Thursday, July 10, 2014

Up all night to get Loki

One of my jobs had a KAL of Vera Valimaki's Colour Affection. I had just seen Thor 2, and god damn I love a good villain*, and what better way to show that than through a scarf-based reference that only I will understand? Loki and I apparently favour similar colour schemes, too, so that was also a plus.

The green is Malabrigo Arroyo in Vaa, the grey is Louisa Harding Orielle, the black is Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. I knit it on 4mm needles, finished it, and realised it was impractically gigantic (and that was the small size). I found the masochism to rip it out, halved the number of all the section repeats, and was a lot happier with the end result (though i could have saved quite a lot on yarn if I'd known I was going to do that.)

I worked on this while I went to visit my best friend in New York in January. (I thought I would have something to knit on the plane, but then was too much of a chicken to risk taking the knitting needles on board and having them taken away.) One evening we were hanging out with her friends in the common room, me knitting and her solving a Rubix cube as we sat on the couch at the end of the room. One of her friends' friends was a film student, and commented on the fact that both of being casually engaged in activities as we talked made it look like we were in a film - characters flatly delivering dialogue is dull, so you want to have them doing something else, as people often are. I hadn't consciously noticed that before on-sceen, and now I can't not.

What I can also take from that is that my natural behaviour comes off as artifice contrived  to appear natural.

* I actually preferred the treatment of Loki in Thor and Avengers to Thor 2. A lot of the character's strength came from the fact that the role was written a little flat, and given a great deal of depth by Tom Hiddleston. It seemed like the writers of Thor 2 picked up on what fans liked about the nuances of his performance, and then wrote it all in explicitly. I found it a bit heavy-handed. Still a fun silly film, though.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Back from the dead

I forgot to post. And then I forgot to post some more. And then I felt guilty, and put this blog to the back of my mind.

Every time I've remembered that this blog exists, I've considered putting the patterns up as Ravelry downloads and deleting the whole thing. Most of the tiny number of people who follow it also know me in real life, and since I post pictures of everything I make on Facebook anyway (so people can tell me how lovely they are and stroke my ego), it wouldn't be any loss. What's held me back is the one or two people who don't know me, and how that affects me writing and posting. I sort of love reading blogs belonging to people I don't know, even - sometimes especially - if I don't particularly like them. It's fascinating to see what people are willing to share, what persona they try to create for strangers. Lifestyle blogging and image creation are pretty compelling. There are layers of narcissism to the fact that I like to skim over this and see how I try to come across to strangers. What interests us is finding out what we are like, mar a deirtear.

I've made some quite fun things in the last year, maybe I'll give them their own posts. Other ways I have been filling my time include having three jobs, joining a SCUBA-diving club, applying for postgraduate positions, taking up climbing, working through my to read pile, travelling, marathoning a lot of TV shows, and sitting quietly.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hallowe'en costume and crafts

I'm a bit behind the times, but here's what I did and made for Hallowe'en.

Shoddy nail art! I'm pretty happy with how the right hand turned out, given that I'm right-handed and used the easy ones on my left hand.

The first pumpkin I have carved in years! I carved it the Friday before Hallowe'en, then forgot about it until Hallowe'en night, by which time it had gone too soft to lift the lid off and light a candle inside for full effect. Woops.

Cupcakes! The recipe is from the Moosewood recipe book, with added almond and raspberries, the icing is vanilla buttercream, and I bought the toppers in Fallon and Byrne. This was my first time using food colouring in a good many years, and I added to much to the red, but this had the result of making it look like viscera while not tasting or feeling any different. Accidental success!

I dressed up as Harry Potter! I couldn't find a red and yellow tie, so I got a red one and wound a yellow ribbon around it. I got green contacts, which had a fairly narrow gap for the iris, obscuring my vision, and borrowed a pair of my mother's old glasses, which blurred my vision even without the contacts, so really I think the fact that I didn't drop or break anything is a success story.

