Category Archives: Baby Paraphenelia

Hook Saga: The Return of CineCrochet

Well, my plan backfired on me. I told y’all that I would have more frequent posts, and look at this… 8 months after the fact, here I am.  I got a lot of projects done while watching a lot of movies/tv shows/cows walking by the house, so I thought I’d just do a quick running list from memory, and grace you with the corresponding links and pictures if I have them available, to catch you up. An exhaustive analysis of each of these films will not do, since I’m long-winded anyway, and talking about each movie separately will require a novella. So I’ll limit myself to a rating and quick summary. You know how hard that will be, gentle readers, but I will do my best. And here we go: some of the stuff I did while on an unintended, but frequently occurring, blog hiatus!


Porco Rosso and Continuing Granny Squares


Porco Rosso was a lot of fun to watch, and quickly became one of my favorite Ghibli films. It’s a departure from the Badass Heroine in a Mystical Land trope I usually gravitate toward, but the characters in this flick won me over. The titular character, Porco, is a particularly snarky enigma, once I got past Michael Keaton’s voice in the dub. It’s not that he was bad, just mildly distracting, since is voice is so familiar. But It’s a great historically-based magical realism romp. With planes. And pigs.


Castle in the Sky and Continuing Granny Squares


I love the idea of Castle in the Sky. The story is quite original, and I got invested in the motivations of several of the characters. But the idea was hobbled by some weird casting in the voice acting department. I’ve heard worse, of course; there are some terrible dubs and VA performances out there. However, I think since it was coming from a Ghibli film, it hit me really hard how grating Sita’s voice was. And as a Ghibli heroine, she is not the strongest, but the supporting cast was very entertaining – Cloris Leachman in particular. I’d recommend it if you’re on a Ghibli kick, as the animation is gorgeous as always, and the story is interesting. Just be warned. THAT VOICE.


Departures and Continuing Granny Squares


I freakin’ love Departures. It is the best movie I’ve ever seen that deals with death, because it does it in such a refreshing and honest way. In some ways it’s a contradiction – it’s practical, yet heartwarming; comedic, yet deeply sad. It is the best depiction of death as a natural part of life that I have ever seen, and I strongly recommend it to anyone and everyone. A special thanks goes out to my Religion and Film professor, Dr. Roy Hammerling, for first introducing me to the film, and to my parents for putting up with me when I made them watch it. Now you should go watch it – it’s still on Netflix as of the writing of this article.


Kramer Vs. Kramer and Shopping Bags


A riveting story, two amazing leads, and a beautiful setting. Kramer vs. Kramer was a great watch, and there’s not much to say other than that!

While watching, I made two shopping bags for my friends overseas – one for Emily in London and another for Steph in Argentina.






Roman Holiday and Marilee’s Hat



While working on a hat for my aunt Marilee, I watched the Hepburn/Peck classic, and quite enjoyed it. It’s a familiar story, though probably less familiar at the time, of a royal escaping her structured life and going out among the people, only to meet a rougish love interest who shows her the world, but is keeping secrets from her that will drive a wedge between them in the third act. Yes, I made the Aladdin reference on purpose. No, I’m not sorry.

It’s a sweet little movie with some lovely cinematography. It’s almost as though Gregory Peck is going for a Carey Grant-type character, but he does well enough. Hepburn is sparkly and engaging as she flits through the film. It’s well worth a watch, as it is a classic for a reason, just be prepared for a storyline that will be familiar before it even begins.


Star Trek: the Next Generation and a Plethora


Mittens for the lovely Jan

-Jan’s Mittens

-Alicia’s Baby Sweaters –

-A bunch of other stuff that I can’t remember

I’m not quite done with this series, so this, and the following, will need to wait to have judgement passed. But as of the fifth season, it’s been a lot of fun!







