Wednesday, June 30, 2010

So Tired.

This week is the second week of compulsory clinic, which is where I teach all the munchkins their beam and floor routines for the competitive season.  It's long, and tiring, and Monday I was at the gym for 13 hours, and Tuesday I was at the gym for 8 hours, and today I was at the gym for 8 hours...and suffice to say, humans were not built for more than 5 hours of gymnastics at a time.  It is just too much.

The worst part is that I have no time to actually exist beyond work.  This morning (after sleeping a full 10 hours) I got up and finally found a little bit of time before I had to go to the gym.  I considered knitting but got sidetracked while trying to assemble all my materials.  The sunglasses case that I've been using as a notions storage space broke a few weeks ago, and I've outgrown my home-made needle purse (I want to carry more pairs than it can handle) so instead of knitting I found myself very calmly and quietly beginning a new project: pimped out knitting supply carrier.

I took out my tupperware bin of fabric and found this swath of blue vinyl I've been holding onto and decided that would do fine.  I also chose a cream and gold speckled something-or-other to line it, and after ironing both I laid out the project on my ironing table.  The new carrier will hold 7 pairs of needle, 5 crochet hooks, 2 stitch holder, stitch markers, measuring tape, scissors, thimble(s), pen and maybe a few other things if there is space. 

It will be exciting to use, but it was even more...not exciting, but nice to start making.  I'm sick of spending my only waking hours at work or too tired to do anything more challenging than be horizontal.

The good news?  Family vacation in 7 days.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Halo Swords

Steph asked why I haven't posted any photos of the finished swords yet, and the simple answer is I'm busy.  This week is compulsory clinic at the gym and the first week of summer camp, both of which I have a hand in.  Yesterday I was up at 7:30 am to be in by 8 am and then stay until 8 pm.  Today my schedule is less demanding--in at 12, out some time after 6...--but I'm still tired and looking at a full week of similar days.

Add to that I've been on hold with Capital One for the past 30 minutes trying to close an account I don't remember opening and have no information for (something tells me this is going to be a whole bureaucratic clusterfuck, and their hold music is pure awful) and things today feel pretty annoying.

Though this really has nothing to do with my failure to post photos.  So here they are!

Oh my God, the hold music for Capital One just got worse...

Here's a detail shot, so you can see my increasingly precise embroidery skillz...

And the finished project, framed and ready to hang (I don't know where).

I'm going to blame my busy schedule for the lack of any progress on my current project, the Bulltrue medal, that I haven't worked on since last week's Craft Night.

Would write more but it's getting late so I should probably dress myself, review the floor routine one more time, and hope this hold music comes to an end before I have to go to work.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Embroidery is the New Knitting

I finished my sword.  Swords, actually.  I used the armor emblem as a model, which features two crossed swords (which, now that I'm looking at the emblem, are crossed much lower than they are in my piece--oh well)

and embroidered them in white on blue fabric.  Because the fabric was dark and patterned with even darker peacocks and vines, I wound up having to draw the image (via carbon paper) on the reverse side and embroider it backwards.  I kind of liked that, though, because it left me with an incredibly neat and clean reverse side (and the front of the piece looks no less fantastic).  It took me about 4 hours to do the whole thing, which is not the best time-to-product ratio, but that's the nature of this particular craft--if you rush it, things look sloppy.

This morning I got started on my next project, which is going to be the Bulltrue medal

(which you get for killing someone who's in the middle of a sword lunge).  Seems like a good progression to go in.  I don't know why exactly I'm so interested in Halo 3 themed embroidery--probably because playing Halo is pretty much the exact opposite of embroidery, and I'm all about juxtaposition.

I have some other medals printed, some weapons I want to do (shotgun, sniper rifle) and plan on eventually making Master Chief himself.  And after that?  Zombies (because I play Left 4 Dead, too).

Monday, June 7, 2010

3rd Annual Indie Mart

Yesterday was Indie Mart (hello to any visitors who've come to the Brisk Blog by way of a business card you picked up yesterday!  And if you expected robots, you're probably looking for my buddy, Adam). 

