Monday, July 21, 2014

Eyeball Hat


This post features the eyeball hat I made for the one and only Nick Tran. If you follow my blog, you may recall I made another mario-themed hat for Nick a while back (seen here and pictured to the right). For his PhD work, Nick studied a collection of diseases that result in vision loss. The diseases he studied resulted from degeneration of the retina, which is the primary neuronal tissue in the eye supporting vision. The retina is composed of photoreceptors called rods and cones which detect light and additional neurons that process and send light information to the brain.  To see more of Nick's work, click here.

To celebrate Nick's accomplishments, I made him this eyeball hat. I considered making Nick a rod and cone patterned hat, but decided an actual eyeball hat would be much cooler. I began by knitting a white hat for the base. Then I crocheted the pupil (black) and iris (brown) in a flat circle using this tutorial. When transitioning from the black to the brown, I simply switched colors. My flat circles usually end up like shallow bowls which was perfect for this hat. When I was satisfied with the size of the pupil and iris, I tied off the end and used a yarn needle to sew the crocheted piece to the top of the hat. I then added the "gleam" with white yarn and the blood vessels with red yarn. Nick asked for lots of blood vessels which gives the hat a rather creepy (but very cool and nerdy) appearance.




Friday, July 18, 2014

My experiences with Etsy

If you may have noticed, I have recently started an Etsy shop. This will hopefully provide me with a little revenue from some of my crafting projects. My shop has been officially open for a little less than a month now, and although I have not sold anything just yet, I have learned a lot from the experience.



Here are just a few of the things I have learned:

1. Each listing costs $0.20 for a 4 month period (whether it sells or not). If it doesn't sell after that period, you can choose to relist it for another $0.20 or take it off the market. This is worth it for big ticket items, but I will not sell small items such as my knitting pattern pdf's on Etsy. I will continue to sell the knitting patterns on Ravelry (free if you sell less than $30 per month, Ravelry takes a small cut after that) and on Craftsy (always free for sellers). For me, the $0.20 investment was worth it to see if I can sell some paintings and some knit and crochet items that will cost $20 or more. I fully expect this to be a learning process and I hope I can find a product that can be my bread and butter on Etsy, similar to my brother's deer antler rings on his Etsy store (seen here).

2. You can earn free listings by referring friends!! (I am a bit mad my brother never mentioned this to me!!). Basically if your friends sign up for a store using your code, you both earn 40 free listings! This adds up to $8 of free listings. Had I known about this before I started my store, I would have had someone refer me, just to take the worry out that even if I don't sell anything, that I won't owe Etsy money. For those of you starting an Etsy store, feel free to use my referral code (http://etsy.me/1qPCjWY) and you can begin with 40 free listings!  

3. Photos matter! I have found this in both my pattern sales and also on Etsy. People are more attracted to (and more likely to purchase) an item with high quality, professional-looking photos. There are several blog posts on the Etsy blog (here) referring to this topic and you can find a lot of picture tips elsewhere on the web. If you have access to a friend with a fancy camera, have them take the pictures for you. 

4. Etsy has a "vacation" mode where you can close your shop for a while if needed. Customers can see that you are on vacation but cannot see any of your items. However, the 4 month period for a listing keeps ticking, but it is a nice feature if you are away (or simply too successful at selling things and need a break to catch up - hey, I can dream :)).

If you have an Etsy store, what have your experiences been? Do you have any tips for me and other store owners?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Brainy Slippers

So I have another science-themed knit item to add to my collection. I knit these brain slippers for my friend Elizabeth who got her PhD by studying the genetic determinants of brain folding. Her work was even featured in this article in the Huffington Post.


I originally was going to make her a brain hat such as this one, but she actually got a similar hat at her defense party. So I used my brain and thought of a different brain-themed project.

To make these slippers, I began with my favorite slipper pattern. Then I knit a super long I-cord (using this tutorial). For my I-cord, I used the 2 double pointed needle method with 5 stitches and size 6 needles. Then I sewed the I-cords on the slipper to resemble a wrinkly brain. As the wrinkles increase the surface area of the brain, it took a lot of yarn and I ended up going through all the pink yarn in my stash (3 different colors of pink). To make the slippers more durable and last longer, I cut pieces of suede fabric and sewed them to the soles of the slippers.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Puffy Paint Lettering Tutorial - Police Box Legwarmers

I have received a lot of questions about how to center lettering - especially for advice on using fabric paint (the puffy paint kind) to paint lettering on the Police Box Legwarmers I designed last year. 

I hope this helps!

Here is a step-by-step tutorial that should help you create even and centered lettering.

First, count the characters (including spaces) that you will need. In this case, POLICE BOX (9 letters + 1 space = 10 characters).

Second, find the middle letter(s). In this case letters 5 and 6 will be on either side of dead center. You can eyeball dead center or use a ruler to find it. 

Start the painting by writing "CE" in the center. Then add the letters to the right, making sure to keep the spacing and size even.

Now, working backwards from the "C" add the "I", "L", "O" and "P." 

Let it dry and then flip and do the other side.

I use this type of fabric paint.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Handprint Art


This is another post about a project I helped make to decorate my mom's laundry room. I also made some Crocheted T-shirt Rugs and a Geometric Painting as well as sewing some colorful curtains. 

To be honest, if I cannot figure out what to give my mom for Christmas or a birthday (which happens A LOT), I decide to make something for her. This time I decided to employ my nieces to make a one-of-a-kind gift that will keep growing with our family.

Supplies needed:

  • Square canvases
  • Paint and paintbrush
  • Children

Step 1: Paint the canvas - I painted the front an off-white color and the sides brown.

Step 2: Carefully paint the kid's palm with the desired color

Step 3-4: Press the kids hand onto the canvas

Step 5: Let dry
Repeat step 2-5 if you want handprints that have 2 colors (as pictured above)

Paint on the name of the kid and the date if desired.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

TARDIS Kindle Cover

This is a throwback to a project I made ~1 year ago for a fellow Doctor Who fan. Most of it was made while proctoring an exam (it turns out I am pretty good at knitting and watching people take exams, this would not be recommended for all knitters). This is a modified version of a pattern found here on Ravelry. 

A big thanks goes out to Andy Jackson for sending these pictures to me after I forgot to take pictures of the project myself. :)





Sunday, April 6, 2014

DIY T-shirt Yarn Tutorial

Here is a quick post with an illustration on how to make T-shirt yarn for projects such as a T-shirt yarn rug, arm knit cowl, or - one of my next projects (spoiler alert) - this cat cave. The next time I cut a T-shirt into yarn, I will add step-by-step photos to accompany this cartoon. Enjoy!