Posts Tagged ‘kelvin’

Kelvin ticked away happily last night (and him ticking off the degrees, all 1425 of them, up and down the scale is definitely one of my favorite all’s-well-with-the-world noises), and I grappled with the porcupine some more, and so the evening was passed. I decided both that the sock is not hideous, per se (it’s only the mangled-ness that makes it so), and that it’s going to be bigger than I thought (despite the swatch, Yarn Harlot). This is a blow, because I will have to give it to my husband, and his foot is bigger than mine (for which fact thank goodness, I suppose), and therefore more sock will need to be produced before I can call it done. I asked him how short was too short for a manly sock, and he very generously said that he’d wear ankle socks if I needed him to, but the idea of the Manly Ankle Sock may yet prove more wearable than the artefact. I started the heel. Fun, fun, fun.

The night was an unmitigated sleep disaster. I could say it was because I was distracted by Kelvin’s doings (and it is embarrassingly true ad childish of me, that I always sleep worse when there’s something in the kiln) or I could say it was because I was distracted by the matter of having scooped 220g of (allegedly) pure angora handspun on eBay for about the usual cost of 50g and was wondering what to make of it, but I can’t say that, because I’d have to admit to buying more yarn on eBay. I could alternatively say I was distracted by the two-year-old singing sweetly to himself for two hours (between three and five a.m.), or I could suggest that I was musing on the mirror I was planning to start this morning… Anyway, all I can certainly say of last night’s sleep was that it reminded me of the old Yiddish joke about the two old ladies complaining about the food at the resort in the Catskills: such terrible quality —and such small portions.

I checked the kiln first thing, as of old. I had got it on a bit early, while the kids were in the bath, so it was finished and cool enough to open before I went out. I thought I’d leave it a bit longer than I often manage (I usually open it as soon as the temperature drops to 200°) since the slab might- with luck, would – be thicker than the 6mm standard, and slower to cool, so I didn’t really want to beg for an entirely unnecesary thermal shock event. So, how was it? Since you ask, fine. Unexciting, but fine. The surface was slightly bumpy, but it’s actually quite nice, and I’ll be perfectly happy if I can preserve the effect through the slump firing. The overall color – or transparency – was good. There are a few bubbles, but not so many that the clarity is compromised. The colored frits are a bit dull: the cranberry pink is disappointingly flat, and the erbium pink tint is so subtle it’s practically disappeared. But erbium pink tint is like that – I know it is. I only get anxiety about it because it’s such an expensive color (the cranberry is too, now I think about it). It’s silly to use it invisibly. The disc is a satisfyingly thickness, and evenness across the plane. No thin bits, no holes. I think it will play nicely with the drop ring. So the cake ring mold worked like a charm. The lining with Thinfire, not so good. The paper fell onto the glass and it will have to be scoured, as there’s a powdery effect all around the edge now. Ah well: t least it didn’t bake on like kiln wash does. Next time I think I will try keeping it in place with a high-temp-wire paper-clip/kirby-grip-type arrangement. The gritty details: top temp 1425° for 25 minutes, and a hold at 985° for 45 minutes.

And today I started a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired square leaded mirror. More on that later. If I can lay my hands on the preliminary sketch, I’ll scan it in here. It’s very pleasant indeed to be playing with lead again. It’s such lovely tactile stuff. Mmmm.

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This should really be the first post, but that only occurred to me yesterday.

Kelvin is a two-year-old (possibly three-year-old) Paragon Fusion Eight kiln. He came to me from a woman in Yorkshire who had decided that lampworking was her true love and that Kelvin needed more space as well since she’d moved to a house with a smaller garage….

I live in a house with no garage at all, so Kelvin lives in the back room alongside the children’s toys and the piano. Kelvin’s being in there means the temperature in that room goes up and down like a yo-yo, which is terrible for the piano, though doubtless very nice for the piano-tuner.

For some unaccountable reason, despite being a British kiln, Kelvin is calibrated in Fahrenheit. That’s how he came to me and that’s how he stays. I’ve been told that it is possible to reprogram the controller quite easily with just a screwdriver and nerves of steel, but frankly I lack one of the aforementioned (you may guess which) and as most of the information I encountered, and most of the books, and most of the websites seemed to be written by and for Americans anyway, Fahrenheit looked like a sensible option. So should any British or European person stumble by here, my apologies for being retrograde about centigrade, which is a perfectly nice scale indeed, and the one I conduct the rest of my life in. Also, if anyone wants to convert between one scale and the other, it’s easy to look up an online conversion tool like this one: http://www.onlineconversion.com/temperature.htm

Regarding technicalities, he is about 42 cm in diameter and octagonal, as should probably be obvious from the name. I have 12 2.5 cm round posts and a spare shelf 35 cm in diametre. This – and occasional cunning use of my large 40 cm plate mould – allows me to stack the kiln in two (occasionally three) layers. I am still working out the temperature differentials between the shelves, the number of posts, the various molds etc. Sometimes I turn out to have been considerably less cunning than I thought (or too clever by half) and everything comes out overdone or half-baked. But my goal is ever-greater amortization. And lots and lots of learning curve.

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