Monday, 15 October 2012

CraftyMutt's Guide to Learning Needle Felting

Needle felting is a fun and versatile craft, it's easy to make a lot of different shapes, and you can work in 2D on many surfaces or even make 3D sculptures! Starting out might be hard, so here's a guide to how CraftyMutt went about it :D (note: there are almost certainly better ways to do anything than the CraftyMutt way)

Step 1: Impulse Buying
You can't possibly start needle felting without inspiration, and what better inspiration than seeing a bag of super cheap needle felting wool bits in all sorts of pretty colours?!
At this point the sensible half of your brain kicks in. You can't just buy felting wool on sale, you don't even have any felting equipment to felt it with. That was a very silly idea.
Better also buy some needles to actually felt it and a felting foam pad so you don't stab yourself too much or make holes in the table.

Step 2: Apply OCD
You've got a whole load of pretty bits of fluff and no idea what to do with them. Great! The best way to appreciate pretty bits of fluff is to sort them by colour, softness, squishiness, size and prettiness. Appreciate all the pretty colours until you figure out what you're actually going to do with this stuff.


Step 3: Inspect Pointy Objects
You've checked out the wool, better make sure you know what else you've bought. Get out those pointy things! They're pretty pointy looking.

Oh wait, there's a warning on the box about how pointy these are. Should probably put them back until you know what you're doing. Maybe go watch some internet tutorials and videos of people felting stuff.


Step 4: Apply Pointy Objects to Fluff
Well, that's what they all seem to do in the videos and it works for them. Go for it.
 Instantly get distracted by the pointy thing sticking out of a fuzzy thing, wonder if you could make it look like a hedgehog by putting more needles in. Realise you probably shouldn't be doing this with the needles and go back to work.
At this stage you should be stabbing yourself in the finger every five minutes or so. Take a break and find a plaster with a smiley face on (or just a regular plaster will do if you can't find a happy one) if you stab yourself too much, and try not to do it again.

Step 5: Suddenly a Dragon
Just sort of keep poking stuff and adding bits and make it look like how you want. Feel a bit guilty after it starts to take shape that you're repeatedly poking a baby dragon with a pointy stick. He's pretty simple, all one colour, but he's sleepy and cute an very small (sits in the palm of your hand with space to spare)
 Decide that one colour items are too plain and hard to see what they are because they're so small, so instantly start on something with lots of colours and too much complexity for your second attempt at needle felting.

Step 6: Use ALL The Colours
Try to felt something that uses as many colours as possible, and has lots of awkward small details. After a whole lot of time, errors, edits, additions and stabbing yourself in the finger accidentally you should eventually end up with something that looks a bit like what you were aiming for!


 Oh, and don't forget to break your first needle right in the middle of the fattest piece of your work where you can't possibly get it back! It's only... pretty dangerous. You really can't get to it, you tried pretty hard to get it out and to stab yourself with it and didn't manage it, so it shouldn't hurt anybody. Better warn anyone who goes near it though just in case...
 Realise that on the scale you've used you can't felt in most of the face details, so draw it on with a fine permanent pen. Don't worry, this is what permanent pens were invented for! Also embroidery, but you've already got one needle stuck in him, so maybe be a bit over cautious about trying to stab any more thin pointy things through the middle of him where they might get lost.

Step 7: What's Missing
Now you've made most of your project. But You've long since run out of laptop battery to look at reference images since you didn't bring your cable with you. Forget the obvious missing thing (poofy blue head poof, oops!)
 What that felted Teemo really needs is a teeny blowpipe! That's pretty much as important as his hat poof, which you'll eventually remember and post a real completed photo a few days later. Dig out those toothpicks you never though you'd need but looked crafty enough to keep, they'll be perfect!
 Teeny Teemo's teeny blowpipe is teeny and adorable.
Give him his blowpipe, now he's properly lethal (ignoring his accidental hidden blade) and carefully balance him mostly upright using his map-bags and blowpipe to help prop him up. Realise a few hours later that his signature hat poof is what was missing and decide to fix it tomorrow, because all your co-ordination ran off for today.

