I had heard that the greenhead flies were bad this year, but I didn’t really grasp just how bad until I drove out to the birdwatching point on Brigantine Island and thought I must have disturbed a honeybee hive. The car was swarmed when I pulled into the parking area… and then I realized they weren’t bees, they were greenheads. And that was with a brisk onshore breeze that should have blown the bulk of them further inland (Brig is a barrier island, so the marshes were downwind of us).Continue reading
I’ve finally got another couple of art-doll dragons ready for the shop. Tomorrow is forecast to be nice and sunny so I’ll wait until then to do a proper photo shoot.
The blue dragon is one I’d completely forgotten about. I sewed it right after the Gold Sparkle Dragon but its little headknobs just would not turn, so I tossed it in the rework bin thinking I’d have to come up with separately-sewn horns to put on it. It fell out when I tossed another failure in there, and I tried a Dritz Quick-Turn rod on it and they popped right out. It’s the last of the smaller size dragons.
The Silver Sparkle is the first with (partially) wired wings, and the last sewn-and-turned dragon. The tall skinny legs are just way too hard on my wrists, but that’s as large as I can get on the 5×7 hoop without multiple hoopings. Which, of course, I’ll do soon.
Watch the sidebar for these to be listed, along with some new colors of beanie 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.
I’m still working on the project I hinted at last post, another art-doll dragon, but I decided to make and list a less-ambitious one in the meantime. I have some regrets about my choices on it – not because it’s unattractive, but because it was soooooper-hard to photograph with my limited setup.
I had to make sure the black velvet didn’t just end up as a silhouette. I had to make sure the wings sparkled. I had to make sure the eyes flashed some color (they’re clear AB glass beads).
And most difficult of all: I had to get every bit of cat hair and minky fluff off the darn thing. (I was only mostly successful.)
Sometimes I just let it blow out the exposure for the sake of seeing detail.
Anyway, the work-in-progress one is another gold so at least that part won’t be a problem, and I ordered an adjustable stand so hopefully posing it won’t be a problem either (it’s not a free-standing one). But since it’s a sea dragon I’m super-tempted to visit a beach and get some outdoor pictures with it.
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.”
Okay, I have a nearly-finished batch of tiny plush dragons (if I can just stop tweaking the pattern), the nearly-finished owlbear dice bags, a couple of embroidery patterns (look at those cleaned-up jump stitches — yes, I’m turning it into a whole alphabet), and quite a few samples (stash panda, jumping spiders) that, if the sunshine holds, I will take nice pictures of and get into the shop for a Monday morning drop. I’m shooting for
10am EST, wish me luck. Update: Make that 2pm, I forgot I won’t be home at 10 and Etsy doesn’t allow scheduling items as far as I know.
Once I get some of those smaller unfinished projects out of my queendom, I’m going to wrap up that crazy Mew project and put it in the shop, and then get back down to the more sculptural dragons. For real.
Yesterday, I had the brilliant idea of finally getting around to installing the SSD drive in my machine, replacing the spinner. Turns out copying over a quarter-terabyte of data takes awhile, who knew? The Pi’s don’t run Inkstitch so the only stitch files I had were the ones already generated, and I was tired of owlbears (more on that later), wanted to tweak Queen of Unfinished Projects… and I had the tiny beanie dragons, the Pernese flavor (headknobs and applique eyes).Continue reading