QR Code Cross-Stitch: Great Idea, But Does It Work?

Sewing Projects

CD case frame 4

Cross-stitched QR codes have been popping up all over the web: I loved the idea, but was somewhat skeptical as to whether QR readers would recognize x-shaped stiches as perfect pixels and be able to read the code (especially since my stitching is a bit… heterogeneous, shall we say?)  So I did a science and tried it out.  I was inspired by a tutorial from MAKE but there are many others online: just go to a QR generating site like qrstuff and stitch away!  I recycled an old CD jewel case into a frame: tutorial at the end of the post.

I decided to stitch up one of my favourite quotes from House, to put on my desk at work:

Look Stupid House Quote 2

I’m not sure how to attribute the quote other than to the TV show: it’s not clear who did the graphic design (if you know, please tell me so I can give them credit).  After making a text-based QR code at http://www.qrstuff.com, I printed it out so I could take it with me.  I found it easier to cross-stitch if I drew a grid on top of the code:

QR code printout

So… did it work?

QR code scanned

Yay!  I reject the null hypothesis and conclude that my horrible stitching is actually clear enough to be read by a QR reader.  Go science.

For a frugal (by which I mean free) and eco-friendly way to display your cross-stitch, you can make use of one of those old CD jewel cases you have gathering dust in a closet somewhere.  I’d hung on to this one since it was my friends’ album, and since no harm is done to the CD or case in the process, I can still listen to the music, and if they ever move back to Canada I can pretend I didn’t make crafts with it ;)

Step 1:  Put bristol board or other stiff card inside the front of the case and trace around it.  Cut out the shape, place it inside the front of the case, and trim if necessary.

CD case frame 2

Step 2:  Use an x-acto knife to cut out a window large enough for your cross-stitch.  Slide it back into the case, and tape the cross-stitch cloth inside, using the album liner to sandwich it in place.

CD case frame 3Step 3: Go relax, you’re done!  This is a very short tutorial.

CD frame case 5


Geek Meets Bandwagon

Amigurumi Projects, Gamer Crafts, Random Musings

Like this blog, but don’t like reading all these pesky words?  Want to see what else I’ve been up to?  I started a Tumblog, since all the cool kids were doing it.  In addition to mini versions of the posts here, I’ll be posting pics of random things I’ve made that aren’t original ideas or patterns, like this oh-so-adorable (and easy!) Bob-Omb from a free pattern by Wolfdreamer.  It was too cute not to make, and with unpopped popcorn kernels inside, it makes a handy paperweight for anyone who still uses tree-derived information storage formats.

Bob-Omb amigurumi

I’ll still be posting free patterns and original projects here, but the microblogging format is nice for quick posts.  I’m always on the lookout for blogs to follow, too… the sheer amount of creativity in the world just blows me away :)

Mass Effect Volus Amigurumi – Steampunk Edition

Amigurumi Projects, Gamer Crafts

A certain someone suggested it would be awesome and hilarious to crochet a volus, so I made one for her (mwah!)  For some reason, it occurred to me that a steampunk volus would be even better than a regular one.  Kshhht.  Kindly direct me to the nearest airship, Earth-clan.  Kshhht.  Now, I’m an avid Regretsy FJL, and I know that gluing watch parts to something doesn’t make it steampunk.  That’s why I sewed on watch parts instead.

Here he is, in all his adorkable glory, although I haven’t come up with a good steampunky name for him yet:

My apologies for the crappy photography… I finished him on a road trip and gave him away the next day.  Here’s the pattern:

Mass Effect steampunk volus amigurumi pattern

It may be a while before I post again: I’m working on a science-inspired quilt, and those suckers take forever to finish.  Can’t wait to see it all come together, but it’s going to take some time…

White Blood Cell (Leukocyte) Amigurumi

Amigurumi Projects, For Science!

More science-inspired amigurumi!  This little white blood cell plushie can be crocheted up very quickly and is darned cute IMHO.  It’s about 10cm tall, about the same size as the red blood cell pattern I posted earlier.

You’ll need:

  • white or off-white yarn (worsted weight shown here)
  • size F/3.75 mm crochet hook
  • safety eyes (15 mm here)

Stitches used are single crochet (sc), increase (inc), and invisible decrease (invdec).

Body (sphere):

  • 1) 6 sc in magic ring (6)
  • 2) inc x 6 (12)
  • 3) *sc, inc* x 6 (18)
  • 4) *sc x 2, inc* x 6 (24)
  • 5) *sc x 3, inc* x 6 (30)
  • 6) *sc x 4, inc* x 6 (36)
  • 7) *sc x 5, inc* x 6 (42)
  • 8-15) sc around for 8 rounds (42)
  • 16) *sc x 5, invdec* x 6 (36)
  • 17) *sc x 4, invdec* x 6 (30)
  • 18) *sc x 3, invdec* x 6 (24)… add safety eyes
  • 19) *sc x 2, invdec* x 6 (12)
  • 20) invdec around until hole can be covered by flap, FO and weave in tail

Bumps (okay, they’re not really bumps, but they look that way):

  • 1) 4 sc in magic ring (4)
  • 2) inc x 4 (8), sl st, FO and leave tail to sew to body

Make as many bumps as you like and sew them on (actual WBCs have many more, and they’re smaller, but this is a chibi version).


