Kodama!

The Kodama is finished! It was a pretty simple project, but it’s packed full of personality. Let’s review how it came together…

Kudama prepping nut 1 Kudama prepping nut 3 Kudama - stone to go in body Kudama - arms and legs started Kudama hands and knees IMG_3828 IMG_3827

This is what I was aiming for:

Still from “Princess Mononoke“, pulled from Oishii Anime.

How close did I get?

I took most of the finished photos in its “natural habitat.”

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It rattles too!

 

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WIP-Cracking Wednesday: I’m Back!

Hopefully anyway…

I didn’t post last week. Blame Comcast. Somehow they made the internet stop working with their “service upgrade.” Last week was mostly spent trying to get my internet back. That attempt was marginally successful. It’s back, but it seems to be unstable. I basically am just going to have to cross my fingers and hope that all this typing I’m doing doesn’t magically disappear the second I hit “save” because that is the exact moment my wireless connection decides it has better things to do.

Let’s check in with the felting! I’ve fallen a bit behind on the photo editing queue, so what I’m about to show you isn’t 100% up to date, but I’ll catch up.

After bending the knees, I attached the legs to the Kodama.

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Then I gave it a butt!

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After that, I gave the head a face and attached the arms. I seem to have forgotten to take a picture of that step though…sorry. Then all I had to do was make a short neck and attach the head at a quizzical angle and it was done! Finished photos will have to come later though, they’re still being edited.

All together, the Kodama only took about 7 hours to make!

 

WIP-Cracking Wednesday: Felting Progress

Let’s check in with the needle felting projects…

Ducky - upper body started on styrofoam ball

Ducky‘s body shape is nearly complete! I started covering a styrofoam ball with black felt to use for the upper body, but once I added it to the lower body I realized I had way overshot the scale and it was too big for the legs. I tore the upper body off and will be refining the front end of the oval shape of the lower body until it looks more like the upper body.

I have no idea if that paragraph made any sense.

Moving on.

The Kodama is coming along nicely! As promised, here are some process pictures…

Kudama prepping nut 3

I started off with a noisy nutshell.

Kudama - nut in head

Then I encased it in wool.

Kudama - stone

Then I had an epiphany! If I could just find something heavier than the head, I should be able to weigh down the body enough so that the head could rattle instead of the body! I found a stone that weighs several grams more than the head.

Kudama - arms and legs started

I encased the stone in wool and started forming the arms and legs.

Kudama hands and knees

Then I bent the legs to form knees and I added hands to the arms.

Oh, and last week I finished a set of Poke-dryer-balls for my sister’s friend.

Pokeball set

That’s all the felting I’ve got for now, stay tuned for more!

WIP-Cracking Wednesday: Felt ALL THE THINGS!

I’m now juggling three needle felting projects!

Ducky shaping leg attachment

 

Ducky now has her legs attached! More shaping is needed for it to look right, but she’s starting to come together!

Pokeball 1

 

I have finished the first Pokeball for my sister’s friend and it didn’t explode in the dryer!

Ultraball - start

I’ve started on a Ultraball for the next one. These are super quick to make too, which is nice!

I also started some prep-work for a Kodama from Princess Mononoke. One of the features of these creatures is their rattling heads, so I thought I would try to reproduce that aspect. My sister had the idea of using a nutshell to get that distinctive wooden sound of the rattling. She cut a hazelnut in half and we spent a while trying to figure out what we could put inside to shell to reproduce the right sound. We settled on a lead fishing weight and a bead.

Kudama prepping nut 1

 

I glued the shell shut with some Krazy glue, but there was a bit of a gap on one side where the shell chipped when it was being cut open.

Kudama prepping nut 2

 

I was a little afraid that wool would end up creeping in through the crack during the felting process and dampening the sound, so I used some hot glue to bridge the gap.

Kudama prepping nut 3

 

Now it’s ready to encase in felt! Sadly I don’t think I’ll be able to put the nut in the head because that would make it really top-heavy. It’ll have to go in the body instead.

 

I Couldn’t Resist…

Penguin decided to have a few adventures before heading off to his new home. First he flew to Paris (on a plane of course, stupid wings).

