Friday, June 24, 2011

In Which I Have the Sudden Urge to Watch "The Craft"...

After way too much ado, please say hello to Peaches, the Goth Bunny.  (My mom named her at random, and somehow it just...stuck, right away.)  My third critter so far from this pattern, which resembles the pattern less and less with each iteration...

Like many newly-minted goths, Peaches is into candles, Edgar Allan Poe, and hanging out near construction materials.  (Bricks are so gritty and badass, don't you think?) 


The details of her outfit came together surprisingly well, and were an indecent amount of fun.  My late grandmother's stash of lace binding tape came in handy, and I made this little skull bead out of polymer clay. 


My definition of "goth" always involves a little glitter, so in addition to the Red Heart Sparkle I used for the red half of her dress, her cuff bracelet, and the dress's picot trim, I made a little bow with it and added a teeny tiny tulle bustle, which photographed horribly.

Her eyeliner is a little asymmetrical, but such are the perils of being goth. This is my second attempt at felt eyelids around safety eyes, and I'm pretty pleased with them.  (Peaches is clearly a dwarf hotot bunny---they have natural eyeliner!)

And also, because it's been receieved safely in England, yay!, the paper-piecing ATC I was working on last week.

I started it with the intention of doing a realistic Venus flytrap, but I didn't have a reference photo, and "realistic" isn't really my specialty anyway, so it got Little Shop of Horrors pretty fast.  Feed me, Seymour! 

Check out what everyone else has been up to this week over at FO Friday. :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Different FO Friday Than I Was Expecting.

Sadly, I can't debut Ms. Goth Bunny today, because she's still in pieces!  (But I'm hoping against hope to finish her tomorrow in time for Toy Challenge Week...)
I can, however, introduce Slightly-Psychedelic Cheerleader Kanga-Ninni!


(She can easily un-cheerlead, because her pom-poms are just safety pinned on.)  I made her for my first-ever swap over at Craftster, and since (a) I finished her on Sunday afternoon and (b) she is now safely arrived at her new home, she totally counts as an FO for this week and can now be shared! 


I went with a simple geometric-patterned fabric for the front piece, because I wanted something that wouldn't detract from the face, but I went busier/cuter on the back with some buggy-print flannel.  It was surprisingly nice to have something so soft as part of this plushie, it totally made the stuffing-and-embellishing process more fun just because I loved the feel of it in my hands as I worked.  (...Real fabric.  It's softer than making amigurumis with cheap yarn!  This shouldn't have been a surprise.)



I couldn't resist adding some crochet, though, so I made her a little rainbow pocket-pouch out of a modified motif from Beyond the Square, and then embellished it with some layered buttons.  I've been noticing and liking the whole "layered buttons" thing on Etsy and the online crafting world in general, but I'd never tried it myself.  So far, so good. :D



I also couldn't resist going a little nuts with the face---the original pattern/tutorial had instructions about embroidering/appliqueing on the eyes and mouth, but I wanted something zanier and more 3-D for the eyes, so I made these goofy asymmetrical polymer clay buttons. 


And while I was baking clay stuff anyway, I made up this Angry Bead to go along in the the kangaroo pouch.  (My swap partner was an Angry Birds fan, I swear!  This is not just part of my weird obsession with crafting these birds.)


And this is the awesome ninni-monster I got in return!  This probably counts as a bad picture since the amazing summer-greens of the fabric blend in with the background, but I am in love with the fact that my monster?  Is a Summer Ninja. 

I'm not sure if I'm going to get all long-term crazy about fabric plush-making the way I am about amigurumi, but this was a fun little foray, and I'm definitely planning to make at least one more fabric plush to send to this dolly drive for the children of Japan---I love the idea of practicing new skills for a good cause.

Other links to check out:  the ninni-monster swap gallery on Craftster, because oh wow is that site full of amazingly talented people!  The variations and customisations that people made on this one simple pattern are kind of awe-inspiring.  And, of course, FO Friday is always full of beautiful yarny inspiration and things to ooh over.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Weirdness and Whimsy, In Progress.


