Wednesday, April 30, 2008

'D' orbital

Hi folks!

A quick project to talk about today - last week I had a strange urge to knit an atomic orbital. The story goes that according to quantum mechanics, electrons live in atoms not as particular points, but as probability distributions. The standard way to represent these distributions is to draw surfaces enclosing 'most' of the probability. (I'm a little shaky on how this works exactly)
Surprisingly, the geometry of these surfaces can be quite interesting, particularly as the energy increases.
I decided to make the 3dz^2 orbital, which is my personal favourite - it's complicated enough to be very recognisable, while being simple enough to make some sense. I should say thanks too, to the Scientific Knitters group over at Ravelry for helping me figure out the shape.
I should say too that one of the components of this particular orbital is a ring, so this counts as another torus toy.

So here it is! I decided to knit the ring and the cones in different colours just to make it look colourful and nice, but apparently this has some physically relevance too - I'm told there is some kind of phase difference between the wave functions in the two parts. I don't really understand, but it's a nice coincidence.
I decided too to make the ring detachable, in the hope that this would make it more play-with-able, but this has the downside that the ring can't be tight enough around the waist to stay in place by itself. I guess I could make a second version in which the ring is smaller and sewn on to make it more realistic. But I kinda like it this way - it looks like it should be a child's toy, and I'd hope the detachable ring adds to this.
There's one slight problem, that I knit this on slightly too large a pair of needles, and the fabric on the ring part isn't quite as dense as I'd like. I should really have learnt by now that if you're knitting stuffed things you need to move down a needle size or two.

So yeah, it's all done, and I put the pattern up on Ravelry if anyone wants one of their own.

Happy knitting!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cupid panda finished!

Right, it's been a while since I posted anything here, so this is really a little out of date, but the cupid panda is finished!
It turned out to be quite a bit more complicated than I'd expected, especially the shaping around the legs. I'm not entirely happy with how it turned out, but it was always planned as a prototype, so hopefully the second version will be able to correct these faults.
The main problem, I think, is that the chest is just too big, which makes everything else look a bit small by comparison, but I think the arms and head need to be larger too.

The eyes are bothering me too, I think they're too big and staring, so in the second version I'll be using some smaller amber eyes, which I'm hoping will make it look rather less... intense.
I'm very pleased with the little wings though, they've come out so cute, and just about exactly how I was hoping they'd look.
I really like the little feet too. They took a couple of attempts, and the pattern I settled on was really quite complicated(and is based on a baby's bootee pattern.

There's a couple of more awkward problems though - first, people seem to assume he's a ghost panda, so I think he really needs something extra to emphasise the 'cupid' aspect. But I'm not sure how to do this - I could make a little quiver, but arrows would be a little tricky(maybe some kind of pipe cleaner arrangement, with little knitting heart tips?), and would make it very much not child-safe. Similarly I could make a little bow, but I think that would need pipe cleaners and would be a little dangerous. So I'm not sure - any ideas, people?
The other problem is that the legs are designed to tilt backwards a bit. I really like the posture they have, and I guess it's good if you're holding them but it makes it very difficult to make the things stand up. Maybe that's how toys should be though, more for holding than admiring?

Anyway, hopefully will get around to making a second attempt soon-ish. In the meantime, happy knitting!