Tag Archives: knitting

Cast-On Monday…Sort Of. Mostly.

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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.

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My First Cosplay: The Jayne Hat Dress

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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.

US Olympic Committee, Ya Dun Messed Up Good

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As I’m writing this, the USOC has apparently issued an apology, but I went to bed last night extremely irritated, and I woke up this morning fuming, so I figured I would at least try to articulate my thoughts on the matter (to add to the many, many other posts about this topic) to try to help me just get it out of me and hopefully move on!

Yesterday, the US Olympic Committee’s general counsel sent a letter to Ravelry pertaining to their 2012 Ravelympics (essentially, knitters and crocheters would watch the Olympics and participate in knitting sweaters, afghans, or scarves and the like. ALL SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF FUN, NOW, DOESN’T IT?!) demanding that they change the name of the activity from Ravelympics to something more like Ravelry Games, which did not use the copyrighted phrase “Olympics.”

Okay, fine, completely and totally 100% understandable (if they want to play hardball like that, anyway…I think it’s kind of silly that they’re wasting their energy this way, BUT WHATEVER.). All of us – makers, crafters, knitters, crocheters, etc, etc, etc – understand copyright and intellectual property. I can’t count the number of tweets and posts I’ve seen about people’s patterns and designs being ripped off (Urban Outfitters, other Etsy users, and so on) and we’re VERY sensitive to such things. No one wants to screw over another designer, no one wants to step on each others toes, we all try to exist in peaceful and creative environment (at least the good ones do…there are other less nice folks out there). All the USOC had to do was ASK NICELY and I’m sure Ravelry would have been more than happy to acquiesce.

BUT NO.

They had to go about it this way:

[…]The athletes of Team USA have usually spent the better part of their entire lives training for the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games and represent their country in a sport that means everything to them.  For many, the Olympics represent the pinnacle of their sporting career.  Over more than a century, the Olympic Games have brought athletes around the world together to compete in an event that has come to mean much more than just a competition between the world’s best athletes.  The Olympic Games represent ideals that go beyond sport to encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony.

The USOC is responsible for preserving the Olympic Movement and its ideals within the United States.  Part of that responsibility is to ensure that Olympic trademarks, imagery and terminology are protected and given the appropriate respect.  We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.  In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.[…] (click here to read the letter in full, free Ravelry account required.)

WHAT. THE. WHAT. I CAN’T EVEN. DENIGRATE?! Really? That’s what we’re doing? Pretty sure we were having fun and trying to get into the spirit of awesome world-wide camaraderie that happens every 2 years via the good sportsmanship and love and respect that is inherent in the Olympics. Yes, I have all the respect in the world for athletes and the fact that they love what they do enough to devote their entire life to it, giving up a lot of things that we take for granted. Does that mean that I can’t empathize and understand because I like to make things instead of play basketball or swim? NO. I’ve been crocheting since I was 6, and knitting since I was 14, and I’ve been working on perfecting my craft since then. I love to sew and make jewelry, decoupage and collage, stamp and cross-stitch. I’ve put LOTS AND LOTS of energy into this, because I love it and I want to be the best at it. I also used to be really into sports. I did gymnastics, soft ball, dance, and basketball. And as soon as I hit high school, everything became a competition, and you had to be the best, and losing was not an option; that’s a really lousy way to live. So I gave up on it. Could have I been a great athlete? Maybe, and maybe not, but I didn’t have the heart to put everything aside and become single-minded in my pursuit of sports. Some people DO have it in them, and it’s a joy to watch. THAT’S WHAT THE OLYMPICS ARE ABOUT. Other people have it in them to kick ass and take names making afghans, sweaters, and scarves AND THAT’S OKAY TOO.

Let’s revisit something, shall we? “The Olympic Games represent ideals that go beyond sport to encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony.” Dear USOC, YOU. FAILED. That’s right, I said it. Ravelry is currently a community of over 2 million fiber artists WORLD-WIDE. DID YOU HEAR THAT, LET ME SAY IT AGAIN IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: WORLD. WIDE. And you know what? Knitting and crocheting fun things while people support their own countries is BEYOND SPORT AND ENCOMPASSES CULTURE. And you’ve insulted WELL OVER 2 million people here, guys – that’s just the number of people on Ravelry. But this is the internet. Things spread like wildfire. There are people that still make things from yarn BECAUSE THAT’S THE ONLY WAY THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE A SWEATER OR A PAIR OF SOCKS. How can you be this ignorant and hurtful while exalting your athletes? They’re still people at the end of the day, and so are we. We’re ALL Americans (or Canadians, or Estonians, or Ghanians, OR HUMAN BEINGS.)

You were being ridiculous. You were being hurtful. It’s probably going to be a long time before I’m ok with watching the games again. Way to go and pit the jocks against the artsy kids AGAIN. Because there’s just not enough bullying going around these days.

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

Project: Polka-Dot Hat

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Okay gals & guys, I’ve been putting this off as long as possible, because I didn’t really know how I wanted to handle project blogs. I still don’t. So I’m just going to wing it. Things may change as I figure out the best way for me to do it. Formulas be damned! So here goes!

POLKA DOT HAT

After much mathing: THE POLKA DOTS ARE ROUND! HOO-RAY!

Basically, I’m obsessed with polka dots. So. Obsessed. I would say over half of my dress collection somehow revolves around them. Mostly in the black with white dots or white with black dots variety. My friend and I have joked that polka dots should be their own load of laundry, much like plaid and seersucker. I’m also in love with Knit Picks. They are super awesome, wonderfully priced, easy to work with yarn in all kinds of fabulous fiber contents. I made my Harry Potter scarf out of their Comfy Sport (which I should probably also blog about, because I DID MY OWN THING and made it the way I WANT IT, and I believe that’s a very important part of knitting and creating!). And I really like Comfy Sport! So I used some of my leftover yarn to make a checkerboard hat. Which got me thinking, if I can do checkerboard, then I can do POLKA DOTS!

I love playing with texture, so I decided to do the hat in one color, just using knit and purl stitches to make the pattern. It could also have been done with stranded knitting or double knitting, which is on my to-do list, I just wanted something simple that could travel with me to Comic-Con without a bunch of strands to get all tangled and messy from day to day. A lot of the time, I make things for friends, because there’s just no way I could wear or use everything that my brain comes up with and my hands create. My friend and I have a handy bartering system, make something, buy drinks, food, help with each others projects, etc. It all comes together nicely in the end, and I decided I was going to make her a hat because she was going to be awesome and screenprint a dress with one of her awesome linoprints.

El Fin

All in all, it took me probably a day and some to make the hat, mostly because the yarn is kinda on the thin side and my brain didn’t really register “knit with two strands!” til I was at least halfway thru. This is why I keep to worsted weight yarn for my simple projects! But alas, I had a wild hair and went against the grain. Although, given that we live in Southern California, it’s probably better that the hat is on the thin side, because no one ever needs a super serious winter hat down here. But I LOVE the hat, and when I find that special yarn for myself, I’m going to make one for me, too! Why? Because I love polka dots!