Sunday, December 16, 2012

THE WREATH OF KHAN: A Tutorial Best Served Cold

“Improve a mechanical device and you may double productivity, but improve (a traditional holiday symbol) and you gain a thousand fold.” 
- Khan Noonien Singh "Star Trek: Space Seed (#1.22)" (1967)

To know Khan is to love him. (Or, more probably, to fear the consequences of his intense narcissism and mercurial mood swings.) It seems only natural to include this memorable (terrifying, fantastic) Star Trek villain into your holiday celebrations.

MATERIALS: Bowls or other circle templates 
Stapler and staples 
Green paper (or paper of your choice) I used green printer sheets 
Green  poster board 
Modge podge or other paper glue and a paintbrish 
Picture of Ricardo Montalban as Khan Noonien Singh.

Feel free to use this one! I printed it at 8x8 inches.
Lay your cardboard out and cut a circle the size of your intended wreath.  I used a plastic deviled egg tray as my template. You could use a mac knife, x-acto knife or scissors at this point, as you like.
Cut the same sized circle out of green poster board. 
Find an appropriate sized bowl or draw out another circle and cut out your picture of Ricardo Montalban.
Glue Ricardo to the green poster board, and the poster board to the cardboard circle. Press firmly.
As that dries, use some left over cardboard to cut a leaf template.
I made a 4x2 inch leaf, but you can make it larger if you like. Smaller can get problematic, but the first time I made this, the leaf was about 4x1.5 inches, so you can play around with this.
Trace several of the leaves onto your green paper and cut them out. (I realized after doing this step that I could easily have made the template in software and printed it on the green paper. )
Once your wreath form is dry, cut a notch near the top to use as a hanger. (Scroll for photo. I forgot to take a picture at this step!)
Carefully staple the leaves to the form. Roll the leaves a bit to give them shape and staple lengthwise for stability.
Start at the top and work your way around the circle. Be sure to cover your staples with the next leaf.
Not gonna lie, this part is finnicky pain-in-the-bum.

I crowded Khan just a bit...
At this point, depending on the length and awesomeness of your staples, you can choose to turn the wreath over and cover the pokey staple ends with tape so they don’t snag on anything. 
Make a bow with your ribbon and pass the tail through the notch at the top and secure in place. Or, as I did, find a surprise stash of twist ties while searching the office supply drawer for a desperately needed staple remover. Use the twist tie through the back of the knot, thread through the notch in the wreath form, and secure that in place. Fluff bow.
Hang your Wreath of Khan where it can bring joy to the greatest number of people.
"He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him! I'll chase him 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round Perdition's flames before I give him up!"

EDIT: This is where the Wreath of Khan idea originated! GUYS! I NEED TO MAKE A WREATH OF DON!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Jayne Hat

It's no secret that I'm a devoted Browncoat. I've been a fan of the short lived sci-fi series Firefly for years and years. Not as long as some, but just as dedicated. Once you're a fan of this little show, you're a fan for life.

Interwoven in the show's plots and fantastic characters is a certain sort of handmade charm - It's there in the wooden table where the crew takes meals and in Inara's lush, fabric-draped shuttle. An undercurrent of every episode is that these folks are cobbling a life together from the wreckage of a recent war. Every little bit of their space traveling home feels like salvage put to the very best use. It reminds us that a family lives aboard.

In the episode The Message, the crew heads to a way station to pick up their mail. Among these items (notes, notices, the body of a dead friend, etc.) was a letter to the ship's gun hand, Jayne, from his mother. Jayne Cobb, played by Adam Baldwin, is a large, surly, somewhat dim, rather crass man, who's really only good at violence and weaponry. Jayne's mother, naturally, is an avid knitter.

Well, "avid" might be a stretch, but she did design and make an icon...

She writes him a note and sends along a multi-colored hat, ostensibly to keep him warm in space.
"How's it sit? Pretty cunning, don't ya think?"

Over the years, I've made about 20 of these hats for my fellow fans. I learned to knit on this hat. My first attempts were given as gifts, and then replaced years later, when I realized how terrible they'd been and how much I had improved. The Jayne Hat is the most recognizable costume piece from the show and a must have for Browncoats everywhere. Some people love this hat so much, it kinda takes over...
"Man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything. "

Last night, I attended a play. Because I know this pattern backwards and forwards and enjoy multi-tasking, I spent the show knitting a Jayne hat commissioned for the holidays. I had a few strange looks and a few asked what I was making. So here is the story and the completed hat.
It's a different yarn and a slightly bigger hat, I'm sure. There are so many patterns out there, of varying degree of accuracy. Mine isn't perfect, but it's knitted with love for show and fans alike. I really do hope it keeps you warm in space.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Break Time Productivity

Whenever I get sick of knitting, I take a short break.* I try and be productive - usually, I take the puppy outside or clean something. Lately, I find that cleaning takes me out of knitting for HOURS, so I'm trying to keep break times creative.

I did a few digital sketches of Ricardo Montalban for my impending WREATH OF KHAN.

I find your holiday spirit tedious

Then I made a quick poster based on something I saw on the internet.
This delights me. I'll be hanging it up at work, where no one will understand what it means, but it will make me giggle when I see it. Hopefully no one is offended by the skeleton face. Anything's possible in the library!

AND a blog post! YAY for productivity!

*sometimes, it's a very long break.