Playing with Clay

Last year I blogged about trying wheel pottery for the first time in a class I was taking at the Lillstreet Arts Center in Chicago. It was very eye-opening to be a beginner at something again! I’ve got a small collection of ugly vessels around my apartment now, which have proved to be great for yogurt and also cat food (for the cats, not for me.)


I’ve since moved on the handbuilding, which is definitely more my speed. After a day of typing and knitting, it feels so nice to get my hands into some clay and just push things around! I attempted a few slab cups and coil bowls early on, but I guess you can’t keep me from making creatures for too long, because when I started giving things eyes the ideas came much more quickly.



This time I’m working with porcelain, not because I’m hoping to create anything fine, but because I figured it gave me the most options for surfaces, like starting with a blank canvas. But I still haven’t figured out what I like in terms of surfaces, so that’s why none of these guys are finished yet.


I’m thinking these last guys could be nice all in white, and then making some out of different colors of clay to add to the mix could be neat too…

So I’m still really trying to figure out what I’m doing, but sometimes that’s a good feeling. If I ever get around to finishing something, I’ll share it here.

So that’s what I’m getting up to lately when I’m not knitting!

Reminder: Back Page Contest Deadline is August 31


These friendly Ann Arbor elephants by maymansara are here to remind you the entries to the Back Page Contest are due next Monday, August 31st. That’s plenty of time to put together a fun photo using the back page landscape in Adventures in Mochimochi Land. (And if you can’t get a copy of the book in time, you can download and print it out and use free patterns from the book for your entry!)

The winner will get a sweet collection of books from Potter Craft and Potter Style, including the awesome Adventure Time Crafts, which I reviewed earlier this year.


And just between you and me, we haven’t had many entries so far, so your chances are great if you enter this week! See full contest details.

We’re Returning to VK LIVE Chicago

Vogue Knitting LIVE is coming up again in Chicago, and Mochimochi Land will be there once again!


This time you’ll be able to visit Mochimochi Land itself in classic landscape form. Different every time it unfurls, it will be updated with new characters getting up to all kinds of mochi mischief. And if you have a tiny mochi that you’d like to contribute to live forever in Mochimochi Land, you’re welcome to do so!

You’ll be able to find it all weekend in the art gallery of the marketplace, where I’ll also be with books and kits (which will include secret new designs, all at a special event price).

Plus! There will be another tiny mochi scavenger hunt in the marketplace on Sunday, this time for…


Tiny hotdogs! Because Chicago hearts hotdogs hard. Finding a tiny hotdog will win you either a copy of my new book or one of these tiny kits.


Plus! I’ll be giving a lecture on Sunday at 10:30am on the basics of toy knitting and designing. There is a fee to attend, or it also comes free with one of the packages available—check out the VK LIVE website for more info. (Early Bird pricing is still available as of now!)

Back Page Download from Adventures in Mochimochi Land

A little update about the back page contest we’ve got going—it occurred to me that even though Adventures in Mochimochi Land is available from lots of places online plus (I hope!) many libraries, it’s possible that some people might have trouble getting their hands on a copy of the book in time to enter the contest. I want everyone everywhere to be able to participate, so I’ve uploaded a printable version of the back page—just click that highlighted text (or the image below) to download.


As for patterns, you are welcome to use the free bonus patterns from the book that I’ve shared here on the blog: Chocolate Chip Cookies, Tiny Nosey Fish, Sand Pennies, and Carnie Zebra. You can combine these with other free patterns here on the blog (find a list of them in the sidebar) to make all kinds of scenes against the backdrop!

The deadline for entries is August 31st—see full contest details.

Tiny Dolphin Class at String Theory September 26

Learn tiny toy knitting techniques and knit a tiny dolphin in my upcoming class at String Theory in Glen Ellyn, IL!


This is a project class in which everyone will finish (or nearly finish) a tiny dolphin from Adventures in Mochimochi Land to take home. We’ll cover techniques as we go, from joining two pieces into a round to wrap & turn to picking up stitches and simple embroidery. Experience with double-pointed needles is required.

Visit the String Theory website for more information and to sign up!

I’ll also be doing a book signing before the class at The Bookstore in Glen Ellyn on September 26th. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter to get updates about that.

August 19th Signing at The Book Cellar

I’ve got another book signing coming up next week—this time at a real live local bookstore!


The Book Cellar in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood was nice enough to invite me for this month’s Local Author night. I’m a very local author, actually, since this is my neighborhood bookstore. I plan to show some animations and also put together a small Mochimochi landscape, since it’s always so much fun to show it in person.


There will be copies of my new book, Adventures in Mochimochi Land, on hand too of course.

This all starts at 7pm at The Book Cellar, 4736-38 N Lincoln Ave in Chicago. I hope to see some of my neighbors there!

Announcing an Adventurous Back Page Photo Contest!

UPDATE: Congratulations to our winner, Tara!

UPDATE: If you don’t have access to a copy of the book right now, you can download the back page image to print out, and use one or more of the free bonus patterns that I’ve posted: Chocolate Chip Cookies, Tiny Nosey Fish, Sand Pennies, and Carnie Zebra.

If you’ve flipped through a copy of Adventures in Mochimochi Land, you may have wondered, What’s up with that back page?


It’s a mochimochi backdrop you can use to photograph your own mochi adventures. And we’re holding a summertime photo contest to see what you come up with!



The contest is open to knitters worldwide. To be eligible, your photo must include at least one knitted toy made from a pattern in Adventures in Mochimochi Land, and also must include the back page from the book. The page can be altered, but not beyond recognition. (You can cut it or fold it, but we suggest using a photocopy if you’re doing something like that!)

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

How to enter

To enter, add your photo(s) to the Mochimochi Friends group on Flickr. (If you don’t have a Flickr account, they’re free and easy to set up—we just suggest not waiting until the last minute to get an account.)

We ask that you limit your entries to no more than three (and those three can be a series if you like).


The deadline is August 31st, 2015.


After the deadline, John and I will review all of the submissions and choose our favorite. The winner will get these five cool books from Potter Craft and Potter Style!


Knitting Without Needles by Ann Weil, Sew Many Dresses, Sew Little Time by Tanya Whelan, The World Needs More Love Letters by Hannah Brencher, Adventure Time Crafts by Chelsea Bloxsom, and Novel Interiors by Lisa Borgnes

Let the back page adventures begin!

New Colorful Tiny Woodland Buttons

I’ve updated the 1″ tiny woodland pin-back buttons in fun colors! The new look strikes me as very Wes Anderson for some reason, which was a happy surprise when the shipment arrived in the mail.


They’re $5 for a 4-pack in the shop.

And speaking of buttons, I’ve been randomly including a rare naked gnome button free with some of the physical orders I’m shipping out. (Other physical orders are receiving the traditional clothed gnome button.)


I’ve got about 80 left, and I’ll keep sending them out while supplies last!