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Then he went to Egypt to see the Pyramids.

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Then he got sick of his flightless-ness being mocked, so he stopped traveling by plane and did the rest by sea.

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All this globe-trotting left him in a bit of debt though, so he tried to work it off by catering a monkey tea party.

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It was really boring though. He decided to spike their drinks to spice things up. Things got really fun when they met up with unsavory characters to do a little gambling.

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Sadly, that little stunt got him fired. Ah well, it was fun while it lasted!

 

FO Friday: Penguin!

I finally found some black seed beads and some beading needles so I could finish the needle felted penguin! Here’s how I made the eyes:

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Materials:

  • two black seed beads
  • black thread
  • beading needles

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I put the needle through one side of the head where the eye should be and made sure it exited out the other side where the other eye would be. I threaded the bead and then put the needle back through the head trying to follow the same path as closely as possible. I left the ends dangling out of the eyeless side of the head.

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I repeated this process for the other side, always trying to keep the threads along the same path through the head.

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On each side all of the threads are entering and exiting within a very small area that could be covered by the size of the bead.

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Then I tied the ends together in a double knot, making sure to pull the bead in so it indented the head a little.

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I cut the loose ends as closely as I could without disturbing the knot.

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Then I repeated the process for the other side, tying the knot behind the bead that had already been pulled taut.

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I trimmed the loose threads as closely as I could so that the bead would hide the ends.

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Any loose threads still visible could be tucked in with the needle.

DONE!

Now for a 360° view of the finished penguin!

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I will packaging up the penguin and shipping it out as soon as I find a proper box for it!

WIP-Cracking…Thursday

Sorry for the tardy post, it’s been a week full of technology drama, and we all know how that can devour time. I don’t have any new knitting to show you because I haven’t done any. Instead I’ve been needle felting as much as humanly possible. I’ve been working on Ducky from the Land Before Time for a while now and she’s turned out to be more complicated than I had anticipated. I’ve learned quite a bit from this project!

1) I found that the foam mat was slowly coming apart and getting bits of foam in my needle felting that I would have to pick out. To keep that from happening I cut a piece of scrap fabric and lay it over top of the mat so all the bits of foam stay under the fabric and out of my needle felting.

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2) I want Ducky to stand up, but being a bipedal character means that could be tricky. I decided to try to weight her feet down in hopes that will help keep her upright once she’s done. I took some lead fishing weights and folded them into the wool. I carefully felted the wool around the weight making sure not to stab too forcefully or quickly with the needle so I didn’t break it.

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I put the weight on top of a bunch of wool...

I put the weight on top of a bunch of wool…

...then I stuck more wool on top of the weight...

…then I stuck more wool on top of the weight…

...and I folded it all together and did my best not to break the needle.

…and I folded it all together and did my best not to break the needle.

After getting the entire leg felted together they actually do stand up! Hopefully the body won’t throw it off-balance later.

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3) The whole thing doesn’t have to be made of wool. After finishing the legs I was getting worried about my dwindling supply of green wool. I got some styrofoam shapes to build some of the other body shapes on to conserve my wool supply. The body is being shaped around this styrofoam egg. It’s much smaller than the body should be, so I’ll still need to use a fair amount of wool to get the shape and scale right, but at least it’s a start.

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4) The more complex the project, the bigger it will be. I’m really glad I decided to start this with the smallest parts first and scale the rest up from there. If I had started by making a body about as big as I thought the whole thing would be, then I would have run into some major problems once I got around to doing the detail work. Ducky is turning out to be HUGE. Like, at least twice the size I was intending. That means it’s also taking a lot longer than I thought it would. I’m going to have to start taking breaks from Ducky to work on other needle felting requests because she’s driving me a bit crazy. She has been teaching me a ton about my needle felting process though, so I will definitely keep working on her, just not exclusively. At the moment I’m roughing out her tail and body shape.

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In addition to Ducky felting, I took a quick detour into another type of felting. My sister worked out a barter with an online friend – he will send her a microphone so her online friends can Skype with her easier and she will send him a set of dryer balls (that I will make). I had never heard of such a thing, but apparently he wanted some.

