All posts by BookCatat938

USS Constitution – Hull part 2

The starboard side of the hull is being completed above the wales, to about the point it might have looked at launch.  No masts or spars, save the bowsprit, and not much equipment.  Other than pumps, of course.

The port side is left unfinished.  Framed but not fully planked.  The plan is to have this side surrounded by scaffolding with many shipyard carpenters working on planking and final finish work.

This idea has a few glitches as it is necessary to complete some things in different order than might have been done for the real ship.  The transom, for example, is completely finished, carved and gilded in the model, as it just was easier to do the entire thing rather than just half.  In another case, since I wanted to show the framing of the spar deck, I had to install the supporting clamp on both sides even though the ceiling had been installed only on the starboard side, and would, I think, have been completed before the clamp installed.  Or maybe not.  Also, I will build the diagonal hanging knees on the starboard side only but put the lodging knees and half timbers on both sides, since the hanging knees would be after the ceiling.  Since the intent of the project is a diorama to show the various tasks and skills that made up an old shipyard as well as to show how different the Constitution looked originally from how she appears today, I decided that strict attention to details of the how and when of the order of assembly of a ship was of secondary concern.  And any errors will give the observant perfectionist plenty to see and comment upon.

Here’s a shot of the portside quarter gallery framing.  When the hull is on the base and the shipyard diorama started, the plan is to have this part surrounded by scaffolding with carpenters at work completing the framing and planking of the gallery.

 

 

This is the starboard gallery completed and painted.  Once I am further along with the building, I will paint the planking on this side also.  Probably it will be black with a white strip along one of more of the trim strips.  According to some accounts, Constitution originally wore a yellow ochre “Nelson checker” stripe between the open gun ports.  Not sure about that, yet.

Trailboards also carved, painted and gilded.  The decoration will later be extended back slightly toward the hawse holes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rudder box.  Note the ceiling and the clamp on the starboard side.

 

 

Starting the spar deck framing.  Riding bits added to the gun deck.  I will not model the stove/galley as I would not think that would be installed at launch, but after.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another shot of the gun deck planking.  You can see the ceiling on the starboard side, and also the first of the diagonal hanging knees supporting every other deck beam, straddling the gun ports on the gun deck.  The openings in the spar deck railing for the guns on that deck are directly over the beam between these braced beams, between the gun ports of the main battery.

You can see the notches in the beams to receive the carlins.  The notches are cut with a blade and filed to final shape with a square file.  The ends of the carlins are cut to fit between the beams with “ears” extending from the upper end to fit in the triangular notch.

 

 

This is a shot of the deck beams/carlings being installed, working from stem to stern.  There are lodging knees and hanging knees also being placed.  To the right of the model is a copy of a blue print from the national archives dated 1926, which gives the layout of the beams and knees for the spar deck and gun deck.  The drawing was a presentation to some dignitary around the time of the restoration of 1927, and it is not clear whether it shows the beaming as found or as reconstructed.  But either way, it is a very different layout from that shown elsewhere, as in the Marquardt book “Anatomy of the Ship”.  The location of the main beams, the pattern of bracing with carlings, lodging knees, and hanging knees differs in the two sources, so I am making a best guess as to what the original might have looked like.  One additional difference is the number of full sized beams crossing the hull in the opening in the waist of the ship.  In the 1927 version, there are only two beams fully crossing the hull out of a total of eight.  In the Marquardt version, a conjectural reconstruction of what might have been in 1812, there are nine beams, all of which cross the hull, one of which has a removable portion to allow access to the main hatch.  I compromised on 7 beams crossing the hull out of a total of nine, the two beams left out being over the fore and main hatches.  In addition, I made the center carling over each hatch “removable”, a feature shown on the Marquardt reconstruction.  I figure my guess is as good as any other.

