Saturday, April 28

Farmer's Market

Nancy took me to the farmer's market today. Although it is about two miles from home, I embarrassingly admit that I only attend occasionally. Good finds today. I got some fresh ricotta from Sea Breeze Farm and from some wild foraging dude, some urtica dioica. Along with my very fresh Tasty eggs, I'll turn this into manicotti filling. Sounds yummy, eh? And full of vitamins.

Erika, if you want, I'll save you a piece.

Trapezoid Shawl Formula!

An update on the shawl calculations. We aren't knitting triangles, we are knitting trapezoids! That explains the formula Susan and I each derived.

Recall from Algebra I: Area of trapezoid is 1/2(Base1 + Base2)*Height

In our cases, remember N = number of rows
Base1 = 7 stitches
Base2 = 2N+3 stitches
Height = N

voila! Number of Stitches = N² + 5N

Oh, why didn't I do this immediately instead of working out the sum from i = 0 to N of (7 + 2i)? Just goes to show that too much mathematics is a dangerous thing.

Kmkat, the Gaussian addition thing is from a (probably apocryphal) story of little smart ass future famous mathematician Gauss as a child and a teacher who was fed up and wanted some peace and quiet. She asked the class to sit quietly and add all the integers from 1 to 100. Gauss figured out almost immediately that the answer was 5,050. So much for the teacher's quiet afternoon.

As for me and my shawl last night I completed pattern repeat number 11. According to my calculations, I have knit 74.4% of the shawl and according to my scale I have used 73.8% of the yarn! It will be close. That's using the 12 repeats/88 grams. Have to admit I am tempted to work some more on untangling the 12 grams and adding an extra repeat. If all goes well, if I can manage to untangle the whole thing, I can complete 13 pattern repeats and end up with about 2 or 3 grams left over.

Friday, April 27

Triangle Shawls and fun with algebra

My first Triangle Shawl was Evelyn Clark's Spinner's Shawl pattern, modified to be stockinette rather than garter stitch. It's a bit small, but I did a pretty good job of using most of the yarn I had. I love it and wear it around the house a lot as a little extra layer around the neck. I even got so bold as to wear it in public; even though I am lacking an accessories gene --- wearing anything extra unnecessary to maintaining modesty and a normal temperature usually makes me feel exposed and awkward.

Triangle number two is being knit with Sea Silk. I only have the one hank, I want to use as much of it as possible. This requires a few things easy to find household items; a scale, a calculator and some mathematics.

Pattern is Evelyn Clark's Flower Basket Shawl found in IK. I won't bother to dig out the exact issue, because everyone has already knit this pattern. I chose it because the pattern repeat is only 10 rows and the edging is only 12 rows (10 pattern rows and a bind-off). It will be easier to squeeze in as many pattern repeats as possible instead of a shawl such as the Spinner's Shawl where one must stop with the pattern repeats in time to commit to 40 rows of edging. Admittedly it makes for a more interesting shawl to have a different and complimentary border, but so it goes when the Sea Silk is so dear. Flower Basket it is.

Jessica has a shawl calculator on her blog but alas, it is in excel, something my poor little mac cannot read. So I got some paper and a pencil and worked it out myself. Eventually I did read her spreadsheet on my husband's computer. It is fine, but hides the math. So I am glad to have done this work anyway.

Much calculation, much scratching out, much musing, some greek letters and that Gaussian addition trick and I found a formula to compute how many stitches have been knit given the number of rows knit. Before writing it up, I searched the net a bit more and found that Susan had posted an alternate calculation, much simpler. She didn't simplify into algebra, so I did and it resulted in the same formula I found. Although I'm a little chagrined that I took a more circuitous route, in the end having my formula be the same as hers gives me confidence.

Here it is:
While knitting a triangular shawl where one starts with 7 stitches (ignore the set-up rows which use a trivial amount of yarn in the grand scheme of things) and increases four stitches every right side row, if N is the number of rows that have been knit then the total number of stitches done is N² + 5N. (now that I think about it, I am guessing one could derive this from a simple area of triangle formula.)

How does one use this delightfully compact formula? Well, I have knit 10 pattern repeats so far. With 26 rows to prepare for the main pattern, 10 rows per repeat, I have knit 126 rows. Therefore I have knit 126*126 + 5*126 = 16,506 stitches in total.

My scale says this weighs 55 grams, or about 300 stitches per gram.

Looks like plenty of yarn for another pattern repeat or two. Keeping in mind that the finishing will require 12 rows, how much yarn can I expect to use if I knit a few more repeats?

11 repeats: N = 126 (rows so far) + 10 (11th repeat) + 12 (border/finishing) = 148

148² + 5*148 is 22,644 stitches. At 300 stitches per gram, this will use 76 grams of yarn.

12 repeats: N = 158 Total Stitches = 25,754 or 86 grams

13 repeats: N = 168 Total Stitches = 29,064 or 97 grams of yarn.

Now, to tell the truth, I have 88 grams of yarn. Yes, I started with 100 grams, but we won't talk about how the Flower Basket pattern was not my first attempt, nor what happened to that tangled mess of crap 12 missing grams. So I can knit two more pattern repeats, 12 total, then work the edging. I ought to come very close to using up the 88 grams available, and if I go over by a few yards, well, I might be able to resurrect a few yards from the trashed bit.

Isn't it grand? I just love quadratic expressions, this one is so tidy and clean! And the thought of knitting just two more repeats and the edging sounds infinitely doable, after all, I've already done 10 repeats, what's a few more?

