Archive for January, 2013

Caught in Hell

This afternoon seemed just perfect for playing my 80s mix MP3 and getting a bit of ‘scape practice in. So naturally that’s precisely what I did.

In preparation for the walkthrough/tutorial I will someday complete, I tried keeping this design simple, along the texture-ready lines, and I did my best to label and organize the layers, something I infrequently do. I think it came out okay, considering. Here are the screenshots:

1 - Base Layers

1 – Base Layers

2 - Lighting

2 – Lighting

3 - Base Stars

3 – Base Stars

4 - Depth

4 – Depth

5 - Larger Stars & Shooting Stars

5 – Larger Stars & Shooting Stars

6 - More Lighting

6 – More Lighting

7 - Texturing and Shadows

7 – Texturing and Shadows

8 - Touching Up & Adding More Colors, Textures, Shadows, and Lighting

8 – Touching Up & Adding More Colors, Textures, Shadows, and Lighting

As always, I’ll use what I learned from this session for bettering future ones. For instance, I have discovered that background 80’s music is perfect for rendering, so I will make sure to have it in abundance when I do tackle a full tutorial. But, then again, I have long been of the belief that 80’s music is perfect in just about all situations.

Final piece:

"Caught in Hell" (Disclaimer: title not indicative of mental or emotional state. At least not today.)

“Caught in Hell” (Disclaimer: title not indicative of mental or emotional state. At least not today.)

My Morning at the Library

the Story

______________________

Some days just don’t go as planned. But I’m sure you probably already know this. ‘The best laid plans’ and all. Not too long ago I had one of those days that didn’t play out exactly the way I’d anticipated. That seems to happen to me a lot. . . But I suppose this time it really could have been worse, all things considered. After all, I did learn quite a few interesting things, plus I even ended up meeting. . .  well, I think I’m getting ahead of myself. I suppose I should start near the beginning. That does seem a good place to start, right?

So, it was a few weeks ago, and here’s what happened:

Sitting in the incredibly uncomfortable wooden chair in the library’s study room, I flipped my old phone shut. I’d just gotten a text message from the tutee I was supposed to be meeting.

“Slept thru alarm. Will be late. So sry!”

I folded my arms on the table and dropped my head down, letting it rest on my forearms. Listening to the rain crashing down mercilessly on the huge floor-to-ceiling windows, I thought about how much I would have preferred to stay in bed this gloomy morning instead of driving all the way down here to meet a student for some extra study time. I would probably have been really upset at the fact that they had the audacity to be late if I hadn’t been so tired. But there was something about sitting alone, in an empty library, on a cold, rainy day, early in the morning, that just took all the fight right out of me. In fact, it pretty much took all the energy out of me period.

“This really kind of bites.” I muttered into my arm.

“It can’t be that bad.”

I whipped my head up off the desk, searching out the source of the voice. I was sure the room had been empty and I was alone.

“I mean, you’re in a library for crying out loud. This is like, the coolest place to be. Besides a beach in Maui anyway.”

I scanned the big room but saw no other person. I rubbed my eyes and looked around again.

“Yoohoo, over here. Yep, this way, right here.”

Following the sound, finally I spotted who was talking. Sitting across from me at the edge of the table was a small brown turtle.

“Yo.” he said casually, briefly waving to me. I blinked at him, mainly because I really wasn’t sure what else to do. “Um. Hi.” I said tentatively.”

“Hi.” he replied. “I’m Shy.”

“Really? Never would’ve guess.” I mumbled, a bit surprised I was managing to speak. “I am too, actually.”

“What?”

“Shy.”

“Yes?”

“Huh?”

“Yeah, I never get tired of that joke.” he chuckled. “Seriously, though, my name is ‘Shy’.” he said smiling.

“Ah. I see. Well, nice to meet you.” I wasn’t sure if I meant it or not, but it was really all I could think to say at the moment.

