March 29, 2013

Old Characters

I've created a lot of characters over the years for various role playing games with my friends. I've got images in my head for each of them since I usually did some rough drawings during sessions.

Some the the stuff I have posted here early on were sketches of some of these characters: Lin Kohaku and Nori Nori were ideas for a Once Piece based game. Adia was a bard with dueling scimitars from a DnD game from college. Also, Agent Sonar, is another one of my more recent characters for a Cthulhu game. The most recent character I have created is this image of the Tech-priest for a Dark Heresy game.

Other older characters I am kind of annoyed to say that I must have lost the drawings for.  For example, I made this cool x-men character for a game whose name was Lilly, aka Willow Wisp. She had lead shoes because her atoms were turning into helium slowly so she would float all the time and could control a small area of wind around her. Once I made a cleric named Yzma who had a giant hammer and smashed stuff. I also have a record of a 20th level Gestalt, Human Druid Fighter dnd character who had a lion mount. No drawings though. :(

But, I have found a few of these missing sketches today because I was thinking about one of the characters I spent the most time on, Lady Adone. She was for a Whitewolf campaign, it didn't get too far into the game, but I wrote her a 5 page backstory, chronicled each session in a diary format, and even wrote short stories about her house, her companion a raven who could talk, and a special item she had which was a Very Helpful Book. She could speak to inanimate objects. Was dark and lonely, had gold eyes, and was very pretty. So today, I dug out the sketch I did of her.
Lady Adone Ravenwood
While I was digging through sketchbooks, I found a few more drawings of other characters. So I figured I would share. Please keep in mind these are all at least 7 years old...

This one is Chei Mazo, her name means tossed by the tempest. Was going to be a pilot character for a Serenity campaign.
Chei Mazo
This one is another version of something I was thinking of for that One Piece campaign that Lin and NoriNori are from. You can see she has a giant fishhook which she used as weapon. The various versions were all supposed to be a fish girl. The weapon changed from giant fishhook to anchor and back and forth, but was going to be used to hit people with on a long rope. Pretty sure that all of these characters that I had been working on ended up fusing into Lin Kohaku cause she was the most unique looking.
One Piece is a weird anime.
This was an elf hunter from an early dnd campaign. She had a Stag companion. Might have been a druid... not sure. Thinking I might have just seen Princess Mononoke for the first time around then.

This one is an early sketch of the same bard I mentioned before, Adia. At this point in the campaign she only had one scimitar and was mostly a bard. By the end she had a few ranks in just about every class you might think: Bard, Barbarian, Fighter and Dervish... it was nuts. And totally freaking awesome. She eventually had a kid and saved the world and I think she had an airship too.

This was for a Naruto based game. Her name was Black Lotus and was a ninja who could use dances to manipulate the air. Funny thing, her real name was also Chei Mazo, and I liked the name so much I reused it when I needed a name for the Serenity campaign.
Black Lotus, 2006
God this one must be even older, I'm thinking 2004. Still reading a lot of Ah, My Goddess! at this time clearly. Another elf, this one is probably a hunter since druids can't wear mail if I remember right. Wolf companion this time. That is one strange looking dog, and that torso... goodness.

And finally, Khyarete. She was from an Arcana Unearthed game. This character was probably one of the first I ever made. She is the namesake of my Gmail account and twitter handle. She was really cool, had this super special halberd. This game was special since the world had a lot of water and islands and boats were common settings rather than the usual generic landmass and dungeons. Khyarete is the reason that I gave Skyrim a go, since that game had a race of cat people.
Wonder what will be next? Bottom line is, if people ask you to play in a role playing game, you might say yes. I know some people will call you a giant nerd, but they were all really fun and good outlets for creativity.

March 22, 2013

Summertime Sandies

So I used to have this crochet project a day calendar... it was way back in the days when I did not really crochet all that well, or know what I was doing. But I did save a few of the day projects because I liked them and knew one day I might want to revisit them.

This project is one of them:
I feel it is kind of wrong that people are selling this pattern on e-bay.

