July 2006 Archives

Some Light Summer Knitting


I've been reading about top-down knitting, which is of great interest to me because it is so different from how I usually knit. I usually do a muslin, and knit pieces to match the muslin then sew them together. Very old school, but it combines my experience with sewing clothes and knitting them and works very well. However. Knitting top-down is more about working in three dimensions. So I figured I would try out a pre-written pattern first, to get the hang of it.

This pattern from Zephyr is a very easy top-down raglan knit in the round. The pattern is so easy to follow that I think even somebody who has barely learned to purl could understand it. And with it being knit in the round, there's hardly any purling to begin with. I doubt I will use it again, though, because doing this sweater is showing me just how easy this style of knitting can be, and the design is nice but not something I want fifteen of.

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Today I created an underlying system of geometry for my building. It's based on a shape found in the collage, simplified and repeated and altered. I'm not 100 percent certain how I am going to use it in the building, but I think these may end up being floor plans.


Also, I decided to drop my second construction class. That gives me two more weeks at home, and more time to work on studio things. More sleep, too.

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Finding Form


A lot of this quarter in studio has been focussed on methods for finding a form and an underlying structure for a building. I've been working on a series of pieces to that end: a "junk" sculpture, then some digital collages from photos of the sculpture, and now an attempt to turn those collages into a massing model of a building.

This is the collage (actually, a cropped out piece of a collage) I'm using.

Building Form

I am designing layers of protection: an arcade, a windowed corridor, then a darkened, sacred inner sanctum. My building is a museum, but also a mausoleum, because it is a repository for discarded taxidermy (something I've been moderately upset about for many years).*

I want to building to have a sort of contemplative nature, one that makes you turn inward and think about how humans relate to nature, but I also want it to be kind of creepy and weird. So over the next few days I will be refining my plans and sections so I can make a flow through the building. Blah blah. Also, I will be thinking a lot about refrigeration units.

*I'm upset about the way people will just throw away the remains of those animals as if they were trash, not that taxidermy happens in the first place. I'm merely confused by the fact that taxidermy happens in the first place.

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Off to the Wineries


For research into our studio project, we went around town on Thursday looking at buildings under construction, and some wineries.

Our first stop was at a construction site, where they are putting together a series of office buildings out of tilt-up concrete. The theory with tilt-up is pretty simple: they cast the walls on the floor, then lift them up into place and bolt them together. It's perfectly good construction, and saves the cost and risk of building full-height forms. The thing about concrete buildings is that you end up building them twice: once in formwork and once in concrete. Tilt-up reduces the labour and materials because you don't have much formwork to build at all.

But how to connect the walls to the floor? The way it's done is like this: you can see that they left the floor a bit shy of the wall, and some rebar is arranged to come out of the wall and tie into the floor. Sometime soon they will place concrete in that hole and tie the building together. Although it was pretty well tied together when we were there, already.

Where tilted up meets floor

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Under the Bed


I had the dogs with me in SLO this week, because Noel was at dance camp and Rosie has a nasty hot spot (read: weeping sore) on her head that needed tending. Mostly they just sleep during the day: Goldie gets locked in the crate because she is bad when unsupervised, but Rosie will sleep on her dog bed on the floor or right by the door where she can look out at the yard.

I went out on a field trip with my studio yesterday, and when I came home, this is what I saw:

Dog paws

I don't know if it was cooler under there, or if she just wanted the comforting feeling of being in a den (that's why dogs like crates, after all). But Rosie was asleep under the bed, and she spent the rest of the evening and most of this morning there.


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Fern Nursery


A while ago I pruned my mother fern and started a bunch of baby ferns in a plastic tray. This is no great feat with the mother fern: the thing reproduces remarkably easily. But even so, it is delightful to come home and look at my little tray of ferns, all growing well.

Baby ferns

My experiments with spore reproduction did not work out so well: we got to the green fuzz stage and no further, so my next attempt on that score will involve actually sterilizing the equipment.


But for now, the little mother ferns are pretty nice. Anybody want a fern?

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Junkyard Joys


We had a little studio field trip today, first to visit the site for our final project, and then to a junkyard to get some things for the next phase of our work.

Pile of junk

I'm usually not much of a junkyard person, having been trying to get rid of excess crap in recent years. But this one was very interesting, with piles of scrap and sorted bits and bobs.

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Plum Jam


A friend brought us some homegrown plums this weekend, and instead of making ourselves ill eating them, we made plum jam. It hadn't set up when I left home this afternoon, and I'm not sure it's going to set up at all (even though the skimmings did set) but time will tell. My family appears to be cursed with regard to jam setting.

Making puree

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