“I’m sure you’re wondering more about me.” he said. I opened my mouth, all ready to tell him that yes, I was wondering something, but it was really more along the lines of my mental health and it’s somewhat frightening current state. But before I had the chance to say anything, some kind of heroic and histrionic music began streaming out from somewhere. “I am the Tortoise of All Knowing.” he said dramatically, standing tall (at least as tall as a six-inch tortoise can stand) puffing up with pride. He posed like that for a minute, as if he were waiting for a crazed group of paparazzi to snap photos left and right of such an honorable and glorious figure.

“Turtle of All Knowing, huh?” I asked skeptically once the music and posing stopped.

“Tortoise. Tortoise of All Knowing. Yes. Go ahead, ask me anything.” he replied, gamely.

“Okay.” I said, figuring what the heck, I’ll play along. “What’s the meaning of life?”

“What, you’ve never heard of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?”

“Fair enough.”

“Go on, ask something else.” he said eagerly.

“All right.” I said, trying to think of a question. After a minute I figured I had something worth asking: “Okay, so I know turtles live near the ocean and stuff, but what’s the deal with tortoises? I mean, what’s the real difference between you two?”

“Well there’s a deep question.” he said sarcastically.

“Deep. Hah. I get it. Turtles, the ocean, deep.” I replied drily.

“Hm, thouché” he replied. “All right, well, there are four major difference between turtles and tortoises,” he began. “(1) Turtles primarily live in water while tortoises live almost exclusively on land.”

“Yep, knew that.” I interrupted.

“Hey, who’s the Tortoise of All Knowing here?” he said eying me.

“Sorry. Please continue.” I said, putting on my best “I’m highly interested in what you’re talking about” face and hiding a small, amused smile.

“Okay then. (2) turtles can be omnivorous whereas tortoises are herbivorous. And (3) Turtles can migrate from one place to another, but tortoises tend to stay in one area.”

“You said there were four differences.”

“Yes, and (4) tortoises are much snappier dressers than turtles.” he did a neat little 360 on the table, showing off his bronze colored shell. “See what I mean?” he said suavely, raising a nonexistent eyebrow in a mock come-hither kind of way.

I couldn’t help but laugh at that, and immediately he joined in with me, our brief laughter undoubtedly being the loudest – and oddest – noise the room had ever suffered. At this point I decided to completely set aside the bundle of thoughts crowding my head – such as Okay, where did this tortoise come from, How is it possible that he’s talking to me, and Have I completely lost my mind. I’d already questioned my sanity enough throughout my life. I figured I’d just enjoy this, whether it be a mental breakdown or not.

“All right go for it. Ask me something else. The Tortoise of All Knowing is here to serve and amaze. Mostly amaze.” On the surface he seemed just a bit hubristic and slightly sardonic, but I could tell he also had some kind of charm and a good, albeit slightly unusual, sense of humor. I considered it for a moment and realized those were all probably rare traits to find in a tortoise.

“I dunno. Surprise me.” I said, genuinely unable to think of anything to ask.

“Ah phooey. That’s no fun.” he said, clearly feigning a pout. I began to realize that Shy seemed like the kind of little guy who would heckle you and playfully argue with you all day, a bit of a drama queen even, but really only in the best of ways.

I stifled a giggle, enjoying this little conversation more and more. “Oh but come on. This gives you a chance to show me how all-knowing you really are and truly amaze me by answering questions I never knew I had.” I quipped, guessing that he’d respond well to a friendly tease.

“True.” he replied thoughtfully, his big brown eyes gleaming, a smirk dancing around the corner of his small reptilian mouth. I had guessed right. He placed his little head on his hand, putting on a great thinker expression. “I bet you didn’t know. . . ”

He began telling me all sorts of things about shooting stars and amoeba and elephants and music and and trees and authors and pens and coffee and countries. Before I knew it twenty minutes had gone by.

“No way. How on earth do they do that? Wait, are you telling me you’ve actually seen a clam climb a tree?” I asked Shy, completely hanging off every word of his at this point.

“I swear!” he said, raising his hand and chuckling a bit at my astonishment. “There really are certain types of clams in the Caribbean that can actually climb trees. Of course a few of them don’t, though. Fear of heights, you know.”

