Sunday, May 31, 2015

Better be...Hufflepuff!

I started participating in the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup (HPKCHC) on Ravelry at the beginning of February, which I've shared all throughout my blog posts.  Mid-April, I had the chance to sign up for a chance to be sorted into one of the four Hogwarts houses.

Full of trepidation about actually having to leave my other NQFY friends, I told Sir Hat (the Sorting Hat, which was a Google Form) all about my fears.  I'm sure he listened quite patiently.  Upon submitting my application, I received the following:

And then the long waiting process for the actual sorting post began.  The HPKCHC provides many other activities to do in month wait between sessions, but as I was tied up with SFAC and TLT projects, I didn't participate in any of them.

On April 29th, a tizzy swept through the NQFY lounge when Sir Hat and many of the moderators for the group came online.  I was sitting at home with the Panda when I received an earburn (a direct summons via link) to the Sorting Hat Thread.

My heart may have stopped.  I'm still not sure.

And here is what Mr. Hat said:

The names of myself and some other fellow Hufflepuff firsties!

I was beyond excited!  I wasn't sure I was eligible to be sorted at all and even then I got my first choice!

I made some new 'robes' (my profile picture) to celebrate:

And was also notified that within Hufflepuff House (the Den) I had been sub-sorted into a cete (a group of badgers): the Asian Badger cete.  Everybody there was very welcoming, and I further met another Legend of Zelda enthusiast there, Aptenoknits, as well as being put with Piglottie, a closer NQFY friend.

Then it was time to get myself oriented for the new term!  There are so many more things to participate in intra-house.  Let me list what I can remember...there's a lot!

Basic Classes - These change every term.  This term the eight classes are:

Care of Magical Creatures
Defense Against the Dark Arts
History of Magic
Muggle Studies

And of course, there's always Detention.

Quidditch Matches - There are usually four, spread over the three-month term.

Match 1 - Make a Shopping List
Match 2 - Stop for a Treat
Match 3 - Window Shopping
Match 4 - Spiff Up your Newly Purchased Secondhand Broom

Puffopoly - A Hufflepuff-only version of Monopoly.

You score points (move along the board) based on turning in classes, participating in Quidditch and other challenges, etc.  There are also bonus points awarded for high yardage, your speed, etc.

This term, we are playing at Malfoy Manor:

Every space you pass, you build a structure.
Sheds are for your first time around the board.
Houses are second, and bungalows third.

Some players choose to turn in their moves throughout the term, as their classes are graded, they score quidditch goals, etc.  I decided I'd rather make a tracking post at the beginning of the term, and then turn in all my points at once.  I can't wait to see how far I get around the board!  (Currently, I am at Durmstrang, in the orange section.)

Tour de Puff -  based on Tour de France, a team-based challenge put together by the Head Girl

ChellBelle is Hufflepuff's head girl, and she developed a unique challenge for us to participate in, featuring different kinds of jerseys, which meant different types of goals.  The choices:

Peloton (yellow jersey) - 450 pts average per student.

Climber (polka dot jersey) - Team yardage goal.

Sprinter (green jersey) - Team points goal.

Rookie (white jersey) - Badger trails (individualized goals)

Breakaway - Ride solo

Participants can choose up to two jerseys, which of course I did.  I was actually nabbed by MidwestAliceAnn (my captain from the U.S.S. Zimmermann SFAC challenge) to be on her team.  Aptenoknits and Piglottie came along, too!

We are Team Debutant Puffs, making a splash and being oh so classy while doing it!  We have each chosen our individual badger trails, and I decided to be conservative and go with Loyal Puff.   The requirements:

NEWT  or  OWL  or  OotP
6 classes
2 of the following:
  • OotP  (Order of the Phoenix)
  • Detention
  • Quidditch
  • HMC  (Headmistress' Challenge)
Well, if my craziness is any indication...I'm already done with everything on this list except for the OWL at the top.  (More on that below.)  I could have gone bigger, but having never participated in Quidditch before, I was too afraid I'd bobble the Quaffle and fail to make a goal.

My second team is a polka dot jersey team, Team Extra Mile.  We are collectively sprinting 25,520 yards together (I personally am attempting 3,520 yards = 2 miles of yarn)!  I even made a little ticker to keep track:

And a couple of the teammates designed matching 'robes' for all of us:


So this promises to be a lot of fun...if I can keep it all straight!

Top 10 List - A badge-collecting challenge persuading you to do what's most important.

There's a badge for completing each item on your list (and the list gets locked so you can't take-backsies), and then bonus badges for doing so many per month.

