Thursday, June 9, 2011

More Nerd Wars 2 Projects

Hi again! I've been really busy creating & it's a good thing, because otherwise I'd be thinking too much about the fact that we are getting on a plane in 2 1/2 weeks & flying to Japan! Don't get me wrong, I am very, very excited to be going back & seeing friends & eating wonderful food & just being there. But I also get very, very nervous when anticipating travel (particularly traveling halfway across the world!), so it's been a wonderful thing to be working on my Nerd Wars 2 challenges & not thinking too much about the traveling just yet.

For the "An Adage a Day" challenge (make something that illustrates a saying or adage) I chose the Japanese saying "ひゃくぶんはいっけんにしかず" which is very similar to the English "a picture is worth a thousand words". And to illustrate this adage, I made this pair of thumbless baby mittens using the 2-colour knitting technique (aka Fair Isle Knitting) which I learned from the photos in the book "Fox & Geese & Fences" by Robin Hanson. The yarn is KnitPicks superwash merino DK which I dyed using procion fibre-reactive dyes, plus a bit of pink Swish DK for the bunnies. The pattern is my own design.
For the team spirit aspect, the bunnies represent the character Haninozuka Mitsukuni (Honey Sempai) from Ouran KoKo Hosutobu (Ouran High School Host Club) by Hatori Bisco. As you can see in the picture, this character carries a pink bunny around (even though he is a senior in high school!). I found the bunnies charted for embroidery in a Debbie Bliss book, but worked them as Fair Isle instead.

Then there's this little bag, crocheted with KnitPicks Simply Cotton Sport & a size D/3/3.25mm hook. This was for the Team Spirit challenge "There is No I in Team". The challenge is to make something that expresses your feelings for your particular team/fandom. This one took some thinking... & I learned a lot during the research part of it. I settled on making something for a character in one of my favourite manga (& anime) series, Bleach by Kubo Tite. One of my favourite Bleach characters is the 13 Bantai (squadron) Taichou (captain) Ukitake Jyuushirou.
You can see him, with the white hair, in the pictures behind the bag. Along with being a beautiful & elegant man, he is also very wise & kind. He's an amazing warrior, too (he's a shinigami, a defender of the realm of the souls of the dead) in spite of having had a chronic illness (believed to be tuberculosis) most of his long (1000+ years) life. He's often shown drinking tea (when not in battle) & this led me to think about tea/tea ceremony/tea ceremony accoutrements. As I researched tea ceremony I learned about shifuku, which are fancy bags that hold tea utensils & canisters of tea. I combined the idea of shifuku with a design in Kumiko Sudo's book "Omiyage" for a sewn kusadama (traditional flower ball decoration, often made from origami) bag that is suitable for tea utensils.

I chose the "Granny Pentagon" motif from Heather Lodinsky's "150 Knit & Crochet Motifs" because, when made in the colour combo I chose, it looks like little, 5-petaled sakura blossoms. The white reflects Ukitake's white hair & Taichou Haori (kimono jacket), which is white & lined in the reddish-brown colour at the top of the bag. I really like the way it turned out! I think I'm going to make another one in a slighly different colour scheme for a friend in Japan whose birthday we'll be celebrating while we're there...
I also finished hat number 2 for my dissertation project, shown above modeled by Yoda :)
I'm calling it the "Naruto & his Mom Hat". In chapter 498 of the Naruto manga, we finally meet Naruto's mom (who died not long after he was born). The chapter is entitled "My Mom's Red Hair".  Naruto's hair is yellow, like his dad. This hat combines the yellow & red of their hair & celebrates their reunion- even if it was in Naruto's mind/soul. It was very satisfying to finally learn the back-story of Naruto's parents, who made the ultimate sacrifice so that their son (& everyone in the whole village) could live. I dyed this yarn also, using the KnitPicks superwash merino DK & procion dyes. I crocheted it using an I/9/5.50mm hook & Lion Brand's crochet earflap hat pattern (one of my favourites).

So, thank you Nerd Wars 2! You are providing me with great distraction when I really need it, the opportunity to learn things I might not have otherwise have learned, & a great sense of accomplishment, as 4 out of the 6 June challenges are done!! 

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