Not Fade Away, 15 years later

*Note – this post contains some fairly oblique spoilers to last week’s Game of Thrones, though I tried to keep them vague. And do I need to warn about spoilers for the end of a 15-year-old show? Well, in any case, if you’re watching Angel for the first time unspoiled… maybe don’t read this. 🙂 I had a friend who was doing just that awhile back, so it can happen!*

So the other day I was walking to work, and as I did so I began brainstorming blog posts as part of my yearly pact to myself to post more. Specifically, what dolls do I have that I can turn into a blog post conveniently related to something currently happening in the world of popular culture? It’s already been a few weeks since Endgame, so I figured I missed my window there, and Game of Thrones and I aren’t currently on speaking terms after last week. Next, my brain wandered to anniversaries. What was happening 10, 20, etc years ago that I could relate to one of my dolls? Thus went my brain:

‘Hmm, I could finally post blogs about my New Zealand trip. That Tolkien movie just came out, and… holy crap it’s been 20 years since Fellowship of the Ring came out! Perfect! Also wow, I can’t believe that movie is 20 years old.”

*3 seconds later*

Other part of my brain: ‘That’s because it isn’t, it’s 18 years old. It came out in 2001.’

‘Right. I knew that. Ok, what actually happened in 1999? Oh wow, Angel started that year, didn’t it? My show turns 20 this year, hard to believe it.’

(Certain shows will always and forever be My Show. Angel is one, Babylon 5 is another. Coincidentally it also ended in 1999, but back in January so I missed that posting window too).

Followed a heartbeat later by,

‘…that means Angel ENDED 15 years ago. Well now I feel old. I wonder what actual date Not Fade Away aired? It would have been around now. Hopefully I didn’t miss it!’

One IMDB search later.

May 19, 2004.

Exactly 15 years to the day before the final episode of Game of Thrones is due to air tonight. I mean, I may have put Game of Thrones in the corner and told it to think about what it did, but it’s still been one of my favourite shows these past 7 years. So there’s something rather auspicious about it ending on the same day 15 years after one of my other all time favourite shows aired its last episode.

I know some people were disappointed by Not Fade Away, and frustrated by its perceived cliffhanger. I get that, but at the same time I thought it was the perfect way to end the show. I had my own issues with season 5, it’s true, though at the time I was younger and too caught up in my excitement to really notice. I was and still am disappointed by the lack of Lilah (I searched hopefully for Stephanie Romanov’s name in the guest credits at the start of every episode). And I was frustrated by the mind wipe that had erased nearly everything interesting that ever happened to my boy Wes in the previous two years, leaving only his Epic Love for Fred, of which I was not a fan (sorry Fresley shippers). And writing Cordelia out of the show (only to bring her back and kill her) was unconscionable. Still, Angel for all its flaws was a show I loved deeply at the time, and I’m still not sure I’ve ever been as obsessed with another fictional character as I was with Wesley Wyndam-Pryce.

So on the one hand, watching him die – and in the arms of the wrong woman to my Weslah shipper’s brain – sucked. Rather like a certain other more recent character death, in fact, but narratively at least it made sense that Wes would be thinking of Fred in his final moments. Unlike certain other shows. I digress.

But on the other hand, the theme of the show has always come down to one scene: Holland Manners in that elevator, telling Angel that hell is Earth and so everything he does is pointless, and Angel having his epiphany that if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do. Keep fighting even when you can’t win, because there is no winning – only doing what we can to help people, even if it’s just one action, even if we just make one life better then it’s worth it. And that’s what Not Fade Away was about – not the cliffhanger of ‘how will they defeat the dragon??’, but the recognition that the fight goes on and even if they all die in that alleyway, they will have made a difference.

It’s a seemingly dark and hopeless ending, but I never saw it that way. Angel was never about black vs white / good vs evil / defeat the big bad at the end of the season and head to the mall after. Angel was about fighting the good fight in the face of great odds, and knowing that your actions still matter. And in the face of a big scary world that is at once peeling back our hard-won rights with every stroke of a pen, even as we move ever closer to our planet’s demise, that seems like a pretty relevant message 15 years later. None of us individually is going to fix these problems, but we still have the power to make the world a better place in some small way – whether it be by voting in the people who CAN fix these problems (do that), or by simply helping a friend (or a stranger) in need.