Maybe next time you'll pick something more sensible to felt, not break your needle trying to make tiny details on an overly small project and not need to cheat and draw the face on! (Or rather not, being sensibly ambitious is not the CraftyMutt way!)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Fully Scaled Gloves Priced

NB: This page is left up for completion sake, but most information is well out of date - all prices are changed, and there is now one price band for each length, regardless of size

Fully scaled gloves scales go down the back of the hand the same as standard scaled gloves, however they also have scales starting below the base of the palm and continuing right down the front of the arm too. The palm being plain means it's still comfortable and easy enough to grab your sword/nerf gun/magic staff/pet dragon by the scruff for misbehaving!

I'd like to make the "full scaled" gloves a more easy-to-order thing, and although it's a bit too complex for a "Buy Now" button I can now give a price guide and recommend anyone who wants one send a convo to ask on Etsy for a custom listing for all around scales.
So, without too much more waffling and explanation, here's my latest and hopefully not to confusing price chart!

Fully Scaled Gloves - Price for each hand size and glove length
(postage not included, ranges £3 - 10)

Small
Medium
Large
X Large
Regular
£27
£28
£29
£30
Long
£37
£38
£39
£40
 X Long
£45
£48
£50
£53
For only back-scaled gloves see Ordering Scale Mail Gloves

As you can see, for these gloves it does matter what size you need, because if I need to cover all the way around a glove that's an inch larger that takes a whole stripe of a couple of scales wide!

As usual we have hand size, measured around the knuckles at the base of your fingers, picking the right size band from this chart:
Small
6.5 - 7 inch
Medium
7 - 7.5 inch
Large
7.5 - 8.5 inch
X Large
8.5 - 9.5 inch

And glove length along the arm, which is approximately how far down it will reach starting at your knuckles:
Regular
6.5 inch
Long
9 inch
X Long
12 inch

This is a Medium sized glove in X Long length, so it's price is £48!

More example images to be added as I knit them, I've got a regular length pair of small gloves on the way. Also, I really want to make a full round scale version of the super shiny rainbow pattern I just made for a standard back-scaled glove!

This has a plain knit front right now, but someday
I'll design one with scaled right down from the wrist!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Ordering Scale Mail Pouches

Here's a helpful guide to all the options when you're custom ordering scale mail pouches :D
All images can be clicked to see in full screen for much better detail!

Here are the things you'll need to consider in a suitable order:
1. Pouch Size
2. Scale Colour and Pattern
3. Yarn Colour

Each of these is gone through in detail here, so you know exactly what you're getting :) but don't forget that I always e-mail you about what I've interpreted for your order and how I'll be doing it, so you can correct me at any time! Orders do not have to stick to the original ordered description, as long as you reply to me with any changes when I ask ^_^
Got a request that's not covered here, like a custom size pouch? Ask me about your ideas for a more personalised order!

1. Pouch Size
Size (approx opening diameter)
Price
Postage cost
Small (1.5 inches)


£10


£8
[image not yet available :( ]
Medium (2.5 inches)


£15


£8
Large (4 inches)


£24


£8

Since the images might not be exactly clear, here's an idea what they fit;
Small Pouch can hold one set of 7 RPG dice
Medium Pouch can hold 2-3 sets of RPG dice
Large Pouch can hold way more dice than I've ever found at one time to test

2. Scale Colour and Pattern
 
This is the most exciting part! There are a whole bunch
of colour options as you can seeI can make orders
that only require scales I already have quicker!
If you want a rush order please contact to see what my
current stock is - I try to have a good amount of every
colour, but it fluctuates a lot!
Available: RedOrangeGoldGreenBluePurple,
PinkSilvery-gold, Brushed Aluminium,
Mirror Aluminium, Black, Bronze

In addition to plain colours of those just mentioned you can choose to have several colours in a pattern, and all patterns can be adapted for any size of gloves :) any requests are welcome, so here are a few examples to help you imagine what your pattern might look like!
Flame - blue, gold, silver                         Zigzag - green/purpleii
         Flame - red, orange, black          Random rainbow - every colour scale
         Chevron; black, red                      Solid colour - brushed silver
If you would like to be sent a blank scale pattern chart to colour yourself for me to follow directly, just ask!

