Yarnstorming

Those of you who roll your eyes because I collage as brainstorming should skip this post. No, really, it’s just going to make you crazy. Me, I’m already crazy. I’m stressed to the max on Liz, I’m kinda broke because Liz is three years over due (turns out they don’t pay you if you don’t turn anything in), and I knocked a glass of water into my good laptop last month and killed it. I loved that laptop and it was only four years old. It would have done me just fine for another four years. But no, I had to have a glass of water while I was typing, so I’ve been working on my old laptop, the one that’s about eight years old, and it’s kind of slow, and the letters have worn off the keys and it’s really heavy and its trackpad isn’t working really well–it’s a good old pal but it’s nothing to do a lot of work on without screaming. So this past month has been tense, nothing like January which almost finished me off, but I’ve got a lot pressing down on me and sometimes I just sit in the middle of the bed and vibrate.

At times like that, I crochet.

There’s something incredibly soothing about tying regular, rhythmic knots in beautiful yarn. It’s a lot like driving in that there’s an automatic repetition to it, my brain gets quieter, and when my brain gets quieter, I can hear the Girls better. But something odd happened this month. I’ve got a story series in the back of my head that’s percolating nicely, not time to write it yet, even if I could, which I can’t because of Liz, but still, it’s a rich, wonderful world, a kind of steampunk fairy tale world with some Pratchett and Dr. Who overtones along with whatever else gloms on (it’s sticky time for these stories). At the same time, Nerd Wars started up again last month. Nerd Wars is a group on Ravelry (big knitting/crocheting community, currently taking on the Olympic committee) that holds three-month-long tournaments, six challenges each month, and players compete as part of a team. I am generally on the Discworld team but this month I jumped ship and joined the ‘Punks, the new steampunk team, because I needed to learn more about steampunk which is one of slipperiest terms I’ve ever had to deal with. That was all I wanted, to learn more about steampunk, and instead I found myself crocheting things in my stories.

The first short story in the series is called “Zo White and Five Orphants” and it’s about a woman who is a kind of good (well, good-hearted, moral she isn’t) Fagin to five street kids who have, uh, issues with fitting into society. As in they’ve all been thrown out of decent orphanages for anti-social behavior. So Zo is trying to keep these five kids alive until they reach adulthood and can take care of themselves; although they’re cunning little bastards and damn good at survival, they’re still kids and need a parent. They end up in a derelict mansion of a serial killer and the cops have caught them there, and Zo has to talk the cops out of arresting the kids while trying to get them to understand that Odolf, the mansion’s owner, is not just a rich, important aristocrat but also part of a cult that rips out people’s hearts and eats them (Zo’s stepmother is also part of this cult, she sent Zo into the woods with a huntsman with instructions . . . no, wait, you know that story).

But it wasn’t until I started crocheting steampunk things that I realized that Odolf was also a mad inventor; I just thought he was an evil son-of-a-bitch hide-in-plain-sight killer, but now that I think back on it, anybody who rips hearts out as part of his social life is probably going to cross boundaries in other ways, too. I began with a steampunk dragon that had nothing to do with the stories, but the damn thing fought me all the way and would not be cute and slowly as I got it to where I wanted it to be it became part of the story, inadvertent brainstorming, something Odolf made as an amateur mechanic and magician, key word being “amateur,” as in “makes a lot of mistakes” and “still learning the basics.” In this society magic is strictly regulated and mechanical things are outlawed, and mixing magic and mechanics will get you the death penalty without any further discussion, so that means that Odolf’s dragon was not a just a cute pull toy (not really cute, either) it was alive and angry and on wheels. In fact, the whole house is full of angry, dangerous, illegal moving things, and now there are five sociopathic little kids in there, surrounded by dangerous toys, and Zo has to get them out by talking the cops into letting them go while keeping the kids from getting killed by the toys or vice versa . . . At least that’s the plan for the first story in the series.

