Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Two-Tailed Santa Hat

From Big Bang Theory Christmas 09

Bulky weight yarn, white and red
Size 9 dpns
Crochet hook

Cast on 74 st over 3 needles. (24, 24, 26)
7 rows: k1, p1 rib
Knit one row
Switch to red
3 rows: k14, p1, k6, p1, k18, p1, k6, p1, k26
Next row: k14, p1, c6b, p1, k18, p1, c6f, p1, k26

Repeat the following pattern 4 times:
Rows 1-8: k14, p1, k6, p1, k18, p1, k6, p1, k26
Row 9: k14, p1, c6b, p1, k18, p1, c6f, p1, k26

Next row: : k14, p1, k6, p1, k2, bind off 14, k2, p1, k6, p1, k14, bind off 14.
Put one set of remaining stitches on a stitch holder or extra length of yarn.

First tail:
Split the next 24 stitches onto two needles.
Knit in the round.
7 rows: k2, p1, k6, p1, k14
Next row: k2, p1, c6b, p1, k14
8 rows: k2, p1, k6, p1, k14
Next row: k2, p1, c6b, p1, k14
2 rows: k2, p1, k6, p1, k14
Next row: k2tog all around
Next row: k2tog while binding off.
Cut yarn and thread through stitches.

Second tail:
Split the next 24 stitches onto two needles.
Knit in the round.
7 rows: k2, p1, k6, p1, k14
Next row: k2, p1, c6f, p1, k14
8 rows: k2, p1, k6, p1, k14
Next row: k2, p1, c6f, p1, k14
2 rows: k2, p1, k6, p1, k14
Next row: k2tog all around
Next row: k2tog while binding off.
Cut yarn and thread through stitches.

Sew seam across the top of the bound off stitched in the center.

Make two fluffy white puffballs. Attach to the ends of tails and weave in yarn ends.

Bop around and be happy.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Some stuff I've done

I don't have time to write up a detailed post, but I figured I'd show some photos of gifts I've made lately.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dragon*Con 2011 - The One With the Litter Box

First I'll share the pictures of the gifts I made for my beloved friends at the con.

Sean, with his Gir hat:

Don't let his glower fool you - he wore that hat all weekend. Gir is surprisingly badass.

This next gift was done while people napped on me, as a thank you for our Jimmy. Jimmy, who, before we even saw him this year, left a cat box in front of our hotel room door. Jimmy, who asked us to paint him pink, taught us about the proper way to carry dildos in public. Jimmy, who dressed as a cross-dressing serial killer and danced for us. Jimmy, who brought costumed strangers to our room every night - specifically Ruby Rhod, from 5th Element. Ruby Rhod. I had to say thank you somehow...

Now I've just got to color it and make it even more appalling. I tell myself he loves it, even though I suspect I should apologize for drawing it.

Also, Jimmy asked me months ago to knit his stuffed prairie dog, Cody, a Jayne hat. Of course I did.

And.. that's all. That's all I made for people this year. I feel like an underachiever or something.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Heart Will Go On

Sometimes, if you're very lucky, you have a friend for a great number of years who is complex and interesting and quirky and smart and absolutely loves the goofy gifts you give because you're too poor to buy presents for everyone. Every year, I am faced with a simple challenge: think of the best gift possible for my friend Jamie.

We were college roommates during the 98-99 school year. The year prior, the film Titanic as released, capturing the hearts and minds of all the people, everywhere. I didn't favor it much, but there's no denying it was beautifully crafted and appealing to those attracted to tragic romances. I admit to falling madly in love with Kate Winslet during that action packed 4 hours.

The scene that stood out, of course, to me, especially as an artist, was the scene where Leo draws a nude portrait of fair Kate while wearing the fancy jewelry owned by her icky fiance, Billy Zane. While sharing a dorm with Jamie, I was commissioned by a local businessman to do a portrait of his assistant in the style of that seen in the movie. Not nude, unfortunately. Not even reclining. Still, the sentiment was the same.. wait, what? No, really, he had me draw her child into the drawing as well. It was totally appropriate, I'm sure. At any rate, I completed the sketch, the movie's popularity eventually faded and that French Canadian woman's song stopped haunting my nightmares.

