Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Another spoonflower print

I am preparing another pattern for spoonflower, though I think the dimensions are a bit troublesome with their software. I am unhappy that there are white lines showing up when it tiles.

Here's one tile:

Here it is tiling correctly in the gimp:

But it doesn't look right here. See around 2 inches down, there's a tiny gap? I'll have to rework it tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

If you could be anything

Today's suggestion is "If you could do or be anything in the world, what would you be?"

The answer is really the reason I started this blog -- I dream of being a textile designer. Though I've chosen a more practical (and still very satisfying) career in computer science, I like that I can be creative in my free time.  There's an online printing service called Spoonflower that actually will print my designs on fabric, wallpaper, or giftwrap. All I have to do is make the images tile, and choose from their printable colors. I ordered fabric swatches and their handy color guide to get started:

Tonight I transformed the water pattern into a Spoonflower-ready pattern. I picked blue 00FFD4.

I have to proof my patterns before they are available for purchase. I plan to add the rest of the Elements collection in the coming week.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Square-based fractal pattern

sierpinski fractal math pattern infinite repeat

A fractal is a pattern with repeated self-similarity. For this pattern, I cut a square into four smaller squares. I  repeated this step in the upper and right three of the squares (see the guide on the left). I repeated this until my pen lines were too thick to go any farther, but a real fractal could repeat infinitely.  It has a lacy effect, and actually looks like the famous fractal known as the Sierpinski Triangle (gahh it's everywhere).
sirpinski triangle

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Henna Patterns

Last night I did henna with a friend. Here's my recipe, adapted from The Henna Page.

Always use body art quality henna from a trusted source. I recommend the following suppliers:
FYI: Never buy anything labeled as "black henna." There is no such thing in nature -- Products labeled black henna contain a nasty hair dye that gives bad rashes. See the warnings here.

The simplest henna mixes just combine lemon juice and henna powder. I prefer a more complex mix.

The night before, I simmered some black tea, cardamom, cloves, lime peels, sugar, and fenugreek for 30 minutes.

Next I mixed in key lime juice and let the mixture cool.

After the mixture was room temp, I mixed in 200 g Jamila henna and a few tablespoons of honey, adding enough liquid to make a thick paste. I covered it with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight. Here's what it looked like the next morning. You can see the top layer is dark because the dye release has begun.

Now that we've let it sit overnight, it's time for terps. If you want a darker stain, you can use essential oils that contain terpenes to help the dye release. For more info on terps, read here. For this mix I used a cajeput oil blend purchased from the Henna Caravan. I added 42 drops because I like that number.

Let the mixture sit another 8 hours or so, and it's ready to apply. I rolled cones out of mylar and filled them with henna, sealing the end with a rubber band. For other application techniques, you can read here.

Here's the henna applied when still wet:

 We taped up our designs to avoid staining the house:

Here's the finished result, before oxidation:

Sunday, May 19, 2013


I'm expanding from last night's drawing and am going to do more elements. Today's is fire.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Spreadsheet Spectrum

I made today's post with Google Spreadsheets.

spreadsheet formula color 365patterns

Here is the original. I used formulas to generate the series of numbers, and then used conditional formatting to do coloration.

My spreadsheet has a formula. This is the first row.


... etc.

this generates a pattern.

The repeating unit is 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

Design patterns

My blog has been derailed the past week. I've been studying for a job interview, and am happy to announce I got the job! I will be a software engineer at boundary starting in june. Patterns are everywhere!

Friday, May 10, 2013


One of the first programming languages I learned was Logo in 6th grade. I liked drawing fun shapes by just playing around. I found a Logo interpreter online here and made the following image:

to randomcolor setcolor pick [ red orange yellow green blue violet ] end

repeat 30 [
  rt 33
  repeat 10 [
    randomcolor pu rt 40 fd 2000 pd
    repeat 37 [fd 100 rt 170]

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Planar graphs

Today I'm thinking about math.

Specifically the pretty math of vertices and edges lying flat in the plane such that edges do not overlap.

Here's some math zen for you:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Dazzle camouflage

Today's inspiration is camouflage, but instead of the usual blend-into-the-surroundings camo, I was inspired by a different type of camouflage. I've been listening to this podcast on design called 99% Invisible, and yesterday I learned how ships during WWI would be decorated with crazy patterns so that enemy submarines had trouble shooting them. You can listen to the podcast and see pictures of these ships here. I made my own version of dazzle camouflage: