Cute Things

Vintage View-Master Magic

Happy Friday, everyone! If you’re wondering where my Shop Talk posts went, I’m putting the series on hold for a bit while my design and knitting work is insane for the next few weeks. It will definitely return later with more tips and stories from my work as a designer!

Today I have wonderful vintage cuteness to share. Earlier this week, while I was in the middle of knitting dozens of characters and props for an upcoming photo shoot, I got some unexpected inspiration from the blog of Lance Cardinal, a set designer whose finely detailed models always blow me away. He had scanned TONS of vintage (1960s-’80s) View-Master reels featuring the coolest 3-D scenes of popular cartoons.

viewmaster_peanuts

viewmaster_chipmunks

Maybe I saw some of these as a kid, but either way I’m blown away by the style and level of detail in the carefully constructed scenes. Lance actually scanned each slide, so the complete stories are on his website. He’s also got a post with several photos taken on the sets of these stories.

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These are so amazing to me, I have to share more.

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viewmaster_bambi

viewmaster_snowwhite

viewmaster_peterpan

viewmaster_goldielocks

OK, some are cuter than others. But I love the knitting in that one!

Seeing all these cool slides on Lance’s blog led me to find the a website called View-Master World, which introduced me to tons more weird vintage Vew-Master goodness, including this scene in which Barbie is climbing a pyramid in Egypt.

viewmaster_barbie

This might sound kooky, but all of this was just the inspiration I needed this week. Back to knitting!

Hello Gudetama

Big news in cuteness! Sanrio has just introduced a new character named Gudetama, who is a weird little egg yolk guy and my new favorite Sanrio character.

gudetama

This struck me as a little edgy for Sanrio, so my first thought when I saw it on Jezebel was that it might be some kind of delayed April Fool’s joke. But it seems to be for real. Yay!

Threes

Last week I blogged about two video games that helped me get through the coldest days this winter. Since I normally get excited about a video game about once a year, I thought that would be it for a while, but then John introduced the iPhone game Threes to me over the weekend. I’m in love!

threes

Threes is a tiny game about matching numbers. I love this modest description. It’s accurate—this is not a complicated math game, as you might think at first glance—but everything that the game does around its simple premise, it does extremely well. What initially caught my eye about this game, though, were the characters that embody each number. I saw John sliding around numbers with cute, animated faces on them, and I had to play what he was playing.

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I’ve always thought that numbers—at least the first 20 or so—have personalities. The odd ones tend to be more interesting, almost villainous sometimes, while the even ones are goody-goodies who occasionally cheat on tests to maintain their 4.0 GPA. I bet I’m not alone in my numerical character assignments. Threes takes that idea and runs with it: We’re actually introduced to each of the numbers as individual characters, some of whom have bigger personalities than others.

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The characters in Threes are charming, but I hardly noticed them after a while, because the game itself is just really great. John just wrote a piece for The A.V. Club about how perfect its opening tutorial is, and he’s right—this game has one of the best introductions I’ve ever played. Threes is a $1.99 right now in the iTunes app store. SO worth it!

Grave Guardian Beast

My parents visited over the weekend, and we spent a few hours at the Art Institute on Valentine’s Day. (It was really cute to see all the couples spending the day there!) I love all kinds of art, but I tend to find myself spending a lot of time looking at ancient stuff when I go to the museum. There’s just something about Chinese funerary art from the 4th century B.C. that really speaks to me. No, really!

graveguardianbeast1

I did a double take when I saw this guy. That tongue! Those horns! That vector-based shape! He looked just like something that I would have seen at the Pictoplasma festival a couple of years ago. But nope, they just had really cool grave markers in ancient China.

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It’s amazing how the red on the tongue has been so preserved over millennia. That makes me wonder just how colorful this guy originally was. Maybe he looked something like this?

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See, characters are everywhere! I think I’d be pretty happy to have this beast guard my grave for eternity, or until someone swipes him for their art museum.

2013 Mochimochi Favorites

It’s been another super year here in Mochimochi Land. 2013 was our seventh year, if you can believe it—that’s a lot of mochis!

Let’s wrap up 2013 with a quick look at some favorite happens on the blog.

**Favorite New Pattern**

Luvbots

luvbots_announce

I’m a little bit in love with these guys, but it might just be the puns they inspire in me.

**Favorite New Contraption**

The Mark Hrachovec Yarn Winding Machine

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This thing saved my sanity this year. Instead of spending hours winding the bobbins for my tiny kits, I can spend minutes! My dad is the best.

**Favorite Tiny Mochi**

Tiny Butterfly

tinybutterfly

This little guy was praised by poets! I haven’t written pattern for him yet, but I’m hoping to do so in 2014.

**Favorite Funny Mochi Scene**

Knitjvf’s Zombie-Killer Birds

tinychicken_knitjvf

The most original way I’ve seen zombies defeated!

**Favorite Crazy Fun Projects**

I had TWO favorite crazy fun projects this year.

The Wooly Woods

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Because of course it’s a good idea to knit things on top of delicate twigs and ship them all to Germany for a show! (As ill-advised as this all seemed at times, it actually turned out great!)

Nickelodeon Holiday Animations

Anna Hrachovec for Nickelodeon: Holiday 2013 IDs from Anna Hrachovec on Vimeo.

The coolest project to wrap up 2013 with!

**Favorite Knitting Debate**

To Cozy or Not to Cozy?

cozydebate2

It’s the ultimate question that divides knitters these days. (As it turns out, everybody thinks they’re a little silly but ultimately harmless.)

**Favorite Mochimochi Mods**

Sarah’s Disney Knits

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This young knitter started with some shapes from Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi and took them in an awesome direction!

**Favorite Animated GIF**

Caveman Family Meeting

cavewhack

This year I started making some longer stop-motion animations, but the looped action of a GIF remains of of my favorites forms of expression.

**Favorite Personal Project**

A little kitty for my niece!

norascat

I love having a niece to knit things for! Apparently the kitty (now named Nickus) gets to go on many adventures with Nora.

**Favorite Random Cute Things**

Hello Kitty Re-Ments!

hkrement8

I just sent one of my last boxes out to the winner of the 2013 Mochimochi Photo Contest.

Conor Finnegan’s Fear of Flying

I was inspired by many kinds of art this year, but this short animation really stands out to me.

Those were just a few of my favorite things from 2013. Oh, and I didn’t even mention my new book, which was one of the most exciting things to happen this year!

But what keeps Mochimochi Land going and growing is the participation of all of you, in the form of your comments and emails, your photos of mochis that you’ve knit, and the way that so many of you have shown up at events and said hi in person! If anything, I want to foster more community here in 2014, and I hope to have more projects that we can all participate in.

Thank you for a wonderful year, everyone! Let’s make 2014 magical together!