On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about knitting cute things with my guest Anna Hrachovec.
Anna is a Chicago-based designer and artist who loves to knit little creatures. Just about everything is more fun in tiny knitted form, so she’s inspired by everything! Under her designer brand, Mochimochi Land, Anna has created hundreds (and hundreds!) of knitting patterns that can be found in books and on her website mochimochiland.com and Ravelry. When she’s not making cute stuff out of yarn, Anna is busy making stop-motion animations with her woolly friends. Her heart-knitting gnome is one of the most widely shared GIFs in the world. Her first children’s book, Catside Up, Catside Down, is due out in September and is now available for preorder.
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We begin this conversation with Anna talking about growing up in suburban Tulsa. She explains what her parents did for work and their creativity outside of their jobs. Anna talks about the experience of having exchange students live with her family, including one who came from Japan. After high school, Anna spent time in Japan as an exchange student herself, learning about the culture and learning Japanese. Anna learned to knit in Japan.
Year of the Rabbit kit from Mochimochi Land
Anna talks about her time at Dartmouth and then her first job out of college working at an agency that then opened a small gallery in Soho. It was there that she first experienced knitting stuffed animals having helped to organize the Lovable & Huggable plush shows that took place at the gallery.
We talk about beginning to design patterns for knitted toys and selling them on Ravelry when Ravelry was still new. Anna took a class on stop-motion animation while in New York and, although she was intrigued, the process taught in the class was more complex than she was ready to take on in her apartment on her own. Instead, she learned to create GIFs in Photoshop and began animating her toys that way, becoming especially drawn to knitting tiny toys that were fast and easy to make and had a lot of potential for animated movement. One of Anna’s GIFs is this gnome knitting a heart that seems to be all over the internet.
Anna also talks about working with Nickelodeon on a set of holiday-themed network IDs. She is the author of five books of knitted toys and we talk about the experience of writing those. She is also the author of a new children’s book about prepositions and her world the focus of a forthcoming movie.
Anna knitting a giant gnome.
And, of course, I asked Anna to recommend great stuff she’s enjoying right now. Anna recommends:
- Tiny pottery wheel
- Smoothing option for Photoshop’s brush tool (I just discovered this lol)
- Old issues of Horizon, an art magazine from the 1950s-‘80s.