This post didn’t really know what it wanted to be, and apparently it took a turn for the serious I did not expect it to. Sorry? Here, have a doll to make up for it. 🙂 After making Wesley doll 1.0, I decided I needed a smaller pocket-sized Wesley, and thus we have Wesley doll 2.0. I wanted to make a Lilah to go with him, but I don’t think I could truly capture the lusciousness of her hair using yarn. I might still make an Illyria one day, though, she would be fun!

15 years ago today I was waiting with both excitement and trepidation for my favourite show to end. Tonight I’m waiting with a kind of depressed resignation. I want to be excited, I want to feel the same love for the show I felt even 2 weeks ago when all my shipper dreams came true and I was still convinced that a certain character would do a certain thing and die in a certain way. Wes’s death made me sad, but it was an expected kind of sad. Last week just left me cold and angry. I’ve done a lot of thinking about it this past week and come to a certain amount of acceptance of it, largely because I think it could have worked fine if they hadn’t rushed this season so much, but I’m still really sad about how it went down. I hope tonight we will get some closure for my ship, one way or another. Because I have a massive cosplay project I embarked upon a few weeks ago, when I was still full of happiness and feels after a certain ceremony scene, and dammit but I still want to make it. More news coming on that once I’ve let Game of Thrones out of its corner and decided to start working on said costume again. Right now it’s also sitting in the corner in time-out.

Game of Thrones Craft Round-Up

Hey everyone! It’s been forever I know. It’s been a pretty shitty year, and I haven’t felt up to any blogging, but Game of Thrones is back! The final season is here at last, and I am not emotionally prepared… So I figured now was as good a time as any to post a round up of my GoT related cosplay and crochet over the years, starting with the earliest and working forward. Plus this post is inspired by the girl who helped me over the weekend at EB Games, where I bought the new Dany on the Iron Throne Funko Pop on a whim. As she checked me out, we got talking about cosplay and I mentioned my Dany cosplay. I gave her one of my business cards, then realized after that I barely have any pictures of said cosplay posted anywhere on my blog or Instagram. So this seemed like a good opportunity to fix that!

First up, the shorter of the categories – cosplay! I’ve done a couple of Dany cosplays over the years, though the first one was super basic. A fantasy/sci fi exhibit featuring the Iron Throne was coming to Seattle way back in 2013, and I got it into my head at the last minute that I wanted to be Daenerys. Having no sewing skills to speak of, and no time, I appealed to a friend of mine who had a thrown-together season 1 Dany costume that she’d recently worn to a GoT debate. It was too big for me and basically consisted of pinned together rags and some leggings, but when I put it on I felt powerful. I was the Khaleesi. And I was going to sit on the Iron Throne.

I headed down with a few friends, one of whom is a photography enthusiast in possession of a very big camera. The good photography made up for the questionable costume that kept falling off, and somehow he managed to make me look reasonably badass on that Throne instead of having my usual ‘mild constipation’ photo expression. Walking around the exhibit as the Khaleesi was nerve wracking for this introvert, and yet empowering. I was determined to do it again, and this time to do it right.

Which led to my project of September 2013. I knew I wanted to make her blue dress from Astapor, because season 3 had just ended and I, like so many others, was inspired by the moment that Daenerys used her dragons to take control of Astapor. I had been the Khaleesi, and now I wanted to be the Mother of Dragons. So I found this pattern online and enlisted my grandmother’s help. The extent of my sewing experience before this was a few dolls, and the only clothing I’d ever made was a misshapen hoodie and pair of shorts in high school. Neither was wearable in public.

Many hours of tears and frustration later, mostly from the damned criss-crossed bodice, not to mention the ‘dragon scale’ embroidery, it was done just in time for our yearly Halloween party. And a year later the Iron Throne came to Vancouver, so I got to sit on it again! Better costume, but worse photography since my friend with the good camera wasn’t with me. Oh well. It was awesome anyway! And the real dress was on display so I spent about ten minutes staring at it trying to figure out how the damned bodice went together.

