Huge & Huggable Mochimochi Preview: Roland the Roly Poly

Do you know what today is?? Today is the day that I’m sharing the first of three sneak peeks from my upcoming book Huge & Huggable Mochimochi!

It was tough to choose what to show you, but I can’t say no to this guy: Roland the Roly Poly!


Roland is done with a life of hiding under rocks and is ready to let it all hang out. In fact, he’s hanging out in my parents’ backyard! (There are many perks to having your photographer live across the street from your parents.)

This guy is hands-down one of my favorite jumbo mochis from the book. There’s just something about all his legs, and the ridges on his shell, that make him extra squishy and huggable! He knits up quickly using Lion Brand Hometown USA yarn.

As you can see in this project, the bigger size of the toys in this book meant that I could incorporate many design elements that were new to me. I loved figuring out how to get the ridges on Roland’s shell just right and how to give his body that stylish curve.

Speaking of curves, even this free-spirited roly poly lets instinct get the best of him sometimes…


The great photography is by the brilliant Brandi Simons, who has done the photos for all of my books. We had even more fun with the photography for this book than previously— the scale of the projects meant that we could really place the toys in the world and their mere presence made for hilarious images.

Another reason that I wanted to share Roland with you all is because I’m fascinated by the distribution of roly polys, or pill bugs, and what people call them. I grew up playing with them in Oklahoma, but my husband, who’s from New Hampshire, had never seen one in his life until recently!


So I’d like to conduct an informal poll:

1. Do you know what this creature is?
2. If so, what do you call it?
3. Where do you live?

Let us know in the comments!


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!

76 thoughts on “Huge & Huggable Mochimochi Preview: Roland the Roly Poly

  1. Oh I MUST make one of those!! Yes, we are very much familiar with roly ploys. My kids love to gather them. (Colorado if you’re keeping tabs)

  2. When we were kids, we called these beetles “Water Bugs” because they were found in the damp dirt under rocks and near drain pipes. Love the cuteness of your version!

  3. They’re know as pillbugs here in Indiana. Although if you mention rolly pollies I’ll know what you’re talking about.

  4. California: Pillbugs but have heard rollypollies. Or however it’s spelled.

    We have had an influx of them in the house this summer. I have no idea why! Also, we have different colored populations. There’s a blueish population and a reddish one as well as the usual grey guys. They get in my strawberries and help themselves.

  5. My husbance and I come from different bits of the UK. He’d call it a chuggy-pig, and I’d call it a woodlouse.

  6. I live in the south-west of england, and down here they are woodlouse! Because they are little insects that live in rotten wood :)

  7. Greetings from Ontario!
    What kid doesn’t love a good roly poly? We also call them pill bugs or potato bugs. Or if you’re my brother, ball bugs.

  8. 1. Do you know what this creature is?

    2. If so, what do you call it?
    Pill Bug

    3. Where do you live?

  9. Yes, I know what they are. Technically, here in the UK they are called Woodlice but colloquially I know them as “pigs”!

  10. As a Midwest girl from Illinois of course and my 3 year old daughter is equally fascinatEd with them

  11. I cant help but to sing:

    Rolly polly eat your corn and taters!

    Counting down til Book day!! I got my monies ready to go!

  12. Ow this is so cute!!! I am dying of cuteness right now!!! I live in Spain and I do know this cute bug, we call it “bicho bola” which means ball bug in Spanish since it curls in a ball when you touch it!
    Can’t wait to preorder the book!!!

  13. I grew up playing with these in my grandmother’s front yard in Tokyo, Japan. They’re called dango-mushi in Japanese, because their rolled up forms look like o-dango (sweet dumplings made with rice flour).

    I was always so disappointed when I returned to my home in Vancouver, British Columbia, because the closest things I could find were wood lice* which couldn’t roll up.

    Years later, I was delighted to discover that dango-mushi were available in the US as well. I encounter them occasionally in Connecticut, and call them pill bugs.

    * (Wikipedia informs me that dango-mushi/pill bugs are a specific Family of wood lice that *can* roll up! You learn something new every day!)

  14. These little critters were abundant in both my childhood homes, in Kansas and Missouri. Kids call them roly-polies, but the adults referred to them as “pill-bugs”. I think that’s an ugly name for such a cute little isopod so I still call them roly-polies. They’re my daughter’s favorite bug so now she’s excited for your new book!

  15. Roly Poly or pill bug.
    Grew up in Northern California with them but have seen them in New England.

  16. They’re known as slaters here (Glasgow, UK). I’ve always liked the descriptiveness of the word, as if they’re all carrying little slate roofs on their backs.

  17. I’m from west Michigan, and at my house, we always said “potato bugs,” but I heard “pill bugs” at some friends’ houses.

  18. I’m very familiar with these, they were very common in Portugal where I was born and raised (we call them “bichos de conta” in Portuguese), and also very common in Indiana and Michigan. I usually call them pill bugs but I’ve heard roly poly as well.

  19. Growing up in Upstate NY, that is a roly poly
    (Not to be confused with rock-a-bys which is what I called Pringles)
    Can’t wait for the new book!