So basically, it wasn’t until I started to make steampunk projects for Nerd Wars (go Team ‘Punks) that I realized I was brainstorming for the book by making some of the things in the stories, not all of them from Odolf’s mansion, but all of them from the stories I wanted to tell.

Take the dragon, Nelson. Nelson started out as a dragon pull toy, but he was such a bitch to make, I keep frogging and trying again, and then I looked into his shiny metal eyes and realized he, too, had the soul of a serial killer. In fact, I think Nelson was a kind of Dexter, a mixture of assassin and savior who moved through Riven society killing murderers who couldn’t be brought to justice, not because he was a hero, but because he was a batshit sociopath with a savior complex. Then he met Odolf and Odolf did the heart thing on him, but transferred his consciousness by magic into a failed mechanical dragon he’d made, complete with a little screaming golden-haired princess. So now there’s a little self-powered serial killer dragon rolling around the house, completely nuts, with razor sharp teeth and an ax to grind. I love Nelson. He’s like a feral, rabid Lassie, completely mad, who ends up completely attached to one of the orphants, little golden-haired Gleep, possibly because he associates her with his golden-haired princess or possibly because he recognizes an equally feral mind. Here’s Nelson:

Then there’s Lefty and Bob, Odolf’s bunny slippers. They were Odolf’s henchmen until they blew an assignment and he killed them and put their consciousnesses into his houseslippers, which were on wheels because Odolf was lazy. And then slippers grews razor-sharp ears and blank killer eyes and tried to skate Odolf down the stairs one night, so he hid them away in a box, where Owl, the mad inventor orphant finds them:

But the invention that gets a story of her own is Jane the Automaton. I started her as a project called the Automaton’s Girlfriend, after the automaton in Hugo, but then I began to think about her. She’s a writing automaton, like the one in Hugo, and I thought about Odolf, wanting more books from his favorite author, deciding the reason there weren’t more was because she was lazy, kidnapping her and putting her consciousness into an automaton he’d made and then eating her heart so that he could write books like her, only faster. And when he finds out that doesn’t work, he gives the automaton pen and paper and tries to force her to write, only to find out that Jane–by then she had a name–was smarter than he was. The more that I work on Jane, the more kindship I feel (wonder why?) and the more I like her. She’s dead, but she’s not going quietly. Jane’s my Nerd Wars dissertation which means I get three months to finish her, starting with a wooden Christmas angel that I spray painted silver and made a silver yarn wig for; clothing to come and possibly a steampunk cat to keep her company). Here’s Jane’s head shot:

I also made something from the Fairy Tale Lies collaboration that’s set in the same world; in my story, the hero is a mechanic (illegal) who lives in a treehouse in the forest. The tree his house is in is mostly surrounded by water, so he’s filled the river with mechanical fish to act as an early warning system, realizing too late that his section of the river is polluted with magic from an old alchemy dump, so the fish become sentient. This is one of his favorites, Algie:

So yarnstorming is like collage on steroids, thinking about where these things I’m making come from and how they work in that world. I have no idea if I’ll ever write these stories, but I know these characters will never die in my head because I have made the things they’ve touched. Yarnstorming is the best time I’ve had getting ready to write in years.

97 thoughts on “Yarnstorming

  1. They’re beautiful! I never considered steampunk crochet, and now I have to. It would be lovely to read your steampunk stories, but I’d rather you be able to eat and make the mortgage first. Then write your stories. Quite a jump for you as an author, women’s fiction/romance (sometimes paranormal) to mystery to steampunk. Cool.

  2. Hm. Interesting. When I’m stressed, I soothe myself by tying regular, rhythmic knots in my body. Whatever works, namaste. You’ve got the cool creatures sticking around, I’ve got sand sticking in my creases. You make stories, I make another form of insight.

    Really would love to read these stories. Can’t you hook up the automaton and set it to work?

  3. Oh, I love them! Lefty and Bob! If I were wearing those slippers around the house, I’m pretty sure my life would transform. I’d like to think into something steampunk wonderful that involved flying wooden ships. And Jane? Nelson? Be still my heart.

