We have a model to build on!

The countdown on the front page of this blog helpfully says that there’s just 55 days to go till we meet in Dublin. One of my major points of worry has been that one platform doesn’t make a model, at least not one that fits the idea in my mind. To get that little problem off my back, I exchanged needle and thread for cardboard and cutting knife in the past few weeks.

First, materials: I wanted something stable but relatively light, so shipping to Dublin wouldn’t break the bank. While browsing through my local art discounter, I found those 50*70cm panels of corrugated cardboard, 2.5cm thick. After making a trial with my practice platform, I decided that this would work out – somehow. But I had absolutely no idea of how to actually build a backdrop for the model from those.

At some point a few weeks ago I decided that just thinking idly about the problem wasn’t likely to get the job done, so I got myself a pile of panels and started to play. And here we are:

Backdrop for Model

All in all, there are 10 sheets of cardboard in there. The vertical panels on the sides are full size, everything else got cut up in various degrees. The platforms are not attached, so they can be removed when working on them. Everything else is safely stuck together, but can be taken apart easily for transport. Overall, the backdrop is 1.5m wide, 70cm deep and 70cm high. Here it is, with the platforms removed, so you can see the construction a bit better:

Backdrop without Platforms

And a view from the back:

Backdrop - Backside

I’m quite happy with how things turned out, but now we have a new problem: lots of real estate to fill! Let me know what you’re working on and bringing, so I don’t worry too much about that part!

A lacy hyperbolic bush

I’ve got a collection of books reprinting fairly traditional crochet lace patterns, intended mostly for crocheting around handkerchiefs. Wouldn’t those make great edgings for hyperbolic shrubbery as well? Showing off all the different things we can do with our crafts is part of the point of this project, after all.

Here’s the finished piece, together with the pattern it came from:

Hyperbolic lace bush and instructions

And here’s a close up of the crochet edging:

Hyperbolic Lace Edging - Closeup

The edge itself is mostly straight, so I did fairly strong increases in the brown setup rows. The last brown row is the first row of the pattern, but I only made two chain stitches instead of the original five between stitches, so there is effectively some increasing in the second pattern row compared to that.

Here’s the finished piece installed at an edge of the platform:

Hyperbolic Bush - Installed

The brown is fairly floppy, being worked in treble crochet stitches instead of the double crochet of the other versions, and being crochet thread instead of thicker wool as well, but I do like the lighter appearance this has.

A Childrens’ Loom

One of the ideas I had from the very beginning of this project was to enable as many people as possible to participate. Not everybody can knit or crochet, and while we’ll be happy to show people at the con, I wanted to have a few crafts available that are more easily accessible for people of all ages, so everyone can help.

I remembered that my old childrens’ weaving loom was still living at my parents’ place, so I asked them to send it along and started to play. Here’s the loom with the piece in progress:

Childrens' Weaving Loom

What you can create on this kind of loom are simple weft-faced fabrics, but that turns out to be just fine for relatively quickly covering some ground on our model. This is another brillant project for using up all those small leftovers. Remember the big box of them I got? Most of the threads in this came out of there – some are so short that I only was able to do a couple of rows with them, but in that case that’s a feature, not a bug!

For patterning, you can create gentle slopes by not weaving over the whole width of the fabric, which you can see well in the grey part in the middle, where I inserted the wide black/grey tape in the middle of two slopes.

I also decided to use two warp threads in each hole in the loom. This comes in handy if you want to add some knotted flowers – you can see them in pink/green at the bottom and in blue/green at the top. The stitch I used is called a rya knot (tutorial), and I just added a single one here and there between rows of normal weaving using a green and a coloured piece of thread together. To make them, you will have to cut the thread a bit longer to start with, but they can easily be trimmed later. I really like the abstract effect of flowers or high grasses.

Here’s the full piece immediately after taking it off the loom:

Weaving off the Loom

I made sure to have all the ends on one side, and I just knotted them together to secure them and didn’t cut them off. They’ll be fine hanging over the side of a platform, and can always be trimmed later if needed.

I then pulled the short ends of the warp at the button up and knotted the warp ends at the top, leading to this:

Weaving - finished!

I loved the playfulness of this project, and will definitely bring the little loom to Dublin for people to play with!

Feather and Fan

What I’m really doing at the moment is procrastinating on building the backdrop of our model. This is really important if we want to show something even slightly impressive in Dublin, but also intimidating. I sort of have a plan, but can’t bring myself to start quite yet. For added complexity, the backdrop will need to be shipped from Germany to Dublin, so it will need to be packed flat like IKEA furniture if I don’t want to break the bank on shipping costs.

I’m procrastinating by watching youtube videos and doing some mindless knitting in order to have some more stuff to cover the platform(s) with. Which is why I have something to show to you today.

Wanting something a bit more organic than straight lines, I picked the classic feather and fan pattern for my next piece. I found this tutorial and off I went. A friend donated a whole big bag of her leftover bits and pieces of yarn to the project:

Odds and Ends

This is normally the kind of stuff that gets more and more and is never used up, but this project is actually perfect to make a dent into something like this! I grabbed the first grey ball and started knitting, changing colours whenever I ran out of yarn:

Feather and Fan

That green line towards the right is actually two different leftover greens, each being just long enough to knit a single row. On the black/white/grey-speckled area you can see some ends sticking out. This was a leftover which had a few different tones just knotted together – also something quite hard to use up, but no problem here. A bit of messiness is just what’s needed. Here’s the finished piece as part of the edge-covering of the platform:

Feather and Fan - Installed

Looking great, and for being just a couple of days of youtube-watching, covering quite a bit of real estate. I’m sure there’s other simple patterns as well that would be useful for this kind of effect.