Inspiration from Winners Past

I hope many of you are planning to enter the 9th Annual Photo + Video Contest? You’ve got three and a half weeks! That’s plenty of time to make some mochis and get creative with them, but the season is only going to get busier, so the sooner the better I say. Plus, I’ve got a REALLY exciting new addition to our prizes, which I will be announcing soon—stay tuned for that…

To help get the inspiration flowing, let’s take a look back at some of the winners from our previous contests. You’ll see that there are endless ways to make some magic with knitted toys.

First, because our video category is still new, I wanted to share last year’s winner again: By a Thread by juleenbean.

Stop-motion animation is a favorite of mine, and it can be as simple as taking a series of photos and putting them together in a program like iMovie. But a video doesn’t have to mean animation—check out Suzy’s Advice Gnome for a great example of how to use live action in a creative way in a video.

Back to photos, one of my all-time favorite photo contest winners was Giant Squid Love by Jill Watt from our 2013 contest.

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I actually interviewed Jill and her sister Lorna earlier this year—they’re such fun and original yarn artists, so check that out to find out more about their large-scale collaborations.

We didn’t hold a photo series contest this year because we did the back page contest instead, but in previous years I asked you to tell a story using a series of photos, and we got the coolest entries! One of my favorites was Breaking Cat by Woollenwilderness. You need to check out the blog post with all the winners to see the whole series, but here’s one of my favorite scenes from the story.

No other option than to deal catnip

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And finally, I love to look back at the winners from our very first photo contest in 2007. First place went to Mochimochi Land Scene by jenifleur.

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This one still blows my mind!

So as you can see, we’ve had all sorts of styles and sensibilities represented in our contests. Aside from the prizes we have to entice you with from Knit Picks, Australian Homespun magazine, and more, I think the contests are a great opportunity to express yourself and challenge your imagination to do something with knitting beyond the ordinary.

Check out the guidelines for this year’s contest. And then be sure to enter!

Four Little Lions

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I now have four out of six little lions done, with about six more weeks of pregnancy to go. The end is in sight!

I’m either going to hang these on a circular mobile structure (like the one Joan used for the “Lighthearted Lovers” mobile or else use twigs wrapped in colorful yarn a la The Wooly Woods. Probably six lions is too many to hang from the mobile, but I like the balance of colors, and maybe baby will want one or two to play with anyway.

We may have a ton of practical things to buy and a whole house to move to before the big event, but at least the cute stuff is coming along nicely!

Tiny Gnomes Love Halloween

The gnomes put a lot of work into their Halloween costumes this year! Even though some of them got the holiday a little wrong, I thought they were all worth sharing.

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What are YOUR tiny gnomes going to be for Halloween this year?

Pumpkin Butts

Saturday’s tiny pumpkin knitting class at the Harold Washington Library was lots of fun, with a great group of knitters. And after just two hours we ended up with this adorable harvest!

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When I posted this photo on Facebook, my favorite comment was from Cindy here.

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Hence the title of this blog post.

This was actually my last scheduled event for 2015, and with the baby due at the end of the year, I have NOTHING yet scheduled for 2016. It’s a strange feeling, but maybe a little nice to think about a break (I have plenty of work to do behind the scenes of course, too), and I’m sure I’ll be back out in the world before too terribly long.

Back on the subject of tiny pumpkins, Halloween is just a few days away now, isn’t it?! It’s definitely not too late for spooky little knits, so here’s a handy list of links to Halloween mochi patterns:

Candy Corn (free!)
Tiny Pumpkin
Tiny Terrors (vampire, werewolf, mad scientist, and two-headed dude)
Tiny Zombie
Thwickeds
Gobbledyghost
Boo the Bat

Also, this morning I had the nice surprise of finding my tiny terrors at the top of this BuzzFeed roundup of spooky knitting patterns by Claire de Louraille.

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The list includes quite a few adorable things I hadn’t seen before (like those cool ghost hats!), so check it out for more ideas and patterns!

Announcing the 2015 Mochimochi Photo + Video Contest

UPDATE: Congratulations to the winners!

UPDATE: Announcing our Honorable Mentions!

UPDATE: We’ve added exciting prizes from Franklin Habit and world’s largest yarn stash owner Bonney Teti!

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Get your needles ready and your cameras charged: It’s now officially time to enter the 9th Annual Mochimochi Photo Contest!

Once again, we’re looking for the cutest, funniest, most interesting photos and videos of Mochimochi Land toys. There are two easy ways to enter: For photos, upload your images to the Mochimochi Friends group on Flickr by Tuesday, December 1st. For videos, post your entry to a publicly viewable website (like YouTube or Vimeo) and email us a link at info@mochimochiland.com by December 1st.

