Author: Anna

New Starter Owl Pattern is Here!

These little owls are ready to be knit by you!

The newest pattern in the Starter series, the Starter Owl comes with instructions written for both flat and circular knitting. Depending on your knitting speed, they can be made in a couple of hours or in a matter in minutes!

You’ll need basic knitting skills like casting on, knit and purl stitches, increase and decrease stitches, and then some simple embroidery will take care of the rest.

The pattern is now available as a download for $5 from the Mochimochi Shop and from Ravelry, and also as a kit (which includes yarn to make one lovely lavender owl and one minty fresh owl)!

Creating this pattern was a big process—it underwent several versions before I arrived at the final owl.

And then I wanted to make sure that it was a good project for knitters at an advanced-beginner level, so I recruited some new testers. They really delivered with the cuteness!

Thank you to Danielle Holke, Andrea Buzsáky, Sally Costello, Kelly Westlund, Stacy Warner, and Sandra Horne!

If you’re interested in more patterns at this level, check out the other Starter patterns in the shop.

Happy knitting!

The Knit Ball Pit will be Donated to AFCAids!

We have some exciting Knit Ball Pit developments this week!

Contribution made by Paula in Georgia

Thanks to Ladianne Henderson of Cheers To Ewe! (the lovely yarn shop in Huntersville, NC), we have connected with the American Foundation for Children with AIDS, who will receive all of the mochimochi balls after Vogue Knitting LIVE and will send them to children in Congo, Uganda, Kenya, and Zimbabwe!

I am always conscious of how important it is that charity knitting projects actually be beneficial to the causes they are meant to help, so I was very happy to read these words from Tanya Weaver, the founder of AFCA:

We can give [the balls] to children after a medical exam or blood test; we can give to babies born to abused girls whom we are helping with new lives; we can gift to students who have no one to encourage them along the way, and we can give to the hurting, needy child who will see this as a symbol of love.

As if Tanya’s words don’t melt your heart enough, she was also kind enough to send me some photos of the children her organization works with. Here are Joseph, Abraham, Samuel, and Precious.

I want to knit them all the things, and I’m sure you do too!

Whether or not you are planning to knit balls with us, I encourage you to visit the AFCA website and learn about their work and how you can help.

And to help make this project possible, Cheers To Ewe! has also signed on to be our sponsor, yay! Thank you to Ladianne and Cheers To Ewe!

Also, since I originally posted about the knit ball pit, I’ve added the pattern as a free download on Ravelry, so now it’s easier to print and share it.

Follow the developments here and with the #knitballpit hashtag!

Let’s Knit a Ball Pit!

JANUARY UPDATE! We have 1650 balls in the knit ball pit and it’s still growing! If you’d like to contribute, at this point I’d like to encourage you to donate funds directly to the American Foundation for Children with AIDS if you are able. And any future group projects will be announced here, on the newsletter, and on Instagram! Thank you for the balls, everyone!

ANOTHER UPDATE! We have a printable flyer now available—you can download it via the Ravelry pattern page. This is an easy offline way to spread the word to your crafting communities. And we do thank you for helping spread the word!

UPDATE! Check out a chat with me and Tanya Weaver of AFCAids with the ladies of Cheers to Ewe on their Facebook Live show!

UPDATE! I’m thrilled to announce that we’ve arranged to donate all of the balls to the American Foundation for Children with AIDS after Vogue Knitting LIVE. And we have a new sponsor to thank for helping make this project possible: the lovely yarn shop Cheers To Ewe! located in Huntersville, NC!

I said in my last post that it would be fun to do a big crazy group project, so…

Mochimochi Land is going to Vogue Knitting LIVE in NYC this January, and we want to make a splash with a whole ball pit full of knitted mochimochi balls!

After Vogue Knitting LIVE, the balls will be donated to the American Foundation for Children with AIDS, who will send them to kids in Congo, Uganda, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. (More on that here!)

To make this squishy cuddly fun possible, we need YOUR help: Please join us in knitting hundreds of colorful character balls! Follow the pattern below (there’s a circular and a flat version) to make as many balls as you can contribute, and mail them to this address by January 3rd, 2019:

Mochimochi Land
4044 N Lincoln Ave
Ste 407
Chicago, IL 60618-3038

If your package comes from somewhere outside the US, we want to thank you for your extra effort, so please include your email address for a discount code to the Mochimochi Shop!

(If you’re coming to Vogue Knitting LIVE NYC in person, you can also just bring your character balls with you!)

A big thank-you to our sponsor, Cheers To Ewe!

Things you’ll need

Yarn: Use any weight of colorful yarn! It can be variegated or have a funky texture or whatever, but we do want to keep it bright and happy. You’ll need less than 10 yards of yarn for one ball. (This is a great project for using up yarn scraps!) You’ll also need a small amount of contrasting-color yarn for eyes.

Needles: Use a needle that is small enough so that stuffing won’t show through the gaps between the stitches. (We recommend using size 5 US (3.75mm) needles with worsted-weight yarn, for example.)

Stuffing: We recommend polyester fiberfill, but stuffing can be anything lightweight, including yarn scraps.

You’ll also need a tapestry needle and scissors.

Please read!

• We want characters! Please make your ball into a character by embroidering eyes onto it! Don’t worry about doing it perfectly—wonky stitching just adds to your ball’s uniqueness and specialness.
• You can add details like arms, legs, hair, ears, etc by adding embellishments like I-cords. Make sure this is all attached—characters should have no loose parts, and nothing so big or dangly that it would tangle up our ball-pit fun.
• We want the ball pit to be totally soft, so no hard components, please. (No plastic eyes.)
• Crocheters are welcome to participate! There are several free ball patterns on Ravelry, like this one.
• We’re unable to return submissions once they’re incorporated into the ball pit, so your characters will be taking up permanent residence in Mochimochi Land. Make sure you say a proper goodbye before sending them off!
Please tag your character balls with #knitballpit —I’ll also be sharing submissions and updates and other fun stuff using that hashtag.

