Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nerd Wars 2 Dissertation Finished, Gallery of Hats :D


 Back in June (before we went to Japan :) I posted about my big summer project, what they call a dissertation for Nerd Wars 2. My proposal was to make 14 hats, one for each week of Nerd Wars 2, to be donated to relief efforts for the survivors of the March, 2011 earthquake & tsunami in the Touhouku region of Japan. The deadline for my original proposal is August 31st & I'm happy to say that I posted the finished project today. Yay!

 Here's a gallery of the hats I made & some commentary on them:

Hat #1) Yotsuba& Hat. The green Fair Isle hat is themed to the “Yotsuba&” manga. The main character, Yotsuba, is a little girl with green hair who wears it in 4 ponytails, like a 4-leaf-clover (which is also reflected in her name, as Yotsuba means “4 leaves”). The design on the hat could be a 4-leaf clover, & it’s green like her hair. It’s made from Knitpicks Swish DK & my own pattern.
Hat #2) This the “Naruto & His Mom” hat. In chapter 498, “My Mom’s Red Hair”, of the Naruto manga we learn that Naruto’s mom was a redhead & that Naruto’s hair is yellow like his dad’s. This hat, made from KnitPick’s Bare DK superwash merino that I dyed with procion dyes, reflects the colours of their hair, & celebrates their reunion. The pattern is Lion Brand’s crochet earflap hat, & I used an I/9.5.50mm hook.
Hat #3) The Tsubasa Sempai hat, in honour of the character from the manga “Gakuen Alice”. This character is a friend & supporter of the main character, Sakura Mikan, & is most often shown wearing a fun & funky hat. His Alice is the power to manipulate people by using their shadow, & the colours of this hat have a strong light & shadow component as well. In the manga he’s often wearing an earflap hat. This hat was made from Knitpicks Bare superwash DK yarn that I dyed with procion dyes & the above-mentioned earflap hat pattern.
Hat #4) The Kobato hat, named for the title character of the Kobato manga series by CLAMP. Kobato is required to wear a hat at all times & the ones she wears are always very cute, often with flowers, bows, & lace. I designed an earflap hat around a motif from the wonderful book that is an hommage to Kobato’s cute hats. It’s made from Swish DK.
Hat #5) Cardcaptor Sakura Hat, from the manga of the same name, also by CLAMP. Sakura wears lot of hats to co-ordinate with the costumes she wears as she chases down the Clow cards to become the Master of the Clow. This knitted baby hat has a colour scheme that reminds me of Sakura plus a star motif on either side like the hat she’s wearing in the picture. It’s made from Serenity sock weight yarn, & the motif is from onion skin-dyed sock yarn, the pattern is my own design.
Hat #6) I’m calling this one the Ouran Cosplay Hat because it reminds me of the cosplay turbans from the manga Ouran Koko Hosutobu volume 13 (pictured below the hat). It’s the The Antelope Hat (a pattern from Ravelry), which I sized down a bit to make it child-size. It’s made from Woolease for easy care.
Hat #7) Nausicaa Hat. I present the hat inspired by the manga by Hayao Miyazaki himself, Nausicaa. It’s the Aviatrix hat (another Ravelry pattern) made from superwash, sport-weight wool that I dyed myself. Plus I added mittens to match.
Hat #8) Bear Hat. This hat (with little bear ears) is dedicated to the character Bear from the Gakuen Alice Manga. Bear was created by one of the students whose Alice allows him to animate stuffed animals using part of his own soul. Unfortunately, this ability also shortens the life the the user. Bear is first introduced as a recluse living all alone in a cabin in the woods, a violent & non-speaking creature who inspires fear in all of the students. Eventually, the main character of the series (Mikan) makes friends with Bear & learns that he’s violent because he feels terrible about his creator having given up part of his soul to create him. Bear becomes a sympathetic character & eventually makes friends.I made it from Woolease yarn & is my own design.
Hat #9) Shikamaru Hat. This hat was inspired by the character Shikamaru from Naruto. Shikamaru is a classmate of Naruto’s & is acknowledged by all to be a genius. He’s also incredibly lazy, just barely passing his classes instead of aceing them because he’s just too lazy to care. Almost all of the adult ninja in Naruto wear camoflage-type clothing (while the kids tend to wear more colourful clothing), but Shikamaru wears camo from the time you first meet him. This would have been a great baby hat for him :) This was made with Berroco Sox yarn & is also my own pattern.

