Saturday, 1 August 2020

SYOA LfH: Chapter 4 BTS

As you know, the Chapters for the Letters from Hogwarts Stitch Your Own Adventure are released every 2 months. The month in between I'll be giving you a glimpse behind the scenes. I'll be showing you some of the reference photos, some stats and thoughts on the choices/options, initial design sketches, times my test stitching team wanted to kill me...

It would also be good to feature some photos of what your outcome is so far. so, please feel free to email them to scunningham85 -at-

There is a facebook group to discuss all thing SYOA, which you can join HERE

Behind the Scenes: Chapter 4

You know I like the stats on this. So, I really want to start with my breakdown of it all.

possible SYOA outcomes at end of Chapter 3 = 1,023,656,025,700,000,000

Possible outcomes in:
Weasleys Wizard Wheezes = 9*8 = 72
Three Broomsticks = 6
Honeydukes = 11*10*9 = 990
Chapter 4 = 72+6+990 = 1,068

possible outcomes in SYOA so far = 1.0236560257e18 * 1068 = 1.0932646e21

That's 1,093,264,600,000,000,000,000 possible outcomes. To put this into perspective, there are 7billion (that's 7e9 or 7,000,000,000) people on the planet...

So it's safe to say that you're SYOA combination is unique. AND WE STILL HAVE TWO CHAPTERS TO GO!

Anyways, on with the design stuff about this chapter.

In my initial plan for the SYOA, the trip to Hogsmeade was going to be Chapter 3, but then I realised that Chronologically that wouldn't work. They both happen in their third year, but the first Hogsmeade visit isn't until a couple of months into the school year, so optional classes would have started well before then!

The story element of this chapter was going to be very different initially. Originally, you were just going to have the one choice to make; rock, paper, scissors; to determine which shop you would go to. But it annoyed me, because that's only really good for a 2 person decision, not three, and it just seemed... frankly... naff.

I was telling two of my friends about it on a drive down to London, and they suggested a race through the Castle. Initially I thought awesome, they can race from their Common Room to the gates, but of course, you are all in different houses, and starting in a dungeon or near the kitchens is drastically different than starting in a tower. So neutral ground had to be found, and I wanted it to be the library, the owlery, or the hospital wing.

Planning the various routes through the Castle, while trying to keep them roughly canon, was DIFFICULT. First off, finding a map for reference. The only map that JK Rowling has is... shall we say "sketchy"...


This isn't the best map of the school and it's grounds, but it's the only map that JK Rowling has ever made.

I did think for a while that I may buy the Marauders Map, as that would help give me some sort of route through the castle and grounds, but me being a cheap skate I was hoping to find a map online.

This is where I LOVE fans, because I found a blog (linked below) that is a DETAILED analysis of every single physical location reference in the books, even down to using travel time as gauge for distance. Not only had they mapped the Castle, but they also mapped the grounds. It's a glorious rabbit hole to go down and I would HIGHLY recommend giving it a read.

Glorious isn't it?!

With the help of that I managed to plan out the routes and the choices that you would need to get to the gates. (I used a new to me google tool called JamBoard to draw it out quickly).

I wanted to put in some cameo appearances of some well loved characters from around the Castle; including Peeves, Moaning Myrtle, Sir Cadogan, and the Giant Squid.

Which then just left me with the task of, you know, writing the thing. (gulp). It was definitely the most difficult, and complicated chapter to write... I'm really not a writer! But I am glad with how it turned out. I don't think you can predict where you're going to end up, and it's still possible to go to any of them for most of the race through the Castle.

When it came to designing this, I started with Weasleys Wizards Wheezes.

I loved these boxes in particular, a lot of the Weasley packaging was highly detailed, but these boxes stood out and I figured that they would convert to cross stitch easier

See what I mean, beautiful designs, but trying to stitch them would be challenging!

I just had to include the puking pastilles display stand, it's possibly one of the most iconic displays in the shop from the films.

The staff member was particular nice, and helpful, and brought over goods for me so I could get a closer look at them :)

Actually, Weasleys Wizard Wheezes ended up being one of the last things to be test stitched out of the whole project! By the time that we had gotten by Chapter four, several of my Test Stitchers had dropped out due to Life (such things like studies and pregnancy naturally take priority over test stitching). They were the ones that were due to test WWW, but the remaining testers had already stitched their Chapter Four outcome. So Shana, who ended up finishing the whole project first, went back and stitched it on a separate bit of fabric.

Moving onto the Three Broomsticks, I wanted to keep the Three Broomsticks background somewhat simpler than Weasleys Wizard Wheezes. WWW is supposed to be like an aladdins cave, and the 3 broomsticks is supposed to be a cosy little pub, quiet in comparison. This way it would also put the detail focus on the bottles and drinks.

Did you notice that nearly all the drinks labels are screen and/or park accurate? (not the cherry soda or the red currant rum, I could only find "real world" labels for those)

The lengths that I go to in order to get reference material... It was a hardship drinking the butterbeer and eating the butterbeer ice cream. See what I do for you!?

While mentioned in the books, it's not really seen in the films, this is a picture I found online of what the bottle of Fire Whiskey looks like at the park in Universal Florida.

The pattern on the flagon of Mulled Mead is actually a detail from the labels. It was going to be too small for me to include on the label properly, but I really didn't want to lose it.

But this did come at the blood, sweat, and tears of Test Stitcher Joanne. She stitched that backstitch pattern THREE TIMES until it was right!

So I figured that the Three Broomsticks would be like other bars in the UK and have drinks branded glasses for some of their drinks, and this would be the Mulled Mead one.

When I was looking at what could have been sold at Honeydukes, I had a decision to make. Would I have the sweets in or out of the packet. The packets though, in real life, are actually rather huge, and highly detailed. A level of detail that, while it would be wonderful to stitch, it wouldn't translate well to the small side that I needed them to be. I wanted you to be able to have multiple sweets, not just one (unlike having the one drink at the Three Broomsticks), as if you were in Honeydukes, you would naturally buy multiple different things.

I mean look at the size of the packets for the Fizzing Whizzbees!

Honeydukes is also the only one that I included the money on. In my initial sketches for the frame, I was going to have some items on top of the parchment pieces, vaguely related to the chapter near it.
You can just see them above the red bit.

I ended up taking them out of the frame, I didn't want the frame to have spoilers for what was to come in the Chapters. Putting the money into Honeydukes pattern was my little head nod to myself to that design element I had culled.


Photos submitted by:
and, of course, the ever patient Team Test Stitch