Friday, February 25, 2011

Presenting Ms. Padma Primavera, a Perplexing Pachyderm.

Finished just this morning (and yay for the I have to finish this in time to post about it! effect of FO Fridays), here is my Padma the Spring-Bringing Elephant, no longer a sandcastle!  And with her accessories---a fake rose, crocheted by me, and some real tulips, provided by Trader Joe's.  She's made from this lovely pattern by Dawn Toussaint, whose patterns I've admired but hadn't tried yet.  I'll definitely be trying more in the future, because this one was so wonderful to make.  Well before this one was finished, I was already thinking ooh, what colour should the next one be?  (I'm not sure there really will be a next one unless I have someone specific in mind to make it for, but you get the point.)

The construction of this pattern was different than any ami I've done before, everything---the legs, the trunk, the ears---was attached with single crochets as the body was worked rather than being sewn together at the end.  Since my sewing skills aren't great, this resulted in an easier (and much neater-looking) finished product, which was happy-making.

So far, her spring-bringing powers are sort of working---it's well above freezing here today, and we got enough rain this morning to deplete the remaining piles of snow a lot, which is more than enough progress to make me want to go skip around the block singing a jaunty springtime song. 

A big part of what attracted me to this pattern (which I found just clicking around other people's favourites on Ravelry, total serendipity!) was the curled-up trunk, which I thought was the sweetest thing ever.  I'm not sure Ms. Padma is 100% finished, she may at some point acquire a felt patch or some beads or embroidery.  

Check out other people's finished (or just fiber-y) objects at Finished Object Friday and Fibers on Friday.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This Week's Accidental Theme: Green!

...Possibly brought on by my intense longing for spring.  First, here's my crocheted sandcastle!  ...Except that it's really an elephant-to-be, upside down.  I didn't mean for Ms. Sandcastlelephant to be striped, but I didn't think I'd have enough of the lime green, so I figured it was better to put in an intentional stripe in the middle than out of lime green and have to put in another colour at a random place nearer to the end.  Hopefully this will be more elephantine on Friday, at which point I'll link to the pattern I'm using, which I'm really enjoying.  It's a different kind of construction than I've used for amis before, and so far, so good.

I bought this fun, soft chunky yarn (which is not at all the colour in this photo, maybe I'll manage to find some better light when these have acheived FO status) on sale a while ago, thinking of fingerless gloves.  Then I thought briefly of (and started) a cowl, based on a Ravelry pattern called "A Day at Hogsmeade cowl."  I decided against the cowl, but by then I was already in a Harry Potter mood, so I dubbed these the "I'm Failing Potions Fingerless Gloves."  (I would totally suck at Potions.  Professor Snape would scare me and I'm terrible at things that require precise measuring.)

A slightly better idea of what the yarn looks like.  I'm combining a pattern I found on Ravelry with the construction of some fingerless gloves I've made and liked before, and while the finger-bits are a bit wonky (and I have to get around to trying to fix them before it gets dark again...), I like them so far.  The chunky yarn works up so quickly, and they're really bulky and warm and kind of silly looking.  Whether I can manage to make the second one remotely symmetrical to the first promises to be a hilarious adventure.

Check out everyone else's projects-in-progress at WIP Wednesday at Tami's Amis!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Critters, Hats, and One Very Small Cauldron.

Presenting...bunny-mochi! (And one lucky tri-colour kitty-mochi, because I learned from autumngeisha that in the Vietnamese zodiac, this is the Year of the Cat rather than the Year of the Rabbit.)  Mochi are rice cakes, and they're usually sort of dome-shaped, so I decided to make some easy ami dome shapes and give them ears and tails and polymer clay eyes (which ended up a little too big and buggy, which is what happens when you make one piece for a project without the other pieces on hand to make sure the sizes will match...)

These mochi are having a party for the Lantern Festival, the end of the Lunar New Year festivities, so I made them some little paper lanterns and took them outside to party in front of the just-beginning-to-sprout daffodils. (Which are surrounded, sadly, by piles of dirty, icy snow, but it's melting slowly.  There's hope!)

And here's the last batch of baby hats, which are hopefully all getting tagged and boxed up and mailed tomorrow.

I also finally wove in the ends on my not-a-baby-hat.  If I make another one, I'll make the brim smaller, this is a little too baseball-hat-brim for me, which is what I get for finishing it at night when I couldn't really see what it looked like.

This was a tiny, silly project that went out to someone on Swap-Bot, a little cauldron pincushion.  I crocheted the pieces and wet felted them, and then needle felted on the coloured steam.  (Which was actually a happy accident---I was trying to needle felt some bubbles and ended up liking the wispy, steamy-looking reverse side of the piece better, so I sewed it into the cauldron wrong side up.)

...I finished more stuff this week than I thought!  I made a little Valentine's heart (from this awesome FreshStitches pattern) and an octopus from this pattern, which I've used and adapted a ton and love to pieces.  This little guy was auctioned off to benefit the Trevor Project and will be on his way to Australia soon.

Go see other people's Friday pretties at FO Friday and Fibers on Friday!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Year of the Rabbit, part I.

I was hoping to debut this guy for last week's FO Friday, being that Thursday marked the first day of the Year of the Rabbit, but he sadly wasn't finished.  Luckily, the Lunar New Year Festival goes on for a couple weeks, so I'm still technically on time.  (And I have more New Year projects that are just shy of finished, so hopefully they can squeak---or hop---in next week.)

This guy was a joint project.  I did the bunny-making, and my mom was nice enough to make him a festive kimono and obi.  (My sewing skills are basically nonexistant.  I have to work on that this year.) 

In a lot of Asian folklore, the shadows and shapes created by the moon's craters are seen as a rabbit in the moon, which I love.  (I adore bunnies, which is probably why I decided to semi-celebrate Lunar New Year this year, despite my complete lack of any Asian heritage whatsoever.)  In Japan, the moon-rabbit is pounding rice into flour to make rice cakes, so I equipped my lunar-bunny with a mortar and pestle for his photoshoot.

I wanted something a little bit realistic-rabbit-ish instead of just a bunny with a sphere for a head, so I used the basic head/ears proportions from this cute bunny pattern (that's a Ravelry link) as a starting point, but I did it in half-size since I like everything small.  The head took a few frog-and-restarts before I got it looking bunny-ish instead of too snouty and ratty.  The body and arms/feet are all just super-basic cylinder shapes.  It's been a while since I've done a semi-scultptural ami like this, and it was a lot of fun.  Especially since I managed to get him to sit up steadily with only a few dried pinto beans stuffed into the bottom of his body.  (I made his eyes out of polymer clay, and sometimes polymer clay bits can make these things really wobbly and top-heavy and hard to get balanced.)

The big bunny feet help with the steady balancing, too.

(Go see other people's awesome projects at Finished Object Friday and Fibers on Friday.)