Last week I mentioned how fun and inspiring it was to teach a toy design master class at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in October. Because I was just about to move to Chicago, we couldn’t schedule a follow-up class to see everyone’s progress with their designs, but I asked the participants to send me updates by email. A few have come through, including Jessica, with this adorable oyster that she designed and made!
In the class we had talked about how Jessica would make the top and bottom pieces hinge together, and how she might make the wavy “lips” of the oyster. For the lips especially, it seemed like there would be a simple solution, but it would require a little trial and error just to see how it would turn out. She opted to try making a separate I-cord and stitching it in place, and I think it worked out brilliantly!
If you’re interested in designing your own toy, my biggest advice is to just start knitting! It’s easy to get caught up in Planning Mode, thinking that you have to have everything figured out before you begin. Toys are a great place to start with designing because you can incorporate lots of fun knitting techniques and you don’t have the pressure of making sure that it will fit someone in the end. If you’ve had a toy in mind that you’d like to design, just go for it!
I’ll be leading a short workshop on toy design at Vogue Knitting LIVE in NYC in January, so I hope you’ll plan to join me if you’ll be there.
And if any of the other Lion Brand Studio class participants are reading this, I’d love to see more of your finished projects!
Knit Picks is a huge part of my knitting: I got my swift and yarn winder from them, I have a whole stash drawer dedicated to their Palette yarn, and I used their Brava Bulky yarn for a bunch of the projects in Huge & Huggable Mochimochi. So it made my day to see KP staff member Hannah’s Roland on the Knit Picks blog this week!
And Knit Picks is giving away THREE copies of Huge & Huggable Mochimochi right now—check out Hannah’s blog post to find out how to enter. (The deadline is for the book giveaway is Monday.)
What’s more, Knit Picks has been a sponsor of our annual Mochimochi Photo Contest for the past four years, and they’ve stepped up again this year! Our second and third place winners will each receive a $10 gift certificate, and our first place winner will get a $50 gift certificate. That’s a lot of Palette!
Or needles, books, kits, tools…there’s so much to choose from!
(And if you don’t live in the US or Canada, this is your rare opportunity to score Knit Picks stuff—we’ve worked it out so that any winners in other countries will be able to get the goods too.)
But you can’t win if you don’t enter your photos! The photo contest deadline is December 9th. So check out the full contest details, and get knitting and clicking!
By popular demand, look who’s now available as a kit!
The Tiny Snowman Kit comes with the pattern and enough yarn (Cascade Heritage, a fingering-weight wool/nylon blend) and stuffing to make two snowpeople, one with a blue scarf and one with a pink scarf. All you need are a set of size 1 DPNs and a small tapestry needle.
This would make a COOL gift for your knitting friends, if you’ll pardon the pun. (And the pattern is super simple, so it’s a great one to start with!)
If you haven’t checked them out, we now have 17 different tiny kits in the Mochimochi Shop, each available for $12.
Here’s a project that got put on hold for way too long: my unnamed arcade mochi! He sat unfinished on top of my yarn drawers for a good two months before somehow making it through the move to Chicago without unraveling. It felt so good to pick this guy up again and finish the prototype yesterday!
(I really need to start putting things on my office walls—yuck!)
I don’t usually make prototypes for my designs, but I wanted to get the shape of this one just right before adding colorwork and other details. (The pink rectangle was just to help me see where the top front panel will go.) I’ve had second and third thoughts about the final colors, and now I’m anti-black and trying to decide if he’ll be orange, red, pink, or some shade of blue. Or who knows, maybe even green! Pretty much any color but black is what I’m thinking right now.
While I think about colors, I’m getting started on the color chart for the sides and back of this guy. Just getting ready to make a design takes some time, but now I think I have the correct number of squares to work with.
I use Illustrator to make my charts—it can be time-consuming (especially when I forgot how Illustrator works, as I often do), but I like the control that I have and the way that I can easily fill in squares with the Paint Bucket tool.
The thing that really motivated to continue with this design is the toy design class I taught at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio last month. I’ve already gotten updates from several of the people who took the class and went on to finish their designs! I hope to teach this kind of class again soon—it was really inspiring, and I may have learned just as much as everyone else.
In case you haven’t been following along, here are my earlier posts in this series:
I’ll be back with another design update soon(ish)!
