Category Archives: Creativity

Cast-On Monday…Sort Of. Mostly.

Cast-On Monday…Sort Of. Mostly.

So I DID actually cast-on a knitting project today, even though that’s not what the whole blog is going to be focusing on. I joined my first KAL! I’ve played with the idea before, but time and money has never really been on my side. I’ve been following Allyson Dykhuizen on twitter for a while, and one day we just started conversing back and forth about random guilty pleasure TV shows (hers was Revenge and mine was Murder, She Wrote). Now we’re tweety box friends and it’s pretty cool 🙂 So when she said, “Hey y’all, Holla Knits is doing a KAL!” I was like, “Sign me up, please!” Last week was working on a gauge swatch and today was CAST-ON DAY. And I’m pretty stoked. My yarn is all sparkley and lime green and AWESOME.

Here’s my gauge swatch. SPARKLES! GREEN!

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL! I’ve been trying to work on making found-item jewelry for a couple of weeks now, and I have this really fun idea for bottle cap earrings that requires resin to be poured. It’s been 90+ and humid for the past 3 weeks, and it would take resin foreeeeeeeeever to set in those kinds of conditions (no A/C in the apartment). So now i’m stuck going, “what to do, what to do…thousands upon thousands of bottle caps and NO FREAKING RESIN POURING. GRRRR RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE.” So I was browsing twitter and craft blogs like I do when I need inspiration and it hit me somewhere along the way (I found a tutorial about fabric on wooden discs, but now I can’t find the exact one I saw…it was something like this) that I can flatten them and put fun pictures and artwork inside and just use a spray or brush-on sealer and save me all the headaches while still feeling productive.

See? Cute googly eye earrings CRYING because they can’t have resin friends.

This is probably 1/100 of my collection of bottle caps. This is just from the past 2-3 weeks in the kitchen. I’ve been collecting since I was 14.

But where to get art or pictures or fun flat things? I can’t draw to save my life, even my stick figures are heinous. Finding things on the interwebs means irking someone by taking THEIR art, which is absolutely no good. So I thought about trying to find old postcards or photos that people sell at flea markets and things, but that wasn’t quite right enough. I DO love vintage, and I’m sure at some point I’ll go for it, but I’ve been on a mega-nerdy streak lately so vintage just wasn’t hitting the right note. So THEN I was like, “HELLO, COMIC BOOKS AND DICTIONARIES AND ANATOMY BOOKS AND THINGS.” YES. This. Go to the flea market and see what goodies you can find. I found lots of goodies.

Comic books! All 8 of these cost me $2. And they’re all mostly 80s, and none of them had been bagged or boarded, so the guilt level at cutting them up was pretty much nil.

Old school dictionary with etchings!! THIS COULD NOT BE MORE FUN. Cost me $1.

So this is what I’ll be doing this week: working on my KAL and smooshing and painting and gluing bottle caps. I HAVE ALL THE EXCITE.

(c) 2012 Elsha Wolf. All rights reserved. Photos by Elsha Wolf.
Duplication in whole or substantial portion is explicitly forbidden.


My First Cosplay: The Jayne Hat Dress

My First Cosplay: The Jayne Hat Dress

ZOMG you guys, my first cosplay was a success. A glorious, beautiful, obscure, magical success. I was so excited about the positive reaction from fans that I was grinning like a Cheshire cat all day. I would like to say a big, heartfelt “THANK YOU” to all the fans that asked for pictures, or took ones on the fly because we were too far apart.

Kaylee was right in front of us in line. This was probably about 7:30-8am. Photo by David Clarke.

I think the idea struck me at some point during WonderCon in Anaheim earlier this year. (Side note: I really, really wish WonderCon happened in Anaheim all the time, but I might have to start venturing north for it. WonderCon = AwesomeCon). Wandering the exhibition floor is like navigating a veritable sea of Jayne hats (and Fin/Fiona hats…but…that’s another conversation for another time), and of course people in gorgeous, many times homemade/sewn, full-on costumes. It’s breath-taking, really.

I’m a pretty good knitter (and crocheter!), and my seamstress skills are…passable at best. I also have this pesky perfectionism streak. I didn’t want to think of a costume outside of my skill set, then try to “make it work” and end up with something disappointing. It would have broken my heart. So, using the WonderCon experience as inspiration, I started racking my brain for fun, out of the box ideas. There are always a million super heroes, anime characters, cartoon characters, etc. I didn’t want to be the same as everybody else, but I also wanted to do something I loved. Being able to put love and passion into something makes all crafting endeavors that much better. And then it finally hit me. Jayne’s hat! It’s iconic, it’s awesome, and only a certain set of fans (Firefly) will get the reference. But it wasn’t enough. Just a hat? That’s entirely too simple, and would only take me a couple of hours to throw together. I wanted something more complicated. I had never made a knit dress before, but it seemed easy enough in theory. I looked at the hat and I just saw it morph into a dress. I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull off the neckline, but I KNEW I wanted it to be knee-length or shorter, because you can’t have Jayne’s hat without the earflaps.