3. Yarn Colour
Now you know what colour scales you want it should be easy to decide which base colour matches best with your choices.
I have several variegated yarns (with subtle or contrasting variations in colour throughout) and one solid colour;
Solid: Black, White (both contain wool)
One-tone Variegated: Gray, Sky Blue*Green
Multi-tone Variegated: Purple/Black,  Purple/Blue/Turquoise/Green
All coloured yarns are 100% synthetic and suitable for people with wool allergies!
For an additional £1.50 I can get in any of thother colours in the MC Chunky range, ask about setting up a custom order on Etsy (currently not available anywhere else)
Example Images of Yarns
          Black                                        GreenSky Blue

  Purple/Blue/Turquoise/Green                             Grayfffffffffffffffff

If you have any questions still unanswered, or want to ask about anything before you're happy to order, please e-mail sfarfort@yahoo.co.uk or talk to CraftyMutt on facebook!

Ordering Scale Mail Gloves

Here's a helpful guide to all the options when you're custom ordering scale mail gloves
All images can be clicked to see in full screen for much better detail!

Here are the things you'll need to consider in a suitable order:
1. Glove Length
2. Hand Size
3. Scale Direction
4. Scale Colour and Pattern
5. Yarn Colour

Each of these is gone through in detail here, so you know exactly what you're getting :) but don't forget that I always e-mail you about what I've interpreted for your order and how I'll be doing it, so you can correct me at any time! Orders do not have to stick to the original ordered description, as long as you reply to me with any changes when I ask ^_^
Got a request that's not covered here, like a custom length glove, or perhaps scales all the way around? Ask me about your options for a more personalised order!

1. Glove Length
Length
Price (for pair)
Postage cost
Regular (6.5 inches)


£30


£8
Long (9 inches)


£37


£8
Extra Long (12 inches)


£47


£8

Regular gloves cover your hand and wrist
Long gloves cover up to about halfway down the forearm
Extra Long gloves cover most of the forearm to the elbow

2. Hand Size
This is where you make sure your glove fits. You can choose from any of the basic glove sizes available, or you can choose the "other" option and add your exact hand size to the additional information box you will be given during purchase. (If you can't find it don't worry, I'll make sure to ask when I get to you about your order)

To measure your hand size take a tape measure (or piece of string if you only have a ruler) and wrap it around the knuckles at the base of your fingers. This should be the widest point on your hand not including the thumb. Check yourself against this chart:

Small
6.5 - 7 inch
Medium
7 - 7.5 inch
Large
7.5 - 8.5 inch
X Large
8.5 - 9.5 inch

3. Scale Direction
Do you want your scales to go up your arm towards your elbow, or down your arm towards your fingers?
If you're not sure which, up the arm is my standard as it's a little less in the way of your fingers. Both are comfortable to wear and look awesome, it just depends on your personal preference.
  Up towards elbow                           Down towards fingers

4. Scale Colour and Pattern
 
This is the most exciting part! There are a whole bunch
of colour options as you can seeI can make orders
that only require scales I already have quicker!
If you want a rush order please contact to see what my
current stock is - I try to have a good amount of every
colour, but it fluctuates a lot!
Available: RedOrangeGoldGreenBluePurple,
PinkSilvery-gold, Brushed Aluminium,
Mirror Aluminium, Black, Bronze

In addition to plain colours of those just mentioned you can choose to have several colours in a pattern, and all patterns can be adapted for any size of gloves :) any requests are welcome, so here are a few examples to help you imagine what your pattern might look like!
         Flame - red, orange, black          Random rainbow - every colour scale
         Chevron; black, red                      Solid colour - brushed silver
Flame - blue, gold, silver                         Zigzag - green/purpleii
If you would like to be sent a blank scale pattern chart to colour yourself for me to follow directly, just ask!

