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If you’ve ever sent an animated sticker of a tiny gnome knitting a heart—you know the one—you already know Anna Hrachovec’s work. We’re thrilled to welcome Anna to MDK. Seeing her knitted amigurumi in person—and loading up on stickers and miniature knitting kits—is the highlight of any fiber festival we attend. We’re so happy that little kids can now learn their prepositions from Anna’s precocious kitties. Enjoy this behind the scenes from Anna’s book, Catside Up, Catside Down, and be sure to click the video link for motion cats!

—Ann and Kay

I’ve been knitting toys for a long time—long enough to have written five books of knitting patterns for them (and those books represent a fraction of my total designs).

But beyond designing them, I’m always looking for new things that my little knitted friends can do in the world. I like to think of it as a mission of fostering amigurumi self-actualization, while challenging myself with new projects that stretch my creativity and skills.

In 2023 my toys and I did something new: we made a picture book—my first non-pattern book—using photographs of my knitted cats as the illustrations. It was hard! And fun! And I think it turned out pretty cute.

The book is titled Catside Up, Catside Down: A book of prepositions. Because when you think about it, knitted cats and prepositions go together perfectly (or purrfectly, if you will): they’re always going inside, before, around, and under all sorts of things. And kids will learn a part of speech at the same time? Great!

Here are some highlights and behind-the-scenes peeks from this project.

Original cat inspiration: Soupy in stuff

Of my two cats, Soupy is the one you’ll find nestling himself into bags, boxes, shoes, egg cartons—anything concave is fair game, whether or not he actually fits.

Favorite other book featuring photographs of amigurumi cats: Amineko no iru seikatsu

I adore this book, and it was an inspiration I thought about a lot while making Catside. The crocheted cats are mostly just hanging out at home, living their best amigurumi lives. You can get it online!

Favorite lost rhyme from a previous draft: “Drawer” with “Soup de Jour”

Credit to my husband, John, for that one.

Floofiest cat yarn: Moodrake Suri Silk Cloud

I held it double to knit a dreamy cat who’s rolling around in catnip.

Favorite cat container based on a true story: Toilet cat

This bathroom cat exists because Soupy really did once jump into a toilet! He was a kitten at the time, and he didn’t know that toilets were full of water when left unclosed. Unlike the cat in the book, he jumped back out right away.

Cat that didn’t make the cut: Cat in a tin can

This photo just wasn’t working! For one thing, you just don’t really expect to see a turkey leg on a can of cat food, I guess. I replaced it with a black cat diving into a grocery sack, which worked much better.

Favorite new thing I tried for this book: Marling

I picked four fingering-weight yarns from old projects to make a thick I-cord, which I then coiled into a little rug for the last photo in the book. The piece felt so nice in my hands, I wanted to make a me-sized rug in the same way. Maybe someday, when I’ve finished knitting all the toy designs-to-be that exist in my head.

Trickiest cats to photograph: Matryoshka cats

You wouldn’t know it from this BTS shot, but these nesting doll cats kept toppling over as I employed many pins and toothpicks to keep them in place on a styrofoam base. I love how the photo came out though, and these are some of my favorite cats in the book.

Orangest cat: This guy made from Tosh Vintage in GG Loves Speckles

Orange cats are the best, and I can’t get over this fizzy, happy colorway. This orange kitty is getting an x-ray, to demonstrate how he’s surrounding a pie.

Least helpful assistants: Soupy and Nipsey

Here you can see them helping add cat hair to a lace curtain that I made for a photo of a cat who’s being slightly more troublesome by hanging from said curtain.

Favorite use of short rows: Cats doing the limbo

I experimented with different amounts of short rows to get these cats to bend backward at different degrees. (It turned out there were no prepositions on this page, but who cares when there’s limbo-ing cats instead.)

Favorite preposition: Astride

As any person who lives with a cat knows, this is a familiar sight. It’s a daily battle, really. That computer is just so warm and also the center of your attention right now, when instead that should be CAT.

Kid fave: Inside a basket of clean underwear

I didn’t think clean underwear was so scandalous, but a room of squealing first graders begged to differ.

Best thing I did with my cats outside the book: Animate them!

Maybe even more than knitting, I love stop-motion animating my knitting. I want to make a whole animated version of the book! Or maybe a whole TV series of cats in containers? The possibilities are endless.

Other best thing I did with my cats outside the book: Put them all into a real-life display

The cats came out for Vogue Knitting Live in NYC this past January! It was so fun to see knitters react to them in person. It was a little less fun to disappoint everyone with the news that there are not patterns for these particular cats. But…

Next plans for these cats: patterns!

