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Cartoon Girls Trio – UPDATE (19WIPtoFO2019)

Back in January 2019 (!) I posted 19 projects I was determined to complete in 2019.  Spoiler alert – I failed – but I have made significant progress on about half of the projects on the list. Inspired by the recent Masters of the Universe and Suicide Squad remakes, here’s the current progress on my trio of 80s cartoon girls.

What I said: I’ve never shown these before, except for the odd glimpse in the background of Instagram pics.  I started this trio of plastic canvas portraits when I moved in August 2017.  While I love how they look in black and white (and blue), I designed them to be in full color and I’d love to see them complete.

What I did: Quite a bit of progress! 

I’d never shown them on the blog prior to that post, so here’s a look back at how they got to where they are now.

I’d moved in 2017 and was really excited to be able to fill my space with all the crafty, nerdy little things that make me who I am. 

Every shelf and table has some item that references my varied interests, and I’ve even used some previous projects as home décor – see the Minecraft heads from my tutorials peeping from above the kids’ desk, along with an as-yet-unshown secret project hidden among the books – so I was really excited to fill a blank wall space in my dining room with a handmade project.

First I purchased three of the largest plastic canvas sheets I could find. When looking for inspiration for what to stitch on them I really didn’t need to look very far. There are Archie comics in nearly every room in my house, thanks to my kids enjoying them as much as I do. In addition to the coloring book from my last post, I’ve drawn Betty on the blog here before, and Henri had drawn Archie a few years back. (He was even an Archie comics character for Hallowe’en last year, and I’ll be sharing that project here in October.) So clearly, Betty Cooper would be one of my cartoon trio.

Initially I drafted up Betty, Archie and Veronica, and planned out a triptych of the three of them, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it was Betty specifically that I like, and that I didn’t care if I saw Archie and Veronica daily, so I scrapped them and looked around for more inspo. As soon as I had the freedom to look beyond Riverdale I knew Harley Quinn HAD to be one of them. I’ve adored her for decades, and she’s featured in assorted places around my house, including in two different spots on this one shelving unit:

Finally, it wasn’t hard to decide on Teela as my third girl. I grew up watching He-Man and playing with the toy sets along with my younger brothers. I don’t know if it’s that she’s a strong, independant woman or if it was because she often wore a cobra headpiece and had a snake staff, and I’ve always adored snakes… but either way she had to be the one to complete my cartoon trio. I’ve shared Teela and a portion of my 80s toy collection on the blog before, and they’ve now found a home in a cabinet along with other childhood relics:

The hard part done, the next step was to create charts for each character. Instead of doing it the easy way and importing reference images into a stitch software, I decided to go the hard route and chart them myself in Excel. I found reference images for each character, adjusted the Excel cells to be square and marked off an area with the same stitch count as my total canvas size. From there it was just a matter of redrawing each girl, pixel-art style, and tweaking the design until they looked right. I’d originally planned to use continental stitch to save time, but quickly realized the angles would be skewed and that cross-stitch would be best, using one stitch for every pixel/cell in my chart.

I ordered a bunch of yarn from Knit Pics, then got started.

Here you can see the initial stages. I didn’t want to have to refer to the charts throughout the entire stitching process so decided to start with the black outlines first, so I could then later fill them in, coloring-book-style. Plus I didn’t know how long they would take to complete into full color and wanted to be able to hang them on the wall in the meantime. Considering I started these in 2017 and I’m typing this post in 2021, I’m glad I had that foresight!!

After finishing most of Betty I moved on to chart HQ next. I bet you’re wondering why I left Betty mostly done instead of finishing the rest of her border? Took me a moment to remember too lol but it’s because I left myself things to work on that didn’t require concentration, so when I had more time I would work on HQ and follow my charts, and when I had the kids with me or was watching something that required more focus I could work on Betty’s border that didn’t require much thought or any chart reference. Basically it was the cross-stitch equivalent of having knitting or crochet projects of varying difficulty levels.

