piranha: red origami crane (Default)
pentagon bowl after suzette haden elgin's description in her LJ.

 pentagon bowl

*ack*, once i switch into rich text mode here i can no longer switch back (as in, the link to facilitate it doesn't work anymore in mozilla).  that is annoying.  but why am i using mozilla anyway; it's my own fault that i haven't adjusted this system to my own preferences.

anyway.  i had this leftover yarn and used it to try out this bowl shape thing.  from the description in suzette's LJ i couldn't quite figure out how the topology worked, so i crocheted the first 6 pentagons and put them together.  that's quite a nice shape; the pentagons' upper edges curl over.  i gather that her other 6 are just to stiffen the structure, and since i want to felt (full, really) this, i won't bother.  though i guess one could make two layers and have the inner one be a different colour; that would be cool.

as it is, the bowl has a bit of that tacky granny crochet thing going for it that i don't appreciate, you know, the stuff that finds its excesses in frilly toiletpaper cozies.  bigger hook, looser tension and different colouring should do away with that though.

this could make a funky hat, if one added rectangular strips between the centre and outside pentagons.  or made the centre one smaller and shaped the strips so one got a bellflower shape.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
at farthing party i had a chance to learn some technique from elise, which was a real pleasure. she showed me a lot of things, but i didn't practice much right there -- things were busy and there were lots of distractions, and it was better to watch a lot and store it all up.

tonight i practiced for the second time since coming home; the first time i made simple loops and wrapped loops and spirals and clasps. tonight i played a bit more with wire, trying to let it wander.

copper is my friend. silver-plated hates me. half-hard sterling is lovely, but too expensive for practice. brass is for when my hands are a bit tougher.

the two clasps above are my first practice clasps. elise showed me, but i didn't make any until i got home, and i didn't precisely remember how she did it, and didn't have one to remind me either. this looks close though. the copper one was first, the brass second. i can see improvements, but this clearly needs lots more practice.

my first earrings, made at farthing party. elise started the outside and then left me to come up with the misbegotten dreamcatcher-like web stuff. *urk*. :) the one on the right was the first one.

earring dangle, silver-plated 18G and 26G. the larger gauge is very hard to work with, the wire is incredibly stiff. so i gave up doing any wandering wire stuff and just shaped it with my pliers. i kinda like how it came out, but it's very rough as yet.

pendant, copper 20G. very easy to work with, and needs more work hardening than this one got to remain stable. i wanted to make something small before branching out. this one really flowed, but the wire doesn't exactly wander a lot. :)

oh yeah, need lots more practice. :) but i like shaping the wire with my hands.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
dear self.

patterns that look really spiffy on drawn models of tall, slim men will not look that way on you. instead they will make you appear to be the pillsbury doughboy's older, much fatter auncle, especially when executed in offwhite cotton [1] and blousing around the hips due to the fabric's drape (or lack thereof). you knew that. why are you surprised and slightly dismayed?

this is not cheerful.

except for the part where i actually set up a cutting table, cleaned off half my desk, dug out my sewing machine, cleaned and oiled it, adjusted a pattern for shape and size, and had it come out pretty damn well, despite not having sewn anything in many years, especially not something with pockets at just the right height for comfortably lodging one's hands therein. i might do nothing more about this than rest on my laurels, but i am counting it as a qualified success.

[1] what passes for muslin in my fabric stash, since it was much cheaper at the time, and i didn't feel like cutting into the good fabric without making a muslin first since i had to adjust the pattern quite a bit to fit me.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
external battery pack external battery pack

for my digicam, collected parts. actually it will take 7 batteries (8.4V). this is a dirt-cheap setup, and geared towards using what i already have, rather than going for the MOST POWER option.

if i went for optimizing power, i'd use a honking lead-acid battery. but i have oodles of NIMH batteries in size AA, because all my portable electronics run on those. the camera's internal battery outputs a meager 650 Ah, and it doesn't last very long even if i use energy saving methods (turn the LCD screen off, don't use the flash). which is no big problem when i am near a socket to plug in the fast charger, but that won't be possible much during the bus ride, nor when exploring montréal. a second battery like this costs at least C$50, which would give me nothing more than another puny battery. with the AA batteries i have, i can boost the output from 1200 up to 2300 Ah (depending on which set i use), which should last me a good deal longer. and i have more than one set of batteries, so that extends it even more.

cost of parts: battery holder @ 2.99, coax plug @ 1.75, 9V snap connector @ 1.00 for a total of C$4.75. am cannibalizing an old phone cord for the wire. can't beat that.

a little soldering, and tomorrow a usage test, and i'm hopefully be all set. i would have bought a project box because i don't want the pack to float around loose in my bag, but the paramour suggested that a simple drawstring bag would do -- indeed it would.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)

the montreal project the montréal project

this is the yarn i am taking with me. it'll be a freeformy something of spirals and sprays; maybe a long vest. freeform is ideal for the bus; lots of small pieces as the mood strikes me. the colours are not quite right; the white balance was off under the light in my office and i didn't notice until i had taken the battery out of the camera for recharging. and now i am too lazy to fiddle with the gimp. i'll take another picture tomorrow in daylight. everything is slightly more cyan-shifted in reality, and the reds are not quite as intense.

piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i am always impressed by how much in-depth knowledge of small bits that improve any given tool there is in any human specialisation, once one has a closer look.

latest case in point: the lowly drop spindle. its production is not really a high-tech endeavour; very simple, easy to understand principles apply to its construction.

when i get interested in something, i often choose the route that lets me fabricate my own tools -- for one, i feel it gives me a deeper understanding of techniques, and for another, it's cheap. if i were to buy tools for everything that takes my fancy, i'd not be able to crawl out from under all that toolage to work with it, and i'd have to be filthy rich.

