Marvel Graphghan Square #4 – The Incredible Hulk

This minimalist Hulk pattern I’ve made up is a little more cute than incredible. He doesn’t look quite as fearsome as I was going for, but it’s hard to work with only 20×20 pixels! I tried to stick as close as I possibly could to the traditional feel of the Hulk. Angry face. Black hair. Bright green and purple colour scheme. Ladies and gentlemen, the Incredible Cute Hulk!

Hulk Pixel

Look at his cute angry little eyebrows! His grouchy little mouth! So cute.

I originally wanted to showcase his fist, as that is likely one of the most recognizable features of the Hulk. He has massive hands capable of breaking anything that may cross his path. Do you know how hard it is to try and make a fist out of pixels? It’s hard. Hence the little angry Hulk face.

I think this square is one of my favourites so far! I didn’t like it as I was trying to design the grid, but it’s starting to grow on me. I wanted everything to look as realistic as possible while working with only 400 little coloured squares. This vision was quickly demolished as I realized that my Incredible Hulk was looking Incredibly Adorable.

Please ignore the fact that he also looks a little Frankenstein-ish. Hey, future inspiration for another graphghan?!

Before you start, I’ve got this handy dandy colour-coded grid for you to follow as you are crocheting. Print it out and check off each box as you go. When you are following an intricate pattern (such as this one) it is easy to get off track and skip a row or repeat the same row twice. In order to avoid countless hours of crocheting, ripping apart, crocheting, and ripping apart, follow the grid! It will help you, I promise.

Hulk Grid

I’m planning on using some beautiful Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice for this particular square. She’s got some lovely shades of green and purple that are hard to find in other brands of yarn that will fit this grid perfectly. As usual, I have left the square that are meant to be WHITE in black font. In order to hopefully not confuse anyone, I have made all of the squares that are meant to be BLACK one size larger and bolded. Hopefully this isn’t too confusing!

If you are new to the whole “graphghan” style of crocheting, but really want to start, head over to Repeat Crafter Me for some really helpful video tutorials. Graphghans seem a lot harder than they actually are. Once you get started, it’s hard to stop!

Just joining in now? The first square was Iron Man’s helmet, the second square was Captain America’s shield, and the third square was Thor’s Hammer! It’s never too late to start.

This is square 4 of 9 so we are getting to the half way point! I have so much free time now that my super condensed university semester is over, I should be releasing the remaining squares within a few days of each other. Next up is everyone’s favourite female assassin, Black Widow!

Don’t forget to share your progress on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #marvelgraphghan so I can check out how everyone is doing! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments below or send me an email. I am here to help!

Is it okay to be a yarn snob?

I recently visited a cute little yarn shop owned by a fabulous indie-dyer. She carried the most beautiful yarns in her shop, many of which I have never even heard of before. I am super impressed with my willpower. I only bought a few skeins, and they were all meant for particular projects I wanted to start. That usually never happens.

I spent about an hour oohing and ahhing at all of the squishy goodness she had lining her shelves. An entire wall of the store was dedicated to her hand-spun and hand-dyed yarns. Her work was so unique. I literally spent half my time in the store just looking at each colour-way and admiring the patterns.

We chatted a little as I roamed the store. She was an avid knitter. I flip-flop between crocheting and knitting regularly (difference #1). She loves fingering weights, I love bulky yarns (difference #2). She knew a lot about yarn, while I am still learning a lot about yarn (difference #3). It was apparent that this fellow knitter and I were not really on the same page.

I don’t personally think there is an issue with either of our crafting tastes. It shouldn’t matter at all. The only thing that should matter is that we both love what we do. Everyone has different tastes and preferences, as with anything. Why should yarn be any different?

Talking to other people who knit or crochet is just the most exciting thing. I get to hear about other people’s experiences, maybe learn a new trick of the trade, or even simply swap yarn frustrations because there’s about a million of them. Being able to connect with essentially a stranger on a topic that is so close to heart really makes you realize the power of the crafting community.

It took about two minutes for our conversation to turn sour.

I mentioned that it was one of my first times shopping at a specialty yarn store and how I wish I could do it more often. On a student budget, it is extremely difficult to indulge in such high quality yarn. I explained how I am more of a commercial knitter and I rarely keep things for myself, but when I do, I use the nice stuff. Whenever I offer this explanation, I am usually faced with understanding, maybe the tiniest bit of sadness or pity at the fact that I don’t get to make things for myself often.

The shopkeeper basically asked me why do I bother knitting if I don’t use the highest quality yarns available? I was quite shocked by her response to my tales of woe. I couldn’t even think of a response at the time. She proceeded to insist that I was holding out on my customers by only providing them with items that are made out of commercial and mass produced yarns. I ended up accepting defeat, quietly paying for my items, and leaving her store feeling confused and a little hurt.

Did I just encounter my first yarn snob? I’m thinking that’s what happened. I knew they existed but I didn’t think they were so mean.

