Monthly Archives: May 2012

Crochet Mathematics: Clouds

wispy clouds adorn majestic mountains

Anyone who knows me knows that I enjoy painting landscapes – while there are a few topics I enjoy painting, clouds have always amazed me. Something so wispy and soft – something that when touched will disapate to a molecular level right before your very eyes.

I spent hours as a child laying in the grass looking up at the sky, wondering where they were going, how fast they were moving, and what they would look like when they got there. We played the “shapes game” … I still play it – even when my children aren’t around.

There is something magical about them….

and mathematical.
And even better…. they can be crocheted.

The Concept
The first thing to understand is how clouds are formed. The actual formation starts on the ground. Water in or on the ground evaporates into the air. The rising air, through expansion, cools the water vapor and some of those molecules stick together faster than they are torn apart by their termal energy (Weather Questions, 2010). Then as these clumps occur, they form visible droplets or ice crystals and the cloud forms. If the drops are smaller, the top of the cloud will appear brighter on top and darker on the base (Weather Questions, 2010).

One type of cloud is the cujulus cloud, which is united by complex fractals. The topology of a cloud resembles that of couliflower.

Architect and future artist, Ciro Najle, spent years of his life designing more efficient fog collectors that assist people living in dry climates to gather water from the air. Being able to translate his knowledge of fog into art involved a serious amount of mathematics.

Crocheting the Concept

Close Up (Austen, 2012)

Najle’s knowledge of fog and clouds allowed him to work with a team of over 40 crafters to create a mathematically correct cumulous cloud using crochet. The reason he chose crochet is because crochet is “the perfect medium for representing fractal structures because its surfaces can be subdivided again and again by varying the length of neighboring crochet lines” (Newitz, 2012, paragrah 2).  By being able to do this, the necessary curvature of the cloud is captured (Austen, 2012).

 The Hanging Display (Newitz, 2012)

To create the art on display in the basement of the exeperimental sci-art gallery, Le Laboratoire, Najle worked with several local Argentine crafters to create the panels representing 1,664 different diagrams that pinpoint the intersections of the yarn which form the shapes of the clouds. To be mathematically accurate in generating the shapes necessary to reproduce a crocheted cumulus cloud, the crafters square represents one of the models produced by Najle (Huffington Post, 2012).

The white yarn cloud hangs from the ceiling and is lit from above. It hands approximately 3 to 4 feet from the ground at its lowest point.  The shadows on the ground are familir – they are clouds.

The most amazing aspect of this art display is that it can be touched. People can walk through the folds of the crocheted cloud – touch them and admire them. The only thing these clouds do not do is disappear when touched.

While I have yet to find information about each diagram that Najle produced and the specific mathematics behind it, it doesn’t make this piece any less breath-taking.

Austen, K. (2012). Touching the crocheted clouds. Retrieved May 17, 2012 from

Huffington Post. (2012). ‘Cummulus’: A mathematically accurate sculpture of crocheted clouds. Retrieved May 17, 2012 from

Newitz, A. (2012). Artist uses crochet to create mathematically accurate sculptures of clouds. Retrieved May 17, 2012 from

Weather Questions. (2010). How do clouds form? Retrieved May 17, 2010 from


Adding Links

I don’t know if this is news worthy or not for the blog, but I have decided that it may be of interest to a few. I have decided to go back and add links to common post types or my blog projects. Some people may be new to the series and rather than searching for the posts, they can use the previous post link to read the previous in the series or the Project Introduction link to take you back to the beginning to read them in order.

Right now I have added these links to the bottom of the project series 12 for 12 Charitable Crochet and my Remembering Grandma series. I am going to try to get them onto my Year of Projects series (and get that going again… can’t believe I’ve missed so many!) and some of the older series that I have done like the ABCs of Crochet.

Hopefully you all will find some use in this and let me know if there is anything else I can do with this new functionality to my posts.