Happy Friday! You know what a great activity for this weekend would be? Knitting up some mochis for your entry in our just-announced 2013 photo contest!
To get you inspired, here’s a look back at the winners from last year’s contest.
Joan gave us chills with her terrific Thriller scene! She won our Judges’ Choice award.
Our top three winners (who scored gift certificates, books, and a bunch of cute and crafty goodies) were chosen by all of you who voted!
In third place was the delightfully creepy Knitted Sofa by Jill Watt!
It was a really tight race between first and second place. In the end second place went to the incredible Knitman’s Sampler by Kimberly Schaeffer!
And finally, our first-place winner was the oh-so-cute Teamwork by Amy Hicks!
As you’ve likely seen, Amy’s winning photo is now representing this year’s contest in our announcement images.
These are some big shoes to fill, but I’m sure you are all up for the challenge! See this year’s full contest details, and let’s get started!
I can’t describe how great it feels to be in what feels like a home after two weeks of being in that strange in-between state of transition. Let me show you where I now live and work!
Isn’t it adorable?!? Like in Brooklyn, we’re living in an apartment, so the whole thing isn’t ours, but it’s still way more space than John and I have ever lived in.
Most of the apartment is pretty standard (although we have a kitchen island! such luxury!), but I wanted to at least show off my new office.
You can no longer touch the bed from my desk! The bedroom is a completely different room! I’m feeling so spoiled by this new way of life. (Soupy is trying to claim the office as his own and push me back in the bedroom, but I’m determined to win this one.)
And I now have a little place to put knickknacks!
This calls for the buying of new knickknacks, which I haven’t done in a long time. (I’m headed to Rotofugi soon to do just this.)
And what does Nipsey think of all this?
Nipsey still has his tattered old scratching post, so Nipsey is all good.
Since we’ve been busy getting settled in (and the weather has been COLD), I’ve just barely started exploring my new neighborhood, much less the broader city. So, Chicagoans, I would love any tips or recommendations for favorite places to go, things to do, etc!
UPDATE: The contest is now closed for entries. Thank you for your photos, and please check back soon for honorable mentions and semifinalists for YOU to vote on!
Got yarn, needles, and a camera? It’s now officially time to enter the 7th 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 9th.
Winners will receive amazing prizes from our generous sponsors Knit Picks and Craftsy, gift certificates to the Mochimochi Shop, PLUS vintage knitting kits from Bonney Teti, owner of the world’s biggest yarn stash (and my awesome mother-in-law)!
This contest is open to knitters worldwide. To be eligible, your photo 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.
Note that we’re looking for humor, cuteness, and originality—not necessarily the most professional-looking photo. We want everyone to enter!
How to enter
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 2012 photo contest last year—with the exception of those entered in our springtime contest—are already entered in this year’s contest!
The last day to enter the contest is December 9th, 2013. We’ll announce the semi-finalists 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.
First place prize will include a $50 gift certificate to Knit Picks, a free Craftsy class, a $20 gift certificate to the Mochimochi Shop, and vintage knitting kits (similar to these ones) and yarn from Bonney Teti’s humongous yarn stash.
Second place prize will include a $10 gift certificate to Knit Picks, a 50% Craftsy discount, a $10 gift certificate to Mochimochi Land and kits and yarn from Bonney.
Third place prize will include a $10 gift certificate to Knit Picks, a 25% Craftsy discount, a $10 gift certificate to Mochimochi Land, and a kit and skein of yarn from Bonney.
Needles ready? Yarn set? GO!
DC and Philly, I’m headed your way next month for fun classes and book signings!
On Saturday, December 7th, I’ll be at Looped Yarn Works in Washington DC! Stop by from 11am to 12:30 to meet some huge and huggable mochis from my new book. Then in the afternoon I’ll go from huge knits to tiny ones, with a “Knit a Tiny Gnome” class from 1-4pm. It’s great for anyone who has used DPNs before but is new to knitting toys. You can get more details and sign up at the Looped website.
On Sunday, December 8th, I’ll be at Loop in Philadelphia! From 10am-1 is another tiny gnome knitting class—sign up by calling Loop at 215-893-9939. And from 2-5pm, another book signing where a bunch of the toys from Huge & Huggable Mochimochi will be there for you to squeeze.
These are two cities that the mochis have yet to visit before, so I can’t wait! Hope to see you locals there!