Saturday, April 28, 2012

Contest Catchup - Again

Oh yeah, didn't I used to post here? Sheesh, four weeks goes by like nothing! Well, let's see if I can at least squeeze one post into April and get back on track.

Alrighty, starting with the oldest contest: the theme was to create a pattern for a bag that fit on a yard, that had all the directions to allow you to cut it out & sew it together. (Like the previous contests for the baby book, advent calendar, wrestling mask, and Christmas ornament.)  I decided to make something for kids, like a tote for toys.  I looked for free bag patterns online, and found this one that I liked.  Since it was reversible, I thought of maybe doing a more "boy" side and a more "girl" side, and that evolved into doing an Easter side and a Halloween side. You could use the same bag for trick-or-treating and egg hunting.

Reversible Halloween Troll & Easter Bunny Bag

I had higher ambitions for this one, but alas ran out of time.  Plus the large size of this file made GIMP crash, and I ended up losing some progress the very night it was due.  Arg!  So, I would've like to add more detail, and perhaps made the Halloween troll side look not so much like a generic green Satan.  Ah well, another for the "remake someday" pile. Then, what hung me up was that I wanted to sew the bag together before doing this post. Well, I've had the printed fabric awhile, but no chance to sew yet.  Soon!

This came in 42 out of 76, with 152 votes. My favorite entry was the one that came in first place.

Next up, the theme was books. I discussed this one with the husband, since both of us have probably spent more time reading books than not, and the first idea we came up with was to make personifications of books - like a hardback of "The Firm" dressed as a lawyer and whatnot. But again I had time issues and just couldn't make the book people look like I pictured them in my head.  Then one evening near the deadline, I came up with the idea of creating library cards for libraries in fictional cities from books. Since I had made this fabric based on the Cluny library in Sacramento already, I decided to use some of the same colors in this one so they'd go together.

Library Cards of Literary Cities

The cards are for libraries in the Emerald City (Oz), Krondor (from Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar series), Camelot, Newford (from the urban fantasy by Charles de Lint), Metropolis (the Superman version), Fort Weyr (from the Anne McCaffrey Dragonrider books), Rivendell (Tolkien), Atlantis, and a Hogwarts extension in Hogsmeade.

This came in 75 out of 143, with 120 votes. The one I liked the best came in 2nd.

Then, a contest for sewing-themed fabric. The only way it could be more meta is if we made fabric-themed fabric. First I thought of doing a mock sampler in progress, showing how to do various embroidery stitches.  That turned into a thought of making a trompe l'oeil quilted pattern, so the fabric would look puckered and 3D.  Finally I kept it simple and just did a design depicting a running stitch in progress.  First I colored it in just in grayscale, to get an idea of how I'd apply actual colors, but I ended up liking it on its own.  Then, I decided to try it with the two palettes I used for the feather fabrics.  I went back and forth on which one to use, and eventually decided to go with the more muted version rather than the brighter one.

Calm Running Stitch

It came in 13th place with 417 votes! This was out of 111 entries.  That's definitely the best I've ever done in one of these contests.  I'm pretty pleased.  Woohoo!  My favorite was this one, which came in 23rd - I'm stunned I came in ahead of it.  I also really like the one that came in 3rd.

Finally, there was another cut & sew contest - for a hat.  In this one, happily, I came very close to meeting my ambitious goals for the design.  I went the obvious route of a baby hat, but since we had a whole yard to work with I figured I could fit more than one hat.  Also, I wanted to try the technique of making an "extra" part of the design that you get if you buy the larger fabrics - specifically, if you get the knit instead of the basic woven cotton, the yardage is a whopping 14" wider!  So I searched around for patterns until I couldn't squeeze any more in.  I found a reversible bucket hat and a reversible hat with earflaps.  For the "bonus" 14" segment, I went with a little topknot beanie (since that for sure would be in the knit). And in the space leftover I put a bib.  Then, to be extra clever, I arranged the bucket hat pattern so that if you buy just a plain fat quarter, you get one side of the hat - so you can make it as it is, or use another fabric to make it reversible. No idea if anyone will end up buying any of it, but it was a fun challenge nonetheless.

Next, how to color it in? Well, a number of people have actually bought my computer science baby book, so I decided to stick with that theme. I created a few patterns based on the book, and then some more general computery ones - a computer keyboard and a iPhone checkerboard.  I'm going to upload each of those as its own fabric as well.

Computer Science Baby Hats and Bib - with bonus for knit fabric!
(Update - the preview changed at some point to show only the FQ part of the design, so here's a photo of the whole thing printed):
(Update 2 - looks like the preview is working correctly again...)
Cut out & sew pattern fabric for Computer Science-themed baby hats & bibs

It came in 28 out of 42, with 133 votes. I have the printed version of this sitting next to the bag fabric too - can't wait to try sewing them all together!

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