Ironically I don’t really have any pictures of this dress that I’m super happy with. I need to do a proper photoshoot one of these days! But here are a few I do have. 🙂

At the Game of Thrones exhibit in Vancouver in 2014:

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Waiting in line for the exhibit with my dragons.

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A different time on the Iron Throne! This time at an Improv show I went to a few years back, where they had the Iron Throne on stage and let people take pictures on it.

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With mini-me at FanExpo!

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Dany could be the Doctor, right? I’d watch it.IMG_2300

The dress has gone through a few modifications over the years – I replaced the Velcro that was holding the side together with a zipper (my proudest moment!), adding some extra fabric when it became too tight (a less proud moment), and redid the entire underskirt at one point because it was too long. And my wigs have progressed from crappy $20 shiny party wig to marginally better $30 EBay wig to good quality but wrong style Arda wig, and finally to the Arda ‘Grace’ wig which is probably the best I’ll get without buying a lace front. I still have things I want to fix on that costume, but all things considered I’m pretty proud of it!

I’d love to do one of Dany’s season 7 costumes, but I’m not cosplaying or going to cons much anymore. Maybe one day. 🙂

Ok that  ‘shorter section’ went longer than expected. And now, on to crochet! Ironically, the first Game of Thrones crochet piece I ever made is also the one I’m still most proud of, and the one thing that I’m most known for. The full story can be found at my blog post here, but the short version is that nearly 6 years ago, on May long weekend 2013, I decided I wanted to crochet something Game of Thrones related. I could have started with something small, like a doll. Instead I went big. And then my friend Sam enabled me. And then this happened.

My Game of Thrones blanket has gotten around – it’s been my booth backdrop for FanExpo Vancouver on multiple occasions, and it once starred in a GoT stage parody show. These days it mostly just hangs out on the back of my couch. I’m still super proud of it, and every once in awhile someone messages me to say they’ve made my blanket themselves and it always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. 🙂 If you want to make your own blanket, the pattern can be found free here!

FanExpo Vancouver booth 2015, with my blanket prominently displayed!

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That one time my blanket starred in a theatre show. I think the fame went to its head (if it has a head).

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Fake George RR Martin sitting on my blanket. 🙂

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Next up I decided it was time to make some dolls. This was during my phase of experimenting with felt clothing over crochet body bases – not sure how well that worked, and they are old now so I don’t consider them my best work by any means, but they were cute enough. 🙂

Jon

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Dany (season 1) – back when I took photos on my DARK BROWN COUCH because that seemed like a good idea.

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Dany (season 3) – I still have her, so I could take a picture against a white background…

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Tyrion! Back to the brown couch haha. And I made his eyes different colours like in the books. 🙂

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The only shot I have of Arya. It’s not a good one, but she’s off in someone else’s home now so it’s the best I have.

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Around the same time I also scaled down my Stark blanket panel and made this pillow. 🙂

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And then there were dragons! These weren’t designed by me, though, they were designed by the talented Kati Galusz. Awesome pattern, and the wings are poseable because they have wire in them! Now I had proper accurately coloured dragons to carry around with me when I cosplayed. 🙂 Drogon can usually be found pinned to my shoulder when I’m Dany at a con.

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Ok this is a little one – a Greyjoy kraken! My friend Kate is our resident Greyjoy, so one year I made her this kraken. Naturally the cat stole it.

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And finally, skipping forward to the present, my new Jon and Dany dolls! I went to Iceland for a couple of weeks in February, and I was determined to make Jon and Dany dolls to accompany me around the country and to the various filming locations. Iceland is such a spectacular country, and it’s particularly Game of Thrones-esque in the winter! We visited several of the places they filmed, including Thingvellir (home of the Eyrie, among other scenes), Dimmuborgir (used in various scenes beyond the Wall, and known for its incredible rock formations), and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula (home of Mt. Kirkjufell, aka Arrowhead Mountain in season 7). Also got to walk on a glacier, visit an ice cave, and see the Northern Lights for the first time ever!! Which was incredible. <3 Anyway, Iceland can be its whole own other post (one day, in theory), but for now here are a few shots of Jon and Dany as they explore the real-life Westeros. 🙂

Diamond Beach by the Jokusarlon Glacier Lagoon – incredible huge ice chunks contrasted against the black sand beach.

