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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Edward the Horse

I was recently commissioned to make a plush version of a horse named Edward from the book Adventures in Cartooning by James SturmAndrew Arnold and Alexis Frederick-Frost.  The commission was from James as a gift for the other two authors.  Edward is the gallant steed of the knight, who is the main character of the story.

I really like interpreting very stylized drawings into plush,  it presents some challenges but it's fun to solve those problems.  The biggest one I initially faced turning Edward into a 3D toy was deciding how to treat his eyes since as they are drawn they exist on one side of his face.   Edward also has a substantial rump,  so smoothly creating his overall shape took some time.

Check out the book, it's a great story that just happens to explain the basics of cartooning.  It will make you pick up a pencil and start creating your own comics.

Edward the Horse
Edward the Horse
Edward the Horse

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Knitted Winter hats

  Since October when I made Alec his new winged hat,  I've been pretty excited about knitting hats.  For Christmas,  I made my Dad this black hat with grey and blue zigzag stripes.  It's a simple design,  but I think the pattern adds some nice variation.

All these hats have the same basic pattern.  Once I got the hang of making them to fit to a specific size,  I started a making a bunch.  All these hats start at the crown and work down.
Here are the basic instructions.  Begin by crocheting a chain of 4 stitches,  loop them together to make a ring.  Double crochet into the ring 8 stitches.  Pick up these stitches with double ended knitting needles,  2 stitches on each needle. Pick up an additional stitch at the beginning of each needle. 

Pick up and knit the red stitch to make the increase.
By grabbing this stitch the increase is snug and doesn't add any gaps like other stitch increases.  Keep adding stitches until you've reached the correct measurement.  For all these projects I used size 5 (3.75mm) double pointed needles and 100g/3.5 oz. medium worsted wool yarn. About 120 stitches was about the right size for to fit my head, but I highly recommend making a gauge swatch before you begin.  Once you get the right about of stitches,  keep working in the round until you have the hat depth you desire.  I made a point to make the stitch amount an even number so that I could make a 1x1 rib band.  I made the band twice as long so that I could fold it over.  I know these are not very descriptive instructions but it's the basic idea behind these hats.

This pink one is somewhat in progress,  I may not finish it.  I got excited using up scraps of yarn for the hearts and I like the colors but I don't have an intended owner so it may get unraveled.  It has the same zigzag pattern running down the sides. This one starts with a ring of 10 stitches instead of 8 to create the star pattern on the top.

I made this striped one after I lost a hat while in Somerville.  These aren't colors I wear all the time but I did like the combination and it's good to add some different colors into my winter wardrobe. Plus you can never go wrong adding a fun pom pom to the top of a hat.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pony Painting

I made this watercolor painting for my Mom for Christmas,  since today is her birthday I thought I would share it.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Stuffed Frog Head

My awesome friend Liz Prince had a pretty big birthday last month and for the occasion I made her a stuffed and mounted frog head.  When I designing it,  I had a toad in mind, but the since I ended up using a dark sage green fabric it ended up looking more like a frog.

I approached making this the same way I make most plush things.  I made couple sketches,  then decided on a design and tightened it up to use as a guide as I made the fabric pattern.
 As you can tell,  since fabric is such a flexible material,  there are always changes from the tight drawing to the finished piece.  It's not really necessary to make such a tight image for a plush concept, but it helps give me a very clear image to work from.  I found some plush that had little bumps already pressed into the fabric, which I thought would add some warty texture.  Sadly because I stuffed the head so firmly, all the bumps were pushed out and lost.

The eyes are clear plastic half domes painted from the inside with acrylic to maintain their shine.

Here's something new that I learned as a shortcut when you're short on time.  If you can't actually use wood stain because it takes a long time to fully dry, you can substitute thinned acrylic paint. It dries very quickly and it much less strong smelling.  I'm not sure that acrylic would work on all woods,  but the plaque I got was unfinished pine, so it soaked up the color.  I covered the painted wood with a clear shiny shellac spray finish.

Liz already has quite a collection of mounted fake animal heads so this frog has found a nice place at her pad.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!

Happy New Year and to celebrate I'm updating the site slightly,  out with the old 2011 header:

In with the new header:

A little something new for the new year which will hopefully be filled with some exciting changes and new places.