Category: Book Things

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!


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:


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.


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!


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.


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!


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!


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.)


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.)

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!

Jumbo Gnome Reads a Book

My first copy of Huge & Huggable Mochimochi has arrived! Before I could take a look, though, somebody snatched it out of my hands.


Jumbo Gnome isn’t much of a reader, but this book is right up his alley. He’s actually the guy who inspired the whole idea to write a book of really big toy patterns, so I let him have it for a while.


He gives it 4 out of 5 stars, but only because he thought he should have been asked for a quote to go on the back cover. What an ego this guy has!

Myself, I’m excited for the 20 all-new, super-sized patterns and the fun photography by Brandi Simons. The release date is October 15th, but in the meantime I’ll have some sneak previews soon, along with out first-ever pre-sale of this book!

Mix n Match Madness

Thank you, everyone, for your happy comments and emails upon the launch of Super-Scary Mochimochi! I can’t believe that this is my third book of knitting patterns—how lucky am I that this is what I get to do?!

The book was really a team effort, involving everyone from my editor Betty Wong to my photographer Brandi Simons to the professor who let us have a photo shoot in this chemistry lab, Robert Sheaff. And a whole group of testers helped make sure the patterns were clear and usable—a vital element in the book’s success!

Thinking about the testers for this book reminds me of the fun monsters I saw from them when they were testing the “Mix n Match” section…


This part of the book includes five body shapes to choose from and a menu of deliciously weird body parts to cobble together any way you please. The guys above look something like this when you take them all apart.


When I was writing the book, I asked some of my testers to each knit one of these monsters. Because we were on a tight schedule, the simplest way to do it was to have them each knit one of the monsters I had made, putting the same parts together that I had, but I was still wowed to see the wildly different resulting monsters.

This is Marianne’s squash monster. He doesn’t want to be made into a pie!


Jenna’s colorful tall monster has a tattoo!


And Kelly made a cute and huggable robot monster.


I love how they’re all so different from the originals just by using different colors and eyes… imagine the possible combinations that will happen when knitters start mixing up body parts and inventing some of their own!

Thank you to Marianne, Jenna, Kelly, Denise, Jennifer, Jenny, Jessica, Joan, Kari, Kristen, Lisa, Marilyn, Mary, Marti, Rikke, and also Bonney for contributing their testing help for this book. It couldn’t have happened without you guys!