Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Only Because I Have To

The things that I have to do now officially out number the things I want to do so the better part of today will be spent doing what I have to. Yesterday I did a lot of what I wanted to do though so I guess it evens out in the wash. Which reminds me I need to wash the dishes...

I had a lot of help from a very reliable source.
I was working on this little beauty.
Seems like a lot of columns and numbers.
Hmmm...knitting related maths? Now, I must preface all this by saying that I'm not a mathematician in any sense of the word. In fact, when I was in school, I never really liked math. The problem is, you see, I'm really good at math. I know, I know. It's the ultimate form of irony. I'm good at something I dislike. In the past few years I've come to terms with this love/hate relationship. Math is very logical, which I really like. If you tinker with it long enough you will get the right answer. I like that too. What I don't like is the formulas. I could never memorize all of them. I prefer to use the Melissa Method to Maths. This involves taking all the numbers you want and mentally arranging and rearranging them until you get an answer that seems about right (I always use a calculator to actually test my arrangements). It may be a little time consuming but it works for me.

Ok, so why was I making a giant table full of maths? Awhile ago I purchased a book, Style Your Own Kids Knits. It gives you basic directions for making kid sized sweaters and piecing them together. You can pick several different styles and motifs to individualize these sweaters. I have a few problems with this book. #1: The sweaters are written in pieces-back, front, sleeves, etc. and I hate sewing seams. I like to do things in the round. #2: It is written only for one gauge. This, I realize is typical but I still don't have to like it.

Well, I have become very active in knitting kid sized sweaters for Warm Woolies. I really like to knit for them because the yarn is chunky and the needles are big (I like instant gratification, I also don't like to spend 6 years on a sweater...I hope you're listening big pink thing.) I wanted to use the book I bought to mix up the styles of sweaters I made. So I came up with this great idea of converting all the patterns into formulas. I worked out the length, how long to do certain decreases, when to start the neck lines, etc. for all the different sizes. The kicker is that they all rely on the gauge to calculate them. I've made it so that you can plug in any gauge, with any yarn and any needles, and this little spreadsheet will give you all the information for making these sweaters in the new gauge. Hypothetically at least. None of this has been tested yet.

As I was doing all this (besides getting a major headache) I realized this book is seriously odd in some respects. For the first 3 patterns (ages 3 months-2 years) it follows the same basic procedures. The lengths and things are even determinable by a numerical pattern (ok, I sounded like a big nerd just then). Then, for the next 3 patterns (2-6 years) it follows a totally different procedure. Then the 7-8 year pattern goes back to the original process and the 9-10 jumps to the second. It makes no sense. Do 2-6 year olds have different arm and shoulder shapes than 7-8 year olds because that's how it's written. In conclusion, I think I will use this as a basic guideline as I tweak my personal Warm Woolies sweater in the round pattern. I don't feel like I wasted time doing this but I do wonder if the designers of this book made more work for themselves than was really necessary.

Speaking of Warm Woolies...
I finished the second sweater. It turned out better than I expected (I originally thought the chest/armhole area was too short, it may still be but it looks ok).

The sleeves may be a little big (seeing as how I can fit my hand into them) but I think it will keep a 2 or 3 year old nice and warm. I'm still not ready with a "final" version of my pattern but I'm getting closer.

After I finished with the sweater I started a new project. I promised myself I would take a break from sweaters for awhile. I stayed up until 1:00 this morning working on a birthday/Christmas present for my cousin.
I know that right now it looks like a really bad Rastafarian hat but it's the One Day Beret. I'm using my Be Sweet Magic Ball to make it. My cousin has pretty eccentric tastes so I think she will like this. I stayed up until all hours because I was intrigued by this yarn. I wanted to keep knitting to see what would be next. Ribbon? Curly mohair? Some really slubby sparkly yarn? I'm a little afraid I'll run out but I'm almost ready to start the ribbing so I'm crossing my fingers.

Unfortunately, the better part of today is for vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, and general household upkeep. I dislike being an adult some days.

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