    I have sworn to myself: no yarn. I have a quilt room that already engages in room creep. My hubby has expressed his paranoia that sometime while he is sitting peacefully, minding his own business, the advancing line of my fabric collection will mug him from behind. So, no yarn. But . . . gosh those are awesome. No wonder you are having so much fun!

    I’m currently taking a class on steampunk. So, perhaps a steampunk quilt. Even if I can’t make two and wear them as slippers.

  4. I love this so much. I crochet as therapy, too. Just started yet another stress blanket over the weekend. I love the idea of making your characters real through crochet. And those murderous bunny slippers! Yes please!

      1. Brilliant! There’s a lot of stuff in steampunk about the intersection of magic and mechanical things, so I think you’ve got a better hold on it than you think you do 😉

  5. Oh. My. God. Creativity flows from you like a fountain! I have never seen crochet like this — it’s absolutely amazing. I would never think to put steampunk and bunny slippers together — and the stories are just fabulous. I really, really want to read Liz. But, you really, really have to do these stories too (-:. Hey, your grandkids are just about the right age to appreciate something dark and gruesome (-:. Knot on!

  6. Fantastic to see you blooming creativity. Only you could tie these things to books. Ever thought of creating your own automaton so you could tell her all the stories and just check back in to edit now and again while you go off and figure out which part-faerie lands need a little more dragon? Your creative output astonishes me regularly, but this is over the top.

  7. Love it all, Jenny. I’ve got a pile of ideas, half-finished, and completely finished projects for a cast of book characters myself. It’s a great way to think about characters–whether the project is the character, or the project is something the character would wear/use. Love it, love it, love it.

    1. It’s really amazing how much story floats up as you’re trying to get things right. And then if you’re doing something repetitive–the fabric for Jane’s skirts is mostly mesh patterns and there’s some significant yardage there to make–it just floods out.

      Of course, putting it on the page is another thing entirely.

      Nerd Wars is a great place to see story and craft interact. Sometimes the connections between the nerdery and the object made are pretty tenuous, but sometimes they’re spot on, like all the variations on Jayne’s hat from Firefly.

      1. “And then if you’re doing something repetitive–the fabric for Jane’s skirts is mostly mesh patterns and there’s some significant yardage there to make–it just floods out.”

        Exactly! My job for 37 years was mostly routine and repetitive, and I got the greatest ideas while I was mopping floors (in a dormitory kitchen, that’s a lot of mopping) or loading dishes into racks to be washed by machine. Unfortunately they usually flooded out and away, because I couldn’t stop to write them down. It was best when I was writing poetry, because I could hold even a fairly long poem in my head until breaktime. Prose is harder.

  8. I love them all, but the fish is truly elegant. Some of the links I clicked on took me to the Ravelry site; I don’t have an account. What do the links show?

    1. Just more pictures and notes. Nothing important. Sorry, I didn’t realize you had to belong to view the project pages.

      ETA: You can view them now. In theory, anyway. Let me know if they’re still not available.

    2. You can set individual project pages so that they can be shared with people who don’t have a Rav login. There’s no way to set your whole Rav notebook that way, just individual projects.

        1. Thank you both! I just was able to click through to Algie – WOW! I don’t care if you “faked” the tail – it’s wonderful.

    1. 1. Rhythm.
      2. Sound: Bob is just a comic sound, so it’s always a punchline, whereas Lefty is not.
      3. Expectation: If you start out with one slipper named Lefty, then you expect the other one to be Righty, so Bob becomes a reversal.

      This is why, when people say, “I added some jokes so it would be funny,” you know they don’t know anything about comedy and storytelling. It’s never the jokes.

      1. Yep, that’s all it. And something else with expectation, that Lefty is usually the sidekick, and here he’s taking the lead. :)

        1. Ha ha, now you are making me think of an old Santa that we had years ago that we named Lefty. Because his right arm had been eaten by a dog. But we kids still put him out every year, I always tucked his little sleeve up and told him he was still a good Santa.

