters themselves, or at the game of Twister, for that matter.
I guess we should have gone over the rules one more time before getting started with this photo op.
It was impossible to choose a single favorite tongue twister, but John and I managed to narrow it down to three favorites. Quick, say each of these three times fast!
Black alpaca packs pack lacquer plaques.
Alvin alpaca alleged Albert alpaca altered the alpine alfalfa.
And finally, from Stitchpunk:
Pink and purple polka-dotted packs perched prettily on alpaca backs, while lazy llamas lolloped and laughed loquaciously!
Each of these clever twisters of tongues wins the tiny alpaca pattern. (Check your inboxes, winners!) The pattern will be in wide release a bit later this week, yay!
Thanks again to everyone who participated in our action-packed alpaca match!
Update: Congratulations to our tongue-twisting winners!
Good news: the tiny alpaca pattern is coming next week!
As I prepared to preview this pack of alpaca, it occurred to me that alpacas naturally lend themselves to tongue twisters. Right, IRL alpaca?
So leave an alpaca-themed tongue twister in the comments to this post (one per person please). We’ll pick a favorite on Monday, and that person will get the pattern early and for free!
Giant gnome is sorta done!
I’m not much for selfies normally, but I just had to take one with my new friend.
He’s so big, it took me exactly 40 attempts to squeeze the both of us in the frame together. So that was how I spent five minutes of my day. It was the only time I’ve ever really considered the merits of a selfie stick.
Giant gnome (yes, he needs a proper name) is sitting in my living room right now, as big as a very big person. I wouldn’t say that his eyes follow me, but he’s pretty much always either staring at me dead on, or else he’s got me in the corner of his eye. This was especially creepy at night before I gave him a beard.
The beard was also crucial to get right. There was a lot of holding it up to the face and eyeing the progress as I was making it.
The beard is now much bigger than this, of course, but looking at the whole assembled gnome, I think it should still be a touch bigger, so I’ll probably make that change. But he’s essentially finished, and that feels like a big accomplishment.
So this is how many balls of yarn it takes to make a giant gnome, at least one with a smaller-than-is-ideal beard.
Before I get completely sucked into a beard vortex, I have a fresh box of yarn from Lion Brand that needs my attention.
That’s right, giant gnome no. 2 is happening. He will have a green shirt.
Why again am I knitting giant gnomes? Because I’m a weirdo, and also because they’re destined for an all-gnome-themed Mochimochi Land show at Everyday Mooonday gallery in Seoul this May. You too can be a part of this event—check out Project Gnome Diplomacy to find out more!
Thanks again to Lion Brand for providing yarn support for this project!