October 26, 2015

Little Black Marker

This site has been up and running pretty consistently since 2007. That's kind of amazing to me. In all that time, I have not taken the time to explain where the name comes from. Figured now is good a time as any.
the actual LBM in question
During my semester in Rome in college, we spent a lot of time traveling. Go figure. As I was studying German, our class spent a few days of immersion time in Germany. Once of the things I was excited to do was shop at a KaDeWe. It's like a giant department store, but unlike ours in the states its not just clothes, shoes and appliances... Not wanting to come back home with a ton of stuff I got a few small things, in this case, a tiny black permanent marker. I used it throughout my time in Europe and have kept it since then.

While I was in Rome, I started doing short comics based on some of our experiences, both exciting and daily life. I had thought that perhaps I would keep doing them and make it into something, but it never really got off the ground.
I had longer hair then.
I designed myself and tried to get caricatures of the people that I hung out with established.
not sure why this is the answer.
In total there are only about 10 short comics, in various stages of completeness. Figured I would share a few here. Most are inside jokes from our time in Rome.
Joanne and I sunbathing on campus.

the cycle of exhausted study and overwhelmed travel

some girls thought the teachers were hot

our RA was kind of a nut

the famous gelato incident

random d&d story
Looking at these is just another reminder of the progression of skill over time. A lot of time.
Keep working on yourself.

October 19, 2015

My Personal Logo Design

For the next few posts, I am going to talk a little bit about some of my more recent design work, then I have no doubt I will get back into crochet.
I realized my personal design and logo has changed a bit since my last post on it way back in 2007.
I like to think that it is a good representation of where I was to where I am now, especially skill wise. 

I've been using what I call my "fish mark" since college when I needed a quick and easy way to sign my work in ceramics and printmaking. I'd been studying Albrecht Duerer, particularly his wood cut prints, and liked his signature a lot. It's that AD thing at the top under the date.

For a very short time I tried to replicate Duerers, but with my initials. It was too much of a rip off though, so I worked on it and realized that turning it on its side I could make it look like a fish! That's where I got the first one in the old post. That first one was a scanned drawing that I tried to clean up in photoshop.

Since then I've done a lot of work in the field of graphic design. The current logo is constructed in Illustrator. The AS of the fish was made from a font I liked, can't remember which anymore, that I heavily modified to get the shapes of the letters where I wanted them. When the logo is large like this, it is also easy to see that the lines around making up the pentagon shape are actually tools that represent my skills. Specifically these are: a pencil, brush, tablet stylus, crochet hook, and a black marker for my site name.

These tools are also represented in the argyle background on this site, with an emphasis on the little black marker, for my sites namesake, but that's next week's post.

It is really nice to have a good logo to represent myself. And like all logos, it might change again in the future, but for now it's a great way to see my past. Been thinking about getting a decal for my car... could be cool.

October 12, 2015

Burgerpillar Dog

Today is part two of the hamburger related crochet projects. This project is based on this hamburger-doggerpillar drawn by Nora that I saw on tumblr one time. One look and I knew I wanted this thing to exist and be poseable.
The shapes for this guy weren't too hard to figure out, but they are a bit more "elements of themselves" than hamby-chan's anatomy. By that I mean each piece is a distinct section, for example, a whole tomato, not just a slice, a giant burger vs, a patty, etc. It's what helps make it be a doggerpillar.

I used some of the same colors as Hamby-chan, plus purple for the red onion, pink for the nose, and a slightly more orange bun color. I also used a 4mm hook and the 12mm safety eyes. I kind of figured out the shapes as I went along. Every segment is attached to the one before it by using the back and front loops of single crochet strategically.

