28 November, 2012

Null set

null set

It's been a bit like that on the blog lately hasn't it! This is an empty block I'm going to embroider {null set} on for the math quilt I'm making - it was Mat's idea and I was mostly just humouring him with it at first, but I'm kind of taken with it now! The embroidery is my idea though, just to make the joke a bit more obvious ;) The font is Helvetica. Mostly I've been beavering away on the quilt, girding my loins in order to make myself some clothes, and crocheting away like mad on a few secret projects and a lot of snowflakes. Must get some photos of those, they're kind of cool! I'm trying to beat the Xmas mailing deadlines so I can get all the gifts off to Canada and the States. My parents are heading to New York to spend Christmas with my brother and his wife, the lucky things! Christmas in NY is high on my bucket list. I think the closest I'll get in the near future is summer in Edmonton, but actually that's kind of ok too :) Ummm...what else. Not much really! Hopefully once the other presents are sent off I'll have a chance to work on my clothes and do a bit more relaxing stuff I can blog about :)

I promised my dad that I'd put up some photos of the partial eclipse we had a couple weeks ago. It was a lot of fun watching it via a pinhole in a piece of cardboard - surprisingly effective for such a basic setup! I think we had about 60-odd% coverage here in Auckland and even just with that the light went all strange. I remember seeing a full one when I was a kid, I hope that wasn't the only chance I'll get in my life!

Partial solar eclipse. I've been watching it with the classic pinhole in a piece of cardboard but couldn't resist taking a photo through some cloud that came over. All very exciting! #eclipse #solareclipse #auckland #sun #cloud

I also tried taking a photo straight in to the sun in order to get a lens flare - look at the little eclipse it shows!

Little eclipse in the lens flare - what a neat effect! Wish I'd tried it when the eclipse was more complete.

Eclipse shadows - quite by accident I put the pieces of viewing card down where the sun was shining through some jasmine leaves and noticed that the pinhole effect of the sun shining through the gaps in the leaves was showing the eclipse naturally!

Eclipse shadows - quite by accident I put the pieces of viewing card down where the sun was shining through some jasmine leaves and noticed that the pinhole effect of the sun shining through the gaps in the leaves was showing the eclipse naturally!

I feel a bit stupid admitting this, but I'd never realised that circles in things like lens flares and light shining through leaves are there because the sun is round. See, old dogs can learn new tricks!

12 November, 2012

Geometry fail

scraps, originally uploaded by Hazelnutgirl.

I'm almost half way through making up blocks for my Math Facts quilt; but I'd be further along if I hadn't had a massive fabric cutting fail yesterday! The bundle in front of the photo are all strips and blocks that I'd cut, which I couldn't use because I'd cut way too many of them and then wasn't able to cut some larger pieces required for the X blocks. I am now down 3 X blocks in the scheme of things. I am really ticked off at myself for two reasons - firstly it's a big fat waste of fabric and secondly, I feel like a doofus. I'm all about efficiency and getting things out of the least amount of fabric possible and this is a blow to my self-esteem! I'll probably use up the scraps in something or other eventually but honestly! Doofus.

Do any of you know if there is some sort of rule of thumb when it comes to cutting fabric when the pattern doesn't give you a cutting order, just the total of all the pieces? Should I have cut the bigger ones first? How do you judge how many blocks you're going to get without sitting down and basically drawing it all out before you start? I want to balance caution with economy of scale.

11 November, 2012

A civil war bullet

The most popular artefact from my archaeology talk the other day was this American Civil War lead bullet. My friend Shelly's husband found it along the Appalachian Trail in Harper's Ferry. It's in perfect condition, although it has a white oxidised (or whatever lead does) layer on the surface. All the history of the Civil War, and of Harper's Ferry, aside, the thing that most strikes people is how heavy it is. Certainly the kids had no idea about its context, but they loved how it feels in the palm of your hand. The bullet also reminds me of Harper's Ferry, which I enjoyed visiting enormously, and of course Shelly - so its story continues even though it has fulfilled its original function!
Civil war bullet

A little online research just now suggests it's a .54 caliber 3-ring Minie (or Minié) ball, very common, used by both sides.

09 November, 2012

You know, stuff.

Not much happening in my world at the moment, a little crochet, a little sewing, a little wasting time on the couch with my iPhone. Not much to report! I haven't finished anything but I've started a few things - another crochet bunny (one of three for Xmas presents), a thank-you quilt for Hazel's teacher for the end of the year, a dress for me and there would have been a tshirt except I discovered I don't have quite enough of any of my knits to start it. Does your stash ever let you down like that? Masses of fabric but not enough to actually DO anything with. I'm not sure if it's bad planning or just one of those Murphy's Law things.

Today I went and talked about archaeology with Hazel's class. The junior school is focusing on science this term, so I volunteered to come and talk about my science. I don't often consider myself one, but I suppose technically I am and I'm certainly a fervent believer in the process and ethos of science.  I took in a few bits and bobs that we've accumulated over the years, not entirely sure what they'd make of them. Archaeologists aren't really meant to have collections per se (leaves us too open to nicking things from sites) but most of us end up with an accumulation of things that are out of context on sites, or are random finds outside of proper excavations. The kids were pretty taken with some of the things and it made me look at them with new appreciation again - so I thought I'd take some photos over the next few days to share on Instagram and here.

Historic artefacts

This is a collection of little bits and pieces that usually sit in a small bowl on the windowsill collecting dust. None of them are valuable but they all tell a tale of some sort about the people that owned them. I like that they range from some Roman pottery from England that a friend gave Mat, through old pipe bowls, to coins to lost buttons and a little Eiffel Tower that has "Souvenir de Paris" on the back. And really, that's what archaeology is to me - the stories lost and broken things can tell us about regular people and everyday life in the past. If you want to hear the stories of any of the objects, ask away!

02 November, 2012

Glenys' bee block

Glenys wanted us to do a Converging Corners block for her, and gave us all an assortment of coloured and white scraps.

The concept of converging corners is pretty simple, you just build up the block with strips which are part white and part colour, putting the colours in the corners where they form a V. When they're all put together they produce these multi-coloured starbursts across the quilt. I was quite excited when she told us what we were going to be doing because I've loved the pattern since I first saw it.

The block is 15 1/2" square, which is a fair few strips as I discovered! I don't know if there is any way to judge how much you should extend each strip past each other to get the best effect, I sort of feel like I was too conservative and it doesn't have that really dramatic zigzag effect of the original. I think I could also have gone with bigger strips given the size of the overall block. I think wider strips would automatically allow you to have larger steps between strips. But I'm generally pretty happy with how it turned out and I can't wait to see everyone's together! I had to add in a few of my own scraps because you actually need quite long strips by the end and I'd used up the longest ones too early.  Live and learn, which is why bee blocks are so great - you can practice on some other poor person's quilt ;)

Glenys' block I'm now caught up with bee blocks and can turn my attention to my stuff - and Christmas!


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