## Knitted Cube

Howdy. I’m back from some business travel and wanted to get a last pre-holiday post up. I’ve got a couple tutorials and a fun collaboration brewing. Soon....

In the meanwhile, I wanted to post about an 8″ cube that my mom knitted for me, falling at the intersection of her and my hobbies:

My mom is an expert knitter. In my nearly forty years on this planet, she’s knitted me untold dozens of sweaters, hats, scarves, and blankets. This was one of her harder projects, and one of the more fun.

Authenticity was key for this project. I didn’t want random colors for each cubie, but instead “positions” that were attainable on a cube. The best way to do that was with an actual scramble, and we opted for the one on which Mats set the world record. That would be easily accessible, I figured, if she messed up the “model” cube that she was using. Of course, she never did. Continue reading

## 13 Cubers / One Scramble

Once upon a time, this blog was something other than just a collection of my embedded Youtube videos. In fact, it was more like a repository of neat things related to cubing. Besides acting as an online chronicle of sorts, which is a function I still really dig, I want to steer the blog back to including other content.

This recent Cubing World video is a great excuse to do that. A follow up to last year’s Twelve Cubers, One Scramble video, this one features thirteen fast 3×3 solvers (two the current world record holders) each doing CFOP walk-through solves based on the same scramble:
`L2 B' L2 B' D2 B' R2 D2 F2 R2 B' L B' U' R' D' B2 L2 U' B U2`

This video is great. As I commented on it, the solves demonstrate really well that solving a cube is not just a robotic application of memorized steps — naysayers’ favorite criticism. No doubt there is a formulaic element of “see X and apply Y,” especially at the OLL and PLL stages. But the amount of variation in these walk-throughs showcases the high degree of analysis, problem solving, and creativity that go into a really good solve.﻿ And these are no lackeys. That some of the best cubers in the world each approached the same scramble differently is a testament to the deep complexity of the cube.

From Alexander Lau’s Roux and Phil Yu’s ZZ mind-benders to Justin Mallari’s impressive dexterity and finger tricks to Feliks’ and Mats’ always brilliant solves, the video is riddled with nuggets of awesome tricks and techniques to study. I can watch these over and over again…and have!

## Cross Training

It’s time to come clean: My cross skills suck.

It’s been 14 months since I wrote about more advanced cross techniques, which is only slightly less long than I’ve been at this cubing thing altogether. At the time, I was thrilled just to move on from the beginner’s method of forming a daisy on top. Memorizing the cube’s color scheme seemed like an accomplishment.

A year-plus later, I’m stuck at around 35 seconds. I’ve learned all 21 PLLs, have gotten pretty fast at two-look OLL (with a handful of OLLs one-lookable), and am competent with F2L (fast, but with lots of hunting still). But my crosses are still really clunky. Time to start focusing on the cross.

To set a benchmark, I did 5 Ao12s of just crosses. I spread out the sessions to make sure they were pretty accurate representations. Although there are a few stray bests, the 60-cross average was 6.75: Continue reading

## New 3×3 World Record

It seems that there’s a new sheriff in town. I awoke this morning to a youtube stream full of buzz about Mats Valk’s 5.55-second solve yesterday at the 2013 Zonhoven Open. For those keeping score, that’s a new world record — topping Feliks Zemdegs’ 5.66 solve from the 2011 Melbourne Winter Open.

## The Solve

Unlike Feliks’ solve, there’s a pretty decent video of Mats’ that he posted on his youtube channel just after the Open: