March 28, 2016

Patch Jacket

I've collected patches for a while now, but they have just been affixed to random items or sitting in a drawer. I have been looking for a jean jacket, but every one I try on seems too heavy or not to fit right.

Recently I was out shopping with my family at an outlet mall when we happened to go into the Columbia outlet store. If you don't have one around, they sell outdoor clothes, coats and shoes. They had these really comfy canvas jackets and after trying it on three or four times in that same trip, I figured I'd better get it, or regret it. I can't tell you where to get one if you want one, as the outlet store sells stuff that isn't on their regular online store.
the jacket. teal lining was a big selling point.
For being an outlet store, I was still thinking that $35 for the jacket was a bit much, especially as I wanted to modify it. I love the length on it, but there is this odd string in the center, I guess to make it gather at the waist, but it's annoying, so I pulled it out. Second, it has two really good pockets for your hands that have two different pockets in one. However it also had two pockets up over my boobs, which were odd, so I removed them carefully. Now that I had a more blank canvas (ha!) to work with, I could start planning out where I wanted to put the patches.

Thankfully I had gotten a bunch of Amazon and Etsy money, so I was able to make a huge list of things I like, figure out what I was missing, and find patches for them without going broke. I also got a custom patch to put where a name would normally be embroidered, but of my twitter/tumblr/instagram handle. In total, I probably spent a good $80 on patches alone, amassing forty some odd patches.

Figure I will give a shoutout to those Etsy shops that I bought from:
Steven Universe Gem Weapons: Coey and Shy
@Khyarete patch: The Applique Patch
Pacific Rim and OtGW Rock Fact: CuddleTurtle
Better Be Dogs: MonsterOutside
White Lotus/ATLA and The Prince from Katamari Damacy: Cherriesama
Animal Crossing Leaf: Kawaiian Pizza Apparel
Happy Milk: PatchNation
Coraline: Craftsylvania
Ash from Fantastic Mr. Fox and the Bigfoot: For the Love of Patch
I have to say, For the Love of Patch is a truly excellent store. He has and is working on some really nice designs and I really love the ones I got. I've got three or four patch ideas from shows I love, that I can't seem to find anywhere. As he also can make custom patches, at some point I am going to send him my designs.

Others I have collected include:
two Terlingua, TX/ Day of the Dead
three Big Bend National Park
Camp LaJita (Girl Scout camp near San Antonio)
Soviet Space and Recycling (from husbands old cub scout vest)
Kwik-E-Mart (Simpsons from Universal Studios, Orlando)
ThinkGeek Starbase: Texas from the Hurst Mall Location
Jukebox the Ghost (band)
Sailor Mercury symbol and Chibi figure
Ravenclaw house emblem (Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando)
Rebels Against the God crest (Angel Beats anime)
BPRD patch (Hellboy)
Ouran Acadamy crest (Ouran Highschool Host Club anime)
Eternal Scout patch (Welcome to Nightvale podcast)
Stargate SGU
Jurrasic Park
Planet Express (Futurama)
Meat Popsicle and Council of Federated Territories (Fifth Element)
Totoro with a mushroom

thread box borrowed from mom in law
As for actually applying them all to the jacket... well I hand sewed each on. Some only after removing as much iron on glue as possible, or where not possible, doing both ironing on to soften the glue and then hand sewing. As I suck at sewing this was slow going, especially on the arms. I'm sure I did it all wrong, but I used a small, thin and very sharp needle for getting through the layers of canvas, glue and embroidery and by the time I finished it was a C shape from the struggle. My fingertips will never be the same.
the finished front, for now. mostly used for odd size and my favorite ones.
I decided it would be more fun to just have them all mixed up together as best they fit, so that I wouldn't need to worry about having all the scout ones together and camping ones together, especially if I have room to add more. Instead I started looking at size and shape similarities, laying them out so they looked somewhat symmetrical and organized. 
finished back for now. symmetry emphasized
At the time of writing this, I am still collecting more patches, and have at least two more out on order. Not to mention ideas for my own custom ones I want, so I guess keep an eye out for updates as I add more.
the two sleeves, figured crests of organizations would be coolest here.
I am super in love with this jacket now. I wore it out in Austin, with only about 15 of the patches on and got compliments and smiles wherever I went. It is a great piece to start conversations and attract like minded individuals, if the blue hair wasn't enough. Can't wait for fall.

Time to complete: 80-90 hours

Update: Got several new patches. Cryptozoology as part of the set of alternative scouting badges from Luke Drozd. The tornado to my love of the movie Twister and weather science in general, from Patchtown on Amazon. Pawnee Goddesses from Parks and Rec from Ferdinand Works. 'Za Lord's Guard from the Dresden Files novels from Pop Culture Patches.

March 21, 2016

Green Shell Purse

For my birthday a friend gifted me some yarn from her stash. Of the four skeins she gifted me, one was Be Sweet Bamboo in Khaki Green. It's a very soft small skein of about 110 yards.

