Friday, August 29, 2014

Origami Sea Creatures - Adventures of a Knitter trying to Fold Paper

I do not have the best spatial awareness, which is why I think knitting works so well for me as a craft.  There are only so many dimensions you can go.  I have more difficulty with embroidery, crochet and other things that are more free form.  Origami isn't free form at all, but it does require precision.  I haven't attempted any origami projects since I was a little girl.  I had a book and was REALLY bad at making some of the folds work.  Now with the internet it is easy to find THOUSANDS of instructions for origami creatures, but will the instructions be any better?  I crossed my fingers and took the plunge.

I ordered a 100 pack of 9.75"x9.75" Origami Paper and decided to take the plunge. I wanted larger than standard size paper so that the final products would be a bit bigger.  I would like to use these origami pieces as decorations for Lucky's first birthday party.

I chose my favorite color of eggplant purple for my first folds.  Why not?

I started out trying to make an origami Angel fish.  The tutorial isn't the classic step by step picture with folds, but a video.  I thought, hey, this would make it much easier.  Well I was wrong. Turns out, it is easier to look at step by step instructions and then see a video for the hard folds than it is to watch someone folding and try to follow along.  I think I did okay until I got to the last two fins.  I just couldn't tell what angle I was supposed to fold the Angel Fish's fins.  I found myself replaying the video over and over and over.  I do think my final result look like fish, so that is a win in my book!

I found another set of instructions for an origami fish and it looked like it would be simple enough.  Unfortunately step 2 wanted you to go straight to a pinwheel... with no instructions!  How would that work?  Thankfully I am resourceful and through multiple clicks on the site I was able to find instructions for the windmill base.    Would it really have been so hard for them to have just given the link in the first place?  (Apparently giving the base name is really common... I could have just googeled the base and found directions.  Hey, the last time I tried origami was pre-internet so I'm learning here!)  

The Windmill Base
Fish type #2

The seahorse starts with a fish base.   Sorry this made me giggle a bit after doing so many fish.  So did my sorry attempt at a sea horse.  I really don't like the types of fold where you just fold it inside a bit.  I was NEVER able to do these correctly as a kid, and it seems like age and time have no made this any easier for me.

Next I tried an origami turtle. The instructions are spread out over multiple pages, but the images are photos so maybe this one will work out well for me.  The turtle was the easiest one I've done thus far after Fish #2.  I like the 2d version just as much as the 3d, so maybe if I make more I"ll keep the more square flat version.

At the end of page 2 this flat shape looks like a turtle already!  
The finished turtle has some real shape to it.  

I found instructions for another easy origami tropical fish (Fish #3 of my trial.)  I think that I will show all of these creations to Keith and let him help me pick if there is one we like the best, or if I should create a rainbow of all one shape.  I like #3 a lot, especially the 2 color effect.  Unfortunately the back of all my paper is white, which won't pop quite so well on my white walls.  But if I hang the fish on the giant roll of paper I got as a photo backdrop that would look really cool!

Thinking of two color origami, this killer whale is perfect!  This is one of the simplest creatures that I've made.  THe construction was a little nerve racking because the folds weren't along an easy divide, so I was nervous that it wouldn't be symmetrical but I did I great job if I do say so myself.

A goldfish (Fish #4) was also a simple one to do.  I love the little tail!

Fish #5 is another angel fish. It starts with a bird base, but this time there was a link included with the instructions!  This was painless to make, and I love the outcome.  This is also a contender for my "reef."

I really surprised myself with how many different creatures I created in just one day.  (I got all the way through fish #5 in one day!)  Well then I was going to go to bed but I saw this crab origami and had to give it a try.  (and now I"m seriously going to bed!)  The instructions are so tiny that you can't read the words, but there are a small number of folds so it wasn't so hard to figure out

Day 2 is here are there are still more origami creatures I want to try out.  I'm pretty sure I have the fish I'm going to make for my decorations covered, but I"m really enjoying testing out different patterns.  First off today, a simple origami whale.  I'm getting much better at looking at the instructions and determining right away if they are in my skill level or not.  This whale was SO SIMPLE I think it would be easy for most kids to do.  I think I can handle something a bit more complicated than that.