5. Yarn Colour
Now you know what colour scales you want it should be easy to decide which base colour matches best with your choices.
I have several variegated yarns (with subtle or contrasting variations in colour throughout) and two solid colours;
Solid: Black, White (both contain wool)
One-tone Variegated: Gray, Sky BlueGreen, Red, Purple, Brown, Sandy
Multi-tone Variegated: Purple/Black,  Purple/Blue/Turquoise/Green
All coloured yarns are 100% synthetic and suitable for people with wool allergies!
For an additional £1.50 I can get in any of the other colours in the MC Chunky range, ask about setting up a custom order
Example Images of Yarns
          Black                                        GreenSky Blue

  Purple/Blue/Turquoise/Green                             Grayfffffffffffffffff

If you have any questions still unanswered, or want to ask about anything before you're happy to order, please e-mail sfarfort@yahoo.co.uk or talk to CraftyMutt on facebook!

Writing Patterns

A lot of my recent work has been going into writing up some of my scale mail patterns into a format that's acceptable for other human beings to understand, but for reasons that I never really realised until after I started trying to write patterns it takes such a long time! Fortunately they go on sale after I've spent months agonizing over the details, so I don't need to worry about meeting deadlines as such and can get on with knitted orders that do have a time limit whenever I need to. But it means that it can be quite difficult to find enough time to sit down and sort out any given part of patten writing...

Learning to Write Patterns 1 - Writing Lists
There are a whole lot of lists that you need to include for a pattern. I want a list for techniques, materials, equipment and a list at the end of resources (but that's nicely tied in with the techniques list), and I can get a bit muddled up just trying to format them all to look the same, let alone make sure they're correct and comprehensive!

Learning to Write Patterns 2 - Being Consistent
My patterns have stages, and each stage would, if I'd just left it, look completely different from the other stages. There are three sections to the knitting pattern I'm writing (and that's just the pattern, not the rest of the information) and they'd all be completely different from each other if I hadn't worked so hard to at least try and make them feel similar. They're very different pattern sections!

Learning to Write Patterns 3 - Making Sense/Not Writing an Essay
This is one of the hardest bits. I want to explain clearly and easily how this chart thing works, but I don't want them to have to read more than a couple of sentences to get it. Similar with each stage in the scale knitting tutorial, and explanation of different sizes and how I've labelled them in the pattern. In the end I usually get it fairly concise, but I'm naturally a very waffly person!
(mmmmmmmm, waffles)
A brief distraction from patterns to tell you there is in fact a real life recipe for Homer's Patented Space Age Out Of This World Moon Waffles in case that photo made you hungry, but fortunately someone else has made it and tried it for you and it's not a great idea. Best stick to normal waffles.

Learning to Write Patterns 4 - Taking Photos
This is the curse of deciding an image tutorial is the solution to the previous point!
Getting a really good photo is hard. Getting a set of photos that look like they are of the same object at different points in the process sometimes seems impossible! Not only do I want to try and get it from a similar angle as the others, a good viewing angle for this particular step, and try and make sure it comes out a similar brighness and colour as the other ones. I know I can edit them pretty easily to match better, but after all the other stuff it's faster to just take several photos of each thing and pick out the best matching set.

Learning to Write Patterns 5 - Getting Distracted
More than once in the process so far of writing patterns I've found myself accidentally wandering all over the internet for much longer than intended, and coming back to the pattern that I remembered I was working on with no idea what I was about to do, or what settings I just put the first bunch of paragraphs on and therefore what setting I need for each of the subsequent sections to match the different requirements. Oops. Pattern writing takes a lot more when you procrastinate as you do it, even if you didn't include the time spent procrastinating!