I followed the instructions on this site – How to Make Dryer Balls on the seasoned homemaker – which basically involves throwing some balls of yarn in the wash and hoping for the best. Normally I detest wet-felting for this very reason. The control freak in me wants assurances that everything will turn out alright. Thankfully, it did!

Dryer Balls

 

I got 7 dryer balls out of one skein! I’m not stopping there though. I want to decorate them! I’m going to needle felt a design on one of them and then throw it in the dryer with my next load of clothes to see if the needle felting comes apart at all. If it doesn’t explode or bleed or whatever then my sister’s friend will be getting a set of very exciting dryer balls. If the dryer test run is a disaster then he’ll be getting some boring utilitarian dryer balls. In any case, since there’s no shaping involved at all it should be a pretty quick felting job!

 

 

 

Felt-A-Thon: Tiny Bits

The penguin is nearly finished, all it needs now are eyes! That was a bit of a stumbling block for me though. From all the pictures I have seen of Emperor Penguins, their eyes seem to be invisible. Google it. I dare you to find those elusive penguin eyeballs.

Even so, leaving the penguin eye-less looks a little strange. I had a black ball left over from my first attempt at shaping the head so I decided to practice a few eye styles on that.

First I decided to ditch realism and try for some cartoonish eyes. I made a white oval and stuck a black pupil on top. That turned out…odd.

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Then I tried just adding a tiny white dot, like a glint of light. Also weird-looking.

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There was an illustration of a penguin in the Google image search that had the eyes colored red, so I took a dark red and tried making an eye-shaped dot with that. No dice.

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Then I thought maybe I could outline the eye area with navy just to indicate that something was going on there. The navy I had was so dark that it didn’t even show up against the black.

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So, as a last resort I decided that beads are the answer. I have some black seed beads I can sew into place, I just need to find a needle small enough to fit through them.

In the meantime, I have started on my next project: Ducky from The Land Before Time.

image from TV Tropes

image from TV Tropes

Something I learned from the penguin is that there is a limit to how small and skinny I can make things. Considering how much detail is involved in the character, this one needs to be much bigger than the penguin. I decided to start with the smallest parts first and scale everything up from there.

I started by making fingers.

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By very carefully laying small wisps of cream over the ends of the fingers I was able to color in the finger…tips? nails? claws? I’m not a dinosaur animation expert, so I’m not sure what to call those…

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Once I had all eight fingers finished, I felted them together into a hand shape. I also made two tiny balls for the ears and that nobby thing for the top of her head.

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Next I started on the toes, which given their size I decided was best to do separately in the cream color rather than overlaying the color on top of the green.

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And then my hand started cramping from all the tiny-ness. More later!

 

Felt-A-Thon Is Back On!

I’m back! Sort of. I’m still pretty fatigued from the cold, but I managed to get some felting time in between naps.

The penguin has a tail now and can stand up on his own!

tail and beak

The rest of the progress is difficult to see. The body is 100% done, but during the process the head got a bit misshapen. During the initial shaping I didn’t make the head dense enough to take a beating. The beak was particularly flimsy and I realized there was no way to do any detail work on it unless I firmed it up first.

I had absolutely no idea how to do this, so in the same spirit I have been using for all of my needle felting adventures, I just tried stuff and hoped it would work out. I took a small bit of wool, wrapped it around the beak, and started felting it in place. I stabbed myself twice in the process, and it took a lot of patience, but eventually it came together! The beak is now ready for detail work! Next up is the head.

Felt-A-Thon: Day 2

Sorry for not posting yesterday. I have come down with a cold and it’s really been kicking my ass. I didn’t get too far with the felting before I was too groggy and feverish to continue, but I did make a bit of progress.

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I made toes! I also found out that felting small, thin things is HARD.

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Then I felted them together to make the feet. I also got a decent start on the underside of the tail. I’m not 100% certain I’m getting the tail shape right because I couldn’t find any good reference photos of the backside of a penguin, but I’m sure it will be close enough.

Now I think I’m going to crawl into bed and wait until this cold goes away. Until then, happy Pi Day!

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