Here are some shots of the hanging knees in process and in place.  The blanks are cut on the band saw, then sanded to rough shape, and final fitted with a square file to make the notch fitting over the clamp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USS Constitution – 1797

The plan I used to construct the hull was obtained from the National Archives, and is the “Doughty copy” of the original 1795 draft plan, probably reflecting the Joshua Humphrey design most closely, as William Doughty was his yard clerk and draftsman at the time.  This plan probably was the plan used to construct all three of the three heavy (44 gun) frigates, of the total of six frigates authorized by congress in 1794.  Although this plan survives, the frigates were built at different shipyards, and plans at that time may have been more guidelines than prescriptions.  However, it probably pretty closely reflects Humphrey/ Fox/ Doughty design and intentions.  It really is a revolutionary hull, as shown in the lines.  Further, the construction is massive.  Ribs are on average 22 inches wide with about 2 inches space between them.  They are 12 to 18 inches thick, and with 4 inches of timber inside and out, the ship had walls of about 24 inches of timber.  There were also other innovations in timbering as well as the shape of the hull.  The model shows the rather extreme “make and space” of the original, and makes a good contrast to other vessels of the era, such as 12 pounder frigates like Raleigh and Essex.

Here is a shot of the hull on the work bench.  The smaller hull on the right is the Benjamin Latham, a mackerel seiner in the same scale.   Another work in progress, the Latham is planned for use in a diorama of the boat at work catching fish.

In this photo also, there is a small bag on the left containing some previously done sub assembly work.  I had fabricated a transom for the model a couple of years ago, using various sources of conjectural reconstruction of what the original transom might have looked like.  I chose one from the Marquart “Anatomy of the Ship” series based on contemporary descriptions and a painting by Corne.  Since the Doughty draft showed very decorative quarter galleries, this conjectural reconstruction seemed consistent with that draft.  More on the stern and quarter galleries later.

The first steps included finish sanding of the inside of the ribs on one side for the ceiling planking.  Once the ceiling was done, the next step was installing the clamp to hold the deck beams for the spar deck.

The clamps are being glued in place.  Using lots of clamps.

 

 

 

The clamps are in place, and now details are added to the gun deck.  Hatch coamings, riding bitts, and bowsprit are being installed.

 

Next steps are to add the cap rail, then the cathead, and then start on the head details.

 

A shot of the head rails under construction.  The trailboard is installed, but the hawse holes not yet drilled.  The figure head will be discussed and modeled later.

Then to the stern.  Here is a shot of the transom installed.  It is carved into boxwood, then the windows fabricated and installed and the assembly installed on transom framing to give a nice curve.

I chose to gild the decorative carving on the transom.  It is not known what the original looked like, but the elaborate decorations described in contemporary accounts, and knowledge of practices of the time, suggest this is an appropriate way to proceed.

Quarter galleries are the next step.  The starboard side is the finished side, and will be completed first.  The port side will be framed only as described later.

The decorative portions of the quarter gallery are carved from boxwood.

 

The upper portion of the quarter gallery with gilded decoration.

 

 

 

Sock Yarn Sweaters Part 2 – adapting the circle

The basic circle as worked in the shawls, out to 128 stitches, then divided into four groups of 32.  Each of these is worked as decreasing short rows to make a square, and then knit around, doubling to a total of 256 stitches.

Then, one side is picked as top, and the opposite as bottom, and 64 stitches of each are worked back and forth to make a rectangle for the back.

For the front, when dividing the work to make the four corners to shape the square, split one group of 32 into two parts and work the piece back and forth when doing the short rows to make the V-neck opening, decreasing along the neck edge every few rows to get the shape you want.  Or you could work the front the same as the back for a crew neck.  Either way, you will need to add a couple of inches of knitting at top and bottom to make the rectangular shape.

For sleeves, knit a circle out to about 12″ diameter, 128 stitches.  Divide the work onto two needles, and work one half (64 stitches) in pattern of choice, first using two groups of short rows to “square off” the edge, then begin knitting across all 64 stitches in pattern,  decreasing one stitch each edge every 5 or 6 rows until 46 stitches remain.  Then work even until sleeve is desired length to underarms.

