12 December 2011

Ornamental owls

I'm not a big one for following knitting trends or the must knit project of the week/month. I'm not oblivious to the trends but unless they interest me for some other reason other than being the latest thing, I'm not likely to be putting them on the needles.

So a large number of the everyone's knitting one projects have come and gone before I gave more than an " oh that's the latest thing I'm not doing" notice of them.

One of those many must knit projects in recent years is the
Owls sweater. Which is a lovely design with a clever use of cables in a yoke sweater.

But is is a yoke sweater and even if I was tempted, I'd have to find some one worthy of my knitting love because I still have the memory of my broad shoulders and the Fair Isle yoke sweaters of uber preppy period burned in my brain -- eek.

Still, I like the cable and how I could truly see an owl in it.

This year, owls played a role in my life. As things turned out, not as much the role I would have liked but still they played a role.

So while casting about with various designs and projects I spent an afternoon or two fiddling about with my take on an owls ornament.

The first try involved a cone of fine gauge cotton (origins unknown) and 3mm needles. The initial goal was a globe.

On the 1st pass I tried the plush fibre fill mode but I wasn't getting a controlled shape.

On the 2nd pass I tried the balloon and starch/stiffener route but I couldn't get the balloon to stay inflated enough to form a non-baggy bottom.

So I soaked the hades out of it to soften up the stiffener, undid the top, removed the balloon and regrouped.

In the 3rd pass I turned the still saggy/baggy bottom up into the piece forming a bell shape and allowed it to dry over a rubber ball to get the sag out. It took a couple, three coatings of the stiffener to get a fairly solid base but having done that it seems to give a structurally sound foundation.

I experimented with two sizes of google eyes before deciding on the 7mm

I've come to the conclusion using this construction that I'm only going to get a good globe shape if I'm willing to stop, stiffen the bottom and resume knitting. That probably is the best option but it is incompatible with the snack food nature of these sorts of projects.

As I type this a second ornament is drying.

Again, fine gauge cotton and relatively small needles but I formed a pentagon bell rather than a generic globe/egg shape.

I also worked it as an open ended bell shape rather than a globe. It was easier to force into a bell shape because it is open ended but the bottom edge is a bit ruffled.

Overall the piece may not have good long term structural integrity without the inverted base. I'm considering experimenting with a thin mix of plaster instead of stiffener/starch and some wire forms to produce a sturdier ornament that can hold up over time and not require restiffening.

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08 December 2011

A blog uncommented or a commentary on comments

Once upon a time Blogger didn't support comments in a reasonable fashion if at all. So third party add-ons and tips to install them were part of the blogsphere. Most people weren't making money off of their blogs so free was the way to go and free abounded as coders cut their teeth and worked out bugs in a new market.

Things progressed and profit motive came into play -- I know you're shocked.

Popular bloggers got book deals, people looking for book deals got blogs, those programmers who were coding for free got noticed and/or developed an application they could charge for and so the blog garden of Eden developed into a commercial zone.

I, like a lot of people, used Haloscan. Haloscan was free, integrated pretty well with Blogger and things were, with the odd glitch here and there, pretty smooth sailing.

Haloscan got purchased and the transition wasn't very smooth but the alternatives were no comments or for pay at a price point that only made sense if your blog was a commercial venture. The take over kids offered the option of exporting your comments as XML but but neither they nor blogger offered any sort of good path to reincorporate the exported comments.

For legacy Haloscan users, the take over kids initially offered a one year reasonably priced subscription. I took it and forgot about it.

In all the upheaval of my life the comments and the blog were not high on my list of things to worry so it was a bit of a "say what" when I tried to log on and found that my account was pau. I had no nag emails about renewing for a few or lot of dollars more, nothing and I had been getting comments after the account went inactive -- hhmmm.

Oh well, the latest subscription price point is very much aligned with the corporate/commercial blog world , I have no reason to believe the bugs and less than stellar communication pattern have improved so why pay when Blogger's support for comments is way more developed than it once was?

Okay, so choice shaped up this way, let sleeping dogs lie and have the "already there" comments stay there but not be able to manage any new comments or switch things up and go with Blogger or some other 3rd party comment manager and most likely lose the comments that had been posted over the prior four years.

I went with Blogger for free and four years of comments disappearing. Although I'm pretty sure I exported my comments as an XML file at some point I've no clue when, what file name, or which of my networked computers I would have the downloaded the file to so even if I was inclined to try to match them up.

Killing the old code and getting the Blogger comments to work ended up being a bit more than the promised simple template upgrade and re-entering my tweaks. After quite a few grumbles, commenting out some template coding, saving, reloading, cache clearing and holding my mouth just right after reading
epic bad instructions but it works.

In the spirit of things that were once visible (and arguably stuff that got followed the money) the photos on the day are urban art pieces by Shepard Fairey. The mural was completed during the Summer of 2010 and ironically got tagged about a month after the installation.

A worse fate has befallen it since. When it was installed it was quite visable as the wall faced lots with couple of small buildings and an equally small parking lot. Now it abuts a building housing a restaurant called Snooze.

And yes, since I can't resist, that means that say if you Snooze you lose sight of art that is.

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