Once the outlining was all done I worked on each of their eyes, as I thought it would look better on the wall, and truthfully HQ was a bit creepy without them. Then, while I still had the blue out, I added Betty’s shirt. Her top was red in my reference image but blue is my favorite color so I swapped it out, plus I liked having a color that was in each of the 3 images, to help tie them together. The middle pic above is the one posted on the blog back in 2019, and where they sat for basically most of the last 3 years. At some point I filled in their mouths and got started on Betty’s skin, and that’s where I’d stopped and moved on to other projects.

Eventually I started working on them again. I’d always had it in mind to work on equal parts of each, so as they hung on the wall they’d look similar in completion. First Betty had the slow progress on her face and neck…

…and then this past summer Teela got the same treatment, using stash yarn so she wouldn’t have the exact same skin tone as Betty’s.

Technically I should have done Harley’s face next, for them to all match, but these sheets are large and get folded up against my body or resting under my arm as I work. Since Harley’s face is white, and clearly a focal point of the image, I decided to hold it off for last so it wouldn’t get dirty or faded, and work on her costume instead.

At that point I was on a roll! The new Netflix Masters of the Universe had just come out, and it was kinda cool to start working on Teela’s tiara while watching the premiere. In fact, I got so into it that I kept watching until I found I’d binged the whole first season!

Spoiler-free take: ignore the men complaining about the show. It’s awesome to see the old gang again, even Stinkor! (Man I can still remember the smell of that toy!) I love the focus on Teela and magic vs tech. Made me think about Skylanders and my girl Sprocket – guess I’m always drawn to my tech girls! Also, as a big Buffy fan, with Sarah Michelle Gellar as the voice of Teela, it’s fantastic to hear Buffy kicking butt again. ♥

This is where the girls are now. I’ll be working on HQ’s white bib and pompom next, to complete her outfit, and that will put me into the home stretch with only 2 sections left on each girl. At the end I’ll have to do one run of border around each one, as the edges are currently unfinished, and then finally attach rings for hanging them properly, as I’m currently holding them to the wall with thumbtacks.

I know it’s not conventional wall art for an adult woman, but I love them.


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Happy Birthday Sweet Seventeen

Seventeen years ago, on September 7 2004, I started this blog. Yes, this creative passion project of mine is officially old enough to be in college and donate blood. It began on Blogger in the boom of knitting/craft blogs that fed blogrolls and Yahoo swaps and RAOK groups.  We’ve seen the onset of Ravelry and Worldwide Knit In Public Day, and welcomed pattern sources like Knitty, Craftsy, Twist Collective, St Denis Yarns and others before having to say goodbye to some of them.

With YouTube, Instagram and TikTok flooding the internet with video-based creative content, running a blog feels almost antiquated. I’ve been asked by friends and family why I don’t switch to another format but the truth is… I don’t want to. I love video tutorials. I follow a TON of craft-content YouTubers, and have saved a huge amount of “try one day” crafty TikToks to my favorites list too, so it’s not a critique of the other formats. They absolutely have their place, especially for some techniques or tutorials that can really only best be shown in video. That said, I still think there’s a place for blogs and photo-based project/pattern support.

My “blogaversary” this year falls on the first day of Rosh Hashana, which is the Jewish New Year.  I think that makes it perfect timing for a long-overdue blog restart. (I know, I know, I’ve said this before. Shhhh!) Coincidentally I was born on was erev (eve) Rosh Hashanna (we won’t say how long ago!) so Happy birthday to the blog, happy sort of birthday to me, and happy Jewish New Year!

To celebrate 17 years in the public craft domain I’ve scoured the site, my notes, folders, and metadata and picked 17 fun, interesting or long-forgotten items from my blogging history.

1-7

Numbers 1-7 are from the archives.  These are posts even I forgot about!  Some are helpful tips, some are free patterns/tutorials, and all are added to the How To section above.

