Seoul Box of Fun Giveaway Time

It’s time for one lucky contributor to Project Gnome Diplomacy to win a fabulous box of fun from Seoul!

Here’s what’s in store for the winner.

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Highlights include:

— A cute bee + hive magnet set

— A Sticky Monster Lab Smoothy King banana figure

— Weird fox and ogre face peel masks

— Cute tooth-shaped toothbrush holders

— Fun cloth ribbon

— Individually wrapped caramel erasers

— Lotsa stickers and candy!

OK, selection time. I’ve got a big bag of names to draw from, and it’s hard to choose just one…. but… the winner… is…

John, who contributed Lief Gnomenson and his younger brother Sprout! Congratulations, John! I’m emailing you right now for your mailing address.

Big thanks again to all of you who contributed to Project Gnome Diplomacy. As generous gnome makers savvy enough to participate in an online call for gnomes, you are all winners in life. We’ve been talking about the gnomes’ ultimate destiny with Everyday Mooonday (and generating some fun ideas!), and I’ll be sure to share an update on this project as it developes.

Photos from The Gnome Genome Project

Well, the big trip to Seoul happened like a blur last week, and we’ve been back in Chicago for a couple of days already, trying to recover from jet lag. (It’s really hard!)

I can’t express just how amazing our week was. Most of our time was spent setting up the exhibition at Everyday Mooonday. The welcome that they gave the show was just incredible!

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This was by far the most complex show that I’ve done, with four rooms to fill with gnomes displayed every which way.

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I also set up the Mochimochi Land tabletop display (a bigger version than I’ve done at recent Vogue Knitting LIVEs), which took a good 15 hours or so to arrange and stitch together.

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John was a big help throughout—he managed to mount 81 tiny gnomes to the wall in perfect circles!

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A few more photos from the show, including pics of your gnome diplomats on display, after the jump!

More >

Adventures in Mochimochi Land Preview: The Lighthearted Lovers

My new storybook/pattern book, Adventures in Mochimochi Land, is due out in just two and a half more weeks! That basically coincides with the beginning of summer, so what’s not to love?

Previously I’ve shared peeks into the first two stories in the book, The Hungry Donut and The Underwater Election, and today I’m excited to introduce the third and final story in the book, The Lighthearted Lovers.

The tale begins in Carnivalville, where the animals run all the rides and bear no responsibility for loss or injury.

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Everyone has a grand time at Carnivalville, except for a bunch of balloons who would rather be having adventures than be tied down to spend the day with an elephant carnie.

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They get their chance when the elephant sneezes, and the balloons are off to see the world!

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One balloon joins a flock of rainbowbirds flying south…

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while another balloon flies too close to the sun.

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Two balloons race a kite… and tie for first!

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And one balloon gives an earthworm the ride of his life.

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Finally, one last balloon, named Hugo, falls in love with the aircraft of his dreams.

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The romance and drama that follow will have to be saved for the book. But I’d like to share one very special thing about this story—it involved making the biggest version of Mochimochi Land that I’ve ever attempted!

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If you’ve encountered the 6-foot display that I’ve shown at Vogue Knitting LIVE, that may have seemed big, but this one had to be way bigger, because we wanted shots of it in the distance with airborne objects in the foreground.

So we basically took over my photographer, Brandi Simons’s living room for a couple of days, spreading out the landscape as wide as it would go and adding any kind of filler fabric around the sides that we could get our hands on. It was a big challenge to try to cover all the seams that resulted with tiny trees and other little elements I could scrounge up. (Probably you can recognize a few things from previous Mochimochi Land projects!)

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In the end, it came together with Brandi choosing just the right angle to shoot from and the right depth of focus, plus a little Photoshop magic. You’ll be able to see the end results in the book.

The other challenge with this story was figuring out how to make the balloon strings come alive—limp pieces of yarn hanging down just wouldn’t do. We ended up using a white cloth-coated floral wire we found at the nearby craft store.

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(I’ve found it at more than one store, so I think it’s pretty widely available.)

This stuff is easy to cut with wire cutters or even scissors, and you can twist it into any shape you want. And because it’s cloth covered, it really looks like string! I felt like I had hit the jackpot when I found it. But we still needed to use stronger wires to actually prop up the balloons.

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I think the floral wire would be perfect for any kind of gift giving or display with the balloons, and of course the pattern for them is included in the book!

That’s it for the story previews from the book, but I have some more behind-the-scenes images to share, plus maybe an extra pattern or two from the book. I’ll also announce a couple of book-related events that are coming up!

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!

The Gnome Genome Project

Finally, all the gnome diplomats that you guys made, plus two giant gnomes, plus lots more gnome-y knits, have cleared customs, and I can announce this show officially!

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The Gnome Genome Project opens Saturday, May 23rd at Everyday Mooonday in Seoul. Anyone who happens to read this from somewhere in or near Seoul, I do hope you can join us at the reception Saturday night!

