Polymer tales.

Switching to the abbreviated cowls/collars I found I needed lighter weight large “buttons”. These are hard to find or often expensive enough that in production the added cost would affect pricing significantly. As and avid collector of craft and multi media supplies, I have a significant stash of polymer clay dating back from months to decades. In an ah ah! moment I made prototypes for what I thought might solve the button weight and supply problem. After the fact I began to do searches on care of polymer clay buttons and methods used in making them, which in turn led to a big oops! moment.

I recommend dry cleaning for most of my items unless they are felted ones, in which case hand washing or even a gentle washing machine cycle in cold water works just fine. Polymer clay it turns out does not like dry cleaning chemicals. If used on items cleaned that way it is recommended that the button be covered with plastic wrap and aluminum foil prior to exposure to cleaning agents. Hot water washes and driers also damage the clay, cool water hand /machine gentle washing appears to not be a problem.

Here are some online sources on this related topics: for a wealth of information on polymer buttons. Ready made molds and ideas may be found here. Button shanks are available if that method of securing the buttons is desired.

The option I am choosing to pursue is making the button removable when the item is cleaned, which led to a search for button covers. Local chains that carry sewing notions had not even heard of them. A local mom and pop craft store however, had an endless supply in their “back room” dating back to when they were “in vogue”. Have to love elderly owners that are the shop version of inventory software and can just “go to” things that have not been out on the selling floor in years.

For anyone not familiar with them, here is an image of the item, available in a few sizes depending on source.

The plan of the moment is to affix the baked clay to the flat metal surface with a glue such as E6000 and further test the idea. Having the removable cover also means clay could be painted and finishes could be varied in ways that would not be possible if item was to undergo dry cleaning. My sample first efforts which I will torture/test are below. If not buttons perhaps all that clay may mutate to use in shawl pins.

Entrelacs

Entrelacs abound in knitting at the moment. In thinking about perhaps composing my thoughts for a post on the subject, I searched online and found some very good sources on this subject. One is found at howtoknitasweater.com. The author, Cheryl Brunette also shares an article on lace . Here are 2 of my teaching samples, executed on 4.5 mm machine

front view

rear view, ends woven in

Oh the math! “magic formula”

There are many knitting programs that will perform the necessary calculations, as well as a variety of knit calculators. The diophantine formula is the basis for what is know to some knitters as the “magic formula”. In the early 1980s Alles Hutchinson authored a small book on the subject. There is a bit of personal leeway in the results, and the formula may be used in calculating even complex shapes with the proviso that one has the patience to break such shapes into series of simpler ones.

There are many online resources for information and calculators to sort out the math, including a triangle calculator

Using the gauge to match the previous post of 4S and 6R per inch the calculation for the pie divided into five triangles  breaks down into the web calculator result pictured below:

The longhand method for same calculation which follows and also translates to: bring into hold 2 stitches for 4 times, 1 stitch for 80 times. Stitches in shaping are proofed as above: 88 stitches shaped over 84 rows.