My Top 10 List:

  1. Potions OWL
  2. Calla’s Wrap (Tropical Delight Shawl)
  3. WIP - Doc’s Viking Helmet
  4. Twilight Sparkle (My Little Pony (Main 6 Cast))
  5. Shining Armor (Shining Armor from My Little Pony)
  6. WIP - Minecraft Enderman
  7. WIP - SkyDoesMinecraft
  8. WIP - Minecraft cake Pillow
  9. Quidditch Match
  10. Lincoln’s Monkey (Tallou the Monkey)

Headmistress' Challenge - A unique challenge once per term, given by HM Secrettrail.

This term's challenge is to help Headmistress Secrettrail work in her new garden by crafting something you'd find there.  She also has a bit of woodland glade (originally part of the Forbidden Forest) and you can craft something you'd find there, too (something a little more wild than just bluebells).

Advanced Studies - NEWTs, OWLs, or OotP.

NEWTs (Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests) can only be done by students who have completed at least four OWLS.  (I don't qualify.)  They combine aspects from two OWLs into a long, 6-8 week project that is very, very impressive.

OWLs (Ordinary Wizarding Levels) are a bit less challenging, but each type of OWL has strict requirements that require approval from the OWL examiner before you can begin.  There are fourteen types of OWL, and you may sit each one only once before repeating the same OWL again.

I am actually doing a Potions OWL this term; more on that in a future post.

OotP stands for Order of the Phoenix, and these are Missions/BROOMs.  They are to help stop the evil forces of Voldemort by selecting one of the mission prompts that grabs your attention.  Each department has it's own prompts, and a mission commander for those prompts.

For example, I am working with Mission Commander GazeboGal, who is in charge of the Security Operations division.  Specifically, I am undertaking Planning with the Weasley Twins, which means that I am crafting something you could find in their store, Weasley Wizarding Wheezes.

Missions began May 24th, but I haven't begun mine yet.  I need a bit more time to sort out the other stuff from the month of May!  There's so much to catch you up on, that I'll come back to many of these points and do greater, in-depth posts.

Until I'm able to do that, though, craft on!

Better be...Hufflepuff!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Etsy Spotlight: TheWindFish

I've been doing it again.  Yes, that.  Browsing Etsy when I should be doing other things.

But really, it's not my fault.  It keeps suggesting fabulous video game related items, and I keep favoriting them!

I love simple expressions of fan love, and when I found the little shop called TheWindFish, it was just so whimsical and charming that I couldn't help but browse all the things.

The shop is owned by Janelle, and she is simply amazing!  Her simplistic jewelry designs are very cute, affordable, and make the fangirl in me squee just a little bit.

In particular:

The Lord of the Rings, available here.
She makes a set of four with the entire poem.

From Dragon Age: Origins, available here.
Alistair's saying to his love interest.

If you remember my previous post about video game relationships, then you know that Alistair has a special place in my fangirl heart.  But not so much as the calibration-loving turian who said this to my FemShep in Mass Effect:

So guess which one I bought?
This Garrus Vakarian-inspired bracelet is available here.

I love everything about this bracelet, but the thin cord for the band just wasn't going to survive the harsh use I put my jewelry through.

Luckily for me, the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup offered a non-Ravelry craft option for the Defense Against the Dark Arts homework: craft something that has a final hardening step.

So, I replaced the band of the bracelet with hemp, and super-glued the knots to make them solid.

Professors, I received a charming bracelet in the mail, but I looked at the cheap Muggle band to which the focal bead was attached and knew I could use a fortify spell to turn the simple blue string into three-ply hemp. Additionally, I applied some of Mendigann’s Magical Glue to the frayed knots in order to set them into shape and harden them against continual usage. Thank you for your time!

My turn in photo:

I'm especially proud of my 'best defense' saying, which is totally accurate.

I doubt this will be the last time I make a band for this charm, but I like my first attempt!

Although TheWindFish is on a short hiatus at the moment, be sure to check out Janelle's store for many gamer, nerd, and/or custom designs!

Craft on!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Poor Girl's Crochet Hexipuff Pattern

As most of my readers know, I've been participating in multiple craft challenges on  The first group I found was the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup (HPKCHC), and I began the winter term as a Not Quite First Year (NQFY) student.  Basically, I wasn't playing for real fake points.

There were quite a few of us spending time in the NQFY "tavern crawl" and we became friends.  When it came time at the end of April for us to put our names in the Sorting Hat, I really wasn't sure I could pick a House (more on that in my Hufflepuff post).

Well, off the grid the other NQFYs decided to set up a place where we could still continue to chat outside the walls of Hogwarts.  There, I was invited to participate in a hexipuff swap with Karigenknights and Sumiregusa.

