Peace

A couple months back my sister gave me this 1960s-era peace symbol magnet that she received at an event organized by the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. It has an interesting story to go along with it, and with all the heartbreaking conflict going on in the world in recent days (and months, and forever) it seems like as appropriate a time as ever to share it.

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The following was printed on a card that came with the magnet.

After being released from an internment camp for Japanese Americans, Chiyoko and Goro Otagiri returned to Japan in 1947 to found the Otagiri Mercantile Co, which later produced these colorful, hopeful hand-made peace symbols as part of their housewares and giftware products. The symbols were shipped to San Francisco and then taken to showrooms in Los Angeles and Dallas. In 2011 a member of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship discovered 23 shipping crates of the peace symbols in the estate of the Dallas showroom manager. Coming from the only nation to have experienced nuclear weapons to the only nation to have used them, the peace symbols had never been opened.

Rediscovered unopened vintage products are always fascinating (especially when they’re from Japan), and this one is especially enigmatic to me since it was produced at a time when WWII was still in the very recent past, in a country that experienced some of the worst events of the war. I haven’t decided what I’ll do with it yet—it seems like a waste to just stick on my fridge—so it’ll stay on my desk for now, its bright orange color never letting me ignore it for too long.

You can learn more about the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, which was originally started in the 1940s as an organization that gave support to conscientious objectors to World War II, on their website.

Last Day For Free Mystery Kits

What’s on my needles right now? It’s a tiny mystery!

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Today (July 31) is the LAST DAY to get a free mystery kit with purchase of any two kits or books from the Mochimochi Shop. There are three mystery designs available—so, order four kits/books to receive two of them, and order six kits/books to get all three. These are sent automatically with orders—no need to add anything to your cart.

And as I’ve mentioned before, if you’ve already received a mystery kit and would like to get one or both of the other designs, just shoot me an email (at info [at] mochimochiland [dot] com) and let me know which one you already have so you don’t get a duplicate.

The mystery designs will be revealed later this year (probably October) when the patterns are officially available in my shop. From what I’ve seen poking around social media, those who have gotten the mystery kits share my excitement about them—yay!

Rebecca’s Hungry Pooh Bear Bag

This long-armed Pooh is having quite a time trying to get at that honey!

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Rebecca modified the Totes Adorbs pattern from Huge & Huggable Mochimochi to make her wearable Bear of Very Little Brain. So clever!

Seeing Rebecca’s Pooh prompted me to look up some quotes from Winnie-the-Pooh, and I was reminded of just how many wonderful turns of phrase are contained in A.A. Milne’s slender book. One of my favorites:

“If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”

I’m giving away a free pattern to anyone whose Huge & Huggable mochis I share here on the blog this summer. Add your photos to our Flickr group to get in on that!

Tiny Sumo Buttons are Here

I love getting new pin-back buttons made! I just got 99 of these guys, and I’ll be sending them out with all shipped orders (books, kits, other buttons, and hand-knit items) until supplies last.

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These are also the final days to get your mystery kits—Thursday (7/31) will be the last day to get one or more with your order! If you’ve already received one mystery kit and you want to pick up one or both of the other three designs, just email me at info [at] mochimochiland [dot] com and let me know which kit you’ve already gotten so that you don’t get duplicates.

Ann Arbor Wrap Up

I don’t have a ton of photos to show for it, but my Wooly Woods crafting event in Ann Arbor earlier this month was so much fun!

Around 40 people of all ages came to the district library for fun with wrapping twigs with yarn. It’s such a simple project that I think it lets you get creative in unexpected ways—as soon as we got started I saw people making swings and I-cords and using the yarn in other ways that I wouldn’t have thought to do myself. Many of the participants were knitters and embellished with their own details or with the patterns that I brought to hand out, but many were new to yarn crafting entirely. (I was surprised at the number of people who were eager to learn to knit right on the spot!)

These two cuties showed up a bit late, but still managed to make some colorful sculptures to take home.

