Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Christmas Displays On 5th Avenue, 2009

Over at Creating the Hive, Busy Little Elf wrote a post about her past experience as a designer for windows at business, and mentioned her hope of someday taking a lead role in coordinating all of the shops on the main street of a small town so that they put on one grand, united, and spectacular Christmas display, reminiscent of 5th avenue. My reply was that I think this is an AWESOME idea, and mentioned that if she was interested, for the past few years I've taken pics of the 5th avenue displays, and offered to share. This offer was accepted, and I decided I might as well put them up over here instead of in a comment in her blog, this way everyone could see!

As an introduction to my interest in this topic, I am a strange creature. I'm an agnostic, non-practicing Jew who LOVES Christmas. I was raised celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas (actually two Christmas', as we would celebrate with each of my parents separately), and my birthday all within the space of a couple of weeks. We would have the menorah in one window and the Christmas tree in the other, and lighting the candles was done with as much joy as decorating the tree. My two theories for why we did this are one, that celebrating Christmas is fun and my mother didn't want my brother and I to feel left out and two, that my mother and father both love giving people presents. My love of Christmas has persisted; it's of great sadness to me that I've not been able to put up a Christmas tree three years running, I have tons of ornaments, and I love giving people presents, too! Thus, I go out, and I spend an evening getting some pictures of the City I love around the holidays.

When I went to look up what I had to offer, I found I had three sets: Christmas, 2009, Christmas, 2008, and a small set of non-Christmas related Bergdorf Goodman windows (I think I have some other miscellaneous shots of the Bergdorf windows floating around in other sets, I'll have to check.) Furthermore, two of these sets in particular are BIG, especially the Christmas 2009 set, so I'm going to break this in to multiple posts, starting with the 2009 pics, which are definitely the best. I'm going to pick out the highlights - but even that will be a lot, I had a heck of time choosing! If you'd like to see the rest, check out the set! :)

Christmas Display in a Fountain in Union Square, part of the annual fair there:

The 2009 Macy's windows told the story of how letters sent by children are sent to Santa Claus.

This shot isn't blurry cause I'm a bad photographer (not entirely, anyway) - it's blurry because the letters were spinning around!

The little girl in the purple hat was staring at the display in rapt wonder. It was really charming to see.

Lord and Taylors:
The 2009 Lord and Taylors windows were, I think, telling the story of the Nutcracker - but there were a lot of scenes unrelated to that, too.

...and don't forget the fashion! L&T didn't, they had several stunning wedding dresses out, that were all reminiscent of the season.

Saks Fifth Avenue:
The windows at Saks featured a lot of fashion; the windows along 5th told the story of a snowflake (I think - maybe a star...) who traveled the world to understand Christmas. It had voice narration and everything! But the fashion was the highlight there!

I didn't take any pictures of the Rockefeller tree that were worth a darn, because I took shots last year, and the area was mobbed, I was getting sick of dealing with all the crowds, and I was FROZEN (remember when I wrote about the bed bugs? well, I packed up all my belongings in May, and very stupidly did not consider what would happen to me in December if all my winter stuff was packed! So I went through the first couple months of the winter by layering two fall jackets and wearing a big snug scarf and hat that I crocheted - no gloves - my hands were so numb!! - but then I got a winter coat, and mom lent me a pair of her gloves, and life was much better. :) ) So, frozen up, I hurried on to Bergdorf Goodman, with a brief stop at Juicy Couture, which had some odd windows featuring circus performances, and the Disney Store, which was sadly lackluster considering their potential.

Bergdorf Goodman:
The theme of the Bergdorf Goodman windows was Alice in Wonderland, though there were also some fashion-dedicated windows. However, at Bergdorf's, even fashion oriented windows can be AWESOME. :) It's hard to pick only a couple...(i took 70 pics of the Bergdorf windows...)