As always, thank you for reading


Charitable Crochet: 12 for 12 Post #7

Today is my scheduled post in the 12 for 12 Project set up by Kathryn over at Crochet Concupiscence. Click on the link if you are interested in reading more about the project.

The premise of the project is to make 12 separate donations, one to each of 12 different charitable organizations of your choice.

And this …..*queue Law and Order music* ….. is my update.

Overall Progress: 3 / 12 donations made. Read on for more details.

OK – this is my seventh post in the 12 for 12 Project.

1. Knitted Knockers
Website Link
My Pattern
Made 4
Donated 0
I kinda slacked off on this one. I started with a gusto and have several knockers crocheted up using my pattern; however, after not getting much interest here locally, I just haven’t sent the donation into the main knitted knockers program. That will end very soon. I’m going to follow-up one more time here and if I get nothing back, then I’m going to just mail them off.
2. Special Olympics Scarf Project
Website Link
Made 2
Donated 0
Project on hold until the fall.
Website Link
Made 20+
Donated 0
I am continuing to make progress on this one. I have not mailed in any squares, but I will most likely have well over 50 in the box by the time I’m done. I am figuring I’ll do 2 mailings this year. I need to find a cut off date and just send them at that time and then start making more. For those of you who do send squares to SIBOL – do you weave in your ends?
4. Hooked on a Cause
Website Link
Made 0
Donated 0
I have only identified this charity. I have not begun sending anything (although I desperately need to!
5. Local Animal Shelters
– Local APL
Made 4
Donated 4
Basically, whenever I have some scrap yarn, I’m sending them off to the shelters listed to the left.
6. Washcloths for Tornado Victims Made 6
Donated 6
A woman in my crochet group was gathering cloths for another friend who lived in Tennessee. The friend in Tennessee had mentioned gathering and donating small items like washcloths to those affected by tornadoes in her area. I had several and made the donation. It was small but I know to someone, its a huge help.
Web Link
LOTS! I contemplated not counting this as a donation, but I figured in a way it was. I recently participated in a Bean Bag Tournament at work aimed to raise money for (an awesome website if you have never been). I decided to crochet dishcloths and coasters as thank you gifts to people who sponsored our team.

In the end, I cannot tell you how many I made and gave away, but I can tell you that it was enough that our team won a trophy for most cash collected. So while I did not donate my crochet directly, it definitely helped raise plenty of money for a fantastic website helping teachers fund classroom projects. I felt pretty good about that in the end.

8. TBD
Web Link
Made 0
Donated 0
9. TBD
Web Link
Made 0
Donated 0
10. TBD
Web Link
Made 0
Donated 0
11. TBD
Web Link
Made 0
Donated 0
12. TBD
Web Link
Made 0
Donated 0

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Remembering Grandma: Post 3

A conversation with one of my friends from yarn group reminded me that it has been a while since I dipped into the box my grandmother left for me just before she passed away. I decided that tonight would be a good night. The items I have selected tonight are moreso items to show how organized my grandmother is… which might explain my mother’s passion for lists…. and my own.

Laying on top of the items in the box was a small spiral pad of index cards. The cards themselves are yellowed with age and the cover (shown in the image) was dusty. The only marks in the dust were my fingerprints from picking it up. Only about 10 of the index cards had any writing on them – but all were the same: lists.

Each list was an item and a price. My grandma would do craft shows occasionally and this had to be one of the ways she kept track of the items she made and the cost of materials for each item. In it are lists for “Big Ducks,” Indian dolls, crosses with hands, and blue bird girl. I remember each of these dolls… in fact, I remember all of the items in the book by title.

Her big ducks were just that – fabric ducks that wore clothes. They were about a foot to 18 inches tall. She created them in pairs and they got to set on little benches together. I thought I had a set somewhere, but I can’t find them. I am hoping they are in the garage but I’m not 100% sure – which truly bothers me. They are something I would love to have now and kick myself for not knowing what I have done with them. The Indian doll was an American Indian looking doll she would get from the craft store – the kind you buy naked and then make clothing for them. She would use plastic canvas to make these elaborate outfits for them – beads included. She would do amazing bead work on the headbands and the deco on the canvas outfits was outstanding.

