Tag Archives: craft

usbkeynecklace

Are all female programmers also knitters?

Like many geeks, I’m a big fan of making things or hacking them to suit my needs. A friend recently asked if all female programmers are also knitters, and while I think that’s unlikely (I only learned to knit two weeks ago, and I’ve been a programmer for getting close to two decades), it does make a lot of sense that people who are good at writing code might be drawn to other types of patterns such as the algorithms used to generate knitted and crocheted items. What do you think?

And while I’ve got the maker spirit, here’s two three geeky things I made this week:

16g necklace

This hardly counts as something I made, as all I did was make a little circle of wire to attach this very shiny USB key to a necklace, but the end result is a reasonably cheap and totally functional piece of geeky jewelry. Bonus: the USB key is waterproof, so I don’t have to worry about it getting wet if I get caught in a downpour or sprint all the way to work.

Kindle Fire Case

I’m not usually an early adopter for hardware since it’s so easy to get burned, but I snagged a Kindle Fire before Christmas and haven’t regretted it. What I *do* regret is that cases can be so darned expensive! I learned to knit less than a week before making this, so it’s clearly a project suitable for a beginner. Instructions here for those who like patterns (or just want to know what yarn that is).

Edit: I forgot another geeky thing I made last week on the plane:
Penguin Ball

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’ve crocheted a lot of Angry Birds as an excuse to play games with strangers and friends alike. The round penguin pattern I made as an extension of that for when I was playing “real life Angry Birds” around open source folk, as a reference to the Linux penguin. This is one of a bunch I made for the Pycon sprints, where I gave them out to my fellow GNU Mailman developers. If you want to make your own, it’s a very quick project: I wrote the pattern up here.


So… while all female programmers probably aren’t also knitters, I know there’s a lot of makers of various stripes within the Geek Feminism community. Please tell us about the cool things you’ve been making in the comments below!

Wall of Spam, by freezelight on Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Flying by the seat of my linkspam (29th July, 2011)

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on delicious, freelish.us or pinboard.in or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Linkspam isn’t saying no… (13th June, 2011)

  • Talk on June 15 at Melbourne University: Dr Cathy Foley, 100 years later: has anything changed for women in science?: This talk will look at what is the status of women in science in Australia, report on the Women in Science and Engineering summit held in Parliament House in April this year. I will then reflect on ways to enhance careers for women in science and the need not only for equity but also for improved productivity and innovation by capturing the full human potential in Australia.
  • Why are more women not speaking at technical conferences? Insights from the WiT discussion at CodeStock: Jennifer Marsman discusses the points raised in her panel, with some suggested solutions.
  • The Australian talks about online harassment of (female) journalists, which will sound familiar to many other women online: [Trigger warning: online harassment/bullying] War of the Words

    And therein lies the Catch-22 for women in the cyber-firing line. On the one hand, they believe it is essential to expose the level of abuse and misogyny that has flourished on the largely unregulated new media. On the other, they fear the only effect that would have is to discourage women from participating in public debates.

  • Forever 21 Pulls “I’m Too Pretty To Do Math” Magnet From Online Store: Our submitter writes: OK, it’s not just bad that this was made in the first place. But around the article? Let’s see, You might like: The Top 10 Lies Women Tell Men; 12 Stars Posing Naked With Super Random Props; and the poll of important information: Does Flirting Over Facebook & Twitter Count As Cheating?; Please Just Kill Me NOW.
  • Becky Stern has crafted TV-B-Gone (a universal remote for switching off TVs) into a jacket for subtlety: TV-B-Gone jacket (via BoingBoing).
  • [Trigger warning: very frank anti-rape campaign] Don’t be that guy: a surprisingly refreshing anti-rape campaign targeting men is now making its way to other Canadian cities.

    Typically, sexual assault awareness campaigns target potential victims by urging women to restrict their behavior. Research is telling us that targeting the behavior of victims is not only ineffective, but also contributes to how much they blame themselves after the assault. That’s why our campaign is targeting potential offenders – they are the ones responsible for the assault and responsible for stopping it. By addressing alcohol-facilitated sexual assault without victim-blaming, we intend to mark Edmonton on the map as a model for other cities.

