Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My Favorite Geek Crafters

I'm a crafter, and have been since I was small.  I'm happiest when I have at least one active project (because, who am I kidding, I always have six or more sitting half-finished in my craft room).  I sew, crochet, knit, sculpt, pepakura, cross-stitch... and there is a lot more that I want to learn.

I will be sharing my own nerdy crafts on this blog, but this post will be a list of my favorite craft bloggers and patterns.

Since this post ended up much longer than I originally planned, I've hidden it behind the jump. Enjoy!

First off...
Twinkie Chan!
Twinkie Chan makes crochet patterns and crafts.  You can buy them at her Etsy store or at her new online shop, Yummy You!  Her patterns aren't typically geek-themed, but they are food-themed, and who doesn't want to wear a scarf made of popcorn or sushi?  These things could totally be worked into a cosplay as well, like the cupcake scarf for a winter Vanellope von Schweetz, complete with peppermint candy ear muffs and a big puffy coat!  Riiiight?

Her book, "Twinkie Chan's Crochet Goodies for Fashion Foodies," can be found at Amazon*.  And she also makes patterns for the Michael's chain of craft stores; these can be found online for FREE!

I own her book, I've bought her book for friends, and I can say that her patterns are geared towards the novice crocheter.  The stitch diagrams in her book are some of the easiest to follow, and the patterns are usually limited to a few basic stitches.

* I have no idea what happened to the price of the paperback, so I linked to the Kindle version. The paperback was only around $10 each time I bought it... out of print, maybe?

Amigurumi is the Japanese craft of knitting or crocheting tiny stuffed figures.  Patterns for basic forms and characters can be found on Ravelry and other craft websites, but Emjay at Nerdigurumi focuses on characters that are, well, nerdy.  A variety of fandoms are represented in her patterns, and best of all, the patterns are FREE!  My favorites are Kirby, the Portal Companion Cube, and the Minecraft Creeper.  She's not updating very much anymore, but there are plenty of patterns already available on the site to keep any crafter busy.

Pixelated Mushroom
If you like Doctor Who and can crochet, then you need to check out the Pixelated Mushroom blog.  This blog is what taught me about amigurumi, when I found her pattern for a tiny Eleven shortly after the release of the fifth series.  I was so inspired that I took her pattern for the larger Ten and modified it to make a large Eleven - my own Raggedy Doctor!  (she has since released a pattern for a Big and Cuddly Eleven)  She has Doctor Who themed patterns, including amigurumi Doctors, larger stuffed characters, and gloves, as well as plenty of non-geeky patterns and posts about other crafts.  You can find her Doctor Who patterns free at her Ravelry account.

The Geeky Hooker
Another crochet blog.  I just learned about the Geeky Hooker via Reddit.  They make amigurumi characters and then give them away at Comic Con by hiding them and tweeting tips to their locations.  How fun is that!?  Since I will be going to Comic Con this year, I intend to keep an eye out for these little guys.

Patterns on the blog include the Monarch's henchmen from The Venture Bros. and a Christmas Grinch.  These patterns also provide the foundation shape for a lot of the characters, so these patterns could be modified to make unique characters.

(This post is a little heavy on crochet - if you don't crochet, sorry about that.  I've been crocheting for over twenty years, and because I find it very easy and versatile I tend to gravitate towards patterns by other crocheters.)

Jen over at Cake Wrecks has a personal blog called Epbot.  While it's not strictly a crafting blog, Jen and her husband John make a lot of cool stuff - and then share how to make it via her blog.  I love blogs that actually share how to make things.  Though I would love her blog even if she didn't have so many nice tutorials.  Jen makes a lot of thoughtful posts on a variety of topics, spreads awareness of artists through her monthly art giveaway, and is an avid photographer - she's always posting her pics of Disney World and convention cosplayers.  (And check out her own cosplay - I love her Lady Vadore!)

Check out Jen's tutorials to make a steampunk ray gun, goggles, and lightsaber, leather cosplay masks, and a Portal 2 lemon grenade.  Jen and John also made the AT-AT rocker that was auctioned by their local 501st Legion.  The template available at their Etsy store.

Geek Crafts
Like the name implies, this blog features links and photos of geeky crafts submitted to their site.  It includes a wide variety of fandoms and craft types, and is a great way to learn about new patterns or find inspiration.  Don't expect the featured patterns to be free - they link to a lot of Etsy stores and paid Ravelry designs.  While I love free patterns (who doesn't?) if the patterns are good enough or include some technique I don't know, I don't mind kicking a few bucks to the creative person who came up with it.

Favorite Etsy stores and Ravelry accounts:
This is a short list of pattern sellers on Etsy and Ravelry whose work I like.  I've bought a few and have been inspired by others to make my own patterns.

  • Tree of Gondor sweater chart by DragonCrafter on LiveJournal. This is one I've wanted to make for a while, but knitting sweaters takes so long and I still need to finish my Star Wars Christmas sweater...
  • PixyStitches - no longer on Etsy but she's opened her own online store.  This cross stitch of Cave Johnson's incendiary lemon quote from Portal 2 is perfect. I've made it, it's super easy to follow, and looks great on my mantle - and makes a great conversation starter for people who do or do not know the Portal games.  Check out the rest of her store for a variety of geek and pop culture inspired patterns.
  • Lucy Ravenscar on Etsy and Ravelry - looking up the link for her Star Wars amigurumi has proven dangerous.  I already loved the Star Wars amigurumi she makes, but there are new patterns since the last time I looked (OMG check out the Jabba the Hutt and Salacious B. Crumb!!!)  Wicket the Ewok is available for free on her Ravelry store, and her Etsy store has plenty of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Adventure Time, and unique designs available for purchase.
  • Crochet skull scarf/ Day of the Dead sugar skulls by Darlene Harris on Ravelry.  I almost had this figured out but the teeth stumped me (Ahh! it was a double crochet!), so I caved and bought it.  But I've made scarves for my biological anthropologist friends using the pattern - definitely worth the $3.  A similar pattern can be found for free here at Kristin's Krazy Knits, but the eyes are made differently.
  • Starbuck's Mandela/Eye of Jupiter hat by QuirkyKnitGirl.  I've made this one, but it turned out too big because my gauge was off.  But it is still very cool and a little more understated than most of the other patterns I've linked.
  • WeeLittleStitches on Etsy has plenty of cross stitch patterns for sale. My favorites are the Star Wars patterns (so many to choose from!) and the IT Crowd cross stitch.
  • Jen Spears Star Wars Droid Beanies on Ravelry
  • Louie's Loops and associated Ravelry account - I love his Iron Man fingerless mitts and Avengers amigurumi designs.  

If you're in need of knitting and crochet tips (since this post is almost exclusively knitting and crocheting patterns) Youtube is a great resource.  I like the Lion Brand Yarn tutorials when I forget a stitch or get confused.  They have Learn to Knit and Learn to Crochet playlists.

Bonus: Greedo by Allison Hoffman on Ravelry. Stumbled upon this while looking up links and I LOVE it.  I have a weak spot for Star Wars crochet...

Stay tuned for more crafty posts - patterns I'll be sharing include my own Portal 2 lemon grenade, a Star Wars knit sweater, and a list of cosplay resources I've been using to make my own Rule 63 Loki costume, inspired by this photoshop of Katie McGrath's "Merlin" character, Morgana.

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