Monthly Archives: June 2013

Origami Binge Running Out of Steam

pinkinprogress I started two more models from the book by Meenakshi Mukerji.  The first photo shows the inside of the “whipped cream star” model when it was just over half built.  I had to use glue again.  The pieces would probably have stayed locked together better if I had made the units from bigger rectangles.  However, I wanted to see if I could make it small.whipcrmstar  The finished model (second photo) is about the size of a billiard ball.

The other model I started making (third photo) was from the same book but it was by a guest writer called Tanya Vysochina.  The model is called Lily of the Nile and is really beautiful.  Unfortunately, the instructions on how to make it are a little sketchy.  There are virtually no clues on how to put the units together into the shape of an icosahedron.  lillyinprogressAs you can see, I was making some progress but I started getting frustrated.  I had decided to use small units for this one too and that meant it was getting very fiddly.  Also, the paper I used is not very good and the blue dye was coming off onto my fingers.  It was starting to not be fun any more so I’ve given up on it for now.

I have no more models planned except for the big “Golden Venture” model which I am still making units for.  I think my binge is exhausted.

Simple Stripy Sleeve

glasses_sleeveI forgot to include this in my post of crochet-so-far.  Maybe it’s because I loathe having to wear reading glasses.  I made this sleeve for my glasses to protect them.  I was finding that when I wore them around my neck they were getting bumped into things and accumulating scratches and dirt.

The pattern is very easy to do.  You simply start with a foundation chain that is slightly longer than the width of the glasses.  Use an even number of chains (this includes one chain for the turn).  For the first row, turn and dc into second chain from hook.  1 ch and skip a chain, 1 dc.  Continue with ch/dc to the end of the row, 1 ch and turn.  Now skip a ch, 1 dc into dc and 1dc into ch-space.  Continue as before with ch/dc except now you do 2 dc at the end of the row.  These two rows form the pattern.  If you change colours after each second row you will get the pattern I got in the photo.  Different colour changes will produce different patterns.

I’ve used UK notation so if you’re used to US notation you need to convert dc to sc.  I’ve probably made the pattern sound more complicated than it is.  Here’s a chart that might show the simplicity more clearly (I’ve left out the turning chains):


Continue with the pattern until your piece wraps around your glasses with a little wiggle room.  Then join first and last rows together using your favourite joining method.  Tah-dah!  When I want to wear my glasses, the sleeve just slides along the neck cord and sits behind my neck.  It’s not ideal but I find it better then having to detach it each time.

Origami Inspirations

slinkyandbox I called this post “Origami Inspirations” because that’s the name of the book I used to produce all the models in these photos (except the slinky on the left).  The book is by Meenakshi Mukerji, and it was given to me by someone who noticed I was on a modular origami binge.  Mukerji gives a nice concise introduction to the origami techniques needed for her models, including charts on how to distribute different coloured units evenly around the different shapes.  She even provides a few mathematical proofs for the nerds like me.  She starts off nice and easy with simple cubes.  The cube in the first photo here is called a “ray cube”.  There are four units making up the pattern on each of the six faces of the cube.


By the way, I was quite happy with the way the slinky turned out.  It makes a very satisfying noise as it falls from one hand to the other.  I would have liked to have made it longer but it was gobbling up too much of my precious square origami paper.

The yellow model in the second photo is still a cube but with one fancy unit (based on a four-sink windmill base) for each of the six faces.  It’s called a “butterfly cube”.

The third photo shows models made with pentagonal pieces of paper.  Mukerji gives instructions on how to cut a pentagon from a square sheet of paper, along with a geometrical proof showing that the method should indeed produce a true pentagon.  5pointlillyanddodecahedronOn the left of the photo is a five-petaled lilly, which looks a little more realistic than the four-petaled version made with a square.  To its right is a dodecahedron with a flower-shape on each of the twelve faces.  Each of the twelve flower units is joined to its neighbours by five diamond-shaped units.  Unfortunately, unlike the other models, I had to glue this one together because it kept falling to pieces as I made it.  So I’ve really gone over to the Dark Side now! 😉 (Origami purists don’t use glue – I used to be a snob about such things.)

whippedcreamdodecaThe final photo shows a dodecahedron made from a unit that Mukerji calls “whipped cream”.  Pretty, doncha think?  I started building it around the other dodecahedron but it turns out that less is more: Pretty + Pretty = Hideous!

