Posted by: mspremiseconclusion | March 21, 2014

Inspiration and a Personalized Sphere

*whoosh*

*swings open saloon door and saunters in with crochet hooks*

Just kidding. I’ve actually been here all along, I’ve just been working busily away at teaching and really not finding as much time as I’ve wanted to crochet.

You know how you go through these spells where you don’t crochet in a long time and then, all of the sudden, you’re hit over the back of the head with INSPIRATION and you’re like, “Must. Crochet. Now”, and you can’t make it home fast enough? Well, I had one of those moments a few weeks ago.

Our wonderful librarian at school was giving us a talk about all kinds of different mathematics cross-overs in different subject areas. (I’m a math geek, so I loved it.) At the very end of the talk, she mentioned some more unique mathematics books, one of which was all about hyperbolic crochet, which I had read a little about before. The book she mentioned was, Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes by Daina Taimina, and she just happened to have her own copy with her.

I took the book home and pored over it. (I’m now asking Mark to buy me my own copy for my birthday.) It was really interesting and delved quite deeply into the mathematics side of things! One of the things that inspired me the most was that Daina had included a guide so that her readers could calculate their own hyperbolic plane, with the constant curvature of their choosing.

Light bulb! I immediately thought: this is what I need for my sphere pattern! I need to make an algorithm so that people can calculate their own, individualized, sphere.

So I took to google docs and whipped up a form (and google script) that will automatically email out a pdf pattern for the size of sphere that you specify.

Here’s what the final pdf document looks like on the front page:

SpherePattern_justatest_page1

Here’s what the inside looks like for one particular example:

Automatic Sphere Pattern Page 2

On the google form, you need to estimate how wide one of your single crochet stitches is (this will depend on the hook and yarn that you choose). As a reference, I use a 3.75mm hook and medium yarn, and my stitches (un-stretched) are about 0.5 cm wide.

After that, you need to specify the radius of your sphere (in cm) and your email address, so that the pdf will be automatically emailed to you. Your final sphere size will probably be a little larger than the radius you specify because the stitches will stretch when you stuff it.

Here is the google form! Note: I know it doesn’t look like it, but this window scrolls down so that you can input your information.

One final note, which I discovered while making my first few ideal sphere patterns, is that the bottoms tend to be a little pointy. This is why the last row in the pattern is unfinished by a few stitches. The loose end of yarn should be woven through every stitch in the opening and then pulled tightly to close. I find that this helps alleviate the pointiness. If yours is still a little pointy, take out a couple more stitches in your last row, then close it up again.

P.S. Please let me know if you run into any problems. I’m curious about what bugs might turn up that I haven’t found already.

P.P.S. If you’re interested in playing with google scripts yourself to generate forms, I highly recommend this tutorial, which was written by a teacher named TJ Houston. It helped me immensely!

Posted by: mspremiseconclusion | July 28, 2013

Melty Crayon Art

So shortly after work ended this summer, I had a bit of an art attack. I’d seen pictures on the internet of some cool paintings people had done by melting crayons onto a canvas, and I figured that it was a good time to try one out for myself. What follows is a bit of a trial-and-error method of making a few of these paintings.

Attempt #1 involved gluing a bunch of crayons to the top of a canvas and melting them with a blow dryer. Turns out: no dice. The blow dryer doesn’t get hot enough. As I was sitting out on my deck, in the scorching sun, attempting to melt these little crayons, I found it ironic that I was the one who was doing the majority of the melting. Then I thought: the sun is already melting me so why don’t I use the sun to melt the crayons?!

Melting Crayons with Parabolic Mirror

Attempt #2 involved me getting my eyebrow-plucking concave mirror from the bathroom and bringing it outside to melt the crayons. I held the mirror so that it reflected the sun onto the crayons. The wax splooched out of each crayon and made a little glob of hardened goo right at the top of the canvas.

The downside was that this took a ridiculously. long. amount of time … plus the wax hadn’t even made it to the bottom of the canvas before it solidified. The other reason why I don’t recommend this method: if you let the beam of light stay on the crayon paper for too long, it will start to smoulder. Oops.

So this lead to …

Attempt #3. Since we just moved, we had a lot of cardboard boxes in the basement. I lined one of them with tin foil and covered the top with saran wrap (convection: it will get you every time), and – voila – a solar cooker!

Solar Cooker with Painting

It worked remarkably well. The wax dribbled all the way to the bottom in no time.

Thus ends my first painting.

Next, I played around with some different techniques for my new solar-cooker-art-maker! I tried lining up the crayons at the top of a second canvas and putting that directly in my solar cooker, but the wax melted out of the crayons a little too fast and made little streams all the way down. There was still a lot of white showing. This one would have looked better if, say, the canvas was already a cool colour.