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Chilling out after a long day of driving along the Eastfjords in pouring rain. As we reached our accommodation in Egilsstadir the sun finally showed its face and we had some beautiful light as the sun was setting. Such a romantic moment for the young aunt & nephew – I mean, young couple!DSC_0826

Daenerys hanging out on a post. Somewhere in the north? I think?DSC_0894

Dimmuborgir! Very nifty. This area is also where Ygritte stole Jon’s sword and then led him into the Cave o’ Sex. Which is also close by, but we didn’t get to visit because we were on a guided trip with a set itinerary. Oh well. Jon didn’t get to bring his aunt – I mean new girlfriend – to his old flame’s sex hideout. DSC_1000

And just for fun, some Photoshop messing about. 🙂 My dragons didn’t actually accompany us to Iceland, but that’s what Photoshop is for!

Dany on Drogon-2

And that’s all for now! I have a ton more Iceland pics I should really post at some point – stay tuned, hopefully it’ll be sooner than another year until you next year from me! 🙂

– Julia

Harry Potter Hogwarts Crest Crochet Baby Blanket Pattern

This Harry Potter baby blanket is perfect for the budding witch or wizard in your life! Download the pattern chart below for free, and enjoy! If you have any questions about the pattern, please email me at waywardpineapplecreations@gmail.com and I’m happy to help.

All details below are based on US crochet terms. I made the blanket charts based on crochet, but it works well for knitting too.

Supplies

  • Red Heart Super Saver yarn (or something similar) in the following colours:
    • Black, gold (for crest), red, yellow, green, grey/silver, blue, bronze/brown (used for both  Ravenclaw and for the shaded part of the crest, or you can get a different brown for the crest if you prefer)
  • Size H / 5.00 crochet hook
  • Darning needle
  • Scissors
  • Quilt fabric for backing (black, or whatever you prefer)
  • Sewing machine to sew on the quilt fabric (or do it by hand if you don’t have a sewing machine)

Size/gauge

Finished blanket measures approx. 1 metre by 1 metre, and is slightly taller than it is wide. The gauge doesn’t matter other than the fact that a tighter gauge will make a slightly smaller blanket, and vice versa.

How to Assemble and Read the Chart

There are four separate chart files, which each needs to be printed and taped together to make one large chart. You will work from right to left and bottom to top, not counting the chain. Each chart is 65 stitches across and 70 rows tall, so when taped together the total chart is 130 stitches across and 140 rows tall.

Start by chaining 131 in black, then the first stitch of the first row is the first pixel in the bottom right corner of the chart. One pixel corresponds to one single crochet. For the odd rows you’ll be working from the front, and for the even rows you’ll flip it and be working from the back. Make sure the ends are always hanging to the back/wrong side of the blanket – so sometimes they will be facing you, and other times they will be on the other side from you.

I subdivided each chart into 5×5 boxes since it helps me count my stitches. I like to make a little mark beside each row so I know which direction I’m going, and I cross off/scribble out each row in sharpie as I finish them. Like this:

 
This is the Hawkeye panel of an Avengers blanket I was definitely not making at a certain point in time. I dug it up recently and may still (not) make it, but we’ll see!

Colour Changes

There are various techniques for changing colours, so it really just depends on your preference and whether or not you care about what the back looks like. I recommend lining the blanket so it won’t matter what the back looks like. I personally carry each colour behind as I work, so I end up with a ton of loops at the back of the blanket. Sometimes I will also cut a colour and pick it up later, depending on how far it will be until I need it again. I hate weaving in ends, though!

