January 9, 2013

Pikachu Scarf Pattern v2.0

This is just an update of the pikachu scarf pattern.  This should be far easier to follow/make!  


Difficulty: Hard
Time: 18 hours to design and knit
Price: $5-10

Needle Size: 10.5 US (6.5mm)
Yarn: Worsted
(you could use larger needles and heavier yarn, too)

Intro blurb:
This scarf it all about creating the 'zig' and 'zag'. This is accomplished by decreasing and increasing stitches on opposite sides. There is also a taper, so one side decreases faster than the other increases.
To keep the scarf from curling up, I used moss stitch. This means I had to keep track of how to K and P to get the stitching to come out right, and this is reflected in the detail I've written out in the pattern. (You could simplify it by only doing knit stitch, but that'll shorten the scarf)
On the color change – you are trying to get a pattern without extra threads hanging around. The easiest way to explain it is to just tie the new colors in and out for the different stitches. (Just make sure the knots are tight!)

S = Slip stitch
P = Purl
K = Knit
de = your favorite decrease (I used k2tog)
in = your favorite increase (I used Kfb)

Cast on 25 with the yellow.
1: S (P K)x12
2: S de (P K)x10 in P
3: S (K P)x12
4: S de (K P)x10 in K
5: S (P K)x10 P de P – there are now 24 stitches
6: S de (K P)x9 K in P
7: S (K P)x11 K
8: S de (P K)x9 P in K
9: S (P K)x11 P
10: S de (K P) x9 K in P
11: S (K P)x10 de P – now 23
12: S de (K P)x9 in K
13: S (P K)x11
14: S de (P K)x9 in P
15: S (K P)x11
16: S de (K P)x9 in K
17: S (P K)x9 P de P – now 22
18: S de (K P)x8 K in P
19: S (K P)x10 K
20: S de (P K)x8 P in K
21: S (P K)x10 P
22: S de (K P) x8 K in P
23: S (K P)x9 de P – now 21
24: S de (K P)x8 in K
25: S (P K)x10
26: S de (P K)x8 in P
27: S (K P)x10
28: S de (K P)x8 in K
29: S (P K)x8 P de P –now 20
30: S de (K P)x7 K in P
Now the direction of the zig/zag changes
31: S (K P)x9 K
32: S in (K P)x7 K de K
33: S (P K)x9 P
34: S in (P K)x7 P de P
35: S de (K P)x8 K - now 19
36: S in (K P)x7 de P
37: S (K P)x9
38: S in (P K)x7 de K
39: S (P K)x9
40: S in (K P)x7 de P
41: S de (K P)x8 – now 18
42: S in (P K)x6 P de P
And the direction changes again
43: S (K P)x8 K
44: S de (P K)x6 P in K
45: S (P K)x8 P
46: S de (K P)x6 K in P
47: S (K P)x7 de P – now 17
48: S de (K P)x6 in K
49: S (P K)x8
50: S de (P K)x6 in P
51: S (K P)x8
52: S de (K P)x6 in K
53: S (P K)x6 P de P – now 16
54: S de (K P)x5 K in P
Constant section
55:S (K P)x7 K
56: S de (P K)x5 P in K
57: S (P K)x7 P
58: S de (K P)x5 K in P
59:S (K P)x7 K
60: S de (P K)x5 P in K
61: S (P K)x7 P
62: S de (K P)x5 K in P
63:S (K P)x7 K
64: S de (P K)x5 P in K
65: S (P K)x7 P
66: S de (K P)x5 K in P

Color Change
yellow in regular font
Red in Bold Font
67: P (K P)x7 K
68: P in K P K P K P K P K P K de K
69: S P K P K P K P K P K P K P K P
70: S in P K P K P K P K P K P de P
71: P K P K P K P K P K P K P K P K
72: P in K P K P K P K P K P K de K
73: S (P K)x7 P
74: S in (P K)x5 P de P

Red Portion
Repeat this block of 4 rows x3
1: S (K P)x7 K
2: S in (K P)x5 K de K
3: S (P K)x7 P
4: S in (P K)x5 P de P
Repeat below block of 4 rows x5
1: S (K P)x7 K
2: S de (P K)x5 P in K
3: S (P K)x7 P
4: S de (K P)x5 K in P
Repeat below block of 4 rows x5
1: S (K P)x7 K
2: S in (K P)x5 K de K
3: S (P K)x7 P
4: S in (P K)x5 P de P
Repeat below block of 4 rows x5
1: S (K P)x7 K
2: S de (P K)x5 P in K
3: S (P K)x7 P
4: S de (K P)x5 K in P
Halfway point !
Repeat below block of 4 rows x5
1: S (K P)x7 K
2: S in (K P)x5 K de K
3: S (P K)x7 P
4: S in (P K)x5 P de P
Repeat below block of 4 rows x5
1: S (K P)x7 K
2: S de (P K)x5 P in K
3: S (P K)x7 P
4: S de (K P)x5 K in P
Repeat below block of 4 rows x5
1: S (K P)x7 K
2: S in (K P)x5 K de K
3: S (P K)x7 P
4: S in (P K)x5 P de P
Repeat below block of 4 rows x3
1: S (K P)x7 K
2: S de (P K)x5 P in K
3: S (P K)x7 P
4: S de (K P)x5 K in P

