When I first flipped throughHrachovec’s book, I couldn’t imagine knitting anything on US 1 dpns. It just sounded like a difficult, pointless feat that would probably give you arthritis before you got good at it, like ripping phone books. For Christmas, however, Ariel and I received a copy of Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi so I dug out my tiny needles, slid off the remnants of my failed Endpaper Mitts and gave Hrachvec’s creatures a try. Now, I can’t stop knitting these whimisical stuffies; they’re totally addicting!
The book begins with a concise technical guide, complete with clear photos. You don’t have to be an experienced knitter to follow the patterns, and it may not help you anyway. The patterns do not include gauge, since it’s not necessary for little toys, and often the directions call for “poking” or “tugging” the yarn until you get the desired effect. Hrachovec has a distinct aesthetic and it’s not an exact science – something I really appreciate.
This book offers over forty different patterns, all of which are perfect for stashbusting. Hrachovec’s method for toy making makes it possible to create cheap, novel gifts out of practically any type of yarn. According to the notes, you won’t need more than about seven yards of fingering weight for most of the patterns. Because each critter is essentially a pill shape with strategic I-cord, making simple changes multiplies the number of cute you can make from just one book. Swap the fingering weight for a DK or aran weight yarn and you’ll get a bigger critter without making any changes to the design. Ditch the black and white on the Tiny Bride and Groom pattern and to create tiny iconic couples: the Kennedys, Paula and Simon, Penn and Teller . . . you get the idea.
When I first began, I struggled a bit with the smaller needles. I think that was mainly because all of my Christmas knitting was done on US size 8 circulars.Turns out it’s actually easier to manage stitches on double-pointed needles with tiny projects: you don’t have to worry about live stitches jumping off the end of the needle. Usually each dpn will have less than ten stitches, all of which can sit safely in the middle of the needle. Teeny-tiny critters don’t take that long to knit and stuff once you get the hang of it. If you plan on making a bunch, like a handful of teensy santas, you can speed up production by knitting, stuffing and binding-off all the body pieces, knitting and assembling all the appendages, and then adding the final details.
Given the overall popularity of Anna Hrachovec’s knitting designs and artwork, it’s fairly easy to locate a copy of Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi. (Barnes & Noble definitely carries it, and so does Target.) You can read more about her artwork, installations and various other knitted thingies on her blog. (I can’t wait for her to release the pattern for the beet and the yetis!) Plus, there’s a Mochimochi Friends Flickr group where Hrachovec fans can share their finished critters.