Xena: Warrior Princess and a Plethora


Again, I haven’t finished the series, but I’ve been watching it on and off over the last few years – even a bit back when I was still in school.  So the things I have worked on during watching it are numerous, and these are just a few that I can remember:

-A multitude of slouchy hats with various continuations

-Alicia’s Baby Hats –

-Alicia’s Baby Booties

-Doily shawl –

Xena is a campy hoot. It’s very episodic (at least in the first two seasons I’ve seen) with vague threads of continuing storyline. So some of the episodes are hit and miss, but the strongest ones for me are the ones that have an actual impact on the storyline, which tend to be multi-parters. Lucy Lawless is kickass and snarkily hilarious as Xena, but she also plays dramatic very well. Renee O’Connor, Gabrielle, provides a nice foil as the optimistic storyteller, but she has had a nice character arc making her also tough and realistic. Produced by Sam Rami (Evil Dead, Spider-Man, Drag Me to Hell), you can expect to have plenty of heart with your cheese when you watch Xena.  I might have to do a follow-up on this one when I finish the series, as it is lengthy, with a lot to discuss.


And last but not least, Twin Peaks and a Plethora

A fascinating 1990 TV series produced, and occasionally directed and written by David Lynch (Eraserhead, Elephant Man), Twin Peaks is fluid and unpredictable, therefore a follow-up will be required for a full discussion. So here are the projects I have worked on so far while watching it:

-Dalek shawl –

-Bowl cozy

-Pineapple Doily –


Well, if you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You’ve stuck with my rambling nonsense long enough to rewarded with a killer music video. I will hopefully be posting more regularly as my life settles down, but I’ve said that before… I’ll see you next month, readers! Keep shining!


Baby Booties & Fullmetal Alchemist

(Originally published August 31, 2013 on by Elise Dukart)

“Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. This is alchemy’s first law of equivalent exchange. In those days, we really believed that to be the world’s one and only truth.”
Sorry I’ve not updated for a while, what with school and graduating and general forgetfulness. However, since I have been home taking the summer off, I’ve seen some wonderful things and done plenty of crocheting while doing so, including the Marx brothers classic Duck Soup, some amazing Kurosawa flicks, various incarnations of StarTrek, and all but tying my mother to a chair to get her to watch Doctor Who. Despite this, the only media-related crochet project I documented in pictures is something a little different, and requires a bit of backstory.
There has been a veritable baby-palooza among those I know in the past few months. Just… Babies everywhere. Thus, I got it in my head to make some baby booties. Then I realized that booties are stupidly easy to make, and a good use for all of my extra bits of fingering/sport weight yarn, so I made a crapton of the buggers.
Rockin’ everywhere.
While all of this was happening, I discovered Fullmetal Alchemist.
I imagine that a large portion of my readers (for some reason mainly consisting of former teachers… but I love you all!) are unfamiliar with Fullmetal Alchemist, but the few that are familiar are rolling their eyes. “Just discovered it?” these people are muttering to themselves before a glowing screen, “It’s only the biggest anime ever to infiltrate America! How could you have missed it, dopey?”
And to that I say – well, I really have no defense. Other than the fact that I was about 12 when it came out and more preoccupied with Hey Arnold! and Harry Potter and the like. I also haven’t watched a whole lot of anime, so it wasn’t exactly part of my normal repertoire. And no, FMA people, I haven’t watched any of the movies orBrotherhood. Honestly, I don’t know if they will spoil the original series for me, so watching them is up in the air for now.
But I’m getting off track. There’s plenty of time to talk about such things in future posts. And this post has the potential to be very long indeed, so there’s no time for tangents (she wrote, as she dedicated an entire paragraph to said tangent).
Using Haley Missingham’s (super well-written) pattern for newborn baby booties, I made a wicked metric ton of wee shoes both using her design and variations I made up myself. Here’s a sole of one of ’em:
I started watching Full Metal Alchemist on a whim. I had heard the name before, having grown up on Cartoon Network and seeing it advertised, but had never paid much attention to it. That’s because it would have scarred me for life in the best possible way.


