Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Knitted Knecklaces

It turns out that my ''Wonder Knitter'' is pretty addictive and I've made a couple more button-necklaces. The only major difference between these and the first one is that these use stash buttons*, which means there's much more variation and the resultant necklace is a bit more interesting. It also makes the preparation stage into a mathematical puzzle: FUN! Essentially you need to create the effect of the buttons just being randomly distributed, whist simultaneously ensuring that the various colours and sizes are evenly spread along the length: you don't want a clump of bluey-greens in one patch and none anywhere else, and you don't want all the biggest buttons clustered together. So, you need to vary carefully and deliberately arrange the buttons into order in way that ensures a good spread, but is not a predictable pattern.
Creating a random looking pattern is never best achieved by actual randomness, if done that way things never appear random; for example the shuffle function on MP3 players always used to seem to have a preference for songs from Sondheim musicals** - Apple had to write loads of parameters into how the function chooses it's next song,  to make it seem more disordered because humans find patterns where there are none, and because probability doesn't always work the way that intuition tells us it should. If I'd used a random button selecting machine, clusters of shape, shade and size would have occurred naturally, a complete disaster, right?
So, I had lots of fun designing my own 'random' button selecting parameters.
The other major difference between these and the first necklace is that I came up with a method of hiding the join (between the woven section and the ribbon fastening) with an oversized button - I was pretty pleased with the results of this, and I think chunkier ribbon works better to, it makes a slightly bolder statement than the thin stuff.
I've had to put away the ''Wonder Knitter''*** to get on with a bit of physics, as I'm appraoching the end of year coursework and exam, so should really be getting on with that. Though, I must admit the temptation to sit in a park playing with buttons is pretty overwhelming...
I'm far too easily distracted
Noo.... oh - look - an ant...

* Everyone else in the craft-iverse refers to that as 'vintage' and it does my head in. Something cut off an old Primark jumper and then stored in a jar next to your sewing machine for 2 years before you select it for inclusion in a project is not vintage - overuse and incorrect application of a 'buzz' word is infuriating, Stop it all of you.
** Ok, maybe that's just me.
*** I'm never gonna get bored of that name. I can so vividly picture a group of executives in suits sat around with pie charts of exciting words discussing the most customer-grabbing title for there newest gizmo. What was I saying about Buzz words? Though here they have come out as hilariously naff, rather than rage-inducing, so I suppose that's a win.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Doodle Dolly

So, I brought a knitting dolly. Or rather, a super shiny gizmo that is basically a knitting dolly at twice the price, because I like new shiny crafty tools even when I suspect they are a rip off. Actually, the 'Wonder Knitter'* is easier to use than an old fashioned one; the thread guide & rotating plate helps keep even tensioning, the interchangeable size plates mean it's a bit more versatile, and the large size bore hole means I could use it to make this woven button-y necklace - on a normal dolly the buttons would have been to big to fit easily through.
I was quite pleased with the results, after playing around with a couple of different materials and techniques to work out a good button n bead distribution system and see how different fibres weave.
I've then turned the woollen doodle section into a necklace, with a ribbon fixing so it can be worn any length - or with a big bow on one side lending an asymmetrical air and breaking up the line of the ribbon a tad. This is for my friend Luan, who, by the way, is a wonderful stamper and makes gorgeous glassware - check out her stuff**
Unfortunatly, ''wonder knitting''*** is somewhat addictive, and requires both hands****, so inhibts typing and so I must leave you now to go knot more glory

*This link takes you to Sew & So, who are great UK suppliers - good prices and fast postage, with a pretty comprehensive stock of embroidery type stuffs plus a few assorted other bits of craft-jazzle. They aren't paying me to say any of this (but should feel free to do so if they wish...)
** You can't. Her site is broken. I'll link you up once it's fixed
*** I love the name so much I feel it deserves quotation marks.
**** ''Wonder knitter'' does however have a handy feature which allows you to put it down whilst mid knit (unlike regular dollies), so allowing tea consumption. Hurrah!
***** I didn't think I'd included enough footnotes, so here's one more.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Geek Crafts

I am filled with wonderment at awe at being featured, alongside Boy wearing his Nerd-Scarf, on my newest favourite website; geekcrafts.com
The hours I spend Wiki-surfing and Google-hopping all become worthwhile when I stumble across somewhere so Noodleated, and am thrilled that the love is mutual enough for them to be mentioning a bit of my handywork too.
The site is packed with brilliant ideas, many of which I'm intent on stealing - here's a few personal favourites from there recent archives: Binary ScarfPi bowls, Periodic table quilt, and discworld amigurumi
 which you can expect to see interpreted in a Noodle-icious way ust as soon as I get finished on this pile of current projects (hmm... yhea....)
Noods xxx