Thursday, February 28, 2013

For algebra homework emergency press play

You might not know this about me, but I used to be a math teacher, a math professor, actually.  I taught math in the American public education system for 15 years.  I still often think of myself as a math teacher, even though I don't work in a classroom anymore.  It's part of me, my identity.  My friends tease me about being a math nerd, which I kind of like.  I have always enjoyed sharing math ideas with other people, and I've been known to do it in the strangest of times and places.  That's why when I was asked this week to make some Doceri videos that address the Common Core State Standards in middle school mathematics, I was happy to comply.  

The first video is about Paulo who peels potatoes. If Paulo can peel 3 potatoes each minute, how long will it take Paulo to peel 20 potatoes? 

What if 5 potatoes are already peeled for him? Then how long will it take?
This video uses ratios to solve the first problem, and a linear relationship in the second problem.  Ratios are taught in the upper elementary grades, and linear relationships are taught in seventh grade. This content address Common Core State Standard CCSS.Math.Content.7.EE.B.4b. 

Here is a lesson on how to prove the quadratic formula that addresses an eighth grade standard.  This is likely the most sophisticated concept that is commonly addressed in middle school algebra.  I can't tell you how many times I proved this for my students.  Many.  And I never taught a full course on 8th grade math.  Even still, this proof came up a lot.   This content addresses the Common Core State Standard CCSS.Math.Content.HSA-REI.B.4a.
There's something quite satisfying about making a video that answers a question that I have answered so many times before.  Thanks for looking.

I made these videos with Doceri software on my iPad. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

How to crochet a lace scallop trim 3

There's a little lace museum and shop right down the road from my house in Sunnyvale, California.  It's a small place, but it contains an impressively large collection of lace, including tatting, bobbin lace, needle lace, crochet lace and others.  They teach classes there, and they call themselves the Lace Museum & Guild.  If you're ever in Palo-Mountain-Cuperville, you should stop in and take a look.  When I moved to the area, I did just that, and as an avid collector of craft book, I bought a couple how-to-make-lace books while I was there.  One of them was on tatting, but I never quite mastered even the basic tatting knot.
The other book I bought was on Irish Lace Crochet by Therese de Dillmont (1846-1890).  I had a lot more success with her book because I already knew how to crochet from childhood.  Dillmont's designs are great.  Over a century old, however, the language in the book is archaic.  The terms for things have changed since she wrote her book, so I had to really study her photos and rewrite her text before I could make out what she did and duplicate it with my hook and string.

After much fiddling, I made a how-to video on Dillmont's layered flower.  Then, I rearranged her basic scallop technique to make a simple lace scallop trim.  And then I made a different trim using the same technique, which is now my most popular YouTube video.  It's the "lace scallop trim #2" with over a half million views.  See it here:
Now, a year and a half later, I finally made a new one.  This is trim number 3, similar to the first two but with two sizes of scallops instead of just one.  Here is the video.
Below I include selected stills from the video with some further comments.

Hooks and Yarns: use lace weight or fine yarns for a bracelet.  If you use bulkier yarns, you wont have very many repeats around your wrist, and it might be hard to see the pattern.   When using lace weight yarn, use a fine hook and make tight stitches.  If you are making a long skinny scarf, you can use bulkier yarns.  I think this design would make a cute skinny scarf.
Here you can see me wearing the black silk bracelet while holding a beaded Borromean Link.
Here is a closeup of the two pieces, with a drawing of the general method for creating the scallop trim #3.
The purple piece really stretched after the above photo was taken.  It stretched about 50% making an 8 inch strip closer to 12 inches.  While the design still looks nice, it was long enough to be an anklet.  I didn't want an anklet; I wanted a bracelet.  So, to shorten it, I wove the pink yarn through the scallops, tied a loose knot with the ends, and I wove the ends in.  I really like the 3D sculptural effect of the two yarns woven together.

Unfortunately, I found that the way I used the pink yarn removes almost all of the stretch from the bracelet.  A little more stretchiness would be nice, better.  If I were to do it again, I'd probably try knitting an i-cord with the pink fluffy angora yarn before weaving it through the lace scallops.  That would still allow me to make the bracelet shorter while keeping it stretchy and therefore, more comfortable. I might rip it out and redo it later. 

Below are the crochet instructions in text and as a chart, all color coded for your viewing pleasure.
The basic crochet stitches are as follows. 
ch is chain stitch.
sl is slip stitch.
sc is single crochet.
HDC is half double crochet.
DC is double crochet.

