Happy tau day!

If you are one to worry about the best way to do mathematics (yes, there is more than one option!) you may already be aware that pi has a competitor: tau. Instead of circumference over diameter, tau is circumference over radius. There are various arguments: radius is more fundamental than diameter, “once around the circle” is a better base unit for radians, 2π shows up all over the place and things would be simpler if that quantity were the constant instead of π. For two videos and links to other sites about tau, visit Khan Academy.

2 pi = tau

Today is tau day, 6/28. In its honor, I have a tau for you. This is made by cutting pi in half rather than doubling it: you need the Big and Little Pi pattern, but then you simply do only select parts of it to make tau.

crochet tau for tau day

Here is how to make tau from Big little pi:

  • Big little pi top bar: stitch rounds 1-17 (horn through first leg opening). Proceed to stitch rounds 28-33 (making the leg before stitching round 33, as directed).
  • To check your counting: there will be 6 rounds of “sc around” after the round that stitches into the chain of the leg opening.
  • Big little pi tapered foot: make as instructed, beginning in the center skipped stitch of round 12.

That’s all!

Barbershop Quartet Day crochet

This post is dedicated to the Champaign-Urbana Sweet Adelines chorus, Toast of Champaign.

Tomorrow is Barbershop Quartet Day, the 76th anniversary of a Tulsa songfest considered the beginning of the Barbershop Harmony Society. I’ve never celebrated, but it is nevertheless close to my heart because I grew up with barbershop music. My mother has been in a Sweet Adelines chorus (and sometimes quartets) throughout my life, and through her I heard many choruses and quartets, male and female. The latest Sweet Adeline Queens of Harmony are a young quartet called LoveNotes, but the big name when I was listening a lot was Ambiance. I believe I’ve seen them live; I know I saw Joker’s Wild and The Gas House Gang — I have the cassettes to prove it.

The latest music to hit my ears was from this gang:

Sluggos singing barbershop harmony
Be sure it’s true when you say “I love you;” it’s a sin to tell a lie…

If you have your own quartet, only lacking a barber pole, a pattern is below, in time to make for any of your Barbershop Quartet Day celebrations. It may be made with stripes in up to four colors. The one above is two white and two red stripes, but it would also be traditional to have two white, one red, and one blue stripe, with the white stripes separating the red and blue. The store has a name your price pdf of this pattern that not only prints more nicely, but also includes a 6-stranded version so you can make cheerful candy sticks, and instructions to use either the 4 or 6 stranded version for a lip balm cozy, pen case, or reading glasses sleeve.

spiral lip balm cozies spiral pen cases

Continue reading Barbershop Quartet Day crochet

Beaded Bobby Pins

The last in the series of beading patterns from my distant past.

combs and bobby pins

For a while I had a haircut that looked good with bobby pins, and I started collecting interesting pins to wear. It didn’t take long to start coming up with my own. For each pin you need an 8-10″ length of 32-gauge wire (less if you are skilled at working with wire; they don’t take nearly that much, it’s just hard to manipulate much less), a bobby pin, and epoxy. Gorilla glue or similar should work in place of epoxy, although be careful not to use much since it expands as it sets.

For the 5-point star: 10 small seed beads.
Make a bend in the wire about 1.5″ in from the end. String a bead onto that bend and take both ends of the wire through a second bead. *String two beads onto the longer end and take the wire back through the first of the two* four times for a total of 5 points (see diagram below left). Twist wire ends together. Wire to bobby pin, trim ends, secure with epoxy.

star beading diagram diamond beading diagram

For the diamond: 4 bugle beads, 1 large rocaille.
String 4 bugles on wire and loop one end back through the farthest 2 bugles to form a closed diamond with the wire ends sticking out at opposite points. Pull taut and pass the wire ends through the rocaille from opposite directions (see diagram above right). Wire to bobby pin, trim ends, and secure with epoxy.

With the bobby pins in the photo are two beaded combs; at times my hair is a good length for those. I didn’t wrap the thread in the same way on each, but on both each bead is secured by two separate stitches.