Exclusive interview: Mochimochi Land meets Stitch London
Posted by Deadly Knitshade on June 19, 2010
Anna Hrachovec knits tiny. Really really teeny tiny. So tiny her knits are almost painfully cute. Her Mochimochi Land knits have gained her a well-deserved crowd of tiny knit admirers and a new book out in August this year.
Anna is joining us in London on the 21st of June to return some feathered friend to a pigeonless Trafalgar Square as she teams up with Stitch London for the Tiny Perching Pigeon Party. Yay!
Before she joins is I put a few questions to the purler of the pint-sized to see what makes a tiny knitter tick…
The story behind tiny knits:
Why so tiny? How did this quest for tiny knits come about?
I’ve been designing knitted toys for a few years now, and somehow I just began making them smaller and smaller without really thinking about it. When I recognized this trend and how much fun it was, I decided to try designing a new tiny toy every weekday for a month. That was in July of last year, and after the month ended, I liked doing it so much that I continued the challenge as a new tiny thing every week. It’s still ongoing at my blog!
What was your very first tiny knit?
The first official “tiny thing” that I made last July was a Tiny Brain, but the very first actual tiny thing that I made was a herd of tiny lemmings, which went with a knitted scene that I made for exhibit in a plush toy show at Gallery Hanahou in NYC.
The lemmings now live with the curator of the gallery (and also my boss, because I work there part-time), who was sweet enough to buy the “Swimming Lemmings” piece.
What inspires your tiny creations of knitted life?
Well, everything is cuter in tiny form, so everything inspires me! I think by now there is pretty much no animal, person, or thing that I haven’t thought about knitting a tiny version of. Some things are just more challenging to convert into knitting than others, and it’s going to take me a while to get around to knitting everything!
Are you a tiny knitting designer full-time or do you have a day job involving normal-sized objects too?
These days I’m practically a full-time tiny knit designer! I also design more normal-sized toys, and I also have a day job at Gallery Hanahou, a small gallery and illustration agency in New York .
Is everything else in your life minuscule? I like to imagine your home harbouring dolls-house style furnishings. Though I’m not sure it would work in real life.
Haha, my husband insists on a boring full-size couch, bed, and TV. (Actually, the TV is kind of huge.)
Do your friends and family introduce you as ‘the tiny knitting chick’? And is it hard to explain what you do when someone asks? Are you often tempted to tell them you work in a bank?
I love to let friends and family introduce me to others just to see what they will say. But yes, I’m trying to get better at describing what I do without trailing off awkwardly at some point. (I would try the bank line, but I’d be afraid of getting banking questions that would be way over my head!)
About your tiny knits:
Have you ever knit something so small you haven’t been able to find it after you’ve finished?
Yes, actually! I knit a miniscule twig recently and I haven’t been able to locate it recently… I have two cats who have a “finders keepers” policy when it comes to anything small and wooly, so I’m blaming them.
What happens to your tiny knits once they are cast off? Do they find homes?
I like to keep at least one of a particular design for myself, so I have a big Zip-lock bag that I keep them all in. But some have become gifts for friends, and I’ve also been selling a few through a nice little shop in Brooklyn called Saffron.
Have you ever been tempted to knit something giant to balance out all that tiny?
I totally have! I was thinking for a while that giant knits would be my next thing after the tinys, but they present more of a logistical challenge – more time, more yarn (more money), and more space needed to put the things. But it’s on my to-do list for sure.
I know it’s terrible to ask (like asking a parent which of their kids they like best) but which is your favourite tiny knit? Go on. We won’t tell the rest of them.
What’s your proudest tiny-knitting-flavoured moment?
I had a blast making knitted factories that turn one tiny thing into another. I made them for another show at gallery hanahou.
About tiny knitting:
Do you need any special tools to get your tiny knit on?
Nothing too special, just fingering-weight yarn and small needles – I use size 1 (2.25 mm) double-pointed needles. For stuffing, it’s good to use the kind of polyester fiberfill that feels slippery to the touch – this allows you to thread I-cords through stuffed pieces to make little arms and legs. A smaller-than-usual tapestry needle is also a must.
Do you have any words of wisdom for those who wish to follow in your small stitched footsteps?
Simplicity is everything! It’s all about breaking a design down to its essential shapes. And the tininess also makes some aspects of the knitting more forgiving, so don’t focus too much on perfection or too much detail.
About your trip to the UK/London:
What are you most ‘squeeeeeee!’ about seeing?
Boy, I don’t know – everything! I want to check out the London yarn shops, and have some authentic English tea, and visit a few pubs (is it possible to be “squee” about pubs?) Probably the cutest thing that I’m anticipating are the adorable British accents.
If the Queen demands a tiny Corgi dog are you up for the challenge?
You can’t say no to the Queen, even if she’s just a hypothetical Queen! A Corgi is now on my list of things to knit tiny.
Will you be bringing a tiny knitted umbrella? We’ll try to keep it sunny but it is England.
You know, I’ve contemplated a Tiny Umbrella before but never came through. Maybe this is my chance.
About your potential plans for world domination:
What’s next? Are you planning world domination via a tiny knitted army? If so can we’d like to sign up.
Welll, I’m currently knitting a bunch of tiny and not-so-tiny things for my own show at Gallery Hanahou in the fall! It’s going to be a knitted installation with some moving parts (hopefully), and I’m very excited and a little scared about the whole thing. I plan to start posting updates about my progress on my blog soon.