It's very common for the Bergdorf windows to have a TON going on, so I generally take an overview shot, and then a bunch of targeted shots. This is an example of one of the overview shots, then I took 1 - the pelican, 2 - the mannequin, 3 - the Humpty Dumpty, 4 - the White Rabbit, 5 - the hedgehog and book, 6 - the dog, 7 - the globe, 8 - the lizard, and 9 - the flamingo. There's just SO MUCH there!! I could have taken loads more...

This one is a detail of this window.

...I'll stop there, lest I go on and on! If you want to see more, once again, check out the set!

In the imminent future, I'll post another couple posts highlighting my other two sets of shots of the 5th Ave. windows, and of course I'll be going this year, and when I do, there WILL be pictures! Hope ya'll enjoyed this brief tour.

A Short Post about Alot

Do you know about alot? Well, if you don't, you should! It's something that I like alot - though maybe that's not much of a recommendation, as alot makes me laugh. Alot of the time, I'm just a really easy mark. Still, I think there are alot of people reading this who might appreciate this alot - just give it a chance!

Learn More About Alot!

Have you read about alot? Have you really? Well, I learned today from one of my friends about someone who has crocheted alot! Now, I kind of think I should crochet alot, too!

Sometimes, I wonder alot about what my life was really like without the internet... :)

Monday, September 27, 2010


I haven't talked much about my trip here, mostly because I don't want to bore my blog readers to tears, and because the trip itself is not particularly craft-oriented. I didn't want to share any of my pictures (which are being uploaded on Flickr) until I had labeled them. But today, I found the time, energy and inclination to get the first set uploaded; this is the set of general pictures, which is to say pictures I took in Rome that didn't fit in to any of the other categories I made for pictures I'd taken in Rome. You can browse the set here on Flickr. Also, I should mention, if you DO want to read a whole lot about my trip, check out my livejournal, which is my personal blog:

Photography in Rome was fun, and I feel more and more comfortable with my new (no longer that new) camera. There were a lot of situations where I had to deal with very bright light, and others where I had to deal with almost no light at all, and all in all I felt more of the pictures taken in both conditions turned out the way I wanted than in previous trips. None of the dimmest of the dim are in this set (those were almost entirely in churches, and I haven't labeled the church pics yet) but some of the brightest brights were. Here are some of what I consider to be the nicest and/or most interesting pics in this set:

Graffiti: Like most European cities (virtually all that I've been to) there was a LOT of graffiti in Rome, some of which really caught my attention for photography. Here are my personal favorites:

And don't forget this guy:

This short is not artsy, but it is testament to a personal quest, in that I've now found these mosaic reproductions of the aliens from Space Invaders in four different European cities - and that makes me smile.

Here are two of the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument that I was very pleased with:

I can't say that I feel that any of my shots of the Trevi Fountain or the Fountain of the Four Rivers turned out great, but this one isn't bad:

And I was very happy with how this picture of the fence outside the Palazzo Barberini came out:

I'd say those were the best of this batch, so I'll leave you off with this shot from the hill above the Spanish Steps, looking off towards the Vittorio Emanuele II monument again (it's very visible from pretty much everywhere...)

I have some excellent shots from some of the museums, but I'm determined, no sharing until I get the sets labeled! :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Copyright Question

Just a quick post, to see if anyone knows the answer to this one. While I was in the shower this morning, a place I find I frequently get inspiration (anyone else?), I had the thought that the ancient Roman mosaics I've been seeing in the museums here in Italy would make really awesome cross stitch patterns. I wouldn't feed my photos into a program if I were going to do this, I'd design them by hand. Does anyone know how the copyright would work on something like that? My guess is that if I'm working from a photograph I took and creating a (even very similar) pattern, it shouldn't be an issue, the moreso because there is certainly no copyright on two thousand year old mosaics, but I know from experience that when museums get involved these things can get fuzzy. Thoughts?