So, how about you?  Have you ever tried modular origami?  How do you feel about mathematical proofs, slinkies and/or glue?

Goodbye Hagrid


When we first met, you were very hungry and quite small.  You brought your sister with you.


I will miss your big inscrutable eyes.


You knew how to relax. I admired that.


You loved to cuddle up to your furry friends but you’d spare the occasional hug for me.

You were always very quiet, and easy to share a seat with.

Dear Hagrid,

You’ve been missing since Thursday morning and I don’t think I’m going to see you again.  I hope you are in a happy place.  I will miss you very much.  I will miss the way you used to grunt instead of purring and how you could only manage the tiniest meow when you were feeling particularly misunderstood.  I will miss your softness and your “tail hugs”.

Goodbye Hagrid

Resonance Patterns and Celtic Interlace

ResonancePatternOn the left Margam Stones 14 Carreg Fedyddiolis a screenshot from a YouTube video (see below).  The video shows a sequence of patterns (called Chladni figures) produced as a sheet of metal resonates in response to a tone of steadily increasing frequency.  The sand sprinkled onto the sheet bounces around and settles in the parts where there is least vibration.  There are lots of videos on YouTube that show resonance effects in different materials.  I picked out this one because some of the patterns (like the one above) resemble man-made patterns like those used in Celtic interlace (on the right).  This interlace or knotwork can be found on old Celtic and Christian masonry or in old manuscripts like the Book of Kells.  I also use it in a lot of my artwork.  If you look closely at the background to my blog you will see that it is a tiling of knotwork wheels.  I will post more about knotwork when my origami binge has fizzled out.

:!:As it says in the video itself, the audio is very loud so you need to turn your volume down. ❗

My Hat It Has Three Corners

This is for a friend of mine who didn’t get the reference to this song I made in the title of an earlier post.  I guess there must be other poor deprived people who haven’t heard the song either so this is for you too.  Enjoy!


Warts-and-all Origami

interlocktetrahdra As you can see, I completed the interlocking tetrahedra model that I mentioned in my previous post.  The individual tetrahedra were not hard to construct but interlocking them was another matter.  I had to follow the video step-by-step to get the pieces fitted correctly.  I normally just make notes from the videos and follow my notes when I’m ready to make the models.  However, this was one model that really needed the video instructions.

langmodelsThe second photo shows the Robert J. Lang models and WIP slinky that I also mentioned in the last post.  I was disappointed with my attempts at the creatures so I hadn’t bothered to photograph them until now.  However, I’ve decided that it’s more honest to show all my creations whether they worked properly or not.

The Origami Binge Continues

gardenJune3When I haven’t been in the garden (weeding mostly) and doing chores, I’ve been folding paper.  I’ve been feeling guilty about not spending more time in the garden though.  The sun has been shining harder and longer here in Ireland than it has done for years (dare I say within living memory).  I feel like I need to make the most of it while it’s here.  But I’m not used to it.  After a while I start turning pink and flopping around like a Dali watch.

twinboat icosahedronI’ve found a few more nice modular origami models on YouTube.   The first one, on the right, is a “twinboat icosahedron“, along with one of its units (on the right of the photo).  On the left of the photo is the supply of triangular units I have built up since my last origami post.  (Only a few thousand left to go…)   tetrahedraplusslinkyThe second YouTube model is “5 intersecting tetrahedra” by Thomas Hull.  I’ve only made two of the tetrahedra so far (see photo on left).  The pieces on the right of this photo are the beginnings of an origami slinky by Jo Nakashima.

12pieceball1Those last two models are going to take me a while to finish so in the meantime I wanted something quicker to do.  I found this last model on a blog.  It looks good with patterned paper 12pieceball2but I wanted to see how it turned out using plain coloured paper.  Not too bad.