I laughed at that and leaned back in my chair. As I sat there thinking about all the things I’d never thought about before, just about to ask Shy what else he could tell me, I was suddenly startled by a new voice that pierced the calm of the quiet library: “Sorry I’m late!” I looked over to see the student I was supposed to be meeting standing in the community room’s open doorway. She looked completely frazzled, wild hair, wet from the rain, spewing out from a clip atop her head, jacket hanging sloppily from one shoulder, leaking books and papers everywhere. I jumped up out of my chair just in time to snatch her notebook from the air as it slid out of her arms. “Thanks!” she breathed, clearly out of breath, as if she’d run all the way here. “I’m really sorry to have kept you waiting.” she apologized. Earlier I had been somewhat irked at her tardiness, but now I found I really didn’t mind so much. “No worries,” I replied. “I actually had someone to talk to.” I gestured back to the table where Shy had been sitting. But when I looked, he was gone. In his place was a small, rectangular sheet of paper. I reached for it and found something had been quickly written down:

“Had to run. But now you know where to go next time you want to know something! – S”

I turned the note over and found that it was actually a bookmark with the library’s hours of operation printed in bright bold letters. I smiled. “Cheeky little thing.” I murmured. Putting the bookmark safely in my pocket, I took one last good look around the room to see if I could spot Shy anywhere. But the only life in the big room now was just me and my tutee. I decided it best that I not tell all about what had happened in the past half hour, and she didn’t ask, so we sat down and got to work, finishing out the rest of the morning as had been planned.

I think deep down I know I’ll never see the tortoise again. But every week since then I go back to the library and look, just in case. And while I’m there, I pick a random book off the shelf and read. That way, if I ever do come across the Tortoise of All Knowing again, I’ll have something to tell him, too.

______________________

the P A T T E R N :

Shy the Tortoise by Karissa Cole 2013 promo2

Shy the Tortoise by Karissa Cole 2013 Sides1

M A T E R I A L S :

• Small amounts of worsted wight yarn in three colors:
(1) Main color used for body, head, tail, and legs – “Chocolate” (brown)
(2) Secondary colors used for upper shell – “Earth” (ombre)
(3) Tertiary color used for lower shell – “Warm Brown”

[I used both Loops & Threads Impeccable and Red Heart Super Saver]

• 8mm safety eyes [1 pair]
• Fiberfill stuffing
• Sewing supplies (scissors, pins, needles, thread)
• Craft pipe cleaners (any color – optional)
• G/7 4.5MM crochet hook

A B B R E V I A T I O N S:

MC – magic circle (magic loop/magic ring)
sc – single crochet(s)
IBL – in back loops
inc – increase
dec – decrease
ch – chain
*actions in asterisks should be repeated until round completion or to the indicated stopping point in the round*
(number in parentheses indicates total number of stitches after round/row completion)
FO – fasten off
RND – Round; worked in a spiral
RW – Row; worked back and forth
** a note about this pattern: This pattern is a little unlike some of my others. I freeformed this entire thing and wrote down what I did. I tried out a few ‘techniques’ I haven’t used in a pattern yet, so I do not recommend this project for a beginner. I’ve done my best to explain what I did and how, but I’m not too sure if it is all clear. I don’t want to scare you off though! I just want it to be noted that this pattern has not been fully tested so your results may vary. Any questions regarding the pattern or assembly just let me know and I will be happy to help :] **

Shy the Tortoise by Karissa Cole 2013 promo 3

I suggest reading through all the instructions before you begin.

H E A D

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *3inc, 3sc* (18)
RND 3) *3inc, 6sc* (24)
RNDs 4-6) *sc*
RND 7) *3sc, dec* (18) [attach eyes]
RND 8) *2sc, dec* (12)

Little mistake in the original rounds 7 and 8. (Sorry about that!) They should read as follows:

RND 7) *2sc, dec* (18) [attach eyes]
RND 8) *sc, dec* (12)
RNDs 9-10) *sc*
FO. I suggest leaving a long enough tail for sewing head to body.

Stuff lightly and shape.

Here I flattened out the front of the face and the bottom of the head a little. I also pinched the open end to make a little neck.

