Posted by: mspremiseconclusion | July 24, 2016

A Klein Bottle

A Klein bottle is an interesting closed surface that comes up in certain areas of mathematics. After our wonderful librarian at school hooked me up (no pun intended, but I will leave it) with a paper on a knitted version of a Klein bottle, I thought I should really try to crochet one someday. Enter: summer holidays and free time.

SONY DSC

So, what the heck is it? Unlike a Mobius strip, it doesn’t have an edge, but, like a Mobius strip, it is referred to as a ‘non-orientable’ surface. This means that if you were to run your finger along the entire length of the surface (starting anywhere) you would wind up back where you started, but with your finger on the opposite side of the surface. Trippy.

It’s a cylinder that intersects with itself and then the ends get attached together. Here’s a diagram to help you visualize what it looks like on the inside:

369px-surface_of_klein_bottle_with_traced_line-svg

I ended up adding some stuffing in mine to give it some shape (this may be considered cheating, but oh well). Also, I had to switch the direction of my stitches (‘V’ side out to ‘V’ side in) on the inside the Klein bottle so that my stitches would all be ‘V’ side out (or right side out) once I attached it to where I started crocheting.

The intersection point was a little tricky; I had to start and stop crocheting as I worked my way around the smaller ‘neck’ tube as it passed through the larger bowl part.

Finally, while I was searching for information on the Klein bottle, I found this adorable limerick by a mathematician named Leo Moser:

A mathematician named Klein

Thought the Möbius band was divine.

Said he: “If you glue

The edges of two,

You’ll get a weird bottle like mine.”

-Leo Moser

Mathematicians are awesome.

 

Posted by: mspremiseconclusion | July 20, 2016

A Little Rainbow Love

Summer is here, the weather is beautiful, and people are Pokemon-Go-ing all over the place (myself included). It’s been a relaxing first few weeks of summer, and I’ve had a lot of fun doing various creative thingies again (which I plan on posting about).

Things may be fine in many of our safe bubbles, but the world on the whole doesn’t seem to be doing too well lately. Before school let out, we were blindsided by the terrible tragedy in Orlando. One of our amazing teachers made a banner for the victims of the Orlando shootings, which he then mailed to a community centre in Orlando, and hundreds of our students and staff signed it.

Watching the news play out then just made my heart hurt. I thought that our school’s banner could use a little more crochet, so I whipped up this rainbow and added a few of them to our care package.

IMG_1909 square

I also made a short pdf pattern to go along with it (click on the image below to open the pdf pattern).

Crochet Rainbow Cover

I think these little rainbows would make really good pins, keychains or magnets. Also, I think it might be cool to glue some stiff felt to the back of it so that it keeps its shape all the time.

Anyway, enjoy! Lin-Manuel couldn’t have put it better in his Tony speech: love is love is love is love is love is love is love…

 

 

Posted by: mspremiseconclusion | December 26, 2015

There Has Been an Awakening in the Crochet

I am a huge Star Wars fan. HuuuUUUUUuuge. So, understandably, I was beside myself in my excitement for The Force Awakens to hit theatres. Mark even managed to swing us tickets for the 7 pm showing on December 17! (And, yes, I bragged about this to all of my students; I have no shame.)

It was amazing. The theatre was packed, everyone erupted into cheers every time an old favourite came on screen, so much so, that I often missed the follow-up lines. It was everything I never knew I always wanted in a Star Wars movie.

Usually when I leave the theatre, I’m ready to dissect the show that I’ve just seen. But, all I could say to Mark on the way out was, ‘It was perfect. It was … PERFECT.’ I definitely teared up at one very crucial moment near the end – if you’ve seen it I bet you can guess which one. Every time I saw a Rey costume for little girls while I was out Christmas shopping, my heart grew three sizes.

I knew BB8 was adorable based on the previews, but I didn’t think I’d like her as much as I did (note: I don’t actually know that BB8 is a girl, but she’s totally a girl). The Star Wars droids all kind of have their own personality: R2 is all sass while still being truly devoted to his friends, C3PO is like that annoying friend that you just kind of put up with, but BB8 is like a little puppy that’s all like, ‘Just let me LOVE YOU’.

So, obviously, I had to crochet BB8.