I'm happy that a few of you awesome people were intrigued by the idea of Goth Bunny.  Here she is, caught in an unfortunate state of amigurumi infancy where she resembles neither goth nor bunny.  I'm hoping to get her finished as part of CraftyClare's Toy Challenge Week.  I know that this is actually doable, the crocheting on this pattern is simple and fast, but the sewing always gets me...

And speaking of that, a project that I know is going to hibernate forever because of the sewing.  I watched Despicable Me the other night (I thought it was pretty adorable, and had some seriously cool-looking and clever graphic design/animation going on).  I will admit that half the reason I checked it out was because I'd seen some cool patterns for crocheted Minions, and I figured before I made one, I'd better see what these things actually were.  And while I thought the Minions were cute (although I know I would have appreciated them a lot more if I were still like, eight years old and thus in the movie's actual target demographic...) what really caught my imagination was the moment when Steve Carrell (who has some serious voiceover skills! A+!) uttered the phrase tiny robots disguised as cookies.

I'm not like, in love with robots, so I'm not sure why this grabbed me so hard, but basically the second I heard the words, I was reaching for my crochet hooks and my skein of Red Heart Super Saver in Buff.


So here are the cookie-robots-to-be in chocolate chip (please imagine that I've already appliqued the chips on) and Generic Sandwich Cookie flavours.  I made these up while I finished watching the movie, and now comes the part where they sit around for weeks while I debate the best and most interesting ways to make them robot-y.  I was kind of disappointed by the appearance of the actual cookie-robots in the movie.  I loved that they had segmented legs, but I was confused by the fact that they also had like...little metal cylinders topped with hats.  Mine are not going to have hats.


I made a post yesterday about my International Yarnbombing Day, but I am so not done yarnbombing.  This tea box is full of a yarnbomb that I'm kind of excited about, a nature-themed garland I'm planning to hang at a local wildlife refuge that I really love.  I don't know how best to assemble the pieces onto the garland, though, and I may have to make a trip there to measure before I do...


I'm also working on a mysterious (the recipient may be reading this! I must be stealthy!) little paper-piecing project that's turning out much better than I expected, which is always the best possible surprise.

And another WIP---buckwheat-onion rolls that I have to go punch down and prepare for their second rise right now.   Go see other people's stuff-in-progress over at WIP Wednesday while I do.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bombs Away!


Saturday---International Yarnbombing Day!---dawned damp and chilly and occasionally-raining here, so I didn't get as much cheerful-yarnthing-sharing done as I wanted.  I still have a couple tags (one which is still in progress...) to put up at some point in the future.  I did, however, go to a nature preserve near my house to put up my motif-tag on a convenient birch tree.  I love birch trees.


While I was there with a yarn needle hung on a necklace, I got to fix up an older tag that I put up last Earth Day.



This tag had gotten all stretched out from a year and change in the elements, so I cinched it up in the back (creating the hilarious streeetched look on the front---and actually, this tag is my first-ever granny square attempt, using a tiny granny square from a vintage dog-sweater pattern book, weirdly enough).

I decided to leave a little love on a stop sign as I was walking home, but I knew I needed to measure the stop sign pole.  I sadly (despite my mom's good example) don't travel with a measuring tape, so I used my headphones!  I wrapped them around the pole, and put the little slidey-tangle-prevention-piece at about the right place so I'd know how long to make the foundation chain for the tag.


I  used the first two rounds of this ever-popular heart garland pattern from Skip to My Lou for the heart, and made the tag itself in big sloppy double crochets because I was in a hurry! 


Before heading out (in the dead of night! Very exciting.) to attach this, I decided that I should do just one more, since three is a much better number than two, and whipped up a cute little rainbow flower.  I was just going to hang it somewhere random, and then I remembered seeing two little girls running a lemonade stand in their driveway a couple weekends ago, and decided to leave it at their house.


The idea of bringing something weird and random and hopefully slightly-magical to them just made me really happy.  Imagining the stories of other people's lives has always been something that makes my brain hum like a happy little steam engine, I guess stemming from how much fiction I've always read, and it was cool to leave this and imagine these girls finding it and wondering where it came from.

