One of my dear friends, Kat, came over and after having an adventure shopping, we decided to have a craft evening. She really wanted a pair of shark gloves like I made, but she didn’t know how to sew. I tried to convince her we needed easier projects to start with, but she insisted on shark gloves. I stitched the really curved seams, but she really got it and did much more than I expected her to be able to. I can’t wait till we get to have another craft night.

I decided that I needed a project to do too rather than just help with shark gloves. I’d been contemplating zombie dolls for a while and used a silly little pattern from an ancient book my mom passed on to me, “The Woman’s Day Book of Soft Toys & Dolls” by Joan Russell. You can find a copy of this indespensible book here on Amazon. This doll is the doll’s doll, Amy’s Small Doll, on page 253. I used baby blue fleece for the doll to get a good zombie color and made up a zombie face that has a thread embroidered frown and fleece applique eyes. The jumper is from the book and I just whipped out a little applique skull from a scrap of pink fleece and some black thread. The pink shirt is based on the pajama shirt pattern in the book but altered so there’s no snaps. I put the shirt on the doll before I stuffed her so it’s semipermanent. I used a glittery punk fabric from Walmart. It’s like skulls and crossbones, only there are hearts atop the crossbones instead and the whole fabric has a dusting of silver glitter. A stretch knit would have been much better, but I couldn’t pass up the pattern. The hair is the first time I’ve ever done yarn doll hair. It’s black RedHeart with scraps of pink lavender ribbon.

I just love her innocent and childish but still zombie face. When I get the chance I’d like to continue making more zombie dolls–whole families and even dolls to look like people I know. Those would be great Halloween gifts, zombie versions of that person! I may make some more, but with simplified hair just for that purpose. I may also work in some variations as Kat and I have decided we need more craft nights to decompress from school and let out our inner creativity/kid. We’ve been discussing making some ugly dolls, and I think zombies count.

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Finglerless shark gloves

September 24, 2009

Somehow I ended up at a page on etsy.com that had fingerless shark gloves. Go to etsy and check these ones out for a killer comparison. I really like the idea of gloves as different animals, and sharks are brilliant for it, but I wasn’t impressed with the execution. I just don’t see the shark in them. It’s a little too creative of an interpretation for me. I also think that there shouldn’t be any felt used on gloves because gloves need to be washed regularly.

I decided that night that I should sew some shark gloves because I wanted a pair, and I wanted something very different from what was being offered. I made a pattern by tracing my hands and adding to it to get the right thickness. They came out just a little too big, but not bad for my first try. I’ve also decided I need a nice pair of fabric pinking shears. It’s a good Christmas idea if you need to shop for me. It’ll help make more realistic shark teeth in addition to other things.

The coolest part of the gloves may be the fins, but having the color be lighter on the bottom just like a real shark is pretty cool too. I’ve considered adding gills, but I have yet to come up with a way to stitch them on so they look good.

The reason these shark gloves are so cool is because they remind me of my grandpa. He used to use this shark puppet that I have as a tickle monster. It’s very similar looking and has smaller teeth and a pink mouth. It’s made of a very short fur fabric. I love it, but it’s just too beat up and special for every day use. These washable fleece sharkies are perfect for every day wear and you can evey drive, shop, or attend class in them since you don’t lose any hand function like you do in a shark hand puppet. It was even a nasty cold day out to give me a god excuse to wear them out and about to class and physical therapy! It’s going to be a good winter if I get to wear these all over. I’m contemplating making some panda gloves for myself and I’m gusesing some of my friends will want other critters like monkeys as gifts.

The crocheted skeleton

September 23, 2009


Crochet skeleton, +15 Calgary

Originally uploaded by artisanat

Tragic news. Someone else has already crocheted a life-size skeleton and completed it with some vital organs. I found the picture on flickr.com. This particular skeleton resides in a museum in Germany I believe but may be a traveling exhibit.

The fortunate bit is that the quality sucks compared to what I’m working on. Clearly this skeleton would not be able to hold his head up at all. His ribs are also curly! Who ever heard of such curly and pathetic ribs? You can bet mine will be much more detailed and of significantly higher quality. I mentioned to my friend Mathew that I’d be quite honored if my work were to be displayed in a museum, but he rightly pointed out that I’ll be so attached to my new skeleton that I’d have a hard time parting with him for that long. Mine will also not have guts. If I make guts at a later date, they will be removable. His colon will also not look like parsely. His skull will have structural integrity and teeth far beyond the popcorn style stitches of this little fellow. In all, though it has been done before, the parts I’ve completed thus far whomp all over the quality of this ‘museum quality’ piece.

On a totally different tangent, one of my best friend’s sons, Ben, wanted to be a blue water star dragon-dinosaur with wings for Halloween. I’m a big softie who really just wants an excuse to sew another costume and if I can make a four-year-old’s Halloween spectacular in the proccess, all the better. I sketched this out and am now hard at work.

I took Ben shopping for a day and we got two blue long sleeved tshirts and some blue, yellow and green fleece. We went home and I cut up the huge blue shirt and restitched it up into matching pants. We looked all over and this was the only way to have a shirt and pants in the same perfect shade of blue. I also got the yellow tummy stitched on and while cutting off the loose threads, he got upset that I was cutting off the dragon-dinosaur’s ‘hair.’ I explained that they don’t have hair, they have scales and that the lines across the fround deliniated scales. He was very excited to later show my parents his dragon-dinosaur scales. After my biology test and physical therapy tomorrow, I’ll be back at work on wings, spikes, and a tail. He’ll have to come over again so I can get the measurements right for the head piece and star medallion. Seeing as he’s so excited about it, I’m sure he won’t mind. It’s kind of wild to have a little kid sit and watch that excitedly at the edge of my sewing table. I never would have managed to sit that still and watch a needle go up and down.

