The Gnomes Get a Garden

Now that spring is in full swing, I’m getting to garden for the first time in my life in our new backyard. A few weeks back I planted some zinnia seeds that my mom sent me, and it looks like they’re finally coming up!

garden1

Of course, the gnomes didn’t hesitate to take over and claim this as their own work.

It occurs to me that gardening might be a bit like knitting, in that you can make it as simple or as complicated as you want, and it’s a rewarding pastime either way. I’m starting simple with these seeds, plus basil, tomato, and pepper plants that I just put in yesterday. I can’t wait to see what it all looks like in another month or two!

Gardeners: maybe I

Petit Lapin Love

If you’re a regular reader, you know I’ve been working on a new book (look for it in 2015!). I turned in the manuscript on Monday, and as much as I enjoy writing books, it felt like the last day of school. Freedom!

I celebrated by visiting Rotofugi, a designer toy store and gallery here in Chicago, where I was excited to find an exhibition of works by mr clement, one of my favorite artists and vinyl toy designers.

lapin1

mr clement is most well known for his rabbit character Petit Lapin, who appears in most of the pieces in the show. Lapin’s simple design makes him easy to fall in love with, but what I most love is the way his minimalism cuts both ways—it hides a darker side that peeks through in many of mr clement’s paintings and sculptures.

lapin2

Many of the paintings were sold, but I was really tempted by those that hadn’t. The show is up through June 14th, so I guess there’s still time!

lapin3

lapin4

lapin5

I also had the pleasure of hearing mr clement speak at last year’s Pictoplasma Festival in Berlin. It was fascinating how much the artist resembled his character in his modesty and shyness. Check out the show if you’re in Chicago! (You can also see all the pieces from the show on the Rotofugi website.)

Winners of the 2014 Mochimochi Photo Series Contest

Exciting day! It’s time to announce the winners of our 2014 Mochimochi Photo Series Contest!

photoseries14_announce2

First, I want to again thank everyone who participated in the contest. We were really impressed by the funny, sometimes touching, and all very creative stories that you put together with your mochis!

And a big thank-you goes to our contest sponsor, Happy Go Lucky, for beautiful prizes of mini skeinbows! If you haven’t yet, please check out the Happy Go Lucky shop, and also the interview I did with Julie Lindsey, the awesome lady behind the yarn.

And now for the top three winners, as selected by John and myself. (It’s a hard job, but at least there were no tears this time.)

See the winning entries after the jump!

More >

What I’m Knitting To: RuPaul’s Drag Race

It’s summer, it’s Friday, no one with any sense is on the internet, so I’m going to talk about RuPaul!

rupaul

I started watching (and knitting to) RuPaul’s Drag Race a few years ago after a friend recommended it to me. It took me about three episodes to get hooked, and my love for the show and its creator have only grown stronger as the seasons have continued. (Season six just ended, and the show has been renewed for season seven.) I’m convinced it’s the perfect reality show: drag is all about artifice and drama, after all, so Drag Race is non-guilty pleasure to watch, a joyous winking celebration of show business in its high and low forms.

And RuPaul is a guru under all that glamour—one of his great sayings is “we’re all born naked, and the rest is drag,” meaning that whoever you are, what you project to the world is something constructed by yourself and your culture, so no one can really claim that their style, lifestyle, or gender is more authentic than anyone else’s.

RuPaul is everywhere these days, from NPR to the New York Times to Marc Maron’s podcast, and he now has his own podcast in which he gossips with Michelle Visage, his best lady friend. Amidst the talk about wigs and juicing and other things I can’t relate to at all is a lot of wisdom about being true to yourself and aspiring to create something original and meaningful.

rupaul2

I don’t generally get too excited about celebrities or even dresses and high heels, but I find myself making an exception for RuPaul and the other talented drag queens that have been on Drag Race. Some full episodes from the latest season are on the Logo website, and you can also purchase (gloriously un-bleeped) episodes via Apple TV.

And now I would love to turn the question to any of you who happen to be on the internet this Friday: What shows, podcasts, audiobooks, etc are you knitting to these days?

Thank You for Your Photo Series!

Thanks to all of you who entered our 2014 Photo Series Contest! Soon we’ll announce who wins this rainbow of yarn from our sponsor Happy Go Lucky.

happygolucky1

Stay tuned for the results!

Soupy and Nipsey’s Outdoor Adventure

Over the past few days we finally experienced what felt like our first absolutely perfect weekend in our new Chicago home. We celebrated by taking Soupy and Nipsey outside for the very first time.

Being sheltered indoor cats, Soupy and Nipsey’s only prior experience with the great outdoors has always been through an open window, or occasionally through the door of a cat carrier as they were taken to the vet. But now we have a backyard for them to play in, so we got a cat tent!

The outdoor adventure got off to a slow start as both cats preferred to say in their carriers for a while.

outdooradventure1

Then they got brave!

outdooradventure2

Nipsey turned out to be the bravest, spending 15 minutes out of his carrier cautiously stepping around the tent and sniffing the air constantly before ducking back in, then coming out for another 15 minutes or so. He did this a few times.

outdooradventure3

John and I made lots of encouraging noises and gave pep talks, while trying not to be pushy cat parents.

outdooradventure4

Soupy also made it out once or twice, but he generally preferred the familiar comfort of the carrier.

They spent an hour or so in the tent before we decided it was time to go back inside. I can’t wait to try this again and see how it goes. I wonder if any of you out there have taken your indoor cats out in a similar way?

These exciting cat adventure photos also remind me that today is the last day for entries in our 2014 Photo Series Contest! So don’t forget to add your series to our Flickr group by midnight tonight for them to be eligible. We’ll be announcing the winners soon!

Winners of Super-Scary Mochimochi in Korean

It’s time to pick two people to win copies of the Korean edition of Super-Scary Mochimochi! 11 of you who speak Korean or know someone who does left comments on my post from last week for the giveaway. (I’m not counting my dad, who commented to say that I’m going to need more books, or the other person who commented to say that my dad is amusing.)

ssmmkorea4

And our two randomly-selected winners are…

commenter number 5, Salleigh:

I did independent study of Korean while at university, and also attended the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, CA, to study Korean. I was stationed in Korea off and on for 7 years as well. I would love a copy of your book so I can learn Korean knitting terminology :)

and commenter number 3, Maria:

My Korean friend would love a book like this and I’m sure her kids would love to have a few super scary mochis.

Congrats, winners! I’ll be emailing you two soon for your addresses.

And if any of you happen to be in Korea and spot this book in the wild (at a bookstore or library), please snap a photo and send it to me! In fact, that goes for any foreign-language edition of any of my books. With each one, the mochis are getting a little bit closer to world domination!

Gnome Team Selfie

These selfie-taking gnomes want to remind you that Tuesday is the last day to enter our photo series contest!

gnometeamselfie

I made this little sculpture earlier this year for the 10th anniversary Pictoplasma Festival, a week of events celebrating character art in Berlin that happened last month. I didn’t make it in person this year, but my gnomes were part of their character portrait gallery that will be traveling to other cities next.

The sculpture is meant to be seen from all sides, so I made this GIF before sending it off to Berlin.

gnometeamselfie

Happy Memorial Day weekend! I hope some of you plan to spend a little bit of it taking photos of your mochis!