Tuesday, February 22

A Pattern to Make H.P. Lovecraft Proud

Cthulhu hat! A pattern to make H.P. Lovecraft proud

I created this hat for my sister to accompany her Cthulhu themed xmas gifts! It’s a combo of a beardhead crochet pattern and a cthulhu amigurumi pattern.


J or K hook
Gauge: not a stickler for gauge as long as it fits your head, you’re good! Bigger head? Add more stitches! Etc. This hat doesn’t fit tight like a beanie.
Yarn: Loops & Threads Country Loom Super Bulky, the color I used is called Solarium but whatever Cthulhuy color you want is cool. Why not pink?
This pattern uses a lot of yarn. I needed a little over a skein to complete this project.

Ch2 does not count as a stitch.

Step One, Starting Hat:

Chain 3
Rnd 1: 12dc in second ch from hook, join with sl st to first dc made, ch2
Rnd 2: 2dc in each st around, sl st to first dc made, ch2 (24dc)
Rnd 3: *1dc in first st, 2dc in next st*, repeat, sl st to first dc made, ch2 (36dc)
Rnd 4: *1dc in first 2 sts, 2dc in next st*, repeat, sl st to first dc made, ch2 (48dc)
Rnd 5: *1dc in first 3 sts, 2 dc in next st*, repeat, sl st to first dc made, ch2 (60 dc)
Rnds 6-9: dc in each st around, sl st to first dc made, ch2
Rnd 10: Hdc in each st around, join with sl st to first hdc made, ch3

Step Two, Back of the Hat:

Rnd 11: Dc in next 39 sts, ch3, turn (40dc)
Rnds 12 & 13: Dc in each st across, ch3, turn (40dc)
Ch6 then sl st into top of ch3 on the opposite side, finish off.

With the hat facing you, you will have the 6ch connecting the hat.
Make sure this strap connecting the ends fits comfortably across your face. Your nose should poke over the strap with the strap resting over your upper lip. Adjust as desired. We will be pinching the sides over the temples which will pull the mask over your nose.

Step Three, Making the Tentacles!

Rnd 14: Starting on the right side (hat facing you, upside-down) join with a sl st to the 10th st to the right of the ch6 strap, ch2 (remember, this one doesn’t count as first hdc), hdc in next 9 sts, hdc in the 6 chs, hdc in next 9 sts, ch2, turn.

Special Stitch, Tentacle Coil:

Chain 12 (or desired length of tentacle), 3 sc in third ch sp from hook, 3 sc en each of next 9 spaces

Rnd 15: Hdc in first 6 sts, *Tentacle Coil, 2 hdc,* repeat until 6 remaining ch sps, hdc in those remaining ch sps

The hat I made has 8 tentacles, but you can add as many tentacles as you deem fit for your hat! I did just one row of tentacles but you can always do multiple rows for greater Cthulhu effect.

I also added a shield of sorts to protect the mouth and nose where the wind may blow between the tentacle coils. That is as follows:
Rnd 16: Hdc in each st across, ch2, turn
Rnd 17-19: Hdc2tog, hdc in each st, hdc2tog in last two sts, ch2, turn
Rnd 20: *Hdc2tog, hdc in next two sts,* repeat to end of row, ch2, turn
Rnd 21: *Hdc2tog, hdc,* repeat to end of row, ch1, turn
Rnd 22: Sc across row and continue working in edge sc in each st around bottom of hat.
Finish, Weave loose ends.

Step Four: Making the Temple Ridges

This cinches the opening in the hat to cover your nose and only expose the eyes. It also has a more menacing look!

With the hat on, slip the bottom of the face opening over your nose and pinch the fabric near your temples. Mark the start and end of each ridge with a stitch marker or paperclip. Remove the hat from your face and sew the ridge into shape. The ridge gets gradually larger as it approaches the face. Weave in loose threads.

Step Five: Making the Wings

Ch 4, turn
1 Sc in each 3 ch sps, ch1, turn
3 Sc, ch 4, turn
3 Sc on chain, 3 hdc on three 3sc from previous row, ch1, turn
4 Sc, ch 5, turn, 4 sc in chain, 4 hdc
4 Sc, ch 6, turn, 5 sc in chain, 4hdc
Ch 3, work approx. 8 dc along top edge of the wing
Sl st into first ch or near first ch
Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing

Put on the hat again. Using a mirror or an awesome friend, mark where you’d like the wings to attach to the back of the hat. I attached mine between the 5th and 6th rnd.
Sew the wings onto the hat, weave loose ends.

You’re done! Now you can spread your Cthulhu rampage everywhere you go and stay warm to boot.

Scots Wha Hae!

Dear Jane,

This letter's for you because ya asked for the duurrrty details!