Just one problem: all the hexipuffs (from the fabled Beekeeper's Quilt) I'd ever seen were knitted from sock yarn.

Well, none of my local chain stores sell 'sock yarn'.  And if they did, it's too expensive for me to invest in.  (I also don't knit, but that's an aside.)

This is where the 'poor girl' part comes in.

I took worsted weight super saver yarn and un-plied it.

Two strands instead of four.

And then I set out to modify the Apiary Puff pattern to match the 3" wide by 3" tall dimensions Sumiregusa was kind enough to give me.

What follows here is what worked for me; I hope others find it helpful!

The trio of hexipuffs I turned in for Charms, HPKCHC May 2015.

Poor Girl's Crochet Hexipuff


  • D-hook (3.25mm)
  • 12 yards of worsted weight yarn, unplied into two pieces (2-ply each, 24 yds. total)
  • yarn needle
  • small amount of fiberfill
  • stitch marker


This pattern is worked in continuous rounds, not joined rounds.  You will move your stitch marker up with each round.

Chain 9.

Row 1:  Sc in 2nd ch from hook and place stitch marker.  Sc to end (8). Continue to sc on backside of chain for a total of 16 sc.

Row 2:  Sc in marked st; move marker.  2sc in next st (increase), sc in next 5, 2sc in next, 1 sc, 2sc in next, sc in next 5, 2sc in last st before marker (20).

Row 3:  Sc in marked st; move marker.  Sc in each st around (20).

Row 4:  Sc in marked st; move marker.  2sc in next st, sc in next 7, 2sc in next, 1 sc, 2sc in next, sc in next 7, 2sc in last st before marker (24).

Row 5:  Sc in marked st; move marker.  Sc in each st around (24).

Row 6:  Sc in marked st; remove marker.  Sc once more and place marker (adjusting for stitch shift).  2 sc in next st, sc in next 9, 2sc in next, 1 sc, 2sc in next, sc in next 9, 2 sc in last st before marker (28).

Row 7:  Sc in marked st; move marker.  Sc in each st around (28).

Row 8:  Sc in marked st; remove marker.  Sc once more and place marker (adjusting for stitch shift).  2sc in next st, sc in next 11, 2sc in next, 1 sc, 2sc in next, sc in next 11, 2 sc in last st before marker (32).

Row 9:  Sc in marked st, move marker.  Sc in each st around (32).

Row 10:  Sc in marked st, move marker.  2 sc in next st, sc in next 13, 2sc in next, 1 sc, 2sc in next, sc in next 13, 2sc in last st before marker (36).

Row 11:  Sc in marked st, move marker.  Sc in each st around (36).  Now you'll start decreasing.

Row 12:  Sc in marked st; remove marker.  Sc once more and place marker (adjusting for stitch shift).  Sc2tog , sc in next 13, sc2tog, 1 sc, sc2tog, sc in next 13, sc2tog in last st before marker (32).

Row 13:  Sc in marked st, move marker.  Sc in each st around (32).

Row 14:  Sc in marked st, move marker.  Sc2tog, sc in next 11, sc2tog, 1 sc, sc2tog, sc in next 11, sc2tog in last st before marker (28).

Row 15:  Sc in marked st, move marker.  Sc in each st around (28).

Row 16:  Sc in marked st; remove marker.  Sc once more and place marker (adjusting for stitch shift).  Sc2tog, sc in next 9, sc2tog, 1 sc, sc2tog, sc in next 9, sc2tog in last st before marker (24).

Row 17:  Sc in marked st, move marker.  Sc in each st around (24).

Row18:  Sc in marked st, move marker.  Sc2tog, sc in next 7, sc2tog, 1 sc, sc2tog, sc in next 7, sc2tog in last st before marker (20).

Row 19: Sc in marked st, move marker.  Sc in each st around (20).

Row 20:  Sc in marked st; remove marker.  Sc once more and place marker (adjusting for stitch shift). Sc2tog, sc in next 5, sc2tog, 1 sc, sc2tog, sc in next 5, sc2tog in last st before marker (16).

Stuff with a small amount of fiberfill.

At this point, you may choose to either sew the hexipuff closed, or slip stitch it shut.  Weave in ends and you're done!

Ta da!  Way to go on using up those worsted remnants!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Shadowmoor LARP: April 2015 (Feastival!)

Apologies for the silence this month--it's been so busy around here!

I meant to share some of the photos that were taken at Shadowmoor LARP during the April gather.

April is the month in which we celebrate Feast (also known as Feastival!)...essentially Shadowmoor Christmas.  There are games, player tournaments, and other contests such as the dessert contest and table decorating.

