Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I've been boldly going with this TNG sampler thing.  One of the most difficult parts for something like this is trying to figure out everybody's skin/hair.  Being accurate is less important than looking right.

For example: what color is Kirk's hair in the Original Series?  I always thought of it as a dark blond, like this or this.  And then I actually watched TOS.  Also, I learned that "hair" may not be an accurate term.

For this project, Troi and Geordi were probably the easiest.  Troi's hair is probably a dark brown (at least in most of the series.  More on that later), but when you look at it, you think of it as black.  A more accurate shade of dark brown hair on cross stitched Troi is going to look wrong, even if it's really closer to what you're seeing on the screen.

Figuring out brown hair is incredibly difficult.  There aren't very many options for realistic blond/e hair, and anything dark enough is generally just seen as "black".  But brown?  Especially for people being filmed under studio lights so they could have several different shades within one episode?  Some of whom are wearing wigs/hairpieces that aren't consistent from season to season?

There has been a lot of staring at screenshots.  For some characters, I usually start off with an idea of a few colors that might work, then search for screenshots and pick which one works the best.  When I got to Data, I realized I didn't have the slightest clue what his hair color actually is.  I ended up going with the same color as Riker.  Watching the show, I think I did the best possible job with Worf's hair...but his beard is too light.  I don't know if it's possible to take out those stitches without damaging the ones around them.

The most recent stuggle: what the hell color is Dr. Crusher's hair?  Knowing that she's a redhead doesn't help--her hair seems to vary from auburn to strawberry blonde.  Since TNG wasn't kind enough to have an animated series, I'm going with the action figure to spare my sanity.

Since the deadline's quickly approaching I would take this to work on before classes, but I don't think I'd be able to hear my school chums over the sound of how awesome I am.

I should get started on the backstitching even if I want to keep putting off the horrible, horrible metallic floss (and deciding if Data sparkles.  Which he so doesn't).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Life's a bitch--now so am I

So, here's where we were last time:

Making the eyeholes was a system of trial and error.  Mostly error.  I started each one individually, chaining about 30, and then single crocheting around until I had an oval of about the right size.  Sewing those onto the mask and to each other helped me get the right shape of the lower part of the face mask (Female Bat-family members tend to have masks that end above their nose.  Or at least the best known female Bat-family members do.)

If I do something like this again--and wouldn't it be great if I could pretend I don't need to make a mask for a different version of Catwoman?--I think I'd try crocheting the eyehole section onto the main mask (rather than doing it in pieces).  Or I'd make the eyeholes smaller.  With the size I ended up with, I needed to safety pin some excess fabric together over the bridge of my nose to try to get the shape right.  If I'd had time, I probably would've folded up the fabric directly over the eye and sewn that down for additional shaping.

As for the rest of it, I picked up the dress at H&M.  I'm sure it will come as a surprise to none of you that I've owned the boots for years.  And had to choose between these and two other, slightly less awesome pairs.  The whip is a cheap Party City prop.  If I'd needed to pick up any major pieces for my Rocky Horror outfit, I would probably have picked up something realer.  Which I'm sure is something you wanted to learn on my craft blog.
 While we're learning, comics writers will often incorrectly refer to Catwoman's whip as a cat o'nine tails, probably for the whole theme thing.

Despite a love of arts and crafts and costumes, this was only my second cobbled together costume (my last one was Comic Night Owl for Kristen's birthday.  It involved swim goggles, a towel around my neck, and a piece of felt bobby pinned to my head).  Although with Catwoman, one of the advantages of completely ignoring accuracy was that I didn't have to wrestle my way in and out of an unflattering unitard if I wanted to use the bathroom.  And the shoulder strap gave me a place to stick my prop cat.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It's-a me!

All of the pictures of my finished costume are on Kristen's camera, so here's the food I brought to Kendra's party.

Since Kendra is gay for Sonic the Hedgehog, I decided I was going to make Mario themed desserts.  And cupcakes are vaguely mushroom shaped.  Well, no, not really, but people like cupcakes, and I had green food coloring.

After using concentrated food dyes for some projects, going back to the liquid grocery store kind is miserable.  I need to just invest in a set of Wilton icing colors or start picking them up by the project.

This green is the result of mixing Regular Green and Neon Green food coloring until it looked right.  (Dying frosting is not really an exact science, no matter what the back of the food coloring box says about "parts" and Arabic numerals)

With one tube of Betty Crocker Writing Gel, you can decorate 12 1-Up mushrooms.  And after you've exhausted your one tube of white writing gel, you can turn to fun and exciting things like "rolling little balls of icing with that old tube you found in the cupboard.  And then, once you realize that Plan B is kind of awful, there's sprinkles!

My other vision was to make round sugar cookies into Mario coins.