Today I was sitting around and decided to start on this pattern. Especially since it is already in the 70's and I'm feeling like summer is just around the corner. I didn't have any beads so I decided to skip em since it is kind of a lace pattern anyway. I also did not have gold thread, but I did have black, so I used that.

Four rows in to the pattern and I'm already finding typos and odd stitch choices, but I muddled through trusting in the pattern. Until I got to the part for the right strap. Now, I have a feeling that here stuff is just plain missing. The first row of the strap has a single stitch in it and the next row is asking you to do sc into a chain space that does not therefore exist. Hrm hrm hrm??

Ok, time to rewrite this sucker. My pattern is as follows:
Hook size: 2.25mm

Toe to ankle: Chain 14, join with sl st to form ring
chain 2, work 24 sc in ring, join with sl st in second chain
foundation row: chain 1, 1 sc in each next 8 sc, turn
row 1: chain 3, skip 2 sc, sc in next sc, chain 2, skip 2 sc, sc in next sc, chain 2, sc in end sc (makes 3 chain spaces)
row 2: chain 1, 2 sc in first chain space, sc in next sc, 2 sc in middle chain space, 1 sc in next sc, 2 sc in last chain space, sc in last stitch, turn (counts 8 stitches)
(repeat row 1 and 2) 4 times (equals 8 more rows)

Right strap: chain 1, sc in next three, turn,
chain 3, sl st in last sc, turn
chain 1, three sc in chain space, turn
repeat from beginning, 13 times, for 39 rows,
single crochet three together, bind off
(note: I did 39 rows because I have giant feet. Try it on after about 10 rows to see how many more you need to meet at the heel. Also, if you count by the chain space, that is equal to one set of the three rows, so 10 chain spaces on the strap is 10 times and 30 rows. Much easier than counting each row.)

Left strap: return to row where right strap joins,  attach yarn to end sc and follow same pattern as right strap.
Finished the pattern, closed back, NOT FINISHED.
Closing: If you want the sides to close with a button, add one last row to either the left or right strap.
Chain 3 and join with sl st in last sc, to form a loop. bind off. Then sew a small button to end of the other strap. The button should fit inside the chain 3 loop on the end of the other strap, so that it will close where comfortable. Or you could leave off the chain 3 on one end and sew on clear snaps. Or, you can be lazy like I am and just be sure that the sides line up and then do a row of single crochet to join the ends together and make a seam at the back.

Finishing: Start at end of right strap, sc along top to foot top part and back along top of left strap to make a clean edging around the ankle. It did not say to, nor did I in this second image, but I might go back and add the same single crochet around the outside edge of the toe to ankle part, and along the bottom edge of the straps and back down again. I do not think I would add this around the toe hole since it is already kind of bulky between the toes.

With the finished edging around the top and ankle. Much prettier and cleaner looking. Hence maybe doing it around the outside edge too.
I guess if you wanted to add silver beads to the toe to ankle section, you could. The original pattern mentioned to thread all the beads on first and keep moving them away from the hook until you needed one and then to use it in the middle of a single crochet. I would just pick a spot on one of the rows and then do them every other row or something.

Or maybe use another color thread and crochet a flower or small embellishment to add to the top. Maybe a silver paisley or something. Might be a cool addition later. :)

Total time to finish one foot sandie: 2 hours, total 4 for the pair.
Super easy. Only thing a little difficult is getting used to the thread as opposed to yarn. A little tough to see those tiny crochet stitches.

March 11, 2013


So my brother, he is a cute one. He loves the weird and silly parts of the internet, like the Alot. So when he found this picture of a shark banana toy, and asked if I could make it, I said of course!

Since there is no pattern for a shark banana I just made it. I did spend some time thinking about and writing out the pattern before I started and I think that helped. So, let's dive in!

Colors/Items needed:
Brown (tiny bit)
Light Yellow
Blue or gray for shark
White for under body
red for mouth (tiny bit)
small black safety eyes
5 mm hook
embroidery/yarn needle

Start at end of the banana closed.