Here I flattened out the front of the face and the bottom of the head a little. I also pinched the open end to make a little neck.

L E G S (x4)

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *sc*
RND 4) 6dec, 6sc (12)
RNDs 5-8) *sc*
RND 9) 6sc, 3dec (6)
RNDs 10-11) *sc*
FO

Shy the Tortoise by Karissa Cole 2013 legs

Legs (head, body and lower shell also included in shot)

T A I L

Ch 6
RW 1) starting in second ch from hook: 5sc
FO

B O D Y [the body is what we will attach the head, legs, and tail to; it will end up being encased in our upper and lower shell later]

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RND 4) *3sc, inc* (30)
RND 5) *4sc, inc* (36)
RND 6) *5sc, inc* (42)
RND 7) *6sc, inc* (48)
RNDs 8-14) [7 rounds] *sc*
RND 15) *IBL: 6sc, dec* (42)

Because the point of this inner body is to more accurately portray the way a tortoise looks, all squidgy and happy encased in a hard protective shell, one could very well stop here and fasten off. Since almost all of this body will end up being hidden away inside our upper and lower shell pieces (instructions for which follow), not finishing the rest of the body will in no way affect the final, outer appearance of the tortoise. You can at this point sew on the legs, head, and tail, then stuff the body. (Stuffing will probably pop out the bottom, but attaching the lower shell later will take care of this.) However, hard-core tortoise makers (and those amigurumi makers who are well aquainted with OCD and could not live with the fact that somewhere inside their adorable finished reptile there was something someone could classify as unfinished) can continue as follows:

RND 16) *5sc, dec*
RND 17) *4sc, dec*
RND 18) *3sc, dec* [Stuff firmly now if you haven’t already]
RND 19) *2sc, dec*
RND 20) *sc, dec*
RND 21) *dec*
FO

Attach the head, tail, and legs. Below are photos of the finished tortoise showing the basic placements of each piece. Use these as a guide now for placing the head, tail, and legs. (We haven’t made the upper of lower shells yet, so keep in mind the limbs will be sewn onto the body you just made. The shells will come in later! I just didn’t have the camera with me when I sewed on the legs and stuff ;])

I sewed the head and front legs near each other on the body, then attached the tail and back legs

I sewed the head and front legs near each other on the body, then attached the tail and back legs

L O W E R  S H E L L

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RND 4) *3sc, inc* (30)
RND 5) *4sc, inc* (36)
RND 6) *5sc, inc* (42)
RND 7) *6sc, inc* (48)
RND 8) *7sc, inc* (54)
RND 9) *sc*
FO

U P P E R  S H E L L [this covers the tortoise body from the top; we will crochet the upper shell and the lower shell together right around the tortoise body]

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RND 4) *3sc, inc* (30)
RND 5) *4sc, inc* (36)
RND 6) *5sc, inc* (42)
RND 7) *6sc, inc* (48)
RND 8) *7sc, inc* (54)
RNDs 9-13) [5 rounds] *sc*

Don’t fasten off yet. Instead, take the body (complete with nicely fastened head, tail, and limbs) and place it inside the upper shell. Then, take the lower shell, place it under the body/upper shell and pin into place. Be sure to position the upper shell so that the yarn is as shown in the following photo:

Pin the upper shell and lower shell into place around the body

Pin the upper shell and lower shell into place around the body

Since we didn’t fasten off the upper shell, we’re going to crochet the two shells together right around the body. **This can be a little difficult, but as I really don’t like sewing, I opted for this method. Theoretically, sewing the pieces could work, although I haven’t tested how this would work with the rim we add later.**

Picking up where I left off on the upper shell, I crocheted the two shells together, encasing the body. (For those who haven’t crocheted two things together: Instead of inserting my hook through one stitch, I inserted it through the upper shell’s stitch AND the lower shell’s stitch, and then completed a sc like normal.)

When I came to the stitches around the back legs I simply crocheted only in the upper shell’s stitches. When I got past the leg (I ended up doing about 7 stitches just in the top shell around the leg) I continued crocheting the shells together. I repeated the process for the tail, the other back leg and the front legs and head.

