Friday 23 July 2010

A whale of a tale, a yarn

P and I both thought the crochet Tiny Whale on the Planet June blog was really cute. It reminded me of a plan for a yarn ball whale I had back when I was making Otis Redherring. I'm enjoying the book, but was missing the crafting, so something quick and easy seemed in order.

thar she blows

The flippers and flukes are crochet (ch 3, sc, dc, then finish thread, or something close to that), then attached by taking the end threads through the ball and back again. The ball started as five long loops, basically the length of the body, the ends still show at the tail. It took a few tries to get the shape looking right. The front of the head was tricky to wrap the yarn over.

I made the eyes and spout at home. The eyes are tiny bits, about 2-3 mm, cut from small drinking straws, wrapped in black embroidery thread. I checked my stash for black beads, but had none of even approximately the right size, and I just felt a really big French knot wouldn't be big enough for a whale's eyes.

I am pleased with the removable spout. My first idea was to use some craft wire, but it just didn't stick into the ball of yarn. I didn't want to use a pin (yeah, I'm a responsible adult). Looking around my craft area, I saw a bit of plastic packaging, an old container for some alfalfa sprouts, I think. Why was it in my craft area, you may ask? I had meant to cut into a template or stencil, but hadn't got around to it. Anyway, I realized I could cut a spike shape with something at the top to support the crochet plume. Again, it took a few tries, but I do like the result. It's like a pointed Y shape, with the crochet tied on and wrapped down the trunk of the Y. The crochet is just  loops chain stitch, 10 to 20 long, fastened back at the first stitch. I didn't have much of a plan and can't remember even roughly how many loops there are. I did do way too many and had to pull it out and restart.

P likes the whale and has accepted it as part of his geekosphere. He's the one who came up with the clever title for this post.

Thursday 15 July 2010

It is just me

I started following Urban Sketchers, hoping it would encourage me to sketch more. That hasn't really worked, but I've just come across a post by Gabi Campanario featuring sketches done on the bus to/from work. It can be done!

At the moment I'm feeling especially frustrated by my poor drawing skills. I'm trying to draw more, but it's like it isn't fun anymore. I do still enjoy doodling (the owl on the elephant is today's favourite).

My stash busting is stagnating. Actually, it's not stagnating, it's getting worse. I found an old wooden blind which I plan to use to make some dividers in my shelves, but it has been sitting beside my table for about a month now and I still haven't started cutting it up. The table is covered in stuff from the shelf, so I can't really use it until I get the dividers made. I've got plans for stuff, but just not doing the actual making.

And the (so-called) friend at the office retuned the cloth for the Little Red costume, due to her partner's reticence to dress up as the Big Bad for the costume party. Grr.

Sunday 11 July 2010

Rumor mongering

This is another friend of a friend story, and I may be a bit indiscreet posting it, but it's a topic I'm interested in. So I will try to make it as anonymous as I can.

There is a blogger, who does a good blog, mostly on craft related topics. Like most crafty blogs, it's cheerful and upbeat. But I've heard through the grape vine that in real life, this blogger is one of those misery guts who is always complaining about everything.

I've suspected before that the blogs I read don't lie, but aren't exactly the whole truth. My feeling is that this is the nature of blogging- it isn't a media that requires research, reflection, or to be honest, much writing skill. Not that some blogs aren't full of great writing, just that it isn't a requirement. And writing isn't as natural as talking; it's at least a step away from natural communication. So it doesn't surprise me that a blog focusing on someone's hobby is artificially cheerful.

Reader beware: Though I'm not a perpetual complainer, my blog is probably artificially cheery as well. Writing about frustration and failure isn't as fun as describing a project that is going well. And if I find something frustrating, I'll probably just quit working on it. Like I have with the comic. Grr. However, one of the reasons for this blog is for me to keep track of my creative endeavors, and figure out what works for me. (And I am vain enough to re-read my own blog.) So writing about everything, good, bad, ugly or weird, would be necessary to make the blog useful in that way.

Not that I have a crafting failure to report at the moment. Moby Dick is a good book, but it's taking me a while to get through. The language is a bit too rich for mornings when I'm still tired, or when I'm tired after slogging through spreadsheets all day. I've had to renew it, and I still haven't got out of Nantucket. It will be my "project" for a good while.

My note that the book smells good has been seconded. I left it on my desk while popping out to do some shopping, and while I was out a colleague commented on its classic styling and nice old book smell. Other colleagues were reminded of Scully from the X-Files.