Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'm working on my help_haiti commissions.  The winning bidder for both lots asked for something like these in black and white and with two different texts.

(I don't know how legible that picture of the pattern actually is, but scanning graph paper sucks.)

These aren't going to be getting the signal bars on the sides (that was a possibility, but the bidder likes them as is), so tomorrow they're going to be ironed and sent off to Australia.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I don't care what anybody says: Kirk's green wrap around shirt will always be the captain's fat day shirt to me.

When Kristen first saw this, she read it as "FAT DAD" and my mother couldn't seem to read it at all.  So either Sparkle Text has finally failed me, or there's some sort of genetic defect in the family.

I'd been planning to make these for awhile, but I had to put it on hold (and hide ESCALATOR) while I was working on the Old Man's Christmas present.

As you can see, I was much more..."creative" in my framing of FAT DAY.  Which is in no way related to "cutting the fabric like a moron."  Because it is a completely artistic choice.  That represents a very meaningful allegory.

I haven't decided what I'm going to do with my red shirts yet, but I am happy to know that the x'ed out eyes read well in person.

I was going to backstitch Yeoman Rand's epic space-weave, but that worked much better on paper than on actual fabric.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

This week's project is finishing Space CART, my help_haiti commission, and working on pot holders for Etsy.  Once Space CART's done I'm going to send it with some picture books that Kristen doesn't want for Kirkspock.  (What's really depressing is that when this kid is actually born and has a real name, I'm going to have a hell of a time not calling him Kirkspock)

As you can see, I've made so much progress on Space CART that it should be ready by the time Young Master Carter heads off to college.

More on my help_haiti commission once I actually get it started.  I've gotten a fairly detailed request and sent a scan of the pattern I made this afternoon.

Let me tell you, internet, red pencil on graph paper does not make for a nice looking scan.  Especially when it's nothing but backstitched letters.

With the pot holders, I have a conundrum: I'm going to cross stitch a design on them, then felt them.  What the hell do I do about the backs?

Here's an example.  This is the back of a Special Valentine Present for My Special Valentine, Kendra.

This particular pot holder isn't being felted--the white yarn is Lion Wool-Ease, so it'll presumably hold up to the fierce wilderness of the dryer.  Well, it would, except the red yarn is Paton's Wool and will shrink.

As I learned from my Trekkie But Not Up To Trekker Standards Pot Holder, do not add any backstitch before felting.  It shrivels up, looks like crap, and members of your family shame you adding a Command catch phrase to a Science colored pot holder.  Which means that crocheting two squares, crocheting them together, and then felting the whole thing isn't really a viable option (and sounds like a potential mold farm anyway).

For personal use--and impulse gifts to my brother-in-law--I don't really give a crap about the back.  And I could probably trim this down a bit, but it's never going to be as nice as the front.  Which is why it's the back.

On the other hand, I didn't buy these.  If you bought something like this, how important would the back be to you?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Kicking ascot

This winter, I have been abusing the hell out of this scarf pattern.  I've made three in three different colors of Lion Brand Microspun (which is soft, but very slippery when you're actually working with it), one in Paton's Wool for Kristen (who hopefully remembers not to put it in the dryer), and one in Vanna's Glamour Sapphire for my mother's birthday.

Zoot is modeling the one I'm still working on for myself. Well, maybe myself--I don't know if I really like the way the yarn feels.  I think everything except Kristen's scarf is acrylic, but this one's much coarser.

I first tried the pattern because I had leftover yarn and, being confident and not good at math, figured that the One Ball Scarf would totally work for what was left after two potholders.  (I bought the yarn with Kristen in mind, but when stealthily asking her opinion she said it was pretty, but she'd prefer the brighter option for her kitchen.  So, Claire got potholders, Kristen got a scarf.)