Crochet the shells together around the body. I held the turtle upper shell up and started at the left front leg. (I paused and turned the tortoise upside-down for some photos to show how the pieces looked crocheted together)

Crochet the shells together around the body. I held the turtle upper shell up and started at the left front leg. (I paused and turned the tortoise upside-down for some photos to show how the pieces looked crocheted together)

When crocheting the shell pieces together, I worked counterclockwise starting with the upper shell up, starting at the left front leg

When crocheting the shell pieces together, I worked counterclockwise with the upper shell up, starting at the left front leg

Once you’ve crocheted all the way around, your tortoise body should be sitting snugly inside its new shell. But don’t fasten off yet: Next, I added a rim around the shell by crocheting 3 stitches in each stitch around. (For less of a frilly rim, only do 2 stitches in each stitch around.)

I did a second round of sc around the shells, this time doing 3sc in each stitch

I did a second round of sc around the shells, this time doing 3sc in each stitch

When you finish this round you’re done! Fasted off and weave in ends.

Done!

Done!

You’ve now got your very own all-knowing tortoise. Enjoy!

** Please be sure to note that this is an original design and pattern. I believe in the free sharing of techniques and ideas. Please do not abuse my desire to share with others. You are not permitted to sell any products made as the result of this pattern and/or design, nor are you permitted to sell the pattern or design. Please, if you do use my work in part or in whole, give credit where credit is due: direct others to this original posting so that they too can benefit.**

Pattern, design, photos, and story copyright Karissa Cole 2013. All rights reserved.

Look at that face. He totally wants a hug from you.

Look at that face. He totally wants a hug from you.

He’s Bluffing

Did you know that there are 2,598,960 possible 5-card poker hands when using 52 cards?

Believe it or not, I did. In fact, I’m pretty sure that number has been permanently burned into my long-term memory.

Not that I sit around all day figuring out and memorizing that kind of thing, mind you. It’s really just because playing cards are the basis of many math problems presented in the finite mathematics class I tutor. Many, many math problems feature a standard deck, in fact. To my great surprise, I found out last semester that many people don’t know the makeup of a deck of cards. So in preparation for the upcoming semester (starting next week) I bought a few decks for students to use as visual aids.

Naturally I thought it’d be fun to take a few photos beforehand, under the guise of readying for work, of course.

Royal Flush copyright Karissa Cole 2013

3 Hands by Karissa Cole 2013 copyright

Queen of Hearts by Karissa Cole 2013 copyright 2

Full House by Karissa Cole copyright 2013

I cannot for my life play poker. But I can calculate the odds of being dealt a royal flush in five cards. So I figure that’s something.

the Confused Owl

the Confused Owl: A short story and Amigurumi pattern by Karissa Cole

the Confused Owl promo by Karissa Cole

the Story

______________________

Taking in the fresh air, enjoying the scenery, letting your mind wander – sometimes there’s just nothing better than going for a quiet walk, you know? I’ve gone on many a simple walk in the past. And I’ve learned that if you walk far enough, you can find yourself in a completely different world.

No, really.

In fact, that’s exactly what happened.

It’s not often that I head out for a walk during January. Today, though, it was particularly sunny, and the air had just the right feel, and I was just the right kind of melancholy. So I bundled up and off I went.  I had no destination, no planned route. As was my habit on these little voyages I simply walked around, letting my feet decide where to take me. Soon enough my mind started to drift, and I was hardly even aware of my surroundings. In fact, I was so wrapped up in my own thoughts, I didn’t realize where I was until I was already there. . .

At some point I turned down a street completely canopied by trees. Living in a town nestled at the base of a mountain meant seeing several trees – especially ones lining quiet, back roads perfect for my long, simple walks – was quite commonplace. But somewhere in the back of my mind I felt there was something very different about these trees. In fact, soon everything began to feel different. But I couldn’t quite nail down what it was that made everything seem so odd to me, so I paid little attention and simply kept going, my mind wandering completely freely. I only barely noticed that the road I was on started to narrow and seemed to be a lot less traveled than most of the roads in my neighborhood. Still, I continued walking, more lost in my thoughts than anyone has ever been, I dare say. Suddenly the brightest purple I’d ever seen crept into my vision and started to take me away from my silly random ideas about clouds and pi and whatnot. Up ahead and to my right I spotted a beautiful bed of the brightest colored tulips I’d ever seen resting along the road. Striking yellow, purple, red, and orange flowers sprang up from lush green grass, gently swaying in the soft breeze. I let my thoughts turn to them, now, and began to think about how much I loved tulips and how odd it was to see them this time of year.

