Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Woolly Math

I took a knitting class last winter so I could do something with the wool I had been collecting. Why collect wool when you can't knit? I suppose I had high hopes. Like that time I bought a mandolin off eBay all the way from Thailand. Silly Andrea.

I digress. So my Better Half and I took the knitting class together, even though he was already a good knitter and quickly became the star of the class (it also helped that he made curry for the teacher). I, on the other hand, needed coaching. Eventually though, I managed to make a little scarf, and eventually a hat. My teacher gave me the hat pattern so that I could do it myself sometime.

I found the pattern yesterday when I was sorting through my piles of crafting supplies. How nice would it be to knit a hat again! But reading over the pattern, even though it was simple, made my head spin. All those numbers! Have I told you about my numbers thing?

I have a bit of a numbers phobia. They don't understand me, and I don't understand them. The last math class I ever took got me a stunning 54%, and I think the teacher was being nice. I am so used to not understanding numbers that when I come across a paragraph full of numbers in a book, I skip the paragraph. I usually don't even notice I'm doing it. So when I read over this pattern, full of k5 and p3 and whatever the fuck else, I folded it up and stuffed it back where it came from. I know that k means knit and p means purl, but logic has no place here. It looks too much like math.**

All this to say that I am now knitting a basic scarf out of some amazing wool I bought at Value Village. I don't need a pattern, because I do the same stitch over and over again. I forget how to cast off, but Megan has kindly offered to help me with that. Who the hell forgets how to cast off? I am a shitty knitter. But I'm glad I started it, because when I missed my bus yesterday, I was able to knit until the next one came, and then I knit all the way downtown.

Bonus: When you knit on the bus, nobody seems to want to sit next to you! Feel free to stretch out and knit the ride away.

Only a few days left of nablopomo. I've really been enjoying the daily posting thing (and reading everyone else's posts!). I hope to keep posting as regularly as I can when December hits.

Oh my GOD. December is almost here. How the hell did that happen?


*I find that if I pay for something, like a lesson, I am far more likely to remember what I learned, or at least, I am far more likely to give it a chance. This is why I ALWAYS pay for music lessons when I want to learn a new instrument. Same with dance lessons. My friends can always show me the ropes, but it won't stick unless I pay for it.

**Oddly, my numbers phobia disappears when I am doing financial planning, which I LOVE. Financial planning will someday get me a house. Regular math just gives me a headache.

13 comments:

Lesley Hoyles said...

You should totally get a copy of the first Stitch n' Bitch, if you don't already have it. Great for refreshing your memory on things like casting off, etc., as well as how to read patterns. I reference mine constantly (I'm currently obsessed with knitting mittens!).

Andrea SK said...

Oooh, I wish I could knit mittens. A girl can dream. I will pick up that book! Thank you shmoo!

stegan said...

Also, having a knitter friend nearby to remind you how to cast off works as well, I've found. Cause really, it takes practice, especially for someone like me who is a "learn by doing, not by reading" person.

I'm with you on patterns, too- I've got the yarn to start my next project, which is my first with a real pattern. So intimidating!

Andrea SK said...

Stegan.. Sounds like we learn the same way. If I wrote a knitting pattern, it would read a lot like a blog posting... Full words, funny explanations, and useless asides. At least it would hold my attention!

Good luck on your pattern...

URBAN PEDESTRIAN said...

Numbers are evil. They do whatever they want and just when you think you've got some sort of handle on them them veer off and do something completely different. They are my arch-enemies running a close second only to crafts. I have no patience for crafts of any sort. I would sooner plunge hot knitting needles in my eyes than sit down and attempt to poke them around some wool. I also don't do financial planning and I learn much better on my own than in a classroom. There. Can we still be friends? (We'll always have FOOD, to paraphrase Bogie)

Andrea SK said...

Oh UP, as long as you think numbers are evil, our friendship will survive even the hottest, most eye-gouging knitting needles.

Re-birtha said...

Numbers are bastards, I hear ya soul sista. Friday or Saturday is cool with me for dinner. On Saturday there is a craft fair @ the rama lotus. Wanna go there and then do dinner? Huh,do ya, do ya?
Message me on the facebook thingy.
xox

Aggie said...

I, too, am a shitty knitter. Thanks for articulating all the reasons why. Maybe we can start a support group.

Andrea SK said...

RB: Messaged you. I look forward to food and craft and food.

Aggie: Yes! A support group! How about Shitty United Knitters (SUK)?

Anonymous said...

Who needs school when the internet will solve all your math woes for you!

Thanks, algebrahelp.com!

Simplifying
5knit + 3perl = hat

Solving
5knit + 3perl = hat

Solving for variable 'knit'.

Move all terms containing 'knit' to the left, all other terms to the right.

Add '-3perl' to each side of the equation.
5knit + 3perl + -3perl = hat + -3perl

Combine like terms: 3perl + -3perl = 0
5knit + 0 = hat + -3perl
5knit = hat + -3perl

Divide each side by '5'.
knit = 0.2hat + -0.6perl

Simplifying
knit = 0.2hat + -0.6perl


Shawna

Evey said...

Don't worry -- I always forget how to cast off. And cast on. Mostly I can only knit and purl.

Laura said...

Oh, how I can relate to your lothing of numbers!!!! I so agree! Those patterns are crazy!

When DJ was in the NICU at CHEO for over a month, I started knitting a lovely baby blanket...I knitted every day, all day, the pattern soon became etched in my little brain. The blanket grew and grew. Nurses and Doctors and Specialist would comment on it and ask how big I was going to make it...I loudly stated, I would cast off the day DJ was discharged! And that is what I did!

Andrea SK said...

Shawna: Those are the sorts of numbers that give me nightmares. Solving variable? AAAARGH.... DIE HIGH SCHOOL MATH, DIE!!!

Evey: Oh good. You can join SUK with Aggie and I.

Laura: I love the idea of a blanket, although mine would be the size of a room, because I would never remember how to cast off.