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Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday's Muse- Alice Through the Looking Glass

I have loved "Alice in Wonderland" ever since I was a child and have always found it inspiring. When I got older, I read the second book, "Through the Looking Glass", and discovered a whole new world of inspiration. Many artists have adapted it into their own mediums, and as I've learned and developed as a fiber artist it only seemed natural that I would translate this well-loved world into my medium as well. For Wednesday in the Works I will have some pictures of the project I have in process, but for today I just want to show you the book illustrations that have inspired me most.

I love this picture of Alice traveling out of our world and into Looking Glass Land, out of the normal and into the fantastic.  These illustrations have such wonderful detail, like the fact that the Looking Glass mantel clock has a face.

While "Alice in Wonderland" features a playing card theme, "Through the Looking Glass" sets it's story in a giant chess game.  I'm not a very good chess player but there is something tantalizing about a chess world, especially when the pieces have such distinct personalities.

Ah, the Red Queen!  Quite an enigmatic figure.  You're never really sure where she stands or what she's up to.

Alice hopes to cross the board and become a queen, but it might not be all it's cracked up to be...

If you've never read this delightful story, I highly recommend it.  I'm crafting some queenly accessories inspired by this book and I hope to come up with more drawn from other parts of the story.  What could you do with a Jabberwock, I wonder...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How Doth the Little Crocodile Stitch

It's time for another Wednesday in the Works!  I'm working on some really cool stuff and I want to share.  Hopefully it will be inspiring to you!

My new favorite stitch to crochet is the crocodile stitch. I love the intricacy of it (I never get bored working this stitch!) and the versatility. So far I've used it as dragon scales, mermaid scales and even feathers! It has inspired multiple projects.  Three are finished and two are still in the works, making it the perfect topic for today's blog.

Meg's "Blood of the Dragon" Cuff

My first real project with this stitch was actually a gift for my sister (in-law).  We have both been reading J.R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series (aka, "Game of Thrones") and so, for her birthday, I crafted a dragony cuff fit for one who is "the blood of the dragon", as one prominent character is known to say.  Unfortunately, I hadn't learned my lesson yet about taking pictures of my work, even when I wasn't going to sell it, so there's no photo evidence.  I should get her to send me a pic!

Dark Wings, Dark Words

With visions of Westeros still dancing in my head, I decided to develop another idea I'd had.  To me, the scales could also be feathers.  I crocheted and unraveled and crocheted again to create this gauntlet, using the scales as raven feathers.  In the GoT books, they use specially trained ravens to carry messages.  As urgent messages tend to be bad news, this gave rise to the saying "Dark wings, dark words".  It was the perfect title for my creation.  This one has actually made it to our Exordium shop on Etsy here.

Swedish Short-Snout Necklace

This necklace started out as an experiment.  I wanted to see if I had correctly deduced the way to work the stitch in a triangle shape, increasing one scale in each row.  It worked, and after doing a few rows I was suddenly inspired to make it into a necklace, using one of my favorite jewelry elements: bronze chain.  I went looking through my stash for a clasp and found some pretty toggles shaped like leaves. The trouble was, they were too pretty.  I said to Mom (Bonnie), "I love these clasps but it seems a shame to hide them on the back of your neck."  Mom, being Mom, said candidly, "Well, put them in the front then!"  I did and loved the result.  The idea of dragon scales put me in my mind of Harry Potter, who fights a dragon in the fourth book.  One of the varieties of dragon involved is the Swedish Short-snout, distinctive for it's silvery blue scales.  Perfect!

Mermaid Cuff

Sooner or later the scale motif was bound to bring me around to something fishy, I suppose, but being a romantic soul I chose the fantasy version (probably no surprise at this point).  I have crocheted these two pieces, one for the cuff and one for the ruffle, but haven't joined them yet.  I wanted the cuff to look like ocean waves and the ruffles to look like mermaid scales.  Ta-da!  Enter the crocodile stitch.  At first I worried about how to join them, since one edge is smooth and the other is wavy.  Suddenly it hit me, why not join the crests of the waves to the ruffle edge, leaving the troughs open?  I even thought of adding pearls to the resulting "windows".  I definitely like where that's headed.

Dragon Skin Shawl

I can't claim credit for the idea of using the crocodile stitch to make a shawl, or even of calling it dragon skin, but I love it.  I tried it out in a soft bulky weight yarn I had in my stash and I think we have a winner.  I had intended to do it in a different color (I just finished a shawl and hat in a yarn of mottled greens and browns) but now that I see the purple, I may keep it.  Dragons are fantasy creatures; who says they have to be green?

Have you worked anything in crocodile stitch?  What ideas does it give you about possible uses?  Leave a picture or comment below!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Autumn Inspiration

Today is Monday Muse day, so I present for your inspection and enlightenment 3 autumnal images that I found particularly engaging. Pretty soon there'll be a Wednesday in the Works with projects inspired by these images!
These ethereal, glowing leaves almost look like stained glass. Perhaps some beaded earrings in these colors?
I love this swirling vortex of fall leaves. It makes me want to paint a scrabble tile pendant in a similar way. Or perhaps something slightly bigger, like a domino.
These leaves, photographed in the midst of their transformation, definitely bring to mind some potential crochet projects...I can envision an asymmetrical statement necklace of fall leaves...Hmmmm....

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