Drumroll Please…

Last time I updated you guys on Ducky I had just started coloring the face. Since then I’ve done a lot more work. I finished coloring the brow bones and the cheeks.60 Ducky finished coloring brow and working on coloring cheeks

Then I worked on coloring the rest of the head.

61 Ducky working on coloring back of head

Once the coloring was done I was able to attach the crest to the top of the head. That was one of the very first pieces I made and I only needed to add a bit of bulk on the bottom to get the proportion correct! I also defined the nose shape a bit more and decided on the ear placement by sticking pins in their place and adjusting them until they looked symmetrical.

62 Ducky crest attached nose shaped and decided ear placement

The ears were a bit small at first so I added just a tad bit more wool to bulk them up before attaching them. After that I worked on the most nerve-wracking part of this whole project – the eyes. All along I’ve been telling myself that as long as I get the eyes right all the other imperfections will be less noticeable. Of course the converse of that logic is that if I DON’T get the eyes right the while thing will look like a mess. Fortunately I think I nailed it! I finished the eyes and started working on the eyelashes.

63 Ducky ears attached colored eyes and working on eyelashes

Once I got the eyelashes done I added the nostrils, and with that Ducky’s face was done!

64 Ducky eyelashes and nostrils done

All that was left to do was the arms. I left that step for last because I thought they would get in the way when I was working on the fine detail work on the face. I did end up needing to manipulate Ducky quite a bit in order to get the details right, so my instinct was spot-on. I used pins to work out the arm positions and started building the basic shapes for the shoulder joints with some yellow wool.

65 Ducky decided on arm placement and started building shoulders

I attached the arms by making a doughnut shape on the body and then inserting the end of the arm into the middle and felting it in place. By alternating between stabbing the end of the arm directly into the body and stabbing the raised parts of the shoulder into the arm I was able to make a very secure connection. Due to how thin the arms are they still can be moved around a bit, but they certainly aren’t going to fall off. Once the arms were firmly in place I started coloring the shoulders with the last bits of light green wool.

66 Ducky arms attached and coloring shoulders

I finished coloring the shoulders, made some final adjustments to the angles of the arms and ankles, trimmed off any fly-away bits of wool and with that Ducky was finished! She even stands up!

67 Ducky is finished

It’s pretty damn close to my reference picture too!

I learned a ridiculous amount from needle felting Ducky and she was well worth all the time and effort. Now that I’ve finished Ducky I know I can make anything. BOW TO ME FOR I AM THE GOD OF NEEDLE FELTING.

I took a ton of pictures in the light box, so here is Ducky from every angle possible:

Ducky 1 Ducky 2 Ducky 3 Ducky 4 Ducky 5 Ducky 6 Ducky 7 Ducky 8 Ducky 9 Ducky 10 Ducky 11 Ducky 12 Ducky 13 Ducky 14 Ducky 15 Ducky 16 Ducky 17 Ducky 18 Ducky 19 Ducky 20 Ducky 21 Ducky 22 Ducky 23 Ducky 24 Ducky 25 Ducky 26 Ducky 27 Ducky 28 Ducky 29 Ducky 30 Ducky 31 Ducky 32 Ducky 33 Ducky 34 Ducky 35 Ducky 36 Ducky 37 Ducky 38

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Multiple WIPs Are Cracked and a Confession

Let’s start with the confession just so we can get it out of the way and hopefully you’ll have forgotten about it by the end of this post. Today’s photo prompt was “guilty pleasure.” I could have thought of some BS guilty pleasure to show everyone, but I was just too lazy for lies. I actually photographed something that makes me feel a little bit dirty every time I do it.  So, since that’s what I used for my Instagram photo I guess I have to fess up here on the blog too.

I’m a rubbernecker. There are all kinds of rubberneckers, the most well-known being those who gawk at car-accidents, but I’m a very specific breed of rubbernecker. I LOVE reading drama on the Ravelry forums. People behave badly on the internet all the time, and Ravelry is no exception, so when a throwdown starts in a thread I want to read every juicy second of it. It’s like watching a slap-fight on Jerry Springer. I’m not alone in this. There’s a whole group dedicated to locating drama and poking fun at the sheer spectacle of it, so I took a photo of the group page on my computer screen for the Instagram challenge. I’m not going to link them here for your own good. If you really want to find them you can look them up on Ravelry yourself and then figure out a way to live with your shame.

Staging: This is probably the weirdest photo I’ve ever taken…I just pointed the camera at my computer screen. I did expand the screen so all my bookmarks aren’t visible and zoomed in to the group header so it was easier to see what was going on, but that’s it for staging. Just point and shoot.

Instagram edits: cropped, tilt-shift horizontally, Sierra filter and border

Computer edits: cropped and enhanced

kind of edited with iPhoto

kind of edited with iPhoto

I only did the computer edit for the sake of continuity. There was really nothing to edit. I have no idea what to do with a picture of a computer screen. That being said, I like the Instagram better. The filter and the tilt-shift added some interest to it.

On to the WIPs!

I did some more work on the yarnbombing this week. I have quite a few fragments made at this point and yesterday I started piecing some of them together. Here are just four pieces pinned together and two more fragments waiting to find their neighbors. See how they’re kind of like a puzzle? That’s basically how freeform works.