With odd puppy creatures! Except not…

FMA is about two brothers who are very skilled in alchemy, a science that causes something to be created from something else, similar to how transfiguration is used in Harry Potter, but more often used with inanimate objects. When they are still quite young, the boys’ mother dies, and they attempt to bring her back with alchemy – a great taboo. The transmutation goes horribly wrong, and the older brother, Edward, loses an arm and a leg while Alphonse loses his entire body. They barely survive, and decide to join the military to get access to files that will help them find a Philosopher’s Stone – a legendary item that would increase their alchemic power, and the only chance they have of rebuilding their bodies.
Ed and Al: posing dramatically in front of arches since 2003.
All of this information is introduced in the first few episodes, but it sounds like a premise that would be stretched over an entire season in American TV… and that was the briefest non-spoiler summary I could give. So here’s some more in-depth (still non-spoilery) stuff. And baby booties.
Or perhaps baby mukluks.
Firstly, the plot. The series spans 51 twenty-minute episodes, a pretty standard length for an anime, and a good amount of time to develop everything and throw in some great twists. As with many shows, it does have a few filler episodes as well as the tendency to meander a bit. However, these instances do not detract much from the story itself. Nearly everything that is brought up over the course of the show has some bearing on the story, and makes a return in a big way. More on that later.
Some ideas tend to repeat themselves a bit, but the English dub at least seems fully aware of this, as do the characters. An example of this is how several of the enemies that Ed and Al face justify their actions by comparing themselves to the way that the brothers operate, saying that they aren’t so different in their goals or beliefs. “Why do all of the bad guys keep comparing themselves to ME?” yells Ed at one point, following by a well-timed punch to one of the philosophizing bad guys’ faces.
But these comparisons are often completely legitimate. The characters in this show develop in such a way that no one is completely black or white, save the occasional one-off villain. The main and supporting characters themselves are extremely well-developed, causing even the goofy episode focusing on these yahoos to have emotional impact:
In fact, the storytelling is so complex that at a few points it seems like they’ve introduced a character or a premise out of nowhere, and only after really thinking about it do you realize that they’ve been sprinkling hints and allusions to these things long before their proper introduction. Take Izumi, for an example that I’ll try really hard not to spoil.

She shows up around pair #684… ish.Image
Izumi was Ed and Al’s alchemy teacher immediately after their mom died, but before they tried to resurrect her. After the failed attempt, they joined the military and work with (and against) it for several years until Izumi (the boys simply call her Teacher) abruptly comes back into their lives. She is harsh but fair, kicks all kinds of butt, and to the casual viewer it would seems as if Teacher just suddenly appeared, simply as a plot device. But she had been foreshadowed (quite literally in one case) long before that, and once she arrives, her actions drive the plot forward and add some more fascinating, dreadlock-infused backstory.
                                              There she is, kickin’ ass in a lab coat.
In all honesty, I would love to do a review of each episode of Fullmetal Alchemist if I knew anyone would read it. The music, the animation, the setting, the philosophical musings, the sophomoric humor, all of it – the weak points and the great – make up a truly memorable series. Even that weird ending has grown on me after some musing.
By this point, you’re probably tired of me raving about this show. Heaven knows my family is. But it really is that good. Even if you’re not an anime person, Fullmetal Alchemist has something for everyone (like The Twilight Zone!) – from juvenile humor to action to dark themes of grief and uplifting ones of familial love. I couldn’t think of a better series to have watched while crocheting a ridiculous amount of booties. With every bootie, I remember a certain part of the show and how it touched me or made me laugh or made me examine my philosophies a little closer. If thoughts like that were woven into something made for an infant, I hope that something will pass on and that their lives will be as rich. Or at least they won’t vomit on all over them or something.
                       Maybe I should Scotch Guard ’em all. (Thanks to my foot model, Evan.)

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