See You at VK LIVE this Weekend

Vogue Knitting LIVE is this weekend in Chicago! I’m kicking off my VK LIVE weekend early by teaching a tiny toy kitting class tonight and a toy design class tomorrow morning. The marketplace opens tomorrow night, and for the rest of the weekend that’s where I can be found. These guys will be there too!

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This is a detail from the new Wooly Woods sculpture I’m unveiling this weekend. I worked on it all summer long, and I’m excited to finally show it to everyone! I’ll also be showing pieces from the original Wooly Woods exhibition in Berlin last year.

Plus! I’ll be signing books and offering my tiny kits at a special discount!

Plus! On Sunday we’ll have the tiny pumpkin hunt in the marketplace!

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Come early and keep your eyes peeled—the ten people who find pumpkins will win a free copy of Huge & Huggable Mochimochi!

I’m so looking forward to seeing some of your lovely faces this weekend!

Announcing the 2014 Mochimochi Photo (and Video!) Contest

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Sharpen your needles and charge your cameras: It’s now officially time to enter the 8th annual Mochimochi Photo Contest!

Once again, we’re looking for the cutest, funniest, most interesting photos of Mochimochi Land toys. All you have to do to enter is upload your photo(s) to the Mochimochi Friends group on Flickr by Monday, December 1st.

This year we also have an exciting new category: VIDEOS starring your mochis! See below on how to enter your videos in the contest.

Winners will receive awesome prizes from our generous sponsors Knit Picks and Milk+Honey, gift certificates to the Mochimochi Shop, PLUS vintage knitting kits from Bonney Teti, my mother-in-law and owner of the world’s biggest yarn stash!

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Eligibility

This contest is open to knitters worldwide. To be eligible, your photo or video must contain at least one knitted toy made from a Mochimochi Land pattern. This can be a pattern from the Mochimochi Shop, a pattern from one of the Mochimochi books, or one of the free patterns on the Mochimochi Blog. The pattern may be modified, but not beyond recognition from the original design. (The use of Photoshop is permitted, and other characters, including other knitted toys, are welcome to appear in your photo or video too!)

Note that we’re looking for humor, cuteness, and originality—not necessarily the most professional-looking photos and videos. We want everyone to enter!

How to enter

PHOTOS: Simply upload your photo(s) to the Mochimochi Friends Flickr group. If you don’t have a Flickr account, it is free and easy to register (though we recommend signing up as soon as possible, because it takes a little time for your account to be approved for sharing photos in a group). You can enter as many photos as you want, within reason. (A series of photos is great, but each photo will be judged individually. We focus on series in our spring contest!)

All photos uploaded since the deadline of the 2013 photo contest last year—with the exception of those entered in our springtime contest—are already entered in this year’s contest!

VIDEOS: First, upload your video to any public video sharing site (like Youtube or Vimeo). Then email us at info [at] mochimochiland [dot] com with with subject line VIDEO ENTRY, and include a link to your video. Please do not send the video as an attachment.

Deadline

The last day to enter the contest is December 1st, 2014. We’ll announce the semi-finalist photos shortly thereafter here on the blog, then everyone will be able to vote for their favorites! So be sure to check the blog in mid-December.

Since this is our first year for the video category, those entries will be judged by us instead of popular vote.

Prizes!

The first place photo prize will include a Candy Rainbow Yarn Sampler from Knit Picks (pictured above—perfect for tiny mochi knitting!), a gift bag and two additional lotion bars from Milk+Honey, a $20 gift certificate to the Mochimochi Shop, and a vintage knitting kit from Bonney Teti’s giant yarn stash.

Second place photo prize will include a $10 gift certificate to Knit Picks, a gift set and additional lotion bar from Milk+Honey, a $10 gift certificate to Mochimochi Land, and kit from Bonney.

Third place photo prize will include a $10 gift certificate to Knit Picks, a gift set from Milk+Honey, a $10 gift certificate to Mochimochi Land, and a kit from Bonney.

