Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi in German

Now you can knit teeny-tiny mochis in German!

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This translation of Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi from Topp came out at least a year ago, but sometimes it takes a while for me to get notified and receive copies. It was a nice surprise, especially since I know there are so many knitters in Germany, and I received a warm reception when I brought Mochimochi Worlds and The Wooly Woods to Berlin.

I have a few extra copies—if anyone within the US has a good reason to receive one, please let me know!

Adventures in Mochimochi Land is Here!

Today’s the day! Adventures in Mochimochi Land is now in stores everywhere!

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If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve seen peeks at the three stories the book contains, about a giant donut who tries to eat a city, sea creatures who hold an underwater election, and a balloon who falls in love with a blimp. You can also knit adventures of your own with 25 patterns for the characters and props that appear in the stories.

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Projects include tiny desserts, tiny sea creatures, tiny things in the sky, and much more! (See them all on Ravelry).

The stories are appropriate for all ages, and the projects are recommended for intermediate knitters. (Illustrations and tutorials for beginners are also included.)

So much work went into this book—as I’ve said before, making it was really my own adventure in Mochimochi Land. I couldn’t have done it alone, and I was so lucky to have the help of a brilliant editor, a very resourceful tech editor, a fantastic team of testers, a couple of hardworking sample knitters, and a photographer who did a heroic job. Thank you to Caitlin Harpin, Marilyn Passmore, and Jessica Chace, Joan Foster, Amanda Scruggs, Yvonne Spencer, Joan De Lurio, Rikke Jensen, Linda Sewell, Brent Perrotti, and Brandi Simons.

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Adventures in Mochimochi Land is now available online (in ebook and paperback) from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble, and from Powells, among other retailers. Signed copies are also available from me in the Mochimochi Shop. (Supplies are limited due to preorders, but I’m getting more soon and they’ll be shipped ASAP.) Or if you have a local bookstore or yarn store that you support, please ask them if they’re carrying it!

Now, let the adventures begin!

Adventures in Mochimochi Land Preview: The Lighthearted Lovers

My new storybook/pattern book, Adventures in Mochimochi Land, is due out in just two and a half more weeks! That basically coincides with the beginning of summer, so what’s not to love?

Previously I’ve shared peeks into the first two stories in the book, The Hungry Donut and The Underwater Election, and today I’m excited to introduce the third and final story in the book, The Lighthearted Lovers.

The tale begins in Carnivalville, where the animals run all the rides and bear no responsibility for loss or injury.

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Everyone has a grand time at Carnivalville, except for a bunch of balloons who would rather be having adventures than be tied down to spend the day with an elephant carnie.

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They get their chance when the elephant sneezes, and the balloons are off to see the world!

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One balloon joins a flock of rainbowbirds flying south…

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while another balloon flies too close to the sun.

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Two balloons race a kite… and tie for first!

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And one balloon gives an earthworm the ride of his life.

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Finally, one last balloon, named Hugo, falls in love with the aircraft of his dreams.

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The romance and drama that follow will have to be saved for the book. But I’d like to share one very special thing about this story—it involved making the biggest version of Mochimochi Land that I’ve ever attempted!

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If you’ve encountered the 6-foot display that I’ve shown at Vogue Knitting LIVE, that may have seemed big, but this one had to be way bigger, because we wanted shots of it in the distance with airborne objects in the foreground.

So we basically took over my photographer, Brandi Simons’s living room for a couple of days, spreading out the landscape as wide as it would go and adding any kind of filler fabric around the sides that we could get our hands on. It was a big challenge to try to cover all the seams that resulted with tiny trees and other little elements I could scrounge up. (Probably you can recognize a few things from previous Mochimochi Land projects!)

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In the end, it came together with Brandi choosing just the right angle to shoot from and the right depth of focus, plus a little Photoshop magic. You’ll be able to see the end results in the book.

The other challenge with this story was figuring out how to make the balloon strings come alive—limp pieces of yarn hanging down just wouldn’t do. We ended up using a white cloth-coated floral wire we found at the nearby craft store.

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(I’ve found it at more than one store, so I think it’s pretty widely available.)

This stuff is easy to cut with wire cutters or even scissors, and you can twist it into any shape you want. And because it’s cloth covered, it really looks like string! I felt like I had hit the jackpot when I found it. But we still needed to use stronger wires to actually prop up the balloons.

