10 Years of Mochimochi Land: Gnomes vs. Snowmen

Mochimochi Land has now been a thing for 10 whole years! While I’m taking care of a newborn and not getting much knitting done for a little while, I thought I’d share some highlights from a decade of Mochimochi Land.

In 2011 the character art organization Pictoplasma asked me if I would like to be a part of their gallery walk for their upcoming NYC conference. My friends at gallery hanahou (which has since closed, sadly) graciously let me use their space, so about 5 months later the epic battle between gnomes and snowmen commenced!

The idea for this little knitted art exhibit began to germinate when I watched a documentary on British history that featured the Bayeux Tapestry, a truly epic weaving that tells the story of the 11th Century Norman invasion of Britain from start to finish in a linear fashion.

I remember watching that documentary and falling in love with this mode of tactile storytelling, and thinking to myself that it would be interesting to pit two much-beloved characters against each other, in ways both playful and also somewhat violent, and see how people felt about that.

There was a lot of knitting involved.

And a lot of mess in our small Brooklyn apartment.

Once I had about a 100 each of gnomes and snowmen (with knitting help for the snowmen provided by some awesome local knitters), I got to put together the scenes, which was great fun.

And it was the biggest thrill to have people show up at the opening and experience the cutest battle ever in Mochimochi Land!

If you missed it in the gallery, you may have seen a smaller version of Gnomes vs Snowmen at one of the Vogue Knitting LIVE shows over the past few years.

You can see more photos from the battle at my personal website.

10 Years of Mochimochi Land: Woodins

Mochimochi Land has now been a thing for 10 whole years! While I’m taking care of a newborn and not getting much knitting done for a little while, I thought I’d share some highlights from a decade of Mochimochi Land.

Way back in 2007, some mysterious creatures made their web debut on They’re a bit hard to spot at first, but take a look at the right edge of the banner…

The Woodins wasn’t my first knitting pattern, but, appearing in one of the most popular knitting websites, it was the first design that many people saw from me. It was all a dream come true, because I was already a fan of Knitty and I designed this pattern because I had heard from Amy Singer herself about submitting to her online magazine.


Seeing this photo again takes me back to living in NYC. The photo was taken in Central Park by my friend and coworker Makiko Sasanuma.

These little guys and their hollow spooky log home were inspired by the wordless characters in Miyazaki Hayao’s animations (like Totoro). As with many of my designs, I think, my time spent studying in Japan comes through in a big way. I also enjoyed coming up with the “freeform” knitting and purling technique that makes the bark on the log. Sometimes it pays to just make stuff up and see how it goes.

This is also a project that knitters have done some really fun stuff with—you can check out more than 200 such projects on Ravelry!

Speaking of Knitty, you can now become a patron of theirs!

Baby Eve

Our baby decided to arrive on the day of the eclipse!

She did not see what all the fuss was about.

Thanks to everyone who has sent their happy wishes to us! We’re enjoying our new little girl very much.

Things will be a bit quieter here than usual for the next few months, but I’m around and will be checking email and filling orders as they come. I’ll also share the finished mobile once it’s in a proper hanging position!

Buggy Mobile for Baby-to-be

My newest project is multidisciplinary—a bug-themed mobile for a baby on the way!

We’re expecting a baby girl to make her debut any day now. Ideally after I finish making this mobile, but we shall see!

Things may be a bit quieter than usual this fall while I take some time off, but I have some help with the shop, so shipping should more or less proceed normally.

The last time I made a mobile, it was lion themed for Leo, who is now 20 months old. It seems like last month that I was working on it!


Ann Arbor Stop-Motion Workshop Recap

Last month it was my pleasure to lead a stop-motion animation workshop at the Ann Arbor District Library. This was my first time trying such a workshop, and I was lucky enough to have a big group of enthusiastic would-be animators of all ages attend. (I could tell from the start that they would be jumping right in, because it was a beautiful July Saturday in this beautiful college town, and they had chosen to spend the afternoon in a basement with me!)

After a presentation of my various animation projects, along with some examples of approaches that were very different from mine, everyone broke up into teams to make their own animations. The library supplied iPod Touches loaded with the Stop Motion Studio app (yes, this is the coolest library, and it’s totally worth becoming a card holder even if you don’t live in the area), and they also had plenty of models and craft supplies for people to use. Many participants came with their own materials, from paper to Legos to knitted mochis!

As people finished up their short animations, we gathered around the devices to see the results, and I was impressed by just how different everyone’s projects were. The animations were both narrative and non-narrative, things shot overhead and against the wall, scenes with backgrounds and at least one that incorporated a self-portrait.

A couple of people have shared their results with me—here’s a short one starring knitted patriots that Sara made.

And here’s a cool origami animation shared by a participant named Kevin—he made this after the workshop, based on what he experimented with at the library.

Is it bad to say that this was way more fun than teaching a knitting class? Well, fortunately knitting and animating are not mutually exclusive activities. I do hope to have the opportunity to do this again soon at another venue.

Thank you to Erin at the Ann Arbor District Library and to everyone who came to the workshop!

Funds Raised for Oceana

Thanks to your help, Mochimochi Land donated over $200 to Oceana!

It was great to do this little fundraiser and get lots of support and enthusiasm from knitters. Of course, this contribution is a mere drop in the ocean, but every little bit does something, and talking about climate change and other environmental issues is a first step toward prioritizing it in our lives and culture.

If you’d like to do something good for the Arctic and for all ocean life, please check out this worthy nonprofit and consider supporting them regularly.

I’ll be adding the Tiny Frozen Friends patterns on Ravelry soon, so those of you who requested me to add them there will get them in the next few days.

Tiny Frozen Update

An update on our project raising funds for Arctic conservation!

We’ve done our research and decided to donate funds raised this month from sales of the Tiny Frozen patterns to Oceana, a nonprofit that’s doing a lot to support the Arctic.

Learn about their work here. (And please consider supporting them regularly!)

Through the end of July, $1 of each sale of the Tiny Frozen patterns and the related knitting kits will go to Oceana. Thanks to everyone who’s already gotten them!

It Was the Narwhal!

I think I forgot to mention this already, but the mystery kit from May was the Tiny Narwhal!

It was fun shipping the kits out to people all over, knowing (or at least feeling pretty sure) that they would be well received. (And from the happy feedback I got, it seems I was right!)

Now the tiny narwhals are enjoying their official debut in the summer.

You can now get the pattern as a kit or as part of the new Tiny Frozen collection—and $1 of each sale of those this July is going to support Arctic conservation.