  20. Reminds me of sow bugs or a woodlouse–yep, I’m originally from Iowa! I always thought of these little creature as teeny tiny armadillos! Without the long tail! Honestly don’t know think I’ve seen many here in the NW?

  21. Woodlouse or pill bug ^^, although I think they’re different bugs from each other, woodlice don’t curl up, well in the UK they don’t anyway! And their back plates are less shiny than pill bug’s, that’s how I tell them apart anyway ^^

  22. We had them everywhere growing up in WA state, and we called them potato bugs! A few called them pill-bugs..

  23. We called them pillbugs as kids. I grew up in Fresno, California (we had plenty of them there) and now live in Silicon Valley, a cooler clime, and there are plenty of them here as well.

  24. Oh, how cute! I’m excited for the book to come out! I live in Oregon and have always called them pillbugs, but I’ve heard others call them roly polys as well.

  25. Pillbugs! For the past few years, I had a huge ecosystem of them in my biology classroom (in a big fishtank). Unfortunately, at the end of last school year, they were invaded by cockroaches so I emptied out the tank.

    My pillbugs were very zen to watch. I’ll definitely have to make Roland to replace my sadly-missed pillbugs.

  26. I have never seen them here in MA,but Ihave seen them on tv so I know what they are. I called them pill bugs, but roly poly sounds better so I will call them roly polys now:)

  27. Yes I know of them and love to pick them up when i see them. I call them rolly pollyes and live in Pittsburgh, PA

  28. Here in Canada, they’re called pill bugs, but growing up with an English background, I always knew them as potato bugs, hence my kids call them spud bugs!
    I remember being amazed to discover that they are actually Crustaceans, related to crabs, lobsters etc.! How cool.
    These and hedgehogs are family favourites, so I’ve had several requests for Roland, and lots of “Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee”s at his photo!

  29. My Canadian family calls them pill bugs, and we find them fascinating. We’ve read library books about them.

  30. In northern NY I’ve heard of pillbugs but I’m not sure what I think of as pillbugs is what that picture is. Must not have ever looked at them that closely as I screeched and covered them back up. Never heard roly poly.

  31. In South Carolina, we called them either roly-poly or pill bugs. I think roly-poly was more popular with kids.

  32. I live in the North East of England. Here we call them a woodlouse.

    Love your roly poly, he is soooo sweet with all those legs!

  33. 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.

  34. 1. Yes!
    2. That is a roly poly, ma’am, and I used to try keeping them as pets when I was a kid. They are not very charismatic, though.
    3. Texas.

  35. I’m from Southeast Michigan and my immediate family calls them “sally bugs” (celly? scaley? The origin of this nickname is beyond me). Everyone I’ve met from SE MI, NW OH, or where I live now in NE OH calls them pill bugs or roly polies.

  36. I’ve never heard of all of these slang names! (Though I do live in England). Here we call them woodlice!

  37. We have so many of them in our house that if I call them woodlice which is our term then it makes me itchy so here they’re baby armadilloes..purely for amusement value though! We’re in North West England.

  38. It’s a potato bug! I have not seen one in ages. I’m currently in Chicago, but grew up in Virginia.

  39. I am just loving seeing the previews of the MEGA Motchi!

    I cannot wait for the book to be released and start knitting. :)

  40. How cute! I call them Roly-Polys, and I live in the U.S. on the west side. Occasionally I hear “Pill Bugs” but I prefer to call them Roly-Polys!

  41. My sister and I called them Roly-Polys growing up, but I have heard them referred to as pill bugs.
    We grew up in the south east part of VA.
    We had several military bases around us so I think that might be how come I have heard both.

  42. I’ve never seen these creatures before, but I wouldn’t mind a knitted one.

    I’m curious. How long would you say it takes to make one of these buggers (see what I did there)? Like in comparison to a “normal”-sized pattern?

  43. I’ve never seen one of these before – and I’m from various parts of Canada (middle/northern Ontario, interior BC & Southern Alberta)

  44. Growing up in California, I’ve always called them sow bugs. That’s what my parents called them (Dad from Louisiana and Mom from California). There were potato bugs, but entirely different. Whatever you call them, I prefer the knitted version! Looking forward to the new book.

  45. It’s a pillbug, a member of the woodlouse family, aka Armadillidiidae! The potato bug is another creature altogether, and bear zero resemblance to the little rolypoly pillbug.

  46. In Italy we call onisco (woodlouse) or piglet S.Antonio or by its latin name Armadillidium vulgare.

  47. Rolly Pollies in California! Although I have heard them called pill bugs. I grew up playing with them as well. We definitely don’t call them potato bugs, those are something different, huge and ugly!!

  48. I’m from Oklahoma too, and we definitely called that bug a “roly poly.” :-)

    I have also heard them called pillbugs, but that’s not nearly as cute.

  49. I grew up playing with these with my best friend! We’re still close, and these bugs are still an inside joke. We call them roly-polies or doodle bugs, about equally often. Oh, and my family is from south central Louisiana, aka Acadiana! :-)

  50. Hallo, bei uns in Deutschland heißt das Tierchen
    ” Kellerassel ” .
    Ich freue mich schon auf das Buch, als erstes werde ich wohl den Pirat stricken müsse ;o)
    liebe Grüße Kirsten

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