You should definitely check out the projects shared in the International Yarnbombing Day group on Ravelry, or the flickr pool to see some of the amazing, inspiring art that made its way into the world on Saturday.  I keep finding myself leaving comments that go "I wish I lived near you so I could walk by this every day!!" 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday's Finishedness, Heat Wave Edition.

Say hello to Lilac Cat, made from the same pattern as Berry Bear from back in April.  I started her with visions of she and Berry Bear being posed in an adorable tea party setup, except that due to yarn differences, they're hilariously disparate in size.  I still love this pattern, and I loved it even more when I wasn't trying to do it in brushable-fluff yarn---it went so much faster.

And then I didn't feel like sewing her together for uh, weeks, and finally---yay for FO Friday!---sat down and assembled her yesterday.  I had this weird moment as I was putting the lace trim on her dress where I was like what am I doing? ...I'm sewing decorative lace on a cat's dress.  I decided to think of that as a good thing.  Next variation on this pattern: possibly a goth bunny. 

I'm happy to say that Cherry the Haphazardly-Dyed Trilobite has now acheived her life's purpose---to be the tassel on a trilobite-themed bookmark for a Swap-Bot swap!   The bookmark itself is my needle-felting project from Wednesday, and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.  When I started shaping the trilobite, I realized that what I was going to end up with (whether I liked it or not) was something sort of simple and petroglyph-looking, so I decided to go with it and did the spiral sun and abstract water-y lines. 

Here's what Cherry looks like peeking out of a book.  (She likes reading about fossils, it makes her feel at home.)

Cherry also briefly acquired a new sibling, Berry, who has already departed for her new home with the person who bought Rock Lobster.  These trilobites are kind of dangerous, they just...multiply.  I have another one drying right now...


Tomorrow is International Yarnbombing Day, which I had Great Plans to do all kinds of cool stuff for...except that I thought it was in late June, not tomorrow.  So here's my one yarnbomb-to-be so far, which will hopefully be gracing a tree somewhere tomorrow.   I started this motif solely to take a photo of myself crocheting, and fell in love with the motif.  I think the openness of it will look nice against a tree, inspired by the most amazing yarnbombed rainbow-spiderweb tree ever.

Go see what other fibery amazingness everyone is up to at FO Friday and Fibers on Friday!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In Which I Am Semi-Defeated by a Small Sweater.

So I picked up this cute little toddler sweater at a yard sale, thinking that I liked the stripey colours and it would be a good candidate for a first Reclaimed Yarn project.  I'll unravel the sweater and crochet something cool, like a striped owl, I thought.

Suuuuure you will, cooed the sweater evilly. 

Having never unravelled a sweater before, I didn't think to look at the seams until I consulted a tutorial about how to unravel a sweater...

...and alas.  The sweater is not, as I'd stupidly assumed, made from variegated yarn, but from a billion different coloured yarns tied together at the ends of the rows with knots.  :|  So now, instead of reclaimed yarn, I have...a small amount of cute striped cloth that happens to be in a sweater shape?  Which isn't useless, I might try to make a plush from the sleeves and maybe a little purse from the body.  But I wanted yarn.  Lesson re: buying sweaters to unravel before checking if they're unravel-able?  Learned.

In things-that-were-more-successful news, I tried needle felting a design onto commercially produced wool felt yesterday, and am kind of in love with the process.  It's almost like drawing, there's so much more control over colour and shape than with needle felting onto crochet, or onto the surface of another needle-felted pieceThe photo above is the back side of the piece (which is going to be a bookmark for a Swap-Bot swap) I made.  Once I figure out the best way to reinforce it, it can be on its way, and should be showing up right-side-visible on Friday.

In the way of more annoyingly-mysterious swap-related business, here's my Craftster-swap monster, held up by Annoying Sewing Bits.


...Same goes for this amigurumi.  I'm putting this photo up in hopes that it will spur me on to finish it for Friday.

And my food-in-progress, the sprouting adzuki beans.  I like how the leaves on the sprouts look like tiny mermaid tails.  I may declare this a finished object tonight and throw them in a salad and do another batch of lentils---these are pretty, but the lentils had a much better sprout-to-bean ratio and sprouted faster.  What I really want to try next is some alfalfa, the photo of alfalfa sprouts on the tutorial I used is so pretty.

