Saturday, September 27, 2008

Check My Math

I was thinking about triangles last night and this morning (and the day before, and the day before that, and . . . but you get the idea). Triangles inevitably lead to geometry, more specifically, to Pythagoras. Let's review that basic tenet, the Pythagorean Theorem, the formula you need to find the length of the sides of any given triangle:

A-squared + B-squared = C-squared (sorry, no mathematical notation on my keyboard).

I'm trying to produce an equilateral triangle here, yes? So my A and B are going to be equal.

If my C = 26 inches/130 rows, what does my A have to be? The answer is not happy-making.

C-squared in inches = 676 = 2(A=squared)
A-squared = 676/2 = 338
The square root of 338 is 18.384477. Let's call it 18.4.
18.4 * 5 (my row gauge) = 92.

C-squared in rows = 16900 = 2(A-squared)
A-squared = 16900/2 = 8450
The square root of 8450 is 91.923881. Let's call it 92 (again).

Each leg of my triangle needs to be 92 rows long. I have 130 rows to work with along the hypotenuse. I need 184 rows along the edge of a piece that's 130 rows long. I suspect that I have found the source of my inability to get the piece up to 12.5 inches. It's not the body of the knitting, it's the edges. The sides can't stretch far enough.

Meh. I wonder if I have time to knit another sweater for afghans for Afghans. The deadline is October 14, and I don't have any bulky yarn in my stash, so probably not. Which leaves me with figuring out how to add 54 rows to the border. So, do I want short rows? Huh. That's 27 pairs, since I have to go out and back again. One at the apex means 13 along each 65 row side. One pair about every 5 rows. Would that actually work? And I could probably stop messing around with all those increases. Hmm.

No wonder I hate math. It's so reality based.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Don't Tell

I think I may be closing in on the triangle. I have, of course, thought this many, many times before. So I don't want to make any sudden movements. This particular project is, as I have found to my cost, easily startled. Noises -- exclamations of "Eureka!" or even the quiet sibilance of a "Yes!" -- have been known to send it fleeing into deep cover, not to re-emerge for days, weeks, months. Caution and quiet are the order of the day.

In a fit of unfettered pessimism, I've reverted to the light blue yarn. The theory is that I can rip it out as many times as I want without worrying about the effect on the final product. I was beginning to envision a blanket made with yarn that had been so "fuzzed" that it wouldn't matter if there were cables or not; they would be completed obscured.

I'm feeling some concern about the way this is flaring out. The body of the piece seems to be out-running the edge. I'm thinking about introducing a cable to go around the pattern. The theory being that it would (might?) pull in that curve a bit. It would also make a good place to hide increases.

We are not calling this swatching, we are calling it caution - see above.

I especially don't want anything to alert the knitting gods to my slight tilt toward optimism. They have, after all, descended on me multiple times during the course of this project and it has never been good.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Think They've Got the Wrong S(p)in Here

My 7 Deadly S(p)ins shipment came last week. The sin is Pride. The yarn, Unique Sheep Luxe (tussah silk and merino wool lace-weight) in Pride 1, Pride 2, Pride 3 and Pride 4. The designer is Merike Saarniit.

The goodies this month are stitch markers in the Estonian national colors (reflecting the designer's pride in her heritage), a clear project bag (to allow you to show pride in your work) and what looks like a mutated porcupine is actually a clever little mirror/hairbrush device (to reflect pride in oneself). The project, Syncopated Lace ( a work in which one will surely feel over-weening pride once it's been accomplished), is a lace shawl in a graduated color scheme (from warm roses to cool ones). The pattern is written and charted, so you can take your pick, or combine them, if you (like me) are a little nervous about a lace project.

I don't know, I think maybe I'm dealing with lust here. In fact, I, taking shameless advantage of my club membership status, am working on acquiring more of Pride 2. You, on the other hand, may have just cause for more Envy.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Be Jealous

Celadon. Lime. Spring.

It was another in what seemed a long succession of those, "The cosmos has pinned a 'kick me' sign on my back, hasn't it?" days.

Chartreuse. Leaf. Grass.

It was another day when, not unlike Xerxes lashing Hellespont -- and with about as much effect --I was railing and ranting back (patient and long-suffering not being my strong suits).

Jade. Jungle. Kelly.

At some level. though, the cosmos must have been listening. My knitting sister (well, she's my only sister, it's just my advantage that she also knits) decided to send me my Christmas present early.

Hunter. Pine. Moss.

Is it not fabulous?

Asparagus. Willow. Shamrock.

A Giant Skein in "La Boheme" by Hand-Painted Knitting Yarns, with whose yarn I fell in love at Stitches 2007. That's 12 skeins. 1440 Yards.

Are you emerald? Olive? Resembling Granny Smith apples perchance? I knew you would be.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Must Dash

So sorry, I'm much too busy to blog today. I'm having coffee with Ann and Kay (and there was only one copy left after I got mine, so some people may want to put a good foot under themselves or it will be Too Late and they'll have to hunt farther afield, or worse, wait for the next shipment.)

Now I don't know if I should race out and buy lace-weight mohair in two colors, a selection of Lorna's Laces Shepherd's Bulky, or the entire Highlander series by Diana Gabaldon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Occam's Razor

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitas," or "Plurality should not be posited without necessity." So said William of Ockham in the 13th century and if it was good enough for William, it's good enough for me.

