Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Yellow Rose Fiber Producers Fiesta!

A few weeks ago (okay, the second week of April) my Mom and I met up to go to the Yellow Rose Fiber Producers Fiesta in Seguin, TX. We had an absolutely wonderful time, except for when my gluten-free mom and my vegan self were walking around tiny, economically distressed downtown Seguin looking for lunch on Saturday and they didn't have ANY FOOD. None at all.

We took a few classes: a short morning intro to needle felting and a longer afternoon introduction to rigid heddle weaving.

You can see the finished product of my needle-felted chicken at the top of this post. I think it's absolutely adorable, and my plan is to crop it, frame it, and hang it in my new kitchen when we move (next week!). We took a copy of a page from a coloring book and traced it onto the clear water-soluble "fabric" you can see in this picture:

Then we took a bit of fluffy fiber and poke-poke-poke it into the fabric, with a foam block behind it.

The second class was rigid heddle weaving. I made a small table-runner-ish item:

Here's the almost-finished product. I still need to tie off the ends for fringe.

Here's a close-up so you can see the lovely self-striping color of this bamboo yarn:

And finally, I only made one purchase at the show, but it was a good one. It seemed like most of the exhibitors were alpaca farmers from Texas. So of course I had to buy some alpaca fiber. I got this custom-made batt from a booth where they had a bunch of fiber in different solid colors on display. I got to choose my colors (which were purple, white, and a bit of blue-green silk) and the man ran it through his carding machine to blend it all together in a beautiful way. Here it is:

CMS/Colloquium knitting and henna!

This is where my second pink sock was at the end of last week's colloquium - about half-way down the leg.

Last week, there was a student group at my university doing henna designs as a fundraiser for Japan. A few of the girls in my department went and got our palms henna-ed. Here is my design:
It was pretty extensive. The girl who was designing it just kept on drawing more and more on my hand and arm! It turned out beautifully. I was particularly interested in how differently the skin in my hand and the skin of my arm took the dye. It also faded out at different rates - two and a half weeks later, I still have a bit of orange on the heel of my hand, but the part on my arm has been gone for a good week.

More pasts to come about the last colloquium and a fiber festival!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Knitted Surfaces

Today I was procrastinating on the interwebs, and I came across a variety of super-cool mathematical knitting resources. Most of these involve the knitting of various orientable and non-orientable surfaces.

Möbius bands are fairly ubiquitous these days, with varying degrees of mathematical precision and authenticity (I would contend that a möbius band with intrinsic twist is superior to one that is knitted as a rectangle and then stitched together). I haven't made one yet, but I'm interested ...

Orientable surfaces are pretty easy to knit (at least in theory - I'm sure that if I actually try to do it I'll discover differently), but many non-orientable surfaces (f.eks. the Klein bottle and RP^2) do not live in R^3. This makes knitting them rather difficult, since "immersing" them into our world involves singularities. Maybe this will be the subject of next year's CMS talk ...

Here are a few resources I found:
  1. Dr. Miles Reid, a British mathematician, put together this series of articles on knitted surfaces when he was a grad student (I think). It's pretty technical - not recommended for non-mathematicians.
  2. The Home of Mathematical Knitting is a much more accessible list of resources maintained by Dr. Sarah-Marie Belcastro.

Monday, April 11, 2011

CMS/Colloquium knitting

I finished the first sock! I did everything but graft the toe during CMS and colloquium last week, and I grafted the toe and cast on sock #2 last night at TV night. The light wasn't great for the picture, but when I finish the second sock I'll make sure to post a picture of the socks on my feet. It really is quite lovely how the lace twists across the front of the foot.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

UFO: Green lace shawl

Welcome to UFOs, a new feature on Will Knit for Math! I'll post pictures of my Un-Finished Objects, so I can keep track of (and not forget about) them, and anyone out there who may or may not be reading this blog can laugh about the huge huge number of unfinished projects I have going.Here is my green lace shawl. I bought the yarn at the Red Rock Knit Shop in Sedona, AZ when I was on summer vacation in 2009. It is now almost summer 2011. The shawl is pretty slow going, and it takes a fair amount of concentration to follow the charted pattern correctly. As you can see, this project is currently living in one of my new tin buckets in my living room. So far, having it in view everyday has been pretty effective as far as remembering to work on it goes.
Here's a picture of the whole thing so far. It's difficult to see the whole thing, since it is now wider than the length of the circular needle I'm using.
Here's a closeup of some of the lace patterns. I had a hard time photographing it well - there wasn't really enough contrast between the shawl and the carpet in my living room. The last picture was taken without flash, and this one with flash, but neither of them looks very good.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

CMS/Colloquium knitting

Week before last, we had Thursday and Friday off for "midsemester recess," so there was no CMS or Colloquium. However, I did get to work on my pink socks, although I didn't get a picture taken. Here's a picture of where Robert and I were instead:This past week, we had CMS and Colloquium as usual. My pink sock is coming along, and it looks very nice so far. My goal for this week is to finish the foot and start the toe decreases.