  9. I can’t crochet or knit but how you’ve brought these projects to life is amazing. Your description of the mad inventor makes me think of the 2008 animated film Igor. Very similar and with a suicidal bunny voiced by Steve Buscemi. If you haven’t seen it, you should check it out.

    1. I thought of the perverse toys from the first Toy Story, but I didn’t want these to be that disturbing on the surface. More of a sense of magic and metal than of a visual perversity. Of course what’s INSIDE them is weird, but the visual I wanted to be a little bit endearing, fun to look at it, without being cute.

        1. I don’t think I have an inner Tim Burton. The whole scissorhands thing, while a brilliant metaphor, creeps me out. His stuff is gorgeous and edgy and mine isn’t. But that’s okay, I like mine, too.

          1. I have to agree — I think Tim Burton is brilliant and a genius, but there’s something a little too sad and lonely about his work. I have to admit, I haven’t seen his latest few movies, so he may have grown a bit. I do love, love, love Beetlejuice, though. There, the lonely resolves into a wonderful, quirky, sunny family.

  10. *throws fit like a toddler* Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Story, crochet stuff, anything, just Gimme! It all sounds wonderful and I can totally see it in my head. I’m so glad I read this because I was having a crappy morning and now I’m thinking about serial killer dragons.

  11. These are amazing. I learned to crochet and knit when I was young but never took either beyond basic projects, so I’m always in awe of your creations.

    Maybe if you crochet the bear from Liz, it could be a writing automaton also and finish the series. I know bears usually like to star in stories, but I bet they make very good storytellers, too:)

  12. Just like KatyL, I learned to knit when I was young.

    In my case, to this *day*, the yarn and the needles exist in a cupboard with about 20 rows of something done. Incomplete as it was then, tho’ from time to time the need to be crafty hits me and I take it out and knit a row.

    I only ever completed *one* rectangle of I-dont-know-what in my life.

    1. (-: As well you should. Crochet can be a rather communist activity — you know, each according to her/his ability. I’m still excited I figured out how to do a snowflake this spring (-:. Oh, and I crocheted an earphone cover (the foam thingy had gotten lost) WITHOUT A PATTERN. And the variegated yarn covers up any goofs, and it looks wonderful. I’d never done improv crochet (on purpose) before! LOL, crochet is exciting . . . .

      1. How did the earphone cover work? I cannot wear ear buds because my ear canals are toooo small. And anything that hooks or sits on my ears gives me a headache. Even headphones bother me but not as much. I’ve gotten rid of favorite headphones because the foamy thing died and I couldn’t get a replacement. Making one just never occurred to me. *swooooosh, right over my head* Sheesh.

        1. It’s working really well. I used a cotton yarn, so it’s comforting against my ear. I really did it in a screwed up way, though — I started with a ring stitch, then double-crocheted around it — but didn’t join up the first double crochet with the last. That was so I could slip the cover over the headphone, which is one of those weird microphone/operator headset thingies. As I crocheted, I kept measuring it against the headphone, increasing where I thought it was necessary, and decreasing until it could stretch enough to go over the headphone, but spring back so it wouldn’t fall off. (-: Thank god I didn’t have to make two — because I have no idea how I did this. The ring stitch wound up behind the headphone, so it wasn’t really necessary to do this with a ring stitch . . . .

          For inspiration, take a look at the teeny tiny bags you can google up. Or this teeny, tiny oinment jar cover would probably take you to a good place (I originally planned the ring stitch to go in the center of the headphone cover . . . .) http://carinascraftblog.wardi.dk/2009/03/tiny-jar-with-crochet.html (sadly, no instructions.)

          1. Somewhere in one of my books, I’m thinking “Happy Hooker” by Debbie Stoller, it shows how to make a flat circle thing. (My crochet skills are rather basic.) This kinda reminds of that. With increases and decreases as she went up and over the jar? But definitely something to file away. I really need to think of making before buying.