IMG_1529

I used my sphere pattern generator for the body and had to look up lots of pictures of BB8 online to complete all of her orange circles.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU. ALWAYS.

BB8 crochet Christmas

I’ve got to go watch The Empire Strikes Back with the fam. I am definitely pushing the Stars Wars stuff on them again. This is just like high school.

***UPDATE*** The pattern is (finally) finished!! It’s up in my Etsy and Ravelry shops right now. Phew. It only took the March break for me to wrap up this pattern! I hope you enjoy!!!!!!

 

Posted by: mspremiseconclusion | March 13, 2015

I Crocheted a Stealth Bomber

I couldn’t help myself.

Crochet Stealth Bomber 1

The design of this plane is just too cool.

Crochet Stealth Bomber 2

The chunky angles, the single wing, the aerodynamic shapes, the low radar cross-section …

Crochet Stealth Bomber 3

From some angles, this plane looks just like a bird of prey. In fact, there’s a cool image online that compares the profile of a hawk (I think, maybe, it’s a hawk?) and the B-2 in flight! I kept referring back to it so that I could get the bottom piece to look right.

Crochet Stealth Bomber 4

No, I do not condone people bombing other people … so can we consider this one a Stealth Yarn Bomber?😉

Crochet Stealth Bomber Blue

Even though this little fellow is quite menacing, I think the crocheted version is quite a bit cuter than the real deal.

To construct this little guy, I used a sheet of plastic canvas to make the wings nice and stiff. I also had to play around a little with crocheting parallelograms to get the flying wing to look just right. I’m working on a pattern as we speak! It’s fun to be making some new patterns again.

Crochet Stealth Bomber 6

Now, I’ve printed out a few more images of some of my favourite planes, so I’m tempted to work on some more during this March Break. So much for getting caught up on my marking!

Posted by: mspremiseconclusion | March 10, 2015

Yarn Organization and Inspiration

A few weeks ago, I was suddenly hit with the urge to ORGANIZE. Now, this situation does not happen often. So when it does, I need to act fast. For example, I still have my Grandmother’s old knitting machine sitting in a bedroom (which needs some fixing) which I haven’t touched in over a year. (Well, actually, I have old knitting machines from both of my Grandma’s, which makes my lack of projects on these machines even sadder. But think of how great it will be when I eventually do fix them!)

Anyhoo, my yarn stash was sort of divided into different reusable grocery bags on a project-by-project basis, which enabled my nomadic crocheting lifestyle. Looking for a particular colour? Good luck and godspeed.

I decided to consult the internet and spent many delightful hours on Pinterest looking at different ideas for how to organize my stash. I knew I wanted to organize by colour (since this was clearly the prettiest technique) and I also needed a method of organizing the little yarn bits, which were just strewn and tangled among the different grocery bags.

Upon dumping the grocery bags, it looked like this:

Yarn Stash on Bed

I hit up Target and bought a couple of hanging shelves (very inexpensive) and small Tupperwares (also very inexpensive). The rest was a long process of untangling, and rolling back up into balls.

Boo with yarn stash

Boo, as always, was extremely helpful.

Now it looks like this:

Organized Yarn Stash

Much better. The hardest part was rolling the bits of yarn into balls, but it was so worth it. If you’re attempting this on your stash, I recommend doing it in front of some good TV.

Yarn Bits in Tupperware

After I had all of my yarn bits in their small Tupperware containers, it really made me want to use them up. I was in need of a new iPhone case, so inspiration struck!

Granny Stripe iPhone Case Front

I made a Granny Square blanket for my Mom a couple of years ago, which turned out really well. It’s based on this amazing pattern from Annie’s Attic. (I’m sure I’ll go back and make another someday. Once you Granny Stripe, there’s no going back.)

I used the same pattern to make an envelope-style case. It’s definitely not a space saver, but I liked the look of it.

Granny Stripe iPhone Case Side

I used a string to secure my envelope. I’m pleased with it.

Granny Stripe iPhone Case Open

The only downside is that once it’s been kicking around inside my purse for a while (with all of the other things that live in my purse), the yarn can start looking a little worn. I suppose cleaning out my purse would be the logical next step, but let’s just take this whole organizing thing one step at a time.😉

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!

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