If you don’t want to line the blanket, you can either crochet over the colour you’re not using (though it tends to bleed through, I find) or cut the yarn each time you change colours and then weave in all the ends. There are a LOT of colour changes, though, so this may drive you insane! You could also do a combination of the two, crocheting over the unused colour when you have a lot of quick colour changes, and then cutting the yarn when you have larger gaps between colours.

Border (optional)

The blanket in the picture doesn’t have a border, but I recommend adding 1-2 rows of a black border just to make the sides look clean. You could also use the house colours or gold for the border, up to you!

Backing

I recommend backing the blanket in a quilting fabric, which will be soft and light for a baby (and at least one side of the blanket will be easy to clean!). You can hand sew the quilting on if you don’t have a sewing machine, but it will be a time consuming process. If you have a machine then it’s pretty quick and easy to just sew the quilting to the blanket all around the edges. Just fold the edges and pin all the way around, then feed it slowly and carefully through the machine. It’s a bit terrifying at first (when I did this with my Game of Thrones blanket, I was convinced that the crochet stitches would get caught in the machine and rip my beloved blanket to pieces), but just be careful and it will be fine. 🙂

And the charts!

Click on the picture or caption to download the charts. Print each one, trim the white off where needed, then tape carefully together so make one big chart. The background is in black, but I’ve left it white because there’s no sense in printing off that much black I figure.

Gryffindor

Slytherin

Hufflepuff

Ravenclaw

 

Etsy Store Announcement!

Exciting news everyone! I’ve just added a bunch of items to my Etsy store – namely, I’m going to start selling my custom-designed hand-made crochet dolls! For over a year the only thing I’ve had up there was my Baby Groot crochet pattern, but I had various leftover dolls sitting around from FanExpo and such, so I decided to take the plunge and just put them online. Some of the dolls on there are already made and ready to ship, but I also listed several that previously sold so they will have to be custom-made for anyone who orders. I have 14 dolls up so far, check them out over at https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/WaywardPineapple!

 

 

Plans for the future include more dolls, and definitely more patterns. I’m aiming to post a pattern every week or two – that’s my New Years Resolution! So stay tuned. 🙂

Star Wars Christmas Ornaments

Happy Star Wars weekend everyone! Are we all super excited for The Last Jedi?? I definitely was – saw it last night (no spoilers I promise!) and seeing it again tomorrow night. To commemorate the occasion, I’ve written up patterns for the three Star Wars Christmas ornaments that I’ve designed over the past couple of months, and am sharing them for free! Right in time for the holidays, so you too can have a tiny Rey, Leia, or Porg to hang on your tree. 🙂

Enjoy the patterns, and let me know if you have any questions!

Rey pattern cover image

 

Leia pattern cover image

Porg pattern cover image

A Conspiracy of Pineapples

Hi everyone! It’s been nearly a year since my last post, and and those who have been here before may notice that something has changed. Become more… tropical. And pineapple-y. What happened, you ask? Where did Vancouver Crafty Geeks and Erika go? I promise she hasn’t died in a mysterious pineapple-related incident! But after a year of neither of us posting, we decided that there wasn’t much point in continuing that blog. I’ve been wanting to start my own brand name and get more serious about blogging and pattern posting (we’ll see if that actually happens), and the majority of posts on the blog were mine anyway, so with Erika’s blessing I imported everything over to WordPress, bought a domain name, changed Erika’s posts to ‘guest posts’, did some other revisionist history to some old posts, and reopened as Wayward Pineapple Creations!

Why pineapples, you ask? And why is the pineapple wayward? How can a pineapple even be wayward, and what does any of this have to do with crochet? All very good questions, and I promise there are answers… I’m just not entirely sure what they are. Pineapples came about for a few reasons. First, they are yummy. Second, I had a minor obsession for awhile with pineapple-related imagery thanks to my fling with the Psych fandom. Third, and most importantly, I recently discovered the existence of a secret and dangerous organization… one that could probably get me killed for even mentioning it… a dark secret hiding behind the pineapple and flamingo imagery that permeates summer… the Tropical Illuminati.

