More work on the Celestial

A little light on the updates because I haven’t had much to show. I did wrap up the four little beanies that match this, but I’m holding off on the final photoshoot until I have the Celestial Dragon (a/k/a Space Noodle) done. At that point I’ll lock the cats in the bathroom for the several hours it’ll take to de-hair everything.

In any event, the alignment was off on this wing but it was enough to play around with armature wire and determine that yes, this will do nicely.

I found a remnant of charmeuse that I decided to use for the backs of the wings. Yes, that was entirely inspired by the minky dragons, but I like how it came out. And unlike the minkies, the underside of the Celestial’s wings will show quite a bit.

I will definitely have to clean my worktable, nay, my entire house to have space to photograph this critter when he’s assembled and standing up.

Delivery trucks

It’s been a little while since I did an embroidery design freebie, so I started working on one I should have finalized by Friday.

This one is inspired by goofing up a USPS scheduled pickup and making my mailman make a special trip to the door. I realized I owe all my delivery folks a nice Christmas gift.

Although it seems like I live at JoAnn these days, I still get a lot of stuff from Amazon (witness all the 📦 icons next to referral links here) and [Amazon-owned] Fabric.com. On which note: if you aren’t buying enough to meet the free shipping there but have Prime, go to Amazon and find the fabric, and check the other sellers: Amazon usually lists it itself but also with Fabric.com as a secondary seller so you get Prime shipping but Fabric.com’s cheaper price. Why does it work this way? I dunno.

So my UPS person has had to lug a couple of long, skinny rolls of marine vinyl (ironically, not that brown which was a JoAnn remnant) and all four of them have brought me an endless parade of things, including the embroidery machine itself (though I forget who got saddled with that; probably UPS again).

Anyway, the first draft came out medium-okay. The Amazon Logistics van was first, okay other than the fact that I didn’t run the truck outline itself in bean stitch. With that fixed, the UPS truck came out better, but the logo definitely needs more pull correction (especially on the softer walnut non-marine). The USPS truck is fine except I decided to run the truck outline in the same blue as the logo and I don’t think it looks as nice. I went with a medium gray for FedEx, and that’s better but next time I’ll go even lighter. That logo also needs just a little more pull correction.

Now I need the UPS guy to bring me a roll of brown vinyl so I can make him a proper one, because that was the last little scrap. Once that happens, I’ll run more of these and publish the design.

Extremely Festive Dragons

That’s the phrase I keep using to describe these guys because, I mean, just look at them. Their “proper” name is crowntails, because they’re inspired by the betta fish of that type. The purple one is a little ironic because that’s the color a lot of breeders aspire to but, to my knowledge, truly purple bettas don’t exist yet.

The blue-with-red is modeled after an extant betta color, and the black-with-rainbow was sort of a “well, why not go all-in?” I probably should have gone with two blue-and-reds, so that if I screw up some parts I might still end up with one complete dragon. But hey, YOLO, right?

Scaling up dragons

When I first posted the test dragon to Mastodon, I got some requests for the pattern. Now that I have some minky fat quarters in the shop, I need an excuse for people to buy them and so I remembered the pattern requests. This sounds kinda mercenary, but now that I have gone over the numbers I have a clearer picture of where I need to focus on things.

The current plan is for the printable dragon pattern to be open source, and for the in-the-hoop files to be sold in the shop. So I haven’t completely sold out to The Man. At least, not until I find out how big (or perhaps how small) the market for in-the-hoop plushie designs is.

Battling dragons

The art-doll style dragons are proving to be pretty hard on my wrists. I have both tendinitis and carpal tunnel going on, neither of them very serious (yet!) and turning tiny dragons, jamming stuffing in until they’re rock-solid, and then hand-sewing openings and wings and such through multiple thicknesses of upholstery fabric requires a lot of effort.

Of course, that’s not all: I have managed to forget to cut out the topstitching window in two or three wing sets. I finally gave up on the silver one and picked all the stabilizer out of the topstitching instead of redoing it).