I used rigid collodion for the scars, after becoming smitten with this tutorial. Because I did it in a rush, and the scars I was applying were rather fine, it didn't turn out quite as well, but I was happy enough. I used lip-liner to draw the scar on the back of my hand, and concealer for the lightning bolt. Apart from the shine, which I couldn't fully take away with powder foundation, they looked quite good.

I should probably end this with "and on to Christmas knitting!" but I have most of my Christmas knitting done, actually. Not to brag or anything. Just saying.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Octobirthday presents.

Like... presents for birthdays happening in October, not eight birthdays, or a birthday shared by eight people. You know a joke is hilarious when you have to explain it.

K-9! He doesn't quite balance, but he is supported by his associated on the shelf of things I have made for my boyfriend. Remember the time Giles was in Doctor Who? That was a good episode, even if Giles was not employed to best use. I used this pattern and Cygnet Chunky.

A neckwarmer for my friend Steph, who has emigrated to what will soon be the frozen wasteland of upstate New York. I used this pattern, casting on 49 rather than 63 stitches, and with an extra repeat, so it can be snug and long enough to meet the brim of a hat. It's a simple pattern, but I like it a good deal. I'd also been dying for a chance to use the yarn (Debbie Bliss Paloma) and it's so soft and squishy and lovely. I am selfish in what I choose to make and use, but I also hand-make things with love, so I feel I net at "neutral" in my gift-giving consideration.

I know I always say "Maybe I will make one of these for myself!" but the way it sits and the length my hair was when I made it put me in mind of Sheik from Ocarina of Time, who has a place in my heart, and Hallowe'en is coming... so maybe I will make one of these for myself!

My little brother loved the bobble hat I made him last year, so much that it disintegrated. I made him this replacement for his birthday on Thursday. (He also loved the Enterprise.) The pattern is Bobblehead Ray, which is about the nicest simple bobble hat pattern I've found.

More to follow, as October is disproprtionately full of birthdays.

Myself and a friend have started a knitting and crochet group in the asylum seekers' centre where we volunteer, so I am scouring Ravelry for projects interesting enough to stick with, but simple enough for beginners. Exciting times!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Forward progress

or "Self-indulgent internal chatter."

I gave up art as a Leaving Cert subject in March or so of 2008 (because grades are just terribly important and I wasn't going to get an A1, good job seventeen-year-old brain), and after a five-year hiatus full of intentions, I finally started making another concerted effort at drawing about two and a half months ago. I've been drawing nearly every day since then. Even within that length of time, it's encouraging to look at the attempts from the start of my sketchbook compared with now, and it fills me with optimism that in a few months I'll look at something I was happy with today and think it just precious that I thought that was any good, because I'll have improved so much by then.

So here are some early and recent drawings! I want to try to justify the early ones by pointing out what's wrong with them, but surely the fact that the later ones are better indicates I can see some of what was wrong with them, and shut up brain.

25/7/'13: The first face in my sketchbook, Bifur from the Hobbit. (Reference.) About the same standard as I had when I was fifteen or sixteen.

15/9/'13: Sylar/Zachary Quinto. (I've started watching Heroes - Season 1 is excellent, and Season 2 is nowhere near as slick but still entertaining, and I love a good villain.) This probably bears more resemblance to the original than anything I've drawn so far. (Reference.) 

30/7/'13: John Watson/Martin Freeman. Face number five in the book, still trying to work out how heads are shaped, and how to get the eyes to look in the direction I want them to. (I can't find the picture I used as a reference, but it's fair to say there's only the vaguest of resemblance. Also, the ratio of screencaps/stills to fanart yielded by Googling "John Watson BBC" is approximately 1:1. Good for you, fanartists.)

19/9/'13: Also John Watson/Martin Freeman! Still doesn't look like him, but it looks like it could be a person this time. (Reference.)

I've maybe been cheating by drawing almost solely men's faces, as I find the harder lines easier to draw. Next: women's and children's faces! I don't have an end goal with this, I'd just like be to able to draw and have the end result look like the subject.