Sunday, June 29, 2008

Join the Ball Game!

You would not believe how long it took me to come up with a title for this one that didn’t sound dirty!

Since last week’s post on Crochet Graffiti I’ve been chatting with cathiphop of the Knitty Gritty MilCity. They are a fibers-based street-art collective and they’re officially putting out the call to ask fellow crochet and amigurumi enthusiasts to help with their future endeavors.

As cathiphop has told me, “It’s gonna take a lot of balls," crochet and knit balls to be precise. The group will accept balls of any colour and yarn weight, although they recommend bright colours, which can more easily be seen from a distance. Balls should also be no larger than a tennis ball, but aside from that, there are no specific size requirements.

Those who are interested in helping need to have their creations ready and mailed out before Sept. 30, 2008. No need to attach magnets or any other sticking devices to your balls. Knitty Gritty MilCity will take care of that part. Contact knittygrittymilcity(at)hotmail(dot)com and you will be given a P.O. Box address where you can ship your donations. (Items should be shipped in envelopes, rather than boxes.)

Want to help out, but don’t have any supplies? Don’t know how to knit or crochet? Knitty Gritty is there to help and is willing to send out wool and instructions to those who need them. Just contact them at the e-mail address given above.

Curious where your balls will end up? Knitty Gritty will be updating their Myspace page with photos of completed projects and are also willing to e-mail photos to their contributors by request.

Personally, I think this will be a great way to use up all those little bits of wool left in the bottom of my stash that are too small or too rough to use in afghan projects. I'll be sure to post some pictures once I get mine stitched.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ninjin Oni (Carrot Monster)! Cute Thing of the Week!

pureEva says on her flickr page that she isn't sharing the patterns for her amigurumis, but I still wanted to feature this adorable oni. If you click on the photo to enlarge it you can see there's some fairly elaborate stitching on the tummy. I also really like the technique she used on the spines, which look like she has chain stitched around them in a slightly darker colour. Adorable, and it gives me some new techniques to try on future amigurumis.

You can view more pictures of this critter, its blue companion and pureEva's other unique and unusual creatures in her Amigurumi flickr set.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Galactica Hat!

When I was at the Serenity charity screening this past weekend one of our Vancouver Browncoat members was sporting this Battlestar Galactica hat knit for her by a fellow member of the group. About a year back our Browncoats spun off a separate meetup for Battlestar Galactica events. It seems only fitting when you consider that Zoic Studios, which originally provided special effects for Firefly, went on to provide them for Galactica and Joss Whedon frequently lists BSG as one of his favorite shows.

The hat is based on the Mandala that Starbuck has been seen painting throughout the series. After seeing it I was wondering if there was a pattern available. Eureka! After a few minutes of searching I found that the hat had been created by QuirkyKnitGirl and the pattern is available on her blog. Unfortunately, the lighting was too poor at the screening to get a picture of the hat there, but I assure you it looked like this one pictured with the pattern.

Even if this didn't have the added bonus of being science fiction related, I'd still be impressed by the design. Very cool!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Greetings from Australia!

Can you see them? Take a look at the second row, in the middle. Pip from Meet Me at Mikes was good enough to send me this photo of the two crocheted softies I'd made for her store's Softies for Mirabel campaign. She also says they've been a big hit with boys, which is nice to hear. It's so easy to make cute things that will appeal to little girls, much harder to make something that boys will like. My little guys were also featured here on the Mikes blog. No word yet on whether or not they will be auctioned to raise money for Mirabel or given to one of Mirabel's kids at Christmas. I'll continue to keep everyone posted on their journey and if anyone's interested, there's still time to send your own softies to join the campaign.

Another picture from Pip of my guys just hanging out in Australia. Can you believe it only cost me $7 to send them there? If only we could all travel that cheaply.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Alien and Spaceship! Cute Thing of the Week

I remember back in the heyday of the X-Files little green men were everywhere and my friends and I were always giving each other little alien trinkets for birthday and Christmas gifts. Maybe with a new X-Files movie coming out this summer these guys will make a comeback. Until then, you can crochet your own alien (complete with spaceship!) curtesy of Etsy seller Emporium. She sells this Pattern for Alien and Spaceship as a pdf file for only $2.00.