The night before the sale Adam, Steph, Oleg and I spent some time figuring out our display, and semi-early Sunday morning we loaded into our respective cars and headed out to Thee Parkside to spent some time sitting at tables on Wisconsin St. and watching hipsters stroll by.

The weather happened to be beautiful, which meant a lot hotter than I'd expected for San Francisco.  In a black t-shirt and jeans, I was over-dressed.  By noon, I'd said, "It's so hot I feel like I'm going to die," at least a dozen times, cut off the sleeves of my shirt, rolled up my jeans as far as they'd go and taken off my shoes. It wasn't enough, so finally Stephanie and I made a cursory trip around the mart to see if I could find a thin, cheap dress to buy.  Most things were thick and heavy, or vintage and overpriced, and I was beginning to lose hope when we unexpectedly stumbled on a seller who not only sold everything she had for $10, but happened to stock a thin pink dress that was exactly what I needed.  I changed clothes and we resumed sitting in the sun for the next few hours (we all have sunburns to prove it).

Our table, full of dinosaurs and robots and finger puppets, proved incredibly popular with the children of Indie Mart.  This dude got two puppets and seemed pretty stoked on them.

People also really liked Adam's prints of poster art (minus the text) and tiny paintings of swimming robots and dinosaurs.

My favorite thing was hearing the noises people made when they put puppets on, because everyone's was different from the noise I usually make when wearing them, and seeing the puppet shows that happened later on in the day when everyone was a little tipsy.

Our display for the puppets was pretty cool, thanks to some mannequin hands that Adam had been purposelessly storing in his house for the past few years.  We spray painted them various colors and stuck them in an egg crate and voila, wound up with a sweet display.

After a few hours of sitting, we got kind of bored and Adam said he wished he had a giant grumple puppet to play with, so I made one.  Turns out I'm awful at large-form embroidery with yarn so the eyes came out kind of janky, and after three tries at making a mouth I gave up and did a make-shift temporary tape smile for the puppet.

All in all, it was a fun day.  The economy is still crap so it seemed like most of the vendors sold less than they expected, us included, but it was no biggie. 

Sitting in the sun that long really took it out of me, though, and last night I slept 11 hours to compensate.  How crazy that being stationary in heat can get so exhausting.

This week I'll probably be less about crafting and more about other activities, but I think when the urge does strike again I'll tackle another embroidery project--maybe this time, I'll make a sword.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Nothin' But a G-Thang

I'm excited to have finally given Adam and Stephanie their house-warming gifts because it means that I can post the embroidery piece I made for Stephanie: a gravity hammer.

For anyone who doesn't know (and I'm guessing most of the readers of this blog don't) a gravity hammer is a weapon from the hugely popular and wildly successful Xbox game, Halo 3.  Two years ago Stephanie bought Adam an Xbox for Christmas under the assumption that this was a selfless gesture as she'd have zero interest in playing video games herself.  Boy was she wrong!  After they started playing Left 4 Dead, Stephanie realized that she was a total gaming nerd, and henceforth we have been gaming buddies and Halo 3 team mates.

While Steph finds the standard run-around-and-shoot-folks Halo games a little tough, she excels at a special game (that goes up for one weekend every month) called Grifball.  It's kind of like football, only there's 4 players to a team and instead of tackling one another, you smash your opponents with gravity hammers.  

Stephanie is the best Grifball player I know, so it seemed only natural to give her something that would forever memorialize her skillz.

I also like using the foofy, lady-centric medium of embroidery to make something so traditionally out of the female realm.  I will probably keep it up, so look forward to an embroidered Master Chief in the future.

In other crafts, the grumple army is continuing to grow.  I managed to make a handful over the weekend, though not as many as I'd planned on, and a few last night and the night before.  Indie Mart is Sunday and I want to have as many finished puppets as possible by that date.  I'm at around 45 right now, and I think I can plan on bringing at least 60 with me.

It's getting more difficult to decide what colors to use, but any time I have that thought it's immediately followed by, "Whatever--it's not like it matters if you have too many pink ones," and then I just grab some more yarn and keep knitting.

Last but not least, my Craftastrophe post this week also addressed the intersection of the gaming world and the craft world, which (when you get right down to it) are not that far apart.  Give it a look and see what you think.