Sweet Sweet Roving

On Sunday I did something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: buy lovely cotton candy clouds of wool roving!

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I got these at from Esther’s Place at YarnCon, the Chicago indie yarn gathering that I didn’t even know existed until a couple of weeks ago.

Honestly, I’m always so tempted by the roving when I go to yarn shows that it was probably just a matter of time before I bought some for no reason, but happily I have a reason—a tiny bit of needle felting that I’m incorporating into a little project (that has to remain a bit mysterious for now).

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I’ve only tried needle felting once before, when I took a workshop with Moxie a few years back. It’s a craft that I admire more than I practice, but I do have to say that I love the portability of it, and stabbing things over and over again with a needle is one of the best stress relievers I’ve experienced.

I would love to find ways to incorporate more roving into my life. Maybe there should be a roving fight at the next TNNA—like a pillow fight, but with big colorful clouds of fluffy wool flying everywhere. Who’s in?

The Internet and How it Works!

I just spent more than 24 hours without the internet because a couple of things got unhooked somewhere by accident. It was crazy! It was like having the power go out or breaking an arm—so many tasks had to be re-learned. Anyway, I only mention it because in the middle of this crisis, we got a very timely package from my mother-in-law.

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It was an empty cereal box. Store brand Grape Nuts. But check out the back!

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It’s as if someone at Hannaford’s generic cereal division decided that people who eat generic Grape Nuts would like to be transported to the year 1996 as they’re eating breakfast, and then at least one other person approved of that idea and made it happen. It’s visually stunning, and the text is perfectly odd too. Here’s a closer look:

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It strikes me as especially weird because, even if this is meant for the few elderly people who still haven’t acquainted themselves with the internet, I’m thinking the information provided wouldn’t be particularly helpful to them. Except maybe for the emoticons key.

I honestly thought this was an ancient cereal box that Bonney unearthed in her pantry or craft room, but no! This box’s contents weren’t supposed to expire until December 2nd of this year.

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My new theory is that Hannaford outsources its cereal box content to someplace bizarre… but where? I really would like someone (who has more spare time than I) to get to the bottom of this.

By the way, we’re now back online and everything is going to be OK. Everyone hug your internet extra tight tonight!

The Mark Hrachovec Yarn Winder 2.0

As you may recall if you’re a regular reader, last year my dad custom made for me a life-changing yarn winding contraption for my kits. Over the holidays I casually mentioned to him that it would be nice to have a backup, and three months later yarn winder 2.0 arrived on my doorstep!

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Like the original, this one works like a charm, but it’s more compact and has little rubber thingies on the bottom so it won’t damage a table. Isn’t my dad the greatest?

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So now I have TWO awesome yarn-winding contraptions. I could use two hands and double my kit output! But really, it’s nice to have a backup for this tool that’s proved so essential to my work, and it gets me a step closer to possibly someday having someone else help me wind the yarn. (Could this finally be the year for an assistant??)

And where does all that wound yarn go? In my wound-yarn drawers, of course!

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This way, the yarn is all there and ready to go for made-to-order kits.

Three cheers for my dad, a legend in Mochimochi Land!

Websites as Toys

It seems like the internet is getting more powerful every day, which is cool, but also scary, right? I think that’s why I find extremely simple, possibly useless websites to be so attractive. The art/design website The Fox is Black recently introduced me to some of these sites (which they called “single-serving sites“), and I’m thinking this could be a very deep rabbit hole indeed.

If you have a few spare seconds, click on the below to see some of my favorites.

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I think we’re pretty used to silly “toy” apps by now (sound effect apps come to mind), but there’s something really bold about a whole website built upon one simple concept. Websites can do so much, yet these do so little.

I have one more for you—a simple idea, but mind-blowing nevertheless. Take a virtual stroll through any random place in the world…

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As many different things as the internet is becoming, I love that it’s also becoming a place for some of us to create new forms of art and play and for the rest of us to enjoy the results.

Knitting Mochimochi Now in Spanish and Dutch

While I was feeling a little un-inspired (and maybe also a tiny bit sorry for myself) on Friday, a package of happiness arrived: Spanish and Dutch editions of my first book, Knitting Mochimochi!

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I had heard that the Dutch version had been in the works, but I had no idea the title would include as fun a word as knuffels. Knuffels! According to sources on Twitter, the word means both “stuffed animal” and “hug.” Simply the best word in any language period.