That was it. As soon as the idea hit my synapses, I had to do it. I took out the sketchbook and started playing with ideas and came up with the shape it ended up being. I knew I needed a cotton blend yarn because I was going to be wearing it in San Diego in mid-July, and the more natural fiber the better. Wool was out of the question. I checked Knit Picks because I love them and they have lots of awesome yummy yarn to play with. I ended up choosing their Shine Worsted yarn because I wanted the natural fibers, and the thickness so I could use larger needles (and the price was pretty rad, too). All in all, it took me about a month to get it all together, but I wasn’t working on it 24/7. Taking my time with it was the best decision I could have made!

I kept my idea pretty quiet, as I didn’t want to have anyone steal my perfect idea (there may or may not have been moments of “my precious” while stroking my sketches). I know it sounds silly, but I WANTED TO BE FIRST, DANG NAB IT. Blowing people’s minds is so much fun. So I told a few close friends in person and my mom over the phone, but I kept it completely off the internet. When I finally broke out the costume at the Con, a few friends said things along the lines of, “I knew you told me you were going to turn a hat into a dress, and I didn’t see how that was possible, but you did it. Holy crap it is amazing and you totally pulled it off.” Friends are the best. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

THEN, OMG, THEN San Diego Comic-Con (which was about 4 months after WonderCon) announced the Firefly 10th anniversary reunion panel. COULD LIFE GET ANY MORE PERFECT. I had visions of wearing my amazing costume, having the cast or Joss Whedon see me in it, all the magical picture moments ensuing (I mean, can you imagine how amazing it would be if I had met Adam Baldwin?! All the magic). A girl can dream, right? My boyfriend and I showed up around 6am to get in line for Ballroom 20, and we got in! We’re not much for sprinting to the front if we’re in front of one of the screens, so I didn’t get anywhere close to seeing them. I’m way too nervous around video cameras/microphones to have gone up to ask a question at the panel. My brain would have shorted out and I probably would have waved hello then proceeded to pass out.

But I did prance around all day in my costume, taking pictures with tons of Browncoats and fans. It was an amazing, amazing experience. Firefly fans are some of the sweetest, most awesome people of all time. My day was filled with “OMG YOU’RE A HAT,” and from those more in the know, “OMG YOU’RE JUST THE HAT! JAYNE’S HAT.” I made my way to the California Browncoats booth, because how could I not?! It took them a couple seconds, but they TOTALLY freaked out, and I got my picture taken by them, and we all had awesome giggles and laughs and fan spaz time, and it was awesome. They even had the head from the statue of Jayne from the episode “Jaynestown.” What? Seriously? Could life have gotten any more fantastic? I kind of doubt it (except for, you know, meeting the cast and Joss).

Me & the ACTUAL Jayne head/bust!!! HUZZAH! It’s probably about 2-3pm You can see at this point in the day, my smile is kind of broken from over-use. Photo by David Clarke.

In the end, it was kind of all a glorious blur. If any of y’all saw me and took some pictures, I would love to see them!

Browncoats Unite!!

(c) 2012 Elsha Wolf. All rights reserved. Photos by David.
Duplication in whole or substantial portion is explicitly forbidden.

1st Annual LA County Yarn Crawl!

1st Annual LA County Yarn Crawl!

It was a blaaaast, you guys!!! From Thursday April 12 – Sunday April 15, twenty-eight LA County stores participated in the first (of hopefully many!) annual event. For $5 you could download a passport (and get a tote bag! A TOTE BAG!) that you would take around with you to different stores, get stamped, and be entered in some pretty awesome raffles! FOUR DAYS OF YARN AND SALES AND KNITTING AND LOVE! I can’t even. My friend and I only got to go out on Saturday for the event, but from the sound of things from the store owners, there were PACKS of yarn-enthusiasts gallivanting around LA on both Thursday and Friday. And Friday was a rare, gross, rainy day. And they were STILL out en masse! A beautiful sight, indeed!

Had I been smart about this from the beginning, I would have taken notes and snapped a few pictures so I could have written a proper review of the event… but 2 weeks after the fact, all the details are a little hazy. NEXT TIME I WILL DO BETTER! These are the stores we hit up on Saturday:

Stitch Cafe – They were really awesome! The shop is super cozy with a great selection of yarn, and the staff was really nice and helpful! Even though my friend and I were only ogling everything with massive eyeballs and trying not to drool. (They have an LA Kings hockey Stitch n Bitch once a season. I must go next time!)

La Knitterie Parisienne – So. Intense. Is all I can say. It’s like a massive, somewhat crowded, cave of wonder and magic and joy and joyness. And the owner was simply a DELIGHT! She talked to us for a while about the Yarn Crawl and all the crowds that had been through her store. And the button walls…ooooh the button walls…Do stop here if you need buttons and magic!