  • Androcentrism: It’s Okay to Be a Boy, but Being a Girl…: androcentrism… a new kind of sexism, one that replaces the favoring of men over women with the favoring of masculinity over femininity.
  • Researcher reveals how “Computer Geeks” replaced “Computer Girls”, an account of a talk by Nathan Ensmenger. (Don’t forget Jennifer Light, when namechecking people to quote on this!)
  • Rebecca Koeser of Emory University, won a prize in the DevCSI challenge at Open Repositories 2011 for her use of Microsoft Pivot as a repository-visualization tool. Here’s a picture of Koeser accepting her prize.
  • Women Atop Their Fields Discuss the Scientific Life: Elena Aprile, Joy Hirsch, Mary-Claire King and Tal Rabin talk about their scientific work and life.
  • How Not To Be An Asshole: A Guide For Men: Chris Clarke re-posts this in ‘honour’ of Tammy Camp’s harassment experience

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on delicious, freelish.us or pinboard.in or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Open thread: hyperbolic crochet

Apparently we’ve never had a hyperbolic crochet thread before. Criminal, I say. Here’s an example:

A close-up of a very multi-coloured crochet item, with many curves folding in on itself
Image description: a close-up of a very multi-coloured crochet item, with many curves folding in on itself. Image credit: Michael Wade, CC BY-SA.

Two of the major things brought widespread awareness to hyperbolic crochet were Margaret Wertheim’s TED talk on the beautiful math of coral and the Hyperbolic Crochet Reef exhibitions. Here’s a picture of one the latter:

hyperbolic crocheted coral reef
Image description: a shot of many crochet items forming a coral reef sculpture. Image credit: Steve Jurvetson.

There’s a book on getting started on your own creations and there’s Flickr groups to admire the work of others: Hyperbolic Crochet and Hyperbolic Crochet Taxonomic Gallery sharing details of the models too!

Note: this is an open thread, and comments can be on any topic as long as they are otherwise ok with our policy. An increasing number of commenters are posting apologies for off-topicness on the open thread. Nothing is off-topic on the open thread! We promise! Hyperbolic crochets are only the start of what you could talk about!

Angry Birds!

As I mentioned in Some reasons I’m looking forwards to PAX East, my friends and I have been making angry birds to play with at PAX East this weekend. I finally took some pictures and hopefully you can indulge me in sharing my glee over my geeky creations:

We’re hopping to play some line games with random strangers and toss some into crowds to see what happens. If you’re looking to spot me or my companions at PAX east, we’ll have a few of these pinned to the outside of our bags, and we’ll be goofing off with them when we’ve got time to spare waiting for concerts and such.

I made my own patterns for these because I wanted smaller simpler ones so I could make plenty of birds before the con, and I’m hoping to write up these easy angry bird patterns to share when I’ve got time to take a few in-progress photos to go with them. But if you’re dying to make your own Angry Birds right now, I highly recommend you check out Itsy Bitsy Spider’s patterns (ravelry link) The red bird pattern is free, and the rest are only a few dollars each.

And if you’re going to be at PAX east and want to be all crafty, apparently there’s a stitch and b*tch going on on Saturday 1:30-3pm in the handheld lounge. How fun is that?

And before I finish this post… here’s more pictures of my angry birds! That’s not even all of them, just the ones that happen to be in my house right now. I can’t wait to see what it looks like when we have them all together.

Wednesday Geek Woman: Mary Delany, amateur of science and gifted craftswoman

Wednesday Geek Woman submissions are open for one more day after this post appears.

Portrait of Mary Delany (née Granville) by John Opie

Portrait of Mary Delany (née Granville) by John Opie, National Portrait Gallery, London

Lesley Hall recently published an essay on the missing narratives of women in science in L Timmel Duchamp (ed), Narrative Power: Encounters, Celebrations, Struggles, Aqueduct Press, 2010

Mary Delany (née Greville, previous married name Pendarves) (1700–1788), amateur of science and gifted craftswoman.

Mary Greville was born to a well-connected aristocratic family and had the benefits of an excellent education, although her particular branch of the family was not well-off, leading to her first, very unhappy, marriage to a much older man. During the course of her long life, she engaged in various forms of craftwork, including embroidery and making shell designs, and what she is perhaps most famous for, a series of flower collages in paper. While these, and her embroideries reveal the skill of her hands and the quality of her taste, they also demonstrate accurate botanical details of the flowers she depicted.

Along with her close friend, the Duchess of Portland, Delany was part of an extensive circle of individuals with an informed interest in the eighteenth century development of the study of nature in its numerous forms, and who were introducing the new Linnaean system of classification. Her collages were praised by such authorities as Sir Joseph Banks. Art, science and craft were intricately associated in her life and her productions.

A splendid piece about Delany and the need to take a less condescending view of women’s craftwork in the past by historian of C18th domestic life, Amanda Vickery
Some examples of Delany’s collages, embroidery and drawings
Molly’s Flora Delanica {A Tribute to Mrs. Delany} : video, including reconstruction of Delany’s collage methods.

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Some reasons I’m looking forwards to PAX East

A few Penny Arcade fans with little grasp of basic human decency and even less grasp of basic grammar and spelling have really been making for an unpleasant week. The last linkspam has related links if you’re curious. It’s not pretty.

BUT… I actually have tickets for PAX East. I decided to go long before this whole debacle because I’ve enjoyed PAX prime in the past, and a friend of mine has had an incredibly rough year so a bunch of us planned the trip partially as a present to her. She’s much more important to me than a bunch of jerks are, so backing out is not an option for me.

Rather than let the actions of a few people ruin something I enjoy, I’m going to step away from that part of things and talk about why I’m still excited about the trip.

  1. Jane McGonigal is a keynote speaker! She’s done some amazing work on gaming and how it can be used to make more real-world impact, and when I was still teaching game design, I’d often talk about her work with my students. She’s an awesome female game designer and an inspiring speaker. I’ve watched her TED talk, and I’m totally stoked about seeing her keynote.
  2. Angry Birds! My friend and I have been crocheting angry birds and greedy pigs from the game Angry Birds to use for playing line games with strangers. We’ll set up some structures with the pigs and offer up birds to knock them over. Or maybe we’ll just make angry bird noises and toss them into crowd to see what happens (we’re hoping to have a bunch to give away!) Line games are a real feature at PAX, since you do spend a lot of time waiting in line, and in previous years my group has had a ball meeting strangers next to us in line and playing DS games or just chatting. Honestly, I’m not usually a fan of waiting, but it makes a break from the noisier show floor and a great excuse to meet people who are at least interested in the same panel.
  3. Okay, I’m not done with the Angry Birds thing yet. Check out this partially finished amigurumi cutie I made while hashing out a pattern for smaller birds!

    Not so angry bird amigurumi

    Not so angry bird amigurumi
    by Terriko.

    He’s too little to be angry!

    Actually, I’ve been having way too much fun making geeky amigurumi lately. Check out kirby’s epic yarn yawn and the lemmings I made for my mother (who is totally a hardcore gamer when it comes to Lemmings.) And I even mailed a friend a bob-omb. (“Can I have your new address?” “Are you going to send me a bomb?”) I tend to wing it a lot when making things, but Nerdigurumi is a great place to start if you want geeky patterns.

  4. Awesome friends! I’ve got a nicely-sized gang of friends going, so if I’m feeling shy I don’t have to talk to anyone I don’t know. I’m particularly looking forwards to vacationing with this year’s party, and I expect those of us travelling together will have a total blast in transit too.
  5. Concerts! With geeky music! I love live music, but often shows are marred by drunken morons. However, on top of not allowing booth babes, PAX also has all-ages evening shows all ages so there’s no booze. Yeay for feeling safer and not having to deal with drunks who bash into me! Plus thanks to the popularity of music games, you can’t beat a gamer crowd for ability to clap in time and sing in tune. (It totally freaked me out the first time I heard everyone *actually* clapping in unison.) And I’m still amused by the Nintendo DSes being used in place of lighters/cell phones:

    Rock show DS

    Rock show DS
    by Terriko.

  6. New games! I love getting to try new demos and poke around games I maybe wouldn’t have tried except that there happened to be a controller free. I often wind up with some beta keys to share, too, so I can do things like check out the big lego massively multiplayer game in my own time and even with friends. And it’s not just computer and console games: I love walking into the board game rooms and immediately having someone flag us down to try something out. “You’ve got to try this game! It’s called ‘We didn’t playtest this at all!’” (turns out it’s a fun, quick, if exceptionally silly card game!)
  7. Swag! I got a dozen T-shirts at PAX prime in 2010, and some of them even fit me beautifully! Other favourites include posters, fun buttons, cute plushies and even an amazing artbook from the Guild Wars 2 team. Last time I brought back a paper zombie cone (from Plants Vs Zombies) to give to a young girl who I know loved the game.
    safety cones plus zombie safety cones

    safety cones plus zombie safety cones
    by Solarbird.
  8. Costumes and gamer geek wear! We probably aren’t going to have any big costumes ourselves this year, but it’s a great excuse to wear goofy hats, and I love seeing what other people have done. Check out the koopa backpack I made for last time:

    Incomplete winged koopa backpack

    Incomplete winged koopa backpack
    by Terriko.