8

Even when I don’t post regularly I get a steady stream of visitors (thanks!) and I’m always curious to see what search terms bring people my way.  So number 8 is my top referrer keywords from back in my Blogger days.  Funny enough it’s a tie between two completely random things that have almost nothing to do with my site: “cute japanese cartoons” & “hangman”.  I’m guessing the former is related to the time I knit a Japanese boy band, but the latter?  NO idea.

9

Number 9 is the results of my top search terms after migrating the blog to WordPress.  Unfortunately/fortunately Google has been encrypting the vast majority of search terms since 2013 so 9771 of my results are “unknown”.  Of the list that remains the top three terms are: “Toothless”, “pocketbook slippers”, and “pocket book slippers”, likely linking back to these two projects (Toothless, slippers).  Wanna know the lowest search result that brought someone my way?  “Long hair cut feet”.  I wonder how disappointed the searcher was to find my post was literally about a long hair transformation??

10

Number 10 is a really cool fact- I’ve had visitors from 170 different countries!  The majority are, unsurprisingly, from Canada and the United States, but rounding out the top 20 are the UK, Australia, Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Mexico, France, Iceland, Spain, Italy, the Philippines, Israel, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Argentina, Hungary and Denmark.

11-14

Numbers 11-14 are my the top 4 posts since switching to WordPress.  I had a hunch what these were because they keep Pinterest flashing up on my phone.  What I didn’t expect was that the top post would outrank second place by more than double!

15

I’ve spent the last few months poring over my unshared projects and planning out a blog schedule for the year.  For number 15 I thought it would be fun to look through my folders and see just how old my oldest unshared project truly is. There was a lot to wade through but I found it!  Coming in at over a decade old a crafty hack that you’ll see on the block next year dates all the way back to February 2010!

16

Looking through all those projects was a fun trip down a creative memory lane.  As number 16 here’s a little teaser of a post I can’t wait to share in full…

Any guesses?

17

And finally, for making down this far: number 17 is a picture of me at the same age as this blog.

Whether you’ve been here since day 1 or day 6204, thanks for being a part of my creative adventures. I run this blog for me, but I love sharing it with you. ♥

*All search terms and other totals above were accurate as of the date of preparing this post.


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Ear Saver Mask Hook Lanyards

Just in time for Back To School, I’m pleased to share my ear savers / mask lanyards! Mask are an important part of life these days, but they can cause more harm than good when you’re constantly fiddling with them to relieve pressure on your ears or keep them from slipping off your nose. And then there’s the issue of where to put it when you take it off to eat (or in class). Enter the ear saver / lanyard / mask buddy / mask mates / mask hooks (and I’m sure another half dozen names for them!)

There are many options and designs available online, from knit to crochet to sewn or 3D-printed. When my kids asked for something custom, I decided to try my hand at designing my own, in a medium I saw ill-represented – my favored plastic canvas. It’s soft, flexible, washable, and I knew would be excellent for this purpose.

Jakob asked for a Creeper, Henri asked for a Boom Slime from Slime Rancher, but I didn’t stop there.

Want something neutral, to match your hair and not stand out? Got it!

Want something bright and colorful? Got it!

Want to rep your favorite team’s logo? Got that too!

There are currently 13 designs, with more being added as custom orders come in.

All hooks are soft, flexible, made with anti-pill yarn and are completely washable.

All the designs are available in my shop page or here on Etsy. Local Montrealers who arrange for pick up (vs shipping) can contact me for a discount code good on any order!

NOTE: For those of you who’d prefer to make your own, I’ll have a PDF coming for that soon! If you’d like to be notified as soon as it’s available, email me or leave a comment down below.


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WIP to FO Challenge- 19 for 2019

It seems like everywhere you look online these days, people are taking stock of 2018 and setting goals for moving forward.  The first few days of the new year tend to be all about making resolutions, and to that end- here’s one of mine:

I resolve to turn the following 19 wips (works in progress) into FOs (finished objects) before the end of 2019.