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I think the floral wire would be perfect for any kind of gift giving or display with the balloons, and of course the pattern for them is included in the book!

That’s it for the story previews from the book, but I have some more behind-the-scenes images to share, plus maybe an extra pattern or two from the book. I’ll also announce a couple of book-related events that are coming up!

Adventures in Mochimochi Land is coming out June 9th! It’s now available for preorder from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble, and from Powells, among other places. Signed copies are also available for preorder from me in the Mochimochi Shop. Or if you have a local bookstore or yarn store that you support, please ask them if they’ll carry it!

Adventures in Mochimochi Land Preview: The Underwater Election

It’s just about one month until the release of my new combo storybook and pattern book, Adventures in Mochimochi Land!

Last month I shared a preview of the first story in the book, The Hungry Donut. And today I’m sharing a peek into the second story in the book, The Underwater Election. Alternative title: Tiny Mochis Under the Sea!

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The protagonists of this story, Bubbles the dolphin and Gary the crab, are political rivals, vying for control over a precious new resource they helped discover.

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(I used Tosh Merino Light yarn for the first time to make these guys. I was looking for a yarn that would be bright and richly hued and evoke life underwater—I think it really did the trick!)

I’ll leave the nature of the precious resource as a surprise for the book, but rest assured that all kinds of silly political stunts ensue. Gary, for example, serves as guest judge in local a beauty pageant…

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And Bubbles insists on doing the honors at a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new sandcastle development.

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Something unexpected happens with the election results, of course, but not before a heated debate complete with mudslinging!

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Each of the stories in this book came with its own unique challenges, from the writing to the photography. With this story, a big challenge was figuring out how to represent Mochimochi Land underwater, something I hadn’t really done before. I wasn’t sure how we would do it until the last minute when it was time for the photo shoot! But the local craft store came through with sparkly fabric for the background,

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(Ironed directly on the wall for maximum wrinkle-free sparkly-ness…)

Some lucky finds like seaweed-shaped pipe cleaners,

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And yarn that looked amazingly like coral!

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Speaking of which, in the haste of doing the photo shoot last year, I failed to make note of which novelty yarns we used to make the coral and other cool seaweed-looking stuff that appear in the images. If anyone knows what they’re looking at, please share in the comments!

I almost forgot the last big challenge of all of these underwater photos: erasing all of those pesky sticks holding everyone afloat!

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All I can say is thank goodness for Photoshop and for a photographer who really knows how to use it.

Adventures in Mochimochi Land is coming out June 9th! It’s now available for preorder from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble, and from Powells, among other places. Signed copies are also available for preorder from me in the Mochimochi Shop. Or if you have a local bookstore or yarn store that you support, please ask them if they’ll carry it!

Adventures in Mochimochi Land Preview: The Hungry Donut

We’ve got just about two months before my new book, Adventures in Mochimochi Land, is released!

As I mentioned in my last post about it, the book contains three utterly weird and fantastical stories set in Mochimochi Land. (Plus patterns!) Today I’d like to give you a taste of the first story, which is pretty appropriate because it’s all about foooood…

I’ll start with a photo that’s not in the book.

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Often, while I’m setting up a scene, my photographer, the wonderful and talented Brandi Simons, is already shooting away so that she can adjust the lighting and camera settings. So we end up with lots of shots of me fiddling with tiny knitted stuff, which make for a fun record of the shoot. So you can see that we set up a miniature world for this story, but the scenery has to get pretty expansive in the background to fill out the shot. I learned that we could have used a lot more/bigger pieces of flat knitted fabric.

OK, on with the story!

And as you can see from the above photo, this story is set in the delectable Delicious District of Mochimochi Land, where half of the citizens are bakers and the other half are oven repairmen.

Our protagonist, Biscuit the baker, is a tiny entrepreneur with her own donut shop.

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But donut shops are a dime a baker’s dozen in the Delicious District, and Biscuit wanted to stand out for once. One day, she had a bright idea!

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She would invent a new culinary concoction that would make her famous and change baked goods forever in Mochimochi Land.

So when the sun went down, she sneaked off to a hidden cave located deep in the Muffin Mountains to retrieve a very secret ingredient.