The seed had been planted, however. For the entire year we lived together, all of my art was greeted with a gasped, delighted "Monet!", a la Leo, but, that particular "In the style of Titanic" commission led to a new kind of silliness. Jamie would come back from her shower, twirling the belt of her robe, handing me a dime so I would draw her. I never did. It was a joke between us that I could, but I never did. Until this, her 32nd birthday.

In an odd coincidence, she was watching the movie the night before her birthday, as I was drawing it and, due to our history and joking, GUESSED that I was going to do this. I didn't capture the likeness, but I also haven't worked in charcoal for several years. When thinking up what I could use to censor the image (We live in Ohio), I was considering a stack of books, a travel coffee mug, a can of hairspray and a bust of Elvis. Think final scene of the first Austin Powers movie. I went with something classic, timeless.

Drawn from memory, too. *wink*

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Made You Something Sappy

I’ve been doing a lot of changing in the many months since my last post... I’m taking some time off enforced artistic production and am now heading toward a study of anthropology. I’m trying not to see myself as incredibly flaky - which this decision no doubt appears to be on the surface. I’ve been interested in the nature of culture for ages, and have always said it’s what I’d go to grad school for, if anything. (Strangely enough, despite my test scores and complicated interests, I’ve never really considered myself much of an academic...) I’m also eating better and trying desperately to work out instead of taking naps. More than anything else, right now, I’m trying very hard to appreciate what I’ve got: to notice the positive and accept the negative without blowing it out of proportion, personalizing it, or letting it inspire my internal monologue. Gratitude, I think, is key.


I painted this a few years ago. It’s the last oil painting I completed. I did it the fall after I realized a) someone I cared about was completely embarrassed by my obvious and totally appropriate affection and b) I had no place in the lives of some of the people who were most important to me. Or, rather, an extremely peripheral place. As it should be, really, since we’re not actually located anywhere near each other most of the time. It was just strangely shocking to me suddenly when I was painting this. I had never really considered myself lonely before.

Still, nothing to be done about it. I kept going to work until they laid me off. I kept talking to the same people and trying to be relevant to something or someone. I went back to school and hated it. Kept showing up, in case perseverance was the secret to happiness as well as success. I rededicated myself at the beginning of the semester, only to burn out by midterms and finally, last spring, just completely gave up all pretense. I never let myself think that I wasn’t happy because I was mistaken about what would make me happy in the first place. I hate wasting time, I hate wasting time, I hate wasting time, and that’s all I’ve been doing. All of it. If i opened my eyes to that thought - if I really LOOKED at it, I’d go absolutely crazy.

And then I noticed a pattern. I would randomly get unsolicited support from strangers that I took rather seriously. I always filed it under “signs I’m supposed to produce art.” Looking back, the discussions were usually about art, but the message was never limited to art. “Do what you love.” “If it scares you, you’re on the right track.” “Life can’t be about attaining wealth for everyone. Some people have to dream. Someone’s got to overthink the possibilities.” (The last was my favorite. It is the kindest description for being a neurotic worrywart with an active fantasy life I’ve ever heard!) All of these brilliant, encouraging messages, coming out of moving stories told to me by strangers and friends of friends - and it took me an entire day of wondering how I’d missed the point for so very long before I realized that it was all bullshit anyway.

Ok, not bullshit. A stranger comes up to you and says “Beware the Ides of March” and maybe it’s memorable and remarkable. It’s supposed to be, right? It’s no surprise that when someone you just met encourages you, you take note, you take heart, your hopefulness increases. The world is beautiful if strangers can be so supportive without agenda or expectation!

Or, it turns out, any practical knowledge of you and your journey.
No wait - maybe that actually makes it less impressive....

It’s all well and good to show up in someone’s life for five minutes and prop a few buttresses around their dream, but it lacks something. Substance, maybe. Reliability? If you rest your goals on random input, you can’t expect them to be firmly supported for the duration. I mean, duh, right?