          2. Flat circles are easy.
            Chain 3.
            Row 1: Put 6 sc in the first ch.
            Row 2: Put 2 sc in each sc (12 sc).
            Row 3: Put 1 sc in the first sc, 2 sc in the next sc, repeat five more times (18 sc).
            Row 4: Put 1 sc in the first two sc, 2 sc in the third sc, repeat five more times (24 sc).
            Row 5: Put 1 sc in the first three sc, 2 sc in the fourth sc, repeat five more times (30 sc).
            Just keep increasing every 6th stitch until the circle is as big as you want and then slip stitch into the next stitch when you want to end off.

          3. This reply is for Jenny’s comment, “Flat circles are easy.” There was no reply on my comment or Jenny’s and I have no idea where this will land.

            “Flat circles are easy.” *Snort* Yeah, right. :)

            Actually, I’m not laughing at the comment so much as I am myself. I will get that circle, eventually. But at times like this, -reading- your directions, I realize how very visual I am when I am learning hand/body skills. I love words and I am always the one in the house reading the instructions for things, but when it comes to ‘handling’ things I learn more easily by watching. It’s work translating from page to hand.

            Thank you for the directions. They look a heck of alot shorter than the ones I remember in my head!

          4. Is there a transition stitch from flat circle to cylinder? Or do you just switch to one-on-one single crochet, and it magically turns into a cylinder. I REALLY want to just pull out my yarn bag from my purse and try it out right now, but I’m at work.

            I’ll go to ravelry and see if they have any free patterns there . . . . Thanks for providing the flat circle pattern!

          5. Yes, if you stop increasing, the sides start to go straight up. That’s how you make a hat. If you want a hat with a firm edge, you wire the edge of the flat circle, and then stop increasing and just put one sc in each sc (or one stitch in each stitch); no wire and the hat crown is curved. A way to make a softer edge is to crochet that first non-increase row in only the back loops of the stitch; that kind of turns a corner and the unworked loops make a ridge for a sharper edge.

            http://www.ravelry.com/projects/theotherjenny/steampunk-eclipse-hat

          6. Hell, I forgot to change the sharing.
            Must do that for anything book related. Nobody wants to look at dozens of shawls, but the book stuff might be relevant.

  13. The steampunk crochet is such a perfect kind of crazy brilliance, I am in awe. It makes me want to go back to crocheting again, which I haven’t done in years.

    I love the world you’ve described here. Makes me want to *see* it (visually, like pixar or stopgap animation).

  14. A fantastic post! Never thought about connecting my writing to my knitting, but now I wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about it. Maybe my heroine should take up knitting. :-)
    Also what a small world: I just joined Ravelry. I guess I should investigate the site more thoroughly if such crazy stories come out of it. Thanks for the tip.

  15. I want Nelson with a burning *want* like you can’t imagine :-) I used to crochet straight things like blankets and scarves. Only they were never straight. I stick to beading and writing these days.

    Also, on a more serious note, I have an extra laptop. No, really. It’s my “editing” laptop, that I only use when I’m doing massive ms edits, because it is so large (17″ I think) that it is a pain to lug around, but on the other hand, you can have two pages open side by side. But it was so large, I got a smaller one for most of the time use. But it is an HP with Word on it, and I think you’re an Apple person. But if it would be helpful, let me know.

  16. Beautiful work! I don’t really relate to the collages for some reason, but the crochet really affects me. Maybe it’s because it’s three-dimensional.

    Do you ever look at the Urban Threads website? Mostly embroidery designs, but lots and lots of wonderful steampunk stuff.

  17. There are no words. I have been struck dumb. (okay I’m over the dumbness, but I’m still struck).
    First, a huge heartfelt apology to any author and especially Jenny who I ever begged to finish or write a new book. I finally opened my eyes and got a glimpse of what that can do to a creative person. And as I am a crazily mad kind of creative person I should have known to begin with. I am so, so sorry that I am and have been an idiot.

    Second, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed that discussion. The only words that pop into my head are cliches which is why I said I was struck dumb. You already know I’m kind of a weirdly insane stalker girl – in a nice way – but I would sit at your feet and listen to you talk and croquet for the rest of my life. (Or until I got an idea for my own work, then I would wander off with a blank look on my face.)