Color change back to yellow
1: S (K P)x7 K
2: S de (P K)x5 P in K
3: S P K P K P K P K P K P K P K P
4: S de K P K P K P K P K P K in P
5: S K P K P K P K P K P K P K P K
6: S de P K P K P K P K P K P in K
7: S P K P K P K P K P K P K P K P
8: S de K P K P K P K P K P K in P

Repeat below block of 4 rows x2
1: S (K P)x7 K
2: S in (K P)x5 K de K
3: S (P K)x7 P
4: S in (P K)x5 P de P
1: S (K P)x6 K in P
2: S in (P K)x6 de K
3: S (P K)x8
4: S in (K P)x6 de P
5: S (K P)x8
6: S in (P K)x6 de K
7: S (P K)x7 in P
8: S in (P K)x6 P de P
9: S (K P)x8 K
10: S in (K P)x6 K de K
11: S (P K)x8 P
12: S in (P K)x6 P de P
13: S in (P K)x8
14: S de (P K)x7 in P
15: S (K P)x9
16: S de (K P)x7 in K
17: S (P K)x9
18: S de (P K)x7 in P
19: S in (P K)x8 P
20: S de (K P)x7 K in P
21: S (K P)x9 K
22: S de (P K)x7 P in K
23: S (P K)x9 P
24: S de (K P)x7 K in P
25: S (K P)x6 K in P
26: S in (P K)x6 de K
27: S (P K)x8
28: S in (K P)x6 de P
29: S (K P)x8
30: S in (P K)x6 de K
31: S (P K)x7 in P
32: S in (P K)x6 P de P
33: S (K P)x8 K
34: S in (K P)x6 K de K
35: S (P K)x8 P
36: S in (P K)x6 P de P
37: S (K P)x6 K in P
38: S in (P K)x6 de K
39: S (P K)x8
40: S in (K P)x6 de P
41: S (K P)x8
42: S in (P K)x6 de K
43: S (P K)x7 in P
44: S in (P K)x6 P de P
45: S (K P)x8 K
46: S in (K P)x6 K de K
47: S (P K)x8 P
48: S in (P K)x6 P de P
49: S (K P)x6 K in P
50: S in (P K)x6 de K
51: S (P K)x8
52: S in (K P)x6 de P
53: S (K P)x8
54: S in (P K)x6 de K
And then tie off and you're done!  

August 4, 2011

Way to the Dawn Keyblade

Difficulty: Hard
Time: 21 hours
Price: $20

Eight days before Otakon, I decided I needed to make the Way to the Dawn keyblade to complete my Riku costume because my Kingdom Key just wasn't good enough. Was this a realistic idea? I did finish. Was it a good idea? I don't know. The keyblade turned out AMAZING, but I only got 3 hours of sleep Thursday night because I had to finish it and also the other costume I was going to wear.

Here's a rundown of how to make it and the timeline I used. It doesn't require any specialty tools to make - just a boxcutter, hot glue gun and paintbrushes!

8 Days Until Otakon: Shopping~!
All the materials I used:
-PVC pipe, two short sections
-Dowel rod
-Craft foam, thin sheets
-Paper Mache
-Acrylic paints - red, blue, black, white, brown, and tons of brushes
-Waterproof sealer
-Electric Tape
-3D paint, red
-Pokemon damage counters
-More hot glue than you can POSSIBLY IMAGINE. Actually, only about 10 sticks.

As a result of the materials I used, the keyblade turned out to be really light (about a pound and a half) and is not terribly unbalanced. However, I would consider it quite fragile.

6 Days Until Otakon: Create the base of the keyblade.

I started the keyblade by scaling it up to 41" long and printing a picture out so I would have something to go reference and use as a pattern for the entire process.

I wanted it to be structural, so the first part of the base I made was a PVC and dowel backbone for the handle and blade. Because I placed more value on making something that wouldn't fall apart than making an exact replica, I shifted how the blade was attached so that it ran parallel to the handle.

And this is the backbone laid on top of the keyblade.

Next step - trace the keyblade onto cardboard and cut it out!

To inlay the backbone in the cardboard, I cut the shape of it out of the cardboard and glued them together! It's starting to look like something already!

And because this horrid thing is textured, I used craft foam to build up the base of the texturing. The first step was to smooth over the backbone.

