Friday, January 10, 2014

A Circle a Day

Circles and systems of circles are forms that I keep returning to in my art.

On December 26, I started a project to create something circular (or circle-ish) every day. (It was going to be "every day in 2014" but once I had the idea, and expecially given goal #1, there didn't seem to be any reason to wait.)

This project has three goals:

1) momentum: do something creative every day, not just when I'm feeling "inspired"
2) experimentation: try new media and/or techniques
3) completion: to finish up some semi-circles hanging around my studio

You can follow my project at Some of the posts there are parts of larger projects; I'll write about them here and link to the blog post on tumblr.

So far I've tried out a bit of free-motion quilting, learned to make a circular applique using freezer paper, made a bunch of muslin barnacles, digiscoped, used found materials for a site-specific installation,* sewed some patchwork, and made a few circular doodles on days that I've been traveling or sick.

Have you started a similar project for 2014, or do you have advice from a past project?


Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Devil Is Beating His Wife

The Devil Is Beating His Wife

2 oz. white rum
4 oz. Gosling's Ginger Beer
half a key lime (squeeze half, garnish with the other)

Fill a highball glass with ice, add rum, squeeze lime, top with ginger beer, enjoy.

Based on the "Dark and Stormy," which is made with dark rum. We christened it (so to speak) "The Devil is Beating His Wife" because of the New York Times's Personal Dialect Map -- one of the questions is "What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?"

Obviously the correct answer is "I have no word or expression for this,"* but apparently a few people in Mississippi call it thus.

* Correct, but makes me sound like a robot.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Baby's First Principles Heirloom Blanket

Happy Doomvember 24!

A couple posts ago I mentioned that I had some exciting knitting news that I could announce soon . . . here it is! 

(The blanket, not the baby. Although the baby's awfully cute in her little baby-savage tunic.)

My blanket pattern Baby's First Principles is in the "Nuclear Winter" chapter of Doomsday Knits: Projects for the Apocalypse and After. You can get a sneak peek at some of the other patterns on the book's Ravelry page. The book is available for pre-order from Cooperative Press: the e-book will be released in December and the printed version shortly after.

It's going to be very hard to leave messages for the future -- consider how much trouble we've had reading texts our ancestors left behind:

It took 1200 years to decipher hieroglyphics. (Fortunately, the ancient Egyptians didn't have any urgent messages for us.) 

It only took 2 years for anybody to even notice that the Antikythera mechanism was anything other than a blob of bronze and random crap dredged up from a shipwreck, 50 years to figure out that it might be something interesting, and another 20 or so to decide what exactly it did. (Thankfully, it's an astronomical clock, not a countdown device.) 

Not what the Antikythera Mechanism does.
And who knows what the Minoans were writing down? Linear A is supposedly the ancestor script of Linear B (which we can read quite well; it's mostly about counting figs and weighing goats), but if you READ IT ALOUD using the pronunciation of Linear B, it's a horrible incantation. OK, no, it's just gibberish. But still.
All right, so we've got a challenge on our hands when we want to let our descendents know about some nasty radiation we're leaving behind for them. (Apparently we love them enough to warn them, but not enough to actually not radiate things. Take what you can get, children of the future!) 

The radiation trefoil is a pretty symbol, but it's not really an effective icon for communicating "danger!" if you haven't already learned what it means. In 2007, therefore, the International Atomic Energy Agency suggested a new symbol to warn of ionizing radiation. It combines the radiation trefoil with a skull-and-crossbones and a running figure to indicate that the trefoil is deadly and you should flee its presence. 

With this blanket, then, you can give your little one—and her descendants—a head start after the apocalypse with this baby blanket illustrating the most important principle of survival: avoid radiation. Even if the survivors forget what the radiation hazard symbol means, this blanket’s motifs warn of its dangers. The center section is a large-scale all-over pattern depicting the radiation trefoil. The blanket is edged with two bands
 of motifs- the inner border is a small pattern of skulls, showing that the trefoil indicates 
danger. The outer border has running figures, illustrating the need to flee areas and objects labeled with the trefoil. Truly, the A-B-C’s of the future.

One last picture -- angry baby flees radiation.  

Tomorrow, be sure to check out Baa, Baa, and Black Sheep for another announcement! Links to the rest of Doomvember are at Alex Tinsley's website

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I took Elizabeth Hartman's Inspired Modern Quilts class on Craftsy, and I really recommend the class. She is a very good teacher -- her instructions are always clear, and I really appreciated her explanations of why she is using specific techniques (such as not making exaggeratedly wonky cuts) or making certain design choices. The quilts are wall-sized, but she also provides cutting instructions and fabric amounts for larger versions. (I think she calls them lap quilts, but the larger dimension is usually around 50".)

I sewed this quilt based on the "Wonky Crosses" unit of the class -- it's a little larger (36 x 36) than the one in the unit because it was a baby present for a friend.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


At last, a successful cast ...

(Parasaurolophus and decommissioned soldier)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

3D printed stegosaurus

I'm taking a class now on digital sculture tools; we've been using a CNC plasma cutter, Sculptris, Rhino, and a ZCorp 3D printer.

I designed my little stegosaurus in Rhino and printed it on a Zprinter. Polyline --> extrude solid --> chamfer variable radius, mostly; then the slabs are stacked next to each other.

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's been a LOOOONG several months since I've done any knitting or crochet at all, and the year before that I did so little! In July I had carpal tunnel surgery, and I'm really happy now with the outcome -- my hand therapists were awesome.

Anyways, I have some exciting knitting news coming up soon... stay tuned!

In the meantime, I've been working on some awesome art projects. And I have a cat. Meet Tuna Breath!