Thursday, 1 October 2020

SYOA LfH: Chapter 5 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 5

Let's get the stats out the way (I like maths too much, so kill me)

possible SYOA outcomes at end of Chapter 4 = 1.0932646e21

Possible outcomes in:
Chapter 5 = 2 * (15 * 14 * 13) = 5,460

possible outcomes in SYOA so far = 1.0932646e21 * 5460 = 5.9692247e24

so you're SYOA is 1 in 5,969,224,700,000,000,000,000,000... roughly.

Anyways, on to the design for Chapter 5. and the Amortentia potion!

The chapter was one of the first ones  that I had thought up when I came up with the whole SYOA idea. (the first was actually the tea leaves in the Divination Class)

When I started writing out the story for this chapter, I was going to just have the one background, the potions classroom. But I quickly realised that the letter wouldn't have ANY choose your own adventure element to it and it would just be down to the drop in elements. Which is why the Slug Club ended up getting added as an option.

The cauldron at the base of both of the patterns is based on one of the props from the films.

The set for the Potions Class room is a DREAM. It's so detailed, and huge, and oh my goodness I could spend HOURS peering through all the jars and bottles etc. There was so much, which ment that I had to be rather selective about what would and wouldn't get added to the pattern.

This window was an obvious choice, it's iconic, and most Potter fans on seeing it would know what classroom they are in. Although writing this I do wonder why (or even how) the dungeon has windows. 

Also I LOVED those GIANT bottles infront of the window, and wanted to include it.

I tried to get the busy, cluttered nature of the room into the pattern, while also trying not to make the pattern too busy and cluttered. It was a balancing act I can tell you!

As for the Slug Club, frankly I had the opposite problem.

There is quite the lack of art work/reference pictures for the slug club scenery out there. This is one of the few pictures I found, and the studio tours doesn't have it as a set. So I might have watched the Slug Club scene multiple times to try to pick up on elements.

As you can see in the image above, I tried to capture the pillars and the distinct windows into the pattern. The curtains on the film look black, but I didn't want them to just be a big black block, so I figured that changing them to a dark green would give the same effect, while playing into Slughorns Slytherin side.

The biggest and most obvious item that screams "Slug Club" is that hour glass of Professor Slughorns.

I love this prop.

My test stitchers had been wondering where on earth I got the list of smells that people would have smelled from the potion, and this is where I have a little confession to make.

I just straight up asked FoE, the facebook group I used to moderate (Fans of Epbot), as if it was just natural conversation. My test stitchers now refer to this as Stewart Subtle Info Mining. Also, notice the date  on that poll... 8th March 2018!

The potion is described as: "It has a distinctive mother-of-pearl sheen, and steam rises from it in characteristic spirals". Getting the mother-of-pearl sheen was going to be tricky, and initially I was going to blend three different colours together (a light pearl grey, and pale pink, and a pale blue). But my test-stitchers were quick to point out that that would get bulky, so it was them that suggested using a varigrated thread with a loop start so it would have a tweeded effect.

The "characteristic spirals" I knew had to form love hearts, I mean it's amortentia after all.  Even though they aren't specified as such in anything that I found online. So this may be head cannon, but to me it's head cannon that make sense!

Now, usually, when it comes to test stitching a SAL, I would design the entire thing and then hand it over to the test stitchers in the one go. That way I can narrow down the pallet, and make sure the whole pictures works, before wasting the teams time or resources. But this SYOA, because it was taking so long to design, I would actually submit the test files to the team as soon as I finished a chapter. This somewhat heightened the race element to the test stitchers. There were some chapters in the past (glares at chapters 3&4) where the stitchers were finished with the previous chapter and shouting at me to hurry up as they were losing their lead. 

This chapter threw them all off, as I managed to design all the patterns for this Chapter in ONE DAY. (ok, not including the writing, the exporting, the research, the sketching etc). But one day, I think was some kind of record. Plus, it was somewhat appropriate that it was Valentines Day (2019)! Okay, it was a long day and I didn't have anything better to do haha

It ment that the race to the finish line was well and truly on, and let me tell you, it was a tight race.


Photos submitted by:
Danielle S
Miriam P
Maxine McC
Wendy S
Lisa McL
Izzy M
and of course, Team Test Stitch