That’s when I noticed another pattern. My friends - the very ones I felt so distant and unimportant to -had been offering me random, unsolicited support all along. The difference was they knew what layers of crap I had to wade through to even have dreams. They knew the baggage I carried. They weren’t always tolerant, and weren’t always attentive - they had their own things to worry about, but still, day after day, one or more of them would show up and either openly support me, or actively get out of my way so I could do whatever I needed to do.

Thanks to Chikara, I have a friend I can rely on to drag me along on wild imaginings and unexpected twists of wit. I have someone who can sympathize with my disappointments and who will always listen to me no matter how obnoxiously self involved I manage to be. She’s the one to challenge my ideas of appropriate behavior and to force me to put some of my more liberal ideas on self expression into action. We draw cocks. We sing stupid songs in public. We giggle about boys like teenagers (or maybe cougars...). She taught me that playing and pushing the boundaries don’t need to be different things. She’s always there with a “You’re pretty and not off-puttingly crazy” message in my twitter whenever I need one. Thank you, my chikadee.

Angie has always been there for me, except for those times we broke up and didn’t speak to each other. She’s treated me like family even when she had no idea what i was talking about. If I go to her with some big stupid drama thing that’s almost entirely in my own head, she will listen, look completely confunded for a few seconds and then say something that proves that she was not only listening, but trying to be helpful. Whether what she says is or not, it’s always surprisingly effective to know that someone cares enough to stretch their mind for a solution to one’s nonsense. Thank you, Ang, for always doing your best and being an excellent friend, even though I appear to be from another planet sometimes.

Today I complained that the autoparts guy didn’t install my headlight bulb for me, and Jack sent me a text message offering to walk me through the steps. I can’t count how many times he’s just randomly dropped into a conversation with “You’re lovely and if you need me to kill anyone, just say the word.” Knowing I’m not the hugest fan of books on tape (they’re growing on me), but knowing his own preference for them during long drives, he’s chosen to listen to my favorite book during the trip to Dragon*con, despite the fact that he considers me quite sisterly and the book is, at best, rather erotic in nature. (Kushiel’s Dart. Read it. It’s beautiful.) We have some marvelous and dramatic memories that I’m glad to share with him, even if they didn’t always turn out as we’d hoped. Cause at the end of the day, Jack is there for the people he chooses to care about. I’m forever grateful to be one of his.

My gorgeous and talented friend Jamiemarich is always an adventure. Even if we’re just sitting around watching sitcoms, something substantial will resonate out from the discussion or observations. Mostly it makes us laugh, but after lives like ours, with personalities such as ours, laughter is the most important thing we can give each other. Laughter, honesty, support - these are things I associate with Jamie. She recently invited me to travel with her. Claims she wants to help me see the world a bit. She knows I often get wrapped up into my own small space and only get the chance to look out through my web browser. She’s generous and loving and has taught me that there’s no limit on what you can accomplish if you’re willing to work; that dark nights are as necessary and beautiful as the brightest days; and that some friends you don’t need to see all the time to know they’ll show up with insight and compassion when it’s important. Thank you, sweetie.

Amber and Emily I speak to mostly through twitter, with occasional journeys into their territory to frolic and bond over odd things like noteworthy bone structure and pre-raphaelite art. They have also both sent me messages referring to my physical beauty - a thing that happens rarely enough with such specificity that I printed the words out and hung them on my wall so I won’t forget. Amber has a way of setting a person at ease. It’s easy to be comfortable with her and very easy to take her at her word. When she tells me I’m beautiful, I can’t not believe her. The same is true of Emily, in a lot of ways, only less with the comfortable and more with the keenly observant. If she tells me I’m beautiful, it’s probably because she’s done the math concerning the symmetry of my face or something. I’m willing to trust that she not only wouldn’t waste her time saying things she didn’t mean, but that she could probably defend her position on a given topic with supportive texts and scientific data. She also thinks I’m smart, and I can’t even tell you how much that means to me. I love my girls.