I assume anyone who actually cares about the pattern should just register at Lion Brand anyway, but I do enjoy a bit of minor, extremely lame piracy:

Chain 30.
Row 1: Double crochet in 6th chain from hook, *skip next chain, chain 1, double crochet in next chain; repeat from * across ending with double crochet in last chain.
Row 2: Chain 4 (counts as first double crochet and chain 1), turn. *Skip next chain-1 space, double crochet in next double crochet, chain 1, repeat from * across ending with double crochet into last double crochet.
Repeat Row 2 until almost all yarn has been used. Fasten off.

For some reason I decided that it was "Chain 31", so that's why your scarf is horrible and bad.  I also found that you want to end your rows by double crocheting in the chain (second from the top seems to work well), then chain 4, skip the dc you just made, and then start the row (otherwise it starts getting weird).  

Hopefully that makes sense to anyone actually attempting it at home.

The pattern appears a few more times on the Lion Brand site--there's another version under Vanna's Glamour and there's one for Microspun.  The Flower Scarf for Microspun yarn involves adding dippy little flowers, and I'm kind of skeptical that you'd be able to get the scarf long enough and make the flowers using only one ball--but then I made mine slightly wider (ch 31 instead of 22), so what do I know?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010


Why is it that whenever I see patterns like these, I immediately think, "Mischief"?

I mean, normal people look at these and probably think, "How cute!  I could use these to express my love!"  And I wonder "Wouldn't it be hilarious if I mailed people embroidered conversation hearts that said 'U GOT AIDS' and 'SYPHILIS'?"

Friday, January 8, 2010

12 Days of Christmas gifts--Blue and Bronze (or Silver) edition

Jamel loves the Harry Potter series.  So, last year I made her a towel with the Ravenclaw crest on it.

I modified a Little Mojo pattern to fit the stitching space of a Charles Craft showcase huck towel, added a second color, and of course forgot to take a picture of the finished piece before I gave it to her.  (Little Mojo's site vanished earlier in 2009, but I think most of the charts are still available at The Leaky Cauldron. )

Naturally this created a problem: how the hell do I equal that?

Jamel also likes purple, and I've been playing around with wool felting this fall.  In the foreground you can see the gift for Tammy, my karate instructor (I assumed she likes blue since that's the color of her sparring equipment and usually her toenail polish), and a slightly larger version for Jamel.

I also made her a little Uhura magnet.  (Based on previous experience, Jamel will probably assume it's because she's black when actually it's because I think she would make an excellent telephone operator.)

Then it occurred to me: I should totally get Jamel a Snuggie and put a Ravenclaw crest on it so when she's lounging around the house, she can pretend she's at Hogwart's instead of law school.

As I was researching the best way to do this (online Ravenclaw crest price comparisons, the cost of making my mom attach something to a store bought Snuggie versus making my mom sew a Snuggie then attach something to it), I saw the Facebook status post you always want to see while planning a project like this: someone else bought Jamel a Hogwart's Snuggie.

So, it was back aboard the Lion Brand Microspun Yarn Scarf train.  (Basically, everybody either got a scarf or potholders this Christmas.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Gifts--Slice of Fried Gold

I decided that this year would be the year I actually pretended I was capable of sending my UK friends a Christmas gift before January.

To the left is Mike's gift.  It's a line from Spaced, but even people who aren't fans of the show seem to be quite taken with it.  And I assumed I'd have to explain why I was sending a platonic friend a reminder about laundry/intimate hygiene.

Like an idiot, I completely forgot to take a picture of Ed's gift before I wrapped it.  Among other things, Ed is gay for Dr. Who, so I found a cross stitched Dalek online and made my own pattern.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Gifts--Baby on Board

Thanks to the magic of scheduled posting, I can talk about people's Christmas gifts without ruining any surprises.

This fall I managed to pick up a lot of baby craft stuff since both a cousin and a friend were expecting.   Since I got a great deal on a pattern book (Ben Franklin's 90% off summer clearance was very good to me), I figured I could make a Christmas gift for Taylor (cousin's baby, born on 9/9/09).

This is all straight from the pattern except for some of the blues.  I think at this point I already own most of DMC's purples, and I just needed to get a few skeins to cover all the pinks.

