Sunday, 11 July 2010

Granny Hat Free Crochet Pattern

In English notation, so remember if you're American if the pattern says treble crochet, do a double crochet, etc.

Notes: I changed colours and finished off every round. If you don't do that - you're working in one colour, etc. then you'll have to add a few slip stitches to the start of each round to get you to the chain space.

To do the first treble in the new colour, make the slip knot on your hook, hold in place with your index finger, yoh, push through stitch, yoh, pull through 2 loops, yoh, pull through 2. No chaining required.

Bobble: is basically a tr2tog but into 1 stitch instead of 2, so, yo, insert through st, yo, pull through st, yo, pull through 2 loops on hook, yo, insert back through same st, yo, pull through, yo, pull through 2 loops on hook, yo, pull through remaining three loops on hook.

Gauge: foundation round & round 1 = 6cm / 2.5 inches

Foundation round: ch4, tr into first ch, ch 1, *work 1 bobble then ch 1* repeat 5 times. sl st into top ch of the ch3. Fo

Round 1: *3tr in ch sp, ch2* repeat 6 times, join with sl st, Fo

Round 2: *3 tr, ch2, 2tr in middle stitch of treble cluster on previous round, ch2* repeat 12 times, join with sl st, fo.

round 3: *3tr in ch sp, ch2* repeat 12 times, join with sl st, Fo

round 4:*3 tr in ch sp, ch 3* repeat 12 times, join with sl st, Fo

round 5: *3tr in ch sp, ch 2, 3 tr in first ch of next ch sp, ch 2, 3tr in last ch of sam ch sp* repeat 18 times, sl st to join, Fo

round 6 - 13: *3 tr in ch sp, ch2* repeat 18 times, sl st to join, fo

round 14: in colour A: *dc in first st, ch3, sk next 2 st* repeat 30 times. sl st join, fo

round 15: in colour B: working into round 13, dc in stitch next to where you started with Colour A. *ch 3. remove hook from last loop, push hook through the chain sp from colour A, push hook back into last loop of chain and pull the chain through to the front, ch 3* repeat around. Note: every time you chain 3, the first chain will trap the chain from Colour A.

Foundation round in Yellow colour for centre of flower: ch 3, 9 tr into first ch, join with sl st to top of ch 3, (10)

round 2: ch 1, 1 dc into same stitch, 2 dc into ea st around, join with sl st, fo (20)

round 3: in new petal colour, inserting hook into front of stitch only: *ch 3, dtr in same st, 2 dtr in ea of the next 2 st, 1 dtr ch3, sl st into same st, sl st in next st* repeat 5 times, fo

round 4: start this round in the middle of one of the petals from previous round, in second petal colour, inserting hook into back stitch only: *ch 4, tr tr in same st, 2 tr tr in ea of next 2 st, 1 tr tr ch4, sl st into same st, sl st in next st* repeat 5 times, fo. Leave a long end to sew it to hat with.

This is the first pattern I've tried to write up for other people to be use, so be gentle when pointing out the inevitable mistakes please. ;)

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Elder Signs and Golden Mushrooms

Here's one of the things I've been working on this week: an embroidered Elder Sign. The material it's on is quite long and thin, so I thought I'd do the Yellow Sign above it, and then the second version of the Elder Sign above that. Then I'll see how much space I have left and go from there.

This is something I made many, many, many years ago. I'd guess 10 years ago. But It's survived the numerous purges and house-moves and I found it the other day: a golden mushroom from Mario Kart. He's 2 cm tall.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Ripple Wall Hangings and other things

So I used the pretty wool to make some 'wall-hangings' to decorate my new bedroom, which is pretty big and thus has a lot of wall space to fill. I got bored of just having posters up there and since I can't put up picture hooks to hang my masks and framed pictures, I decided to crochet some colourful ripples to hang around. They turned out alright, I think - other than the blue. That bright blue was beautiful, but completely the wrong shade. If I see the right colour somewhere I might unpick that last band and try again. I'm really pleased with the green and the purple though - those are some sexy colours.

But the great thing about making all these was it gave me a chance to experiment and get to grips with several different brands of yarn, and I have to say: Palette yarn is EVIL. the three colours on the yellow ripple are all Palette Collection and apart from the fact that it feels about as soft as dry grass, within the five rows of the ripple I did in the orange there were four separate places where the yarn had broken and been tied back together in a knot, one place where one strand of the yarn had broken and another place where two and a bit stands had broken, holding it together by the smallest amount. In the lightest yellow there was one break that had been knotted back together and in the middle colour, despite there being no breaks, there were quite a few places where the thickness of the yarn suddenly became very uneven. So yes, don't go near Palette unless you plan to make yourself some exfoliating gloves and don't mind darning in 20 more ends that you should need to.

King Cole was probably the best, which was to be expected since it's 30% wool and the rest are 100% acrylic. But Premier Value DK was almost as soft and the colour was gorgeous. The Sempati Classics DK was okay - not quite as soft and a bit fuzzy but still wonderful compared to the evil, evil Palette yarns.

I also finished this hat for iippo - the same design as my raspberry hat (a modified yarncat design, link to pattern in previous post). I think the colours will suit her really well. It's such a fantastic wool - Manos Del Uruguay again. The hardest part was picking out a ribbon which would best complement all the different colours in the wool.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

The bacchae; Part Three

Final installment of masks. I'm missing two of them Cadmos - which was pretty plain anyway, and Dead Pentheus. Which was the same as the Pentheus mask, just covered in blood. So, in no particular order, we have:

Tieresias. The blind prophet, hence the third eye and the black band across the eyes (it would have been just a plain black band but that made him look like a burglar, so I added the swirls which makes him look slightly creepy, but that suits me just fine).

Pentheus: son of Cadmos, current king of Thebes.