Here are a couple of examples (because all posts are more fun when they have pictures!):

Monday, September 20, 2010

Recovering My Love of Crafting

In my last blog post, I alluded to "an event" that prevented me from completing the cross stitch that I now will theoretically work on during my trip. I thought that I would take a few moments and in brief discuss this event, which took place in March of last year, and basically made me not want to craft for the better part of a year.

March, 2009, I was very busy with work, in the "10 hours a day every day" kind of level. When I would finish in the evening, I was destressing by watching pre-season baseball and working on a cross stitch I had started some time before but never finished. Then, one Friday morning, I woke up with strange bug bites on my arm (that first morning, only the cluster closest to the camera in the linked to image were present). Understandably alarmed, I was unable to find any images on the internet that resembled my bites, so I went to a nearby clinic, which confirmed my worst fear: my apartment had bed bugs!

Now, if you don't know much about this scourge, one of the most important things is that in order to get rid of them, you have to vacuum and/or otherwise clean basically everything you own in preparation for the exterminator coming. As there was absolutely no way I could do this with the amount of work I had to do (all of which had a due date of March 27th or some such), I resolved to keep on as I had been until then. I hadn't even seen a bed bug at this point, so I continued to work hard, continued to walk the dog, continued to watch pre-season baseball, and continued to work on my cross stitch. Then I started to get evidence that the bed bugs were in my couch - bites on my lower back. And that was when the worst happened: when I picked up my cross stitch, I saw my very first bed bug, an adolescent, crawling it's way down the space where the face of the girl I was sewing was supposed to go. I tried to pretend this wasn't a big deal to me, but then the next day I found another, also on my cross stitch. So on the 28th, when I started packing (I had to pack everything I owned in three days) my cross stitch went in a sealed bag in a crate that I was going to not open for a year - in it were all the things that were too fragile to be treated for the bed bugs in the normal ways.

I left for three weeks while my home was treated. While I was away, I still wanted to work on embroidery, so I bought the cross stitch that now is with me on the trip. But it was not to be: in May, the bed bugs came back. With a lot of effort, I took all my fabric, all my yarn, all my embroidery and (along with a lot of the other things I owned) put it all in storage. I did not work on another craft project until I moved in October. I didn't dare! What if it got infested again? What if I gave something infested as a gift? It was too horrifying to imagine.

In the months after that, it was very difficult to regain my love of crafting. Even though I had moved and appeared to bed bug free, I had worked so hard to keep myself from missing it that I found I didn't want to. Also, I knew I had so many materials and such in storage, I didn't want to buy even more! But slowly, surely, the love of crafting started to come, and I started making things regularly again in January.

The story has a happy ending. In May, after the year of quarantine, I got all my belongings out of storage. In the bottom of one crate was the project where I had first seen the bed bug. I was so freaked out by it that I took out of the crate and immediately shoved it in the freezer for two days. But I worked up the nerve to take it out of the freezer again, and then over the next two weeks, I finished it. I don't have pictures yet, but it was this one. My mom has promised to stretch and frame it for me, so I should have it up on the walls sometime after Christmas (she typically gives me my framed cross stitches as Christmas presents). I've now made things with a lot of the materials that were in quarantine, and I've mostly managed to move on from this pretty lousy experience, but there was a little while there when I wondered if I would ever dare to work on a cross stitch again? (the moreso because this was my second cross stitch disaster; the first was when a project I had devoted three months to, a pattern that I loved, was among the items stolen when my car was broken in to - they took pretty much everything in the car, and I was heartbroken - didn't cross stitch again for more than a year). But I always come back to it! :)

Next time, I'll post something more fun, and hopefully with pictures, promise. ;)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Packing to Craft

Well, I had originally planned this post for Tuesday, but for a variety of reasons (not enough time, no internet, didn't have the necessary pictures, didn't have the necessary pictures uploaded) it has been left for today! To briefly mention my activities, I arrived in Rome on Thursday and have been having an awesome trip. I've been talking about it a lot in my personal blog ( - feel free to check it out if you're curious about my experiences here. I'll also certainly be posting some pictures here at some point, but the internet in my hotel is tragically slow so while I've been uploading images more or less continually, I'm still way behind. (If you're really interested, all of the images I've uploaded are on my Flickr account,, where you can take a peak.) But none of this is particularly related to crafting. And this particular post, well, is! :)