Then I built up the veins and claws or whatever the textural elements actually are. This is the almost finished state, aka, where I got really tired and needed to sleep.

Five Days Until Otakon: Prep for paper mache.
No pictures of this. After finishing the last of the foam texturing, I coated the foam in 2 or 3 layers of 50% elmers glue solution to create a surface the paper mache would stick to. I attached a clip to the handle and hung it from the ceiling so I could work on both sides at once for maximum rush efficiency!

Four Days Until Otakon: Sooooo much paper mache.

With the keyblade still hanging from the ceiling, I used a glue-based paper mache to cover the entire thing.

The paper mache preserved and smoothed out the textured elements! I was amused because the newspapers were leftover from around the holidays, so there was all this Christmas stuff. It made me happy.
And, pro tip. Do not use woodglue for paper mache. It makes you look like you have both jaundice and some horrible peeling skin disease. Having done a semester of research developing and testing nontoxic adhesives, I can tell you for a fact that there is little to no difference in the strength of woodglue and elmers glue (after you cure them), so I don't know why I decided to use the 'stronger' glue for a non-structural application. Luckily, the yellow did wash out enough not to show in the con photos.

Three Days Until Otakon: Watching paint paper mache dry.
I didn't want to risk the quality of the paper mache, so I let it dry for a full 24 hours + some.

Two Days Until Otakon: Startin' the paintin'
First, I sanded down the paper mache with 220 sandpaper. I wanted it to be smoother. I wish I had done more of this - if you look carefully at the finished keyblade, you can see some folds and edges of papers.

Then, it was gesso primer time. I used two or three coats depending on how lightly or darkly I was painting the different parts of the keyblade. After each step, I sanded when it had dried for smoothness. Don't skip the gesso step, I've learned from experience that acrylic is sometimes not happy sticking to what it's supposed to without the primer in place. Also, you need it to cover up the colors in the newsprint, especially for parts you are painting white or light.

After the Gesso, I painted a color primer layer to help me block off color areas. From this step forward, you have something that's quite functional.

Now I went color by color, section by section painting in the detail, arbitrarily starting with the blue. Mixing the correct colors of paint was quite fun. However, I found that acrylic doesn't blend well once you start painting with it. To try to get it to mix, I used a damp brush and blurred the color borders as best I could.

Here's a closeup of the some of the blues - you be the judge about the blending.

And the demon wing was my favorite part to paint.

One Day Until Otakon: Crunch time! Paint all the things! You can do it!

Painting the red, painting the red. Here I had to be careful about lining up the dark parts on both sides along the inside edge. And this kinda demanded blending colors more than any other part of the project.

The angel wing! It's not a replica of the original, but it's the same general idea. I was running out of time, so I didn't do any shading. It really wasn't necessary, though. It's cleaner this way.

And the HORRID ANGEL WING KEYTOOTH THING. GYAHDHJSGHSKDJGH AYW! This thing was the bane of my existence. This is it in progress. I didn't do any blending. I drew the outlines in and then colored in with the blues.

After the blue was in, I went over the black lines again to make everything crisp and perfect. Since I didn't feel like I had the skillz to make all the feather cutouts in the wing, I used the black paint to create the illusion of a cutout. This doesn't work as well on light backgrounds, but I was satisfied.

And now that you are done painting, wait for it to dry and coat it with some kind of waterproof sealant. I recommend something matte and spray on. Because the last thing you want to do is paint more stuff.

Random finishing details. The eye - it's a light blue pokemon cards damage counter. First paint the black stripe and then paint the entire back piece white. Aquarium marbles would work for this, too, for those who are younger or older than the Pokemon phase.

The keychain a bunch of pillaged keyrings from around the house. The heartless symbol is black craft foam with red 3D opaque fabric paint on the border. It's attached with hot glue and electric tape.

The handle is black and red electric tape wrapped around the PVC for the finishing touch!

Hooray! Now get some good rest! That was a lot of work!

0 Days Until Otakon: Also known as AT Otakon.

Time to slay some heartless! Some absurdly CUTE heartless! And incredibly well made!

And now to pose with the more emo version of myself. His keyblade was a bit more intense than mine.
Also, please excuse our REALLY RED faces. We were both overheating. It was 100 degrees out.

Closeups of some of the details:

June 8, 2011

How fast can YOU make pants?

Difficulty: Easy
Time: 48 minutes and 23 seconds.
Price: $10

In case grad school doesn't work out for me, I have the option of being an excellent sweatshop laborer. I can make pajama pants in less than an hour! Mwahahahaha!

I did start with a pattern I had cut out and made before, and these don't require any mad tailoring skillz, but other than that, on your mark, get set, GO!!!!

Laying out the pattern.
Interestingly, the fabric said not to use it as children's pajamas.   But I guess since I'm legally an adult it's alright?