I’ll write at length about each project when I finish (and post) about them, but for now here’s a short blurb for each:

1. FO Project Jars

wip yearly fo jars

I need to rip out all the individual lengths of yarn (1-10 yards long, each), match them up with what project they were from, and put the separated yarn into jars designated for each year.

2. Harvest Moon Pullover – crochetwip crochet harvest moon

I started this sweater on November 25 2016 as a way to use my adored Noro Silk Garden limited stash on something for myself.  Limited yarn + crocheted pattern with big holes = a sweater that might fit… right?

3. Granny Rectangle Blanket – crochetwip granny rectangle blanket

I started this blanket on August 9 2015 as a way to use up random sock yarns I figured I’d never get around to using for, y’know, socks.  Figured out how to make granny squares as rectangles and then alternated with white for… some reason.

4. & 5. Ralph and Black Sheep’s Sweaters – sewing & cross stitchwip boys toys sweaters

I started these sweaters for the boys’ favorite stuffed animals a few nights before Christmas 2016.  They were intended to be little surprises for them but instead they’ve sat in a bag ever since.  Sadly Jakob is no longer as into iHasCupQuake as he used to be, so I’ll need to rip out the stitching on the front of Ralph’s sweater and hope it doesn’t leave gaping holes in the fleece.  Then I’ll have to figure out new designs to personalize the fronts, find where I put the sleeve pieces, and sew the little sweaters together.

6. Drops V-Neck Pullover – knittingwip drops knit vneck

I started this deep-v sweater somewhere in 2015 or 2016.  It’s slouchy and soft and I want to wear it already.

7. Fluffy Shawl – knittingwip fluffy shawl

I started this shawl on April 6 2015.  It’s been sitting untouched in a bag since roughly that Fall.  I love how the colors blend together (black Sandes Garn Sisu and purple/green Noro Kureyon Sock) and would like it to be done and hugging my shoulders.

8. Comfy Socks – knittingwip fluffy ankleless socks

According to myself, I started these socks 2 FULL YEARS AGO.  They’re supposed to be my ‘take along’ knitting but because I haven’t finished designing the pattern, I never take them with me to work on.  I need them done so I can reclaim the needles and portable hanging knitting bag and start being more productive again.

9. Fun Fur Vest – knittingwip fun fur vest

I started this Bergere de France vest in 2012(!!).  My Ravelry projects page has it listed as completed on Feb 10 2015 but clearly it isn’t.  No ends are woven in, it might need armhole cuffs, and I think I was debating overdying the entire thing black.

10. Doodle Fusion Marco Raffiné Page – coloringwip doodle fusion marco raffine

This page from Doodle Fusion was started last summer (I think) using only my set of Marco Raffiné oil-based colored pencils.

11. Grimm Fairy Tales Alice Page – coloringwip grimm alice in wonderland

This page from Grimm’s Fairy Tales was a test to see if I could get good results using dollar store colored pencils.  I’ve since moved the pencils somewhere else and want to finish the image so I don’t need to dig them out any more.

12. Grimm Fairy Tales Little Red Page – coloringwip grimm little red riding hood

Those of you who follow me on Instagram would have seen this page from Grimm’s Fairy Tales back when I started it in June.  I love how it’s turning out and want to see how well I can complete it.

13. Imagimorphia Eagle 2-Page – coloringwip imagimorphia eagle

This double-page spread from Imagimorphia was started in the Fall of 2016.  I loved coloring the tiny rainbows and then lost steam.

14. Imagimorphia Egypt Page – coloringwip imagimorphia egypt

I honestly don’t remember when I started this page.  Luckily I’d blogged about it!

15. The Time Garden Quilt Page – coloringwip time garden pattern page

I don’t recall when I started working on this page in Daria Song’s The Time Garden either but judging from other posts about it I’d made in April 2016, I’m going to guess it was about that time.  I have NO idea, however, why I stopped it so close to being done.

16. The Princess Bride Fred Savage 2-Page – coloringwip princess bride fred savage

This page was blogged when I first started it, way back in March 2017.  I don’t want to move on to another page in the book until this one is done, though, so I need to make the time to finally get it finished up.

17. & 18. & 19. Harley Quinn, Betty Cooper & Teela Wall Hanging Trio – plastic canvas

wip plastic canvas girls trio

I’ve never shown these before, except for the odd glimpse in the background of Instagram pics.  I started this trio of plastic canvas portraits when I moved in August 2017.  While I love how they look in black and white (and blue), I designed them to be in full color and I’d love to see them complete.

Think I can do it?  Want to play along? Use the tag #19WIPtoFO2019 so I can see how many you get through!

ps: As I’m about to post this I just realized that 19 projects means committing to completing more than one per month.  Months that are already pretty busy with Becket, work, kids, commissions and all the new projects I want to work on and might come up over the year… Wish me luck- I’m gonna need it!!

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Featured on KnitHacker.com!

Whoa… exactly what it says up there.  Thanks to a shout out from Laura on Twitter, my Skylanders Sprocket cosplay was featured on KnitHacker this morning, with dings going off on my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram all about it.

I’m so thrilled people like the costume.  I spent so much time working on it, staying up til 2-3am every night for 5 weeks… even bringing pieces to stitch while I waited at the daycare for my kids, or sneaking in a line or two in traffic.  With all that work it was still 2am the night before the con and I had no gauntlets/gloves, and I was feeling so dejected, like the whole thing would be a waste because of not enough time.  I ended up staying up til 4am knitting a quick set of fingerless mitts, and was so tired the following night I was asleep by 6:45.  😛  It wasn’t complete, it was far from perfect, but to see that it’s appreciated by more than just myself for my crazy efforts… it’s really awesome.

To anyone who stumbles this way and finds this: all the rest of the tutorials and step-by-steps are coming.  I have all the pics and just need to put them into a cohesive order.

You can check out the write-up here.  Thanks so much Laura, and thank you Danielle for posting it!

kroon skylanders sprocket(Also thanks to Jenna at Kroon Designs for the great pic!)


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Skylanders Sprocket Cosplay – getting down to the wire

sprocket progress 02

Montreal ComicCon is in 2 days.  Well it starts earlier, but I’m only going on Saturday.  Forgive the lack of updates, I’ve been working my fingers off til roughly 3am every night the last few weeks, hoping to be done on time.  (I’ve been taking progress/step-by-step pics but those posts will have to wait until AFTER the Con).  With only 2 days to go, here is my current progress.

Cosplay progress completed parts to-date:

  • shirt
  • pants
  • vest
  • wig
  • wrench/purse
  • goggles
  • gauge

Cosplay wip:

  • belt/peplums – 80% complete
  • boots – 40% complete
  • gauntlets/gloves – 0% complete


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Skylanders Sprocket Cosplay – Wrench Part 3

In my last post I explained how to calculate yarn yardage needed for plastic canvas stitching.  Here’s the breakdown of how that applies to my project, Sprocket’s wrench.

The following chart shows each piece I’ll need to stitch, its dimensions, and what the resulting area is (in ‘holes’).

wrenchyardage All that figuring tells me I need 189.18 yards of yarn to stitch the wrench NOT counting any edging or whipstitching to join.  Sadly I only had 160y of my first choice yarn, a skein of gray acrylic from my stash.  I went stashdiving (virtually, thanks to a long weekend spent entering everything into Ravelry) and discovered 2 other possible gray yarns.  Briggs & Little’s Tuffy in Smoke, of which I have 10 skeins, and the gray localspun wool from my frogged Linden.  I went initially to the localspun but in the light the natural wool, blended from assorted animals, was overall too creamy for this project.  There were a lot of beige tones that wouldn’t work well to represent metal.  I’d been hoping to avoid breaking into the Tuffy so I could keep the lot for some other project, but I realized that I’d been holding onto it, unused, for about 10 years now.  Time to use it.

I’ve been toting around my bag of project pieces everywhere I went, using every minute of available time to stitch.  It’s dawning on me just how close July 4th is, and how ambitious my version of this costume is, and I’m realizing I might have to cut corners somewhere, but using spare time wisely will help me get the most done.  So whether I’m waiting for my kids at daycare or sitting in a waiting room or in line at the grocery store, I’ve been pulling out a piece of canvas and stitching wherever I was.

And it paid off.  As of yesterday, June 12, the wrench pieces are complete.

skylanders sprocket wrench parts

All that remains now is to stitch them together into the assembled, 3D wrench/purse.

And then make a vest, goggles, wig, gauntlets, chest plate, belt and boots.

In two weeks.

 


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How to Calculate Yardage Needed for Plastic Canvas Stitching

how to calculate yardage for plastic canvas

Sometimes you have a project in mind, and yarn on hand, and boy it sure would suck to get mostly completed and realize you don’t have enough yarn to finish. In my case, I’m impatient.  Sunday night I had one hank of appropriately-colored gray yarn, and a gray wrench to stitch, and I would have loved to get started… but first I needed to know if I had enough yarn to fully cover the entire thing.

Here’s how you figure it out.

sprocket wrench wip 13

Step 1- Cut a set length of yarn.  In my case I cut a strand of yarn that is 36 inches long.  A few reasons for this- 1) my measuring tape is in inches, making that a convenient measure, 2) 36 inches = 1 yard, and yarn labels list yardage, so I won’t have to do any conversions, and 3) 36 inches is a comfortable working length for when actually stitching, so my beginning and ending tails can be reasonably included in these figures.

Note- this will only be a helpful estimate if you use yarn that is the same, or at least the same thickness, as the yarn you plan to use in your project.sprocket wrench wip 14

Step 2- Take a scrap piece of plastic canvas, the same gauge as your project, and begin stitching.

Make sure to use the same stitch you will be using in your project, as some stitches take up more yarn than others, for example cross-stitch uses more than Continental.

Keep going until the yarn is nearly done, and fasten off as usual.sprocket wrench wip 15

Step 3- Do some math.  My 36″ of yarn allowed me to fill an area that was 6 holes wide by 19 holes high.  Yes, I’m counting in HOLES, not stitches.  Why?  Because some of my pieces are oddly-shaped and the stitches I’m using are slanted and I don’t feel like having to figure out how many stitches will fill irregular areas.  Counting the holes is simply faster for me.  You can count stitches if you prefer as long as you make sure to count total STITCHES needed later.

So. 1 yard (36″) of yarn will allow me to stitch an area comprised of 114 stitches.

Then all you have to do is count the number of holes in the project (or stitches, if you’re doing it that way), divide that by your swatch yardage (in my case: 114) and the result will tell you how many yards of yarn you need to fill it.

To that resulting number I would pad it based on certain factors- areas where you have to cut excess away, areas where you accidentally used too much to tie-on and get a few stitches short on that piece, etc.  So for smaller projects I’d say this is a good way to know if a finite amount of yarn will work.  For larger projects I’d say this was a good way to estimate the minimum amount of yarn you’d need.

Make sense?

If you were going to purchase yarn for this project and the count you end up with gives you the yardage of just UNDER a ball of your required yarn, I’d spring for an extra ball.  Best case scenario: you don’t end up using it and can return it.  Middle-of-the-night-likely scenario: you remember you have that second ball once you run out of yarn.  For Sprocket’s wrench, I’m trying to avoid buying yarn.  I have two different yarns in an appropriate gray that I can use, but one of them only has one, already-started, skein.  I’d prefer to use that one, but I don’t want to risk running short.  So I’ll count up how much my pieces will use without padding for any extra.  If I see it’s pretty close to the amount of my preferred yarn I have I won’t bother starting with it, and I’ll use the other one instead.

Note– this method does NOT include yardage for whipstitching the edges together.  That’s fine with me, because some of my edges are joined with a different color, of which I have plenty, and if I run out of my gray for the sewing-up I don’t mind using a slightly different shade for the assembly.


