I said not too long ago that I didn’t have any interest in doing paid commission work… Meet Miss E, my first paid commission (of a crocheted piece, anyway). One of my coworkers saw some of my other dolls, and she asked me to make a doll that looks like her 18 month old daughter in her favorite lamb hat. I’ve been in a bit of a crochet funk lately, and it was nice to have inspiration given to me by someone else’s request.
I think I’ve finally perfected getting the dolls to stand freely: adding custom-cut bristol board “inserts” in the bottoms of the feet so that the soles stay flat. These are in addition to ball bearings and wadded up t-shirt strips as stuffing in the legs, both of which help weigh it down and maintain its center of gravity. I’m still trying to figure out the neck situation, though. I think it might be too thin, as the heads definitely flop around a bit. My first dolls didn’t have any necks, though, so the heads looked like eggs with faces on top of a pair of shoulders. Maybe a thicker neck is the key. And good lord, I have got to figure out an easier way to make mouths with embroidery floss.
The two things I have been working on this week have led to a bit of pain in the fingers and wrist of my right hand. I put down my projects over the weekend and played copious amounts of Minecraft with my husband, and though my hand felt good again on Monday, it is now sore again. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on how I am getting older (I am going to be an ancient 30 in July), and I thought that this might be a sign of that. In an effort to find relief, I did what everyone does: I Googled it. It turns out pain from repetitive motion is very common amongst people of all ages, as well as from gripping your hook too tightly or finger position can also contribute to pain. I found some useful articles about warm-up stretches and exercises, how to prevent pain, and treating pain. But I digress. Why have I been in pain for the last week? Because I have been making a hat for a coworker who is moving on to other things after the end of this week. Even though winter is technically over, she hates the cold and snow, and I am hoping that she can get some good use out of a thick cable-crochet hat in future winters. Continue reading
In less than a week, I whipped out another doll in my quest to perfect a pattern that is more my own creation than someone else’s. I have to say that I am quite happy with how this one turned out. It’s another self-portrait, but I figure that I might as well experiment on interpretations of myself to learn about what I do and don’t like. I made the head bigger, cinched in the waist more (although I am eager to explore different body types), gave more curvature to the back, and got rose-colored embroidery floss for the lips. It’s also a little better at standing on its own because I added 3 pennies per foot. This is in addition to wadded up strips of t-shirt in the legs, which provides more weight than just poly-fill.
For comparison, here is last week’s doll:
I frequently have moments where non-crafters see one of my crocheted pieces and say, “That’s so cool! Did you knit that?” My own mother talks about how cute my “little knitted things” are. I’ve generally given up on trying to correct people and just try to appreciate the sentiment of admiration. However, there have been occasions when I’ve said, “Actually, it’s crocheted” and the response is often, “Oh ok… What’s the difference between knitting and crochet?”
Before I get to ahead of myself, I must confess right now that I am not a knitter. I learned how to do the basic knit stitch in high school and made a couple unfinished scarves (because I could not figure out how to get the fabric off the needle). Therefore, I apologize in advance if I come off as a little biased towards crochet, but I truly do respect the skill behind both yarncrafts. Continue reading
I must confess that, prior to making this scarf, I was pretty ambivalent to Piet Mondrian and De Stijl (the group in which Mondrian was one of the founding members) in general. At a first glance, Mondrian’s signature style– using the primary three colors (red, yellow, and blue) and primary values (white, black, and gray) in patterns of squares, rectangles, and straight lines– appears almost too simplistic. However, as I worked my way through the scarf, I grew to appreciate the purity of the colors and values, the geometry of the shapes, and the vertical and horizontal lines. But before I get to ahead of myself, the questions that must first be asked are: Who was Piet Mondrian, and what is De Stijl? Continue reading
Gimli, Son of Gloin (one part of the 9-piece “Fellowship” set from Lord of the Rings)
Like most creative types, I frequently feel an invisible itch in my fingers that urges me to make something: a hat, a scarf, a journal entry, a toy, a drawing. When the urge strikes, it feels like it will never be satisfied until I create something that fits my vision. And like most creative types, I’ve been like this my entire life. As a kid, I loved to draw and paint pictures of the things around me or in my head: horses, cats, castles, unicorns. My mom often enrolled me in arts and crafts classes during the summers, and it seemed like every Christmas/Easter/birthday, I got craft kits or art supplies. While I ended up getting a BFA and studied primarily printmaking and photography in college, I have grown more fond of the fiber arts in recent years because of their versatility to create more utilitarian objects, and my primary craft is crochet. Don’t get me wrong, I generally love art– I also have a Master’s in Art History and work with art every day between my two jobs– but a painting can’t keep you warm (though, arguably, the money a person can make from its sale might), and I want anything I create to be physically used. Continue reading