Carving bones

September 22, 2009

I was struggling for a while on what I should be for Halloween. I wanted it to be dorky and funny. Since I didn’t have an idea yet, I started crafting on a costume for my friend’sfour-year-old son, Ben. As I drove home from asking him enough questions about his dream costume to start sketching it out, the perfect costume for me popped into my head. I really do some of my best thinking in the car tearing down the interstate. Two days later and I had most of the supplies. It is taking much longer to craft than I’d anticipated. I’m going to be a humerus bone. My dog will be a canine tooth. It’s dorky and funny.

First I drew out the bones on a sheet of 4 inch thick high-density foam. I made a grid of sewing pins to match a grid on the paper and make getting the proportions right much easier.

I slowly started removing the pins and adding detail to give some idea of the carving with a Sharpie marker. The initial drawing was done with a Pilot pen.

 

I took a quick picture of the finished foam sketched bones against my door for scale. It’s about as tall as a doorknob! I showed this off to one of my best friends, and he actually thought I’d gone out and purchased foam with these bones printed on it at a party or Halloween store. I took that as quite a complement for my sketching.

Then I began the task of cutting out the shapes from the foam with an Xacto blade. It’s not the best tool for the job, but it was handy and plenty sharp. Only problem was the depth of the foam compared to the depth of the blade.

 

Finally, I got onto the carving and ended up with some rather good looking bones. Each view, front and back, of the bone measures 36 inches long. They will attach to my chest and back on a black sweatshirt and hang down to roughly my knees. The shirt will also say something to the effect of, “I’m quite humerus.” They aren’t perfect, but they’re as close as you can get out of foam. I’m quite pleased. Now I’ve just got to figure out how to cover them in fabric. I’m going to use a spray adhesive, but I think the fabric cover isn’t stretchy enough and will require some sewing and shaping rather than just sticking on a sheet of off-white fleece. That has to wait a few days though as I’ve got a big general bio exam on Wednesday and I’m a bit behind on review sheets for exercise physiology.

 

 

I get so excited about Halloween that I firmly believe it starts at the beginning of September and lasts until we’ve all recoved from Dia de los Muertos. It’s by far my favorite holiday and any projects that can be considered Halloweenish will be covering my floor for the next month or so until I get started on Christmas gifts.

I’m still not sleeping which is very lame. For a while I was just watching tons of movies and felt miserable. I started in on crafting during my late night Netflix adventures and began feeling better…even though I still can’t sleep. Last year I thought of a great crochet project while in my anatomy and physiology class. Unfortunately, my shoulder hadn’t healed enough to be able to crochet that much. I’m only able to work on it a few hours a night for only a couple nights a week still because of my shoulder, but the project has begun. Near as I can tell from hours of hunting online, no one else has ever done this before either! I’m crocheting an anatomically correct, fully jointed, life-size human skeleton. That’s right–all 200 bones. I’ll be leaving out the little ear bones as they won’t be visible in the temporal bones anyhow. For the past week I’ve been working here and there on the phalanges and have started on a couple metacarpals so I can begin to stitch fingers together.

very detailed and fully jointed!

The detail is incredible and I spend about as much time crocheting as I do reading and studying photos and drawings of bones. I just finished the right thumb. For an example of the level of detail, pinch your left thumb with your right thumb on the knuckle and your index finger on the palmar side of the joint. Dig in pretty hard and bend your left thumb forward. You’ll feel two little bumps on each side with a canal or dent between them. My crocheted first metacarpal has enough detail to have those bumps with the space between them! I can’t wait to start working up the arms. I’m getting a bit sick of fingers. I started with the fingers since it’s a fairly easy tube shape. I’m not quite sure how I’ll do a sphenoid, sacrum, scapula, or the vertibrae yet. I’m not worried though. I can crochet anything. I’ve just finally gotten bored with crocheting food and decided it was time to move on to some new shapes. I whipped out a few crocheted red blood cells the other night for my friend’s son, and decided if I could master that shape, a skeleton couldn’t be too hard. Red blood cells are a bit funky. it’s basically a doughnut shape with a thin bit of fabric across the ‘hole.’


Ultimately, I decided crocheted red blood cells just weren’t quite the look and feel I wanted for these toys. I ended up stitching up a huge batch of them and will likely make a few sets with white blood cells and platelets as playsets for my store on  etsy.com later.

 

Plus, I love bones and definitely need a life-size skeleton to play with. I’ll take him out to the park with me and of course buckle him in on road trips, likely leaving him trapped in a hot car with a copy of “War and Peace” in his hands like he died reading it. I guess clawing at the window trying to get out would be ok too.

So far he’s a little bit larger than me as I just can’t crochet the fingers any smaller with the size hook I’m using. He’ll just be a big boy. I’m doubling the measurements of Quincy, my half-size skeleton that I got to study for class last year. As for me tonight, I’m off to finish some biology homework and work on Halloween costumes. There are some exciting pictures coming!