DIY Super Mario iPhone/iPod Case

Gamer Crafts, Sewing Projects

Here’s a quick and easy tutorial for an iPhone or iPod case, like this one:

I was inspired by some cross-stitched Super Mario characters I couldn’t resist picking up at the Ottawa Comiccon (I can’t remember the name of the vendor – if by some chance it’s you, please let me know so I can give credit).  How cute are these?  The little piranha plant was the perfect size for an iPhone case.


What you’ll need:

  • cross-stitch, patch, or other image you’d like to show off on your iPhone or iPod case
  • felt
  • needle and thread (and a few pins to hold it together while you’re sewing)

Step 1:

Lay your iPhone or iPod down on a piece of felt.  Fold the felt over to make sure you have room to cover the whole thing, with room for a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Cut out the shape, leaving an extra flap of felt on one half.

Step 2:

Sew on your decoration (it’s easier now than later).

Step 3:

Put your iPhone or iPod inside the felt.  Pin and sew right sides together along the bottom and side (your decoration should be sandwiched in the middle).  Make it snug: the added thickness of the decoration will mean you have extra room when it’s right side out again.

Step 4:

Turn inside out (or right side out, really).  Reinforce the free edges by rolling the edges under and running a stitch along them.

You’re done!  Now go rock your nerdy iPhone case.  You could certainly add a snap, toggle, or strap if you’d like (I primarily made this to keep dust and dirt off, and to keep keys from scratching it).

Basic Human(oid) Amigurumi Pattern

Amigurumi Projects

So… I have some new projects I’ve been working on, but somebody’s birthday is right around the corner, so I won’t post them yet :)

I thought it might be a good idea to post a generic, customizable amigurumi pattern for humans and other figures, like these guys:

Just start with the basic pattern here, and add clothes, hair etc. to make any (humanoid) character you want!  Final size is 6″/15cm if you’re using a size F/3.75mm crochet hook.  Full pattern (on the blog, not in a pdf) follows next: it’s quick and easy, and is totally suitable for beginners.


Stitches used

  • single crochet (sc), increase (inc), invisible decrease (invdec), and slip stitch (sl)

What you’ll need

  • yarn in colours of choice for skin, clothes, etc.
  • size F/3.75 mm crochet hook (for worsted weight yarn)
  • yarn needle to sew pieces together
  • safety eyes (15mm or larger recommended)
  • stuffing

Head and body

  • 1)    start with skin-coloured yarn, 6 sc in magic ring (6)
  • 2)    inc x 6 (12)
  • 3)    *sc, inc* x 6 (18)
  • 4)    *sc x 2, inc* x 6 (24)
  • 5)    *sc x 3, inc* x 6 (30)
  • 6)    *sc x 4, inc* x 6 (36)
  • 7-10)   sc around for 4 rounds (36)
  • 11)    *sc x 4, invdec* x 6 (30)
  • 12)    *sc x 3, invdec* x 6 (24)
  • 13)    *sc x 2, invdec* x 6 (18)
  • 14)    *sc, invdec* x 6 (12)
  • 15)    sc around (12), add safety eyes and stuff head
  • 16)    switch to body/clothing coloured yarn, sc around (12)
  • 17)    *sc, inc* x 6 (18)
  • 18)    *sc x 2, inc* x 6 (24)
  • 19-26)    sc around for 8 rounds (24)
  • 27)    *sc x 2, invdec* x 6 (18)
  • 28)    *sc, invdec* x 6 (12)
  • 29)    stuff body, invdec around until flap covers hole, sew closed and finish off

Arms (make 2)

  • 1)    start with skin-coloured yarn, 4 sc in magic ring (4)
  • 2)    inc x 4 (8)
  • 3)    *sc x 2, invdec* x 2 (6)
  • 4)    sc around (6)
  • 5-10)   switch to clothing-coloured yarn, sc around for 6 rounds (6), sl st, FO and leave tail to sew to body

Legs (make 2)

  • 1)    using clothing-coloured yarn, 6 sc in magic ring (6)
  • 2)    *sc, inc* x 3 (9)
  • 3-4)    sc around x 2 (9)
  • 5)    *sc x 2, invdec* x 2, sc (7)
  • 6-10)    sc around for 5 rounds (7), sl st, FO and leave tail to sew to body

Now just sew the pieces together, and add details to make any character you can think of :)

Star Baby Blanket (Crochet)

For Science!

Okay… baby blankets aren’t all that geeky, but I made this one for a friend of mine’s little peanut.  Stars, outer space, babies: what’s not to love?

There are quite a few free crochet blanket patterns online, but most of them look like the sort of thing your grandmother would make, not that there’s anything wrong with that.  I wanted something more modern, and found this pattern at the Bernat website. It’s free but you have to log in.

So if you know any adorable little future astronauts, I’d highly recommend this pattern.  It was easy to make and worked up quickly, and you can continue the pattern for as many rounds as you like to make a large or small blanket.


For another crochet blanket in a more modern style, here’s a Streamwave blanket I made for my baby nephew in Da Bears colours. Free pattern here on Ravelry.Streamwave blanket in Bears colours