April 27

Friday Round-Up: Fish with Feet

So, this week’s Friday Round-Up celebrates one of my heroes, Darwin. The well-known two legged take on the ichthys symbol¬† is used by fans of evolution (can a scientific theory have fans? Does it matter if it does or not? It’s popularity’s kinda irrelevant; it’s still true…). Darwin Fish (Or Tonys, as all good Feeters know) are rough depictions of Ichyostega, the remains of which are important transitional fossils between tetrapods and fish, since they have a tail and gulls akin to fish but amphibian style skull and limbs.

So, I present to you my ten favourite crafts in honour of both Darwin and Tony…

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July 27

Zombie Felties Book Review and Craft

I should start this review with honesty, I am not crafty. I know you are probably thinking, “But, the website is Geek CRAFTS?” Yes, it is, but I am just so geeky I only had to fulfil half the requirements to be allowed to write here, plus I love looking at all the fun crafts people across the web make. I am making this confession, as part of reviewing a craft book, is of course, making a craft from said book.

Zombie Felties by Nicola Tedman and Sarah Skate is a great book, each and every feltie project in it is a great mix of ghoulish and adorable that makes them very hard to resist. My favourite thing about these creatures, is they are as small and fun as amigurumi, but without the hassle of becoming really, really good at crocheting. Of course, being stubborn and a little stupid, I chose a 3 skull difficulty project from the book (1 skull=easiest, 4 skulls=most difficult).

First, the positive things about the project–they are very small, so if you are a regular crafter with felt, you will likely already have all the felt you need in your scrap pile. As a person who doesn’t sew at all, I managed to get all the felt I needed from a remnants bin in a fabric store near my mother-in-law’s house, I got more than I needed and still only spent about 70pence (not sure what that translates to in American, I am on vacation here and the exchange rate is still a mystery). For the other bits and pieces, I chose to use the supply list as a suggestion and not a rule, and so I managed to find the eye, monocle, and cord in a tin of random bits and pieces, so they were free. My mother in law had a good supply of embroidery thread already, so again, a regular crafter would have most things on hand, someone just starting out would have probably had to spend a few dollars on embroidery thread, but over all, very inexpensive to make.

In addition to being very inexpensive to make each craft, I found the patterns to be fairly simple (no need to resize them) and, a lot of fun. One suggestion would be not to use your regular sewing shears and opt for a sharp pair of smaller scissors, for the smaller patterns. The over stitch used on the outside is a very forgiving stitch for imperfect cuts and mistakes stitching, so I liked that a lot (I only pricked myself four times).

The only real negative I saw, was that while there are instructions in the front of the book for each of the required stitches, if you are a true beginner, you will probably find the instructions within each project to be fairly vague. One favourite was “embroider the nose in satin stitch, making a small heart shape”. When paired with the explanation of a satin stitch in the beginning, it didn’t make a lot of sense, and when compared to the picture of the finished project, it didn’t look possible they had used the stitch they described. A person experienced with embroidery wouldn’t have an issue–my mother in law saw what the issue was right away and we went about it slightly differently than the instructions implied, but got the intended results. The idea is that the book will provide a challenge for a novice or a veteran, but novices be warned, when attempting the more challenging projects, have someone around who knows the ins and outs.

As a non-crafty, non-sewer, I found a lot of frustration in making the vampire feltie, but it was obvious the issue was with my skill level and not the instructions (who knew stitching without inadvertently tying knots in your thread was so difficult?), and although I look forward to trying out a few other patterns from the book, I will probably restart with the one skull difficulty and invest in a thimble. Most of the issues I had with the pattern had to do with how incredibly tiny the finished dolls are, but, of course, that is really what makes them so adorable and inexpensive to make, so it’s a wash.

Here is a final picture of my Vampire feltie, over an Air Mail envelope (business sized) with a one pound coin on his left and a quarter on his right to show you the size:

Over all it was a great book, and even with my limited skill, talent and experience, I think i did okay, so that speaks to the quality of the instructions. I would definitely recommend it to friends interested in sewing fun feltie dolls. Look for it in August!

EDIT: We have one copy of Zombie Felties to give away! Just leave a comment here with your favorite zombie or vampire movie by Saturday at midnight ET and we’ll pick a random winner. Earn an extra entry by commenting on someone else’s post!