Saturday, January 22, 2011

Did I 'Ear You Right"

So in the last post I mentioned getting paid to knit. This post is also about some of the things I’ve gotten paid to knit recently! Ina weird way, this is also very much about getting ears shaped correctly.

So, recently I was tasked with making a Yoda baby hat and a child’s Pikachu hat. I love a new knitting challenge so I did some research to make sure I could put something together and then set about designing these.

For those who don’t know, Pikachu, is a Pokemon. Pokemon is short for Pocket Monster (or so they tell me). If you don’t have children and have never been a child or somehow otherwise managed to miss the entire boat on the Pokemon phenomenon, Pokemon was a children’s TV show of Japanese origin. Pikachu is a specific Pokemon character. As I recall, he is an electric mouse. In general I will only use my own images on here but I figure this is one of those times when a visual aid would be a good thing. So this is a Pokemon and I own no rights what so ever to this image. 

Ok, got it? Good.

So now that you know what a Pikachu looks like, you can see my brilliant work crafting a hat for a child who is a big Pikachu fan! This hat was purchased by a mommy friend for her very cute and sweet and well behaved 5 year old!

I knew basically what Pikachu looked like but I was not well versed so I did a bunch of research. By research mean, I googled the heck out of that little guy. I also looked around at the sort of Pikachu hats others had made. I rarely end up using an actual pattern for anything and I of course won’t sell anything made with someone else’s pattern. But I do like to reference and see what others have come up with, I figure that’s fairly common.

There were several out there but I found many of them were all yellow except for the black tips on the ears and it seemed boring. It’s not like a huge design element but I threw in the black brim to break up the yellow a bit ‘cause that’s how I roll. Speaking of how I roll, the brim can be rolled up so It looks more like a beanie!

The ears were interesting, I debated how best to make them look like what I saw in the pictures. I saw all manner of other knit Pikachu ears but often they were flat or too droopy. But a little stuffing and mine seem to sit just as intended. Apparently Pikachu uses his ears to express emotion. It was also beyond cute to see the 5 year old recipient of this hat shaking his head around to get his ears to bounce!

How freakin' cute is that?!

Now on to Yoda.
I figure Star Wars in general and Yoda specifically is prolific enough for me to not need to provide too much explanation or pictures stolen from the interwebs. If you don’t know who Yoda is…well go watch Star Wars, like all of them! Do it now, I’ll wait.

Didja do it? I’ll take your silence as an affirmative.
So the Yoda hat requested was for an infant. Infants can be tricky. See, some kids come out with tiny tiny heads and some come out with really, like freakishly large heads. And eventually, they all grow. So I like to err on the side of caution and go bigger for infant sized hats. If you go too small, the kid may never get to wear the hat. If it’s too big to start with, it’s likely it will fit eventually.

So I did some research. There are two really important components in both these character hats and those were the colors and the ear shapes and details. Pikachu was easy because he’s generally accepted as a bright yellow color with black. Yoda, on the other hand is green. Not just any green, but a sorta mossy, minty green. He’s minty moss green. Actually, the color on the yarn was something like frosted mint. Either way, Yoda is a light green color.

In researching images of Yoda and other designs people had used for their Yoda hats, I noticed a disturbing trend: none of these people knew what color Yoda is! Shocking, I know, but take heart gentle readers! For I have carefully constructed a Yoda hat in about as close to his coloring as one could get.

The other tricky thing about Yoda was the shape of his ears. They aren’t just some form of triangle like a lot of puppet/animal/creature type ears are. They’re all curly and pointy. I looked at what others had done and most of them had weird floppy ears that weren’t the right shape. I was determined to keep this from happening.

Ok, one more stolen image to illustrate the absurd curly/pointiness.

It turned out to be laughably simple to get the right shape (not that I’m going to share trade secrets :-P) and I managed it on my first try. It’s entirely possibly I may never top the awesomeness of the Yoda hat and honestly, I’m pretty zen about that. If you have to peak young, you may as well peak with the greatest of all the Jedi masters right?

So, somewhere between Princess Liea, Pikachu, and Yoda, I seem to have found somewhat a niche in what I lovingly call: Nerd Knitting!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Princess Cinnamon Buns!

I’m a bit of a geek/nerd in general. Not the kind who can fix your computer or hack into it or program it. More the kind who cut her teeth on Isaac Asimov, Orson Scott Card, and Spider Robinson. I love sci fi and to a lesser degree, some fantasy. My geekosity takes many forms, from being a knitting nerd to a history buff, but the specific realm of geekdom one of my recent projects involves is Star Wars.

I am a huge Star Wars fan. Han Solo is my first true love. We’re not talking celebrity crush on Harrison Ford, (though I had one of those too) we’re talking full on in love with Han Solo, the rogue with a heart of gold!  

However, this post is not about Han Solo.

Any girl in love with Han Solo at once wants to be and hates the oh so iconic Princess Leia Organa (eventually Solo…that bitch!). And what says Princess Leia more clearly than the ever recognizable cinnamon bun hairstyle? Nothing, that’s what.

Granted her hair looked better in just about every other hairstyle she wore, but when people think Princess Leia, they think cinnamon buns! Ok, they think of the slave costume as well, but I’m talking about hair here, people!

So I thought it would be fun to knit myself a Princess Leia Cinnamon Bun Hat!!! I looked around online and was not surprised to find that others had also tackled this feat. I did not however end up using anyone’s pattern. I tried a few different styles for the buns and ended up using i-cord. But the whole thing, though not very complicated, was improvised by me.

I absolutely love the way this came out…and so did the person who ended up buying it! So the bad news is that I have yet to make a Princess Leia hat for myself (just modeling it in these pics). The good news is that before I even finished knitting this one, I had a customer for it. She absolutely loves it and that honestly makes me (almost) as happy as having one myself. Not to mention, getting paid to knit, which is pretty nifty.