Here's Kate's Old Fashioned Sugar Cookie Recipe:

  • Buy Place and Bake sugar cookies--not Slice and Bake.  You don't have time for that bullshit.
  • Drive home.
  • Open package.
  • Place cookies on cookie sheet.
  • Cook for 10 minutes at 350 degrees
Baking the cookies went well.  Coloring the frosting went well (mostly yellow with a little bit of red to get a golden color).  Making the cookies look like coins led to the sort of results I wish I could blame on a child because then it would be adorable.

So, naturally I made one Batman cookie and then decided that decorating cookies was for chumps.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I am the cat who walks by herself

Or: how to crochet yourself part of a knight costume! (with a tutorial that probably makes no sense to anyone else)

This year Kendra's ordering us to dress as our childhood heroes and/or failed Legends of the Hidden Temple contestants.  Kendra assumed I'd be coming as Catwoman from Batman: The Animated Series, and once she said that, I realized she was completely right.

I've had Green Elevator's Black Kitty Hat pattern on my bookmarks forever (okay, probably when I was trying to think of stuff for the Ukrop's 10k back in March), and I had an entire skein of gray yarn, so obviously the universe was smiling on my love of Catwoman.

Some of the changes I've made to the pattern are I used worsted weight yarn and a K hook.  Because of my enormous brain, I had to add another row of increases to the pattern.  If you also have a large head an enormous brain:

INC every 5 stitches (1 DC, 1 DC, 1 DC, 1 DC, 2 DC)  until you get 60

And from there, follow the pattern (1 DC in each stitch).

Once the hat part was long enough, I marked off where I'd want the mask to come down over my ears.  Once it was marked, I did 1 DC in each stitch until I reached my stitch marker, then:

Ch 3, turn, DC in second stitch from hook, DC across until stitch marker, ch 3, turn, etc.

This step involved trying it on every so often to check the length.  Once the back/side flap got to be about chin length, I thought, "Hey, I'll just chain across and then I'll have the full neck part of the mask!  I'm absolutely brilliant!"  You remember those little knights I made out of corks?  Yeah, that was the basis for my cunning Catwoman mask plan.

So, high on my incredible genius, I first learned that it's not really possible to make chain stitches while looking at yourself in the mirror because you're still wearing your supervillain mask.  And after solving that problem, I made a chain, checked the length, then took the hat off again to add a few stitches in the opposite side.  And then I learned that acrylic yarn does not stretch enough for the neck hole I'd just made to fit over my head.

New Awesome Plan: make a flap, then figure out how people attach things to other things.  Velcro, safety pins, sewing self into mask so I could be sort of like Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns.  Fortunately, I remembered that it's possible to sew buttons onto things and that we probably have a crapton of unused buttons floating around.

What really makes me the coolest kid you know is that this is a stray button from an article of clothing I may still own.  At some point in the near future, I could desperately need this very button to preserve the usefulness of some garment.  However, as a lazy person who only recently realized you did not need to be some sort of clothing manufacturer to sew buttons on things, I'm pretty much okay with choosing a homemade Catwoman costume over...something.  Maybe a skirt.

Now I'm ready to chase heathens out of the Holy Land!

My original plan was to use a black domino mask for the face part, but, as you can see above, it's not a good look for me.  Especially smiling.  Maybe the kitty ears are the key factor here, but I have a feeling I'll still look like a serial killer.  Who's a kitty.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I actually finished something!

I finished my first pillowcase for ConKerr Cancer.  Well, mostly finished--I think I need to re-do the French knots on the end of the antennae and the flower.

For those of you who aren't into needlework, French knots suck.  I was going to say they're the worst thing ever, but then I remembered that I'm talking about making crafts for a charity for children with cancer.

I also decided to suck it up and finish ironing my old fashioned kitchen towels and put the Kitten Chores transfers on them.  I learned that in days of yore, ironing was basically like the internet.  Instead of spending all day on the internet, young ladies like me would spend all day ironing stupid towels.

Ironing stupid towels so I can embroider adorable kittens doing menial tasks!

Apparently "adorable kittens" had a slightly different meaning back in Colonial Patterns Days.  These were days of the week transfers, but there's no way I'm ironing 7 of these damn things.  And having the right towel for the right day of the week is way beyond my organizational skills.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Lion Brand keeps posting washcloth patterns on Facebook.  And I still have my soap making stuff.  You have no idea how tempted I am to make this year's Christmas presents a washcloth and a bar of soap, possibly with a handwritten note that says, "You smell bad" because I think that's really the message you're sending when you give people soap and a rag to wash themselves with (stick optional).

And maybe everybody can get a baby octopus to mitigate the shame of You Smell Bad Christmas.

The pattern is by Berrysprite.  I tried the little mouth, but I think it looks better without it (and I'm lazy).  The little top hats are left over from my Washington Post Peeps Contest Entry.

This one's made from wool yarn left over from last year's Festival of Pot Holders.

I have no idea how this happened, but Woolopus is smaller than Cottonopus--even though I used the same hook for both of them and both yarns are the same weight.