Want to crochet this on the train?  Then print the following two images.  Thanks for looking.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Suzanne Golden's Bangles, Links and Beaded Beads

After Suzanne Golden purchased my pattern for the Borromean link, she sent Florence and me a nice email.  She included some of her own variations of polygonal links and cubic right angle weave (CRAW).  Here are some bangle bracelets she made with CRAW.  I love her signature use of bright bold colors.  This variation of CRAW with two layers separated by larger beads could make a beautiful Borromean Link.
She also showed other polygons with novel corners. This pink link uses a beaded dodecahedron on each corner, and peyote stitch for the sides.  Again, there's no reason this technique couldn't be used for a Borromean link.
 This one seems to have the identical structure as the pink one above, but with a bolder coloring in black and white.  This black and white striping is very indicative of Suzanne's style.
I had to look at the next photo a few times before I noticed that it is composed entirely of beaded dodecahedra.  The short sides are 4 dodecahedra long, and the long sides are 6 dodecahedra high.
If you're new to the bead world, you might be wondering who this Suzanne Golden is.  Well, here's a photo of her, posing as her fabulous self.  Red hair, gold shoes, and glasses, just my kind of gal.
But you might remember Suzanne from her beaded beads.  Each one of these is an embellished beaded dodecahedron.
She writes, "These are some of the beaded beads I made using Laura Shea's basic 30 bead polyhedron." After Suzanne learned to bead a dodecahedron, she started embellishing them like crazy.  "As soon as I see an opening, I have to decorate!!! I think you can tell from my beads, I ain't never growin' up!!!" 

I love, love, love her use of bright bold colors. I think mixing colors with beads is one of the hardest parts about beading, and Suzanne's work is so consistently good in that respect.  These beaded beads are all plastic.

If you're still not sure who Suzanne Golden is, then go visit New York City. You're sure to see her around town.  Thanks Suzanne.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Trefoil and Cinqufoil Knots in CRAW and Arm Warmers

Here's the cinquefoil knot, made with cubic right angle weave.  It looks like a five-pointed star, and cinque is the French word for five.

Here's the trefoil knot, made with cubic right angle weave. 
I don't have a pattern for these knots precisely, but they are really the same as what I did to make the Borromean Link. If you buy that pattern, you should be able to figure out how I did both of these knots. If you still want a hint, just send me an email with the date you bought the pattern, and I'll tell you which steps in the Borromean Link pattern to modify to get these knots.

I have this small mountain of wool and cashmere sweaters that I have collected or have been gifted to me. I machine washed and dried them to make them felt, and now I cut them up and resew them into stuff. Here are some arm warmers.  The black is super soft cashmere, and the rest is fine merino wool, plus I edged the bottom in a little faux fur around the hand.  The fit is really nice as they bell just slightly over the hand.  If you want to wear them shorter, you can cuff the top and they still look nice.
I also made these little fingerless gloves. I think I resewed the hand opening about 4 times to get the shaping right, each time cutting off more and more to make them more formed fit and comfy. If you have cold hands, like orange and soft things, these might be just the thing for you. Again, the black is cashmere, and the rest is fine merino wool.  So soft and cozy.
 All of these pieces are available in my Etsy shop.  Click the photos to go to the listings.  Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Pattern Borromean Links with CRAW

I can't believe that I finally finished a tutorial with cubic right-angle weave. I once thought I'd never write a tutorial for CRAW, but lo and behold, here it is.  The pattern is called the Borromean link (or Borromean rings), and the pattern and kits for this piece are available here:

The pattern has over 80 photos and illustrations in 12 pages.  About a third of the pattern shows variations to inspire you, including instructions for how to make all three versions:

You might remember this photo above from my report on bead art at the Joint Mathematics Meetings 2013.  I actually produced this photo last summer, when I started writing the instructions.  Some time in September, they got shelved, but a little birdy requested a tutorial for this (Thanks Kim!) so I pulled it off of the shelf and finished it.  

The Beaded Borromean Link is a set of three rings (rectangles or other shapes), woven together into a single symmetric piece of art. The three rings are collectively linked despite the fact that no two of them are linked to each other. The pattern will teach you to make squares, rectangles, hexagons, and other shapes of beaded link components, and how to assemble them into this configuration. You will learn to weave cubic right-angle weave in a long cable, and how to turn corners with this stitch. You will also learn how to connect the beginning and end of your CRAW cable. The pattern also give instructions for square and pentagonal links like the ones shown here with little Swarovski crystals at the corners.

As a beaded bead, the Beaded Borromean Link has a hole through its center, plus many 1mm holes, so you can also string it through any of the components. You can also use the links as beaded beads in other jewelry designs, including necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and pendants.  The pattern also gives instructions for work with large or small seed beads to make the links different sizes.

We listed this pattern as "Advanced" because cubic right-angle weave is a tricky stitch, perhaps the trickiest of all of the basic beading stitches.  At the same time, I included enough text, illustrations and photos in hopes that an ambitious advanced-beginner could tackle it, you know, if you're up for a bit of a challenge. 

I also have a tutorial for the Highly Unlikely Triangle, that also uses CRAW.  I wrote this tutorial for advanced beginning bead weavers.

Thanks for looking.
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