    I don’t know many other people like me. Creativity is like an sickness. I’m sick when I’m doing it (in a good way. Well at least I think so) and I’m sick when I’m not. I do or have done EVERYTHING. (painting, sewing, paper craft, quilting – the list goes on and on.) I’m compelled to make things. And then I get sick of the things I made and give them away.

    When you talk about your process and making those creatures it’s like fireworks in my brain. Sparks and connections (and no I’m not on drugs) and how things I create come to life for me. And man, I should be doing that for my books. Really this post made me positively gleeful. Like I’d gotten a glimpse into heaven.

    Which it’s not. In my experience along with the creativity is the most horrible mind crushing self doubt, depression and insanity. It’s hell. I can mostly keep it at bay, and being a mom helps keep me grounded, but for me, grounded does not = creative so it’s a interesting balancing act. Also my family would prefer me to be grounded over creative so there is kind of a war there as well.

    All this to say I bow before your brilliance. Not that I don’t have my own brand of brilliance, it’s just different. Now I will go back to my corner, try and restrict my comments to those in good taste and that are not in any way weird.

    If I come off as sounding unbalanced or inappropriate I trust you to delete this and tell me to have the doctor check my meds. (g)(sort of)

    1. Hey, look, there are no shoulds in writing. I do this because I like it and then it turns out it works for the book.
      You have your own path, grasshopper. Don’t worry about anybody else.

      1. Well should wasn’t the right word anyway. Maybe I could be doing that for my own writing would have been more accurate. What I didn’t say was that you opened my eyes to a creative path that allows the other kinds of artwork I do to become essential to the way I work and thus defend-able. Not that I should have to defend what I do with my time but that’s another story… Anyhow. Thanks again.

    1. I was coming here to say that Lefty ought to be the right slipper also.

      I guess for creatives on Argh a sorority/fraternity is likely to be discovered. (Lord, that sounded like bad grammar.)

  18. Oh god, I love the bunny slippers so much. Love the idea of yarnstorming too. Though I’ve never done steampunk–it seems too hard for my brain to comprehend and put together the look, really (plus I am all about colors and NOT BROWN). But good on you for getting it down!

  19. These are fantastic works of art really. So creative. I’ve never done anything other than crochet cafe curtains or a bikini that sagged when wet. I’ve sent the bunny slipper pattern to DD who’s kept herself busy crocheting ponchos for her daughter and nieces.
    Thank you for sharing. :-)

  20. Riven – is that any chance an intentional reference from the Myst world series?

    Also, LOVE the critters you’ve crocheted! I hope you have the opportunity to write the stories.

    1. One of the three of us came up with it when we were brainstorming names, but I think it started with Rivenhall and went from there. I haven’t played Myst for centuries, but it might have floated up from the far reaches of my reptile memory.

    1. I’m holding on to Nelson until I’m finished with the stories. Then he’ll probably end up wherever Moot got herself to. I still think Bob has Moot. He said he took her from me to keep me from losing her and then she mysteriously disappeared . . .

  21. Those are beyond fabulous! I love the work. I used to crochet animals. I was in a musical on Broadway called The Robber Bridegroom and I had to crochet for an hour every night. I started with a scarf, progressed to blankets and finally to my security animals. I uses to crochet Security Mice. Each had daisy eyes, a little striped scarf, and most importantly, long arms to love you with. I still have my security mouse which my mother knitted me back in the 60’s. I think I also did by request,a security owl, and a security pig. Your animals look so much more beautiful and complicated than I remember mine looking. Nelson is my favorite.

  22. Odolf sounds just like my Mother in Law…………….and the woman has the cheek to moan about my crocheting!!! Next time she comes for a visitation I will start some ‘broomstick’ crochet so she feels at home!!!

