15 June 2009






It's a SWIFT! Made out of my brother's old K'nex! I have my very own SWIFT, and it was basically FREE! (Can you tell I'm excited?)

I was even more excited when I finished it thinking my idea was original. Since then, with the help of my google-fu, I have come to terms with the fact that I am not, in fact, the first person to come up with this idea. In fact, there are tons of economical DIY swift ideas out there, including one made out of a computer chair base, Legos, Tinker Toys, and more designs using K'nex.

But that's okay. I designed it not even knowing there were other K'nex swifts out there, so it's still an impressive feat of engineering for my 100% Liberal Arts brain. My father (a chemical engineer) was less than impressed, but had great fun watching me sprawled out on my living room floor in a pool of our old K'nex like I was 8 again. I kept testing, then rebuilding, then testing, then redesigning, then cursing a bit, then testing again for about three hours.

In the end I'm pretty happy with the design. Nothing catches anywhere, it runs smoothly, works like a charm. Only teeny problem I ran into is that I have to put a towel or a blanket under the base to give it something to hold to, because our K'nex are old, and most are slightly bent. As a result, the base doesn't sit perfectly flat and will spin along with the actual swift part if it's on a smooth, hard surface. But that's nothing a hand towel won't fix, and it's a flaw in my materials, not the design. I will post a diagram later in the week in case anyone else has some spare K'nex laying around from their kids or from their childhood and wants to make one using my (simple in comparison to others) design.

Other than my swift adventures, I've been relatively busy this past weekend, but all were social outings this time, and not crazy overload outings. I've moved on to the last book that has since been published by Kathy Reichs, Bones to Ashes, after finishing Break No Bones, a book I loved, but that pulled all sorts of weird emotional strings by including one of the most heartbreaking corpse discoveries I've ever read.

I've got a lot of catching up on my slate for this next week. Today, I tackle finishing up the cleaning in my room, and the basement, catching up on paperwork/mail, getting some time in with my French Horn (I agreed to be in a brass quintet with players that are much more experienced than I, so I've got to get practicing), and hopefully dropping a ton of stuff off at the Salvation Army so it's not taking up the entirety of my trunk anymore.

Since I've got a plate full today, I will leave you with our first Musical Monday (aka Music to Knit By) in a while. This is possibly the only Handel piece that I can stand to listen to. In fact, I actually like it, so much so that my brother (a trumpet player) and I are thinking of doing it sometime next winter. It's called Let the Bright Seraphim. This first version is sung by Kathleen Battle with Wynton Marsalis on Trumpet. It is overall a masterful recording, as you simply don't get better than Wynton Marsalis on trumpet, and Kathleen Battle, while she's not my favorite for other styles, has a voice perfectly suited for this kind of baroque music.

Also for your auditory delight, I also include a live recording of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa singing the same piece at Princess Di and Prince Charles' 1981 wedding. This recording has less stress on the duet aspect between the trumpet and the soprano. In fact, I don't even know who is playing the trumpet. But Dame Kiri is just the greatest, so I had to include it anyway. I find her interpretation of the B section ("Let the cherubic hosts...") to be fascinating and delightfully different. Enjoy!



DrChopSuey said...

OMG! That is so freakin' cool! You have inspired me to give it a try. But for real that swift outa K'nex is really cool!

Sara said...

I have no idea what K'Nex are, but the swift looks great! The music is inspiring. Great blog!

adrienne said...

Oh super awesome! If we had any k'nex or lego around, I would definitely try to build a swift. But that's awesome- swifts are so useful. Is it adjustable for different sized skeins?

And very cool - I love music Mondays!

Amanda said...

Clever girl! Wonderful what a creative mind can do. Love Dame Kiri.

Mountain Mama said...

Oooh. That is clever. Especially since you got to play with toys. I love toys.

zcrescendo said...

Hmm, maybe engineering is your true calling. The little kid in me loves the fact that you used toys as tools!

petrina said...

oh wow! I've gotta figure out how to make myself a swift too!!! not having one (and a winder) is a downside of buying yarn in hanks