Swap package received!

July 3, 2010

Today was mostly a bum day. Guy pal and I worked on some updates to the spinning wheel and they were all massive failures. As a result I can’t spin and am very upset about it. On the bright side, I received a swap package from my Dr. Horrible Sing Along Blog swap that I’m doing in the Odd Ducks group on Ravelry. I’ve been staying with guy pal and the box, rather bag, was sent to my mom’s house. She called me to tell me that I got some rather strange mail. Some bag about a horse. So guy pal and I swung by while running errands and found this:

I flipped it over and found that the singing cowboys who serve Bad Horse and the Evil League of Evil (E.L.E) had come to visit me. This seemed like an awesomely creative way to get even the money you have to spend on shipping to be on theme. I approve, particularly because I collect stamps. I do worry that the post office may have been a little cranky about having to mark all those stamps AND still having to print out a zero dollars bar code. But the post office does have a history of being cranky anyhow, so maybe they can consider it a taste of their own medicine.

When I opened up the envelope, which I tore into with excitement, I found a letter from the E.L.E. along with my loot. I like loot. The letter mentioned that there were babies inside for me to do horrible things to, you know for my experiments. I love Jelly Babies, and Sour Patch Kids aren’t bad either. Sour gummies are pretty good in fact. Now that I’m looking at them, I wish I had them here to nibble while I work tonight at guy pals’s place. There was also hair from Bad Horse’s 57th in command, a llama named Spitty. I wonder if he wears spats on his hooves. Just imagine a llama named Spitty wearing spats. Anyhow, there was a bag of raw alpaca wool for me to clean, card and spin. Looks like I need to get my wool tumbler finished and earn that drum carder I want for the business, and a little personal use too. Then there was a print out of a pattern I’ve been wanting for a very long time, Some Assembly Required. This pattern is available on Ravelry for a mere 6 bucks, and totally worth it. It makes a Lego man that actually comes apart and goes back together that’s knit! Just wow. I’ve already started knitting a Lego man for my brother’s Christmas gift. I expect I’ll have a rush on my Etsy work at the holidays too, so I’d better get my personal crafting out of the way now. Assuming I can get these Lego men to look as professional as in the pattern, I’ll have to make several for various folks on my list. Plus, toys are a great way to use up that baby-melting acrylic yarn.

Then I got to the large item in the box. The letter said that it was a bit lopsided and that this added to his horribleness. Plus, the E.L.E. included the pattern so I could make new parts as I destroyed these in my horrible experiments. Then I pulled out a bag of parts.

She knit me a Dr. Horrible inspired Lego man! For the life of me I can’t get his head to stay on. So he’s holding it. Plus, holding your own head is extra horrible.

In general, he just seemed a little lonely. Have you ever run across a single Lego man just chilling out with no other Legos? Probably not unless he was hidden in the carpet and you found him with your foot. My horrible Lego dude is too big to hide in the carpet, so I put him in the tub of Legos I’m using for some special items for my Etsy store. I know these are going to be hot items. Legos added to knitting in any way just has to be cool. So, a big thank you goes out to my spoiler, ravelry name Choperena! Now, to finish wrapping up my swap package to send out for the very same Dr. Horrible Swap! While I love the loot, I think spoiling someone is more fun that being spoiled. A part of me wants to take a break from swapping and just angel when they need someone to fill in for a flaker.

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I love the odd ducks group on ravelry’s swaps. The topics are often off the wall and inspire the best and most creative crafting from all the members. I’m trying to get a package finished to ship out. It’s due at the end of this month, but it looks like I’ll ship in the first week of July. I hate being late, but I am one of the best spoilers out there and it takes a while to properly stalk a person and craft a package that will leave them breathless.

The swap I’m working on right now is the Doctor Horrible’s Sing Along Blog swap. Everything has to be themed around that movie. For starters, I decided to make my partner a needle gauge. She knits socks constantly and most store bought needle gauges don’t go small enough for sock needles. I’ve noticed most gauges stop at size 0 and I’d like them to go to 000 or smaller. Conveniently, guy pal has a great set of drill bits and a drill press AND was willing to help me.

I first cut out a shape on my scroll saw pulled from the outline of a man on a restroom sign. I just added a little neck in before cutting it out of craft plywood from Michael’s Arts and Crafts. I sanded it lightly and started figuring out what size holes I would need. Knitting needles are measured in mm and the drill bit set I have access to is in inches. So I spent quite a while with a calculator and digital calipers trying to decide if I wanted to go with a .072 or a .068 inch bit for a given hole. I drilled all the holes with a little help from guy pal. His drill press and I aren’t good friends. He and I got holes drilled to make this needle gauge go from size 000 to 10.5 and tested the holes with my own needles to be sure they were just right.

Then I took the cutout shape with holes home to draw a Captain Hammer on it. I figured that it would be great. I could include on the gift tag that it was from Dr. Horrible’s knitting bag. He does seem like the type that would have a voodoo Captain Hammer as his needle gauge if he knit.

Then a few weeks later, I saw a new forum post by my partner indicating that she didn’t really want anything Captain Hammer. So I erased the Captain Hammer drawing and started drawing on a Dr. Horrible. I figured this too would be ok. The tag could just reference the last line of the film by reading, “It’s ok, he won’t feel a thing.”

After finally being satisfied with the new drawing I pulled out the box of acrylic paints and set to work. After finishing painting the Dr. Horrible needle gauge, I ended up re-drilling all the holes because the paint had closed some in just a little bit. Next time I may drill all the holes after painting so I’m not doing the work twice…or be more careful with the paint.

While painting the needle gauge, I also painted the awesome chair that Dr. Horrible has in his lair. He sits in it holding a picture frame with a picture of Penny in it when he sings about handing her “the keys to a shiny new Australia.” Everyone in the swap group seems to really love this chair. When I was out shopping at a local thrift store, I found a picture frame shaped like the big chair! It was filthy and the paint job was really bad–not at all Dr. Horrible.

I cleaned it up and painted it to match the one in the film. It combines the picture frame he’s holding AND the chair he’s sitting in. I think it should score me some mad creativity points. It’s really a shame for the sake of photographing them that he’s not smaller and the chair’s not bigger. That chair is really HUGE in the movie!

Remember, while I may not be able to duplicate the chair frame due to the strange find at the thrift store, if you need a custom needle gauge, leave me a comment or send me a message on etsy! They are a time consuming task, but the result is totally worth it! I’m sure I’ll be making another one for each swap I’m in and a few more generic ones for my store. It’s so unique while being sturdy enough to handle getting tossed about in a knitting bag and functional enough to please even the most difficult swap partners. It’s also super easy to make them fit different themes if you’ve got scroll saw skills!