Amigurumi de Punto Mochimochi was a complete surprise, and a very welcome one! It appears to be intended for the market in Spain, but I’m hoping it will find its way to other Spanish-speaking countries too.

With the Swedish version, that makes four languages that this book is available in. Next, the wooooorrrld!

At Home in Chicago

I can’t describe how great it feels to be in what feels like a home after two weeks of being in that strange in-between state of transition. Let me show you where I now live and work!

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Isn’t it adorable?!? Like in Brooklyn, we’re living in an apartment, so the whole thing isn’t ours, but it’s still way more space than John and I have ever lived in.

Most of the apartment is pretty standard (although we have a kitchen island! such luxury!), but I wanted to at least show off my new office.

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You can no longer touch the bed from my desk! The bedroom is a completely different room! I’m feeling so spoiled by this new way of life. (Soupy is trying to claim the office as his own and push me back in the bedroom, but I’m determined to win this one.)

And I now have a little place to put knickknacks!

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This calls for the buying of new knickknacks, which I haven’t done in a long time. (I’m headed to Rotofugi soon to do just this.)

And what does Nipsey think of all this?

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Nipsey still has his tattered old scratching post, so Nipsey is all good.

Since we’ve been busy getting settled in (and the weather has been COLD), I’ve just barely started exploring my new neighborhood, much less the broader city. So, Chicagoans, I would love any tips or recommendations for favorite places to go, things to do, etc!

A Poem by Gritty Lou

If you’re a regular reader of the Mochimochi Blog, you may have occasionally seen comments made by someone named “Gritty Lou.” She never gives herself away, but that’s my mom! (My dad, meanwhile, comments as “Dad.”)

I would be happy to let my mom go on commenting anonymously, but I just have to blow her cover because of something that she wrote in the comments to my post last week about Roland the Roly Poly. Inspired by the fun names for “roly poly” shared by commenters in other countries, she composed a poem.

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Hey, chuggy pig, slater, bichos de conta,
All over the world you do what you wanta.
Cloporte, dango mushi, ole potato bug,
At just a touch you roll up and give yourself a hug.
Whether bicho bola, sow bug, pill bug or woodlouse
I find you in my garden, on the porch and in the house!
But how can I complain when the kids find such delight
In watching roly polys become so round and tight.

Huge & Huggable Mochimochi (which Roland appears in) is dedicated to my parents, and I think you can see why they inspire me so much!

On Location in OK

I’m in Oklahoma for the next couple of weeks for one of my favorite parts of my job: working with Brandi Simons on book photos!

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Just about one year ago we were driving all over the Tulsa area looking for the perfect spots to photograph the jumbo toys in Huge & Huggable Mochimochi. Sometimes (yes, more than once) a clean bathroom was all the location we needed. That’s Brandi with the camera; her friend Sheri is waiting for her closeup (she was an excellent model); and my sister Leah is helping with the reflector. Maybe you can guess what the project is?

I love taking snapshots of Brandi at work. We have so much fun on these shoots, and I want to remember what it was like behind the scenes of her great images. So I always try to take pics with my phone when I get a moment, although those moments pass by so quickly when I’m also trying to suggest angles, make adjustments to the toys, and check out the results at the same time.

Looking back at my iPhone photos, I’m remembering shoots that we did in all kinds of interesting places. It took a little negotiation, but we were able to do a shoot at an authentic local burger joint. I learned that greasy food and knitted toys aren’t an appetizing combination… but it was fun!

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Another location was a first-grade classroom. I haven’t stepped foot in an elementary school in years, and this really took me back to my early education days. (I didn’t go to this particular school, but a different one in the same town.)

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We also shot photos in a movie theater, in a library, in a used car that we had to get a grumpy antiques dealer to open for us, and in the middle of the street during rush hour. It was an exhausting and exhilarating two weeks, and I can’t wait for everyone to see the finished work.

THIS week and the next, Brandi and I will be shooting photos for another very exciting top-secret project (one that doesn’t involve crazy location scouting). I hope to share some behind-the-scenes photos on Twitter and Facebook as we work. I can’t wait to begin!

By the way, this trip means that I will ship all orders of physical goods (books, kits, buttons, etc.) on October 2nd when I return to NYC. (PDF pattern downloads will be unaffected.)