*looks around furtively*

You’re probably wondering now, what the holy pineapple-y hell is the Tropical Illuminati and what does it have to do with any of this? Don’t ask questions! The first rule of the Tropical Illuminati is we do not talk about the Tropical Illuminati. But if you insist… the not-so-short version is, this past spring I embarked upon that most Canadian tradition of a day trip across the border to purchase goods at somewhat cheaper prices and at exciting stores we do not possess such as Joann’s and Dress Barn. As we entered store after store, a terrifying pattern began to emerge. Pineapples, flamingos, and palm trees. Everywhere. In every store. In every window display. They were following us, haunting our dreams. We returned to Canada, thinking we were safe up here in the frozen Arctic with our moose and beavers, but the pineapples and flamingos persisted! They could be found at every turn, in the most unexpected places. Just when we thought we were safe, another would emerge. Our friend dubbed this strange phenomenon the ‘Tropical Illuminati’, a grand worldwide conspiracy to lull us all into a sense of false complacency with cute tropical images before beginning the true invasion.

…or it was just the start of summer. Either seemed equally likely.

Anyway, the point is I spent a ridiculous summer making silly jokes about flamingos and pineapples, and buying merchandise in their images such as super tacky porch lights, so when the time can to name my blog, it was on my mind. I’ve been trying without luck to think of a name for YEARS. I went through a ton of generic boring crochet and geek related names. Anything fun or clever seemed to have been taken. I came up with ‘wayward’ because I wanted something to connote travel and wandering, to go with my Groot travel photos. It was very nearly Wayward Geek Creations. But it just lacked a certain… something. (something pineapple-y?) Eventually I decided to just embrace my own weirdness and name myself something fun and a bit kooky and inexplicable. Hence, the Wayward Pineapple was born. Now I just need to design a pineapple amigurumi!

In the meantime though, I designed my logo which I’m super happy with. I spent about an hour sketching random pineapple designs and then hit upon the idea of making the pineapple look like a ball of yarn – complete with crochet hook! And if you actually made it through reading the above drivel about the Tropical Illuminati, you may notice that the hook is pink… because the flamingos are in on this too, the feathery bastards.So what can you expect to find on Wayward Pineapple Creations? Much of the same as Vancouver Crafty Geeks, really. I have various new dolls since last year that I’ll post about, and gradually I swear to god I will actually write up and post some patterns. I also have a ton of traveling Groot (and other dolls!) photos to post from various trips over the past couple of years.  While I get my butt into gear to write up those actual travel posts, check out my Instagram @waywardpineapplecreations where I’m gradually posting pics from those trips as well as recent (and old) doll creations. I may also still do the occasional guest feature post, because I have some nerdy creative amazingly talented friends and they make cool stuff I want to show off. 🙂

Ok that’s it for now! I’ll be back soon, with actual crochet pictures I promise. In the meantime, stay safe and watch out for the Tropical Illuminati.

Also, if for some crazy reason you want to learn more about the Tropical Illuminati, head over to my good friend Sam’s blog The Artisan Penguin, where she’s written a whole blog post on the matter. So far she hasn’t died in an avalanche of pineapples while being pecked to death with flamingos so I think we’re safe. For now.

Pocket Dolls Part 4: Stranger Things – Eleven

I had intentions of making at least 1 blog post a week, and suddenly it’s been nearly 2 months… whoops? But we’re at the one month countdown to FanExpo Vancouver, so I’m going to get back to it and post more of the dolls that will be at our booth next month! First up – Eleven from Stranger Things.

Like pretty much everyone I know, I inhaled Stranger Things in less than a week while cowering on my couch under blankets. In retrospect, watching alone at 11pm might not have been the greatest idea. I loved it from start to finish, so of course I had to make a little Pocket!Eleven for FanExpo. 🙂 Check her out below. I have a design drawn up for a Pocket!Dustin as well, so we’ll see if that happens.

Pocket Dolls Part 2: DC Comics Universe

Today I’ll be sharing my next set of Pocket Dolls for FanExpo Vancouver, this time from the DC universe – Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Supergirl. I confess I’m more a Marvel than DC girl, but I do love the Nolan Batman films and I enjoy the various DC TV shows right now. And I’m definitely looking forward to the Wonder Woman film. 🙂 Check out individual pictures below the cut!