First I visited my aunts in NYC. Now this was a week long trip so everything kinda blurs together. They keep 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 chickens and 2 (cross your fingers they survived winter) beehives right in downtown Brooklyn. My Aunt Bj is a professional singer and a wonderful cook. My Aunt Wende is a consultant for a media group and teaches too.

NYC was COVERED in snow! They have nowhere to put it. The streets were lined on both sides with huge mounds and somewhere in those mounds were cars.

Every morning I got up early with my Aunts and helped walk the dogs. A few times we picked up Lupa, a neighbor's miniature eskimo dog who Bj walks twice a week. A few times we went to Prospect Park to let the dogs off the leash and chase balls. Buddy, the golden retriver got into a scuffle or two at our Prospect Park adventures because he's a little protective about his ball. Though when Miss Tender Buttons is there, the two have fun and he shares. Ellie is such a focused dog, she could run and chase her ball all day. My Aunt connected this idea for me: squeak toys sound just like freaked out, dying squirrels. Ellie has a knack for killing squirrels.

Again, so much went on during this trip that it's real hard to remember exactly what I did which day. It was a real blast. The three of us had dinner at the Ale House, mmmm burgers and beer. Doesn't get much better than that!

The first full day, I helped Bj prepare the Robbie Burns day meal. She made Cullen Skink with Finnan Haddie which is a smoked fish chowder soup. Then the main course was a lamb pot pie with lemon zested kale and mashed potatoes with crunchy cabbage. There was supposed to be haggis, complete with bagpiper procession, but the haggis was not ready. Lucky the bag piper was there! He looked so perfect! Down to the braided beard. And he played the bagpipe so well.

Then the party got started. Robert Burns is a famous Scottish bard and poet. Alud Lang Syne is a Burns song we're all familiar with. This is a party thrown to celebrate his birthday. We had ten different single malt whiskies from the Islays (EYE-la)s of Scotland for tasting. Key word: tasting.
We started with lighter, tangier whisky to heavier, smokier whisky. BUT! people were having too much fun and drinking got heavy. We hostesses and a few other guests took it easy but at the end things got crazy. 3 people had to spend the night. I had to hide from an art collector/singer/couldabeen football player/francophone/actually a bartender dude who was hitting on me. The Bagpiper escorted the guy home with some resistance saying, Kim and I have a thing going on here! Nope, not gonna go home with ya.

Next morning, the thermostat broke. An upstairs tenant informed Wende that the house was cold. That meant Bj and I got to go to a fresh market by Prospect Park, the bank and then go to a Lowes --BY F'N SCOOTER! Man, seeing the city in the passenger seat of a scooter was so fun. We installed the new thermostat easily enough and then ate delicious leftover pizza and apple cider doughnuts, mmmmmm!

Same day? Next day? My Aunts went out to visit a friend who is very sick. They left me to wander the Museum Mile in Manhattan. I went to the Whitney Museum and saw some very cool work by artist Charles LeDray. I also went to the Guggenheim, but they were in the middle of some show installation so I could only tour two areas. I enjoyed the architecture more than the art on display.

Went to the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) to see Alan Rickman in John Gabriel Borkman, a chilly wintery play. The three of us loved the dresses that the women wore, especially the patterns the dresses pushed in the snow as the women walked about the stage. It was a very long play but the time passed by just fine. The BAM theatre is very cool on the inside. It looks very old with the plaster and paint peeling off the walls but here's the theatre, PACKED with people! Wende got us great seats.

We later went to the movie theatre side of BAM and saw True Grit together. There's a scene near the end that involve snakes. Now in the theatre, some member of the audience was terrified of snakes and flipped the hell out during that scene. Oh it was so funny. They cried in terror again when the girl character gets bit. This is why I like going to movie theatres, hahahahaaa!
The next day, I went out to explore Manhattan on my own. Bj was going to meet me at a place called Porchetta for lunch. And lost I got! I thought I was heading north but in lower manhattan, below Houston I believe, the streets and avenues are not numbered. I ended up walking south through Chinatown almost to the trade towers when I figured out my internal compass. I could've hopped onto a subway train to get to Porchetta real quick but I wanted to walk, man!! So I walked 40 min in the correct direction and found the restaurant.

I had some extra time and hung out at Washington Sq. Park and Tompkins Sq. Park. Talked to a random stranger about my hat, people liked my hat, and the weather. I can see how people would think, in the above photo, that it looks like this snowman is climbing a tree, but I'm very content with my first thought of a snowman flying into a tree.

Went to Porchetta and talked to the dude behind the counter while I waited for Bj. I forgot what we talked about...prolly weather related. Told him I was visiting from Chicago, talked about the weather there. Some of the museums and galleries too. My Aunt and I shared a porchetta plate and some lasagna. Oh OH! The porchetta is sooo good. The meat is juicy, tender and flavorful and the crunchy skin is so rich!
My mouth is watering. Where can I get porchetta in Chicago??
The lasagna was so good, rich and cheesey. Bj was worried we couldn't finish the two plates of food, HAH.

