Archive for August 25th, 2008

Mathematics…would certainly have not come into existence if one had known from the beginning that there was in nature no exactly straight line, no actual circle, no absolute magnitude.

Fredrich Nietzsche

Human, All Too Human

I have admitted I am no mathematician. I believe my math teachers in middle school and high school passed me only because they felt sorry for me. No matter how much after-school help they gave, my brain blew a fuse the minute it saw xyz = a(c + b) find x. I didn’t fair much better with word problems either. Who cares what time a train leaving Chicago at noon and traveling 65 mph passes a train leaving Boston at 10 am traveling 50 mph?

But these are the types of things that come back to haunt me many, many, many years later in the form of a knitted baby sweater. I finally get what they were trying to teach: reasoning—logical reasoning. The how to methodically go about finding an answer and making sure it is the correct one in a world that, (speaking only for myself here), doesn’t seem to cherish the precise.

For example, baby sweater measurements.

It depends on where you look. For a 12 month old the width of the front of the sweater can vary from 10 inches / 25.4 cm to 11.5 inches / 29.2 cm. I know what you’re thinking: “Of course it varies depending on the sweater style.”  Wrong, my gentle snowflakes.  The sweater style was a constant, the numbers were the variables.

I thought about applying the same mathematical reasoning the Olympics used in scoring diving: Throw out the highest and lowest numbers and average what’s left. Not comfortable with this decision, I searched for standard baby sizes at various baby ages only to find that my basic thinking was misguided. There really is no “standard” size.  A range of sizes? Yes.  Standard, one size, one number, don’t-worry-this-one-will-work size doesn’t exist.  The standard size range for the chest of a 12 month old is 20 inches / 50.8 cm to 22 inches / 55.9 cm.

It took most of Saturday to come up with that range.  Saturday evening I reclined with a cool compress on my forehead in a darkened room in an attempt to lessen my migraine.

On Sunday I foolishly felt confident and decided to figure out and knit up the final swatch for the ruffle hem and transition area.  I had chosen to make the width of the sweater 22 inches / 55.9 cm total. The front part would be 11 inches / 27.9 cm wide, seaming would probably bring it down to a finished size of 10 inches / 25.4 cm or so. My gauge is 7 stitches per inch / 2.5 cm. All said and done I was looking at a cast on of 77 stitches for 11 inches / 27.9 cm.

Not so fast.

The ruffle hem I selected needed modification (more math). The size of the ruffles or bells had to be smaller in size to fit the scale of the sweater. My second migraine of the weekend began when I realized that no matter how I readjusted the size of the ruffles/bells (more math more math more math) I was racking up some pretty large cast on numbers that I didn’t feel comfortable with.

The ruffle/bell design is a “decreasing design”. Decreasing design is my term. The design is created by decreasing x number of stitches every other row to form the bell shape.

It took all of Sunday and Sunday night. My migraine still lingers. I know I came up with an acceptable cast on number, but for the life of me , I can’t find where I jotted it down. I hope to track it down before the end of today. In the meanwhile, here is a picture of the small hem swatch I worked last night with the transition rows. I am want to make another swatch today if I can find my figures from last night because I want to try out a different stitch for the transition rows.

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