At any rate, I am almost ready to start listing them again. As I’ve mentioned, I have two Etsy slots for them, so my plan is to get four finished (or nearly-finished) dragons, list two, and be ready to fill a slot as soon as it sells out.

The silver sparkle dragon just needs its wings sewn on (they’re just resting in place there) and its horns attached and it’s done. It’s probably the last dragon I’ll make that I have to turn.

The blue dragon started out as a sea dragon – the wings are based on a guillemot/murre, which uses its wings to swim underwater like a penguin as well as fly above it. But I didn’t care for the contrast of the first wings so now it has blue star-and-nebula wings, and its name varies between “lesser sea dragon” and “sea-of-stars dragon.” It’s done except for finding a glue that will work on the eyes, and for picking the white stabilizer out of its seams.

I reverse-sewed it like I did the silver dragon (remember the silver dragon? I’ll get back to it, I promise). I didn’t have to turn it, but I did sandwich the stabilizer in to act as interfacing in the crest, and it doesn’t tear away easily without shredding the raw fabric edges. It wasn’t as visible on the silver dragon, but it really shows up in the blue.

I have another silver dragon in the works, reverse sewn but with gray cotton as stabilizer. True D&D nerds will recognize it from its wing, in the foreground waiting to be cut out: a Dungeons and Dragons silver dragon has two “thumb” claws on each wing. This one won’t be quite as ornate as the earlier one; more on the order of the lesser sea dragon.

The fourth is the teaser on the right: an over-the-top six-hooping Greater Sea Dragon. The previous ones are all four hoopings: body, legs, head, and wings. I’m pretty proud of that one. The mockup went fine, but the real thing has required a couple of restarts. I’ve current gotten through three of the five hoopings, and only tackle them when I’m feeling particularly focused.

The longhorned dragon

The gold/floral dragon from Wednesday is upholstery velvet, but I made the test dragons in minky. Not ideal, since one is woven and the other stretch, but not bad at this scale and the minky is much easier to turn for quick-and-dirty tests of the rough shape.

I’ve been trying to hit the sweet spot between “not a blob,” and “not too hard to sew at this scale.”

I’m fairly happy with this one in minky; we’ll see how it comes out in velvet.

SO MANY PUGS

I’m gonna need a bigger box.

In addition to sewing more test pugs and color variations (I figure I’ll put a few on Etsy myself), I ordered some test pugs on Spoonflower fleece.

I… think I remember how this thing works? I am really unimpressed with my own (lack of) precision after watching the embroidery machine work, let me tell you.

I’m also a little disappointed in the, uh, creasiness of this piece of fleece. I’ll have to see if it irons out, but it’s polyester so we’ll see.

I was happy enough with the colors that I ordered another fat quarter, this one in minky and in different colors: a brown-point fawn, and an experimental brindle. I’ve been looking for a good brindle-substitute minky print, and haven’t even found a nice tiger stripe. Not even in fleeces at JoAnn or Fabric.com; apparently they’ve fallen out of fashion. We’ll see if my Inkscape/GIMP texture looks plausible; if it does, I’ll make it available as yardage on Spoonflower because come on, there are a lot of brindle dogs out there.

Standing dragon

There are still some tweaks to make (the neck join, the muzzle, the tail) and of course this is the less-horned Pernese variant, but I have successfully made a non-beanie dragon on a 4×4 hoop. Well, almost: I mirrored the wing and did them simultaneously in the 5×7, just to speed up testing.

It’s a fair bit smaller than the green 5×7-hoop one that made a guest appearance in the call for pattern testers, though I couldn’t really get an angle that showed it.

I may tweak the legs/feet a little more; they’re not much changed from the venerable Basic Standing Dog design.

The forelegs are a little shortened but once the wings are on the curve of the back is not that noticeable. (Yes, I’m seeing both a bat and an otter/ferret pattern happening there.)

I have experimented with a standing-on-hind-legs version but so far I only have a mutant kangaroo. 😂

Pattern testers, of course, will get versions of the pattern only after I’ve settled on a design, well past the mutant-kangaroo stage. The outside testing point is “I have a working pattern, now I have to see if other people can duplicate it with my instructions.”