Here’s the introduction I put together for this show, which should give a fuller picture of what the whole thing is about.

The Gnome Genome Project
Mochimochi Land

In Mochimochi Land, it is commonly believed that gnomes are the glue that holds the universe together, from the subatomic to the cosmic level. Gnomes (sometimes spelled knomes) are neither male nor female, and once mature, they are ageless. To those who live in Mochimochi Land, they represent wisdom, tradition, mischief, and magic. These are properties that they share with the craft of knitting.

In our world, gnomes are generally associated with northern European folklore, but they appear in many stories from various cultures, where they take on all manner of personalities, from good to evil. In Mochimochi Land, gnomes are neither good nor evil, gnomes just are. They’re busy, weird, playful, and quick to love or fight.

This exhibition is a celebration of gnomes to an almost obsessive degree. It also asks: What do gnomes do when no one is looking at them? How much can a gnome be twisted, morphed, or given a costume change before it’s no longer a gnome? What do we see of ourselves in the gnomes that we make? Is there such a thing as too many gnomes? Where the heck will all of these gnomes end up? It may all just be a big silly joke in the end, but for now it’s time to go gnome or go home!

Anna Hrachovec
Mochimochi Land

I’ll be sharing plenty of images from the show here once it’s up, but if you’d like to see the pieces available for sale as early as possible, please sign up for my art newsletter.

Mochimochi Land on BuzzFeed

Thank you to Claire de Louraille at BuzzFeed for an exciting feature on Mochimochi Land!

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Knitterj’s Mother’s Day Bento

This is too cute: Jan (knitterj on Ravelry) whipped up this scrumptious Mother’s Day bento to give to her sushi-loving mom this Sunday!

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So much better than flowers, right moms? The plastic grass tucked in around the sides really makes it for me.

You can find the patterns in the Tiny Sushi Bar Set (also available on Ravelry).

An early Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there! I’m headed to Oklahoma this weekend so I can spend the day with mine.

Adventures in Mochimochi Land Preview: The Underwater Election

It’s just about one month until the release of my new combo storybook and pattern book, Adventures in Mochimochi Land!

Last month I shared a preview of the first story in the book, The Hungry Donut. And today I’m sharing a peek into the second story in the book, The Underwater Election. Alternative title: Tiny Mochis Under the Sea!

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The protagonists of this story, Bubbles the dolphin and Gary the crab, are political rivals, vying for control over a precious new resource they helped discover.

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(I used Tosh Merino Light yarn for the first time to make these guys. I was looking for a yarn that would be bright and richly hued and evoke life underwater—I think it really did the trick!)

I’ll leave the nature of the precious resource as a surprise for the book, but rest assured that all kinds of silly political stunts ensue. Gary, for example, serves as guest judge in local a beauty pageant…

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And Bubbles insists on doing the honors at a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new sandcastle development.

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Something unexpected happens with the election results, of course, but not before a heated debate complete with mudslinging!

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Each of the stories in this book came with its own unique challenges, from the writing to the photography. With this story, a big challenge was figuring out how to represent Mochimochi Land underwater, something I hadn’t really done before. I wasn’t sure how we would do it until the last minute when it was time for the photo shoot! But the local craft store came through with sparkly fabric for the background,

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(Ironed directly on the wall for maximum wrinkle-free sparkly-ness…)

Some lucky finds like seaweed-shaped pipe cleaners,

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And yarn that looked amazingly like coral!

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Speaking of which, in the haste of doing the photo shoot last year, I failed to make note of which novelty yarns we used to make the coral and other cool seaweed-looking stuff that appear in the images. If anyone knows what they’re looking at, please share in the comments!

I almost forgot the last big challenge of all of these underwater photos: erasing all of those pesky sticks holding everyone afloat!

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All I can say is thank goodness for Photoshop and for a photographer who really knows how to use it.

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!

Shipping off the Diplomats

This has been a busy week of organizing and packing and otherwise getting ready to ship hundreds of gnomes off to Korea for next month’s show at Everyday Mooonday. Here’s what our dining room looks like right now.

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I think at least one of those boxes is just holding packing peanuts for other boxes, but I don’t even know anymore. Shipping is stressful!

Of course, among those hundreds of gnomes are hundreds of gnome diplomats that all of you sent in. In preparation for sending them off on their mission of spreading cuteness and happiness to the other side of the globe, we’ve finally tallied them all: Including the lovely gnomes submitted by Chicagoland knitters at YarnCon, we recruited a total of 332 gnomes to travel to Seoul—I am blown away by this number!

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To celebrate, I’m selecting two random gnome knitters to get a Personal Happiness Labbit that I picked up at Rotofugi.

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There’s no need for suspense, so the winners are… Monica E. and Rosemary S.! I’ll send you each an email for your mailing address.

Full details about the show are coming soon, but first I get to take a weekend off from knitting gnomes, which will be a refreshing break before John and I start getting ready to go to Seoul ourselves!