Massive(ly late) Christmas gift post

So this post is late. I mean really late, Like, these are Christmas presents in here, late. I was going to stagger all of this awesome out over several posts, but my habits have been so lax lately, I figured it was best to get them all out in one go. So here it is: the Massive(ly late) Christmas gift post.

First up, my brother’s Christmas present. He is quite a prosaic lad; what he wanted was $20 to buy a Steam game. What he got was $20 and a cross-stitched Portal sign:

cake untruth

This untruthful cake was only part of a whole incredible series of Portal warning signs by the Crafty Bikyclist, and they are all available as free patterns. Highly recommended for the geek in your life.

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For my Dad’s Christmas present, I went with a pattern I had bought some months previously. When I was hunting for patterns to make his birthday platypus, I found Planet June’s Sea Otter – way too adorable to resist!


I remembered (from childhood trips to the zoo) that Dad was fond of the cuteness of otters, so I crocheted this one, complete with clam-shell accessory. He now sits atop the TV, adorning it with his adorability.

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The last gift in the list was somewhat nerve-wracking – I wanted to cross-stitch a Christmas present for my boyfriend’s mum, who I was meeting for the first time. (Spoiler: We traveled over to visit in January, I met her and she is rad. We high-fived over cooking, craft and trashy novels.)

I planned the design concept very carefully – I didn’t want to stitch something offensive, but nor did I want to make something staid and boring. In the end, I decided on an old-school pattern from one of my ex-library books; I picked a black bird because I knew she loved animals, and because I wanted to put a twist in the whole “Nevermore” trope. The resulting cross-stitch was somewhat more upbeat than Poe:

awesome raven

I was very relieved when the pattern fit so neatly into this frame; I checked the size before starting, but didn’t take into account the curlicues of the leaves. Thankfully, it all worked out – the stitched leaves slotting neatly into the spaces left by the brass foliage.

As a gift, it was very successful – it turns out blackbirds are one of her favourites. When we left, it was on display next to her bird cage, perhaps to encourage the budgie to similar heights of ‘Awesome!’.

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Posted by on March 31, 2013 in Craftiness


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A nautical theme

For Mum’s birthday this year, I had something stashed and ready to roll – a little cross-stitched lighthouse. I made it for Mum years and years ago, then put it ‘somewhere safe’ and forgot about it completely. I found it again when I moved house last year, and this time, I actually remembered its existence when planning for gifts. Add a vintage frame and voila!


I also wanted to crochet something cute to go with it – Dad already got the whales, so for Mum, I went looking for seal and sea lion patterns. I eventually found one on Ravelry, from Sandsteel Designs. Some of the results looked…variable, but the pattern had some extremely clever shaping. I had faith that if I got the gauge right, I could pull it off. I fished out a variegated greyish-brown cotton, sat myself in front of the TV and got stitching. Result? Adorability!

baby seal

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Additional! I have an excessive amount of Christmas craft to blog, so stay tuned for an upcoming four-part post full of holiday cheer, gamer craft, mysteries and other such signifiers of the season.

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Posted by on January 10, 2013 in Craftiness, Deviousness


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A Cavalcade of Crustacea, or, Release the Kraken

Some months ago, a friend of mine requested crocheted lobsters, so I found a free pattern and stitched them up:

A friend of hers then requested a crab, so I took a some heavy liberties with this pattern, and made this little guy:

Another friend suggested some mythical creatures may be in order – perhaps a Manticore, or a Kraken… Manticores seemed a little too challenging for my amigurumi skills, so I went for the Terror of the Deep. I did some research, which led me to pose my firend a question: squid-like Kraken, or octopus-like Kraken? He opted for the squid-like model, which gladdened my heart, because the free octopus patterns I found were not particularly likely to inspire fear in the minds of the multitudes.

The pattern I settled on was loosely written, but the result was fantastic:

(I translated the instructions as I stitched, and the resultant pattern is now over on my free patterns page, with many thanks to the original designer, Trish of Genuine Mudpie.)