Using brown, create a magic circle and do 6 sc into it
do two rows of 6 stitches,
switch to yellow,
two in each sc, 12
one row 12
two sc in one, sc in next, repeat, 18
one row 18
two sc in one, sc in next 2, repeat, 24
one row 24
two sc in one, sc in next 3, repeat, 30
maintain row of 30 for 10 more rows,
Now you can start making the open peeled bits. Since we have 30 stitches, and after studying the picture, see that the three fins stick out the joins, we know to make 3 peels that are 10 stitches wide. Use front loops only to leave inside loops to attach the blue later for the shark body.

Outside Peels:
sc into 10 sc front loops only, chain 1, turn,
sc in each for 15 rows, then do rows of decreasing
sc2tog across (5)
sc across and turn (5),
sc in 2, sc2tog, sc, ch 1 and turn (4),
sc across (4)
sc, sc2tog, sc (3)
sc across (3)
dc3tog to end peel, bind off

Don't Slip! HAHAHA
For the next two peels simply join your yarn back into the same row and use the front loops only like before to make the next two peels.

Note to self: If ever do this again, make the open peels the long way rather than short way, meaning chain out 50 then make two at top to get the rounded top and sc down the chain, turn and come back up and do another increase at top of row. Make it as wide as the 10 stitches and anchor each turn in a stitch. Will look more banana like then. I think.

Make three inside peels, in the light yellow yarn:
chain 10, plus one to turn, sc in each for 15 rows
sc2tog across (5)
sc across and turn (5),
sc in 2, sc2tog, sc, ch 1 and turn (4),
sc across (4)
sc, sc2tog, sc (3)
sc across (3)
dc3tog to end peel, bind off
Use a single crochet around the outside edges of both pieces to sew the inside to the outside. Do this before attaching blue for shark body. Once done, I also added an extra row of single crochet in the row right above the joining row to give the three petals some support and to help mask the join of "banana" to "shark."
Thumb is on the extra row above the line that is the back loops only row.
Once peels are done with their insides and outsides, next make the fins!! Make three fins for the shark. These three fins are positioned on the body at the spaces the three peeled bits meet on the banana. *NOTE: I stopped at that last row of 18 stitches on the body of the shark part, to attach the fins to the completed body. This helped in sewing them on and making sure that the eyes are in the right place when you place them on the body.

Dorsal fin:
magic circle, four sc
2sc in each, 8
2sc in next, sc in next, 12
sc around for three rows, 12
flatten the finished piece and sew the bottom closed
bind off leaving long tail for sewing to body

magic circle, 4 sc
sc in each, 4
2sc in each, 8
sc in each, 8
2sc in one, sc in next, 12
sc around for three rows, 12
flatten the finished piece and sew the bottom closed
bind off, leaving long tail for sewing to body

Now that the fins are done, you can attach the blue for shark body in open back loops of the peels row.

Shark Body:
use open back loops from peels, sc one in each of the 30 stitches
2sc in next, sc in next 4, 36
do 8 rows of blue 36
stuff banana so far and shark body.
sc in next 4, sc2tog, repeat, 30
one row 30
sc in next 3, sc2tog, repeat, 24
four rows 24
sc in next 2, sc2tog, repeat, 18
two rows 18 *here is where I stopped to sew the fins on the body
sc in next , sc2tog, repeat, 12
add safety eyes!!
sc2tog, 6
close off

Now for details:
White underbelly of body piece is like the inside petal pieces but shorter:
chain 8 plus one to turn,
one sc in each for 10 rows (8)
sc in next three, sc2tog in one, sc next three (decreased to 7)
sc in two, sc3tog, sc in two (decreased to 6)
Bind off

For the Mouth:
Make two red half circles: chain 2, 3sc in first chain, chain 1 and turn, 2sc in each of 3 sc, bind off
and one white half circle which is a little larger: same as above, but add one more chain and turn, third row is 2sc in one, sc in next, repeated, then bind off.

Sew white half circle to the decreased end of the white underbelly. Then sc from wider bottom of white belly piece, up the side to the mouth half circle. Once at the mouth start picot stitch one in each of the sc from the half circle, to form teeth.