Yes, I will make patterns for at least some of the cats in Catside. In the meantime, I have plenty of patterns for other cats, including a free one! Stay tuned for more!

Editors’ note:  To try your hand at knitting a tiny cat, check out Anna’s free pattern for Inside Cat bookmarks on Squee-ow!

About The Author

Anna Hrachovec is a designer and artist who is obsessed with knitting little toys and bringing them to life through stop-motion animation. She named her woolly world Mochimochi Land after learning to knit in Japan, which is also where she fell in love with squishy, adorable, delicious mochi.


  • Omg! I love this behind the scenes for your book! I bought one around Christmas and made 2 flat cats to stick inside for my grandkiddos .
    The book is great! I even had them act out some of the prepositions!
    I have followed your Instagram for a long time too!
    Thanks again for this great article!

  • Just purchased the book for my granddaughter, who adores kitties. 🙂

    • On my desk I keep a big jar filled with many knitted projects from Anna’s patterns. It is a jar full of cheer.

  • These are so cute! Congrats on the book. I am going to purchase it

  • Love your cats. I will have to get busy knitting some for my daughters and granddaughter. And get the book for my granddaughter!

  • These are fantastic! As a crazy cat lady, I think these are the best!

  • My friend’s daughter loves the book. My husband the copy editor (and grammar lover ) also loves the book. I see many more animal/grammar pairings in the future.

  • Would make an awesome Field Guide! My daughter made me one of her tiny chickens and Pink Chicken (knitted in hot pink yarn) has traveled all over with me.

    • Agreed. Also think it would make an awesome zoom class similar to the gnomes. Love my kitties.

    • I agree wholeheartedly!!!

  • I love your creations and was excited to see your name in the intro. I’ll be sure to get your darling book for my cat-obsessed 5 yo granddaughter. Is also appropriate for this parts-of-speech-obsessed former English teacher. Those kitties need to diagram sentences!

    • They use i-cord for that (of course).

  • I teach a class for parents of preschoolers. When we talk about “position words” (prepositions) to them, it’s surprisingly in the “math and reasoning” part. Grammatically they’re prepositions, but kids are really learning the LOGIC of objects that are in, out, around, and under when they first come to understand the meaning of these words.

    Your book is adorable!

  • So much fun! The animation is great, my favorite is the cat in the bag. And the very last piece, of a person with all those cats all over them…just like me!!

  • Love love love this. Thank you for sharing the behind the scenes look at the book, and for showing off your adorable kitties.
    No grandkids on the horizon yet so I’ll have to wait for the pattern book

  • Love the stop-motion video! That’s so freaking adorable! Will definitely order the book for the World’s Cutest Nephew.

  • I’ve made a bunch of the bookmarks. They’re super fun!! Everyone loves them 🙂

  • Thanks for giving us a behind the scenes tour of your delightful book! Your patterns just make me smile! I’ve made multiple cats from your Ghostie Cat pattern and everyone loves them. I have plans to make more of your patterns and just ordered my second book from you. Thanks for sharing your wonderful creativity with us! I promise to keep sharing the love in the form of cute little knitted gifts.

  • Would love to get your cat knit book. My daughter loves them. Please let my know how to get it. Thanks

    • Wherever books are sold, including!

  • Please, a Field Guide with Anna. She’s so talented! I have a bunch of her books and will buy this book to keep in the gift closet.

  • Anna, my great-grandchildren are crazy about your knitted treasures,, I think they take after me! They are so much fun to make! This new book is, excuse me I can’t resist, the “cat’s pajamas.”

    Yes, a Field Guide, please!

  • As cat lover, knitter, and former primary school teacher I loved previewing your book on preposition cats! What a creative fun way of teaching impottant, but dull grammar rules. A great gift for a kindergarten or first grade teacher.

  • Your execution and technique are absolutely equaled by your humor and creativity!! And the details!–confetti in the limbo scene (isn’t that “under”?), handle on the toilet–so much thought.
    “Cats pajamas” indeed.

    • AND that X-ray set up!! Might be my favorite, with crumbs on the plate.

  • Oh, yes! A Field Guide with Anna would be the best! LOVE the kitties, and all of the Mochimochi designs.

  • Bought the book for my granddaughter and made a cat in a bag to go with it!

  • What a delightful book and I love your creativity with these happy kitties! What a fun adventure to start on! ❤️‍⬛

  • Those cats are so cute. I want to make one!

  • I am working on your Squeezable Kingdom pattern from Knit Stars and I have purchased this book for my granddaughter. But what made me respond to you is that I have the exact same granite in my kitchen. I just love it. We must be related!

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