I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to approach this issue. I let the conversation sit with me for about a week before I decided I needed to address what I experienced. Semi-anonymous blog post, here I come!

I think everyone who knits or crochets has a peculiar love affair with yarn. I didn’t realize how much the type of yarn mattered to some people. I see minor differences between yarn available from Michaels and yarn available only in select specialty stores. They both have their pros and cons.

Money is the biggest factor in my yarn purchases. I am on a student budget and I do rely heavily on specific profit margins for items that I make, seeing as I sell almost everything. Yarn from Michaels, JoAnn’s, and even Walmart are nice on my wallet. I made a queen sized squishy 3-stranded blanket for $12.00. You can’t do that with Malabrigo yarn without spending at least a couple hundred dollars.While with the Malabrigo you would have a wider colour range to choose from and the blanket would probably be a little softer, it would work up very similarly to the blanket made with cheap yarn.

The contents of the yarn is another hot topic. I know most people who are slightly yarn snobby love working with wool and wool blends. I personally find most/all wool extremely itchy and I hate using it. Cotton is nice sometimes, but it doesn’t give off the same look as some of the chunkier worsted acrylic yarns we all know and love. I swear I’m not hating on the wool. But you have to admit it’s not the softest material to work with. I base most of my yarn choices off of what my customers say. If I get a lot of compliments on how soft a scarf is, I will keep buying that yarn. If someone picks up an item and quickly puts it down, claiming it feels scratchy or rough, that yarn is leaving my stash.

I guess what I am trying to say is that we shouldn’t discriminate how people express themselves. Maybe the commercial yarn is all some people can afford. They shouldn’t be treated poorly because they are unable to purchase the finest merino blends. Maybe some people have allergies to acrylic yarns. They obviously need to be careful and inquisitive when they are making their purchases. Everyone has different reasons for their behaviour.

Knitting is an art. It should be accepted and treated as such. Like painting, each artist has a preferred medium. There are so many to choose from; who is to say what is the best choice? It shouldn’t matter what yarn is used for a project. If it brought the maker any bit of happiness during the process, it should be loved.

 

Square #3 of the Marvel Graphghan

After a bit of a wait, I finally have the third square ready! It’s the weapon of choice for everyone’s favourite Norse God, Thor’s Hammer.

Thors Hammer Pixel

We are mixing things up a little with this square by adding some burgundy and more muted tones. I want this blanket to just be a rainbow of colours once it’s completed. I wanted to make this square a little darker just to give my eyes a break. After staring at bright blue, red, and yellow for so long I needed to dive back into my comfort zone of darker shades, browns, and grays.

I’m going to be using Michaels brand Loops N Threads yarn in Burgundy for the background as it is one of the truest burgundies I have been able to find. If you know of other shades that work well, please let me know in the comments! Finding two totally different shades of gray may be tricky. You will just likely have to shop between different brands of yarn to get the results.

Print off the following grid before you get started. I like to cross off the boxes as I go so I don’t loose my place.

Thors Hammer Grid

The colour legend is as follows:

B – Brown

R – Burgundy (Red)

G – Dark Gray

L – Light Gray

Hopefully this will help to clear things up. If you get confused, just refer back to the pixel image posted at the top of this post.

It’s my goal to get this square done within a few days so I can prepare and post the next one for you all next week. Who’s working through this crochet-along with me? Use the hashtag #marvelgraphghan on Instagram so I can see your progress!

For those of you who are joining in now, the first square was Iron Man and the second square was Captain America! These squares work up really quickly, so you’re never too late to join in.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend filled with yarn and relaxation!

Update on Marvel Graphghan

For those of you who have been patiently waiting for the third square in the Marvel Graphghan, I have good news! It has been designed, tested, and will be posted tomorrow.

While I only have time for a short post tonight, I’d still like to share the small progress I have made with my own blanket squares. This is my second time ever attempting making a graphghan and following the techniques of strange colour changes and working corner to corner, rather than side to side. There is definitely a learning curve involved in this. I have finally discovered how to change colours so that I don’t have a million ends to weave in afterwards (the first square took forever). I have also gotten better at designing pixel graphs. Not sure if that is actually a useful skill or not yet…

I am getting more and more excited to plan out the rest of this blanket. My month of June is turning out to be quite hectic already, but I am about to be swarmed with free time. Oh the joys of being a dance teacher! As much as I love having most of my summer off, it does get a little boring at times.

I am hoping to get back to my, as promised, one square per week schedule. For now, here is a little update on my own squares that I have made following the posted grids. I am so excited to see how they all look once they are sewn together!

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I love seeing graphghans when they aren’t totally finished. It just gives you a better idea of how the picture is actually working up. And also they make me feel like I am actually making something.

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I thought the Captain American square would be really easy, but I think it was actually more frustrating than the Iron Man square. There were so many ends to weave in, and it needs to be blocked desperately because the whole thing looks crooked to me, but the final product was worth it.

I promise tomorrow there will be a new square!