Sleeve in progress.   The short rows are complete and the straight pattern starting.  You can see how the short rows have created the triangle shaped insert which changes the angle of the work and fills in between the circle and the straight pattern of the sleeve. Knit to desired length in pattern and switch to plain stockinette stitch for a turn back cuff.

When assembling the sweater, sew the front and back side seams, leaving about 9 inches sleeve opening.  Then sew shoulder seams, and ease the sleeve cap into the opening and sewing the sleeve seams last.

Here is the sweater on the blocking mats:

As you can see, it is a rather unusual sweater.  Fun to make and fun to wear.  The pattern makes it quite “stretchy”, so it likely is a one-size-fits-nearly-all pattern.

 

Lagniappe:

And here is another quickie.  Cast on 100 stitches using a multi-colored sock yarn, knit a few inches in pattern of choice, then double to 200 stitches, knit a couple more inches, double again to 400 stitches.  Change to a solid color yarn.  I used Paton sock yarn in “linen” color and knit an inch or so.  Divide the work into three parts:  100 stitches for each sleeve, and 200 stitches for the body, placing each part onto a circular needle.  Knit the body even in the round until desired length from underarms, switch to a twisted knit 2 x 2 ribbing and knit a couple of inches of ribbing.

Knit the arms in the round, placing a marker at the inner edge.  Knit in stockinette, decreasing one stitch at both ends of every 5th round ten times until 80 stitches remain, then decrease two stitches every 4th round fifteen times until 50 stitches remain.  When sleeve is desired length, decrease 6 stitches evenly spaced (44 stitches) and change to twisted knit 2 x 2 ribbing for 2 inches.

To complete the neck, using main solid color (linen) pick up 100 stitches around the top of the piece.  Work in stockinette stitch, decreasing 2 stitches at each side every second round.  After about 2 inches of stockinette, change to twisted knit 2 x 2 ribbing and knit 2 inches of ribbing, continuing the decreases at each side every row.  When neck is desired diameter, bind off loosely.

Using the “stars and stripes” multi colored yarn and the “linen” for the body color, the sweater looks like this:

I think of this as a sort of “mock-fair-isle” sweater.  But easier.  This makes a medium size and can be easily scaled up or down by adding or subtracting stitches in multiples of 10.

Sock Yarn Sweaters part 1 – dragons

Front view of sweater.

Multiple smaller dragons flying up to re-ignite the sun.  Dragons knit from orange-red yarn for wings, and green yarn for body.  Background in the sock yarn from Paton.

Back view.  The eclipsed sun is on the left shoulder.

 

 

 

 

Some photos of the sweater in progress:

The basic sweater was worked in the round, using “Singing the Blues” sock yarn.  Each small dragon was knit up in three pieces, two wings, and the body, joined together, then worked into the body of the sweater.  In this photo, I have the work in progress laid out on the blocking mats deciding where to place the additional dragon, and where to fill in with short rows

In this shot, I have started to connect the dragon to the main body of the sweater using short rows, and have filled in around the left hand wing of the larger dragon.

In essence, the piece is worked in this fashion, doing the front and back separately and leaving openings for the sleeves and the neck.  There are 5 dragons and the eclipsed sun in the final sweater.

 

Sock Yarn Shawls – Part 8 – dragon

This shawl uses short rows to make an image and is then filled in using more short rows and circles.

The inspiration for the design was the solar eclipse of this summer.  The story is that when the eclipse happened, dragons flew aloft and breathed their fire to re-ignite the dark sun.

It must have worked.

 

 

 

Here are some details of the pattern.  After the knitting was done, I embellished it with some crocheted and stitched work, using metallic threads for fire and eyes.

Here are some details of embellishments:

This shows the metallic yarns used for the dragon’s eye, mouth, and fire breath.

 

 

 

These show the crocheted edge along wings and body to accentuate the sculptural look of the dragon.  Also, legs were added by crochet.

 

Sock Yarn Shawls – Part 7 – falcon

This piece is knitted from the center of the somewhat abstract bird like figure, done in a golden sock yarn, which shades gradually to an orange color.  I took advantage of the color changes to make the  body of the animal in one color and the wings in a different shade.