Of course, anyone who has actually knit a triangle like this is smirking at that statement. Looking at it from a more realistic perspective, I have knit 16,506 stitches and I will be knitting a total of 25,754 stitches. Therefore, I am only 64% done.

Get it while it lasts!

Seattle Craigslist has a posting of interest to knitters!

Someone is liquidating their retail business and will sell you 150 skeins of imported Italian Nylon/Rayon Eyelash yarn for only Five Hundred Dollars!

What you don't know can make a monkey out of you

If you try to get to The Seattle Weekly website by typing into your browser: but you make a mistake and put only one 't' in Seattle, you find an ad for an anti-evolution book. Down-loadable for the small sum of $4.95 --- PayPal Verified.

Annoying as they can be, I love finding these little internet easter eggs. Makes me wonder how many almost legit domains this fellow purchased and how many of them actually result in customers for his book and his message.

Wednesday, April 25

Rochester v Rivers

I stayed up way too late last night finishing Jane Eyre. Although I knew the basic plot line, this was the first time I've read the book. I was left with one big question. What did Charlotte Bronte intend for readers to think about St John Rivers? He gave me the creeps. I didn't get the charisma, but he certainly had some sort of charismatic sway on Jane. It felt artificial though, since I didn't share in it. Is that just because the author didn't do that good a job portraying that creepy (psychopathic) charisma or that times have changed and her readers in 1847 would have been drawn in? I did get the insidiously creepy psychological abusiveness. Jane didn't. On one level she was able to hold her ground and continue to say no to Rivers, but it was a close call. She almost acquiesced to his demands even though she knew he would kill her. Those were her words. I don't think she meant he would physically kill her, but he would certainly kill her soul and lead her to an early physical death. But even throughout the psychological abuse, she defended him as a great man. What did Ms Bronte mean by this? Did she want us to see him as the twisted nasty guy apparent to my 21st century eyes? Or did she want her readers to accept him as Jane declared, honorable and worthy? Maybe she constructed him simply so Jane could experience the polar opposite proposition as what Rochester asked? And as a symbolic plot device, he doesn't come across as fully fleshed out, three dimensional?
I don't know enough about Victorian society to figure it out. Guess I better surf the net for clues.

Friday, April 6

My week

  • Snaked the bathtub drain.
  • Contemplated getting hair cut short to avoid that chore again.
  • Mowed the lawn.
  • Almost fell for Google's April Fool prank.
  • Knitted on but did not finish
  • sea silk triangle shawl
  • green pullover sweater (EZ meets Pippa)
  • mini-clapotis in angoravalley Lacewing
  • sleeves for fibonacci sweater
  • Renewed car license tag on-line.
  • Found out I had waited to long to have it mailed to me before current tag expires.
  • Took bus downtown to pick up car tag. Spent $2.50 in bus fare because I refuse to pay $4.00 to have the tabs sent to a local agency.
  • Treated myself to latte and muffin downtown.
  • While downtown, went shopping and bought myself new underwear. It had probably been 10 years since I bought underwear. I can now get hit by a car without embarrassment.
  • Took car to shop for 90K check-up.
  • Vacuumed car. Helped put roof box on car.
  • Arranged temporary stop of newspaper, mail and milk for next week.
  • Arranged foster care for Tasty Chicken for the week.
  • Looking forward to a week of car-camping in SE Washington, emphasis on Washington State History and geology. History because it is a state educational requirement and we are homeschooling history. Geology because geology is fascinating and Washington's geology is visibly fascinating.
  • Logged into checking account at credit union about two dozen times looking for IRS refund.
  • Once the refund arrived, wrote checks for and mailed mortgage and property tax bill.
  • Finished a marathon Harry Potter reread of all six books.
  • Inspired The Nerd to reread them also. He's also finished.
  • Discussed same with The Nerd and hypothesized about Book Seven.
  • Tutored math at The Nerd's middle school
  • Found out that he got into his first choice high school, even though for the upcoming school year, it has the longest waiting list of any Seattle public school ever. Very relieved.
  • Found out what a close call it was. District uses a distance tiebreaker. This year, the boundary for enrolled vs wait-list was 1.81 miles from school. Mapquest puts us at 1.79 miles.
  • Updated alumnae email and snail mail addresses for upcoming 30 year high school reunion
  • Started searching airfare prices for Fall trip back East.
  • Discovered that waiting a week to purchase airfare for reunion increased the cost by 35%
  • Found out that by flying into Baltimore instead of Dulles, I could reduce airfare back to original estimate.
  • Purchased ticket. I'm confirmed to attend Reunion and my niece's wedding on East Coast in October. Just me. Not going to disrupt high school attendance in the first semester.
  • Started thinking about what shawl/stole/wrap I should knit for the events.
  • Took The Nerd to an open house of a youth kayak racing club.
  • Passed a Float Test at a local pool. I only needed a renewal if I want to take another sailing class which is a long shot. Really I did it so The Nerd would have company taking his float test, necessary to take a sprint kayaking class. Float test: wearing long sleeves, long pants, tread water for 9 minutes, then put on life jacket while treading water --- not as easy as it sounds but there's a trick that helps. Nice lifeguards share trick.
  • Signed The Nerd up for the beginner sprint kayak class and braved Spring Afternoon Greenlake traffic getting him there and back again.
  • Walked around Greenlake for the first time in years. Anyone free on Tues or Thurs at 4 PM and want to walk the lake with me? (starting April 17th)
  • Rest of today will be packing, organizing, grocery shopping for trip. We leave tomorrow morning. Fort Vancouver here we come.