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Skylanders Sprocket Cosplay – Wrench Part 2

More progress on Sprocket’s giant wrench.  First I traced out the shape for the smaller set of jaws by placing plastic canvas directly on top of my to-size sketch.  The resulting shape isn’t completely round, but I’m ok with that, considering my medium.  Plus I’m getting a slight Millennium Falcon vibe I’m completely cool with.  😀sprocket wrench wip 05

I cut out that piece and then traced it onto more plastic canvas so I’d have an exact duplicate.sprocket wrench wip 06

I used a dollar store permanent marker to do my tracing.  It didn’t rub off while I worked, either on the plastic or my hands, which was a welcome surprise.  I didn’t want to risk it showing through the stitching later, so I tested out removing it with some water and a Q-Tip I had handy.  When I saw it would work I moved to the sink and most of it came off quite easily with a quick scrub under running water.

There are five more pieces needed to complete the smaller jaw- two 3 hole by 10 hole rectangles (to connect the top and bottom at the flat ends where the jaws are open), and three strips, one for each outer edge and one for the inside curve of the jaws.

I wasn’t quite sure how long they would be.  I guessed it would be one square long for each square around, but I didn’t want to assume that, cut and stitch them, and find they didn’t perfectly fit when eased around the curves.  Plus, being familiar with knitting and easing neckbands and sleeves into curves, I know sometimes you need a bit extra to ease into place.  The answer?sprocket wrench wip 07

Pac Man!

Basting, actually.  Starting with the inner piece, I cut my 10-hole-wide strip longer than I needed and basted it in place, starting with the center 4 holes and working out to either side.sprocket wrench wip 08

Voila.  A strip I know fits because it, well, fits.

😀  Amazing how that works!  Hehe.

It turned out to be 10 holes wide by 62 holes long.  Last thing for the smaller jaws was to use the same basting technique to figure out how long to cut the 2 strips for the outsides of the jaws, and they turned out to be 10 holes wide by 47 holes long.

On to the larger jaws…but first… cutting plastic canvas leaves a lot of smaller pieces, many of which can be saved and used in other projects.  The problem with keeping all the cut-offs is that they can get easily confused with the pieces I do need.

To minimize confusion, I ran a length of waste yarn through the good pieces, keeping them grouped by section so I didn’t risk mixing anything up.  Once that was done and things looked a little less messy, I moved onto the larger jaws.  I worked them the same as the smaller- tracing the shape onto plastic canvas, then cutting it out.

Instead of tracing the cut shape for my duplicate, this time I tried tracing the uncut shape and it worked just fine.  (Laying a fresh piece of plastic canvas over the one with the dark outline).  Then I cut the 2 3 hole by 10 hole pieces for the two narrow tips.

I did the same trick of basting in longer pieces to figure out how long a strip to cut for the lining of the inside of the jaws (10 holes wide by 88 holes long) and for the jaws’ outside curves (2 strips each 10 holes wide by 73 holes long.)

I completely forgot to take pics of the large jaws so picture the exact same process as the smaller ones, but… uh, bigger.

Technically I’m done, but I want to give it a little more stability on the inside, so I cut some spacers, 20 holes long by 10 holes wide, that I can tack into place along the inside of the wrench’s handle.

The last pieces to calculate and cut are the decorative trims…except…

This is where I stalled.

Because I had an idea and I wasn’t sure how to execute it.

See I figured… I’m gonna be in full costume, carrying around a giant wrench, and there was only one spot in the outfit that might work to incorporate pockets.  So between my phone, my ID, money (cus shopping!), and the entry program, I’d have ‘stuff’.  Plus I’d likely accumulate more ‘stuff’… business cards and things.  But I really don’t want to have to carry a purse.  So what if… I mean, I’m carrying around a giant, hollow object…

See where I’m going with this?

😀

The wrench is going to be my purse.

The 17″ wide handle is perfect, giving me a 5″ section I can keep my phone and ID in, and a 12″ section plenty big enough to hold a rolled-up program or any art I might get.  (I’m hoping to get something Archie-related).