  23. Okay, so this is off-topic for yarn, but I can’t put a comment on the PopD episode any more. I found this on Salon about the When Harry Met Sally orgasm scene:
    http://www.salon.com/2012/06/27/did_nora_ephrons_when_harry_met_sally_ruin_malefemale_friendship/

    “And this ties to the orgasm scene, which, I agree is not particularly in keeping with her character and is not a scene I love very much (though, in character or out, I understand a comedy director like Rob Reiner’s incentive to keep it in. You don’t toss a gold brick just because it doesn’t fit into whatever you’re building.) Sally Albright, who won’t have sex on her cold tiles, is not going to fake orgasm over a pastrami sandwich. But the part I can get behind, the way I make that scene make sense, is that it is the ultimate example of how Harry Burns is the one person in the universe who makes Sally Albright get out of her comfort zone, because he is the one person in the world who drives her crazy enough that she wants to win every argument with him that she can. And, that, whatever I said just a paragraph ago, is pretty legit chemistry.”

    I…think that’s a good point, actually. Hmmmm. I guess that’s why that scene has never bothered me too much.

    1. I think it’s a good point, too, and if they were at a party or in a park, somewhere where they were not in a small space surrounded by strangers, I’d buy it.
      Just not there.

  24. Was invited in to the Admirals Club in NYC, by a fellow traveller I’d never met before, when delayed on Monday. The young woman was reading Jennifer Weiner’s latest book and I commented on how I enjoyed her work. Then I said if you like this book you’ll love MY FRIEND Jennifer Crusie’s books. She about vaulted over the counter, squealing and grinning, and much to my amusement began to discuss every book you’ve ever written. My travelling companion was amused and said she doesn’t read romance but will now be checking you out. Oh, and then the woman gave me a coupon for a specialty drink like a martini, which I don’t drink, but I did get a nice chardonnay. So, thanks. : )

  25. Oh. My. Goodness! I love this. I’ve thought of making jewelry for characters before, but never crocheting something. I love all of your steampunk things. I’m going to look up that group on Ravelry. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Thanks Jenny for lighting a steampunk fire under me. To take my mind off of writing (write mornings – bead afternoons) I am currently altering McDonald’s beanie babies. Due to your influence, here is Steampunk Pussy made from Zip the cat. http://beadsnjane.blogspot.com/ You single-handedly pulled me out of my rut. BTW: while I bead I listen to. . . who else?
    o/ Jane

  27. I’m going to break the blog if I keep trying to add one more up there, but I tried the flat circle, and really messed up. One, I can’t count. And two, I thought I was doing a single crochet, but it seems I was doing a double crochet. I was bemused to find that I was knitting a condom, but when I stopped adding an extra chain at the end of each row, it flattened out into a sombrero. Highly amusing. Crocheting a condom must be one of the most useless pieces of knotwork out there (-:. But a sombrero can go with anything.

    Tonight, I’m trying again to make a mini-basket (starts with your basic flat disc), and with a single crochet (fer real!) and no extra chaining, it is staying reasonably flat so far. I just started up the sides, so we’ll see what we will see. If I wind up with cowboy boots, I’ll have something to put with the mini-sombrero. But so far, it looks like a basket bottom.

  28. I wondered if it might take 8, like a granny square, but if I try it with double crochet, I’ll make it with 12, then. I got a reasonable facsimile of a basket, even though I’ve lost the instructions somewhere when I was half way up the basket.. I do like the improv aspect of crochet. Thanks for the instructions!

  29. Weeks late (I was at Art Boot Camp in Maine, it was intense, and the internet was run by squirrels over a hand felted wool and hand forged iron satellite, so it is good to be home, but still):

    Oh, right. You wrote a post years ago about cheerful and on wheels. these creations are all substantially less cheerful, but still on wheels.

    just sayin’

  30. Now I’m super sad I can’t figure out how to crochet. I can only do basic knitting and now I have to try to figure out how to do this knitting at my skill level since the dragon is so darn twistedly cute!

  31. I cannot wait for to read this story. And now I really want to make a bust with yarn for hair. No real reason

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