The origami Ray is cute, and also really easy to execute.  I am realizing more and more that my little creatures could be improved by drawing eyes on them.  Ooooo... maybe I should use the googly eyes from my stash!  That could be a lot of fun.

Before attempting this origami dolphin I took a deep breath.  There are some folds that look like they could be a little difficult, but I still wanted to give it a shot.   I really like that these instructions have a little inset to tell you how to do the waterbomb base.  There was no need to look up the beginning this time!  Oh my goodness it looks great!  It could use some tape to help it lay flat, but I am THRILLED with the result.

This Easy Octopus Origami required that I look up the frog base first.  The instructions I linked to needed you to know how to make an origami square base first (but there is a link if you don't know how.  At this point I can do it without looking it up.  I'm learning!)  The legs required some cutting to turn them from 4 to 8 legs.  I then crisscrossed them over each other so they would stand out as 8 individual legs.

The frog base
Left: This doesn't look like an octopus!  Right: After I blew it up (a tetrapus!)

The finished octopus origami top (left) and from the side (right)

Here I took a break from my random sea creatures because I wanted to make sure I had enough for my rainbow reef of Fish #2 and Fish # 5.  I started to make piles of each to see if I only wanted 1 fish of every color or if I wanted to mix it up and have a few of each type.

Since I was making a stack of #2's, I did the bases first before following on to the fish.

The first batch of Origami Fish #2's 
A fish in every color of paper I have (except for white).  Fish  #2 and Fish #5. 
My rainbow is beautiful!  Unfortunately Keith told me that he thinks I need about 3x as many fish for my project.  Welcome to folding bootcamp, Mr. Brown.

60 fish later, I hope we have enough for the project.  I do think that this will be totally epic.  Keith is done folding fish.  (After setting up over 30 pieces of paper for the windmill base, who can blame him?  There is a second project that I need the origami fish for, and this requires the fish to have two good sides since I want to hang them.  Fish #1 and the octopus are good candidates, but I need to come up with a few other options.

Origami Fish #6 starts with the samurai helmet, something that I made as a kid (it was one of the only things i could make correctly.)  Ugh, this fish required some cutting, which really negatively impact the overall creation in my opinion.

Crab #2 looks like it might be symmetrical and fit the bill.  Plus, no cutting is required!  I decided to make a blue crab.  I think I want 13 total pieces to hang for this project.  At this point I've got 4 that I'm happy with, and the crab will get a few more.

I found another video for Fish #1.  This one has narration which makes the folds a lot easier.  There was a tip that made the final folds of the fins turn out WAY better.  (The yellow fish below is from the new video, the purple fish was the first one I did.)

I decided to do another turtle, so I found Origami Turtle #2 that maybe would look okay from both sides.  The turtle is cute but not quite right for the mobile.

I hope to incorporate these origami sea creatures into the decorations for Lucky's first birthday party.  I'm really excited about how the party is coming together and can't wait to share with you what I create to celebrate this big milestone for him (and for me and Keith!)  I'm trying not to let Pinterest Pressure get the best of me, but I have found so many great crafty things that I just have to try it.  I still have two months left to prepare*... any suggestions for me?

*As of writing this post.  When this post is published at the end of August 2014 I have just over a month left to prepare.  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Minion Newborn Hat

My sister-in-law's sister is expecting her first child.  I thought it would be fun to make an itsy bitsy Minion Newborn hat for the little nugget.  The pattern includes instructions for preemie heads, but I was going to make the 1-3 month size so there is a shot this will actually fit the little baby.  The newborn sized owl hat fit Lucky for a few weeks, and had 40 DC's around at the widest portion.  This is so great that I kept all of these notes of head size and stuff so I know how to make a newborn hat for someone else.  (The owl hat is currently travelling the country to a bunch of different newborns, so it is not in my possession to compare at the moment.)

I remember from the Minion Mitts that I made that I thought the gauge was a little loose... but this hat is mostly for cuteness factor.  I'll see if I need to modify things a bit bigger.  I used worsted weight Wool of the Andes in Semolina (yellow), Coal (Black), Winter Night (blue), Silver (grey - scraps for the eyes) and White (scraps for the eyes.)  a size H hook.  

