Anna Hrachovec's new book, Knitting Mochimochi, is fresh off the press. I have been test knitting Anna's patterns since the beginning when she launched Mochimochi Land in 2007. We met via Flickr and I was her first test knitter. Now, 3 years later, she has released her first book! I am honored to be able to review her book. I also have a extra copy to give away to one of you lucky readers. Details to follow at the end.
I have always enjoyed knitting toys. Unlike garments, they don't have to fit anyone and there is no need to check your gauge. They don't need to make sense because it's a toy. Anna's toy patterns has always been on the quirky and fun side. She says that her toys are inspired by everything cute, funny or strange that she sees. As you will see in the following photographs, the patterns are definitely fun and cute.
One of the reasons I love Anna's patterns is the construction techniques. The patterns are as seamless as possible. You might be required to stitch up a few limbs or seams on some of the patterns, but she really does try to minimize that. She is quite inventive and clever with how her toys are knit up. There is detailed instructions and photographs to help you out with certain aspects of the pattern. Which I always find very helpful in any pattern.
With any toy pattern, it really does matter in how you assemble it. When you take the time and care to put a toy together, you get a professional result in the end. Anna has included a section in the book called Basic Toy Techniques. In that section, these topics are covered; The Stuffing, The Closing, The Eyes, The Seaming, The Loose Ends, The Embroidery, Additional Techniques, and The Magic Loop. The topics have step by step photos to help you in understanding the technique. One of my favorites is the Seaming Section. She covers 7 different Mattress Stitches that will help you seam up your toys.
For those of you who would like to try your hand at designing a toy pattern, she has a section called Design Your Own Knitted Toy. She starts off with a sketch of a Pig and helps you break down the sketch into sections. Then step by step, she walks you through on how to plan it, number it, knit it, check it, continue it, appendage it, finish it and write it and share it. She also includes guidelines for 4 basic shapes and increases and decreases to shape the design.
There are 20 super-cute strange designs in the book. From small quick projects to more elaborate projects. The Impractical Wearable chapter has patterns that you can wear! There is something for everyone. You can be a beginner knitter and still be able to make something fun from this book.
I recently had the opportunity to help Anna knit up 5 samples from the book with the original yarn and colors done in the book. They are for Cascade Yarns, which will be used for a traveling trunk show to promote Anna’s book. Cascade Yarns generously donated the yarn, Cascade 220 Wool. Believe it or not, it was my first time using Cascade 220! The colors are great and I love the feel of the yarn while working with it and the finished results.Bite-Free Bed BugsOrbiting OddityThe little guy next to him is Squoze from the pattern Hugs and Squoze.Baby GatorsNeck NuzzlerTV GuyFor a chance to win a copy of the book, please leave a comment stating that you want to be entered in the giveaway. Anyone can enter, even for those of you outside of the United States. The last day to enter will be July 8, 2010. The winner will be picked by a random number generator. I will announce the winner on July 9, 2010. If I don't hear from the winner after 1 week, I will draw another name. Good Luck!
A huge thank you to Watson-Guptill for providing me a copy to giveaway to my readers.