Once the animal motif was completed, the ground was filled in using a dark charcoal sock yarn.  Lots of short rows and circles, of course.

 

Here are some detail photos of the shawl to show the  construction.

This shows the center of the body of the animal.  This was created by casting on maybe 20 stitches, then knitting into the back of the cast on stitches and then around to create a circular knit, which was a distorted circle.  Then short rows to make a more ovoid shape.  Then more short rows for base of wings, and so forth.

 

Here you can see more of the construction of the “bird” as well as the use of small circles and short rows in the background.  You can also see how the color gradation of the yarn was used, and the use of the pattern repeats in the short rows to create feather like patterns in the wings.

 

This is a photo of the finished shawl on the blocking mats.

 

 

 

 

Vesuvius – Superstructure and details

Back home in time for hurricane season and back at the bench.

Continuing to construct the main cabin, conning tower, skylights, vents and guns.  For the most part, using cardstock and balsa to keep the weight topside to minimum.

 

Companionways, skylights, etc.  The hull has been painted with flat white spray paint.  The propeller shafts are left masked off to be ready to apply the red bottom paint later.

Details forward.  The capstan is carved from maple.  The scuttles for the chain storage locker are made from flared copper tubing, as are the hawses.  I will add the brass portholes later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bit farther along.  Ventilators are carved from maple.  Portholes are brass eyelets (3/16″) from Tandy Leather, filled with clear epoxy then epoxied into the hull.  I left the brass unpainted as it looked pretty, although the original would have been painted steel.

Superstructure mostly painted a buff (tan) color, with some details in black.  (stack, guns)

Hull after painting the bottom red.  I used a gloss red spray paint.  Probably not entirely authentic, but pretty.

 

 

 

 

 

Nearing completion.  The deck furniture and fitting are in place, and the foremast is rigged.   This bow – on shot shows the blunted bow I used on the model.  The actual boat had a very sharp bow, but I did not model it that way, as I thought it would be too fragile if there would be a collision.  As with a dock or something similar.

 

Finished model.  Anchors are carved from ebony.  Because the deck is removable, the anchor chain is made from a cheap necklace from Michael’s and the necklace fastener used to connect to the anchor as the anchor is fastened to the removable deck, and the chain to the hawse of the hull.  Guns made up from sections of aluminum and brass tubing.

 

Another shot of the bow to show some detail.

The stanchions were made up from 22 gauge brass wire, then threaded with 20 gauge wire to make railings.

Main battery guns with boom cradle and foremast.  Chocks and bits made up from maple.

 

 

 

Rest of foredeck with companionway, conning tower, and the 2 pounder guns.  I modeled them after Hotchkiss guns of the period, although it is not known what exactly the guns used on the Vesuvius might have been.  Barrels carved from maple and trimmed out with brass wire, brass flat stock.  Base made up from cardstock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forward part of the main cabin.  Wheel made up from turned boxwood ring and brass wire.  Wheel base, engine room telegraphs, and binnacle carved from maple.  Life boats carved from pine, then covered with “canvas” made from tea bag tissue and painted.  The coal scuttle access ports are painted buff.  Probably not as on original, but they show nicely when painted this way.

After portion of the main cabin showing the carved ventilators and lifeboats and rigging of the life boat davits.  The small launch can be seen on portside aft of the cabin.

This is the third 2-pounder gun on the stern.  This probably reflects the original armament of the vessel, and was later augmented with additional 2 pounder guns.

 

 

Stern view with props in place.  Ready to go.

 

 

 

 

 

Another view of props and rudder.

 

 

 

 

The model atop my desk, with pictures of the original vessel behind it.  Awaiting spring weather for final sea trials.  I did do a bath-tub test to verify waterline and check radio control functions, but will await warmer weather to try the bayou.

Best regards.

 

 

Sock Yarn Shawls – Part 6 – free form, fireworks

After finishing the “starry night” shawl, I decided to explore the techniques used in it  a bit more, but incorporating more colorful yarn for the circles, inspired by aerial fireworks of Independence Day celebrations.

