Sometimes you just need to knit something tiny. I had been eyeing the Anna Hrachovec Tiny Mochimochi pattern collections for a while. Finally, the time came when I thought to myself: Can I really live another day without owning a tiny alpaca knit out of alpaca? The answer was no. No I could not.
Knitting tiny critters is unexpectedly rewarding. It’s good to play with your knitting. It brings about a pleasing feeling of nourishment to your inner child. The same inner child that craves spoonfuls of peanut butter dipped in chocolate chips and causes you to linger near the bubble wands at the dollar store. Is it juvenile to knit teeny unicorns for yourself even if you are pushing thirty? Never! Childish to play tiddlywinks with eensy wooly ladybugs? Nay! Silly to pretend to eat a tiny knitted dirigible plum? Not remotely, I say! Perhaps it harkens back to the same part of my inner youngster that coveted Polly Pocket. I not only yearned to knit tiny things, I had to collect them. And there are oodles of Mochimochi to collect.
I made another.
And another. And another. Before I knew it I had enough Mochimochi to constitute a sizeable populace.
The knitting itself almost feels like cheating. There are no ends to weave in, you just tuck them into the stuffing, gauge doesn’t matter, and even if you royally screw up, you almost always end up with something cute. Or at least something so woefully ugly that it’s cute nonetheless. Probably the best part is that they are so small, you needn’t stress about running out of wool in the foreseeable future. At least, not before you’ve made a flock of tiny sheep at least sixty strong out of one little fifty-gram ball of yarn.
It becomes out of hand when knitting anything bigger than a golf ball is repellant to you and seems colossal. I must recommend staggering tiny things with normal-sized objects, so as not to wholly lose your grip on reality, like I did. After completing one, I turned to look at my dog on the couch beside me and jumped. He was suddenly a vast, hulking mass compared to the Lilliputian chicken in my hand! Beware also of spending an inordinate amount of time wondering whether your tiny sheep needs a tiny shepherd, as well as tiny shearers. Or, if your tiny lumberjack will feel displaced in society without a tiny tree to chop down.
A plus about knitting tiny critters and tiny people is that you can make up stories about them. This is something, I’ve noticed, that doesn’t quite work with shawls.
For instance, Sherman the sheep and Alfonse the alpaca tolerate each other’s presence as one does with one’s neighbours, but Alfonse, since he is clearly a Suri, keeps bragging that his fibre is softer and warmer and more expensive. Pompous to a flaw, he is too smug for his own good. Sherman, a humble, down to earth chap, bites his tongue until he can’t take it anymore and reminds the Alfonse that even though he might be a bit courser at times, at least he doesn’t stretch into absolute oblivion at the drop of a hat. Perhaps this dynamic is emotionally stunting for them both, yet it seems to be symbiotic. While they may get into petty arguments about fibre attributes, they continue to find themselves chatting at the water trough about grass recipes and their mutual interest in cloud formations.
Ogden the owl is working on his thesis Political Stasis in Deciduous Relations, while Mr. Bones the fox is wondering whether hedgehog à la mode would be worth a potentially grievous injury to his modelling career. Sammy Squirrel is currently seeing a therapist to work through his hoarding issues that he has been hiding from his family. So, while I could make up equally grandiose back-stories for my shawls, they probably wouldn’t have as strong character development.
Just when I thought I couldn’t knit anything much tinier, I gleefully discovered the Tiny Owl Knits Care of Magical Creatures Charm Packs. Originally meant to be on a charm bracelet, they are not much bigger than a thumbnail. I figured I’d better stop at thumbnail-sized, since I feared my descent into a Seussian world that existed on a snowflake, or, like Alice, I worried about my knitting becoming so tiny and, “going out altogether, like a candle!”
At one point, I beheld the minutest butterfly in my hand, with its dainty sewing thread antennae, and my mouth fell agape. I knew that the world was now a better place and it was all thanks to this wee butterfly. I made more.
Clearly, Teeny Snakely considers Teeny Frogbert a blood traitor, since he’s an amphibian rather than a fellow reptile. Their feud is further rankled by their mutual adoration for Teeny Miss Hummingbird, who is, quite frankly, a bit of a strumpet. Teeny Ladybird and Teeny Betsy Butterfly get along well though, although they tend to gossip a lot. Like that time when Teeny Ladybird started a rumour that Teeny Dragonfly had a shameful mushroom addiction,
but this was debunked when Teeny Doctor Badger wrote her a prescription for her allergy to airborne mushroom spores.
Some may call me an eccentric, but they’ve probably never knit a tiny gnome or a tiny squirrel before. If and when they do, they might find themselves jumping on the bed for no good reason, despite the expensive mattress, or throwing a rock into a body of water, just to see the size of the sploosh. Sometimes you need to knit something tiny, and (arguably) impractical, but cute.
I used various colours of Lanett Babyull, Phil Folk, Drops Alpaca (for the alpaca), and Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, all bought at Mad About Ewe recently since I had no scrap sock yarn in solid colours (all I had was Crazy Zauberball…hmm). We have a really good selection of solids in sock weight (although, variegated would be good too, I think I might have to make a Koigu unicorn). Really, any sock yarn will work for all of the tiny things, and it would be a great way to use up scraps if you have them.
The tiny Mochimochi (lumberjack, sheep, alpaca, chicken, bluebird, squirrel, hedgehog, owl, fox, gnome, and unicorn) were either from the book Teeny Tiny Mochimochi by Anna Hrachovec or Anna Hrachovec’s pattern store on Ravelry. I don’t think I can rest until I at least make the tiny Viking, the tiny cat, and the tiny pirate. She also has a new book coming out soon with even MORE Mochimochi called Adventures in Mochimochi Land, and several of her tiny things patterns are free on Ravelry.
The truly microscopic critters (the butterfly, ladybug, badger, snake, frog, dirigible plum, mushroom, hummingbird, and dragonfly) are from Tiny Owl Knit’s Care of Magical Creatures Charm packs 1, 2, and 3. I bought all three charm packs and just knit whatever critters that struck my fancy. She even wrote out tasks to do for each charm, so that they are like merit badges for Girl Scouts. Genius.
Jess (Bolgaful on Ravelry)