Saturday, May 26, 2012

Reason 134 Why My Craft Room Will Never Be Tidy

Remember when I said there was going to be a couple posts about my epic sized WIPs?

This is first one of them.

So there is this book called Knit a Fantasy Story, by Jan Messent. Ever since I heard about it, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. It’s a toy pattern book from the late 80’s, so expect some cheesiness in the photos but it is very worth it. There's a section with a farmyard, a castle and then fantasy creatures. I have a thing for play sets with lots of pieces, and these toys look like a great gift idea.

Sadly this book is no longer in print. Since I couldn't find a used copy for a decent price, I requested to borrow it through inter library loan. It took over three weeks, but it finally came in.
(I have since found out you can buy separate books that cover each of the sections. From the Amazon previews they might even have the exact same contents, but I'm not sure. I have a feeling I'll find out about a couple of them at some point.)

I'm starting with the Farmyard Fantasia. It's an excerpt from the book The Knitted Farmyard (by Hannelore Wernhard). Except that's kind of a bad name because, until you get to the accessories, there isn't a whole lot knitted about it. Still I am super excited to be working on this. So excited that I'm actually planning on making two versions of the farmyard.

Picture of the farmyard from the book

The second play set I make will be full sized, 54"x60", and follow the layout in the book.  This will be a joint birthday present for my nieces. I would like to say Christmas, but I'm trying to be more realistic. I will be making most, if not all, of the extras (people, animals, houses). Some I'll send with the play-mat, but a few are going to be extras scattered throughout the year.
Who wouldn't like surprise present mail, right? Just like new doll clothes, it helps keep the present fresh.

Before that project, I'm working on a smaller (24"x30") version to keep. I'm using all the sameyarn crafting styles in the pattern on it - pompoms, latch hook, embroidery, knitting and crochet - to make sure I know what I'm doing before I get to the one I'm gifting. Get all my mistakes out of the way, if you know what I mean.

First thing I did was print my scan of the "map" as close to my rug proportions as I could. The only change was that I made the pond bigger than the scale and filled the gaps with extra grassy areas.

Since my rug canvas is much smaller I'm tweaking the layout and eliminating some doubled areas, like the fields, so I have room for everything. 

I traced some of the basic shapes from the template onto the canvas with a Sharpie. Even though I intend to fudge some of the areas, it gives me a general idea of where I started and the outlines will be covered once I work in those areas.

This is where I'm at right now, and you can see I've skipped around a bit.

I'm using the tent stitch for the road, and parts of the meadow. The road was mystery big lots (gala) yarn, and too light weight. I had to hold the yarn in four strands. For the grass I decided to get some Lion Brand Hometown USA, which is a bulky weight. It's working much easier, and I'm going to try and get some of the same in other colors before I do the larger mat.

I was going to leave the edges raw until I was finished, but decided it might be easier to work them as I go

The water is done using a surface crochet chain stitch. Outlining the water in the darker blue was a good idea. Trying to zigzag the light and dark blue separately, not such a good idea. Took just a couple strands to realize that.

Holding the light and dark together and zigzagging them as a double strand looks much better because then the color appears to change midstream and there's more texture to it.

Some of the other grassy areas and small shrubs I'm doing with latch hook. The dark green I'm cutting into shorter strips myself from some Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn. The lighter color is precut rug yarn from MCG Textiles. As much as I hate to pay more for less yarn, having it precut is so much easier.

At the edge of this meadow there will be a small dirt patch. It's a combination of tent and satin stitch

I just started knitting the bridge. It will be rectangle of 1x1 rib with brown pipe cleaner threaded under the edges to help it arch over the water.

Now this project is partly about practicing before the monster sized play mat, but what has me most excited about it is that this is where the Mochimochi tinies I make will live.
I really really want to make a Mochimochi village complete with gnomes.
I want this like you would not believe.

The bunny and boat are already making themselves comfortable 

In case you haven't heard of them, the Mochimochi patterns are the creations of the super amazing Anna Hrachovec. I have made bunches of these, they are cute and so much fun. One of my projects even made it to the finals of last year's photo contest
My project was the knitted seascape
(please excuse me for bragging just a little bit, it was probably the most exciting thing craft wise that has ever happened for me!)

I've decided this mini farm/village will be my project for this year, and even though the year isn't even half over I still wish I'd started sooner. I'm planning to blog about it (and show pictures from it obvs) for the next few months.  I'm also going to do my best to continue making notes about the changes I like and the mistakes I make. Hopefully then when I get to the one for my nieces I'll have a smoother go at it.

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