The Messenger: How to paint this mask? I gave him the staff of Mercury (which is not the medical symbol - the staff of Asclepius, that has one snake and no wings thankyouverymuch) and a quote around the edge which should be familiar to Ancient Historians and some American postal workers, since it's Herodotus (8.98).
The Herdsman was another hard one, but in the end I went for some healthy green leaves to show (s)he's not really one of the city dwellers but isn't plagued by Dionysos in the same way Agave is with her unhealthy black clinging vine leaves.

And finally, the most important mask: Dionysos, son of Zeus. Really I would have liked to have made two masks for Dionysos, one with, and one without the horns but in the end time constraints meant I could only make one, and I went for the one with the horns. If we'd have had both, Dionysos would have changed masks at the point where Pentheus noticed the horns, putting the audience in the same situation as him, and hopefully therefore making them sympathise a bit more with him. So when I knew I'd only got time to make one of them, I went for the horned one so the audience didn't feel totally isolated from Pentheus when he suddenly noticed invisible horns.

And that's it for this play. But the masks were a huge success so there will be another. Not sure what it will be yet. I'd prefer another tragedy, I think. Unless we did something like Aristophanes' Birds, tragedy gives me more room to play with the masks artistically.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Bacchae; Part two

These masks are the chorus leader and the chorus. I wanted them to be quite weird, other-worldly and slightly creepy so asymmetry and weird eyes were definitely the way forward. Chorus Leader got a crown of sorts because I wanted to make her stand out.

The mask below is a slightly different colour to the rest because I had to mix a new batch of paint to make it, and for the life of me it would. Not. Make. The same colour. Which I'm sure is something most painters have experienced at one point or another. It baffled me - I added far less blue to this one than to the others and yet it's come out as a far bluer purple.

The leaves that they have swirling over them are vine leaves, so the groups of gold dots hanging from them end of the swirls are supposed to be grapes.

I quite like the eye on this one, it has a 'melting' look to it, rather than some of the others which look more lava lamp-esque.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Euripides; The Bacchae - Part I

This would be incredibly picture heavy if I did it in one post, so I'll spread this over several. This year, in May (on the 4th and 5th, to be precise) the Classics students (and a few students from other departments) put on a production of Euripides' Bacchae. I was co-producer and artistic director and one of the things I insisted right from the start is that there would be masks. Masks are usually shunned in drama, which to me, as a great lover of Venetian masks, is a shame as it closes up whole avenues that could be explored in addressing questions of identity, emotion and how we portray who we are. All, it seems, because some actor had a tantrum about having to wear a hot and restricting mask. It was amusing really because when we started people really weren't keen on the idea - the co-directors expressed concern frequently before I'd even shown them designs for the masks, telling me the actors (who'd also not seen the designs) weren't happy and were worried about using them, etc. But I quietly stuck my heels on over this one and ignored their complaints (how can you even complain without having seen them, or even asked to see the designs, anyway?) When the actors first saw the masks they loved them. Most of them kept them after the production. And several people told me afterwards that the masks were one of the great successes of the play. I suspect I rather radiated smugness.

For me it was a great opportunity - to be involved in the production of an ancient play, and a chance to experiment with how to make Venetian masks - and because it was part of the production, I got to experiment for free. So the clay, plaster of paris, etc. cost me nothing. Brilliant.

As you might have guessed from that short paragraph, I did this "properly" I made a clay face then made a negative cast of that face using plaster of paris (actually, we made two - the second face was far better than the first). From those negative cast, I made all the masks.

This is the second of the two clay faces. we managed to get it a lot smoother than the first by gently rolling an 8-ball over it. I cheated a little with the lips as I just couldn't get them right. My housemate has a shop mannequin (long story) so I made a paper mache cast of her lips, then formed the clay lips from that. Not that the lips really mattered for the production as they had to be cut out on all the masks! But it gives me a chance to make full-face masks later.

So the masks were made out of paper mache, eyes cut out, chin & mouth cut off, shaped, then sanded to get them smooth...

Then painted with a base layer of acrylic - it's not white though it looks it in this picture - it's a more creamy colour. Then I added details, again in acrylic...

Finally, after painting they were varnished and then some gold detail was added. I actually wanted a crackle glaze effect with the varnish, so I looked up a load of sites and tutorials, bought a water based glaze and an oil based glaze and followed the instructions and... nothing. Not a single crack. I tried again with variations of how thick the applications of glaze should be, how long I should leave it between applications - I even switched which one I put on first, just in case everyone online had somehow got confused. Nothing. Not a single crack any time. Alas.

Anyway. This mask is Agave's. It was one of the more impressive masks, along with Dionysos and Chorus leader, and it was the one we used on the poster (mainly because we needed to get the posters sorted and this was the only one I'd finished that would make sense on a poster). The leaves are Ivy and vine, the plants of Dionysos. The flower on top worked pretty well because Agave spent a lot of time on the floor leaning over Pentheu's dead body, so the audience got a proper view of it, and a constant reminder (for those who knew the Ivy was the plant of Dionysos) of who was behind the tragedy.

The following mask is the guard's. I made a typical Spartan mask, partly because that's the kind of mask steretypically identified as Greek by non-classicists, and I wanted it to be obvious what his role was. But because that was the point I was making, I deliberately aged it and made it looked like a corroded relic, feeling that was probably the look more people would be familiar with. Hopefully at least some questioned why his mask was the way it was.

It also gave me a chance to give him the Leonidas look, which amused me if no one else and finally, in my mind it made an amusing contrast to the rest of his outfit, which was that of a British Queens Guard soldier. The contrast just added an extra element of weird which suits the play as I always feel like it, and many other tragedies should be/are entirely pervaded by the sense that something is very wrong.

More photos to follow...