The Kraken was very well received, but it left a gnawing sensation in my brain – I could not find any free octopus amigurumi patterns that I liked, so perhaps I should design one. Translating the Kraken pattern was easy enough, after all; I speak the language, and I know what shapes I want…

This sloshed around in my head for a bit, and eventually I bit the bullet and did it. You can now head over to my free patterns page to find my first original amigurumi design, The Actual Octopus. It’s easy (you only need to know chain, slip stitch, single crochet, increases and decreases), it’s quick (only 11 rounds!) and it looks like an Actual Octopus. If you make one, please send me pictures – I’d love to see how it turns out!

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Posted by on November 18, 2012 in Craftiness


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My favourite monotreme

I was stumped for what to make for my Dad’s birthday this year. Just completely puzzled about what to make. Mum gave me the brainwave, finding a platypus pattern in one of the books she’d borrowed from the library. I loved the idea, so I started to make it, but the utter lack of shaping made me sad and unwilling to continue. The platypus was still a solid concept, though, so I scoured the internet for better patterns. My search ended, as was fairly inevitable, with Planet June’s platypus pattern. The shaping was very clever, and the end result fantastic:

My dad was fairly chuffed with this crocheted monotreme, as he rather enjoys platypus-spotting when given the opportunity. (For the uninformed, platypuses are extremely rare, and extremely hard to see in wild environments, given that these brown creatures hang out, largely, in the brown mud of brown creeks.) I was pretty happy too – it’s the length of my forearm, and therefore the biggest piece of amigurumi I’ve made to date, and yet it’s still really cute!


Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Craftiness


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Pod people

Earlier this year, my parents went on a whale-watching holiday, and Dad was quite taken with the tiny (huge) baby whales that they saw. So, for Fathers’ Day this year, I made him a pod of whales, complete with pale whale babies. The pattern is from Planet June, and the results are extremely cute:


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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in Craftiness


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Marking my territory

When I moved house earlier this year, it took a while before it really felt like home. One of the things that aided the transition was this:

(Please ignore the weeds. We do, after all.)

This yarnbomb is on the tree outside my house; it’s more “me” than any other yarnbomb I’ve ever put up. I used leftover scraps of neutral-toned Noro, a gorgeous Japanese luxury yarn – most of the scraps were pure wool, but some were also wool/silk blend. The colours are beautiful, and the all-natural fibres are well suited to longer-term installations (which I intend this to be!) thanks to their breathability.

This yarnbomb has been through one inspection so far – the rental agent noted, upon leaving, that there was a “scarf on that tree”. We agreed that yes, there was a scarf on the tree, which could be removed easily if requested. With no such request forthcoming, this yarnbomb hereby stakes my claim. Home is where the craft is.

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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Craftiness


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This is the giant post of boyfriend craft

Over the last year or so, I have been making various pieces of crafty awesome for my boyfriend (also awesome). But I have been exceptionally lax in blogging these creations. So, in an extremely tardy fashion, here are some of the geeky boyfriend crafts I have made over the last year:

Birthday! A quote from his favorite Terry Pratchett character, Sam Vimes, from the book Night Watch – the flowers at the bottom are lilac blossoms, which are seriously plot-relevant in the book.

Also, a cross-stitched triceratops birthday card! The triceratops is from from Makoto’s Cross-Stitch Super Collection, which has fantastic mini-designs.

Christmas! Cthulu cross-stitch from Needlenoodles, and Zombie Vampire from Zombie Felties. We had at the time been playing a lot of Arkham Horror; on reflection, that fed heavily into my crafty psyche. Plus, cutesy Lovecraftian nightmares and steampunk-style zombie vampires are just cool, y’know?

Valentines Day: a heart, of course! I stitched this ages ago, but could not pass it over as a Valentines gift: it just struck the right note between geeky and romantic.

Anniversary! A Weighted Companion Cube from Nerdigurumi (and also, well, Portal). Made after we began cohabiting, and therefore crocheted in secrecy, at odd times and in weird places. Stitched with love and weighted with glass beads, your Weighted Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you.

Aaaaaand birthday again! A hand-embroidered felt d20, of my own devising! Again stitched as a covert operation. The project began as a crocheted d20, but in the end, felt was a much more manageable medium, especially with that much embroidery and sewing-up. While it’s not entirely game-legal, it does roll surprisingly true!

 Also, I made a Jaffa marble cake with dark chocolate ganache. It was delicious!

Needless to say, we are well suited in our geeky tastes.


Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Craftiness


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