The Flash

I made the Flash first, as a commission for a friend of mine. He turned out pretty cute and since the show is popular right now (it’s definitely my favourite of the DC tv-verse) I made another one to sell at FanExpo.

Supergirl

I made Supergirl as a birthday present for a friend, but I may still make another one for FanExpo. She was my first attempt at a female pocket doll; I tried to give her some shaping to make her more feminine… it didn’t really work. Oh well, I’ll keep trying.  I really like how she turned out though!

Superman

That symbol is a pain to cut out – I did Supergirl’s with foam, which was too thick I thought, so I used felt for Superman. More important was including the forehead curl. 😉

Wonder Woman

I had more luck with body shaping this time, but either way it’s just not possible to give much shape to such a small body. I’m happy with how she turned out, though, and all the little details were fun! She’s got a whip at her side as well, you can see it better in the second picture.

Batman

I tried a different style for the cowl compared to the Flash and I like how it worked out. Since I wanted actual safety eyes (and some flesh) coming through the eyeholes on the Flash, I made his head first and then made the cowl and sewed it on separately. With Batman I decided to go for plain white eye shapes (using foam), so I crocheted the black right into the head and then worked slip stitches around the face section to give it some height and separate the black from the flesh. I think it worked well!

(that Bat-symbol is a pain to cut out though, even worse than the Superman symbol!)

That’s it for this time! Stay tuned, there are more Pocket dolls coming plus other things. 🙂

Guest Post: Plastic Canvas Dollhouse by Mel Dawn

We’re excited to announce our first guest blog post by our friend Mel Dawn! Mel is a writer and crafter based in New Westminster BC, with a love of cats, Doctor Who, and a passion for creating unique pieces with plastic canvas. Below Mel shares with us one of her plastic canvas projects, a custom made dollhouse!

Don’t Turn Away, Don’t Look Back, and Don’t Blink: You Don’t Want to Miss This Craft Project!
by Mel Dawn

Many people collect action figures from the Doctor Who, Marvel, and DC Comics universes, but then are puzzled as how to display them. A collection should never be stuffed to the back of the closet. Over time, you may think you’re imagining the words, “We must escape the bat cave! Exterminate! Resistance is futile!” and loads of other phrases to guilt you into unpacking your geek collection.

Perhaps it’s time to help your lonely action figures find a home. But with a quick scan of eBay, you realize you can’t afford the Tenth Doctor’s TARDIS interior and console room. But you can afford to make your own action figure dollhouse.

It took me two years to make this miniature dollhouse from plastic canvas and yarn. It was actually a Mary Maxim kit, but you can buy plastic canvas from most dollar and craft stores. It doesn’t take a lot of yarn to make—you can use your yarn scraps from finished knitting projects.

Before I started, I didn’t have any specific dollhouse in mind. You can create an idea from Dollhouse, Doctor Who—the house from Blink, a haunted house, or headquarters from Deadpool.

I actually kitbashed my dollhouse. Finished, it’s 14 inches wide by 17 inches tall, but originally the pattern called for it to be around 12 inches by 12 inches. I wanted it to fit not only my action figures, but my Dawn Dolls too. These toys are about six inches tall, though I do have a smaller scale of action figure—Melanie from Doctor Who—who is about four inches tall—in the living room of my dollhouse, as well as a red Dalek. But David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and the Weeping Angel—made by Nick Norris on his 3D printer—stand about six inches tall.

I decided to make the rooms wider, and taller. I actually had to buy extra plastic canvas as the kit didn’t contain enough. I also didn’t follow the guidelines for yarn colours. I kept the colours of the kit in the bathroom and kitchen/dining room areas, but I changed the bedroom to mauve, and the living room to burgundy and red. I also had to use my own yarn as there wasn’t enough in the kit to create the new size of walls.

