Monday, February 25, 2008

Vampire squid from hell purse

Hi folks.
I'm not sure if you remember, but there was a news story a few months back about 'Vampyroteuthis infernalis' - I think biologists had managed to video one in the wild for the first time, but I'm not sure. It's name means literally "Vampire squid from hell", which is quite a name to live up to.
I found a video of this on YouTube(I'm not sure if this is the footage everyone was excited about?):

Squid video

But I for one think this is an awesome, awesome creature. It has a funky oxygen-gathering 'cloak', it does nifty bioluminescence tricks to confuse predators, and when threatened it can even turn itself inside out.
Then last night a friend was asking about ways to knit purses. Or course you can sew in zips and other fasteners to make good safe seals, but I was wondering about the little bags banks give you for putting coins in - they manage to seal quite securely without any extra pieces. And they do it by turning inside out(sort of).
So that's the idea for this project - to make a small knitted purse in the shape of a vampire squid, which you secure by turning inside out. I made some preliminary sketches of this and it seems quite plausible - the body will be a pouch with an opening towards the bottom, then the cloak will fold over to cover the body and fasten with a drawstring.
One of the things that really appeals to me about this(other than being able to tell people I'm knitting a vampire squid from hell, of course) is that most of the time the squid would be in it's inside out form, so you won't be able to see what it is. I kind of like how that reverses the ideas of 'right' and 'wrong' sides.

Then I'll just need to find someone who would like a vampire squid purse...

Happy knitting!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Baby photos!

Hi folks!
A little follow up on the Maxwell cardigan - Dave was good enough to send me some cute baby photos showing the cardigan in action.

Isn't he adorable? I'm suprised(pleasantly) how well it seems to fit, I'd pretty much just aimed big and hoped for the best. He seems quite happy to be promoting maths too :o)

More baby pictures, not to mention various pro-canadian propoganda, can be found over at The Urminskys.

Have a good week o/

Friday, February 8, 2008

Cupid panda

This project comes (rather randomly) from the comic Tea Club.
It's very cute, and centres around a university student who loves tea. (I think it's defunct now though) It featured a rather odd little story about Cupid pandas, which I think was a reference to an earlier comic by the same artist. Sadly I can't find that comic anymore, and you might need to see that to understand quite why I find the pandas so appealing. Suffice to say, they're not quite a sweet as they look.
So the plan is to knit a Cupid Panda. I suspect getting the shaping right will be a little tricky - it's easy enough to knit something roughly the same shape, but I think the cuteness with these things has a lot to do with the detail - getting the proportions just right, making everything curve just enough. I'm very interested though in how this relates knitting to drawing. I think with drawing, and more so with cartoons, the big skill is understanding what it is about an object that makes it recognisable, what the cues people latch on to are.
So I'm planning to have two attempts at this, hopefully the first one will let me get the shape roughly right, and with the second I'll be able to refine it to something that has the same cuteness as the original.

I'm not quite sure what I'll do with it once it's done though. My current plan is to have it done somwhere around Valentine's day, and send it to the premature babies unit, who apparently are always keen on knitted toys. I'm not generally keen on valentines day, but this scheme appeals to me for slightly convoluted religious reasons.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Maxwell cardigan

The Maxwell cardigan is now completed and has been passed to it's new home for baby-ifying. I've been pretty amazed at the response it's had around the maths department.
There were a couple of problems - the stranding wasn't quite as even as I would have liked, and particularly the last 'J' looked uneven to me. That might be just because I know where the mistakes are, so I'm tending to see them more. And it'll probably settle a bit once it's been washed a few times(particularly cos I didn't quite get round to blocking it properly).

The edges rolled rather more than I would like too, but I suspect this is more of a problem for trying to take good photos than it will be for actual wearing, when lying neatly isn't such an issue.
I'm a little concerned too that the yarn might not have been the best choice. I used RYC cashsoft, which feels amazing and I've been wanting to work with for a while, but I think from looking at the washing instructions that it might be a little delicate for use in baby clothes. So I'm hoping it wears well.

I wanted to say a little about the equations too(with assistance from Wikipedia):
The first is Gauss's law, and says that charge is the source of electric fields.
The second is Faraday's law. I'm not sure how you interpret that one really.
The third doesn't really have a name, but it says there are no magnetic monopoles. That is, there is no 'source' of magnetic fields like there are for electric fields.
The fourth is Ampere's law. The first term there, together with Faraday's law, imply that there are wave solutions to these equations- if I remember rightly, this was what first led Maxwell to suggest that light could be electromagnetic waves.
Some combination of the second and fourth one also explain the principle behind electricity generation - that you can create a current in a wire by passing it through a magnetic field.

So yes, they're pretty amazing. The cardigan itself is borrowed from Knitty's Devan design, which is nice, simple and elegant.
The baby in question is one of the Urminsky clan, so you can see more pictures over there, and hopefully we'll have some of Maxwell wearing the cardigan soon :o)

Hope y'all like it :o)