    It’s neat to see people showing the world what games they enjoy.

So there’s a few reasons and I’m feeling better already. Anyone got any upcoming events you’re excited about? Anyone planning to go to the first GirlGeekCon in the fall which promises to be a potential alternative for women who (understandably) might prefer to give PAX a miss? Anyone been making neat amigurumi or other geeky toys and want to share? Let me know.

NOTE: I’m really serious about wanting this post to be about fun stuff: a unicorn chaser to this week for me. So please, you want to be negative, try another post. The latest linkspam may be an appropriate place for such things. They will not be published on this post.

Linkspamming from the mountaintops (29th November, 2010)

  • A Very Special Episode of Grey Areas: Privilege Denying Dude Edition: In social justice, not all tactics that are divisive are effective, but all tactics that are effective are divisive. That doesn’t mean we should set our phasers to divide, but when a tactic is labeled as divisive or radical, there is a chance it might be one worth considering.
  • HTML pseudocode cross-stitch for geek feminist gift-giving.
  • 15-minute writing exercise closes the gender gap in university-level physics: Think about the things that are important to you. Perhaps you care about creativity, family relationships, your career, or having a sense of humour. Pick two or three of these values and write a few sentences about why they are important to you… This simple writing exercise may not seem like anything ground-breaking, but its effects speak for themselves.
  • Disalienation: Why Gender is a Text Field on Diaspora: Sarah Mei writes The “gender” field in a person’s profile was originally a dropdown menu, with three choices: blank, male, and female. My change made it an optional text field that was blank to start. A wide open frontier! Enter anything you want.
  • Grandma’s Superhero Therapy (18 photos) – My Modern Metropolis: GO SUPER MAMIKA!!!!! A few years ago, French photographer Sacha Goldberger found his 91-year-old Hungarian grandmother Frederika feeling lonely and depressed. To cheer her up, he suggested that they shoot a series of outrageous photographs in unusual costumes, poses, and locations.
  • New-ish site you might want to check out: Ars Marginal: So much of the arts and entertainment we get exposed to is by and for straight White guys*. We figured it’s time for us to talk about what we get out of it. Because, frankly, we’re tired of that shit. Ars Marginal flips the script and looks at movies, TV shows, comic books, and games from our point of view.
  • Context. Or, no you don’t get to apply your Internet niche knowledge to me doing my job. :>: yes, using a swastika in your gaming profile is going to get you banned, internet contrarian.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the geekfeminism tag on delicious or the #geekfeminism tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

geekiness and the reimaging of craft

I’ve recently gotten back in to cross stitching, after a twelve year break. The first thing I tried was this Firefox pattern from Radical Cross-stitch. It was not too difficult, and a good nerdy way to start.

firefox cross stitch

I have high aspirations, though. I’m really interested in gaming type cross stitches; in particular I love this cross stitch Zelda map.

My latest project is a stitching of the Melbourne tram map. I’m stitching it without a pattern, and hoping for the best, really. You may remember the London tube cross stitch. It’ll be like that, only more yellow.

There’s been a resurgence, or a growth I guess, of ‘radical’ or reinterpreted craft. No flowers and doggies and quotes from the bible, it’s all breasts and vulvas and expletives undeleted. This reimaging of craft as a feminist radical endeavour is fun and interesting, and lots of crafters talk about empowerment, but the majority of this radical craft is Western-based (I don’t have stats or references for this claim, just from what I see as I cruise around the crafting blogs, but if you’ve found a stash of non-Western-based craft blogs then hand them over), very knitting and cross-stitch focussed, and incredibly time consuming. It seems almost class-based, which I suppose is inevitable – it took me a month to do that Firefox, who has time for that, you know? So there are lots of questions for me about the feminist empowerment of this craft movement, and the appropriateness of talking about it in these terms.

I am new to the world of radical crafting, though, and am very interested to hear the thoughts of others in this area.

No power in the ‘verse can stop this linkspam

If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, or if you’re a delicious user, tag them “geekfeminism” to bring them to our attention. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links in comments and on delicious.