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A Shroom for a King April 16, 2014

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Crochet.
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Not quite two weeks ago in the comments a request / challenge was posted by blog-friend Lemur King:

I will pay good money if you can do a morel mushroom. My dad is an amateur myco-gastronomist.

Um, ok. Leaving aside what “good money” might be I needed to know what morel mushrooms actually look like.

Morelmorel1

He tasks me. He tasks me…

These are but two examples of several varieties. All are pointy-ish and spongy with different shades of yellow, peach & pale white on the outside and deeper variants of those colors on the inside.

I looked for morel mushroom patterns online of course, but the very few examples I saw were terrible. So I just started to make my own morel mushroom.

 

A Humongous Fungus Among Us April 14, 2014

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Crochet.
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Yes, it’s been a very long build-up to that headline, but it’s worth it I think.

 

The Shroom of Primes

The Shroom of Primes

This design actually has a concept behind it. Its structural elements are comprised of the first prime numbers: 1, 2, 3, 5, & 7. There is one central trunk, two branches, three caps each having three, five, and seven points to them. And of course, the three shroots. Yes, I recycled and reworked the previous Mitchshroom™ cap design for this one. I wanted to explore the versatility of the basic technique and it still has LOTS of potential.

Some notes about this one: I stuck with the same thicker wire gauge all throughout and that made things a lot simpler. Currently structured it’s right at two feet tall. For the filler I’ve used both poly-fill and cotton balls in the past. I don’t like poly-fill as it’s hell to try to stuff it in the smaller tubes, but I used it in this one. Next time around I’m going back to cotton, but I need to find something better than the balls. The top seven pointed cap got a bit too big and isn’t as stable as I’d like it to be.

This is a fantastic build but even as I finished it I realized that I reached the end of this particular material / structure paradigm….and came up with new one. This new system will make for faster, more expressive, and far more stabler builds. Also, the previous versions required that actually work around the wire structure – that’s REALLY annoying, particularly when the top is at eye-pokey level.

Folks, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

Oh, and also you’ll see the albinos in glorious color soon too I hope. Next Thursday is the start of a five day weekend for me (woot!), time to bust out the airbrushes and procion dyes.

I also need to start working on new cap designs, I can’t always dip into this well.

Hmmmmm...

Hmmmmm…

A Tripodal Fungus Among Us April 11, 2014

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Crochet.
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Ok, time to strike out on my own into new territory. There are lots of ideas tumbling around in my noggin and it’s time to shake a few loose. Also, it’s time to stop heavy footing around.

BEHOLD!

The Mitchshroom Mark I

The Mitchshroom Mark I

My first original design and it’s a beauty! There’s no weight in the bottom, the roots or legs (Shroots! I just made that up!) give this form fantastic stability on flat surfaces as well as the ability to cling to other structures. The shroots are made with the thinner gauge wire and it switches to the heavier stuff in the bulb section for the rest of it. That was a tricky bit of business to get that to work though. Let’s take a closer look at that cap.

ShroomCap

I’m really proud of this design. I only had a vague notion of what I wanted when I started out: something kinda droopy like the mycena, but not that droopy and more interesting than just a simple dome. I played around a bit with a pentagram without much luck until I added a variant of an increase / decrease technique I was using on a small throw and came up with this. Cool beans. Oh yes, I’ll be using this design again. I immediately started on the next one.

Time to take it to the next level.

An Albino Fungus Among Us April 10, 2014

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Yes…I’m still on this mushroom jag. One of the patterns I hadn’t done yet was this toadstool, and it’s easily one of the coolest of the designs I’d bought. But I wanted to make it bigger so I went up a couple hook sizes and made it taller with the wire. And I switched yarns.

Previous shroom for scale.

Previous shroom for scale.

It’s considerably beefier than the mycena but not as tall though. That cap is two layers thick and  WAAAAYYYY  heavier than the other one. I also tried something different with the wire, threading it into the form after I’d made it (before the cap though). It…didn’t work quite as well as I’d hoped. As a result it’s not as stable as it could be. Which brings us to the next point: why white?

I switched to plain white cotton for experimentation purposes. It’s inexpensive, easy to buy in large quantities and I don’t have to get hung up on colors. This all about form. Plus, I can always add color later. :-)

A Better Fungus Among Us April 7, 2014

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The Sister Unit wanted a shroom for her house so I whipped up a near twin of the previous Mycena design with the remainder of that hank of Noro yarn, but with a twist – literally. Check out the bottom of the one on the left.
ShroomFamily

I simply did a coil instead of the heavy foot. I also used the heavier gauged wire. This design is a a lot more stable than the other and MUCH more versatile with poses as you can curl the bottom around anything handy and the stiffer wire doesn’t let it droop. Sweet! This started giving me other ideas too.