Every time I leave on a trip, I confront the same question: how should I pack to craft? This assumes the true first question, which is of course, do I want to pack to craft? Generally speaking, I try to bring at least some kind of craft project on every trip, just in case, unless I know I'm going some place where I can acquire a craft project should I get in the mood. For example, in July I spent a week in Texas, and I brought the as-yet-incomplete Mets Scarf so I could finish it. The problem was, at the time I left for the trip, I was really much more in the mood to work on a cross stitch project, with the result that part way through the trip I went to Hobby Lobby and bought one. This project proceeded to consume the entire rest of the my summer, and as of near the end of August it is done except for adding the back stitching, french knots, and some beads that it is supposed to have:

Full image:

Detail 1:

Detail 2:

This trip, I can't say I was nearly as much in the mood to work on a cross stitch. Indeed, I'm really in the mood to work on some crocheting, and get some new amigurumi designed, and have some fun with that, and keep working on making new contacts and trying, slowly but surely to grow this "business," as it were. Unfortunately, that desire warred with the one that I always attempt to bring nothing but a carry on. Bringing several balls of yarn plus a supply of fiber fill is not in the least in accord with only bringing a carry on, and I could in no way convince myself that it was a good plan. Furthermore, I felt under no assurance that I could find materials in Italy (though as it turns out there appears to be a place that sells yarn only a few blocks from my hotel, who knew?). Thus, in the end, I decided that the only sensible course was to bring a cross stitch, because the real advantage of these is that they are small, don't require many supplies, and occupy a ridiculous amount of time in comparison to how much space they take up. (Whereas yarn is bulky, and I can go through crocheted objects one every couple of days...)

Thus, to entertain myself on this particular trip, should I find myself with the time and/or inclination to sew, I brought a project I originally started last spring (2009, that is):

(the full image can be viewed at the "project" link.)

As the image shows, I've done less than a fourth of it. There's a reason I stopped when I did, but I think that's a tale for another post - since I won't be crafting much on this trip, I might as well space out what opportunities I have. Indeed, I think there are two posts to come on this topic (notes to myself so that I won't forget!) - the quirks of "being in the mood" to cross stitch, and the tale of why I stopped.

Just as a brief aside: I don't suspect that I'll talk tons about cross stitching in general, but that doesn't do justice to the extent to which I really consider myself to be a cross stitcher more than any other kind of crafter. I learned to cross stitch as a little girl on a sampler that both my grandmother and mother had worked on (I hope to teach my daughter on it, some day when I have a daughter). I started working on large-scale counted cross stitch as a teenager, though I didn't finish my first until the summer after my first year in college, when I also finished my second. Since then I've finished maybe 6 or 10 full-size projects, and I also have done one gigantic one (it was like 2 x 3 feet or something, and is on linen) that I have the habit of calling my "masterwork," as it took me the better part of two years to finish. To sum up, I've done a LOT of cross stitching, and I've spent a lot of time doing it, and I consider myself to be very good at it. Why don't I talk about it more? Because in the end it's a frustrating dead end: I have not been able to figure out any way that I could reasonably make money doing it while still remaining true to the kind of cross stitch that I would like to do. And that makes me sad. I don't have the artistic skill to design large scale projects, I don't have the desire to outreach to artists to license their patterns and work them into patterns, I DEFINITELY don't want to market the schlock that people produce when they feed images in to programs - I've been burned by other people's patterns produced this way - and I don't want to make, design, or sell small scale stuff just so that I can make something marketable. I love putting the time in to making a full-size piece, and it makes me sad that there is simply no way to get the return on manpower hours that would make this strategy in anyway viable. However, this doesn't stop me from cross stitching for personal pleasure. :)