The video category prize will remain a surprise for now… but trust that it’s going to be good!

Needles ready? Yarn set? GO!

Interview in the Chicago Tribune

Here’s something that feels a bit surreal: My face got printed really big in the Chicago Tribune yesterday!

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The paper interviewed me about how Mochimochi Land came to be and a bit about my other interests. I have Beth at SoHo Publishing to thank for the Tribune taking notice of my work, because they found me through her press release about Vogue Knitting LIVE—which is this weekend in Chicago!

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It took me a while to work up the nerve to actually read how my words came out in print. I think I come across OK, but for the record I don’t spend all my time reading snooty magazines!

The article and an accompanying video are also online on the Tribune website.

Creepy Peepers

I think it’s been established that I prefer basic black when it comes to eyes. I like how big black eyes are cute, but also can be mysterious and even creepy—you can almost read whatever you like into them. But when I was designing the Thwickeds, which were partly inspired by Jenny Harada’s plushes (who all have kooky eyes), I briefly considered a couple of different options…

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Spooky black won the day, but there are so many cool eyes out there (I went to 6060 on Etsy to get mine), I’m going to have to start incorporating them into my art projects, if not my pattern designs.

Do you give your toys funky eyes of one kind or another? I’d love to see examples!

Typoqween’s Halloween Goodie Bags

Look what’s popped up in the Mochimochi Friends Flickr group! Cute little Halloween-themed gift bags by Typoqween.

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The patterns for candy corn, heart, and Baby Gator are available for free right here on the Mochimochi Blog. The pattern for the Bitty Witch is in Super-Scary Mochimochi, which is half off this month! The tiny pumpkin and bat patterns can be found in the Tiny Fall Collection download. The adorable vampire seems to be a modified pattern (perhaps my free Knit Kid pattern?), and I can’t account for those cute bags, but if somebody knows where to find the pattern, please let us know in the comments.

Someone’s clearly going to have a happy Halloween!

Barnabé the Mouse

Update: My friend Jeremy Wheeler found that this guy may be what’s called a Pluffs Doll!

One of the cool things about our Chicago apartment (which still feels new to me, even though we’ve been here almost a year) is a lovely built-in glass cabinet in the dining room. It would be the perfect place to display our china, of which we have none, so instead I’m filling it with plush toys. (The “dining room” also sees a lot of yarn winding and very little dining.) There’s even extra room for more plushes than I currently have! So on Saturday I let myself acquire a new one from the Ravenswood Antique Mart.

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Don’t you love his fun colors and mischievous expression? After much consideration, I’ve decided to call him Barnabé. His tag tells me that he was made in Japan, he’s filled with excelsior (aka wood shavings), and he was imported by a company called Illfelder Importing Co. I did a search for the importer and turned up this 2011 photo from 23rd Street in NYC!

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One of the best things about this blue mouse was his price: less than $5, if you can believe it. So this was a cheap toy when it was made, and now it’s still a cheap toy, but also awesome and vintage. I might just have to start collecting these big time to help fill out my plush cabinet!

Introducing the Thwickeds

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Time to unearth that fur yarn you’ve been saving since 2002—the Thwickeds are here! Cute, cuddly, and pure evil, these wooly weirdos have emerged from the darkest corner of Mochimochi Land just in time for Halloween. We can’t guarantee your safety if you knit them*, but we can guarantee a quick and fun project with very hairy results.

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Techniques include knitting in the round on double-pointed needles, I-cord, and mattress stitch. You’ll need less than one skein each of novelty fur yarn (Romance by Lion Brand is highly recommended!), worsted-weight yarn in 3 colors (one of which should match your fur yarn), and double-pointed needles in size 8 (5.0mm) and 5 (3.75mm).

The pattern is now available as a PDF download for just $5 in the Mochimochi Shop.

*Mochimochi Land is not responsible for any deaths, injuries, or public embarrassment that result from knitting these creatures.

Just Use Another Bathroom

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…until the situation can be resolved by a knitter, that is!

(Pattern coming soon!)