(It is a feast, after all!)

So below I share with you the few photos I was able to take.  I hope you enjoy!

Taken on the Mages' Guild front porch.
Left to Right:  Connor, Uzou, Rengar.

Left to Right: Rengar, Fizz, Kijja.

Left to Right: Kijja, Audrick.

Connor is a Sampan elf, like my character.  He was actually race-changed to a Sampan in a mod I was on with him during his very first gather.  He chose to keep the race-change!  (I think that's pretty awesome.)  Feather (me) got to teach him and his other friends about what it meant to be a Sampan.  I'm very happy that he came back for a second event!

Uzou is a human templar, meaning he's part fighter and part caster.  He's focusing on celestial magic (which is what the Mages' Guild is all about), and has just started learning to cast formal magic (that is, "magic" cast from scrolls in order to do things like make items, store spells for later, and enchant weapons).  He's been running with the group for a little while, and this gather the 'core' members of the group were able to interview him and induct him into the guild.  We gave him a belt favor to wear, in order for him to be easily identified as one of us.

(Of course, that goes both ways.  It is also possible to bring shame to our guild, and if that happens...well, I'd hate to see Guildmaster Kaelys when he's sufficiently angry.)

Rengar is a reaver (a native version of a hobbling, which is a take on halflings/hobbits).  He's a rogue (in both class and manner) and sometimes spends time with our group.  He's actually quite good at accompanying us on trading missions...but as a reaver he is full of mischief and only semi-trustworthy.

Fizz is a gnome, and is nothing without her hat.  (Sometimes I'm convinced that the hat is actually Fizz and the body can't survive without the hat.)  We had a great gather getting to hang out; she's guild second this year and takes that very seriously.  She led us into the field battle on Sunday morning (after the feastival activities had concluded) and was great at keeping the guildees together (which makes healing them so much easier!).  She and I had great and glorious plans for decorating our table for the guild, which was a surprise for them.  It was really nice to spend more time with her; I only wish we lived geographically closer in real life!

Kijja is also a Sampan, of the long-eared variety.  He's also a templar focusing on celestial magic.  It's a shame his shield is wrong-side up; the design on it is pretty intricate.  He was originally brought to the guild by Syl, but has really fleshed out his character and I enjoy roleplaying with him.  My character sort of sees him as a younger brother, and chastises him for silly things as appropriate.

Finally, Audrick is a stone elf (which I'd never met before).  He was also inducted into the guild during the April gather, and as I hadn't spent as much time with him as with Uzou, I really wanted to make sure I understood his motivation.  Bonus: I got to learn a lot about the culture of the stone elves!  He participated in one of the PVP tourneys, and actually did really well!  (I was told; I wasn't there.)

Let me tell you: it is really inspiring as the healer who has to stand in the back behind the fighters and look forward to see all those shiny new belt favors on so many people's backsides.  Makes me feel a little bit safer.

Pidge Tenbeers converses with Burbank.

Trench and Orchid speak with a newer player.

In the top picture, the beard Pidge (Mike the coworker) is wearing was made by moi!  My very first beard, and I'm so very proud of it.

In the bottom picture, Trench is an ogre, Orchid is a Sampan.

Finally, I did manage to capture our table decorations!  Fizz and Rengar were awesome at setting everything up!

Yes, that's my Gaithersburg stole being used as a tablerunner.

Fizz and I chose to do little rubber ducks as our feast favors.
I bought the ducks, and Fizz made the tiny little personalized flags.
Huge success!  Everyone loved them.

One of these gathers, I'm going to be able to get lovely glamour shots of everybody in the guild and update our Facebook group with them.  (I don't photograph well, though, so it might take some doing.)

Until then, craft on!

Friday, May 8, 2015

End of April: Starfleet Fiber Arts Corps

April was the third and final month of the Starfleet Fiber Arts Corps spring tour, and I have had a terrible case of Do All the Things.

The normal mission schedule is:

Command Mission

Making wise choices is what defines any officer’s career (even if it is deciding upon a role to play on the holodeck). In my studying of the situation, I have decided that less is more, and that the person who really wins in the end is the one who has a stable job that serves both sides.
In representing my “less is more” idea, I took a pattern designed to fit a 2- or 3-year-old and downsized it to make it wearable by a 6-month old. I have never attempted to do anything like this before, and I still have some concerns about it fitting well, although I have triple-checked the measurements. I changed the neckline to an Asian-inspired side seam to make sure it was large enough, and I hope the final recipient will be pleased.
Diplomatic Mission

Good, solid communication is necessary between two parties that wish to undertake negotiations. Unfortunately, both sides are not always listening to hear these attempts at communication. In these situations, it might be best to set up an automated recording to broadcast the attempt to open negotiations. Of course, the message would be put on a recorded loop to be repeated, which I have crafted as cables.
Engineering Mission

I wrote a previous blog post about this little heart rug commission.

