Friday, October 13, 2006

A Dangerous Pastime

Knitting is supposed to be conducive to thought. In theory, it's meditative, the new yoga, Zen. It sounds so peaceful. I don't want to consider the implications of my thought processes. "I'm afraid I've been thinking" is probably a more apt description. Thinking as an occupational hazard.

I have been mitering. Admittedly, here and there and in fits and starts. Nonetheless, mitering. Which means I've been thinking about mitering. I prefer to gloss over the part where my thinking had me absolutely convinced that I had 60 possible color combinations. This despite doing the math (6 colors for x, no single color squares means x-1, x(x-1) means 30 possible combinations) and confirming the math with a chart (I can't help myself, really).

Because whether I had 2 sets of 30 or one 60, in an 80 square afghan, I'll need 20 extra squares. The disposition of these 20 extra squares is occupying way more of my mind than I want to admit.

Here's a surprise. I find I have issues with random mitering. They're focused right now on how I work with those 20 extra squares. The problem has come up earlier than I anticipated, because the throw of the die has already given me two duplicates. This annoyed me. Out of thirty combinations, randomness couldn't stave off duplication a little longer than the first 6 squares? In my annoyance, I decided that those two squares could simply wait until after I had done the first 30 combinations. They could lead off the second set. I would relegate the 20 extras to the end of the afghan.

If, however, I really want to embrace the whole random miter plan, don't I have to let the squares land where they may?

If I accept the throw of the die, I get this. Note squares 1 and 4 and 2 and 6:

If I assign a little of my randomness, (okay, okay, if I insist on sticking my nose in and mucking about with the non-plan) I get this:

(I lightened these up a bit. The only color to suffer is the red. In its natural state, it's a little less, shall we say, vibrant.)

Decisions, decisions. If I don't make one soon, I can see myself on my deathbed, willing 80 unassembled mitered squares to my descendants, because no way am I going to do all that sewing up at one time.

With all this, you might not think I had room for thoughts on blocking , much less sewing up v. crocheting together v. now what? But I do. It could be said that my assembly skills are deficient. I am lacking. Witness:

I don't really care that I was 13. Some things you don't get over easily.

Whatever form of assembly I choose (and I intend to rely heavily on Nancie M. Wiseman's
The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques and my Elizabeth Zimmermann and Meg Swansen DVD, A Knitter's Glossary) I have to decide whether or not to block. This may smack of heresy, but realistically, the first time the boys spill orange pop on it, do I think I'm going to re-block it? Anwer's "No." It's probably going to end up felted. And no, they're not supposed to have liquid in the front room. And when they don't have liquid in the front room, they're not supposed to have it in an open cup. We have plenty of Starbucks tumblers with caps. And when they don't have the liquid in an open cup, they are absolutely not supposed to leave the half-full cup in the middle of the floor or on the extreme corner of the end table for someone to inadvertently knock over. But life does tend to happen in this house.

On the other hand, blocking it would probably make putting it together so much easier. Who cares it if means my ironing board, bristling with pins like a porcupine, takes up permanent residence in my kitchen? Not to mention the image I have of me with a ruler, swearing under my breath as I strive to achieve mitered-square perpendicularity.

My brain hurts. I think . . . I'll work on the red scarf.

1 comment:

diane h said...

I have always thought you had too many demands on your randomness/chance pattern. I would go with knitting the squares according to the throw of the dice - because that is an interesting way to make up the combinations - and then assemble it later with some symmetry. If you think about it, randomness does not happen in nature - the seeds fall where they may but the flowers/bushes/trees grow according to nutrients including soil, water and sun. Dare I mention the seed falling on good soil and rock? I would add that if you end up blocking it, I would make this the afghan that no one touches on my bed. You can do that, you know, restrict access to your precious work. The boys get their own afghans not to spill unallowable liquids on. Off to Atlanta until Monday -