I wasn't sure before starting the black round 5 if this was a good positioning.  I didn't want the eye strap to be too much on the top of the head.  It looks like from the curvature that it won't quite work, but I decided to try it out and then adjust if necessary.  

Next time I might do 5 rounds yellow, 1 round black and then 2 rounds yellow.  I think I'd like the eye placement a bit better this way, but I'm not sure how they are "supposed" to look.  I think it is still super adorable, so I'm glad that I picked this project.  

This hat is about the same size as the newborn owl hat was.  That hat fit him for at least 3 weeks... hopefully this one will, too.  I followed the instructions for the 1-3 month hat, and I am right on target with the gauge.  (2 DC rows/inch; ~7.5 DCs/inch.  8 DC/inch was the target, so if anything my hat is a smidge BIGGER.)  

I sewed the eyes together before stitching them to the hat so there would be some uniformity.  Cute, right?  

I embroidered the mouth with two strands of yarn held together.  

Final dimensions (1-3 month size.  44 sts around and 3 rows before the edging.)  12" circumference, 4.25" long.  This would have fit Lucky's head as a newborn and just below the tips of his ears.  Now I know my gauge wasn't off...  It look about the same size as the small owl ear flap hat... but without earflaps.   I was really feeling nervous until I measured the top this way:

This is more similar to the "eartip to eartip" measurements I've been taking of Lucky than measuring the top center of the hat to the base.  Measured this way, I got 9.5-10"  This makes me feel much better about how it will fit!  

Friday, August 22, 2014

Midwest Fiber and Folk 2014

I have a yarn stash problem.  With the birth of Lucky last October I have less time to knit, so I'm not using up my yarn as fast as I used to.  In 2014 I have spun a lot of yarn, which isn't really helping my stash problems because I'm just adding more and more fiber to knit with.  When saw the Midwest Fiber and Folk schedule for 2014, I was torn on whether I should attend.  It seemed silly to pay a marketplace fee for both me and Keith if I wasn't going to buy anything.  At the same time, this is one of the best opportunities to get fun fiber because I can see and touch so many different fibers.  In the end, the desire to go won out and we hopped in the car for a mini road trip to the fiber fair.

I did not snuggle any angora rabbits this year.  Lucky did like looking at the rabbits but since his father is allergic to guinea pigs I didn't want to risk my 9.5 month old breaking out into hives.  Keith and Lucky did have a blast running around the booths searching for pink rubber duckies that would lead to a door prize.  However, since we were there on the last day almost all of them had been found.  The search is half the fun though, right?

I lingered over buffalo gold yarn for a LONG time. It was on sale (50% off) for $35 for 100g 200 yards. The fiber felt amazing and was a deep rich brown color.  I just couldn't pull the trigger and buy some.  I didn't want to buy one skein, because that might not be enough for a project.  But two skeins could have been too much.  Keith told me not to get it, and I grumbled a bit until I realized something.  If I had a project in mind and really wanted it, I would have purchased it without question, and he wouldn't have minded.  My wonderful husband helped me with my wavering so that I would not add another expensive fiber to my stash to sit in the yarn cupboard for a few years unused.  Thank you, honey!

I did pick up some stunning yarn.  Montain colors handpainted yarn in the color lacier Lake.  This is a 100% merino fiber and the colors in the twist look so awesome.  I"m thinking that this will become a big cowl scarf for ME.  

The Envision Unlimited booth had some really amazing fiber crafts.  I am a huge fan of the latch hook rugs.  These wouldn't be hard to make, but with a crazy shedding dog they would be a PAIN to clean.  It is a good way to break up my stash.  I'll have to give it some though!  

It was a lot of fun to go to the fiber fair with Lucky because last year I was very pregnant.  (And *gulp*, I have to admit that I have only spun one of the 4 bunches of fiber that I purchased last year... I've got to get spinning!)  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Kettle Dyed Yarn

The best illustration of the variation 
What is so great about kettle dyed yarn?  You get some subtle variations of color through a single pot application.  I've learned that if you pre-soak your yarn, you are much more likely to end up with a uniform color, but when you add it dry to the dyebath you can get some subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) variations of color.   Watch the video to find out more!