You can DOWNLOAD the pattern here: download now

Mochimochi Ball (circular version)

Cast on 6 stitches and distribute them onto a circular needle or 3 double-pointed needles to work in a round.
Rnd 1: [Kfb] 6 times (12 sts).
Rnd 2: Knit.
Rnd 3: [Kfb] 12 times (24 sts).
Rnd 4: Knit.
Rnd 5: [Kfb, k3] 6 times (30 sts).
Rnds 6-16: Knit (11 rnds).
Rnd 17: [K2tog, k3] 6 times (24 sts).
Rnd 18: Knit.
Rnd 19: [K2tog] 12 times (12 sts).
Rnd 20: Knit.
Stuff the piece.
Rnd 21: [K2tog] 6 times (6 sts).
Break the yarn and draw it tightly through the stitches with a tapestry needle.
Weave in the loose ends.

With a contrasting color yarn, embroider eyes and any other features you like (a nose! a smile! some hair!).

Mochimochi Ball (flat version)

Cast on 8 stitches onto one needle using the backward loop method.
Row 1: k1, [kfb] 6 times, k1 (14 sts).
Row 2: Purl.
Row 3: K1, [kfb] 12 times, k1 (26 sts).
Row 4: Purl.
Row 5: K1, [kfb, k3] 6 times, k1 (32 sts).
Rows 6-16: Beginning with a purl stitch, work 11 rows of stockinette stitch.
Row 17: K1, [k2tog, k3] 6 times, k1 (26 sts).
Row 18: Purl.
Row 19: K1, [k2tog] 12 times, k1 (14 sts).
Row 20: Purl.
Row 21: [K2tog] 7 times (7 sts).
Break the yarn, leaving a tail of about 6 inches (15cm). and draw it tightly through the stitches, from right to left on the knit side of the piece, with a tapestry needle.

With the knit side facing out, use the tail you left on the piece to stitch together the seam. Use mattress stitch, making vertical stitches on the outside of the piece. Stuff the piece before finishing the seam. Then pull the yarn tightly to make the seam disappear.

Weave in the loose ends.

With a contrasting color yarn, embroider eyes and any other features you like (a nose! a smile! some hair!).

We can’t wait to receive all your squishy happy mochimochi balls!

Want to Test Knit a Starter Owl?

UPDATE: The testing slots have all been filled! Thank you SO MUCH for the many responses—it was great fun to hear from so many knitters, and it makes me want to brainstorm a big crazy project that we all could get involved in. (Hmmm, leave a comment about it if you have an idea for what that could be…) The owl pattern is coming soon, so please keep your eyes peeled for it!

I’m looking for a small group of knitters to test knit this little owl!

(I asked Soupy to take a look at the pattern, but he was no help at all.)

Specifically, I’d like to have the pattern tested out by some knitters who are at the advanced-beginner level—people who know the basics like casting on, knitting and purling, and increases (kfb) and decreases (k2tog), but who are new to knitting toys or at least new to Mochimochi Land patterns. Circular knitting is not required.

Testing is easy—you just work the pattern and let me know how it goes, and send photos of your finished project.

The deadline for the test will be September 16th.

Once the test is complete, I’ll send you a credit to the Mochimochi Shop as thanks!

If you are interested and will have time to knit the owl by the deadline, email me with a little info about yourself and your knitting experience (and testing experience, if any). I may not be able to reply to all the emails, but I will post an update here when the testing slots are full.

Thanks in advance!

Summer Squee discount is back!

If you haven’t noticed (maybe you’ve been on an extended vacation that we’re all very jealous of), our summer sale is back! All this month you can take 20% off most things in the shop—patterns, books, kits, and needles—with the code SUMMERSQUEE18. It’s a good chance to pick up some projects for the colder months and get on your gift game for fellow knitters. The code is good through September 3rd.

It’s been an effervescent summer of gnaked gnomes in Mochimochi Land, and we’re sorry to see it come to an end… But good things come to knitters in the fall! (And for those who don’t knit, you can make the summer memories last by purchasing a gnaked gnome for yourself!)

Donations for Doggies (and Kitties)

Thanks to your help, we’ve raised enough to donate $200 to animal welfare causes in July! We decided to split the gift and donate to two organizations. First is the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, who both rescues dogs during disasters and employs dogs to help rescue people. Natural disasters especially are on the rise these days, so this seemed like a great organization to support right now.

And second is Homeward Bound, the Addison County Vermont Humane Society, which Linda P. emailed us about:

We adopted our cat, Callie, from Homeward Bound… When she arrived there she was recovering from a broken pelvis and a number of Dental problems. Not only did they fix all her dental issues including pulling some teeth. They put her on medication for her pelvic arthritis and pain. Additionally, spaying and microchipping her.

She is a special needs kitty. They treat her and any animal that comes to them with the same care and compassion. They offer low cost spay and neuter clinics for the community and much more.

How sweet is Callie! Thank you to Linda for telling us about her and the wonderful work people in your community are doing.

Photos from Stop-motion Workshops at ELA Area Library

I had a blast doing stop-motion animation workshops at the ELA Public Library this month!

It was inspiring to see all different ideas and stories develop in an afternoon. We had tons of crafty materials on hand, and everything from pom-poms to play-doh to 3D printed figurines got moving through pictures.

I hope these creators keep making movies. (Anybody can do it with free apps like Stop Motion Studio!)

Thank you to Becca Boland for making this happen!