And now, one of my favourite quotes, from the season 3 episode Piper Maru, (I can't believe I still remember this!)

Scully: You're in the basement because they're afraid of you, of your relentlessness and because they know that they could drop you in the middle of the desert, and tell you the truth is out there, and you would ask them for a shovel.
Mulder: Is that what you think of me?
Scully: Well, maybe not a shovel. Maybe a backhoe.
Mulder: Well that's good because there's some garbage in San Diego I want you to help me dig through.

A second picture because I can't resist this shot where it looks like he's walking away from his spaceship ready to terrorize the unsuspecting humans. If only he had a little crochet ray gun...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Super Mario 3 Super Cross Stitch

I love the trend that's going on right now of taking old '80s and '90s video games and turning them into wall hangings, bathroom towels and other cross stitch wonders. I'm also in awe of any elaborate cross stitch that I see someone has completed, even when the subject matter isn't to my taste. I've done the big pictures myself and I know how long it can take to finish the major projects. Finally, I think I pretty much love anything that's Super Mario 3 related, so I have to give special recognition to this X-Stitched Mario 3 Map that was stitched by Craftster user Cross stitch ninja. At first I thought this was stitched on a cream coloured fabric, but if you look at the close-up photos in the original Craftster post you can see that every space of this is cross-stitched. That's an amazing amount of work and I am definately in awe.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Crochet Graffiti

I absolutely love this picture from cathiphop's post on Craftster about Giving a Sculpture a Pox. Cathihop attached magnets to crocheted balls to help them stick to the iron sculpture. Unfortunately, her work has since been taken down, but it did inspire me to go searching to see what else has been happening in the world of crochet graffiti. I was going to do a post on this topic many months ago, but most of the information I was finding was coming from the Netherlands and most of the text about it was in foreign languages. Now it looks like more crochet artists in North America are turning their attention to the world around them too, or maybe I just did a better job of googling this time. Have a look:

Up first, old meets new. I like how it sort of takes a second glance before you notice the crochet has been added to a painted tag. I wonder how the original artists feels about this enhancement of his or her work? This piece of crochet art comes from Masquerade who likes to leave her mark around Sweden, particularly Stockholm. During a recent world tour she left this piece in Rome.

Above: A second piece from Masquerade, this time she's reaching for new heights.

From the Micro-Fiber Militia who help to beautify the city of Chicago through crochet. Not only do they decorate the town, they also ask residents to help them keep track of which pieces remain and which are taken down, and update their blog accordingly.

Last though certainly not least, a piece of legally sanctioned public crochet. This Tree Cozy was created by artist Carol Hummel and was a winner in the 2005 Heights Public Art Competition in Cleveland Heights, OH. This link takes you to Hummel's website which begins with a slide show of her work. She does a lot of amazing things with crochet and yarn in general. Someday I may have to devote an entire entry to her work and it's definately on the list of things I'd like to see in person. For now, I urge you to go and take the virtual tour.

So that's a brief glimpse of public crochet art. There are plenty more samples out there which you can find through the links I've mentioned here as well as your own Google searches. These are just a few that grabbed my interest.

When I told the boyfriend, who is both wise and witty, that this was topic for my latest blog entry he immediately volunteered to help place pieces around town if I wanted to start my own Crochet Militia. I'm still on the fence about the idea. If I came across someone's crochet tag while walking downtown it would certainly make me smile and if anyone one wanted to argue I'd definately take the stand that these are art or expressions of free speech rather than vandalism.

At the same time my reservations come from the ideas of art versus use. Right now I usually turn my scrap wool into squares which I donate to a program called Blankets for Canada. From there these squares get turned into blankets that are distributed to the homeless. I like the usefulness of that.

I also can't help thinking of new fallen snow and how it looks so beautiful the first day. Then a couple days later it gets plowed to the side of the road and becomes various shades of black and brown as it's polluted by car exhaust and other chemicals. All the pictures of crochet graffiti I found were taken immediately after the pieces were put up so there's no record of their sustainability. What do they look like a few days, weeks or months later after they've had to endure the elements and pollution? I guess at that point the message changes from one of artistic freedom to environmental concern.

