Community Art Installation

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Your Participation is Requested

The faculty, staff and students of the Fashion Design and Retailing Department at Framingham State University are promoting and celebrating the creation of our new department by inviting all knitters and crocheters to participate in a community art installation.

Please help us by contributing a knitted or crocheted piece that will be used to blanket the trees, benches, posts and other objects on the campus commons.

Everything on the Framingham State University commons
has the potential to be graffitied with yarn!

Knit or Crochet

Pieces can be:
  • Any shape - squares, rectangles, triangles, and circles, etc.
  • They can be any color, any pattern, made with any type of yarn or thread.
  • Crocheted or knitted motifs (flowers, leaves, hearts, etc.) are also welcome for embellishment.
  • The best size is between 6”-8” in width and 6”-24” in length but all sizes are welcome.

  • Deadline

    September 6, 2013

    Update - 10/4/2013

    The Community Art Installation was a huge success! Thank you to everyone who participated.

    Read about it here - Yarn Graffiti at Framingham State University

    Cool Tie / Neck Cooler

    Sunday, July 07, 2013

    A few years ago I made neck coolers for my sister who lives in Fresno, California (where there are more days when the temperature is over 100 degrees than I want to even think about.)  Today in the Boston area, we are in our 5th day of a heat wave and it seemed like a good time to write up my notes for these neck coolers (also known as cool tie) - which, by the way, work really, REALLY well!

    Neck coolers are very easy to make. The hardest part is finding the polymer granules. I ordered 2 pounds of the medium 1-2mm polymer from Watersorb and that's enough for more neck coolers than I'll ever want to make. Luckily, there are a few other projects they can be used for. They can be added to soil for water retention (this might be helpful for those houseplants I keep forgetting to water!)  The crystals can also be warmed in a microwave (once they have been soaked) and used for heat pads -I'll save that project for the winter.

    There are a few ways to make neck coolers and these sites have good instructions:

  • Sew a Fast & Easy Cool Neck Scarf
  • Polymer Cool Neck Bands (This site sells the crystals)
  • Neck Coolers

  •  And, as usual, I came up with my own! Here are mine :

    1. Fold in half a piece of cotton fabric around 45" long and 4" wide.

    2. Measure 7½"  from the center back and mark points. Sew seams from the corner to these marked points with ¼" seam allowance.   This step is represented with the red dashed lines.
    3. Turn the fabric and stitch the pockets (make sure that the edges of the open seam are folded to the inside). This step is represented with the green dashed lines
    4. Load the granules into the three pockets - a scant 1/4 teaspoon in each is all it takes. Trust me, don't use more than the recommended amount - the first cool tie I made had that stuff oozing out of the fabric because I just couldn't believe such a small amount would balloon that much! 
    5. Top stitch the outer edge closed.

     When giving as a gift I print a card with these instructions:
    Soak the cool tie in water for 15-20 minutes or until the granules have reached the desired expansion.  As the polymer granules soak up the water "mush" them around so the polymer spreads out equally along the tube.  Tie around your neck.

    Wear the Cool Tie around the neck or head and it will bring great relief from the heat! Keep one in a refrigerator or ice chest and as soon as the one being worn reaches body temperature, exchange it with the one in the cooler.

    Store in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator, or hang to dry. The cool tie will rehydrate again using above instructions.
    Here's to keeping cool!

    The Perovskite Project

    Wednesday, July 03, 2013

    I love participating in art installations (Mini-me and were a couple of my favorite contributions).  So when I discovered The Perovskite Project at the University of Surrey in England. I knew I HAD to participate. I rummaged through my stash, found the required yellow and blue yarn, and immediately started.

    The pattern calls for a dk weight yarn but the only blue and yellow yarn I found in the stash was Red Heart Super Saver - worsted weight, so right off the bat I was going to have to do gauge adjustments on both the octahedron and the central atom.

    My Notes for the central atom :
    Crochet hook: 3.5mm / E
    Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver - Bright Yellow

  • The pattern is written using English crochet terminology. However, the only adjustment needed was to translate double crochet as single crochet.

  • I kept the same crochet hook size (rather than size up for the yarn).  It produced a firmer fabric which should hold the shape well.

  • I worked increase rows until I had 24 stitches (through round 5). I got a measurement slightly over 4 cm across.

  • I used the invisible decrease to work the last half of the sphere. The invisible decrease is a great technique and makes an incredible difference in how crocheted balls look. You can find a good tutorial about it here at Planet June. 

  • My Notes for knitting the octahedron:
    Knitting needles: size 4
    Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver - Royal

    Unfortunately, there was no way I was going to get 10 stitches to 3.5 cm with the worsted weight yarn and no matter how I tweaked the pattern I couldn't get an equilateral triangle by increasing from a point. In a last ditch effort, I tried getting one by starting with a base and decreasing to a point. VoilĂ ! I could finally make equilateral triangles a little bigger than 7 cm. 

    The pattern that worked for me (and hopefully will help someone else) 

    Stitch definitions:
    ssk (slip, slip, knit) = Slip the first stitch as if to knit, slip the second stitch as if to knit, then slide the left-hand needle into the front part of both stitches and knit them together.

    p2tog (purl 2 together) = Insert the needle through two loops, like you were purling a single stitch. Purl the 2 stitches together as if they were 1 stitch.

    Cast on 14 sts  
    Row 1: Purl (I purl this row because I use the long-tail cast on, which is essentially knitting the first row)
    Row 2: Ssk, knit across. 
    Row 3: P2tog, purl across. 
    Row 4: Knit. 
    Row 5: Purl. 
    Row 6: Ssk, knit across.
    Row 7: P2tog, purl across. 
    Repeat rows 6 and 7 until you have one stitch. Finish off.

    My Notes for assembling the octahedron:
  • Using cardboard not only "blocks" the triangles to the right size but it provides the shape as well. I used a fairly lightweight cardboard from a frozen pizza box. The cardboard was flexible enough that I could poke a sewing needle through and tack down the three corners of the knitted triangle but it was firm enough to keep its shape without bending.

  • The cardboard triangles are 7cm and when I stitch them to the knitted pieces I'm centering and stretching the knitted pieces to leave space to sew a seam (see above photo).

  • The instructions state: "create defined edges by sewing the pieces wrong side together with the joining stitches on the outside of the piece". I think this means to put the seam allowance on the outside of the octahedron but I couldn't create a nice looking outside ridge when stitching this way (maybe because I knit the squares from the base down??) I figure the important feature is to have defined edges and I wasn't having any problem with that because the cardboard and the inside seam allowances created a clear shape.

  • In fact, I was getting such great structure that I debated with myself about stuffing it. I did decide on stuffing because these pieces will be doing some traveling and the stuffing will provide a cushion.

  • I have until August 31 to get a bunch of these knitted, crocheted and shipped off to England.  I'll take more photos and make updates along the way.  I'll also post links to the final installation when they're available.

    Hmmmm, these colors are also the colors of Boston Strong. I may have to find a project for that as well!

    Update:The knit Perovskite crystal structure has been completed! Information about the finished project can be found at the University of Surrey on the About the Project page and at Facebook on The Perovskite Project page.