That’s when I stopped. I finally looked around.

It was January and where I lived that meant seeing cold, ice, snow, and lots of it. But as I peered around now, no trace of winter could be found. It looked like I stepped out of my frost-bitten world and right into a story-book illustration. The neighborhood street I thought I had been walking on was now nowhere in sight. Instead, I stood in the middle of a small dirt path that seemed to stretch on forever ahead and forever behind. It was surrounded by the amazingly tall trees I noticed earlier, but now I could see that they were capped with big, bright, green leaves.

I then realized why everything had seemed so different to me just a few minutes ago: it had been so long since I had seen warmth and colors, I suppose my brain just couldn’t quite process it. Instead, it seemed as though I had felt the world around me change before I could really see it, and so I thought for a moment about how odd that fact was. But the moment for that thought swiftly ended and I turned my attention back to the increasingly lovely scenery.

Instead of being icy and snow-covered, the ground here boasted nothing but bright green grass, save the little dirt foot-path. Grand hedges and rows of the most beautiful flowers sprang up here and there. The sunlight shown through the canopy of leaves and seemed to make everything glow. Every color was brighter than I’d even seen. Even the dirt beneath my feet was a soft, warm brown-gold that almost shimmered in the light. The air was warm, too, and felt just like it did on the perfect summer day.

Now, normally, I suppose, when a person goes for a walk and expects to be in one place but ends up someplace completely different and totally foreign, panic and confusion would immediately set in. To my great surprise, though, this is not what happened. I do admit to being a touch confused, though. But I decided I would question how a person could start off on the streets of a cold, wintery city, walk for twenty minutes and somehow end up waltzing right into a warm, bright forest later. In that moment, the warm air, the lovely scenery, and the gorgeous colors covering all of it were much too inviting for me to worry about things making sense.

Figuring there was no sense in going backward, as new and interesting things can usually only be found by going forward, I continued walking again, this time letting my mind wander a little less. After all, if I ended up here, my mind must have wandered just the right amount. Any farther and who knows where I might find myself.

All around dozens more flowers dotted the path, their colors singing wonderfully. I breathed in their hues, and listened to their songs. I had never been anywhere so perfect.

Suddenly I heard something just ahead and to the left. As I walked closer I could almost make out a tiny, little voice. Not one to pass up an opportunity to meet someone new, and being very curious by nature, I approached the source of the sound and pushed aside some shrubbery to see who was talking, and to whom.

Behind the leaves and flora there was a small clearing, where the sun shown down like a warm, glittering spotlight. Standing primly on a flat, smooth rock was what appeared to be some kind of owl, although admittedly not any kind of owl I’d seen before. He was very little but plump. His big eyes took up most of his head, and his feathers shone in the brightest blue. Below him on the ground stood several more little owls, each a different bright color.

Marveling at what I saw, I stood there watching, unnoticed.

“All right, ready?” the blue owl asked. He began waving his wings like a conductor leading an orchestra “One, two three. . . ”

As soon as he had finished saying “three” a little red owl sang out “Hooo!”  After him, another, an orange owl, also sang out with his own “Hooo, hooo!” A few more owls called out, “hooing” just as the others. They each seemed to know their part, and sang out just at the right time, all in turn. When finally it came down to the last owl, a chubby bright green one, every other owl turned expectantly toward him, awaiting his “hoo.”

But instead of saying “hoo” just as the others had, he called out:

“Why?”

Grumbles instantly erupted from the other owls.

“Oh for crying out loud,” the blue owl leading the group mumbled. Clearly frustrated he dropped his wings dramatically. “We’ve PRACTICED this Gerry! It’s ‘HOO.’We’re supposed to say ‘HOO’ not ‘WHY’!”