Since this'll be the third thing Taylor would get from me, I figured I should make something for Taylor's first cousin Carter.  Since Carter's going to be two in January, that ruled out most baby patterns, and I figured I'd give him a few years before actively pushing DC Superheroes.  (I think based on movie and cartoon releases, the boys in my extended family seem to prefer Marvel)

I thought "space" would be a good compromise.  This is from the same book as Taylor's Nursery Rhyme alphabet.  The book also has a dinosaur alphabet, but I thought the repeating letters/dinosaurs would be too boring.

CARTER was put on hold for the Christmas Sweatshop since I wouldn't be seeing those family members.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Gifts--867-5309


My cousin Jenny's always been a Star Wars fan (god willing the new trilogy hasn't changed that), so I'm making her this Yoda saying.  And even if George Lucas's Search for More Money killed that love, I think the saying fits her personality pretty well. 

The original (to the left, to the left) is by krupp

One of the first things I did was look up what color Yoda's light saber is.  Because if you're doing a hand-made nerd gift you found on the internet, you might as well go full nerd.

All of my learnings suggested that Yoda has a green light saber, and I'll be damned if I'm going to sit through Episodes 1 through 3 again.  The light saber beam is being stitched with one strand 703, one strand E703.  120 stitches.

I hate working with metallics.  They get tangled up constantly, and even when they're blended with regular floss they're an incredible pain in the ass.  If you get something from me that has metallic floss, it means I love you.  Or my artistic vision made me forget how much I hate metallics.

I also decided to change the letters to two shades of blue that I've got around for my recoloring of Octopus's Garden.  For something like this, I'm on my own for colors.  The pattern is basically just the big version of that picture, so I've got to either try to do my best match (Yoda himself) or go off on my own.

And here's the finished version.  I thought about trying to give Yoda a face, but then I remembered that I hate French knots.

Friday, January 1, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Gifts--Clone Wars

Growing up, my father made it clear that there were three people who deserved our unwavering respect: James Bond, Captain James T. Kirk, and Superman.  There are some exceptions since James Bond is only considered infallible in his Sean Connery incarnation, and we do not respect Kirk's hair as it is considered a separate entity.

(My views on Superman are considered heresy.)

And since all three of these characters appear in Minipop form, that pretty much settled it (especially since there's also Indiana Jones, Columbo, and the main characters of Seinfeld)

Through the magic of gchat, I called Kristen in for Star Trek color consultation.  Other than 666 for red shirt red, we couldn't really agree on anything.  And when I actually made a Kirk, I completely ignored my own previous suggestions for shirt and skin color.

For the Trek section, as of 11/11 I'm still trying to decide whether to do Scotty or a dead Red Shirt.  I may start working on Bond and do a little test Red Shirt.  The deciding factor will be whether or not I can make X's for eyes read well.

Since I found two DC Comics cross stitch books on eBay, the Superman colors were basically a freebie.

12/15--Ten crafting days left, and I still haven't decided if it's Scotty or a red shirt.  James Bond was the quickest one (really only two colors since the white of his shirt is unstitched fabric).  I attempted to drive myself nuts figuring out the colors for Indiana Jones before I decided that the pixel artist had already done the hard part--making it look like Indiana Jones--so as long as I didn't give him a pink jacket or something, it would look like Indiana Jones.

I know it's Superman, but I feel like he's too damn tall.

Here's the finished group shot, and then some detail shots of Star Trek and Seinfeld.  I didn't realize it until I'd started Jerry that the Seinfeld characters have two spaces between them and the Trek guys are only one space apart.

Despite Kristen's dire predictions, there was no comment about the fact that Mr. Bond is hatless.  Kristen did remind me that she'd suggested Uhura, and I'd told her "no girls in space".  Which is probably something I would say.  I should probably have listened to Kristen instead of creating "Line of White Guys (and Elaine)".

Having done this, I think the thing I'm most impressed with is how a bunch of little squares looks like Jerry Seinfeld.  (Which is more the work of the pixel artist than anything I did)