Crayon Painting in Solar Cooker

Then I tried laying the canvas on the bottom of the box, and breaking up the crayons (minus the paper) in an artful arrangement.

Achromatic Melty Crayon Art

Once they melted, I tilted the canvas up in the box and let the wax drip down. That ended up working really well, because – for this particular trial – the white crayons melted much slower than the black crayons (SCIENCE), so they were much more viscous than the black when I tilted the canvas.

Melted Crayon Art

As a finishing touch on that one, I melted some brighter crayons on the top and just swirled them around. So avant garde! (I don’t actually know what that means.)

Melted Crayon Painting in Solar Cooker

For my final painting, I broke up a bunch of colours in a pseudo-rainbow-y pattern, melted them on the canvas while it was laying on the bottom of my solar cooker, tilted it up, and let all the wax run down.

Rainbow Melted Crayon Art

All in all: it was super fun. I highly recommend trying it. Just don’t be surprised when you poke the wax if it’s a little hot – ow.

Posted by: mspremiseconclusion | July 16, 2013

Doo Wee Ooo (that’s The Doctor Who theme)

I’ve been working diligently away at my Tardis, and have some progress to report. I used plastic canvas to make the inner structure, which I showed off last time, and now I’ve covered the outside with crochet. I’ve also stuffed it to give it a bigger on the inside feel, if you will.

Crocheted Tardis In Progress

Now that the main form is set, it’s just a matter for me to cover the outside with details! I’ll need tons of lining strips to outline the door panels and lots of layers of trim. I’m also thinking of getting some iron-on paper that I can put through my printer for all of the ‘Police Box’ signs. (For the panels with writing on it, I’m not going to trust my own hand with a felt-tipped marker.) I’m not totally sure where I’m going to find the sort of print-on paper that I need though…

I also want to fill you in on some projects from last summer that I never posted, so in Dr. Who fashion, let’s hop into our Tardis and go back in time (a little) …

 

Last summer my mini-obsession was with beaded crochet and jewelry. I started with this post, where I was experimenting with beading and crochet in kind of a fun and easy-to-make little cuff. I carried on with the bracelet theme with the following:

Blue Beaded Crochet Bracelet

For this one, I started out with the circles and then crocheted a rectangular border around them, connecting them together. This was a fun one. I love turquoise!

Braided Crocheted Bracelet

The next one was a braided-looking thing. It’s really just a bunch of interconnected circles – it was surprisingly easy to make!

Lacey Crocheted Bracelet

The last one was a bit of a frilly concoction, held together with a ribbon.

Three Beaded Crocheted Bracelets

And here they all are together.

Next on flashbacks: I moved on to necklaces.

Posted by: mspremiseconclusion | July 13, 2013

The Crafty Bug

Well, that was certainly a break from blogging! I had an incredibly eventful year which left very little time for bloggy-land. The two major things that happened to me were as follows:

1) I had a phenomenal first year of being a teacher, and

2) Mark and I bought a house!

Phew.

So, teaching is super busy but also incredibly rewarding and fun. Also, SCIENCE! I’m now beginning to enjoy one of the perks of being a teacher: you get the summer off. At first I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. But then I had the old reliable crafty bug bite me. Hard. It also doesn’t hurt that I have a new house to fill up with stuff. And that said new house is a mere 15 minute walk from Michael’s. That there’s dangerous.

When Mark started back to work after our mini stay-cation, I found myself left to my own devices. Before I knew it I had built a solar cooker out of a cardboard box, some tinfoil and saran wrap. You may say, ‘How inventive! What are you cooking in this solar cooker?’ To which I would reply: ‘Crayons.’ Yup.

SONY DSC

More on that randomness later.

This past year I’ve also gotten into Dr. Who in a big way. And there’s no better way to celebrate a shiny new Dr. Who obsession than by crocheting your own Tardis.

SONY DSC

I just started yesterday. This is just the frame for underneath the crocheting. :)

So, finally, it’s great to be back and blogging! My list of crafts is growing – not to mention a few backlogged crafts that I’d still like to share. Yay for summer crafting!

Posted by: mspremiseconclusion | December 28, 2012

My Dad’s got a Blog

My very talented father (of Poncho and Chico fame) has started his own carving blog: Tributes in Wood. And he’s having a lot of fun with it. So far he’s posted his first three caricature carvings (including Zeke the bank robber, shown below). I’m hoping he’s also planning on taking some nice photos and posting all of the other carvings he’s done over the years.

Zeke the Cowboy

So click on over and have a look.

In other news, I miss blogland! I’ve been gone for so long. I’ve been loving teaching but, not surprisingly for any teachers out there, find that it consumes a looooot of time. So, I haven’t had much time for crochet lately. Or let alone blogging about it.

I was looking over some photos from the summer and realized that I never posted some jewellery stuff that I made! I’ll have to get around to that at some point as well.