Besides her meticulous lists tracking cost of materials, inside the notebook were 3 slips of paper. One was a folded yellow receipt, much like you get from a restaurant – only yellow. I don’t know what she bought abbreviated CC, but I know she bought 2 pair of eyes…. my guess those would have been for the ducks. The second slip, a tiny little slip of paper,  says “L 4, W 3.5 Slide 1.5 Clown” – my guess they were measurements in inches for a clown that I can never remember seeing. The last slip has everyone’s name on it with check marks next to them. I can only guess this was her Christmas check off list for whatever year she slid this bit of paper into her pad of index cards. Everyone but my cousin Sam has a check next to their name…. I assure you there wasn’t a year she didn’t get a Christmas present. On the back of the same paper is all the names listed again. That, dear reader – I have no explanation. Grandma did things Grandma’s way. *laughs*

The second item I pulled out, just underneath the pad of index cards, was a tin. I shook it and it rattled – so of course I was a bit curious.

I will have to put some time into this tin but here are some of the key marks if you are interested or want to look yourself:
– Assorted Toffee
– Dovedale
– Edward Sharp & Sons Ltd of Maidstone, Kent
– The appointment suppliers of glucose confectionery to the late King George VI

Cool – huh?

Even cooler is what is on the inside.

My daughter asked if she could stay up a little longer to get a peek at what was inside – and this is it:

The first item is a crocheted baby bib. It is made of size 10 thread. The main piece is white with a light pink trim. There is no button so I don’t know if she made it but didn’t finish or if someone else made it and she was using it as a guide. I don’t know – I can say it looks kinda small for a full size baby bib but… who knows what she was making it for. It is yellowed and could use a good wash but I’ll admit, I’m a little leary of washing it.

There was also an unused sleeve of elastic (that has very little snap left in it), a pair of blunt nose scissors, a plastic tapestry needle, and a yellow 6 inch ruler. There was also a hand pattern. I am not sure what it was for, but she used it a few times because it had pin marks in it from where she would pin it down to cut the cloth. I don’t know if she were making hands for dolls or if it was a pattern for gloves. Who knows – its still cool.

There was also a paper in the tin with a list (yes, another list…. definitely a genetic trait in that side of my family). The list is nicely labeled “Crochet Hooks” and it is a list of hooks and sizes like H 8. I don’t know if it was a reference sheet or not – but the tin was full of hooks. I don’t know if the list was referencing the hooks in the tin which were used as general references… I wish she were still alive to ask. Perhaps its some organizing tactic that I should be doing too.

The hooks are pretty standard but there are a couple in there that I want to research the same as the tin. One is a Susan Bates hook size 0. It is silver in color but the two traits about this hook that make it interesting is that it has a tiny plastic blue tip on the back side of it (you can see it pictured in the tin image above – it is ust under the fat blue hook that goes under the ruler and pinky of the hand pattern. If you look just below it, you will see a silver hook and on the end, there is a light blue cap on the end. Its not the hook end – its the back side of the hook. It reminds me of a little light bulb at the end of the hook but I’m pretty sure that’s not what it is *laughs* The second trait about this hook is that the hook side, from the flattened middle with the brand name to the hook itself the hook looks shined. Like it has gone through some sort of a buffing tool to make it look different than the rest of the hook.

All just interesting.

So what did I learn from this post remembering my grandmother? She was a very organized woman. She love lists, as does my mother and myself (although I hate to admit that hehehe). The bib, provided she made it, is amazing – more proof to her being an amazingly creative person and talented in what she did.

And that, my friends is my third “remembering Grandma” post… and I did it without crying this time.

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If you are not familiar with this series, please start with the introductory post located here.


Crochet Clock

I finally did it. A while back I decided I wanted to try and crochet a clock – and I finally did it.