Learning to Write Patterns 6 - Confidence
It can't be right, there must be more mistakes. Can anybody else proof read this? There must be some mistakes left in it. I never feel like something I've written has fully been corrected, and it takes quite a lot of time to ask anybody nearby to help read something or check that the pictures look the right size. Especially when you want them to do it again for every change of phrase or reformatting!

But eventually a pattern must be finished, and eventually it goes on sale. Which is as exciting as it is nerve-wracking! Despite thinking every time I send it to somebody that they'll e-mail right back with a whole list of problems, errors and parts that are badly written it's really enjoyable to think there are people who will be able to make a new exciting thing thanks to all that time I spent feeling confused over a word document :)

This obviously isn't everything there is when it comes to writing patterns, quite a bit of it's specific to the fact I'm writing patterns that need to accommodate the fact that most people have never knitted with scales before! It'sjust some of the bigger problems I came across in my adventure!
And more patterns are on the way, this was written because I got as far as I could with the coming pattern without taking the tutorial photos, and that requires daylight! Off to do something else now I guess.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Super Simple Knitted Scale Mail Glove Pattern

This pattern has recently been migrated to Ravelry to allow for the new checkout system and instant download on purchase. You do not require an account with Ravelry or Paypal to purchase the patterns here. All patterns are also available at Etsy.

£2.50
  

This super simple pattern is designed for those new to knitting with scales and even new to knitting all together.
The pattern includes comprehensive instructions with step by step picture tutorial for scale knitting in PDF format including two sizes of the blank scale pattern design charts.

If you have any problems or questions about your purchase do not hesitate to contact sfarfort@yahoo.co.uk or send a message to CraftyMutt on Facebook


What Do I Get?

PDF Pattern
- Suggested learning resources for all techniques used, from cast on to cast off
- Step by step tutorial for adding scales as required for the pattern, including images
- Full material and equipment list
- Blank pattern design charts to help you translate your idea into scales
- Four different hand sizes (from 6 1/2 inch to 9 inch) with stitch numbers throughout for each
- Two different glove lengths with pre-made pattern design charts to the correct length
- Options to increase or decrease the standard lengths for custom length gloves
- One blank design chart for the regular glove length to visually design a pattern onto
- One design guide chart for the regular glove to translate visual design into knitted scale order
- One blank design chart for the long glove length to visually design a pattern onto
- One design guide chart for the long glove to translate visual design into knitted scale order

You can also have a free preview of the first page!
Click to enlarge!

How Is The Pattern Delivered?
This pattern is now offered as an instant download via Ravelry - if you have any trouble with this please contact me at sfarfort@yahoo.co.uk, preferably forwarding your receipt so I can sort things out as quickly as possible!

What Do I Need?
Mostly you just need standard knitting supplies.
You will need 300 small aluminium scales to complete the regular length gloves, or 400 if you want to make the longer option first. See the bottom of DIY Scale Mail for suggested scale suppliers!

How Difficult Is It?
If you're reading this section you're probably worried that you won't be able to understand how to knit with the scales, and the pattern will be useless to you. Well fear not! Check out the DIY Scale Mail page again, and this time check out the Knit Stitch instructions which includes a tutorial video. That's all you need! So if you want to make sure you can handle it before you buy the pattern, have a go at what's described in the video, and if you can do that you can knit gauntlets.

What Do I Not Get?
You do not get any ready made scale charts to use, the charts for examples shown on this page are not included; you get the knitting pattern to make gloves and blank charts to design your own patterns with.

Also the legal stuff:
You do not get permission to sell this pattern as it is or in an adapted form, or give it away for free.
You do not get permission to make and sell items made by this pattern, although the technique of knitting with scales itself is allowed - you can design your own items that include scales using the technique described in the free tutorial whether you buy the pattern or not. Only the pattern itself is protected.

What Can I Make?
Gauntlets, of all colours, lengths, and sizes!
Click an image to enter full size gallery!