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Ducky is also inching closer and closer to completion! I finished coloring the upper jaw.

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Then I attached the upper jaw to the head and started using some of the pre-felted pieces to form the cheeks.

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Before I attached the cheeks I decided to work on the nose. I decided to just start slapping random colors on at this point to stretch the wool supply. As long as I use light colors or other shades of green it should all be pretty easy to cover. I put the basic shape of the nose together and then needed to add a bit more around the edge. Once I attached the middle of a long piece of felt to the front of the nose it looked like Ducky had a moustache, so I decided that was the perfect time to pause for a picture.

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Then I attached the cheek shapes and started filling in some of the gaps with green.

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Ducky almost has a face!

WIP-Cracking Wednesday: Against All Odds

This has been one of those weeks. It seems like the universe has just been conspiring against me and throwing all kinds of drama my way in an attempt to disrupt my workflow – family drama, tech drama, hell, even the electricity has been giving me attitude. Despite all of that, somehow progress has been made.

The monster has a face!

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Now I just need to add his horns and a tail! I may even consider giving him arms.

I worked on Ducky’s back ridges some more.

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Once I finished with that I breathed a sigh of relief because Ducky’s body is finally the shape I want it to be! Now I’m working on coloring. I concentrated on the tail first, so this is what it looked like after adding the light green on one side.

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Then I added the light green to the other side of the tail and started filling in the hip area.

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Not nearly as productive as I wanted to be this week, but there’s only so much I can do in the face of total chaos. At least the lights are on again.

WIP-Cracking Wednesday: Un-Felting

Last time I updated you on Ducky I was starting to cover a small styrofoam ball for the upper body.

Ducky - upper body started on styrofoam ball

So, I set to work attaching that ball to the lower body. After about an hour and a half of work it looked like this (pardon the mess, I was crafting away from home).

Ducky - upper body fail

Ducky – upper body fail

The upper body shape itself looked great…but something was off about it. Here’s my reference photo again. See if you can spot the problem.

image from TV Tropes

image from TV Tropes

Do you see it? The legs look too small for the body. Or conversely, the body is too big for the legs. It looked fairly proportional before I added the upper body, so I decided the addition of the ball as the upper body was the problem.

How do I fix it though? You can’t actually un-felt something. Felting is kind of a permanent process. It locks the wool fibers together in a death grip and takes a lot of force to pry them apart. I had two options: I could try to cut the top off with scissors and be left with clean-edged areas of wool that are REALLY hard to felt into (believe me, I’ve tried it – it looks like crap), or I could try to pull off all the black wool that I used to secure the ball in place and risk distorting the top half of the lower body in the process.

I decided to try the ripping-it-apart-with-my-bare-hands route. It took some serious pulling, but I did finally get the upper body off with minimal damage to the lower body. I learned something it the process though – that styrofoam ball that I used to build the upper body didn’t hold up well to all that stabbing. The ball pretty much disintegrated inside the wool! I couldn’t really tell until I had to manhandle it though, so I guess it could still work as a core to build on as long as I don’t squeeze it too hard. I wonder if the larger egg-shaped ball that I used for the lower body is suffering the same fate? I’m not going to squeeze it to find out…

After having to rip off all my work it took a loooong time before I figured out what I should do next. I would just pull Ducky’s lower body out and stare at it every now and then, hoping an idea would come to me. Finally one did – why don’t I just try shaping the top half of the lower body so it looked like the upper body and then stick a neck on top of that?

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That looks better! I was even able to re-use some of the pre-felted clumps that I had pulled off the failed upper body to shape the neck. You can see some black fuzz along the top of the body leftover from the tear-down, but that will all be covered when I color it in. You can also see where I started adding in some of the back ridges on the base of the tail. I continued that across the rest of the tail.

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Now that I’m more comfortable with the overall body shape, I think I have a plan for how the rest of this project will go:

  1. Finish shaping the back ridges.
  2. Apply the final colors to the body.
  3. Shape the lower jaw and attach it to the neck.
  4. Color the inside of the mouth on the lower jaw.
  5. Shape the rest of the head, coloring the top part of the inside of the mouth, and attach to the lower jaw.
  6. Finish shaping the head and add in detail work
  7. Attach the arms.

That’s still a lot more work ahead, but it’s smaller pieces so hopefully it will go quicker? Or I’m having delusions of efficiency again… I’m still a bit nervous about how it will turn out because at this point it will NOT stand up. Not even a little bit. I’ll figure out how to deal with that once it’s done.

In between my staring contests with Ducky, I started on another project. Someone requested a monster. My sister creates illustrated characters all the time, so I asked her to design a monster for me. This is what she sent me:

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Cute, huh? I decided to experiment with a fluffier style of needle felting for this one. I’m not going to make the monster super dense – he’s going to stay a bit squishy and fuzzy looking.

First I shaped the body and started on one of the legs.

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Ula kindly lent me a paw for scale.

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Then I finished up the legs.

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It’s a bit small as you can see from the cat-assisted photo (though to be fair, Ula is a Ragdoll, which is a large breed of cats – think Maine Coon size), so I might want to make a buddy for this little guy. We’ll see how it goes.

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!