Monday, September 3, 2012

Arts and Crafts! Pokémon Edition!

So this is how I spent my free time for the last three weeks: making these.

It all started when my girlfriend went out of town during the break between summer term and fall semester. She would be home for over a week, so I thought to myself, "Well, I can manage. I have several friends I can hang out with." And then it escalated when my several friends were also out of town. I needed something to do to occupy myself. I thought to myself,

Well shoot. It might be nice to do something other than accelerate the rotting of my brain on the internet. Maybe something artsy?  When I was in middle school, I'd make those little animals with the opening mouths out of plastic canvas and yarn.  And I bet since I'm older and kind of smarter, I can make whatever I want.  And by that, I mean Pokémon.  And what better variety of Pokémon to make than the Eevee family?  Game plan set.

I consulted the internet to find that the artistic Pokémaniacs are cross-stitchers, not canvas-stitchers.  There are slight differences between the two, patternwise, but I found a collection of patterns for each.  After a trip to Walmart and Hobby Lobby, I got some canvas, a couple of needles, and a rainbow of yarn.  And then I went to work.


Eevee was the prototype.  The very first thing I learned is that these Pokémon were going to be pretty big...

 Life size, baby.

The fancy-pants cross-stitchers called for about 15 different shades of thread per pattern, which is way out of my budget, so I had to improvise.  I bought a pack of brown yarn that cycled between five or so different tones.  It meant planning ahead, knowing that your yarn could spontaneously change color while stitching.  That explains the weird coloring of Eevee's face (I did try to give it little cheeks, which is definitely artistic license).  I also had the idea of making the very last stitches the white highlights in Eevee's eyes, which actually made such a huge difference that I compared it to watching a puppy open its eyes for the first time.  Cait thought it was a silly analogy, until she got to see the difference herself, and then even she thought it was apt.  Take her word for it, since I didn't photograph the process itself.


This is where it got fun. In addition to the brown yarn, I got multi-shaded blue yarn, which Vaporeon very much needed.  I was able to put together Vaporeon fairly easily without having to resort to other crazy color schemes, though I did have the idea to add the brown accents to the fins on its head.  Given the medium, I thought it seemed a little rigid, but it still worked out in the end.  Also, Vaporeon is the only one I made in a single night (finished at about 7:30 am).


Jolteon is where I made a change to my reinterpretation of the cross-stitch patterns.  As a result, the edges are thinner and cleaner.  And great.  I bought a lighter yellow yarn so that I could use it for multiple Pokémon, but I also decided to get a different color yellow so Jolteon could have cool shading (which you can barely notice).  I also remember finding a different pattern for Jolteon, since the first one I found had him look incredibly furious at something.  I would have none of that, so I found a different one where Jolteon posed in a courageous fashion, and I'm so glad I did.


My yarn loot gave me a chance to do some shading on Flareon as well, and it looks much more prominent than it did on Jolteon.  Something else I was introduced to was the hole in the middle, between its left ear, its mane, and its tail.  It was a pain to cut out, but apart from that, it wasn't a big deal.  Flareon is one of my favorite Pokémon overall (let alone the Eevee family), so I found this one especially delightful to make.  The yellow highlights on the fur are my favorite part.


 Espeon was another alternate pattern I pulled from the internet.  However, as soon as I cut the canvas pattern out, I realized that this Espeon was going to be a little small.  I wrote it off by saying that Espeon is a Psychic-type and therefore should have a more slender frame.  With that, I feel like I nailed the shading of the purple.  Espeon was also the first one that Cait got to see me start when she got back.  Funnily enough, I could've just stuck with the original three evolutions of Eevee, and I'd have finished before Cait returned (which was the reason I started this project in the first place).  But I decided to see this through and do all eight.


Umbreon is my other favorite member of the Eevee family, so for this, I bought some black yarn and some not-so-black yarn.  Everything was going smoothly until I found that the pattern called for three different shades of black, which makes close to zero sense outside of an artistic context.  Seriously.  Fortunately, I did have a shade of very dark blue, which, after some deliberation, I used for the shading on the neck and the rear legs.  And it worked!  I did not want to screw up Umbreon at all, which is why it was a tough decision, but it paid off, and Umbreon ended up being one of the coolest-looking ones, in my opinion.  Which is the best opinion.


Leafeon is the first of the two Eevee evolutions from the fourth generation of Pokémon, and I'm sad to say that I have never actually raised one in the games, so I don't have that much of a connection to it as I do to the previous six.  Nonetheless, it completes the set.  The pictures I've seen of Leafeon have a yellowish body, but I made the choice to give it a tan body.  It took a lot more work (remember that multi-shaded brown yarn?) than had I used single-shaded yellowish yarn, but the end result was awesome, especially the tapering between the tan and the green.  The veins in the leafy tail also ended up looking great.  If I only had the money to spring for a DS and a copy of Pokémon Diamond, I would raise one, for sure.  It looks so cool!


The last one!  My biggest concern going into Glaceon was that it would look too much like Vaporeon. Fortunately, in addition to the multi-shaded blue yarn, I got a roll of very light blue yarn, which ended up being the basis for Glaceon.  I also had trouble picking out a shade of blue for its locks.  I almost went with a bluish-purple, but in the end I stuck with a dark blue.  I think it ended up pretty different from Vaporeon, or about as different as ice is from water...

And now the project is done!  If you feel so inclined to download a full-size picture of them all, use this link.

Don't hurry, give it time / Things are the way they have to be