Hearts for Play Africa

My friend Kristen (owner of the awesome plush/vinyl toy store Schmancy in Seattle) has started a multicraftual effort to support a new children’s museum that’s being planned for Johannesburg, South Africa. Read on to find out how you can help!

hearts_playafrica

Here is Kristen’s call to knitters, crocheters, and sewers:

My friend Gretchen is currently in the works to build the very first children’s museum in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is not only the first children’s museum in S. Africa but the first in Africa. The museum is to open on June 16th, 2016, 40 years after numerous children were brutally killed after protesting against the Afrikaans Medium Decree of 1974. It’s an absolutely amazing project and I am so proud of her. Not long ago she was filmed in my apartment for a documentary about this undertaking. So much of her conversation was so inspiring, while also heartbreaking and sad. She described one woman having a hard time balancing life as a single mother saying she “just wanted more time for love”.
Seeing as South Africa prides itself on being a Rainbow Nation, an idea came to me while she was talking. I thought how amazing would it be if I could get people from around the globe to mail her hearts. 3″- 4″ hearts, in all the colors of the rainbow, that could be hung from the ceiling of the museum in garlands. After the installation they could be sold in the gift store to help raise money for the museum OR be given to the children that visit.

If you’d like to knit up some hearts for this cause, my free pattern for hearts would be great for this—just use a bulky yarn to get the larger size that is requested.

Visit Kristen’s original blog post for the details on sending your hearts, plus additional patterns for crocheted and sewn hearts.

Play is a really important concept to me, so I love this opportunity to contribute and help make Play Africa a success!

Soupy in a Mustache

It’s finally happened: Soupy has given in to the facial hair trend.

soupy_mustache

I especially love this photo because Soupy’s whiskers are also prominently sticking out, giving him the effect of a double mustache. How dapper!

The anthropomorphic mustache is from the Chicago-based plush company Shawnimals.

Tiny Chicken Knitting at Sifu

No, we didn’t teach tiny chickens how to knit (although I would love to see someone try!). Yesterday a nice group joined me for a class on knitting tiny chickens at Chicago’s Sifu Design Studio. Here are the fowl results!

sifu_chickens2

It turns out that chickens can be cute in any color—even purple! It was also interesting to me to revisit this pattern, which I designed back in 2010, and which I hadn’t knitted myself since 2011, when Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi was published.

Prior to the class was a casual trunk show/ book signing during Sifu’s Sunday brunch get-together. It was a nice way to wrap up the Chicago Yarn Crawl.

sifu_chickens1

Thank you to Sifu and to everyone who came! Everybody else can get the tiny chicken pattern here.

New Favorite Podcast: Mom on Pop

As I’ve mentioned off and on here, I listen to lots of podcasts while I’m knitting—I’ve found it’s the perfect way to be entertained and keep my eyes on tiny stitches at the same time. (They’re also great to listen to while cooking, cleaning, power walking… anything that doesn’t require too much thinking.) And today I’m especially excited to spread the word about my newest favorite podcast, because it’s made by two of my favorite people, my husband, John, and my mother-in-law, Bonney!

momonpop

Mom on Pop is the title of the podcast, and it’s produced by The A.V. Club, the arts & entertainment website where John works. On it John and Bonney chat about anything pop culture-related that they’re currently into, like iPhone games, TV shows, and stuff they found on Netflix. The cheeky title is perfect for their mother-and-son banter, and I can attest that it’s just like listening in on one of their everyday conversations, which are highly amusing to me, and I think almost as amusing to those who don’t know them personally.

If you’ve been a longtime reader of this blog, you already know Bonney as the owner of the world’s biggest yarn stash.

bonney_stashshot1

She’s still unchallenged in the title!

There’s not much yarn talk on the podcast, but they do occasionally mention me in passing, which is cool and weird.

You can subscribe to Mom on Pop via iTunes or find it on the A.V. Club website.

Our Squee-Worthy Summer Sale is back!

summerofsquee14

Through August 31st, all mochi-making goodies in the Mochimochi Shop are on sale: Books are 15% off, and all kits and PDF patterns are 20% off. Just enter the code SUMMEROFSQUEE in your cart before checking out.

This is our last big sale of the year, so take advantage of the deals and end your summer with a squee!

The Bulletin Board

As of Friday, I’m the proud owner of a new bulletin board!

bulletin

This is actually my first-ever bulletin board. I was getting tired of all the loose papers and other small things that I’m constantly shifting around on my desk (for like the past six years), and recently it dawned on me that I could mount all of this flotsam vertically on the wall. Obviously that hasn’t happened in full yet, but I’m mighty pleased with my progress. I have the notion that people with bulletin boards get stuff done and are never far from new inspiration, so there are a lot of high hopes contained in this piece of cork and wood.

Also, I’m not so experienced with drilling holes into walls, so getting this baby up was an exercise in using power tools. It turns out that drilling through drywall makes me feel like a real can-do lady.

We have tons more stuff that we still need to put on our walls—it’s been 9 months since we moved, so it seems like about time to get on that—but at least this is a start!

Pogo’s Alice

I was listening to the podcast Sideshow (made by Sean Rameswaram of Studio 360) on my run/walk this morning, and the topic was the artist Pogo, who makes remixes using clips from animations and TV shows. I found the clip they played of his “Alice” remix to be totally mesmerizing, so even though it’s nearly five years old, I wanted to share it for a little Monday inspiration/chill-out.

This is the first time I’ve been really captivated by something featured on Sideshow, but it’s still a pretty new podcast, so maybe it’s still coming into its own. For now, I’m a much bigger fan of TLDR, another internet-themed podcast that came out of WNYC’s On The Media. I do love this trend of public radio podcast spinoffs!

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.

peace

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.