Sit ‘N Stitch -Teeny shop w yarn, needlepoint, and cross-stitch. VERY friendly, go our tote!! (woo hoo!)

Unwind Yarn – MOST. MAGICAL. SHOP. ON. THE. PLANET. If I had a yarn store, this is the way I would do it. The space is amazing and huge, there’s plenty of fun yarn to look at, as well as plenty of space to have KALs or stitch n bitches, hanging out and basking in the glory that is THIS STORE. We were there for at least an hour and a half, the staff were amazingly friendly (and so were the other patrons! AGH! LOVE!) There was a book signing for an ADORABLE book called Extra Yarn, and a raffle that we signed up for 5 minutes after walking in the door, and the drew for it 10 minutes after we walked through the door (timing, I tell ya, it’s everything!). I ended up winning the grand prize of two skeins of yarn, bamboo needles, and THE box that they used for a prop in the book. I got to give the box to the most adorable 4 year old of all time, because it’s her favorite book and she reads it every night with her mom, and it made me the happiest lady, EVER. She was so *cute*. This is what I did with the yarn:

I found a fun stitch in the Vogue Stitchionary knit + purl volume and threw these together. Designed and knit by SixCraftsUnder, photo by Breanne Patterson.

My friend Brea did the quickest photo shoot of all time to get me this wonderful picture!

A Major Knitwork – Cute, teeny store with the most amazing, sweet older ladies and gents. They loved our short red hair. We loved their short grey and white hair. It was awesome 🙂

Hook’d On Knitting – This was the last store we hit! At this point it’s about 4 o’clock in the afternoon and we were wiiiiped out. We didn’t know how long we would be able to last at this store, but we put 30 min in the meter, pulled up our big girl panties, and went head first into a world of awesome. The store was completely GORGEOUS and breath-taking. I wish we could have been there when we had more than two braincells to rub together, because it was all a little overwhelming. Ladies at this big ol’ table knitting, big windows everywhere with so much natural sunshine coming in, sooo many beautiful skeins of yarn in shelves on the was amazing. And we met a very awesome person who runs the stitch ‘n bitch in Sherman Oaks (they have cheesy movie knitting afternoons and it sounds wonderful). She had seen us in Unwind and just decided to strike up a conversation. THIS IS WHY YARNIES ARE AWESOME.

All in all I had a GREAT time at the Yarn Crawl and I can’t wait to go again next year! The only bummer was I didn’t know that I should have left my passport at the last store we visited, so my friend and I didn’t get entered in the big contest 😦 But live and learn! It was still amazing to discover all of these stores, and even the other ones that we didn’t get to! I’m sure we’ll use the list in future yarn escapades! So take a bow, Yarn Crawl Coordinators, It. Was. Epic. Two thumbs way, way up.

(c) 2012 Elsha Wolf. All rights reserved. Photo by Breanne Patterson.
Duplication in whole or substantial portion is explicitly forbidden.

How I spent my Black Friday…

How I spent my Black Friday…

This is what the hallway looked like. Hallway by Jheuli, photo by Brea.

More like CRAFT Friday! It was really awesome.

My friend Jheuli is working her way through a degree in Fiber Arts, and for one of her assignments, she decided to turn her hallway into a magical-Narnian-White-Wood-awesome-tastic-Wonderland (she really just wanted it to be kind of creepy and ethereal, the Narnia part is in my head). And it’s freaking amazing. To “turn in” her assignment, she was supposed to take pictures of the hallway from whatever perspective she desired, and blow them up to 16×20 or so. She took one round of pictures, and they were good, but they didn’t really show off HOW FREAKING FANTABULOUS this hallway really was. She was even trying to bribe her professor into coming over to see the hallway in person! So my answer was to enlist my friend Brea (who is an awesome photographer and artist in her own right) to help! She brought over her fancy pants camera and her tripod (which of course, we never actually used), opened up that aperture and let-er rip!

We were about halfway through the shoot and Jheuli decided that that the light was more warm than what she wanted (first picture). So we ran around her apartment trying to figure out a way to add more coolness to it with what we had on hand. The end result was a blue glass jar lid over a small spot light on the floor around the corner (this is how I craft and create people. By the seat of my pants!). The second picture is the final product. In fairness, it is probably on the lighter end of what she wanted (she really like the darker ethereal look), but since I had the raw images, I fiddled with it to how I liked it to show y’all.

The result is absolutely stunning!

This was the final result. I fiddled with it in GIMP to get the blue to pop. Hallway by Jheuli, photo by Brea.

(c) 2011 Elsha Wolf. All rights reserved. Hallway design by Jheuli Hernandez. Photos by Breanne Patterson.
Duplication in whole or substantial portion is explicitly forbidden.