That’s not all, either! My friends are my friends for reasons too numerous to list in a single blog entry. They’ve all been there when I needed, or said things at the perfect time for me to make a connection I may not have otherwise. They’ve all listened to me complain, been my sounding board or my cuddle prop or my shoulder. I can only aspire to give back or pass on the love and support I’ve received. And occasionally offer a sincere thank you, along with my continued devotion. Thank you, my wonderful friends. I love you very much.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Lately I've been either trudging through near burnout or being swept up in creative highs.

My highs are purely creative. Haven't had a true happy high in ages. I'm occasionally able to overlook the suckiness of all things; usually when I'm working on a project and letting it all just flow in and around and through. But then I sleep. Or someone has a moment of being irritated with me. Or I have to leave for class or work. Or my car doesn't work. And all the bad feeling rushes back again.

I've always had depression.. somewhere in my life. Family had it, mostly, and I'd have moments, but they were brief. I was usually optimistic. Depression was a recurring theme, not a constant companion. There was usually something concrete I could point to and pit myself against. Currently, it's like a threatening tidal wave I'm running to keep ahead of. This feeling of impending doom is made even more surreal by the fact that the main ways to stay out of reach is to do my design work, or make craft things... both of which are rather sedentary occupations.

I'm learning pre-press, which is ridiculously complicated. Honestly, the fact that anything makes it through design and into successful production EVER is a strangely miraculous thing.

I'm learning webdesign, which I kinda love. I've got the prof telling me to reign in my thirst for more knowledge and take the steps properly, and I'm bizarrely annoyed by that seemingly sensible advice.

I'm trying to change my illustration style to something less like traditional portraiture and more like comics. Ultimately I'm going for range. I want to be able to illustrate whatever I want. At present, I'm fantastically good at a few things, but I haven't worked intensively enough to be good at all the things at which I'd prefer to excel.

I'm trying to change my illustration style while using my wacom bamboo tablet. I love it, and I hate it a little. It feels like an entirely new medium that I kinda suck at (I suppose there's an argument for that) but at least I'm not wasting paper.

I've got a job designing small items for the school newspaper. Nothing challenging, really. Just another claim on my time that I'm not exactly sure about. It started out being a super intense situation with me doing 1 or 2 images per paper, 2 papers a week. That was really far too much. Now I just have to do one design a week. This is much much more manageable, but I haven't shaken the overwhelmed feeling from the first month of the semester yet.

I'm learning the ukulele. I'm absolute shit at strumming, but I'm not about to let that stop me. Alas, my attention for music is shorter than my attention for visual arts at the moment. Given my jobs and classes, I can understand why.

I haven't been reading. Which is decidedly odd.

On the plus, thanks to tax returns, I'm not completely broke yet, so even though I'm missing work on account of my car being unreliable, I'm not scared of not having enough. The freezers are stocked and I have a new water filter pitcher. The heat is on. I'm physically better than I was this time last year in this way.

Some days I don't win, but most of the time, every little thing I do: cleaning all the things, dragging myself on errands, working on my designs - pushes me away from the fear and sadness...for a little while.. I've just got to keep moving. Even if it feels like I'm not gaining any distance from the avalanche or crazy tidal wave of despair, at least I'm not crushed under it, right?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Yule 2010

The holiday season.
I actually managed to get most of the knitting done in time this year, and I still feel beaten by the holidays.

Pictured are a few gifts for Chikara that turned out lovely. She picked both of them out, and the grayskull gloves are actually made of her very own yarn...
I'm proud of the Gir hat. it turned out a bit largish, but looks great. And she's so cute in it!

Another of my favorite giftthings was a hat I made for my brother. It's from a pattern I found online for a reversible "biker hat". Whatever that means. I made it with a fancy merino/cashmere blend I bought specifically for making mangifts. It knitted up extremely small, in my opinion, but, as with most knits, it stretches quite a bit. It was soooo dreamy to knit with that yarn, too.
I also really enjoy the goofy picture of my brother. It kinda looks like he's holding a miniature trombone...

I completely forgot to take photos of all the other things I made and gave out. Luckily, my new year's reflections led me to the shocking realization that I actually really enjoy making lame things for people, and I would like to spend more time planning/writing about this. So this year I am going to try very hard to focus on generosity and craft gifting, and writing all about it.