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I asked Erin the librarian if one really big branch could be supplied as a group project, and she came through with the perfect thing. Various people worked on it throughout the workshop, and we finished it just in time. It’s now hanging about the reference desk in the youth department.

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It’s hard to tell in this photo, but this branch is around six feet long!

One of the neat things about this workshop was the way that I picked up a couple of handy techniques when I was preparing for it. (Nothing like the challenge of teaching someone to get you to learn new stuff yourself!) First, it occurred to me that I should finally learn to make a proper yarn bobbin so that wrapping twigs didn’t also involve constantly chasing unraveling balls of yarn around the room.

Here’s the video I used to learn the technique:

These kinds of bobbins are also really handy for instarsia knitting.

I also thought pompoms would be a neat element to add to the wrapped twigs, but somehow I’d gone 33 years on this planet without ever making one myself! So I turned to Vickie Howell, who showed me the most basic way with this video:

I was impressed by the great results you can get just by using your hand. (A friend to help you tie a tight knot really does help too.) While I’m on the topic, I’ll mention that while I was researching pompom making I also stumbled across this technique for making mini pompoms using a fork.

I haven’t tried it myself yet, but I foresee lots of tiny pompoms growing in my future Wooly Woods sculptures.

Thank you to the Ann Arbor District Library and to everyone who came out to the event!

Kirimi-chan the Fish Fillet

Earlier this year I blogged about Gudetama, the odd egg yolk character that Sanrio released to the Japan market. It seems that Sanrio is ready to test the “weird and cute” waters with their English-speaking followers now, with the introduction of their new character Kirirmi-chan, “a star in the slicked food world.”

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Yes, it’s a fillet of fish. Salmon, perhaps? This one is actually a little too weird for me, or maybe it’s the way that the body seems tacked on and lacking in design.

Super Cute Kawaii introduced this character to me this morning, but the blog Kao-ani has more information in a post from January, saying that the character resulted from an online vote that Sanrio held last year for a new food-related character. Fascinating! I have a feeling this one won’t be sticking around for very long, so for that reason alone I’m tempted to get some Kirimi-chan-branded products. Or even better…

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Book Signing & Tiny Chicken Class Aug 10 in Chicago

I’m looking forward to my first Chicago Yarn Crawl coming up next month!

As part of the crawl’s events, I’m going to be at Sifu Design Studio signing books from 10am to 1 pm.

Then in the afternoon, I’ll be teaching a tiny chicken class!

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This pattern incorporates elements that I use in many of my designs (like I-cords and picking up stitches), so it’s a great starting point for those new to tiny knitting. You’ll be well on your way to having a mini flock by the end of class!

You can find all of the class details and sign up on the Sifu website.

I’m looking forward to seeing all the yarn crawlers next month!

Schneck Lecker Gummy Snails

I discovered a new favorite candy this weekend! Schneck Lecker are gummy snails made by Haribo, and they are both weird and delicious (in a weird kind of way).

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I was really hoping that schneck lecker meant “snail licker,” especially since we see several little snaily tongues on the packaging. But Google Translate tells me that it just means “delicious snails.” (Still, I’d say they’re pretty lickable, so in my own head they’ll always be “snail lickers.”) Update: Several people have informed me that yes, it actually can mean “snail licker, if you write it a bit differently!”

The snails’ bodies are made of gummy foam, and the shells are regular transparent gummy (sorry, I don’t know the technical gummy terms). Haribo combines these two gummy types in many of their candies, but I’ve never seen the foam-to-regular-gummy ratio be so high, which makes these snails unique among gummies.

Also, they have cute little heads, complete with eye stalks and a nose.

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After I tried the first one, I had to play with the others and take photos for a while before they all went into my mouth.

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Wouldn’t these be fun toppers on a garden-themed birthday cake? If you can’t find them at your local European foods store, you can find them online from Euro Food Imports.

I’ll also take this snail-themed post as an opportunity to remind you that I have a free pattern for wooly snails and slugs. (Less delicious, but fewer calories!)