Picot teeth: slip stitch into sc, chain three, do one single crochet in the second chain from hook, slip stitch back into same stitch started in. Should make a little pointy shapes. Do that around the mouth, slip stitching to move to next stitch. once at other end where mouth ends and underbelly starts go back to single crochets down the other side. Bind off.

Sew two red half circles together at long seam. Then sew one of the half circles into the space of the white mouth with teeth on it. I recommend sewing it down with white thread so it isn't seen on the outside. For the other half of the red mouth, attach white yarn in one corner and make the same picot teeth around the 6 mouth single crochets.

Once you have the mouth and underbelly done you can sew that piece to the body. Tip: Hide all the tails of yarn on one side of the belly piece and sew that side to the body so that the tails are hidden between the two pieces. Sew the top mouth to the body, but leave the bottom jaw free to BITE! I did put a few stitches along the jaw line across the body to keep it snug.

Done! This project actually only took me 5 hours or so. Really fast. But if you are new this might be a lot longer. I think it came out pretty cute and close to the picture for just making it up. Just goes to show how easy amigurumi is.

Banana Butt.

March 5, 2013

Sun Hat Makeover

I have had this pretty good straw hat for a while now. It is my go to hat for activities in the sun. I got it for free, it has a good shape, a nice interior comfort band and fits well. The only down side to it is that since it was free, the band on the outside was printed with the name of the company it came from.

Personally I didn't feel like advertising for them every time I go on a walk, so I took a sharpie to the black band and tried to scribble over the white company name. That worked, but only so far. You could clearly still read the name since that area was now a bit shiny and lighter still. So looking to my current crochet project for inspiration, I took a few hours and made a new band to sit over the existing black band for the hat.

My current project, which has been and will be ongoing for a while (read many many months), is to use this giant spool of coarse twine to make granny squares, to eventually assemble into a rug for my outdoor patio. Since this twine is so sturdy I figured it might do well outside and therefore might work well on the outside of my sun hat.

I made 16 mini granny squares... I guess technically they might not be granny squares, since really they are just the first row of a classic one.

Chain 4, slip stitch in first chain to create a loop.
Chain 3, counts as first double crochet, 2 more double crochet in the loop.
Chain 3 to create a corner space, 3 double crochet in loop. Repeat this 3 times.
The final chain 3 should then be attached to the third chain of the starting chain with a slip stitch.
Bind off.
You end up with this:
Shown with my thumb for size. I wanted it to about the same width as the existing band.
Once I had 16 of them, I attached my twine to the corner space of one of the squares with a slip stitch. I then did one single crochet in the loop where I attached it, one single crochet in each of the top of the three double crochets, then one more single crochet in the the next chain 3 corner space. To join it to the next square, I held both in my hand and did a joining single crochet in the two corner spaces next to each other:

To Join: Insert the hook into the first corner space, pull up a loop, then insert the hook into the corner of the new square to be joined and pull up a loop, yarn over the hook and pull through all three loops.

Basically doing a single crochet decrease between both corners. I then continued my pattern of one more single crochet in the corner space, one single crochet in each of the 3 double crochet, one single crochet in the next chain space corner, then the joining single crochet. On and on until I had them all attached by one side. I then attached the end of my long side to the starting corner with my same joining single crochet. I bound that side off and then proceeded to the same thing along the bottom side of my long circle hat band. Once that was done, I cut off all the tails from each square to clean it up a bit. Attaching them along the top and bottom saved me from having to sew them all together.

Squares got a little bigger with the rows of single crochet along the top and bottom.
I wanted to add on ties for under my chin. Since the hat has a large brim, sometimes it gets blown off and this way if I don't need it, I can just let it rest on my back or attach it to my pack on hikes.
Folding the band in half, I had two sides of 8, meaning that in the center of each side was easy to see in the center of 4.

For the ties, I chained 80, slip stitched to the joining single crochet between the middle of the two center squares and then slip stitched back down the chain of 80. I did this for both sides. One side I added a loop at the bottom and the other got a large knot and tassel, so I can simply join them together like a button. I pulled these through the hat which required making a small hole in the straw.

Done! Now, I have a cute hat band, that shows off my skills, should last and not look bad if the sun fades it or anything. Total project time was about 2 hours.