Friday, December 28, 2012

The Hobbit

I saw The Hobbit a while ago, and really enjoyed it. There were some parts that confused me a bit, and I'm certainly looking forward to the next two installments to complete the story. I enjoyed most of the characters, and was just happy to be back in the New Zealand version of Middle Earth.

I was intrigued by all the very odd beard and hair-braiding that the dwarves had going on, and was inspired to needle felt sculptures of them. First up was Bombur, as I particularly enjoy his loop of beard-braid that defies the Laws of Hair.

He was lots of fun to make, and very adorable. Since I had him sitting down, I was able to make him all out of wool without any internal support. Next on my list is Bofur, who is in progress at the minute. Since I wanted to try him standing up, and I had problems with that on my abominable snowman, I decided to try a wire skeleton to make him sturdier. It seems to have worked very well for overall stability, but he still doesn't like standing up on two legs - so I'm making him his weapon to provide a third point of support.

Right now Bofur is almost all done - just his hair and hat need to be added, so I should be able to post some photos in the next day or two.

Anyway, M posted a picture of my Bombur on tumblr, and it completely took off! It's been less than 24 hours, and there have been over 100 new views to my Etsy site, and several more people following me. It's quite exciting, the power of the internet (especially when fueled by fans!)

I already have a commission for a sculpture of Thranduil riding his moose, which is going to be fun! I forgot to take pictures of Bofur's progress, so I will be documenting the making of moose-riding Thranduil and putting it up here as a tutorial of sorts. I promise.

Hopefully I won't forget again.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Yes, I know I'm doing three posts in the same evening, even though I haven't posted for days and days.

But hey, I'm on a roll right now, and I figure it doesn't really matter so much. Especially since I'm pretty sure the only person who reads this blog with any regularity is my sister (hi! I love you!). Plus I might as well break it up subject-wise, for those who find me through search-engines.

Anyway, I decided to try my hand at animation this evening for the first time. I was a little tired of sewing, and had been wanting to try this out on my new tablet for a while now. So I downloaded the free animation program (which is, sadly, rather limited) and came up with this:

It's called 'Roving Hedgehog Meets a Cow'.

Also, I apparently can't make it any bigger. :(

So it's really short, and very sketchy, because doing animations is very very hard. I have an increased appreciation and respect for all animators out there (note: I was already very impressed by all of that). It's hard to sit and draw the same or similar thing over and over, especially if you're not naturally a very patient person (or if you're also watching TV and drinking wine to celebrate your partner getting a job). And I am not a patient person, at least not when it comes to computer things.

I hope that sometime soon I'll come back to this idea, and spend more time on it. Until then, you can see this very poor first attempt, in the spirit of being open about things and sharing successes and failures.

Shrinking sweaters for felt

So about a week or so ago, I came across this post on Etsy. The mention of using old wool sweaters to make felt intrigued me, so I looked into it a bit further, purchased some sweaters from the local Goodwill, and felted them in the washing machine. I won't post a full tutorial here, since there are loads of good ones already on the web (just google 'felt sweaters' or something similar). But here are the most important points/tips I found:

1. Definitely put your sweaters in pillowcases or some sort of bag - they shed A LOT. I read that tip a couple places, decided to use it, and was very glad I did ( the pillowcases had lots of fuzzy bits inside after it was done).

2. Consider going to a laundromat, as it says in the Etsy post - I'm not sure, but I figure they run a bit hotter and faster, and might felt the sweaters quicker (it took a couple few times for mine to felt properly).

3. Pick thinner sweaters - I had one that was a Christmas sweater with images, and it was thick from all the colors of yarn. It felted, but didn't seem to go all the way through the way some of the thinner knits did.

4. Ribbing doesn't felt well, even if it's 100% wool (unless the tags were lying)

So, now for photos. Here's a couple of the sweaters before I felted them:

And here's some things I've made so far. I've been enjoying needle felting designs for iPod/cellphone/camera cases - it's something different from needle felting 3-D objects. And it's easier to sew stuffed animals/figures with felt, since the edges don't fray. To put it simply, I'm loving working with felt, and I love felting old sweaters, since I get all sorts of fun and unique textures, colors, and patterns.

Sorry for the blurriness - it gets dark so early, I ran out of time for daylight photos, but I wanted to post these today. Better photos and posting on Etsy coming soon.


So apparently I have this really irritating habit of planning on doing something, and thinking about it so much that I think I have done it, only I really haven't. You know how you can have a dream that you've done something mundane but important, like calling the dentist to set up an appointment, and when you wake up you're convinced you've already done that... so you don't call the dentist, and only realize later that it was just a dream.

Yeah, it's kind of like that, except for without the dream part. Case in point: I 'previewed' a colorful scarf a while ago that I also finished a while ago, and took photos of. I thought I had posted it on my Etsy shop, and was going to write a post here saying that it was finished, and link to the page... Then I thought I'd check and make sure it was up there, and guess what? It wasn't. I had thought about it enough and planned what I'd say, etc., that I had convinced myself it had happened.

Anyway, here are the photos of the scarf (it will be up on Etsy soon - it takes so much more time to list an item than to post the images here).

It ended up being very wide and very long. As my first knitting project in a while, I'd forgotten how much wider the actual item is compared to what it looks like on the needles when you're casting on. But I really like the size of it, especially since it's such a loose knit that it scrunches around your neck really easily. The colors are difficult to capture in photos, but these together do a pretty decent job. 

More photos of things I've done recently:

I was having fun needle felting, and made a little reindeer. He reminded me a bit of Rudolph, from the 1964 version (you can watch it here). So I also made an Abominable Snowman to go with him. The Abominable Snowman doesn't stand on his own very well (see below), so I think I'll be putting a loop of yarn on top so he can be an ornament. It was fun to needle felt something larger, though. Also, his fur gave me the inspiration for Dumbledore.

So here's my pre-New Year's resolution: be better about remembering to follow up on things, especially Etsy/blog/facebook posts. Wish me luck!