Winners will receive awesome prizes from our generous sponsors Knit Picks and Australian Homespun, gift certificates to the Mochimochi Shop, and more!

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 by Anna Hrachovec, 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 OK, 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 may take 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.)

All photos uploaded since the December 1st deadline of the 2014 photo contest last year—with the exception of those entered in our summer “Back Page 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@mochimochiland.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 anywhere from 30 seconds to around 3 minutes long. You can enter as many videos as you like, within reason.

Deadline

The last day to enter the contest is December 1st, 2015. 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 December.

Like last year, the video entries will be judged by us instead of popular vote, but we’ll be sharing many of our favorite entries after the contest is over for everyone to enjoy.

Prizes!

The first place photo prize will include a $50 gift certificate to Knit Picks, a 12-month print subscription to Australian Homespun magazine, a $20 gift certificate to the Mochimochi Shop, and more surprise goodies.

Second place photo prize will include a $10 gift certificate to Knit Picks, a 12-month print subscription to Australian Homespun, a $10 gift certificate to Mochimochi Land, and more surprises.

Third place photo prize will include a $10 gift certificate to Knit Picks, a $10 gift certificate to Mochimochi Land, and more.

The winner of the video category will receive a 12-month print subscription to Australian Homespun magazine and this fun Giant Toys Kit from Knit Picks.

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Thank you to Knit Picks and Australian Homespun for these generous prizes!

Needles ready? Cameras set? GO!

2015 Boo Harvest

It’s time once again to collect some of the best Boos added to Ravelry in the past year. These cuties were made from my pattern for Boo the Bat, which I originally released way back in 2008 and continues to be one of my most popular patterns.

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As of this posting, 1,060 Boos have been added Ravelry! I have to assume that’s just a fraction of the little knitted bats out in the world, which completely blows my mind. And people are adding new ones all the time—check them all out on the project page, and please add your own if you’ve made one!

You can find the the pattern in the Mochimochi Shop and also on Ravelry.

Top row (from left to right):
lazydayartifacts’ Boo the Bat, BreiKonijn’s Boo the Bat 4, okate’s 2014 Ornament Swap, Kristysnowedin’s 2,Bats

Middle row:
gizmonic’s Boo the Bat, wojostitches’ Bats!, mimulus’ Baby boo, knittergoddss’ Boo the Bat

Bottom row:
ljsheppard’s Boo, Azashenya’s CCW 9, Triestina’s Boo Bat, Aelys’ Boo the Bat

Two Little Lions

Personal project time!

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I now have two little lions done for our little lion on the way. I wanted to make them out of acrylic yarn so they’ll be extra baby proof, and I was also eager to get started, so I’m using colors that I had on hand (a Bernat yarn, I think) that also happen to work great for lions.

I’m planning to make six total, each with a different type of mane. With two down and about 10 weeks to go before baby, I think I’ll achieve my goal with time to spare! (Sometimes it’s nice not to be too ambitious—don’t ask me about baby sweaters!)

I was thinking about it last night, and this is actually the first personal knitting I’ve done in a long time, maybe in a couple of years. It’s so nice to feel motivated to knit something in my extracurricularly. I guess babies make people do strange things…

New Tiny Terrors Patterns are Here!

Just in time for Halloween, some creepy new creatures have crept into Mochimochi Land…

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Tiny Terrors are an itty-bitty vampire, werewolf, mad scientist, and two-headed dude who are out to make you scream! (Or at least squee!)

Like all of my tiny patterns, these guys can be knit up with very little yarn and with plenty of time left over for you to finish your Halloween costume. Perfect for a spooky diorama, a ghoulish garland, or surprises for your favorite trick-or-treaters.

Techniques include knitting in the round on double-pointed needles, I-cord, and a little stranded colorwork. Fingering-weight yarn and size 1 DPNs are recommended, but you can use any weight of yarn and appropriately sized needles. (Scrap yarn works great!)

The downloadable pattern collection is available for $6 from the Mochimochi Shop OR from the Mochimochi Land Ravelry store.

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As you can see, I got to buy lots of my favorite Halloween candies for the photo shoots for these guys. Here’s a behind-the-scenes shot of the main image.

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(Yes, I have since eaten each and every one of those pumpkins and the candy corn above.)

As often happens during the testing stage of my patterns, I got to see some fun color variations that I hadn’t thought of. Amanda’s bunch included a mad scientist with some shockingly bright hair…

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Which led me to make some of my own variations, including a tiny vampiress and a three-headed dude.

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Instructions for tiny three heads are now included in the pattern, by the way.

Thanks to Amanda, and also Shama, Yvonne, and Marilyn!

I can’t wait to see what these designs become in the hands of the rest of you…