Plastic canvas is a lot like cross stitch, but you work your stitches on a rigid form of canvas instead of flexible canvas material. You also need to use yarn, though there are smaller gauges of plastic canvas that can be worked with embroidery floss. I worked with the Darice seven count plastic canvas (7 holes to one inch), the largest scale I’m aware of. These come in rectangular sheets, but you can buy other shapes and sizes such as hearts, circles, and squares too.

The stitches are worked a lot like on cross stitch, but instead of creating an X, you create only a row of //////s. You can work a variety of different stitches with your pattern, much like cross stitch, but with my dollhouse it was most //////s.

You can see in this photo where I have first done all the stitching for the front panel of the house. I have also added the brown overhang. The windows are stitched with yarn, but can be cut out.

In the next photo you can see the inside panel of the walls, as well as the left wall attached, and one short inner wall between living room and kitchen. I also made a rug for the living room. This was a pattern I found online. That’s one nice thing about making a project—you can constantly add to it over the years.

Here is the finished inside of the dollhouse. If I did this project a second time I would have added a sturdier form of plastic canvas between the floors and the walls, because you can see it sagging a bit in the photo. Or, you can accept it as the nature of the materials you are working with.

You can see how much fun it is to add your own action figures to the scene. The pattern I had also came with instructions for making the furniture. Again, I had to modify the pattern so the furniture fit the scale of the action figures. I also found patterns online to make other furniture, such as the burgundy chair in the living room.

The dollhouse even has an attic. I made a pirate’s trunk to fit up here. I added a rod to the closet, and made the bathroom cabinet open up.

In this photo you can have a better look at the burgundy chair that I made from a smaller scale of canvas mesh (ten count), so there are more stitches per square inch.

I found a clock pattern, so the kitchen has a clock above the fridge. The kitchen is a bit crowded, and I never made all the furniture that the dollhouse was supposed to have. I also eliminated a third room on the second story, a nursery. In hindsight, I should have made a cat room.

This project took me about two years to make, but others may work it faster if they have no other projects on the go. I still have other patterns I want to make, such as a dining room hutch. The playing options are endless, and gamers can even think up ways to incorporate the house into a game.

Plastic canvas is about 99 cents per sheet. You can buy special plastic canvas needles, scissors, and yarn, to make your plastic canvas crafts easier to make. Patterns and kits can be expensive, but you can create your own patterns and designs. Most people who try the hobby get hooked after the first few weeks. If you’re like me, you’ll end up having several folders of project ideas on your computer.

Thanks again to Mel for sharing her dollhouse with us! If you want to see more projects made by Mel or learn about her writing services, please visit her blog website.

Happy Deadpool Day! Celebrate with a FREE cross stitch pattern!

I suppose I could start off my apologizing for being a bad blogger and not posting anything in a very, very long time. I could do that… but I think I’d rather celebrate the new Deadpool movie that opens today. The film has been getting good reviews so far, and I’m really excited to go see it tomorrow! It doesn’t hurt that it was filmed locally in beautiful Vancouver and stars beautiful (and equally Vancouver-ful) Ryan Reynolds.

I especially loved all of the marketing leading up to the release of this movie. Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool tweets, passing it off as a Valentine’s ‘date’ movie, and of course the ridiculous and brilliant use of emojis to spell out ‘Deadpool’.

Ah, the good old ‘Skull-Poop-L’. A friend suggested this would make a great cross stitch pattern, and I agree! So I put a little something together and am offering it as a free download so everyone can get their Deadpool fix!

Stitch up your very own Skull-Poop-L to hang on your wall and cherish forever. Yes, it’s that special.

> Click here to download the pattern

To view the pattern, you will need a pdf reader. I like Adobe acrobat reader, but there are many programs that will open a pdf document. The pattern is a single page, so it’s ideal for displaying on a tablet or computer and for zooming in to see the chart closeup. If you do want to print this pattern out, I would recommend using a colour printer to ensure the chart symbols are as easy to read as possible.

I hope you enjoy this pattern! I’d love to see what you create with it, so tag me on Instagram or send me a Tweet! Please keep in mind the pattern is free for personal use only. Items made with this pattern can be given as gifts, but not sold for profit (online or elsewhere). Thank you and happy stitching!