But, in short: as with so many trips, as I packed for this I considered the question of which, if any, craft I should take with me, while wondering if I was being silly - would I really have the time to work on it - and convincing myself that the only reasonable thing to take with me would be cross stitch. And no, thus far I haven't had time or inclination to work on it, but who knows, I may yet, and in the end, it's light enough that I won't regret that I packed it even if it doesn't get any use; I couldn't say the same if I had brought something larger. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Finished Baseball Hat

Last night, I finished the stitching on the baseball hat! After repeating to myself about two dozen times that it doesn't have to be perfect, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. :) I'm glad that the hat itself turned out cute, though, cause otherwise I don't think this would have been sellable to anyone who wasn' :)

Last night, when I modeled it in the mirror, I wore it with the stitches in front:

However, when I showed it to my friend Jen, she seemed to think I should wear it the other way around:

It doesn't matter much, except I want to put the Mets logo on the front, and I can't do that until I decide which way is the front...

Anyway, here's the hat:

I'm pretty pleased. Really. Meanwhile, I took a few new pics of the dolls that I haven't sold yet, but the light wasn't quite right so I'm still not happy with them; I'll have to redo them again, or come up with some better way to take pics. I know what I have to do (some muslin, some lamps...) but I just haven't gotten around to it. Sounds like a task for when I get back...

Also, I'm glad that I got the hat done. Tomorrow is my last night in NYC before October, and I have tickets to tomorrow's game, which means it'll be the last game I get to see before the end of the baseball season (or at least, the end of the part of the baseball season that involves my Metsies). Even though I go through this every year, I know I won't realize how much I love watching baseball until the season is over, and I won't get to watch it again until spring training starts in March. It's surreal to think that this season is almost over already, and all the hopes and fears and questions that started it are no longer relevant, and it's time to start building up next year's stock...are any of you sports fans? What sports do you watch? Baseball is my favorite, though I'm going to try to get in to football this year, just to fill the void left by the off-season...I also like soccer, almost anything in the Olympics, and...well, the last year or so, I'll watch almost any sport I can find, though there are still plenty I've never seen (like Rugby and Lacrosse!) :) Do you express your fandom through crafts? I'd love to see what others have made! :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Photography: Introduction to Zillions of My Pictures

Currently, the black sheep of my crafting family is my photography. It's gone from being in an exalted position where I put it almost number one (while always remaining entirely amateur) to being overlooked. There are a few reasons for this, but I think it boils down to two simple ones:
1. I got a new camera, and hadn't put in the work necessary to get comfortable using it.
2. My photography based cards on Etsy only sold to my friends.
The first should have been a spur - a new camera with nicer features, you'd think would prompt me to take lots of new pictures - but this upgrade has meant that I have a lot more control over my images, which is kind of intimidating, and just that I was so, so used to my old camera, that it's been hard to adapt. The second has definitely been a disappointment. It's the classic example, I guess, that just because I know I'm a decent photographer, and my friends think I'm good, doesn't mean that my stuff really stacks up to the competition - it's just so hard to stand out in this medium when everyone and their mother has a camera and many know how to use photoshop.

However, on my very first blog post over on the Hive, one of my fellow users indicated an interest in seeing my pictures, and that simple comment has really renewed my interest. This makes sense - it was never far from my heart, I never stopped loving it, I was just frustrated and discouraged. But yesterday, instead of working more on my crocheting, I took the camera and went to one of my favorite places in the world to take pictures: the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I took some pictures, started to feel much happier with my camera (this process actually started last month when I went to the Brooklyn Museum of Art for the first time), and when I got home and continuing today, I've spent a bunch of time starting to do a lot of necessary maintenance on my Flickr account, stuff I'd been remiss about. The first step was to finally switch the entire collection from a Creative Commons Share-and-Share-Alike license, which hasn't made much sense since I started trying to sell stuff and had some other problems to boot, to an All Rights Reserved license. Then, I uploaded all the pics that had accumulated on my computer over the summer. Finally, I got some basic organization done. And now, I'm ready to share my Flickr account in general, and a few of the pics from yesterday in particular. :) I've had the added spur of this of wanting to get this done before Wednesday, because that's when I leave for a 2+ week trip to Italy with my mother. It can be safely assumed I'll take a few thousand pictures while there, so I needed to get prepared for that.