“Well maybe I don’t really care ‘who,'” little green Gerry replied. “Maybe I want to know ‘why’ instead.” he innocently said as he spread out his wings in a “that’s just the way I feel” kind of way.

“Oh good grief,” Blue said, squeezing his eyes shut and rubbing his forehead the way you do when you suddenly get a very intense headache. “Okay, everybody take five.” he called out. He then fluttered off his stage in a huff, quietly muttering “I just can’t work like this,” in a very prima donna fashion.

The other owls started to move about talking amongst themselves. But no one was talking to the little green owl. In fact, they all seemed to shift away from him, leaving him sitting alone. He sighed and started absentmindedly stroking the soft blades of grass with his wing.

Thinking that nothing so cute and sweet should look so unhappy, I cleared my throat to draw attention to myself, determined to cheer the little fellow up. I crouched down closer and told him I couldn’t help but overhear all that had just happened. He made a shrugging motion. “I just want to know “why,” that’s all,” he said. “There’s just so much out there to know about!” he exclaimed. I nodded in agreement as he continued: “I mean, why does the wind whistle? Why do the stars sparkle? Why do the trees stand so tall?” he asked, gaining more and more enthusiasm as he spoke. “Why do the flowers dance? Why do brooks babble? ” he began gesturing excitedly. “I even like to ask ‘what’ sometimes too,” he said, his excitement now completely bubbling over. “What’s behind the sky? What’s beneath the ground? What makes the colors so bright?” Practically dancing with joy, he rattled off a few more “whys” and “whats” and even a few “whens and “hows”.

Finally, when finished, he flopped back on the ground, a big smile on his face. “People think I’m just confused, and that I get what I’m supposed to say mixed up. But I can’t just ask ‘who’ all my life. It’s an important question sometimes, but there’s so much more to know. And I just want to know things is all. It makes me happy. I guess some people think that’s pretty crazy.”

“I don’t think that’s crazy at all!” I blurted. If I had felt any shock as the result of talking with a tiny neon owl with a curious mind, it had apparently worn off.

He looked up at me with a smile. “Really?” he asked, hopefully.

“Of course.” I replied. “I like to know things, too.”

He bounced up off the ground, clearly feeling much more cheerful than he had a minute ago. “My name’s Gerry.” he said pleasantly, offering up a wing. I took it and introduced myself.

“Wondering and asking and learning is great fun,” he started. “But wondering and asking and learning with a new friend? I think that’s going to be even better.” Gerry said happily. I smiled at my new little avian companion. I knew I’d have to find my way back home soon, but for now, I had other things to wonder about.

 

______________________

the P A T T E R N :

Little Green Owl by Karissa Cole

M A T E R I A L S :

• Small amounts of worsted wight yarn [I used Loops & Threads Impeccable]
• White felt cut into circles for eyes
• 8mm safety eyes [1 pair]
• Fiberfill stuffing
• Sewing supplies (scissors, pins, needles, thread)
• Craft glue
• Orange embroidery floss
• G/7 4.5MM crochet hook

A B B R E V I A T I O N S:

MC – magic circle (magic loop/magic ring)
sc – single crochet(s)
dc – double crochet
tc – triple crochet
hdc – half-double crochet
sl st – slip stitch
inc – increase
dec – decrease
ch – chain
*actions in asterisks should be repeated until round completion or to the indicated stopping point in the round*
(number in parentheses indicates total number of stitches after round/row completion)
FO – fasten off
RND – Round

[I suggest reading through the pattern before you begin.]

W I N G S (x2)

ch 6
starting in the second ch from hook work as follows: sl st, sc, hdc, dc, tc, ch 2, sc in final stitch (you’ve already done a tc in this stich, but go ahead and sc in it again). FO.

Making the wings (the Confused Owl by Karissa Cole 2013)

Making the wings

M A I N  B O D Y (x1)

[Worked in a spiral. I recommend staggering increases and decreases.]

