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.


Anonymous said...

Ooooo, in the Latin too. I AM impressed. I only know of Occam's Razor because of the delicious Matthew McConaghay quoting a bastardized version in "Contact".

I've sent your version to my Latin-scholar-and-all-around-boffin husband and he's pretty happy right about now.

What? There was knitting in this post. Sorry, my inner linguist throttled my inner knitter in a dash to the finish line...

Julie McC. said...

Oh, much as I love pretending I'm erudite, I can't take that much credit.

While I first heard it in a college course, I promptly forgot it until I stumbled across a translation in a novel that more or less said "The simplest solution is often the right solution," which in turn made me curious enough to find the original again and write it down in my handy, dandy little notebook of things I want to remember but don't want to have to search for ever again.

It's not my version, though, as in, I didn't do the translation on my own. I just never threw away my college notebooks.