I cheated a bit and eliminated one seam by putting the two leg pieces together on their outside seam and cutting them out.  And again by cutting both legs out at once.

Sewing the front and back together.   One day I will own a serger and will be able to make legit overlock stitches.   For now, I'll use the zig zag setting.

Inseams in.   They now have the correct topology.

The top hem all done and ready for elastic!

Measure for length and apply bottom hem.

Elastic in and all done!

The finished pants
Excuse me while I flash out my face, because no one else is awake to take my picture.  

April 29, 2011

Anime Boston 2011!

I was at Anime Boston this year! It was my second con ever. On Friday I was badfiction, and on Saturday I was Riku, both from Kingdom Hearts. On Sunday I needed to sleep late and do homework.

When I was in my Riku costume, soooo many people wanted photos with/of me and hugs! I was so proud that people liked my costume. My favorite was the fangirl who wanted me to sexypose with her. I don't know why I give into peer pressure so easily, but I do.

Unfortunately, all my pictures from Friday and some from Saturday were lost in a horrible reformatting of the camera memory card. Which is sad! Because on Friday, I wore my Organization coat and a piece of bad fanfiction with my silly colored hair and was Raesumyx, the nobody of Mary Sue and the newest and most important member of Organization XIII! I went around posing with any Organization members who weren't scared off by me acting 'in character'.

But a few Saturday pictures survived! And there are legit pictures of my Riku costume! Hooray! I'm still waiting on doing an actual photoshoot.

Me and a Sora. I was very impressed by her costume.

I met Sora again at the KH photoshoot.

Oh, fangirls and their photoshoot requests. I don't know why I decided to put up with this. But, the entire organization and its clones are reflected in the background. That's cool, right?

That's all the nonblurry photos that survived. There were so many good costumes there, so congrats to all the cosplayers! But I would like to say that I had the best Riku costume. I had the big zipper, the pants, ok, I'll turn the narcissism off now. Ciao!

April 27, 2011


Somehow, at the same time, my a friend and I both decided to be bewildered about how fresh water floats on salt water and stays separated. So, being good scientists, we decided to test it in lab my room. IMMEDIATELY.

We started by heating up water and saturating it with salt and then bringing it back down to room tempurature. I can now tell you that saturated salt water solution tastes horrible. I think that's why you aren't supposed to eat things in lab. We put blue food coloring in the salt water as an indicator. And, finally, we poured clear fresh water carefully on top. My friend had this clever way of pouring it through a paper towel as to minimize disturbances. And then we let it sit. For like a week. Basically, until I got sick of it sitting on my desk.

Here's how it started, at 2:30 am.

We were amazed that it was still separated at 2:33 am. Don't ask us why.

At 2:40 am we decided to start a new one, this time with a mixed zone. The yellow is fresh water, the blue is salt water, and the green is the two premixed together.

And at 2:50 we decided our science wasn't valid because we didn't have a control. So, we carefully poured yellow fresh water over red fresh water, resulting in none other than...
And at 3:40 am, the colors were still well separated.

When I woke up the next day at 12:30 pm, they were STILL SEPARATED. Except the orange, because we didn't reach any entropically unlikely states. :(.

And at 5pm, they were still separated.

At this point, we were pretty convinced that fresh water does in fact float on salt water. It got really boring from this point on - nothing changed. After a week, everything looked exactly the same as when we started.

But, it didn't taste the same. Before we poured it off, I decided to use a straw and taste the layers. The fresh water was salty. It was really gross. But the dye was still separated. So, we learned that salt diffuses faster than dye, but have no clue how fast that happens because I was unwilling/didn't think to taste it every now and then.

Yay for food grade science.

April 17, 2011

Pi Hat

Difficulty: Medium
Time: 17 hours
Price: $15

I needed a hat to match my pi scarf. Using the same colors, I followed a hat design someone else created and made my own chart. The original pattern can be found here. Or here on Ravelry. Follow that and just use the pi charts.

Needle Size: 8 US (5 mm), 16" circular and also dpns
Yarn: Worsted, contrasting colors

Besides the charts, I did change some stuff for my hat, like the brim. In the original pattern, it wants you to make a knitted hem. I have no clue what this means (I've been knitting for about 4 months) so I decided to double knit it instead because that seemed like a good idea. Here is the pi brim chart:

It's worked from the bottom up in the round.

This is the new chart I used for the rest of the hat.

That's all you need to know to make the hat!

While doing this project, I learned that knitting on public transportation makes you SO INTERESTING EVERYONE WANTS TO TALK TO YOU. I think it's because when there aren't crazy people on board, riding the subway or bus is really boring. And they all think that what you are doing is incredibly hard and amazing - probably because I had two colors at once and all the dpns in, so the hat looked super complex even though it wasn't.

Here are some detail photos.

And here is the view your brain sees: