May 28, 2014

Cookie Cat

He's a frozen treat with an all new taste, cause he came to this planet from outer space.
A refuge of an inter-steller war, but now he's at your local grocery store.

Cookie Cat, he's a pet for your tummy! Cookie Cat, he's super duper yummy!
Cookie Cat, he left his family behind. Coooookie Cat!  - Cookie Cat Song

So yeah. There's that.

Do you watch Steven Universe? You should. Cartoon Network, Wednesdays (today!) at 6pm (CST). It is now on the my list of amazing new cartoons for kids and yet kind-of not-at-all for kids. (With Regular Show, Adventure Time, and Bravest Warriors, etc.)
Cookie Cat.
Cookie Cat was introduced in the very first episode, called Gem Glow. I was in love at first song. Also, an ice cream sandwich, shaped like a cat head, with half-vanilla half-strawberry filling, is something that I never knew I wanted. We are stuck boring rectangles with plain or off-brand neapolitan... So I feel for Steven when they are discontinued.
Fish shaped spaceship... awesome.
And what's with that backstory for the poor Cookie Cat? No home, no ice cream... tragedy knows no bounds. With no crochet projects on the docket, I set about to make a plushie.

Cookie Cat Pattern:

Colors needed:  (I used a 5.5 mm H hook)
Dusty pink for body and one eye. 
Black for body, ears, arms, legs, pupils and tail. 
White for the other eye. 
Gray for space suit belt. 
Orange/Copper for space buckle.

Head: crown to neck, in black 
R1. Mc (6) 
R2. Sc 2 in each sc around (12) 
R3. (Inc, sc 1)* (18) 
R4. (Inc, sc 2 )* (24) 
R5. (Inc, sc 3)* (30) 
R6. (Inc, sc 4)* (36) 
R7. (Inc, sc 5)* (42) 
R8. (Inc, sc 6)* (48) 
R9. (Inc, sc 7)* (54) 
R10-12. Sc around (54) 
R13. (dec, sc 7)* (48) 
R14. (dec, sc 6)* (42) 
R15. (dec, sc 5)* (36) 
R16. (dec, sc 4)* (30) 
R17. (dec, sc 3)* (24) 
R18. (dec, sc 2)* (18) 
Bind off leaving tail to sew to body. Stuff. 

Ears: make 2 in black 
R1: MC, work 4 sc. (4) 
R2: Sc 2 into each around (8) 
R3: (inc, sc 1)* (12) 
R4-6: 12 double crochet around. (12)
Bind off leaving tail for sewing to head. 

Body: butt to neck, in pink 
R1. Mc (6) 
R2. Sc 2 in each sc around (12) 
R3. (Inc, sc 1)* (18) 
R4. (Inc, sc 2 )* (24) 
R5. (Inc, sc 3)* (30)
R6. sc around R7. (Inc, sc 4)* (36) 
R7. sc around
R8. (Inc, sc 5)* (42)
R9-11. Sc around
R12. (dec, sc 5) (36)
R13. sc around
R14. (dec, sc 4)* (30)
R15. sc around 
R16. (dec, sc 3)* (24) 
R17. (dec, sc 2)* (18)
Bind off. No need for a tail here since head has the tail to sew together at the neck. 

Arms and Legs: in black, make 2 of each (duh). 
R1. MC5 
R2. increase around (10) 
R3-8. sc around, stop here for Legs and bind off leaving tail. Arms keep going.
R9-12. sc around for arms, bind off leaving tail.
I took two pipe cleaners and intertwined them. Then pulled them through the body at where I wanted the arms to attach at the shoulder. I then rolled the ends up and inserted them into the stuffed arms. That way they work together and have less chance of disappearing into the body. 

Bendy arm exposed with other covered.
Tail: in black
I also put in pipe cleaner in the tail along with stuffing. I did the first few rows and used the start tail to tie to a pipe cleaner I had folded in half and twisted. That way the end of the pipe cleaner would stay at the end of the tail. Then I added stuffing around it as I went along. 
R1. MC5 
R2. increase around 10 
Bind off leaving tail to sew to body. 

Belt: in gray 
R1. Chain 45, join to first to form a ring. 
R2-4. chain 1, 45 sc around, join to first. 
This next part makes the vertical strap. 
R4. chain 7, turn and sc 6 down, join with slip stitch at belt, turn and go up and down once more securing with a slip stitch into next stitch on belt. 
Bind off. Leave tail to sew down to body. 

Belt buckle: in orange/copper 
R2. increase around to 8 stitches
Bind off leaving tail to sew to belt. 
Once attached sew complete belt onto body. 

Pupils: in black, make 2
Ch 4, turn and sc2 down one side, sc 2 at bottom to turn, sc 2 up the other side of starting chain. Slip stitch to first, leave tail to sew down to eyes.

Eyes: one in white, one in pink 
R1. MC6 
R2. increase around to 12 
R3. (inc, sc 1)* (18) 
R4. sc 3, 3 half double crochet, sc 6, 3 hdc, sc 3 (18)
The last row there gives it the kind of oval shape. Bind off. Leave tail to sew to head. Sew pupils to eyes, eyes to head. 

Only thing this pattern doesn't have is his bowl helmet, but maybe you can find a round globe votive candle holder to put over his head to complete the look. 

Done! Total time to completion: Roughly 5-6 hours. Nice and easy.
Now go enjoy some ice cream and think about what you are missing out on by not having a Cookie Cat ice cream sandwich to eat the ears off of.

May 26, 2014

Sushi Fish

A cousin-in-law (relationship terms are confusing...?) is graduating this month. She is going off to study at the Texas A&M Galveston where they do marine biology stuff. So, I wanted to get her a present and thought I would make her a little something silly and appropriately themed.

I've had this pattern for a Fish that turns into a sushi roll for a while now... I have no idea how I found it. Today when I went to look up the pattern, so I could get a link, I saw that the blog site it belongs to is entirely in spanish. The site is Irka! The pattern seems to be the only one on the site that is in English, but if you speak/read spanish there are a ton of adorable flower dolls on there in the Free Patterns tag.

There a few small issues I had with the pattern, maybe because of how it was translated. Also to note... I remember that "y" is "and", but had to look up "cad" which is spanish crochet abbreviation for "chain". On the body of the fish, in round 7, I think it needs to be an increase and then 4sc. And somehow at row 12 I still had 22 stitches instead of 24. Anyway I ended up doing two rounds of 22 and then immediately doing the increase row to 24 and skipping the two 24 around rows since I think I did two extra 22 rows... since it isn't super size important I figured I could fudge a little.

I used a bunch of colors that I had lying around. This is a great yarn consumption project. I had a kind of smallish ball of the orange and I was worried I would not have enough of for the fish body. Turns out that was more than enough. There were no suggestions for hook size, but since I was using all worsted weight yarns, I used my go to H/8/5.00mm hook.

So here is my finished fish. I gave it dead eyes since I stink at embroidering round eyes, and safety eyes might be too bulky to allow the transformation part. (Colors: Orange, Light Yellow, Green, Black)
dead fish :(
Once again in the sushi part, I had trouble making the bottom of the sushi roll part, but just kind of fudged to get it to be the same size square shape. Also, when I counted, both squares had 28 sts on the outside not 36... somehow I messed that all up.

Instead of making the rectangle nori wrapper, I decided to just start on the edge of the top piece and crochet it right onto it. So I did 28 stitches in back loops only to get a crisp white to green edge. Then did 6 rows of 28 around for depth. At this point I was really worried that my fish would not fit inside the sushi piece I was I added another thickness row to make it 7 rows high.
unstuffed roll
Then I made sure I turned that roll part inside out and stuffed it into the fish mouth, lining up the hole and the mouth. I used the orange tail from the fish to sew the sushi opening inside the mouth. I like to when the roll is stuffed in, that the orange stitches inside the white look like teeth inside the fish maw. Plus then it just looks like a crocheted fish toy... In case you have vegan friends I guess.
*boop* boop* insert fish noises here
When the sewing is done the roll then can be pulled out and comes out right side out. Like so:
what is that fish kissing??
When the roll is stuffed with the fish you have two options: a) all in where the tail and butt look like fish, avocado and cucumber, or b) tail out for a more tempura fish roll look. Ha!
I know what I'm having for lunch today.
Time to completion: 2-3 hours. Skill level: super easy.
Final thoughts: Would make again for sure. Might do a little rewriting of the pattern for my own use, but really good pattern and so fun.

May 21, 2014

2014 Business Cards

I was out and about the other night when an old teacher of mine asked me what I was up to and mentioned that they would love to see some recent art.

Recent Art? I really do not think of myself as an artist anymore. Designer, sure. Creative crocheter? Yeah. Artist, nah.

Sure I've doodled a bit recently. And I am working on some fan art for AC:NL. But nothing frame-able. I feel lately like calling myself that would take away something from the other artists out there who continually work to improve themselves and their art.

That aside, once again I realized that I should have some personal business cards. Or at the very least carry around this custom stamp I had made with my logo and website on it... So I looked up the old art for the business cards I made up in 2010. I never had them printed and it's time for an update anyway.

The old old business card was boring and disjointed I felt. The playing card idea I still like a bit more since it at least looks cohesive on both sides. Sure, I'm not a card dealer, but I do consider the crafty things I do to be play. I am an ace (ha!) at what I do. I also like the limited color scheme of playing cards.

I updated the contact info and my name... since I've gotten married since I made these last. I tried to make it look a little like the box for cards with the patterns and dots and large symbol. I then took a few hours and reworked the playing card art to be a little more relevant and thoughtful.

I shortened my hair, colored it blue, updated my glasses shape. I also changed the outfit a bit. Before I was referencing the strange cloak-like clothes the card characters wear; now it is a layered kimono. I collect them, and love asian culture. The kimono itself has leaves (for the gardening I do) and chibi-totoros, for the obvious reason that I love them and flowers, just cause they are often on kimonos. I changed the waist sash into an obi (not too much of a stretch there). I left the lotus in my hair. I also left the bluebonnets since they are the flower of Texas. I added a wedding ring to my left hand and added a crochet hook to my array of implements in that hand. In case you can't tell those items are: a crochet hook, an art pen/marker, a pencil and a brush.

Making these cards allows me to show off my range of skills. I get to draw the design on paper, and then bring it into Illustrator to get vector lines, then into Photoshop for coloring. I also get to show off my design skills since everything is brought together in inDesign and text and embellishments are added.

So yeah, I'm thinking I will get these printed on glossy cardstock. And if it isn't too much extra, maybe I will have them die cut with rounded corners like real cards instead of the drop shadow effect. :)

UPDATE: Picture of the finished cards. I did get them die cut.