I started my Flickr account (username Unforth) in May, 2007, when I had accumulated enough photographs to feel silly just keeping them on my hard drive doing nothing, and had a few that I wanted to share with my friends. However, it really started to take off when I re-discovered my love of art over the following summer, and I started to post a ton when I then spent August - December 2007 in Japan. Now, three and a half years later, there are 38,530 images in the account, of which I've carefully labeled and tagged just over 27,000 (deceptive numbers, as many of the unlabeled photographs will ultimately be deleted); my main page has over 120,000 hits, and overall the account has 1,492,393 hits (I'm getting close to that 1.5 million mark!). I'll take photographs of almost anything, and I love to go to museums, gardens, and zoos, but I'd say the majority of the images are of art. I LOVE art of all kinds, and whenever a museum lets me take photographs, you can assume that I'll take lots, whether it's fine art, paintings, drawings, sculptures, decorative art, folk art, you name it. I have particular weaknesses for Dutch 17th and 18th century painters, pencil, ink and chalk drawings, arms and armor from anytime and anywhere, ridiculous Rococo furniture, 20th century American glassware and pottery, Baroque sculpture...actually, I can't list all my weaknesses, the list is too long. :)

I originally started taking pictures of art when I accepted that I would never be able to own a collection of Rembrandt originals. Photographing of art is a way for me to build my own museum, with items from the greatest collections in the world, and put them all in one place. This collection is for me. However, what's the point of uploading them if no one can use them? And that's why I'm so careful to label them thoroughly - every photograph I take of a piece of art, I also photograph the museum label, and accurately label the photographs so that people can find them and enjoy them as much as I do. Happily, I've now also accepted that I could collect art even if couldn't afford the finest of fine art, and I now have a modest collection of fantasy art originals that I love and have framed all over the walls of my tiny apartment.

Yesterday, I took a set at the Met, and because I knew I'd be sharing it here, I've already gotten in labeled (I'm usually lucky if I get sets labeled within a few months...). Some of the images that I'd say turned out best include:

St. John the Baptist in the Wilderness (Claude Mellan, French, 1629):

Standing Figure (Japanese, late 17th century):

Krishna Battling the Horse Demon, Keshi (Indian, 5th century):

Detail on an Incense Burner (Chinese, Ming dynasty, dated 1512):

Detail of a Tapestry depicting the Liberation of Oriane (from a set called "Amadis of Gaul," Dutch, 1590 - 95)

I would say that almost all of the best photos I've taken are of artwork. Unfortunately, there are all kinds of messy copyrights involved in museum photography, and so I can't market prints of any of these images until I work up the nerve to approach the museum staff and ask what would be involved in getting the necessary permissions.

I'm sure I'll end up talking more about photography, art, my art collection, selling the art, how and why art inspires me, and all manner of related topics, but for now, I think this post is long enough. :) Now, to get away from this computer and finish the baseball hat while I watch the Giants beat the Panthers... :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Crocheting the Baseball Hat, Part 2

Last night, I did a bunch more work on the hat that I was planning. I finished the hat itself, and realized that even sans baseball stitches, I'd managed to make a pretty adorable hat:

I also realized that if I'm going to keep making hats, I'm going to need to get a styrofoam model, because the lighting in my bathroom is absolutely not adequate to take good pictures, and I'm not a very good model anyway. All in all, it was nice to see how cute the hat was before I added the stitches, though, because now I think that rather than sell the pattern with the hat stitches (which I was worried about not selling, as "women who are crazy enough to wear a hat that looks like a baseball" is a pretty niche market, the hat is too feminine for a man, and I have no clue how to size it for a kid), I can instead market it as just a cute hat, and if I make a second model with, say, a little crocheted flower, I can show how people can customize it to their hearts content - and making a second model will give me the chance to make a "small" size, so that the pattern with include a small, medium and large.