And in addition, it gave me a way to use up some left over yarn from other shawls.

Here is the first fireworks shawl:

The background/main color yarn used for this shawl was the Paton sock yarn “Singing the Blues” used for the starry night shawl.  The eight circles were worked up using colorful yarn left from other shawls, specifically the triangular and square shawls discussed earlier.  I selected the color to start each circle according to what I wanted to emphasize and discarded some yarn if the color was not what I wanted.

Here is the shawl laid out so you can see the pattern:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once again, as I worked on the piece, I would lay it out on blocking mats to see how the shape was coming and decide where to “grow” it next:

 

 

Also in this piece, I first tried joining two circles by using the “three needle bind off” method.

Here is a snap of that method of connecting a new circle.  Basically, the two needles, one from each circle, are held together, pointing in the same direction, and a third needle used to knit together one stitch from each needle.  The first stitch is then held on the third needle, the next two stitches knit together, and the first stitch slipped over the second as if binding off.

 

 

The number of stitches to “bind off” when using this method to connect circles will vary depending on the size of the circles and whether or not you need to keep them strictly circular.  Sometimes I use short rows to add little triangular ears to a circle to be joined to the work so that I can use the bind off method for a longer area of connection

When using the bind off connection, you can use both the yarn from the main piece and the yarn from the added circle to do the bind off, or you can use one or the other as a single strand, and use the other yarn later when you knit around and incorporate it as you like.  Sometimes this decision is influenced by the colors of the respective yarns, if different.

This is a second fireworks shawl:

 

This shawl was worked similarly to the first fireworks piece, but in many of the circles, the yarn was switched/changed to make the individual circles more colorful and also to have the same colors appearing in several circles.

Again, I found it very helpful to periodically pin the piece out on blocking mats to evaluate shape and color balance and decide where to add additional circles.  In this photo, you can see there are already seven circles of very different size, and also that I have used the bind off join method more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring where to add which circle next.  I will start several circles and decide on placement based on which look best as well as where the shawl needs to grow next to have desired shape.

Here two circles have been added but added together.  The two were first joined and then expanded, as I wanted one to “overlap” the other.  Once large enough and with a somewhat flat side, the two were connected to the main work with a bind off.

This shows a circle being joined to the main work with short rows.  The short rows have been worked in the lower part of the picture, below the joining point, and I am about to work back around the smaller circle to work short rows in the space above the joining point.

Here is yet another variation, worked in one multi-colored sock yarn, using multiple circles.

 

Next projects include more works using multiple circles and free form designs using short rows.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sock Yarn Shawls – Part 5 – free form – starry night

After I had done a couple of circular shawls, I was interested to see how the basic circles could be modified into other shapes, as discussed earlier, but I also thought to combine the circles together using short rows.

The inspiration for the first project was the pattern of concentric circles in gray and blue produced using the Paton sock yarn in the “Singing the Blues” color.  This yarn has shades of blue ranging from a dark navy, to an intense cobalt blue, to lighter blue and gray.  These reminded me of the colors used in some of van Gogh’s paintings, and I decided to try to make a shawl with many circular and spiral “stars” with a background of clouds and night time sky.

I began with a basic circle worked out to about 8 to 10 inches in diameter, then made a similar but smaller circle.  I hooked the two together by working short rows in the space between where the circles touched.  Basically, I knit around one circle’s edge, then simply knit around the second smaller circle edge back to where the next stitches of the first circle could be knit.  At this second join, I knit 3 or 4 stitches, turned (wrap and turn) and purled back about 6 to 8 stitches, turned, and knit back.  On this knit row, I decreased two stitches by knitting two together along the rim of each circle, then knit to one stitch past the first turn, turned and purled back.  I worked short rows for about 1 to 2 inches in this fashion, decreasing 2 stitches in each knit row about 4 to 6 times, then decreasing only one stitch in the knit rows, judging by eye when the curves of the two circles looked best.  Once out several inches, I purled back around the smaller circle to the joining point and repeated the process.  If the yarn in the initial knit stitches at the first join has stretched or pulled out to make an oversize loop, I frequently make up a stitch or two by knitting or purling down a row to tighten up the join.  There is not an exact way to make this sort of join and you should expect to improvise as needed to keep the circles somewhat circular and the short rows lying flat.  Also, as I work the short rows, I will begin to add some yarn-over-knit-two-together “holes” in the area of the joining to break up the otherwise solid patch of stockinette stitch and also the increase the flexibility and stretchiness of this area, which will greatly facilitate blocking.

