Tuesday, December 28, 2010

E-Reader case

I spent today making a case that disguises my Sony Pocket Reader as a ordinary hardcover book.  Looks pretty cool, doesn't it?

I started with a trip to the Goodwill, to look for an appropriate book.  I was careful not to choose a book that might be precious, out of print, or difficult to come by- robbing the world of a book like that would be a sin.  It didn't seem to be a sin to mutilate this copy of The Wide Window, which is still in print and very popular.  The world has millions of copies exactly like this one.

The choice of book left me a pretty narrow strip of paper around the edges of the reader case- I hope that it holds up to use.  If it doesn't, then I'll know that I should have chosen a slightly larger book.  I actually had one in my other hand, a Trixie Belden reprint, but I went with the Lemony Snicket in part because I love those books.   I also own a copy of this book with the words still in it.

To make the hollow book, I used some very handy instructions from Wikihow.  Everything in those instructions worked well except the drying times- the instructions called for a lot less time to dry the glue than it actually took.  I started out trying with a box cutter, as recommended in the instructions, but switched to an Xacto knife, which worked a lot better for me.

It took two or three hours to cut out the pages, including the time to shave the edges of the inside compartment.  Kind of hard on the back, but what better way is there to spend a day off than making a thing?

Abandoned project

Can God make a rock so big he can't lift it?  There's a paradox with no answer.

But I've definitively answered a similar question: I can make a pattern so difficult I can't sew it.

Okay, that's not entirely true.  If I really, really wanted to, I could finish stitching my 'Garden of Epicurus' pattern.  But as it takes shape, I can see that I'm not really happy with the palette, and after a few years of frustrating, intense stitching, I'll end up with a finished product I'm not really happy with.

So I'm letting it go.  I've learned a great deal from this.  If I were to try to re-do the idea, I'd limit the colors a great deal, instead of using so many different colors, and I'd simplify the shapes, as well.  In other words... I'd do it completely and utterly differently.

For a long time, I felt like it was an assignment- I started it, so I have to finish it... right?  Right? Giving myself permission to just stuff the thing in a drawer and never look at it again is very freeing.

Or maybe I'll just throw it away.  How liberating would that be?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My pattern, Gemma's needle

Gemma, of Crafty and Devious, used my 'Earth' pattern to do this classy framed piece as a gift.  She used black Aida, though, instead of stitching a hundred million tiny black x's... I can entirely respect that decision.  

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Garden of Epicurus pattern

I'm starting work on a new piece.  The image is a flower garden, and the panel in the middle is a quote said to have been at the gate of Epicurus's garden.  Epicurus is currently my guide to life, and I'm planning for this to go in a frame in some prominent part of my living room, when it's finished.

There are a lot of different colors here.  I hope it comes out well.  If you click on the image, you should get the full pattern.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Planets: finished

I've finished the "Planets" series.  I'm pretty happy with how they've turned out- except for Saturn.  I don't care for Saturn.  That's why I chose it to go under the wine glass in my photo.  I'm hoping that you, gentle reader, won't notice its flaws.  I love Earth, though, and Jupiter, and I like the visual joke of Pluto with its tiny size and its asterisk.

I made the patterns using MacStitch 2009, and used telescope images of the planets, mostly Hubble photos, that I found on Wikipedia as a basis for the patterns.  They are stitched on 18-count Aida fabric, backed with black fabric, and edged in black double-fold bias tape.

I release all of the patterns under a Creative Commons license, which means that anyone has permission to copy, use, and change them- but please don't sell them, or anything you make from them, without my permission.  I'm including links to all of the patterns on this post.  I made them as coasters, but I would be curious to see what other users people have for them, so if you do something cool with these patterns, I'd love to see it.

Creative Commons License
Planets by Heather Murphy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at nerdyneedle.blogspot.com.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Planets: Pluto

I've finished stitching the last of the "Planets" series- Pluto is marked with an asterisk, since its status as a planet depends on whether you're talking about popular conceptions or science.  I didn't like to leave it out, though; it was a planet when I learned about the planets from Interplanet Janet, and I'm a little attached to it.  Besides, Jonathan Coulton's "I'm Your Moon" is the best love song ever.

Before I start finishing the coasters, I'll upload the charts for Pluto here, in case anyone else wants to use them for anything.  

Friday, March 26, 2010


I finished stitching Uranus while watching old episodes of "Angel" on DVD in my pajamas, enjoying a richly-deserved day off.  As usual, I'll include the chart for anyone who wants to use the 'planets' patterns themselves.