As always, WIP Wednesday is awesome. :D  Go share in the awesomeness!

Friday, June 3, 2011

We were at the beach! Everybody had matching towels!

Meet Rock Lobster.  (I couldn't resist naming him after the insane song, which is also the source of the title for this post.)  He turned out a little differently than the pattern pictures, I think because when I sewed his legs on, I did this weird kind of...cinching thing that pulled the front half of the body up so he's looking upward.

I like it, I think it gives him personality.  (Personality that says I can't believe you photographed me in a colander!  I'm sorry, Rock Lobster.  I won't put you in any more cooking vessels.)  I also added the antennae, which I made by just crocheting a chain with two strands---the yarn I made him in (which is Caron Simply Soft Paints in Spring Brook, since venividivoom asked) and a strand of very fine wire so that the antennae would be shapeable.  This was my first crocheting-with-wire attempt, and for once I started a new technique with something simple enough that it worked out well and didn't make me all flustered.

And here's the bitty-shawl, a really easy little pattern from Caron.  I was happy that I hadn't lost all the treble-crochet mojo I built up doing that billion-rows-of-treble-crochet market bag back in December---my hands still remembered how to do it!  This was a good TV-crocheting project, since it was just a two-row repeat.  It may, in fact, be called the Televised Science Shawl, because it was made mostly while watching Bones and season three of Eureka.

I'm still not convinced that I'm a shawl-wearer (I'm also convinced maybe I should actually try to part my hair down the back with a comb if I'm going to wear it in two buns, yikes.), but it was a fun thing to make.  It may need some embellishing yet---my initial instinct was to adorn it with a felted skull and crossbones, since it's piratey colours, but then it wouldn't be washable anymore...

All of the fantastic Hitchhiker shawls I've been ogling on your blogs on Wednesdays and Fridays are making me look at this one and think but why hasn't it got POINTY EDGING, so maybe some googling about crochet edgings is in order.

Finally, meet Cherry the Haphazardly Dyed Trilobite.  I made her in off-white Fisherman's Wool, and then popped her in a little dye bath of Wilton's icing dye in brown (along with the teeny hank of yarn encircling her in the photo, because why waste a good dye bath?).  The brown was coming out too light and orange for me, so I added a little blue.  Too much blue, as it turned out, so I scrambled for the red, and sadly, some of it splashed directly onto Cherry's back half as I tipped it into the saucepan, hence her name.  (Her full name is Queen Anne's Cherry Cordial.)

You can see the silly colour unevenness better in this photo of Cherry drying on my laundry line.

See what other people have been finishing (or just working on) this week at FO Friday and Fibers on Friday. :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

This Week's WIPs: Mostly Offscreen.


Wait, today is Wednesday?  Memorial Day weekend totally threw me off.  I don't really have a lot of interesting showable WIPs today.  The bitty-shawl is so close to finished, just the edging left to go, which I hope to get done tonight, but it's not worth photographing again in the meantime, I don't think.  And I have a plush-to-be that I'm really excited about, but that probably won't be ready until I order some safety eyes, and as soon as I post this I'm going to go start on something needle felted, I hope...

After the mostly-successful test run, I'm working on another Ninni-Monster for a Craftster swap, and even though the monster itself will be a sewn-from-fabric plush (...which I need to cut out today!), I can't resist adding in some crochet and possibly polymer clay details.  The above photo is part of my modifying-a-motif process to do that.

I'm also working on a lobster, who is mostly finished except for some tedious yarn-end-weaving-in and the application of his eyes and possibly some antennae that I'm still toying with how to construct.  (Wire?  Yarn dipped in fabric stiffener?)


So here's his tail-end.  I put him in a colander to take this because I'm sort of mean like that. 


This photo probably belongs with Friday's post, since it's a finished (and delicious, and already-eaten, yum) object---a lentil sprout salad (I definitely recommend that recipe, by the way) made with my very first batch of grown-in-a-jar-under-my-dining-room-table sprouts! 


So I started a second batch.  Not much to look at right now, just some damp adzuki beans in a jar, but I have high hopes. :)

Other people's WIPs today probably don't involve jars of damp beans, and you should go have a look over at WIP Wednesday!