Thursday, December 29, 2011

More Embroidery Projects: Totoro and Rohan Banner

I wasn't just shopping and being goofy with Emily while I was at home in SF; I was somewhat productive as well! My husband and I decided (well, I announced and he resignedly agreed) that our new family Christmas tradition would be to watch all the extended edition LOTR movies in the days leading up to Christmas, culminating with ROTK on Christmas night, because, you know, Christmas is about the coming of the King. And when the two Hobbit movies finally come out on DVD, it can be the five days leading up to Christmas! My siblings and cousin joined us, and my dad wandered in every once in a while to ask "What's so bad about that Froodoo guy's ring? Why isn't he wearing shoes?" or "What's wrong with that crazy guy on the top of the tower? And why does he keep being switched with a giant eyeball?" or "Why is that old man so ugly?" Once again, in trying to explain the whole story to him, I realized that a) I'm really bad at explaining stories I love, because I focus in on the little parts that move me instead of the whole arc, and b) all fantasy sounds crazy when you try to explain it to someone who doesn't read fiction. Even worse if your dad is a very rational scientist.

But I digress. Anyway, besides scaring my husband by saying all the lines before the actors got around to them, I also embroidered. Simple line-art pieces that only involve one color are the best thing to do for someone who can't just sit and watch a movie without feeling the need to multi-task.

Not yet ironed, obviously.

I love those little dust bunny guys!
Tonari no Totoro is an absolutely adorable Hayao Miyazaki film. I highly recommend any of his movies. Working at a leisurely pace, this took me all of FOTR.

I then worked on the horse from the banner of the Rohirrim for all of TTT and ROTK. I mean, it's only appropriate. I have to say, I can see my stitches getting tighter and neater as I practice more. The only thing bugging me about it is that the two skeins of floss I used for this, despite having the same number, are slightly different colors, so the mane and one leg are slightly more brown, less gold. Too bad I don't have a Handmade Ryan Gosling to look out for different dye lots.

Cue Darth Vader "Noooooooo!!!!"
In love with back stitches, stem stitches, and satin stitches. Still not a fan of split stitches.
The different colors are more or less obvious depending on the lighting. Can I pretend it's a design element? Pleeease???

[Disclaimer: obviously I didn't draw any of these original designs; they belong to Hayao Miyazaki and Alan Lee? John Howe? the Tolkien estate? respectively, and no copyright infringement is intended.]

Next in the lineup: some kind of practice with a piece involving multiple colors. Then maybe I can start thinking about my grand Hobbit masterpiece.


  1. These are amazing. I love Totoro. And I cannot WAIT for The Hobbit, the trailer looks out of this world. That being said, having seen all three LOTRs, I could never see them again. I could READ them again, but in no way could I see them again.

    It's totally a design element on your gorgeous horse. Totally. Very subtle. Very chic.

  2. That Totoro is amazing. I love love love Miyazaki movies. And the little dust bunny guys are some of the cutest things ever!

  3. As usual I'm tickled and awed! Totoro isn't my favourite Miyazaki, but it's pretty darn iconic, and I love the horse. Perhaps you could add in stitches in the second colour randomly across the horse to blend it in and look more intentional.

    I first got into Fantasy via books belonging to my rational and analytic scientist father...

  4. @strugglesewsastraightseam Thanks for your reassurance! Also, I am making it a personal tradition to reread the books every year, but I doubt I could convince my family to do the same!

    @Jay The first time I saw Mei chasing the little white bunny, I think I died of the cuteness!

    @Tanit-Isis Aww thanks! Yeah, Totoro is hard to beat for recognizability...also because Grave of the Fireflies would make for incredibly depressing embroidery. What is your favorite Miyazaki film?

  5. Totoro is on my To-watch list! :) I absolutely adore Howl's Movie Castle!
    Whenever I watch the LOTR movies, which is often, I also always find myself quoting movie lines before they are uttered! :) Sometimes I amaze myself!
    I look forward to seeing more LOTR designs!

  6. My children love Totoro! Your embroidery work is very fine!

  7. Hahaha! My 2yo son is obsessed with Totoro, and I have recently started following your blog. But I found this post by Googling for Totoro images for scrapbooking and it came up with this post! Oh that's just too good. FYI - he is known to go running around the house calling out and looking for Mei just like in Totoro :)
    Maybe I should make one of these for him! Anyway, onwards with the scrapbooking search.

    1. How cute is your son! Sorry I couldn't help with the scrapbooking search, but thanks for following my blog!


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