Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Project Hydra - A Bad Case of Start-itis

Lately, I've had a bad case of start-itis. I was finishing my many knitted projects fairly quickly, so was starting two projects for every one that I finished. It was a form of Project Hydra -- cut off one head and more grow in its place.

As you might imagine, this propensity was going to lead me into a lot of trouble. At first, this system worked because I was knitting quick small projects, like hats.

Then, I started projects that were bigger in scope, like Louisa from CocoKnits. (I'm 16 inches into the sweater.)

And Leftie, by Martina Behm, which is an easy shawl but grows quickly. I love these colors!

I still had to knit up horns for a friend's Viking hat that I had promised for his birthday.

AND....I still had a few other things on the needles, like Dragons, Dragons, Dragons by Mary Scott Huff, which is a complicated fair isle pattern cowl. 

(I'm much farther along than this photo suggests)

My Doctor Who cowl for the Who Knits CAL on the podcast. And I'm not even counting the socks I have on the needles. Needless to say, the practical knitter in me started channeling Elizabeth Zimmerman. 

What was I doing?!? 

I couldn't be expected to finish any given project in a reasonable amount of time if I was splitting my time in between multiple large projects!  I mean, I know that I like having different projects for different occasions --- simple stockinette for when I have to pay attention; complicated projects for when I can sit down and really concentrate; etc....but this was getting out of hand.

At heart, I'm more of a project knitter -- I love making projects that I can use, which is problematic if I'm not actually able to finish an object TO use.

I think it's time to cut off all the Hydra heads at once.....

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cosplaying Hawkingbird (aka Kate Bishop's Hawkeye)

I'm going to try and be better about some of my cosplay / costuming diaries. For the upcoming con, I decided to go as Kate Bishop from the Young Avengers comic book series (2005-2006)

She has several outfits, but I plan on making her very first outfit that she kludged together. She was attending a wedding (presumably as a maid of honor) before joining with the other Young Avengers to help defeat Kang. In order to join the fight, Kate puts on gear that she finds in the Avenger's mansion, including:
  • Mockingbird's Battle Staves and mask
  • Swordsman's Sword
  • Black Widow's utility belt
  • Hawkeye's bow and arrows.
The other Sidekicks nickname her "Hawkingbird" when she appears as in the above frame.  (Later, Captain America gives her Hawkeye's bow and calls her "Hawkeye", thus dubbing her the "new Hawkeye" ---- that is until Clint Baront seemingly comes back from being "dead". After that, there are two Hawkeyes, which does cause some confusion.)

I intend on making nearly all of her costumes, starting with her very first one --- the "Hawkingbird" version. I want to make this for Convolution 2015 as my friend, Baronlaw, will be the Clint Barton version of Hawkeye.

Now, in this particular costume, she carries a LOT. She grabs whatever she can find to go into battle. She straps the battle staves to her leg, but I'm not wholly sure how she carries both the sword and the bow effectively. In the actual comic book, she is conveniently shown using one or the other but not necessarily carrying both. And at one point, she does lose the sword during a fight. So, for my purposes, the sword is a lower priority for the outfit. (Also, I think she'll be recognizable without the sword and it'll be easier to wander the convention halls without it.)

I have a plan of attack for her outfit and have already started construction on some pieces of it. Everything is pretty straight forward and "easy". My biggest concern is finding or making that belt. It looks vaguely from the 80s. It's supposed to be Black Widow's utility belt, but it doesn't quite look it.

Or this one

I'll definitely be making it "screen accurate" to the comic book, but I'm not convinced that it is Black Widow's belt. I'll be posting in-progress photos of her costume as I work on it.

The Making of....

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Using a 3D Printer for Props

One of the perks that I get at work is the use of a 3D printer (a Makerbot Replicator 2x). An entire group of employees chipped in to purchase the printer and our company was gracious enough to donate some funds for it.

I've been wanting a 3D printer ever since I saw one at Maker Faire all those many years ago. Each year that we attend (like this year), there are more printers out there at various prices and qualities. It's getting to the point where they are very affordable. This year at Maker Faire (2015), there was an very large tent dedicated to just 3D printers and CNC machines. I counted at least 15 different 3D printer vendors with some very reasonable prices.

But since I have one at work, I haven't felt quite the need (yet) to have one in my own house. So, I've been making copious use of the 3D printer at work to create props for my cosplays.  I've already written about one of the props that I made -- San's dagger from Princess Mononoke -- which has already gotten a lot of "likes" and people adding it to their own collections.

For this prop, I modified someone's existing design (under a Creative Commons - Attribution Share Alike license) to make the dagger. For anyone who wants to make it, I uploaded the files to Thingiverse.com so that you can print out one for yourself. (Princess Mononoke - San's Dagger)

I've also been printing out other props for other cosplays. There's actually a large number of makers who have created costume props from various movies, t.v. shows, and comic books. And the files are free, so I'm making use of their generous creativity.

Printing, printing, printing...

Here's the final object. I won't tell you what it's for....just yet...until I get the other pieces printed.

Let's just say that I've been having fun with many of the existing files on Thingiverse and Youmagine. Plus, since I can print things at work, I start the files and come back some time later to a finished print since it takes anywhere from 1-7 hours for a print, depending on the size.

Here's another set of props. Can you guess what it is?

And, I'm also at the point of making my own very simple props using TinkerCad, which I'll write about later once I get the prints finalized. 

But needless to say, I've been having fun using the 3D printer. It's also changing how I think about certain prop pieces. Once prices have come down a lot further, I'll seriously consider adding one to our home. Now, I just need to hone my painting skills somewhat.