I just tried to make a beautiful orchid from “Origami Design Secrets” by Robert J. Lang but I had to give up for now.  It was too tricky.  I made a few models (hummingbird, lizard and pegasus) from this book but my versions are a bit rubbish so I haven’t photographed them.  I think I’ll stick with modular origami for now.

My Motif It Has 3 Corners, 3 Corners Has My Motif

Particular of a crochet hook

Particular of a crochet hook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is about the triangular motif that I showed in my previous post.  The instructions below are copied from a page that I saved from a knitting magazine (I couldn’t get a magazine devoted to crochet in my hometown) in the eighties.  I can’t remember the name of the magazine and there is nothing on the page that allows me to give due credit to the designer of this motif.  Anyway, it’s not mine; I’m just passing it on for non-commercial use.

Here goes (UK notation):

6 ch, ss in 1st chain to form a ring.  Now the rounds:

  1. 12 dc in ring, join with a ss to 1st dc.
  2. 5 ch, miss 1st dc, [1 tr in next dc, 2ch] 11 times, ss in 3rd of 5 ch.
  3. ss in 1st sp, 3 ch, leaving last lp of each st on hook work 3 tr in same sp as ss, yrh, draw through all 4 lps [5 ch, leaving last lp of each st on hook work 4 tr in next sp, yrh, draw through all 5 lps] 11 times, 2 ch, 1 tr in top of 1st cluster.
  4. [5 ch, ss in next 5-ch sp] 11 times, 2 ch, 1 tr in 1st of 5 ch at beg of round.
  5. [*5 ch, 1 tr in centre ch of next 5-ch sp, 10 ch, 1 tr in top of last tr, 1 tr in centre ch of same 5-ch sp as before, 5 ch, ss in centre ch of next 5-ch sp, 7 ch, ss in centre ch of next 5-ch sp*, 7 ch, ss in centre ch of next 5-ch sp] twice, work from * to *, 4 ch, 1 tr in 1st of 5 ch at beg of round.
  6. *7 ch, 8 tr in 10-ch sp, 8 ch, ss in top of last tr, 8 tr in same 10-ch sp, [7 ch, ss in centre ch of next 7-ch sp] twice, rep from * twice working last ss into 1st of 7 ch at beg of round.  Fasten off.

I hope I transcribed it correctly.

Happy hooking.  😀

It’s NOT knitting. Okay?

crochetblankets2Certain people in my life (who shall remain nameless) are so uninterested in handicrafts that they ask me what I’m knitting when I have a crochet hook in my hand.

I met a lady recently who is a prolific crocheter.  She bemoaned the fact that people don’t seem to realise how much time and effort go into handcrafted items.  She told me about the time she went round to a friends’ house and saw the crocheted blanket she had made for them in the dog’s basket.  I then had to tell her about when a certain member of my household (who shall remain nameless) gave my hand-knitted cable cushion to the cats to sit on.  It got so smelly and covered in cat hair that it ended up in the bin.

flowerblanket2Anyway, I just wanted to share some pictures of my crocheted items in the hopes that someone in the blogosphere will appreciate the work that went into them.  The blankets in the first photo were made a long time ago, pre-Internet.  The blue one is like the classic granny squares blanket except that it uses Hawaiian stitch.  The blanket in the foreground uses a clever triangular motif that I got from a magazine.  The central panel of the blanket in the second photo was based on a pattern I found on the Internet.  Here’s a link to it.  It uses American symbols so if you’re on my side of the pond you need to convert sc to dc, hdc to htr, dc to tr, tr to dtr and so on.

003The amigurumi is my own invention – hence the slightly demented expression.  He’s supposed to be a lion cub.  Look, I know they’re not blue with white bellies but I was going for cute rather than realistic, okay?cape

The final item is a make-it-up-as-you-go-along cape I made recently for my daughter to wear on a special occasion.

Do you have any stories of unappreciated handicraft?  If so, please leave a comment and we can commiserate together.