Hat #10) This is the R2-D2 Hat. I designed it myself, & knitted it from Swish DK, using size 2 & 5 needles. It matches the R2-D2 Mittens (see below) that I made for a Nerd Wars 2 challenge. There is, indeed, a Star Wars comic :)
Hat #11) The Pikachu Hat! It’s crocheted from a book of Japanese Pokemon-themed patterns. Pikachu is a popular Pokemon & is featured in manga, anime, & video games. It’s made from Caron Sheep(ish) yarn.
Hat #12) The Pokeball Hat, from Ravelry. Another Pokemon-themed hat made from Caron Sheep(ish).
Hat #13) The Pu-reen Hat. This is the Pokemon called “Jigglypuff” in English (“pu-reen” means “pudding” :). Made from the Sheep(ish) from the Japanese Pokemon pattern book.
Hat #14) The Rang Hat. Rang is a mouse character from the Korean manwha “One Fine Day”. Rang is one of the cutest mousies ever created. I love this series! It’s made from Woolease yarn & is my own design.
Here are some nerdy statistics from my dissertation: 
* I used 7 different kinds of yarn to made these hats, in 3 different weights: worsted, DK, & fingering.
  • I used 11 different patterns, 7 of them from books or other sources, & 5 patterns were my own design. Half of the hats were from my own designs.
  • I used 25 different colours of yarn to make these hats :D
 And here are a few more projects that are going (or have gone) to the kids in Touhouku:

 The Twin Spica hat & mitts are already there, sent in June for one of the Nerd Wars 2 Round 1 challenges,

the Bunny mittens, made for another NW2R1 challenge,

The R2-D2 mittens, made for a NW2R2 challenge,

and the Frog Hat, made for a NW2R1 challenge.

I've also decided to make a pair of mittens for each hat, & so far 9 of the hats have mittens:
Which leaves me 6 more pairs of mittens (if you add the Frog Hat ones :).

And here's what I wrote when I posted the finished project, describing the process of making these hats:

I’m really glad that I was able to use lots of different techniques & yarns to make these hats because I never burnt out on hat-making & kept coming up with ideas for more. It was a lot of fun to theme them to different manga characters, especially since I don’t personally know the children who will receive these hats & so I could put happy thoughts of the characters into the hats as I made them :) Also, because I don’t know the children, I tried to keep in mind what kinds of things people in Japan enjoy or would like in the hats. One thing that’s really popular there (particularly with women & children) is anything that’s cute, so I made a lot of hats that are cute & that don’t require much explanation (for example, the R2-D2 hat, because Star Wars is pretty popular there &, of course, the Pokemon hats). Two of the hats were made while I was in Japan this summer & one of them even sparked a conversation with a lady on the train to Kamakura, which was fun. As of right now, I have made 9 pairs of mittens to match the hats. I will make 5 more pairs to add to the package before I send it, since I don’t feel right sending hats without mittens.
While we were visiting Japan we stayed with a friend who has spent the summer counselling earthquake survivors, many of whom who are suffering from PTSD & other anxiety disorders. She said that things there are still pretty bad because, even though they are working very hard to create new housing for all of the people in shelters, it’s not so easy to recreate livelihoods & fill the gaps left by missing family members. The earthquake & tsunami aftermath are also very much in the daily consciousness of the Japanese & we saw quite a few shows on tv while we were there that showed survivors as they struggle to put their lives back together. In Tokyo, every taxi we saw had a bumper sticker that said “Ganbarou Nihon” (“Do Your Best, Japan!”) & I found stickers at a temple that were being sold to fund relief efforts (& bought a few).
These little hats are not going to put make a huge difference, I know. But I hope that their cheerfulness & warmth will brighten the lives of the children who receive them & also the lives of the people who see the kids wearing the hats.

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