Starting at the head I made the ears in line with the bun piece since I wanted him to be as few pieces as possible. I've done the same sort of thing for Fish the Boxtroll's ears. I left a decent sized tail where I started his head so that I would have something to attach the spine to when I put it in later.
Since I wanted him to look as similar as possible to the sketch, the first lettuce leaf I even embroidered with a little of a second green to get those leaf veins.
Tomato is next. This one is actually a little larger than the second one that comes later. At the end I felt it was too large, but I didn't want to go back and redo it once I was so close to being done.
You can see that I'm stuffing as I go along. The patty came next and I tried to use back and front loops to get an edge to the piece. Later I went back with the brown and wove thread up and down through the piece, around the center, to make it more into a patty shape and be less puffy.
The red onions were next. I actually did these twice, but didn't like how the first ones came out. To get the kind of stringy look, on the last row around I simply chained a bunch and tacked them down with single crochets. I went around about three times using up free spots in this way to get onion strings of various lengths. Think it came out pretty cool looking.
Here you can see I added the cheese on. Personally I think I would want more cheese on my hamburger doggerpillar, but again, staying on model this is where it came. It was a little tricky figuring out how to make my round shape into a square-ish piece of cheese that I could keep working from.
The second tomato is only one row shorter than the first, but I think it makes a better shape. Again, I didn't figure it out till down here and I didn't want to go back and try to fix the first one. Under this second tomato are the pickles! I had a little bit of a hard time figuring out that is what they were since all I really saw in the picture was the dark green outline and I thought it was bell pepper or something. Pickles makes more sense. I used the green from the first lettuce embroidery to make them and then went and added a darker green border for the rind of the pickles.
After the pickles there is a second leaf of lettuce which I left plain since the pickles covered most of it. With that second lettuce done there was only the butt bun left to make so I started working on the spine. You can see it sticking up out of his head and out the back as well.
The rudimentary spine is made from using aluminum floral wire from the craft store. I estimated out two full body lengths of the wire and then folded it over and twisted all the way down to get it double thick. This also made a loop on the top that I could use the tail the head to attach through the loop. I twisted it closed around the yarn and pulled the end to get it to retract into the head.
I found an old sock and filled it with those plastic beads that weight stuff down; you could use rice or beans I guess. Once the bean bag was ready I started on the butt bun. I did about half and worked the tail then after I did the first row of decreases I set the bean bag into the shape as it was forming. I wrapped the end of the wire spine around it to help keep it in place. I was hoping this would help weight the end down and let him sit up a bit on his own, but it didn't really work for that. It does help keep the spine in place though so that is good.
Finally he was done! Personally I love this guy. He is super cute and happy looking. Now that I have a pattern for all the pieces, I feel like I could make a ton of these with different amounts and arrangement of toppings and segments. This is a great stash buster too (if you make a ton of em). You could easily put a rattle or squeaker in these too... so many good ideas here.

Nora took a look and loved it when I shared it on tumblr. So happy to make others smile. :)

Difficulty: Easy +
Time to complete: 8 hours or so
Finished size: 13 inches long, each piece about 3.5 in wide

October 5, 2015


After the last few things I've made, I wanted to do something silly, yarn consuming, and less ambitious. I've had two burger related crochet projects in my Evernote crochet notebook for a while. So this post will be part one of these two posts. I must be watching too much Food Wars anime...

First step is getting all the yarn colors together. A quick rummage through my yarn stash and I found most of the colors I would need: Soft white for the inside of the bun, green lettuce, red tomato, orange cheese, brown patty. I went out and picked up a skein of Bernat Satin in Sable for the bun since I wasn't too happy with the tans in my stash. I used a 4mm hook for this little burger.
purple and white is red onion on part two actually...
I know Nerdigurumi called hers Hamburger-kun and it is her pattern after all, but I'm naming mine Hamby-chan. Once I had the colors assembled the pattern was pretty easy to follow.

I am not sure I really get the slip stitch row at the end of the top bun part. I mean I got how to do it and I guess it works ok, but I kind of think you could just work into the back loops to get the same sort of thing. I also think I would arrange the "toppings" differently if I made this again. The tomato section being between the lettuce and the cheese makes it a little hard to see.

I used 12mm eyes as those are the ones I have the most of. I also embroidered a few "sesame seeds" in soft white to the top as well. The cute cheek blushies just put it over the top. Finished Hamby-chan is about 5in in all directions.

Looks good enough to eat! Maybe... if it wasn't so cute...
Kinda odd to think I went from hating hamburgers in high school, to loving them now. What's your favorite burger place? Think mine are Five Guys, Moo-yah and Hopdoddy.

Time to complete: about 6 hours because I was lazy, bet you could knock it out in three
Difficulty: Easy