Any thoughts? Feel free to comment.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Knit in Public Day

I just wanted to remind everyone that Saturday June 14 is World Wide Knit in Public Day. Started in 2005 by Danielle Landes, the first Knit in Public Day had twenty-five local events held around the world. This year, 767 events are scheduled by volunteers in various cities. To find one in your area or to learn more about the motivations for World Wide Knit In Public Day, visit the link above.

Don't know how to knit? Be a rebel, bring your crochet hook instead. Can't find an event in your area? Don't fret, just grab those knitting needles and head down to your favourite park, coffee shop, or shopping mall. You're bound to generate some attention and you may even draw some fellow knitters out of the woodwork.

Retro TV Crochet - Cute Thing of the Week

After a long day of being stitched, stuffed and embroidered you know there's nothing an amigurumi likes to do better than kick back and watch a little TV. Now, thanks to Etsy seller eureekaswindow they can do just that with this Retro TV Set Crochet Pattern. I'm not sure if this one should be called the Cute Thing of the Week or the Strangest Thing of the Week, but I'm definately giving bonus points for the use of Steven Colbert. As eureekaswindow says in her product description:

"I love to arrange my softies and dolls and snap a few pics of them, so I was inspired to make a little TV to create a "comfy little living room scene". Make your own crocheted TV and glue on a pic of your favorite late night talk show host, sitcom character or news anchor."

My suggestion, instead of glueing on your favourite TV personality, I bet you could use velcro or carefully placed magnets so that you could have changeable TV programs. Watching the Colbert Report is great, but once it's over, your Amigurumis may want to catch a rerun of Futurama or The X-Files and you'd hate to deny them this option, right?

The pattern sells for $5.75, is six pages long and comes in PDF Format.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A is for Amigurumi!

Craftster user Kayster has set herself the challenge of making an amigurumi finger puppet for every letter of the alphabet. To make things even more interesting she's giving each puppet a name and a story that's filled with cute amigurumi action shots. It's a great idea and reading about her amigurumis' exploits and quirky personalities makes me smile.

Pictured here is her first creation, Annie, who likes to go to the library on rainy days. How can you not love an amigurumi that likes to read?

To read Annie's full story or view the other alphabetic amigurumi people visit A-Z Finger Puppets.

Monday, June 9, 2008

One Week Baby Blanket

I'm so pleased I actually managed to get this crocheted in only a week. I'm not really sure who I'm going to be giving it to yet. I guess I'll have to wait until I hear another friend or family member is spawning. For now I just wanted to use up some Bernat Baby Coordinates wool that I had left over from a previous pattern and I've always wanted to try this blended rainbow effect with baby wool. To create the blended look you start with two strands of the first colour and work two rounds, then you cut off one strand and add in a strand of the next colour, work two rounds that way and then switch completely to the new colour for the next two rounds. In this blanket I started with two strands of pink for Rounds 1 & 2, then in rounds 3 & 4 I used one strand of pink and one of yellow, then in rounds 5 & 6 I used 2 strands of yellow...and so forth through green, blue, light purple and dark purple.

Want the pattern?

The colour scheme is different, but the pattern I used to make this was Beth's Little Star Afghan. It's a fun repetitive pattern that works up quickly and you can easily work on it while you're watching TV or surrounded by other distractions.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ninja Turtle Minis! Cute Thing of the Week

Growing up I was never a fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the live action versions always creeped me out. To this day I've never seen a TMNT movie. I tell you this only so you'll understand that a Ninja Turtles related craft has to be pretty darn cute to win me over. Craftster user atsuko has me seriously reconsidering my childhood dislike of these little dudes after posting her Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) mini amigurumi. Look at them! So cute!

Need a set of your own? The pattern is available in pdf format for $5 in atsuko's Etsy shop, Under the Mountain.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Big Damn Heroes Go Amigurumi!

Mal: "Well, look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. Whaddya suppose that makes us?"
Zoe: "Big damn heroes, sir."
Mal: "Ain't we just!"

