Saturday, November 28, 2009

let it snow let it snow let it snow

It all started when my friend Anne gave me a waterlogged copy of a pop-up book called Leonardo DaVinci, A Three-Dimensional Study. Sadly, Leonardo did not make pop-up books, but his 3D geometrical designs inspired me to make a 3D snowflake. My kids told me that snowflakes were flat, but I took artistic license with the subject anyway. Besides, they look all fluffy and big when they are falling from the sky and school is about to be canceled.

I took to my studio determined to recreate the feeling of the design. It reminds me of translating poetry. There's no way to duplicate it, but you try to capture the spirit of the thing in your own native language. What I found out in this process is that I really should have paid better attention in geometry class. Guessing got me nowhere. I had to be precise to get the angles and the movement right. I used Adobe Illustrator to do my measuring for me on the basic structure. I looked to The Elements of Pop-up by David Carter as my reference for creating a stable platform, strong enough to support the fully extending snowflake as it opened. At first my base was too high and looked awkward, but I didn't give up the idea of the two different levels of the structure. I'm enchanted by the fact that something completely flat can be tall and multi-directional when opened. I don't think pop-ups have to be complex to achieve this, but they do have to be interesting.

I'm pretty happy with my little snowflake. Now that I have it drawn up in Illustrator, I can recreate it easily whether I hand cut it or use my CraftRobo to do it. I can now make minor tweaks as needed or take a completely different direction, using the structure to make a flower or a tree. Of course I would never make two of my snowflakes exactly alike.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The devil made me do it. again.

A simple request: I want to be the "soccer player from hell" for Halloween. I love a costume that comes ready made. Great. You can wear your soccer uniform, but how can we make it hellish. I've got it! A crocheted devil hat. What could be scarier?I had a surplus of red Red Heart yarn, so I was ready to go. I could make a highly washable hat out of an unnatural color of red.

I based my hat on the Viking Hat in my earlier post. The base of the hat is for the most part the Boy Beanie from the Stitch N' Bitch book. (Note: I just discovered that there is an extensive collection of errata for both Stitch N' Bitch books at Knit Happens.) I used the same concept that I used before for the horns, but improved on the idea. The horns for the Viking hat were a kind of cornucopia shape with an open end for stuffing. The stuffing kind of leaked out a bit while I was stitching up the hat so I thought I might make life a bit easier on myself by making a completely closed stuffed horn.

I started out by making a Magic Ring. This circular start can be completely cinched up so that you don't get the hole that you see in a crocheted flower or Granny Square. I cast on about 5 stitches in single crochet, slipped the first stitch and then increased in every stitch all the way around. The following row I crocheted in the front loop only, to make the piece go in a vertical direction. To make the horn shape, I decreased at the first and last stitches in the round every other row. You might have to adjust to make a longer or shorter horn. For example, you could crochet 2 rows between decreases. When the horn started getting really small, I put in the stuffing. In a couple more rounds I slipped the yarn through the remaining few stitches and fastened off. I attached the horns to the beanie and my hat from hell was complete!
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