Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas To Us!

Nothing like a early Christmas present from unexpected quarters. The fine ladies of Sisters In Gaming saw fit discuss out modest enterprise during the Crafting Mama segment of their December 24th podcast which can be heard here. Nothing like free love and advertising to warm you on a cold winters night. If you get the chance, return that favor and check out their community. After all, it's hard being a woman in a boys world....unless you're out ganking newbs in Southshore. Lol, newbs.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Samus Aran Mock-up

One of the tools we use when designing a new hat is a mock-up. Crocheting bits and pieces to a hat can take quite a bit of time, so when we have an idea for a design we use colored felt to get an idea on how it will look. Most of the time you can tell what will work and what won't right away. And sometimes when you do get a look you like, you'll find it's a chore to get the yarn in just the shape that it was so easy to cut the felt into.
In this case you can see we used the orange and green of the Metroid Prime series. As we started gathering reference material from the internet, we noticed right off that each game in the series modified or interpreted Samus' armor in a slightly different way. The common features of all of them could be distilled down to; the visor, the breather/vent below the visor, the side bulges near/over the ears and the tubes connecting the breather and the bulges. In this mock up you can see our visor and "tubes" pinned on to our base hat. Once we saw how these looked, we decided on the final design. All thats left is to build it. Look for it sometime in early '09.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mega Man Hat

You know how in the classic 8-bit MegaMan games you just keep dieing over and over till you learn the right patterns? Creating the MegaMan hat was eerily like that. We worked on and off trying to develop something that looked even close to good. Pattern books were consulted. The Internet was researched. We even had a sheep and an old crone ready to read it's entrails. And what we found was that nothing was quite right. Nothing had the right feel. Were we doing this right? Here's just two of our early attempts

Megaman Prototype 1

As you can see, we started with a base beanie and then continued the yarn down the back to simulate the curvature of the helmet. The theory was sound, but the effect when placed on a real human head left much to be desired. We stopped the project at that point.

MegaMan Prototype 2

The second attempt tried for a different effect. Since the first had warped so badly on the sides of the helmet we tried for a tie down strap under the chin. This is also the first time we tried the side orbs which we modified slightly for the final design. The triangle in the front between the eyes tried to compensate for the lack of curvature around the face that you see in drawings of Megamans helmet. This wasn't quite what we looking for either.

MegaMan Final

So we started from scratch. We tried to capture the essence of MegaMan without recreating him perfectly. Judging from the number of them sold, I say people like it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ghost Hat Failure

One of the fun part about crafts is that you have practically unlimited options. You can choose to work with a medium; bending it's form to fit your concept. You can choose a medium or two that works best for a single concept and move to a different one for the next project. The trouble with changing mediums often is that unless you're the reincarnation of a renaissance master with a large purse to boot, you'll end up with only a minor master of the medium and spend a fortune on the professional tools that are needed to get the most out of a given material. So once you've decided to hunker down and try to get the most out of your medium, you'll begin to try different techniques to get a better result or simply speed things up. Sometimes these experiments work out; sometimes they don't. But if you can apply what you've learned from your mistake to a later project, it's a lesson well learned.

We got the basic ghost hat design down on the first try, but decided to try something different so that the eyes would be in the same layer as the base hat. The Tapestry method of crochet allows you to run mulitple threads of yarn together, bringing one to the front while dropping the others behind. Depending on the colors used and the tightness of the stitch, the threads running in the background can be nearly invisible. Or not.

This Inky hat done in "Country Blue" (which I will forever consider the color of siding for seaside cottages) doesn't really cut it. The eyes have the same number of stitches as the pieces sewn onto the normal hat, but end up distorted and awkward.

Not only is the black and white yarn visible behind the blue in front of the hat, but due to the nature of Tapestry crochet, it follows all the way around the hat.

In addition to being ugly, this hat doesn't stretch quite like the others; the threads behind limit the size the hat will stretch out to. Well, live and learn. There are some great Tapestry crochet works out there, but this isn't one of them.

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Friday, December 5, 2008


You'd be amazed at what you collect when you're never sure what you're making. Some colors see constant use; others were bought on a whim or a sale. Most have some planned use for the future. But the stock pile just keeps growing; we may need to expand.