As I only had one skein I checked around Ravelry for something small and suitable for one color. For some reason this yarn wanted to be a little purse and luckily enough I found a good pattern. It's a free pattern by Pierriot Yarns called KC Shell Stitch handbagNote: It is only written as a diagram with minimal directions, so hopefully you can read those if you want to make one.

The base of the purse is a pretty standard circle and works up fast despite using such a small 3.5mm hook.

I did have trouble starting into the shell rows as I was unsure how row 1 of the shells lined up with the last row (13) of the circle base. If you are also having trouble, know that it worked out for me to skip three sc between the first and last dcs of the shells and the sc anchors between. You should also be able to tell that because row 2 has three chains between each hdc cluster.

For row 2 of the shell part, you do chains and a "3-hdc bobble" which turns out is not what my instincts told me it would be. I used this video by Bethintx1 to learn how to do it properly, working the yarn over and through three times as indicated.

Personally I dislike the holes in between the shells being so open, when you could easily do another shell instead of the puff to make that space smaller. I feel like stuff might fall out the way it is. Course it would not be hard to line this purse either. In any case I just followed the pattern as written.

I did not end up doing all 7 rows of the net stitch at the top since I was running out of yarn.
As it was I was only able to do one full drawstring of 70 chains, and the second was 60 chains before I ran out. Close enough though that I still used both and I think they do alright.

It is a very thin but soft bag and the bottom disk stays nice and open. I could easily fit my iPhone 6 plus, wallet and keys, but not much else. I also like how small it is, perfect for travel. I might have to try to make one in a nicer color though; silver or black perhaps.

Difficulty: Easy + (for reading patterns)
Time to complete: 5 hours

March 14, 2016

Big Girl Camera

My hubby got me a belated christmas birthday present recently... an Olympus OM-D.

Not gonna lie, this camera is intimidating. As an art history student and graphic designer, I like to think I can tell a good photo from a bad one pretty quick. I've skirted the edges of photography, by studying composition, lighting and subjects from art sources. Sure, I've had several cameras before, but I used them on auto, and none have ever had interchangeable lenses.

Since he has become the photo teacher at our school, our interest in Photography with a capital P, has only increased. He's always been a photographer, but was limited to the iPhone. Photography is an excellent hobby, super fun, creative, portable, but terribly expensive if you want to get serious. But like my time making prints in college, it is a challenge that is time consuming to get right and much harder than it looks.

Anyway, instagram is a good place to get inspired and I love to see the travels of Momo and Andrew Knapp.

His class was free only for the week it was posted, so of course I signed up and watched the 40 minute class, took a few notes and went into the back yard with my own muse of a mutt, Gingko, my 5 year old husky mix. She's not much for posing, but loves to explore the back part of our yard which is a bamboo jungle.

I tried to follow the advice of a theme and trait, while also providing a wide, medium and close shot, as well as take some baby steps moving off of auto and into manual mode! Scary.
Theme: Gingko. Trait: Her exploratory nature

into the unknown of the bamboo
skirting the edges of the forest
target locked
I had a lot of fun with this, and getting up and out for even a little bit at lunch helped combat the constant couch sitting that is my day job. With this camera being so compact, I plan to just keep it on me at all times now. The trips we are planning in the future have just one more thing to look forward to... learning to take some great photos.

Yeah for trying new things! I've started a Flickr page for myself to try to motivate me to share, grow, and keep at it. Check it out if you like.

March 7, 2016

Blue Spider Lattice

A local knitting instructor passed away in December and one of the local yarn stores she taught at, Jennings Street, informed their customers in an email that she would have what amounted to a yarn estate sale. We went the first day mostly out of curiosity, and I ended up leaving with a bunch of new stuff.
Pretty but I actually dislike using them a lot.
I got four rosewood crochet hooks, and two bags of yarn, one with about five skeins of Issac Mizrahi Craft yarn in pink with gold sequins, and another with five skeins of a sparkly blue all for $23! The pink I figure I will use to make something for my sister, as the yarn kind of screamed her name, but the blue I thought I could make into something fun.

The blue yarn is called "Sunshine" by Trendsetter Yarns and is made in France... fancy. It seems to be discontinued and the label has not much info on it. Ravelry to the rescue as they have all the info like weight category and hook size. It says worsted, but it feels thinner than a regular worsted and has this kind of odd metallic crispness to it.

That crisp feeling made me think I would not like it as a scarf, although I did think about it since some of the reviews said this yarn made great fringe. Instead I ended up trying out the Spider Lattice Stole pattern by Cathy Campbell which is free on Ravelry. When starting to work on the initial foundation sc row I think I made the right decision.

The pattern itself is eight repeating rows and once you do them once it is a no brainer to work the rest with no reference to the pattern. I love ones like that. However it is a bit boring, so I was able to listen to an audio book while working it up and that made it go much faster.

The sheen of the fabric it creates is a bit odd to look at. I have to think any smaller stitch or details would get lost in the texture of the yarn, so the large, uncomplicated, open work pattern suited it well.
The shine makes it kind of pretty and a bit more like evening wear or something you might throw over a black dress.

I had a lot of fun making this quick and easy stole.

Difficulty: Easy
Time to complete: 8 hours
Finished size: 12" x 56"