Tiny Mochis Now Available at Rotofugi

I’m so excited to announce that a selection of tiny mochis hand-knitted by yours truly are now available at Rotofugi, the designer toy store and gallery in Chicago!

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Rotofugi features toys and artwork by many of my favorite artists (like Mr. Clement, Shawnimals, and Heidi Kenney, to name a few), so it’s a big honor to have a small place among them. When I returned on Friday after dropping them off on Wednesday, I was psyched to find my tiny gnomes, vikings, owls, and pandas right next to Chris Uphues’s awesome heart figurines.

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It’s never been my aim to produce tons of mochis for sale, but instead I like to have a small selection available at venues that I’m personally excited about, and Rotofugi is one of those. But if you live far from Chicago, you can also find some hand-knit mochis in my shop, which I’ve just updated with more designs!

Speaking of Wicked Things

I love this wickedly modified TV Guy, which Bonney spotted in the current issue of Let’s Knit magazine!

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The original pattern can be found in in Knitting Mochimochi.

Something Thwicked This Way Comes…

Remember how I was gearing up to design a very hairy Halloween creature back in August?

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It’s ready. It’s coming. Check back next week!

Super-Scary Mochimochi is Half Off this Month

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Good news for anyone who needs to knit up lots of beasties this month: Super-Scary Mochimochi is an entire HALF OFF the original price in the Mochimochi Shop! The book contains more than 20 patterns for old-school ghouls, creepy crawlies, and some bizarre new species, including the most terrifying of appliances gone awry, Toaster Ghost.

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The sale ends October 31st. Oh, and all of these books are signed by me!

Ten Tiny Pumpkins

Sometimes it’s fun to just settle in with some good podcasts and knit ten tiny pumpkins.

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These dudes are destined to be hunted at Vogue Knitting LIVE in Chicago next month! They’ll be hidden around the marketplace on Sunday, October 26th, and everyone who finds one will win a free copy of Huge & Huggable Mochimochi!

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Registration is open for VK LIVE, and I believe there are also still spots open in the classes I’m teaching there.

Want to knit tiny pumpkins of your own? The pattern is available as part of the Tiny Fall collection!

The Making of Pass the Apple

Last week I posted an animated GIF of the woodland mochis having fun with an apple in the woods. If you’ve followed Mochimochi Land for a while, you know that I’ve been making these little stop-motion animations for a few years, but this particular project was a little different, because I had help from a real live animator!

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This is Maureen. She’s been helping out Mochimochi Land in a several ways over the past couple of months, but to be honest, most of those ways are a vast underuse her talents. (There’s just SO MUCH YARN that always needs winding for kits!) Maureen is finishing up a degree in animation at the Illinois Institute of Art, so it’s been at the back of my mind for us to work on something together. Last Thursday I mentioned to her that I was thinking about making some kind of animation with my newest mochis, and four hours later we had one! Here it is again:

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Having three different characters moving in different directions and at different paces at the same time is a real challenge in stop-motion animation—just keeping track of where everybody is going in each shot is tough, so if I’d been on my own, I probably would have way simplified the action involved in Pass the Apple. But since there were two of us, I could move the fox and owl and Maureen could move the hedgehog and also keep track of what needed to happen in each shot overall.

Several people have asked how we got the owl to fly. No fancy camera tricks—just a toothpick in the back!

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(We switched it out with some long, skinny DPNs when the owl needed to be farther away from the backdrop.)

Maureen has all the slick animation software skills, but since we were working with a tight deadline, I put the shots together in Photoshop like I usually do.

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It turns out it takes 47 frames to pass an apple.

An unexpected issue was the constantly changing light—we were using artificial lights as I always do, but as we were shooting it suddenly turned into a partly-cloudy, partly-sunny day, and every time the sun came out it blasted through our makeshift blackout poster boards…

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So I made some adjustments in Photoshop, and then we decided that the flickeriness is just kind of charming. Lesson learned: next time, pick a more solidly overcast day, shoot at night, or get some actual blackout curtains!

I had a blast working with Maureen on this, and I hope we do more together before she’s snatched up by a production company! See her own work at boyleanimation.com.

NYC Gnomes

I got to return to NYC over the weekend! It’s been a bit less than a year since John and I moved from there to Chicago, and we couldn’t have picked a better early fall weekend for a visit.

On Monday I found myself with four spare gnomes and a few spare hours in the city, so I decided to revisit four places that are meaningful to me and set a gnome free at each spot. I may no longer live there, but there’s no reason why a few of my gnomes can’t be New Yorkers!

Gnome #1 started his NYC adventure in Columbus Circle, which was my main hub when we lived in midtown Manhattan.

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Gnome #2 got was set free on the High Line, which to me represents everything cool and beautiful and ambitious about NYC.

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(It also happened to be the second day that the newest portion of this park in the sky was open to the public—it’s really something to experience!)

Gnome #3 was content to be left hanging out at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, which I visited almost every day during the four years that I lived next to it.

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And finally, Gnome #4 found a new home on Elizabeth Street in Manhattan, where I got my first job out of college.

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I liked the idea of leaving these guys around the city for anyone to stumble upon and take home. I didn’t attach any kind of tags to the gnomes—I wanted the people who found them to just enjoy the discovery and the mystery. (I did share each of these photos on Instagram and Twitter in real time as I left each gnome behind.) This gnome release was partly inspired by the Tiny Bunnies Movement, which I’m happy to see is still active on Ravelry!

When I mapped it out, I see that the gnomes and I covered some pretty good ground in eight hours!

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A part of me will probably always miss living in NYC, but it’s neat to think that the city and I will continue to have a connection via my little bearded ambassadors of Mochimochi Land.

Have YOU ever purposefully left a mochi behind somewhere for someone to find?

Pass the Apple

Update: See how this animation was made in this “making of” post!

Tiny hedgehog’s got a date! His plan is to impress his lady hedgehog with this delicious apple he found. Tiny hedgehog is going to be late for his date.

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Thanks to Maureen for the help with this one!