Well enjoy the holidays, folks! And happy crafting!

Posted by: mspremiseconclusion | July 22, 2012

New Thing!

I’ve discovered a new thing to crochet! And now, unsurprisingly, I’m unable to put it down.

I was inspired by Irregular Expressions to try out the technique of using beads and crochet cotton to make jewellery. (I’ve known about Irregular Expressions for a while now, and every now and then I just go to their Flickr page or Etsy page and drool a little bit. Click on the links and I guarantee your jaw will drop.)

Here is my first attempt at a cuff:

Beaded Cuff 1

Basically, I just strung a bunch of little beads onto the cotton before I started crocheting, and then I just added a bead to the middle of some of the stitches. I’m totally in love with it.

Beaded Cuff 2

So, I also made one for Odis.

Collar for Odis 1

Except hers doesn’t have beads. Because either her or Boo would chew them off and eat them. I also dissected on old collar of hers so that I could use a safety clasp on this new collar. She says she would prefer that I refer to it as a ‘necklace’.

Collar for Odis 2

I am so addicted to this now! I’ve been making quite a few of these little jewellery things. More to come!

Posted by: mspremiseconclusion | July 13, 2012

A Totoro Pattern

Woah, my desk is a mess. Although, maybe I prefer calling it ‘controlled chaos’, for, even though it is piled high with craft/school/financial/amigurumis/sewing  machine/garbage/other random stuff, I still managed to find some partially finished scribbles of my Totoro pattern that I started a year and a half ago. Woot!

Totoro Pattern Scribbles

(Random pattern scribbles complete with genuine coffee stain.)

SO, I quickly typed up the pattern (using a lot of shorthand – but don’t worry, there’s a little explanation at the top) and filled in the blanks by staring at the stitches in my finished Totoro for a while. So, while it’s not a perfect pattern – it’s free.

Totoro Pattern Picture

ENJOY AND MAY YOUR TOTOROS BE PLENTIFUL!

Posted by: mspremiseconclusion | July 11, 2012

A (Finally) Finished Totoro

I heart Totoro. I only discovered the movie about a couple of years ago, and I was completely swept away in the adorable whimsy of all. I even have a Totoro painting in my living room.

A whiiiiile ago, I started making a large Totoro doll. I finished up all of the crocheted bits, then I set him aside until I ‘got some felt’ to finish off the details. It only took a year and a half for me to get around to ‘getting the felt’.

After the felt was good and gotten, it only took a grand total of 15 more minutes to complete him … so HE’S DONE!!!

Totoro Amigurumi

Totoro Amigurumi Side View

He’s currently sitting on my mantle, along with my shuttle, various craft gifts I’ve received and a nifty horsey-pulley-thing we took from Mark’s parents’ cottage (it’s possibly actually called a yoke). Here’s our mantle:

Fireplace

Posted by: mspremiseconclusion | July 6, 2012

Another Chico

Well, I suppose I need to start this post by way of some updates …

First of all: I finished my teacher’s education program. Yay! About a month ago, I attended my graduation ceremony (it was actually my first time on the ‘official’ campus – oops) and ended up sitting a few rows in front of a certain famous celebrity.

Second of all and more importantly: I GOT A TEACHING JOB!!!1!!! So, when this September rolls around, I will officially be a SCIENCE TEACHER. I am super excited about this and I can’t quite wait until September.

I also have been getting back into the swing of crafting now that I’ve ended up with a lot of time on my hands. I was inspired by my Dad’s carving of Chico and Poncho. (Aside: he has since done TWO more carvings … I really should post some pictures of them as well.)

So I decided to crochet my own Chico to give to him for father’s day. For comparison, here is a close up of Dad’s Chico (he is only about an inch tall):

Chico Zoomed In

And here’s my Chico.

Amigurumi Chico

And here he is beside their (now one-year-old) dog, Rosie. Be very impressed that she was able to stay still for the picture; she is not a stationary dog.

Chico and Rosie

Chico still needs a little red kerchief. Mom and I are both on the look out for some scrap material.

Next up: adding the long-awaited finishing touches to a project I started *gulp* over a year ago.

Posted by: mspremiseconclusion | March 4, 2012

Poncho and Chico are Finished!

Well, I’ve been mia for the past couple of weeks, but there is a pretty good reason: I’ve been out placement teaching…PHYSICS! Phew. It’s been super busy. I haven’t had much time for the usual crafting. Instead, I’ve been making things like little motors and speakers (oh, and lessons. Lots and lots of lessons.)

Image

Speakers are sort of crafty, right? Well, maybe it needs more sparkles.

In other crafty news, my Dad has finished Poncho! He’s also made him a dog named Chico. (I heart Chico.)

Image

Oh, and he’s already started on his next cowboy carving. The next one’s name is Ringo. I sense a theme.

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