Tuesday, March 25, 2008


My sis just sent me a bunch of photos of my niece posing with the baby blanket I made her. Wheee!

Thanks, Abbie! SO happy!

The big baby blanket post is here, and the pattern is available here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hyperbolic Knitting (Fuzzy Math)

Inspired by the forms of the crochet coral reef but prefer sticks to hooks? Here are 2 experiments in hyperbolic knitting.

Both of these shapes are made using the same basic pattern. If you can knit in the round and work an increase, you can do this, too. Here's how to play along:

Pick a number of stitches to cast on.
Pick another number, which we'll call (X).

Using double-pointed needles, cast on to work in the round (start out as for i-cord and add more needles as you need them)

k(X), increase 1, k(X), increase 1 , k(X), increase 1...

That's it! Bind off when you feel like stopping or you run low on yarn or needle-space. Since this is an exponential form, each round will ruffle more than the last and use more and more yarn.

The smaller the number you choose for (X), the sooner and sharper your form will ruffle. The bigger (X) is, the skinnier your form will be.

In each of these models, I cast on 4 stitches. For the tall skinny one, (X) is 15. For the fat one, it's 5.

I used yarn-overs for the increases because I wanted the random-ish pattern that the increases make to be visible. Using kfb or a lifted increase will be less visible and will make the ruffling more pronounced.

Have fun with it!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Izanami and Izanagi

Here's a story for the equinox. If you know your Inanna, Ninshubur, Persephone, Hermes, Orpheus and Eurydice, or even Lot and LotsWife, this should sound kinda familiar. This one's from Japan - it's at the start of the Kojiki and the Nihongi.

It was the beginning of the world, and nobody was around except Izanami and Izanagi. They were hot for each other, so they got it on. "Wow, that was great!" said Izanami. "Um, yeah it was!" said Izanagi.

Soon Izanami was pregnant. When the baby came, it was a slimy eel-baby. They put the eel baby in a boat and cast it out to sea, and went to ask the gods what was going on. "Oh," the gods said. "The man is supposed to be the first one to talk. That's why you had an eel baby."

"Oh, right!" Izanami and Izanagi said. "Sexism! Well, whatever." They had lots more sex, and each time Izanagi made sure to talk a lot, and they had lots and lots of babies. They gave birth to the islands of Japan, and mountains and streams and breezes and rivers and the sun and the sky and the moon, and animals and trees and people. They kept on loving each other more and more, and they were really, really happy. Then Izanami gave birth to fire. Fire was too hot, and Izanami burned to death.

Izanagi killed the fire baby, and set off for the land of Yomi, to bring Izanami back.

The land of Yomi was the underworld, but it was also just a place. Izanagi didn't have to fight any dragons or trick any sphinxes or take off all his clothes to get there, he just showed up. He found Izanami, who was sitting in the dark. "Oh, there you are," Izanami said. "You've come too late. I've already eaten the food."

"PLEASE come back with me," Izanagi said, "I miss you SO MUCH."

"Okay, I'll come back with you," Izanami said, "We can leave tomorrow morning. But you have to promise not to look at me while I'm sleeping."

"I promise," said Izanagi, not meaning it. In the night, he lit a match and looked at Izanami. Izanami was a rotting corpse.

"Holy shit!" cried Izanagi, and took off running. "Don't you dare leave me now!" cried Izanami, and took off after him.

Izanami chased Izanagi all over the place, but Izanagi always got away. Finally Izanagi wedged a giant boulder in a mountain pass, and Izanami couldn't get through. "If you don't let me out," Izanami screamed, "I'll kill a thousand people every day."

"Well, fine then," said Izanagi, "I'll just give birth to fifteen hundred more."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Floppy Math

Because a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

Happy Pi Day everybody!

I made my first dodecahedron too big and it turned out floppy under its own weight. It holds its shape pretty well hanging from a string in my window, but tips over when I set it on a table. The pattern is sound, though, and I'm a huge fan of making things homemade and lumpen that are usually made with rulers, but I'll hafta do a smaller, stand-up-on-its-own one before the pattern's ready to publish. So I miss my self-imposed deadline of this very minute. How come none of the other mathematical constants get their own day? When it's impossible number day can I put my clothes on inside out and walk to school backwards?

Dodeca is a departure from my usual way of designing, which is as close to one-piece as possible so the thing you're creating basically appears in your hands - this one's got lots of pieces and grafting galore, which is its own kind of fun.

Oh, and happy White Day, too!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Like This, but Knitted

I'm taking a quick break from googley-eyed creatures and faboo scarves in honor of Pi Day and indulging my crush on Norah Gaughan with a dodecahedron of my own. It's gonna be like this, but knitted. See you Friday!

Shaker Tape

This weekend I knitted the first half of a dodecahedron (stay tuned - I'll post the pattern Friday for Pi Day) and fixed an old footstool that I got from my mom with Shaker tape to match my rocking chair.

I love Shaker stuff 'cause it's really simple and really strong - you just weave the tape around on both sides like a lawn chair and wind up with something strong enough to stand on. The only tools you need are a hammer, a couple of carpet tacks, and sometimes (if your weave is pretty tight) the back end of a spoon.

The rocking chair was my mom's when I was a baby, and it used to have a wicker back that got destroyed when I was living with Silas - it was the perfect size for his little fingers to pull on. The stool came from my Grandpa's house, and probably from my great-Grandpa's before that. It had leather lacing on it that had fallen apart with age. Now they're both souped up to last another bunch of decades.

More shaker-y goodness here.