How to make a Beastie flag

This page is about a little project that began in the beginning of 2004 as a wild idea when I saw my mother sewing a Jute (or is it cross stitching) fabric with some colourful patterns. Well it immediately came to my mind, that this technique could be used for making simple pictures.

A little about this technique

This kind of handwork involves a fabric that looks like this:
So basically a fabric full of tiny holes that are all aligned. Think of it as a large matrix where you can make all kinds of patterns connecting the holes with cotton yarn. The simplest patterns consist of 2x2 or 3x3 dots of the same color.

Now to the subject, the Beastie

These dots reminded me of pixels in a raster picture and of course being a BSD user as I am the first thing that I thought of was our lovely Beastie. This is a perfect way of making large but still nice looking fabrics with our favorite mascot on it.
Well off I was to finding a picture of the Beastie and luckily our NPO had had a vector drawing of the Beastie done for our t-shirts. So now I told my mother about the idea and asked about her opinions of it. She was delighted to see this idea and after a little discussion with her it was all clear, this is her next sewing project.

Getting the needed materials

This was all done by my mother, basically she went to a fabric shop and looked for the largest piece of this kind of fabric she could find. The fabric she found measured about 145x135 cm (that's about 57x53 inches) and cost 15 euros. So this was the basis of the project. We agreed, that 3x3 holes dots were the way to go and they measured half a cm each. After this it was clear that this "picture" will be 272x287 pixels. So I made a raster picture of the Beastie with that size and gave it to my mother. To get the patterns she just opened the picture with gimp and zoomed to the smallest ratio so single pixels were distinguishable, turned on the grid and cursor position info.

First pixels are ready

So after a day or two this is what I saw, and it looked good.
First part

To give you an idea how tiny part this was:
First part large

You can see the yarn used on that picture too. To get different shades of red she used different colours of red and in darker places she mixed red and black fibre. Well, my mother didn't like the horn and she remade it until it was good enough for her (so this actually is not the same horn as on the final flag).

Next: The outline

This makes the whole thing much easier to sew. (Yeah that book is "Snow Crash" written by Neal Stephenson, my mother is a great fan of science fiction).

This is what the sewing looks from the back side.

And this is the face.

About some 250 work hours later

You can see the Beastie shaping up here.

This is me holding it up. I'm male, long hair does not mean I'm female!

And this is what the head looked from behind.
Head from the behind

Well after this the Beastie was ready in no time, now came the question of background. Well at first I thought that it should be all black and you can see in many pictures there is some space already covered in black, but then after some discussions we came to the decision of making the background of our national flag.

And here it is

Finished with the Estonian national flag on the background. That's Estonia not Elbonia!

For more information about Estonia look HERE

Compare it to the original picture that was used for the patterns.
The original Beastie
BSD Daemon Copyright 1988 by Marshall Kirk McKusick. All Rights Reserved.

Me and my Beastie flag

Me and my Beastie flag

All in all...

It took my mother about 330 hours of work sewing the Beastie. Background was easier to sew but covered more space, so all in all it took her 720 hours of work to complete (all this was done on free time, evenings and weekends). The project started for her on the 20th of January 2004 and ended on the 22nd of June the same year. She wrote that up herself, being an accountant she likes numbers. The project costs were 15 euros for the cloth, about 16 euros for the yarn and an uncounted number of "Thank you" to my mother.

The BSD Daemon is copyright by Marshall Kirk McKusick.
All images (except the original Beastie picture) are copyright by me ( olev at bsd dot ee ).

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