so, when i took an interest in spinning, i had a look at pictures of drop spindles and immediately thought, well, how hard can it be to make one myself. not very hard, right?

right. well, sort of. one can certainly make a drop spindle for $2 or less-- a wooden toy wheel or an AOL CD (other junk CDs also work :), a piece of dowel, a cup hook, a bit of fiddling, and you're done. except -- now that i have a professionally made drop spindle in my hands, and have spun for a while on both of them i see in how many ways my homemade one is suboptimal. and it's not like the professional one is a luxury model; it's basic.

the professional spindle (from ashford, NZ -- OMG, my spindle came all the way from NZ, how cool is that? global trade still excites me a lot. :) has a turned shaft, it will remain true for a long time if i take reasonable care of it. my homemade spindle's dowel shaft has slightly warped already (dowels are cut), and the spindle therefore wobbles a bit.

the pro's hook (this is a high whorl spindle with the hook directly in the centre of the whorl) is shaped with a definite peak. my hook is a round cup hook. the yarn settles very easily into the centre of the peak, while on my cup hook it doesn't centre itself all that well, which makes the spindle less stable.

the pro's whorl has two notches cut into the rim perpendicular to the opening of the hook, the homemade is notchless. i lurve those notches. with a drop spindle there's a limit to how much yarn one can spin before one has to stop and wind it onto the spindle, or it'll hit the floor. that sequence of movements needs to be very efficient or it becomes annoying oh-so-quickly. i can do the wind-on and the consequent readying for new spinning much more quickly because of those notches and their placement.

now for a bit of physics. remember angular momentum = mass * velocity * radius? no? :) here's a bit of physics for drop spindlers.

the pro's whorl is located at the very top of the shaft, like my homemade one. this makes the spindle dance a bit, and i think if i'll buy or make another spindle, i'll be picking a design that has the whorl a little further down the shaft, for greater stability. also, the pro's whorl is hollowed out in a ring around the shaft, with only a cm around the edge being solid wood all the way through. this allows the spindle to spin longer, because the location of a weight in relation to the axis of rotation affects starting and stopping effort. the homemade spindle is centre-weighted (the whorl is pretty much the same thickness all around), pro is rim-weighted; ergo pro spins longer. conversely, because of that centre-weight my homemade spindle spins faster (or would, if it were the same weight and didn't wobble), while the pro spins slower -- which at my current level of craftspersonship is a good thing.

ashford drop spindle ashford drop spindle

you can see the rim weighting, and the notch (there is another one directly opposite), and even the peak of the hook.

i also know my next spindle will have a tapered shaft, because it's easier to remove the cop (the wound-on glob of yarn) that way; it's a bit of a pain with this pro (and the homemade as well).

but i am very happy with the high-whorl approach. i went from cussing with the homemade to actually occasionally feeling a moment of zen with this spindle, and now that i've figured out the mystical "thigh roll" i am getting speedier as well, more speedy than i'd be with a bottom-whorl spindle that needs to be twirled with the fingers -- my RSI doesn't like that.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
while surfing today i came across some cool desert photography, such as:

darb tarfawi darb tarfawi

sandstone rock formations in the egyptian sahara

this image is by wael abed, and more, such as the mushroom desert and the mud lions can be found at the zarzora website.

in the early afternoon we went to the harbour chandlery to find a gift for G on occasion of the launch of her sailboat. not really knowing what could actually be useful because we don't know what all nautical things she might be lacking, we wandered the aisles to see whether something would jump out at us. outside they had fenders in the shape of mermaids -- with nipples! those were tempting, but a bit pricey for a joke gift. first thing that jumped at me inside was a drypak (tm) for my camera. i almost ordered that last night online; it hadn't even occurred to me that a chandlery might carry it. bonus, but still no gift for G after walking through the entire store. i love chandleries, mind; hardware stores in general are treasure troves, but chandleries have not just brushed stainless steel stuff, and teaky things, but also oh-shiny! bronze ones. i have a huge thing for bronze. and towards the right end of the store a bronze mast ring spoke to me. i picked it up and ran it through my fingers, a smooth 2 inch ring all the way from italy, and it wanted to come home with me.

the initial idea was to commit some marlinspike knotwork to attach to the ring, but without the right kind of manila rope (the one i had was very low grade and too scruffy) or a proper fid, it was a mess, and i gave up. but while i was slouching towards dejection the ring talked to me some more, and i ended up making a simple rope grommet from sisal, intertwined with the ring, which ended up creating the better story for the gift anyway (which i am not telling cause it's private to G). i really enjoy it when i handle something and it whispers to me and weaves through my imagination and collects bits for a story. though i would have liked it even better to have had good rope to make a prettier grommet; half-assed crafts speak half-assed thoughts. i didn't even take a picture of it because of its half-assedness, and for a while i wasn't gonna give it to her like that. but the paramour thought the story was good, so i did. and she liked it a lot, which was really neat.

we had dinner at the vietnamese spices garden (still the best curry in town), and talked the evening away until they kicked us out. i'm not social very often lately, but i really enjoy P&G and the times we spend with them. gotta do a little more of that while we can. good day.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i am completely cocooned around thinking about and making collages, and therefore not very verbal.

the smell of the paramour's chili is wafting through the house. ghod, it smells good. i cut up 7 lbs of meat earlier, and a few onions, peppers, and garlic, and then left the maestro to compose the delectable offering. another hour and a half before it'll be ready, if i'm lucky (this is a decent cut of meat, so it shouldn't take much longer).

i'm leaving you with total robot mania -- links to all sorts of robots; paper robots, plush robots, robot fabric, robot cake, robot cards, robot kits, etc, etc.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
except probably not knitted: digestive tract. would also make an interesting scarf, *snicker*.

via [livejournal.com profile] anavoog.


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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