Being a Busy Bee

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The above is an indication of why things have been quiet here this week. I’ve been busy with a secret project! If all goes well, we’ll get to see the results by the end of the year. Hopefully I’ll find my desk by the end of the year too.

Regular posting should resume tomorrow!

Video: Costume Contest Winner

Things got a bit wilder than expected at the Mochimochi Halloween party this year…

Made with help from Maureen Boyle!

VK LIVE Chicago Wrap Up: Gnomes, Twigs, and Tiny Pumpkins

This past weekend was Vogue Knitting LIVE in Chicago—my eighth VK LIVE! It was a busy four days of teaching, chatting with knitters (lots of new people and familiar faces too!), doing sales in the marketplace, and transporting delicate twigs back and forth across the city.

As usual, I was too busy to remember to take enough photos, but here are a few highlights.

My tiny knitting class Thursday night all showed up in similar outfits, so we just had to take a class photo.

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One of my students showed up drunk, so he had to leave early.

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But seriously, it was a great group of knitters, and we had a blast knitting tiny gnomes and making weird gnome jokes throughout!

My Friday morning toy design class was so much fun too. Everyone took a turn sketching out their toy, and we all talked about how the design could be executed using various techniques. The toy concepts ranged from a cat pillow to a knitted Audrey II! The classroom wall was full of exciting ideas by the end.

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Friday night and for the rest of the weekend, I could be found hanging out with my artwork in the marketplace. Here’s how we ended up displaying the twig sculptures.

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My table (which I forgot to take a picture of, of course) was right next to this, so I got a kick out of hearing the attendees’ reactions to my twigs and their inhabitants—there were lots of squeals of “cute!,” and every once in a while someone would react with shock to the twiggin who’s getting eaten on my new piece.

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(I’ll show more photos of the biggest twig soon for those who didn’t see it in person!)

There were so many cool things to see in the marketplace (including lots of other amazing fiber art), but one highlight that I actually photographed was getting my portrait illustrated by Jana Kinsman!

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Jana was right across the room for me, doing everyone’s portrait for free! I love the concept of her Doodle Booth, and I love that the VK LIVE people thought to bring her in.

And lastly, the Great Tiny Pumpkin Hunt on Sunday was a success! Nine out of ten tiny pumpkins were found within the first two hours, and the last one came in at the end of the day, brought by the vendor whose booth it was at. Apparently people had been walking by the little pumpkin all day and just not seeing it! I tried to get every pumpkin finder’s picture, but somehow ended up with just seven.

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They all seemed pretty happy to keep their pumpkins and get a copy of Huge & Huggable Mochimochi.

Oh, and maybe 50 people told me that they saw the interview in the Tribune! And several even said that it was the way they found out about VK LIVE! That was awesome to hear.

Thank you to the VK LIVE team and all the knitters who came out for an excellent weekend of fun and inspiration!

2014 Boo Harvest

UPDATE: We just hit 1,000 Boos on Ravelry!

It’s become a sort of tradition here this time of year to compile the best of the Boos (made from my pattern for Boo the Bat) that have appeared on Ravelry in the past 12 months. Here are some of my favorites from the project page!

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I originally designed Boo all the way back in 2008, and it continues to be my most popular pattern to this day. As of this posting, there are 998 Boos posted to Ravelry—just two away from 1,000! I think there’s just something about a little bat all wrapped up in his wings that’s irresistible, and it’s also a pattern that allows for plenty of personalization, as you can see!

Halloween is approaching fast, but you only need a few hours to make a Boo! Find the pattern in the Mochimochi Shop.

Top row (from left to right):
MarleenS’s Vleermuisje, laulaula’s Boo the W, roblingt’s Trevor, LiddyLee’s Boo the Bat, bioniclaura’s Bats About You

Middle row:
SlpBeauty’s I Didn’t Know They Did it All with Rubber Bands!, Prana451′s Batty!, tinypurrs’ Pink Moon Bat, blueangelfish83′s Bat mobile, angrymeerkat’s Halloween wreath

Bottom row:
ClarkMelissa’s Boo the Bat, Julia123′s Boo-tiful Sparkles, SlpBeauty’s Boo!, ginskye’s Bat 1 and Bat 2, kerroknits’ Boo the Bat

Photo Inspiration: 2013 Winners

Excited about our photo contest announcement but not sure where to start? Let’s get inspired by the winners of last year’s contest!

Last year our Judges’ Choice award went to Snowman Friends by Emily.

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See, it doesn’t take a fancy set or exotic location to take a great photo of your mochis! I think this photo really works for its simple concept that was executed with care.

Our other winners were chosen by popular vote—it’s easy to see why they were big crowd pleasers! In third place we had Best Beard Contest by The Happy Cupcake.

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This photo is made by its delightfully silly premise, and the sight of gnomes knitting their own beards. The gnomes are so colorful against the more neutral background that I didn’t even notice the rocks propping them up at first!

In second place was Bird Conga by Bonnie.

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This photo is all about color and composition. The shallow focus also lends an artful effect. There’s no denying that multiple tiny mochis are very photogenic!

And finally, our top winner was Giant Squid Love by Jill Watt!

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Of course, it’s easy to see why Jill’s photo won everyone over. What a striking work of art! It’s also a very unexpected use of a toy, and a really big toy at that. The colors are also fantastic and really pop against the everyday background.

I love how each of these photos is doing something totally different artistically, and they’re all really effective in the things we care about: cuteness and cleverness! So whether you photograph one mochi with a prop or two, or whether you construct an entire elaborate set and knit a cast of characters, you can make an eye-catching image. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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. The length of your video can be really short (just a few seconds) or up to around 5 minutes long. You can enter as many videos as you like, within reason.

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.