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RND 4) *3sc, inc* (30)
RND 5) *4sc, inc* (36)
RNDs 6-12) *sc*
RND 13) *4sc, dec* (30)
RND 14) *3sc, dec* (24)
RND 15) *2sc, dec* (18)

PAUSE

Don’t fasten off just yet. We’re now going to attach the eyes, embroider the beak, and sew on the wings.

Take your first circular piece of felt, cut a very small slit, then the insert a safety eye through slit. Repeat for second eye. (I suggest marking off the position of the eyes on each piece of felt before you cut, in order to make sure they’re even.) Position the felt/safety eye combo on the head. Be careful here: make sure you properly center the eyes by keeping your yarn tail on the right as shown in the photos below. Embroider the beak. Secure eyes with plastic washers and a bit of craft glue. Attach wings. See photos for suggested positioning. Stuff the body now, too.

Position eyes, embroider face, (secure eyes), attach wings, and stuff

Position eyes, embroider face, (secure eyes), attach wings, and stuff

We are now ready to finish up our owl! All that’s left to do is pinch the top of the fabric together and then crochet closed. I used a pin to make sure my owl was all nice and even before I began. I then removed it when I got far enough along.

Crochet the top closed

Crochet the top closed

Here’s another angle showing this step. Basically, instead of making a regular single crochet in just one stitch, slide your hook through two stitches: one in front and one directly behind it. Then complete the sc stitch like normal.

Crocheting the top closed - detail

Crocheting the top closed – detail

Once you get the the end break the yarn and finish off. Done!

I have already started making a small army of these little fellas. They are great to randomly spread around the house and see who notices.

all the Little Owls by Karissa Cole 2013

I can’t take full credit for this design. These little guys are basically just squished ovals. Although my pattern is unique, some other designers have patterns similar to mine that’ve already been published. I just want to give them a shoutout to recognize the fact that they came up with this idea first:

“Owl Amigurumi” by Kawaii Crochet

“Baby Owl Ornaments” by Josephine Wu

“Owlets” by Brigitte Read

“little owls” by Amy Chou

There are actually dozens more out there just like these, each slightly different, so I don’t think design credit goes to any one person.

I want to stress, though, that I did not use any of these patterns, nor did I use any one in particular as a base for my owls. So if you do use my pattern you are required to give me credit. My pattern is free for you to use as you wish (excluding mass production and distribution, of course) on the one condition that wherever you post pictures or present your finished confused owl you give me direct credit for the pattern, directing people to my blog. That’s all I ask. Otherwise, please enjoy!

Story and photos are copyright Karissa Cole 2013 and may not be reproduced without written permission. ©

Walking through Space

WalkingThruSpace by Karissa Cole

Recently I was asked to create a tutorial regarding some of the celestial things I make. This is not it. Actually, this is, for lack of a better word, practice.

I’ve never actually made a full celestial-related tutorial before. I’ve done a few walkthroughs but no step-by-steps. This is probably partially because when I’m working in Photoshop I completely lose all track of everything – time, layers, processes – and just go with the flow, see what happens. That and I’ve never considered my work worth repeating. But there are a few beginners out there who, for now anyway, disagree and would like to know how I do what I do. So I thought it might be fun to rise to the challenge of creating something neatish and writing down the steps used so someone else could follow along.

The piece above is my very rough draft. A testing ground, if you will, for techniques and design aspects. I didn’t include all of the exact steps, but rather the general methods used. The final tutorial I create will most likely deal with a more complicated image in depth; this blue one is really very simple and didn’t involve all that much. But it served me well here, where I could use it to help myself figure out how I might want to lay out the future tutorial. I’ve taken my notes and learned what I need to improve upon for the final guide. Now I just have to, you know, make it.

I may end up back-burnering the tutorial for just a bit though, as, in other news, I’ve been in an amigurumi-making mood for a week or so and I’m just on a roll. Four new patterns are already either in the works or completely done.

I’ve also got another relatively big project in the works. Nothing too phenomenal, but there will definitely be some new stuff – ami patterns, short stories, illustrations, and new photo shoots – showing up soon. Somewhere in all of this the tutorial will be published, of course. Keep an eye out!

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