I know that a lot of the people that frequent Cthulhu Crochet and Cousins are also familiar with Geek Central Station, but just in case you've missed it I wanted to let everyone know that the awesome folks over there have turned their talents to the cast of Firefly this week. Visit their site, or the Firefly set they've posted on flickr to the see the amazing work and detail they've put into Zoe, River, Wash and the rest of the crew.

This also gives me another opportunity to remind everyone about the charity screenings of Serenity that are taking place around the world this month in honour of Firefly creator Joss Whedon's birthday and to raise money for his favourite charity Equality Now. Click here to learn more.

Jayne: "Do you know what the chain of command is here? It's the chain I go get and beat you with to show you who's in command."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Afghan Appreciation

I'm working on afghans this month and rewatching Joss Whedon's Angel while I do so. It's not because they both start with "A" that's just a weird coincidence. Anyways, I thought I'd use this as an opportunity to show off five afghans I really like, but haven't had the time, money, or endurance to make yet. All of these are easily available, and some are even free, just in case they grab your interest too.

First up, in the top left we have the Midnight Brites Blanket. Available as a kit from Mary Maxim. It's hard to see from the picture, but I think this is a series of small granny squares sewn together. I don't mind making the squares, but I dread stitching them all together afterwards which is what's kept me away from this one so far.

Rainbow Stripey Baby Blanket (free pattern). This was made by Craftster user PencilNeck and if you follow the discussion that goes on after her initial post there's enough information here that an intermediate to advanced crocheter could figure out how to make one for themselves. I just love the look of this blanket and I think it would be a great way to use up scrap yarn. Plus, it doesn't have to be a baby blanket. Ripples are very easy to extend both length and width-wise.

Galaxy Afghan (free pattern). I actually tried to make the hexagon motif for this once, but I got really mixed up in the instructions and couldn't figure out what to do next. I'm hopeful that if I ever try it again the instructions will seem clearer, or I'll put a little more effort into trying to figure out what I should be doing. (Or I'll just find a hexagon motif that I do understand and use the colour scheme from this blanket.)

Rainbow Waves Afghan (free pattern). I just love anything that uses colour blending and despite how complex the blanket looks, the instructions don't seem that complicated.

Hello Kitty Pirate Baby Blanket. This one just makes me laugh. It's so cute and such a change from your traditional pastel baby blankets. Made by Craftster user NerdyCrochetGal there's no official pattern just a link in her post to where she found the Hello Kitty grids. The cross-bones you'll have to make up yourself based on the picture or find a grid for elsewhere.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Creepy Cute Clarification!

Just wanted to let everyone know that NeedleNoodles has started posting a series of tutorials addressing some of the more confusing concepts in Creepy Cute Crochet. If you're struggling with something in the book or you've been on the fence about buying it, I urge you to take a look at the tutorials. I think they make it easier to understand some of the steps and it gives you an idea of why she chose to use some of the techiques that she did. I'm also very impressed with the clear, close-up photos she's provided to show some of the stitches step-by-step.

Tutorials available so far:
Getting Back to Basics
Troubleshooting the Basic Head

Rumor is she's also working on a tutorial for how to make the hair as per the instructions in the book. Check back at the main site,, for updates.

And now, take a moment to marvel in wonder about how aweome the internet is. Because in your grandmother's day there's no way the author of a pattern book would have had the resources to reach out and help your granny and every other person who was having trouble deciphering the pattern instructions.

And In Other News...

If you like making cute animal amigurumi and you like free patterns (and who doesn't?) you may already be familiar with Roxycraft...patterns that don't suck. I just wanted to put a plug in here to let everyone know that Tamie Snow, the woman behind Roxycraft, has an amigurumi book coming out this summer. Tiny Yarn Animals will be released on August 5 and is now available for pre-order through Amazon and other online book retailers. As described on Roxycraft:

"This colorful guide presents twenty-one sweet and simple-to-make yarn creatures for crafters young and old. Each animal is assembled using several basic crochet stitches—stitches even beginners can easily master—and the results, from a winsome little lamb to a wide-eyed lemur, make for delightful yarn friends."