May 24, 2010

Fruit F*cker

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 8:47 am by Pam

Back in March, my friends and I attended PAX East. PAX is a gamer (and general geekdom) conference that takes place in Seattle every September, hosted by the folks at Penny Arcade (hence the PA). This year, they decided to try hosting an east coast version of the con. Since there were no travel fees associated with it being right in Boston, I knew it would be a low-risk way to see if this was my kind of thing.

From what I had heard about PAX, I knew there would be a lot of lines and downtime when most attendees would be playing on their Nintendo DS or playing Magic: The Gathering in groups. Neither of those are my thing. So I decided to create a con-appropriate embroidery that I could pick up whenever I needed to keep myself busy.

I had just finished reading through the Penny Arcade archives on the website (no easy feat), and decided I’d go with my favorite character: the fruit f*cker. He is a juicer who, uh, has his way with oranges and the like. With his shifty red eyes and claw-like hands, what’s not to love?

I made my first stitches within minutes of arriving, as we sat on the cold concrete floor of the Hynes Convention Center, waiting for the doors to open so we could get seats to hear Wil Wheaton give the keynote address. By the end of the second day, I had finished outlining everything (except the hump lines, which were the very last thing I did – like setting him into motion). Apparently sometime on Saturday, a news crew even got a shot of me working on it, and I was surprised to see my lil’ fruit friend on the news on Sunday morning. I got lots of weird stares (Come on, geeks! Don’t we get enough weird glances in life in general?!), a few knitters who talked geeky crafts with me, and a couple of people who had no idea what in hell I was doing, but who thought it was pretty cool nonetheless.

The fill work (all in split stitch) took a while to do, and as I was working on the orange itself, I decided that I could make it even more like a souvenir if I put the PAX logo right in the middle of the orange. That was a little tricky to add on – I traced the design on another small piece of fabric, then stitched it right into the piece. The edges of the second piece of fabric are still showing through a bit, but I’m probably the only person who would notice it. There are a few more detailed shots of the finished piece here and here.

Overall, I love how he turned out. I love that I have a souvenir of this great con that no one else has. I’m already looking forward to next year, at which point I’ll be reading the discussion boards ahead of time and will know when the knitters and other crafters are meeting up.

The rest of my PAX photos are here.

March 6, 2010

Helping people, hunting things – the family business

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 3:24 pm by Pam

While down with the flu back in December, I had the chance to watch all four and a half seasons of Supernatural in one go. I didn’t watch the show when it first started because it just didn’t look that good, and it started before I got a life-changing DVR. A few of my friends, however, are terribly obsessed over it, to the point where it has invaded their everyday conversations. They were in the midst of telling me how it’s one of the best shows on television right now (I now concur with them completely) when I thought I might as well start watching.

If you’ve watched the show, you’ll recognize the phrase “Helping people, hunting things – the family business” because, well, that is the business that the Winchester boys are in. As in, they are helping people inflicted by demons or other supernatural problems and hunting said demons. Oh, sure, the later seasons become a bit existential over free will and the possible apocalypse, but Dean and Sam never stop helping people and hunting things.

The symbol I chose to go with the line is the tattoo that the boys both have on their chests, which they got to protect themselves from possession.

I ended up making two of these (for my two Supernatural-obsessed friends) and turning them into little cosmetic/pencil bags. When I started these, I didn’t know much about choosing fabrics, and I was terrible at many fill stitches, so I chose to go with a whipped back stitch for the design and a split stitch for the lettering. I’m not terribly happy with either, but they’re better than when I started, so at least I’m learning. I hated using this fabric though, but now that I know more about using interfacing, I might be less hesitant to use it again.