After that, the two of us walked over to the Tenament Museum. We took the Getting By Tour. We toured two apartments, one from the 1870's and the other from the 1930's. Lucky us, we got a private tour!! It was so awesome. So the Tenament was built in the 1860's when NYC had a budding immigrant population. The tenanment back then didn't have electricity, water, gas or heat! There were outhouses behind the building with a faucet nearby. The story of the 1870's tenant was great, I'm not gonna give it away!
When we learned about the 1930's tenant, the building had water, electricity and gas for heat.
It was a great tour because our guide asked us questions about what the families did back then. We also discussed the cycle of problems (a big one being discrimination) and the gov't increasing role in immigration.

If you ever go to NYC you have to have to have to have to go to the Tenament Museum!
That evening, we met up with Wende to see the movie, The Illusionist. Same animator who did The Triplets of Belville. If you haven't seen Illusionist, it's real good. Kinda sad, but good! If you haven't seen Triplets, GO SEE IT NAO! both of 'em!

Um, what day is it? OH well! Went to Pratt to check out their printshop. I tried getting a guided tour but I didn't want to wait two hours, BLAH! Good thing I don't look like a Pedobear, I just walked right into the buildings and looked around. Their printshop is in a basement underneath some sciencey buildings. There's a dank basementy coolishness about this shop, but I must be spoiled by the high ceilings at NIU's shop.

Then took a trip to Manhattan to the International Center of Photography. They had a real cool show of the Mexican Suitcase. I loved this photo: Spanish soldiers discussing things and there's a bear near them checking things out, not bothering anybody. I spent a long time there, so much cool stuff to see.
I walked over to the Lower East Side Printshop which isn't actually in lower east manhattan. Used to be! Couldn't actually tour the place but I got to peak in to the windows and ask the secretary about residencies and internships. Tried to find some other printshops but ran out of time and had to head back home.

I believe this was the evening that I went to Bj's choir rehearsal. I forgot the name of the church we went to but they had yellow ribbons with names of the soldier who have died in the current wars attached and hanging from the bars of the fence surrounding the church. There are a lot of ribbons.
The choir rehearsal was very cool. I sat out of sight and listened, doodled. It was really nice, and it was also interesting to hear the conductor bring it all together.

The next day I did what I was looking forward to doing ALL WEEK! Touring the galleries of Chelsea, Manhattan.

Two pieces from the awesome show at IPCNY. A must in Chelsea for any printmaker.

This played the notes of a heartbeat.
This piece is one of many made with money. I thought of Curtis. I think I had to dash out of there and didn't grab info on the artist, boo.
I had good reason to dash because I had to get ready to see an opera! Wende, the culture vulture got us tickets to see Nixon in China. Wende had seen this opera many years ago, and this is the first time Nixon is played at the Metropolitan Opera. Good reminiscing for her. It's a very talky play and it had funny moments too! I especially liked the ballet dancing.
Good trip! As I said, I did so much I'm having a hard time getting every day and detail straight. It was a great, great time, and one thing is certain: I have to come back again!

Monday, February 21

On the Road Again

My my it's been a while since I've posted. Sorry! I've actually been travellin'.
First was skiing Rib Mountain, WI where it was -2 every morning, my Dad, sister and I skiied rocks and my fingers and toes fought for warmth. Kelly wore the Cthulhu hat I crocheted for her on the hill.

Then I visited my Aunties in NYC! Ah there was so much that was had. The Robbie Burns party with the single malt whisky tasting and a super cool bag piper. It was only missing the Haggis! Went to the BAM Theatre, saw Nixon in China opening night at the Met, went to the ICP, Whitney and Guggenheim museums, looked at Pratt's printshop, checked out the Lower East Side Printshop, countless art galleries in Chelsea, the awesome Tenament Museum, purposely got lost in Manhattan and oh so much more. I was there a full week!

Just last week, I returned from skiing Jackson Hole, WY. It was very much the opposite of the experience at Rib Mountain. It was like spring skiing it was so warm!

TAG!!! Stuck this one on the Apres Vous lift! It went on so perfect and sneaky. Muwahahaha! Skiing Jackson Hole was great! The runs were challenging and I enjoyed them very much. You could say it was a very steep learning curve. Haha, get it? Mom came on this trip and got to snowmobile though Yellowstone Nat'l Park. How awesome is that?! This trip was also a chance to hang out with my nyc Aunties! Hope they didn't get sick of me :-p

Now I'm home. Now I'm getting back into the swing of things. Busting out a new woodcut for an upcoming exchange!
I tried something a little different with the image on this block. After watching a video of Bill Fick make one of his amazing linocuts, I was inspired to try painting on the image on rather than drawing solely with sharpie. I do like the more organic feel of the lines.
That's all for now! Promise I'll update again real soon :-)