Medical Mission

One might say that the holodeck is an ideal place to train before attempting first contact with alien races. Recently, I have been studying for an away mission on the world newly known as “Equestria” by using old Earth footage of a show known as My Little Pony.
In the event that we should ever need to treat one of these new pony-like inhabitants of Equestria, I have made a model for Sickbay technicians to experiment on.
Science Mission

Nothing is quite as dastardly as having a portable prison sphere that one can carry in one’s pocket. With this handy little device, all Chaotica has to do is throw it in Captain Proton’s direction and the little ball does the rest.
Tactical Mission

As mentioned in the mission brief, it is imperative that one dress in appropriate color and style for any type of mission, whether it is first contact or a holodeck excursion. Even the smallest of details is important, such as one’s accessories in order to convince Queen Arachnia that you are a competent, well-dressed lady worth trusting. (Even if one must turn the accessory inside-out to hide a colorful button.)
I believe that this wrist cuff is the height of evil villainess fashion, and Arachnia will be more than happy to hire me and divulge all of her devious plans.
And then there was an additional bonus mission this month, in memoriam of Commander Spock:

Shuttle Mission

Instructors, in honor of Mr. Spock’s great contribution to the science field, I have made the likeness of a dwarf star. I chose sparkly white yarn to show the intense heat at the heart of the star, and the blue halo evokes the image of the center of a flame. In addition, the blue tone also mimics the blue tunic once worn by Mr. Spock and all of the science division in the 23rd century. Finally, the edges of the starburst design fade to navy and then black, embracing the surrounding void of space.
The reenlistment thread officially opened a couple of days ago; come on in and sign up for a tour with us!

Craft on, alien friends!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

End of April: Time Lord Travels

I am, as always, perpetually behind in my blog posts.

Today at least I thought I'd catch you up on how the first month of the Time Lord Travels challenge ended for me!

There were four quests, and I had two left to complete:

Swarm Attack Quest:

Free pattern from LillaBjornCrochet.
Fabulous instructions and pictures!

I have taken the technology once used by Captain Jack Harkness in his time vortex manipulator and concealed it within this simple starburst cuff. The sparkly yarn in the center will hopefully distract the Doctor from asking too many questions about it; I’m forever making odd accessories anyway. I understand that with this power comes great responsibility, which is why this cuff can only hold enough energy for two uses. I trust that this will be of great use to U.N.I.T. in fending off this united attack.
Vespiforms Attack Quest:

Free Ravelry download from Cecily Rosol.

After our sojourn on the planet known only as Myst, the Doctor presented me with a strange gift. Briefly flattered, I opened it only to see a simple, woven bracelet. My face must have fallen a bit, but the Doctor did not notice. Then I peered closer, and then tentatively touched the deceptively-ordinary-looking band.
It wasn’t yarn at all. In fact, it was cool to the touch, and faintly damp. I picked the bracelet up carefully and a nostalgic, one could even call it wistful, scent reached my nose. It was the smell of the sea; the fog that danced upon gray waters off the coasts I loved.
“Doctor, I don’t understand how it’s possible,” I said, but he merely quirked an eyebrow at me and grinned in the mischievous manner that told me nothing. “But what does it do?” I pressed, thinking surely something like this had some kind of odd function.
“You’ll know when you need to,” was all the Doctor would say.
Not a week later, I find myself standing on the streets of London, my eyes wide as proper teacup saucers. These…insects were like nothing I had ever seen; dive-bombing bystanders and crushing cars with their six legs.
Then, I heard it behind me: the vibration of wings in the air. I turned, too late, and brought my arms up in front of my face as if that alone could stop the monster. I didn’t even notice the bracelet the Doctor had given me grow warm against my skin. Suddenly, a thick blanket of fog burst around me in such density I almost couldn’t see my hands in front of my face.
The vespiform seemed equally confused; I heard it bumble about for a moment, and then--nothing.
I never could get the Doctor to explain to me the how or why it worked, but all I know is that the bracelet from Myst saved my life that day on the streets of London.
I also turned in a Pandorica submission; I modified the lady Dwarf beard from a couple of months ago in order to make it fit better.

May promises to be interesting; I haven't had time to plan out precisely what I want to do for the new quests, but I'll let you know when I do!

Craft on!