May 27, 2013

American Flag Blanket

This project has been underway for a little while, but Memorial Day seems a good day as any to finally post it.

In art, I sometimes would pick a theme and create pieces within it. It gave me an opportunity to explore a concept from a few different angles and experiment with new things.  After my recent post about how my work might as well be art, I figured why not pursue it like art?  I got out my sketchbook and started brainstorming some new projects.  My plan is to create a mini portfolio of projects and hopefully start selling some, so why not create a little series?

I've been wanting to make an American flag blanket for a little while now, and I had all the yarn already, so that seemed like the perfect focal piece.  From there, I started working on some ideas with sports teams that fell flat, and then ended up at stuffed animals.  As a biologist, I loved ecology best- studying animals, ecosystems, and how interrelated nature can be.  I especially love insects.  My personal faves are dung beetles and safari ants.  One of my favorite quotes is by biologist J.B.S. Haldane, who said that "if He exists, God has an inordinate fondness for beetles".  There are over 300,000 different species of beetles on Earth (in comparison, there are only 10,000 species of mammals).  So at least the big dude in the sky and I have our love of beetles in common.  

I started my stuffed animals with two very large (probably a foot and a half long and wide) dragon flies.  Green Darners, to be precise.  A male and female with as accurate coloration and proportions as can be expected with yarn and a crochet hook. I also just finished up an octopus squid (octopoteuthis deletron) that is super adorable, and will hopefully be posted on soon.  Both of these species are native to America.  I'll fill in some more information on them once they're done, but suffice it to say- they're sweet.  Next up:  giant carrion beetle. 

Before I get more distracted, here's the blanket:

I tried to make the sides as wavy as the ripples- as if it was actually blowing in the wind.  Plus it's less boring than a flat one.

I made my ripples by doing 8 stitches, increase one, 4 stitches, increase one, 8 stitches, decrease one, 4 stitches, decrease one. Every other row was sc across to keep it from bubbling up.

For the blue section I followed the ripple pattern with blue yarn, and added the stars afterwards.  I just embroidered them with a tapestry needle as if I was drawing a star.

There actually are 50 start, all in the same pattern as they are on the real thing.

And then for some pictures with my obligatory model- Oy the American Pit Bull Terrier.  He even has his matching flag collar on today!

Happy Memorial Day everyone!  Remember that while you're out spending time with family and friends it's important to honor those in the armed services.  

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