I've been fussing with the chart for the Seriously Modified Blessingway Blanket. It's those 6 additional increases I want to fit in - somewhere - that have me feeling all harassed and aggrieved. I debated placing them around the cables themselves, the theory being that the raised stitches of the cables would hide the flat, reverse stockinette increase stitches. Then I had to decide, one side of the cable? Both sides? I thought about doing double increases at the end of some of the cable rows. The problem, of course, is which "some." It got to the point where I could no longer remember which idea seemed best.

Then I looked at the knitting -- the actual piece, the de facto huge swatch -- I had almost completed before I found that I was short those 6 stitches. There is nothing like a good visual aid to clear up a muddied thought process. It occurred to me there was a very simple solution.

Isn't that sort of a mingy looking angle? A bit too acute? Too blade-like looking? Something that would devolve into the scalene rather than the equilateral? Wouldn't placing the increases in the rows before I start the cable obviate the general undue narrowness? Even better, if I scatter the increases in there, I don't need to worry about them, or, more accurately, forgetting about them, when I'm in the throes of cabling.

I have 24 rows to play with. If half of them are wrong side rows, and if I want to keep my increases on the right side (which I do), then I can do 2 increases in every other right side row. A simple formula, one even I can keep straight. I admit, I was less orderly about where I placed the increases. The first three I divided between the right and left side, the remaining three got kind of scattered. Still, thinking triangularly now, compare this:

to this:

Better, yes? Less squished-looking,from a desirably shaped triangle point of view?

As a modern day William would tell you, Keep It Simple S. . . . A dictum this particular project may yet manage to hammer into my head.

Friday, September 12, 2008

And You Thought I'd Forgotten

First, there was this:

Then there were these:

Then you have to imagine a light bulb. The one that goes off when it occurs to you to go check your gauge against the finished dimensions. It being rather difficult to know otherwise how many rows and stitches you are actually supposed to be working with. If you're getting 4 stitches per inch and 5 rows per inch, and the piece is supposed to measure 12.5" (that's the measurement for the stitches) by 26" (that's the measurement for the rows), you have 50 stitches and 130 rows to work within. Oh, out of those stitches, you are supposed to allow for 10 stitches worth of border. All told, that means that no matter how many times you graph it, if your motif is 60 stitches wide it is never, never, NEVER going to fit.

It simplifies things amazingly.

Of course, cables do pull it in a bit, don't they. The red pin is where I should be. Which means I'm 1.5 inches short.

I'm wondering if the 50 stitches should be my base, exclusive of the increases I'm doing for the cables. One way or another, I have to figure out where to space out 6 stitches worth of increases.

For the record? I don't think that first piece will ever shrink to 12.5" by 26", do you?

Friday, September 05, 2008

My Family Has a Unique Sense of Humor

You know how sometimes life just seems to be all "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" until you're just thoroughly fed up? You know how sometimes you think, would the sky fall and the heavens tumble if you could just have one pleasant thing happen, maybe cross your inbox or something? Anything?

I got this from Clare this morning. Good thing, too, because I don't have a post on Faroe Islands shawls yet. We'll have some Friday Foolery instead. (You may recognize the song from Mason-Dixon Kay's post back in January. Kay has a lot to answer for - the song is on multiple play-lists on every iPod in the house).

Well, I thought it was funny.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Well, at least I think I am. The sleeves are seamed (and the stripes all line up), the ends tucked in. It's had it's bath. That pre-bath neckline looks awfully huge, though, doesn't it?

Still, a check on Ravelry, while it did show some ribbed necklines, showed way more made according to the pattern. And while it took 3 tries with different and increasingly smaller crochet hooks (I may be a tight knitter, but I am a loose crocheter) to get a comparatively non-distorted edging (and thanks and a hat tip to YouTube for videos on how to crochet backwards - multiple decades of crocheting and I had never come across that technique), that's not why I'm leaving it as it is. One of the Ravelers noted that, once she made the ribbed neckline, her child had trouble getting her head through. I'm not going to risk it.

Thank you, thank you and an even bigger hat tip to you all for your comments on the previous post. While not all of you overtly advocated ripping, we were all agreed that the strip of solid along the bottom was Not The Way To Go. There was actually comparatively little ripping to do - I really did stop the knitting until you had a chance to respond. Gad, sometimes I'm smart.

It's blocking as we speak (heavy humidity here has extended the process). All that puffiness where the front and back meet the sides has smoothed away. Not only that, it looks like it might fit an actual child.


Pattern: Orphans for Orphans sweater by Jean Dykstra in Knitting for Peace. With some math because the yarn I used wasn't anywhere near gauge.

Yarns: Cherry Tree Hill Twisted in "Earth" (the variegated) and Cascade 220 The Heathers in 2453/Pumpkin Spice.

Needles: Addi turbos, size US 9/5.5 mm for the front and back panels, US 8/5 mm for the rest.

I knit the stripes down the sleeves to coincide with the decrease rows, so they're 4 rows wide each. The cuffs and the hem are K2P2 rib, changing colors every row - a feat I accomplished by that handy dandy old slide-the-stitches-back-and-forth-along-the-circular-needle trick that I mastered with the "My Way" shawl.

I'm sweatered out. Who knows a good pattern for a Faroese shawl ( I have Folk Shawls)?