June 30, 2014

Starlite: An ACNL Aviary

I have now played too way many hours of AC:NL. At the time of writing this the game informed me that 500 hours is over 21 days straight. Wow. I have no life. Checked again at the one year anniversary and I was up to 600 hrs.

I am also very near to my goal of a town full of different bird characters. I am 9 for 10, with the last being a really flamboyant boy unicorn, who I am growing fond of. Might let him stay and call it a win. - Update on that... let him move to a friends town and almost got a penguin till some $%*& pig moved in onto the middle of one of my paths.

So to celebrate my almost achievement, I thought I would do a town portrait. 

I sketched out the characters in groups, and then put us all together. There is actually quite a bit of interplay that happens between the residents without you even being involved. Frienships form, rumors start, they hang out at each others houses and take walks together. It's there to see, if you look.

So the groups are: Miranda, Friga and Freckles
Me, Gladys and Phoebe
Peck and Joey
And the loner types: Ken, Julian and Avery

Cleaned sketch in Illustrator.
Miranda and Friga are friends because they have fashion and gossip to bond over... They have adopted the rather plain and frumpy Freckles into their midst as a protégé to train... but she's so innocent it never goes anywhere and now they like having her around.

Gladys and Phoebe have been with me from the start. They are my go-to girls.

Peck is the jock in town and thinks himself all that. When Joey moved in he found a "little brother" to protect.

Ken is solid as a rock and kind of the older down to earth resident who wanders around in his own world. He lives off by himself near the campgrounds.

Julian is in his own world of gossip, glitter and glitz. He's probably where Miranda and Friga get their gossip, but spends most of his time in the town square and looking mysterious at Stonehenge where his house was.

Avery is the newest in town. I feel like he could round out the Peck and Joey friendship with his quiet and strong ways, but he also seems like a bit of a loner at the moment. He has problems talking to people so we connected right off the bat.

Maybe I will color this one day... for now... nah. 

June 27, 2014


Seen HTTYD:2 yet? It is in all seriousness one of the prettiest movies I have seen in a while. And by far and away the best sequel I have seen in just as long. I will for sure be buying it just to pause and look at all the dragon designs they crammed into this movie. I loved spotting some of the dragons from the Book of Dragons that Hiccup read through in the first film. Anyway.

My sister in law had minor surgery last week and in her delirious state asked that I make her a Toothless... I had this pattern for Toothless by Sarah of Sarselgurumi on file since the first film but never got around to making any.

This pattern is really very good. Easy to follow and simple to make. I used Patons Metallic black yarn which I didn't know existed till I found it in Michael's. The yarn, I figured, might be a bit of a challenge for two reasons: It is very slick (but that turned out to be just fine) and instead of being round, it is a flat yarn. This means that some stitches come out large and open if it is turned on its side, or really tight if it is flat to the hook. It is also on the thin side of "medium" weight yarns. It certainly was not like a regular Red Heart worsted weight would be.

The thinness, coupled with the fairly small 3.75 hook, caused my Toothless came out on the small side compared to others I have seen made online. However, like I had hoped, the metallic sheen of the yarn coupled with the smaller sc stitches really gave Toothless the shiny scaled appearance I had hoped for. He catches the light quite handsomely. It also on the more expensive side of yarn pricing, but you only need one skein and the effect was worth it. He even feels scaly when you pet him...
So cute.
The toes were a little confusing until I realized they were popcorn stitches, and even thought the pattern did not say to, I knew that I could pull it closed and add a slip stitch on top to make the next row around easier. Also, if possible, I should have tried to find black polyfil to stuff this guy with. I had a few larger holes from the yarn and the white filling showed through easily. I tried to compensate by stuffing him less firmly than I would otherwise, again helping to make him smaller than he might have been.

The wing pattern was also really cool. I had no idea in my mind how to make these but I just followed it along and was shocked at how cute they turned out.
Instead of making him an uninjured baby, I gave him his tail prosthetic fin by making one in red yarn. I sewed it to the tail along side the regular fin. It was here that I got to see just how much smaller using the metallic yarn was making it. In the picture below the two closest to my thumb are the pattern as written in the metallic black and standard red worsted. The black is like 80% of the Red. So I made a second black fin to match in size to the red one by adding anther row of sc around the outside after the end of their fin pattern.
Tail-fin size comparison.
The hardest part for me was sewing on the ears and 6 small horns on to the head. I must have attached the head crooked since there was less room on one side of the face than the other. So my toothless looks like his head is cocked to the side listening to strange noise. It is a happy/cute mistake. Lucky.
No Face.
I used a light lime green felt for his eyes, black for the pupils and a little spot of white for a highlight. I glued it down since last time I sewed felt onto crochet it came out all bubbly. The pattern mentioned that Fabri-tac glue worked well, but I had Tacky-glue on hand any used that. Came out ok.

Done! All the pieces whipped up quickly and total time to completion of the crochet parts was about 5 hours. Plus the detail work for the eyes, plus assembly and sewing time, and I'd say he came in at around 8 hours total. Skill level... moderately easy, but not a beginner because it's a very detailed pattern for being so small.

Update: A much prettier photo was taken by Toothless' owner:
Update2: Measurements are: 6 inches tall with an 8 inch ear span. 7 inches from front legs to tail tip.

June 2, 2014

Chibi Iron Man

Once again my brother has seen, and sent me a picture of, something new that he wants made. The picture seemed to have roots in Comicpalooza, a convention in Texas. I heard that these were for sale there. So with that in mind, I will not share my pattern, but if you know how to crochet, I bet you can figure out something similar, like I did, with no issues.

Of the two shown, he wanted specifically the Iron Man. These looked simple enough.
I had on hand all the items needed to make a little Iron Man: red, yellow and silver yarn, yellow and black felt, and a sewing kit. And a little time to kill.
No Face Iron Man.
The head is a basic sphere. The body, is the same width as the head, but taller. I left it open at the neck and sewed it to the head in the right spot. The little arc reactor in silver is a simple magic circle with a few stitches in it. The shoulder details is a long chain that I wrapped around the back of the neck and down the other front.

The face was the hardest part for me since I am abysmal at sewing. I cut out the base yellow shape and two small black shapes for the eyes. I went with a more modern face for him for two reasons... a) slanty eyes are a little more menacing and b) I cant embroider the whole eye. So I tacked the black eyes down to the yellow back with white thread to give the eyes a pupil... or highlight... or whatever. The mouth is a strip of black felt carefully tacked at both ends and in the middle.

Then I sewed the entire face onto the head, going around twice since I didn't want it to fall off and the first time around I left large gaps around the edge that needed to be tacked down further.

Done. Time for crochet: 1.5 hrs. Time for sewing: 1 hr.
Finished size is about 3 inches wide by 6 inches tall. Came out pretty close I think.
Skill Level: Nerdy Child's first crochet project easy...