I have been 100% focused on finishing my State Fair project (the infamous blanket of doom, which shall soon be photographed and featured in a blog post) and have not been doing much of anything else. That makes for boring posts, which I have been so easily forgetting to do… and I hope to change that soon.

Anywhoozles, back to the purpose of this post…

The logic of making the clock was pretty simple – I needed some clock guts and some yarn – easy enough. I didn’t really think the pattern through too much but as I got further and further in, I began to make some mental notes about how to make it better next time.

next time?

Yup – I have full intentions of doing this again… only better. I also have full intention of writing the pattern and posting it. I am not sure if it something I’d sell a pattern for, so we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

The above picture shows my completed decagon. I’d like to call it a circle, but its not – almost, but not quite. The image also shows the main number markers that I chose – a yarn circle. What the picture doesn’t show is relative size. It is approximately 10″ in diameter… I think. I didn’t measure it but that’s what I’d give it. Perhaps I can measure it when I write the pattern *laughs* of course I will…

I started the clock face on Monday night and did pretty well with progress. I’d say in total, I spent less than 3 or 4 hours crocheting the face and all the pieces.

And with a little construction skills, creative juices, and hot glue – this is my finished clock.

It now hangs in the bathroom, ticking away.

I’m thinking it’ll be another couple weeks before I get the pattern worked up. Obviously – it’ll be written as most of my patterns – with a basic framework built to create a solid piece BUT with enough encouragement to give you creative license with your own clock – to make it your own.


Painting Scarves

Finished: Plum’s scarf on the left, mine is on the right

I am a firm believer in being creative and if possible, taking every opportunity possible to be creative with others. This is one of the main reasons that I love my yarn group (beyond the fact they are a completely awesome group of people). Today was one of those days that you can only hope to enjoy – a simple day with creative intent spent with wonderful friends.

Today – we painted silk scarves.

Now, I personally do not know who met this lady who teaches the class, but a time and location were set and we gathered to laugh, create, laugh, eat, and create some more.

My daughter, whom I usually call Plum (and that’s how I shall refer to her here as well), and I made our way to the church just before 10 am. The plan was to paint scarves for 2 hours, have lunch, return to the church and finish off the scarves. We jumped right in doing a quick “how to” on sample scarves but all 14 of us were ready to go on our own. I loved the atmosphere today – the laughter and telling of stories, all while we focused on our own scarf – our own creative expression.

Plum started out trying to create a large flower – and until we salted the scarves, she had achieved her goal. Some went with stripes, others went with splotches – inspiration was flowing.

There was just something really cool about it. I don’t often get to go to these sort of classes because I have children, but now both are old enough that I can sneak one in every once in a while, provided the timing is right.

Another observation I made during this class was just how encouraging people are – and its infectious. I think it would be good for people who are not as encouraging or who are negative to sit down with a group of women like my friends from yarn group. Perhaps it could teach them a thing or two about creativity and encouragement.

As sad as it is to say, many people do not receive encouragement from friends or family. And coming from where I did with the parents that I had, that is such a sad thought.

Once we got our scarves to a point to where they were sitting with salt on them, about an hour after starting, we were ready to head to lunch – the scarves could sit and the salt could do all the work while we enjoyed each other’s company at a local Mexican restaurant – appropriate for Cinco de Mayo, don’t you think?

Oh we ate and we ate – Star Wars was referenced, we talked about knitting and crochet, traveling, other great restaurants, and who knows what else. The conversation was flying (almost as fast as hooks and needles are during our weekly yarn group).

a salted scarf

We got there and the instructor began gathering all the salted scarves and taking them off to set the dye for us in a special wash. Again – we talked…. not a difficult thing to get us to do!

another salted scarf

Once everything was set and ironed, each of us walked away with an awesome scarf – well, I walked away with two because Plum gave me the scarf she painted as an early Mother’s Day Gift. I almost cried.

Plum and her salted scarf