Here are some photos of this first project:

This is the work in process.  I found it very helpful to periodically pin it out on the blocking mats to monitor how the shape was coming and decide where to add the next circle(s).

This is the completed shawl on the blocking mats.

The two circles more or less in the center were the first to be constructed and hooked together.  Then some short rows filled in around them before more circles were added to the growing edge of the piece.  There are six circles in this part.  Then the two larger circles were worked up and connected to the edge of the piece.  Once all the circles were attached and the spaces between filled with short rows, the perimeter was knit around for a couple of inches, letting the color changes of the yarn make the pattern.  Then, the final several inches was worked around using short rows to make larger patches of the colors of the yarn.  To do this, I just work along on a row and when the yarn color changes, I work a bit farther, then turn and work back to or just before or after the color change, then turn again.  By working back and forth in this fashion, you can make interesting blocks of color of varying shape.  As with most of the shawls, this piece was finished with a final doubling of the number of stitches (yarn over-knit one), a knit row, and binding off.

 

 

 

 

 

These are some detail snaps of the piece showing the short rows worked around and between the circles of various size.

And this is the finished shawl:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sock Yarn Shawls – Part 4 – squares and more

So by now, you should have the concept that you can use short rows to modify the shape of the basic circular shawl into anything you might like.

Here are some examples of shaping variations.

A square shawl on the blocking board.  The yarn is from Lane Cervinia (Italy) “Forever” 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, color “Partite Pertie”.  The yarn comes in 50 gram balls (210 m) and I used just under three balls to make this 48″ square shawl.

Note that there are multiple uses of short rows in this piece. The initial short rows, in the center, were done after only 128 stitches of the basic circle.  Then the piece was worked out for several inches before again dividing the work into four parts and working short rows over the larger number of stitches, incorporating the lace pattern into these short rows.

Because short rows worked over a decreasing number of stitches produce something more leaf-shaped than strictly triangular, in this piece I also worked some short rows in the area between the large short row sections to straighten the edge of t he piece before finishing off with simple border in the lace pattern, and the usual ruffled finish.

A detail shot of the central motif of the piece, showing the initial short rows and the start of the second set of larger short rows.

The finished shawl:

This is a good time to talk briefly about another design feature of these shawls.  The circular pattern relies on stitch increases which double the number of stitches in a single row.  You can make stitch increases, for example, by knitting into the front and then the back of each existing stitch.  This would make a rather dense looking pattern, so I almost always make my increases by doing the yarn-over-knit-one method described in the basic pattern.  Since I am looking for a very open looking, lacey pattern look to the shawls, I use the increases as part of the open-ness.  But you may like to play around a bit as you experiment with modifying these patterns.

 

This is, admittedly, a circular shawl (48″), but I show it because the central motif is actually triangular/hexagonal in shape, before returning to the basic circular shape, with spiral.

It was worked pretty much the same as the triangular pieces described above, and then additional short rows worked over the center of the joins of the first triangles.  The thought was to make a six-sided floral looking central portion of a circular scarf.

Once the six points were worked, they were surrounded by knitted rows with short rows filling in between the points to resume a circular pattern.

Yarn is Cascade Yarns, “Heritage Wave”, which is 75% superwash wool, 25% Nylon.  It is a tightly spun 4-ply yarn (on ply is the nylon) and a joy to work with.  It comes in 100 g hanks (437 yds/400m) and one hank did the shawl shown.

Here is the finished product:

Next we will start to have some real fun with the techniques discussed so far.