Speaking of which, the one in the images is (accidentally) a large - it's definitely a size too big for me - but I figure that's okay, it's still nice and comfy, and because I made the mistake, I know how to change the pattern easily to make a medium.

Once I finished doing that, I moved on to trying to add my baseball stitches. First, I had to measure everything out, which proved to be time consuming and require a lot of counting, a long piece of yarn, and pins. But when all was said and done, I was happy with my template:
Angle one (front):

Angle two (side):

I then started the little crisscrossing stitches in red, using the pinned on line as a guide, but I immediately realized that wasn't quite right. So instead, I grabbed some black yarn, and replaced my model line with black, and stitched the red stitching through the black. I got about half way through the hat before I finally got sick of working on it for the evening and stopped. No pictures of the version with stitching yet, I'll wait until it's done tomorrow.

All in all, working on this hat has taught me a few valuable lessons. For example, it doesn't look like I expected, but I'm actually happier with it this way, I think it's cuter than the original plan. I also learned about sizing. But the most important thing was taught by doing the stitching. Ya see, the stitching isn't perfect, and I'm a real perfectionist. It's not evenly spaced, they're all slightly different sizes, and all in all it looks a little...I don't know...amateur. I was pretty frustrated last night. But when I looked at it this morning, especially from a distance, I felt much better about it: it's not perfect, but it's very cute, instantly recognizable, and I don't think most people would mind the lack of perfection, because just works. At least I think so! I should be done by tomorrow, so I look forward to finding out if others think it works, too! ;)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Crocheting the Baseball Hat

As I alluded to in my last post, I'm a big Mets fan. This has prompted a two crafting projects. The first I started in April, after the discovery that night games in April are cold. Shocking, I know. Thus, one day when I was looking for a way to keep my fingers busy, I bought some nice cotton yarn in blue and orange, and did my first knitting in several years. The result was a scarf:

I got to wear this scarf to my most recent game, which was on a night that had been forecast to be rather chilly in late August. It turned out to be unnecessary for warmth, but I got to discover that it is long enough, rather warm, and very cozy - I love the way it feels. Now, just don't ask how many hours of labor it was, cause the answer is way too many - there's a reason I don't try to knit for fun and profit! I'd never make it to the profit part!

The other idea I had for a baseball-related craft item was a hat: specifically, a skull cap done in white with red stitching to emulate a baseball. I started the project last night, and it's going pretty well. It has raised a couple issues, though:
1. If I want to sell this pattern, how can I easily modify the pattern for different sized heads without having to remake the whole damn pattern and guess (since the only size head I actually have a model for is my own)?
2. How, exactly, are the stitches done on a baseball??
I'm hoping the internet will yield the answer to the first question. The second question would be easily solved if I only owned a baseball - but I don't. Thus, the main purpose of this post is to give me a place to gather a few images of baseballs that I've found, in the hopes that my brain will process these and figure out how to stitch the red on my hat! :)

Detail of the way the stitches interlock:
baseball stitching

Angle one:

Angle two (this one is actually a golf ball, I think!):

Angle three:

Angle four:

Angle five:

Then I had a bright idea! Maybe I should just look for a pattern for making a baseball, which would confirm if my suspicion of how they are stitched together were correct. And voila, I have found a wikihow article on how to sew a cloth baseball, which confirms that my current hypothesis of how a baseball was made is correct.

Okay! So I think I know how to do this. Now, if only I was going to get to this step tonight - but sadly, I suspect the best I'll manage is to finish the actual skull cap part. :)

Pictures to come...