Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Magic of Math

I have always liked math. No, no, don't stop reading now! I'm just a nerd that way. Middle school was really the height of it. I took extra math classes. I did math at lunch. I was on a competitive math team. I ran around thinking 'this could be mathier.'

Today I won't torture you with cotangents or imaginary numbers. Today, all I'll show you is knitting math - which is warm, woolly and chest circumference-y.

Last week I found myself blithely coloworking along, picking out colors like they were candy and adding them to the yoke of the sweater. I was vaguely every other row, or sometimes two times every three rows (I like armholes that are a little more snug) and having a grand old time seeing how the colors fell together. Things were starting to get a little scrunched up on my 24" circular needle and I realized that, unless I wanted a very fancy poncho, I was going to have to start thinking about armholes.

And I don't wear ponchos. Really.

I remeasured my gauge from the several inches of yoke that I had knit. 9 sts/", which was the same as the gauge I got on my last project with this yarn and this size needles (but haven't blogged yet. Bad blogger!). Then I measured my chest, added an inch of ease to avoid button popping and came up with 36". (Psst. Here comes the math.)

36" x (9 stitches/") = 324 stitches

See? Not so bad. I need 324 stitches to make 36 inches. But what I really needed to know was how many stitches I needed in the front and the back, so I could know when to stop knitting. So I measured under my arms. Two inches for the underarm.

2" x (9 stitches/") = 18 stitches per underarm.

Great! Now, 324 stitches - (2 x 18 stitches) = 288 stitches. I started getting a little suspicious here, and divided that number in half to get the number of stitches that I would need for the front (and back).

144. 12^2. Exactly the same number that I cast on for the neck.

Neat? Or creepy? You be the judge. Personally, I think I'll be wearing this sweater til Underverse come. (If you don't get the reference, that's fine. You probably watch much higher class movies that I do :)

1 comment:

Beth said...

Math, maybe that's why knitting is so tricky. English majors face more handicaps than I realized! Great sweater!