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(The ingredient is so secret that I’m not permitted to reveal here—you’ll have to see the book to find out what it is.)

Back in her bakery, Biscuit spliced the ingredients together in a petri dish, then put the concoction in the microwave.

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Side note: here’s my dad making that teeny petri dish by cutting the end off of a small plastic vial.

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Before Biscuit could brew a pot of coffee, the microwave sparked and flashed and exploded!

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Leaving behind a very large, very bouncy donut.

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Success! Biscuit was delighted with her creation, and she was ready to conquer the Delicious District with her big bouncy baked good. Little did she know that the donut was going to try to conquer Mochimochi Land in his own very disastrous way…

For the rest of this story, you’ll have to read the book!

Adventures in Mochimochi Land is coming out June 9th! It’s now available for preorder from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble, and from Powells, among other places. Signed copies are also available for preorder from me in the Mochimochi Shop. Or if you have a local bookstore or yarn store that you support, please ask them if they’ll carry it!

Huge & Huggable Mochimochi Preview: Totes Adorbs

Just one more week before Huge & Huggable Mochimochi is released! That means that I have one last project preview to share with you: a big-mouthed, long-armed, perfectly portable creature named Totes Adorbs.

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Character lovers of all ages can hang out with this guy, who knows many ways to play! And he’s useful too: wear him over your shoulder like a tote bag, strap his arms under your arms for a backpack-style bag, or just let him hold all your secrets.

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Totes knits up really quickly with Knit Picks Brava Bulky yarn. (In fact, the Capabara Caravan that I featured two weeks ago was made with the same yarn, which I used for lots of the projects in this book!) His body and mouth are knitted as one piece, then you just have to attach legs and arms and his little ears.

Brandi Simons and I couldn’t get over how great our model Kim Pi was. As soon as he saw the Mad Magazines that were involved in the shoot (and was told that he’d get to keep one), he was game to do all kinds of fun poses for us.

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I tried to narrow down which photos to share, but who am I kidding, I’m going to show them all!

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Lest you think this is a bag strictly for kids, this is a project that I made to fit over my own shoulder, then decided that it could work just as well for a kid, if you just tied the arms right. This is the first photo I took of it last year to show my editor:

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And Totes also has a design feature that didn’t show up in the photos with our model—a pocket on his tummy!

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My dream is to see both little kids toting Totes to school AND bigger kids taking him to Comic Con.

So that’s all Huge & Huggable previews I have for you! But the book has lots and lots of projects that I haven’t shown, including a monster truck, a giant squid, super-soft teddy bears, a submarine, and much more.

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Huge & Huggable Mochimochi comes out on October 15th! The book contains 20 all-new patterns for supersized knitted toys with equally big personalities. You can preorder a signed copy right now, and it’s also available for preorder at Amazon. Or buy it from your local yarn store on the 15th!

Huge & Huggable Mochimochi Preview: Capybara Caravan

It’s time for another sneak preview from Huge & Huggable Mochimochi!

My new book contains patterns for all kinds of unusual objects and characters to knit, but I simply must show you another squeezable silly animal project: Capybara Caravan!

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If you’re not already familiar with them, capybaras are like giant guinea pigs that live in South America. I promise they are totally real and not something I made up! When I was in high school my family took a trip to Brazil, and we encountered one of these guys crossing the road one day. He or she looked a lot like this:

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So that was the inspiration behind my creamsicle-colored family of capybaras crossing the road.

As always, my photographer Brandi Simons went to great efforts to get the photos: we snuck out to a crosswalk in the neighborhood at 6:30 one morning to take advantage of the pretty light from the rising sun.

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Of course, shooting in the middle of the road on a weekday morning meant moving out of the way of an increasing number of cars, including the school bus!

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Mama Capybara is reminding her babies to eat all their carrots and to play nice with the other rodents.

As you can see, the baby capybaras are pretty compact—I made sure to include smaller versions of some the huge toys in the book, so that there are plenty of options for quicker projects too.

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Huge & Huggable Mochimochi comes out on October 15th! The book contains 20 all-new patterns for supersized knitted toys with equally big personalities. You can preorder a signed copy right now, and it’s also available for preorder at Amazon. Or buy it from your local yarn store on the 15th!

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.)