A Larger Fungus Among Us April 5, 2014

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This mushroom form is of a mycena. There are several varieties but they are typically tall and spindly with a narrow dome cap. As I wrote earlier I wanted to get bigger.

BEHOLD!
Maximum Mycena

Cool colors no? I have some hanks of Noro yarns lying around and thought they’d go great with mushrooms. They’re famous for the brilliant color ways and interesting textures. They’re perfect for natural forms. They’re also kinda pricey too.

The mycena in the previous pictures was made with pipe cleaners to give it some stiffness. That’s not nearly enough to support this kind of structure so I picked up some steel wire in a couple of different gauges. This was made with the lighter gauge. This type of construction uses what I call “The Heavy Foot”. To keep the thing from toppling over the bottom is packed with pennies. I used pennies or sandbags in the bottoms of all the other mushrooms in the previous picture too. Still, it’s a delicate balance to keep this thing free-standing upright. While making this one I had an idea for an improvement and started another one right after. Now I’ve started deviating away from the instructions in the patterns I bought. I call this design variation the Mark I.

Oh, and no I didn’t make that doily it’s sitting on. That would be the work of a great-aunt of mine.

P.S. Interesting mushroom yarn-bombing.

Fungus Among Us April 2, 2014

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Crochet.
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There’s been a nasty fungal outbreak here in Casa Del Mitch. It’s my own fault really, I’ve been letting things slip. I took pictures, check them out:

20131212_105752-1 20131214_101628-1 20131214_102154 20131216_101032 Shroom1

Aren’t they delightful? I love mushrooms, both for eating and artsy stuff. As a pure natural form shrooms come in such a variety of shapes and colors but with a very simple formula: a stalk and a cap. This offers virtually endless possibilities to riff on the form. And riff I shall.

I made these from patterns I bough from the CAROcreated Etsy shop. I bought all of her mushroom patterns and they’re worth every penny. They’re very well done and easy to follow. Officially Endorsed. I didn’t strictly follow the color suggestions for all of them though.

Still, as fun as these are they left me with a scratch un-itched. I wanted to get some size to these things. And more color.

 

Up Against The Wall March 28, 2014

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Crochet.
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Well I finally got it hung up last week and I finally got a decent picture of it to show you. Clicken to embiggen.

BEHOLD!!

CRWAOnTheWall

110 Year Old Antique Organ for Scale

I used velcro strips and they worked marvelously. I bought five yards of the stuff and sewed sections of the hook side in a radial pattern around the middle medallion and near the edges, with long strips near the top for maximum support of the whole thing. The fuzzy side had the sticky backing that went on the wall. With the help of a couple friends we were able to position it and stretch it out. Frankly five yards was complete overkill. Velcro is VERY resistant to shear forces and the sticky backing is also very sticky indeed. I could have used half of it. Oh well, it ain’t going anywhere and that’s what matters.

Now onto other things. There’s an outbreak of fungal growth in the house that I have to deal with.

BEHOLD!! February 16, 2014

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Crochet, Home, Yarncraft.
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Gaze upon The Cathedral Rose Window Afghan project!

At long last, it is done! I started this thing in January on March 1st of last year. So just two weeks shy of a full year to complete. I will note that I took a few months off to work on other things. I’m so happy. :-D

CRWAFinalOn to the next one.

Edit: uploaded a better picture. Clicken to embiggen! Oh, and now what to do with it? I have a wall space in my bedroom where I thought I’d hang it but I’m not sure how one goes about hanging something like this. Digging around on the interwebs other folks have pondered the same thing. One person suggested velcro. That. Just. Might. Work. I could sew strips of the hook side at the end half-circle sections and sticky the loop strips on the wall. I’ll have to take the TV out of the bedroom though. It’s not really a loss as I can’t even remember the last time I watched anything on it. Looking at this will be so much better than a big, black rectangle. *\o/*

In case you were wondering, this afghan is exactly seven feet across. That’s a LOT of yarn.

Yarn January 14, 2014

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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I have yarn.

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Much yarn

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More yarn. Used to be a pool table. Now it’s a yarn table.

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So. Much. Yarn.

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You know what I did last night? Yes, I bought more yarn.

I don’t have a problem. I can stop anytime I want to.

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