The only thing giving me a hard time was how to handle the closure.  I spent some time drawing sketches and ruling stuff out, then when I hit upon a possible solution I made a little swatch to try it:

sprocket wrench wip 10

What I wasn’t sure of was whether or not a hinged lid with a stitched lip would stick out over a stitched base.  sprocket wrench wip 09Seeing how well it lays flush over an unstitched base, I’m going to go with that.  I showed my sample to Yannick and he suggested flipping it on its side, so the handle opens along its narrow end.  I told him I’d already thought of that and discounted it because I couldn’t figure out how to not make the sealing flap look silly.  He suggested hiding it along the decorative trip that would already be visible.

And just like that, it clicked.

Here’s what I’m planning:sprocket wrench wip 12sprocket wrench wip 11

Kinda like this.  Ish.

I re-cut and adjusted the top of the handle to reflect that, and then cut the 2 small and 2 large decorative trims for the jaws.

With that, I think all the strips (except the velcro lining bits) are cut.  Next post- how to calculate how much yarn I’ll need.


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Skylanders Sprocket Cosplay – Wrench part 1

The kids were remarkably cooperative in going to bed on time last night so I was able to whip through the stuff I had to do (finish making Jakob’s birthday party loot bags) so I could get to what I wanted to do: start my cosplay!

For assorted reasons involving the late hour, my inability to leave my sleeping children home alone while I went out shopping, and the contents of my craft stash, process of elimination led me to start with what I had the materials for- Sprocket’s big-ass wrench.

The first step was figuring out how big it actually is.  I started by using the official Skylanders image:

sprocket2

and then doing some calculations.  First I measured the width of her right hand’s fingers, as they appear on my screen, where they’re gripping the wrench.  I got roughly 0.5″ (adjusted for the angle).  Then I measured the wrench itself, and got roughly 5.5″.  Basic math says that her wrench is 11 times as long as the width of her knuckles.  Next I measured my own knuckles, and got 3″.  Multiplying my own knuckle width by the same 11 times gives me an estimate that my wrench should be roughly 33″ long.  Using those two sets of numbers I was able to do math (yay math!*) to figure out how large to scale up the measurements I took off my computer screen and figure out some decent approximate dimensions.

Once I had my numbers I could start to plot it out.  I taped together a few sheets of my kids’ construction paper and began to sketch out the wrench’s shape.

sprocket wrench wip 01   I didn’t think they’d miss the pink.

I sketched in pen ‘cus it was handy and I was on a roll so when I was done I went over the final shape with a colored Sharpie to make sure I used the correct outline when tracing the plastic canvas.sprocket wrench wip 02

Oh.  Yeah.  Did I not mention that?  This is going to be an entirely YARN-BASED cosplay.

*grins*

My plan is to stitch the whole thing in gray yarn with a 2nd layer for the detailing, and to join them with darker gray yarn to give the outline detail.

First up- cut my pieces.  Since the prop is going to be three-dimensional I need to cut the top, bottom and sides, plus the inside of the jaws, and then probably a few inner bracers for support.  Unfortunately my largest sheets of plastic canvas aren’t quite long enough to cut the whole length from one sheet, so I’m going to get around that by having my joins where the jaws begin, so any structural weakness will be compensated for (and any visible joins hidden by) the shape change.sprocket wrench wip 03

I have a bunch of packs of plastic canvas but only one sheet long enough to span the spanner (heh) without a join.  Luckily it’s wide enough to give me all four sides.sprocket wrench wip 04

The top and bottom are each 3″ wide by 17″ long, which translates to 20 holes by 113 holes, the sides are 1.5″ wide by 17″ long so that becomes 10 holes by 113 holes.  All the depth-giving pieces will be 10 holes wide by whatever length needed to fit easily around the curves.

I stopped at that point so I could go to bed.  Next will be the socket’s jaws and the decorative overlay, and then swatching to see how much yarn I’ll need.

*For real.  I love math.