Friday, February 20, 2009

Mini-clapotis Math Lesson...

I'm working on another mini-clapotis.

It's a great project for a number of reasons:

- Clapotis is fabulous, but it grows to a cumbersome and non-totable size quickly.

- You need a bit of fashion moxie to pull off a large wrap with aplomb. Frequently, on my "managed to brush my teeth and sort of my hair" carpool mornings, I'm just not up to the task.

- I don't care to knit socks. I've tried, I'm physically able to do it, but I just don't really get the whole sock knitting thing.

- Despite the fact that I don't knit socks, I really like sock yarn. Maggie at Dyed in the Wool Handmade makes some beautiful specimens and I have been known to indulge.

- Mini-Clap makes a great present for teachers, as it doesn't have to be sized and it's a little different from other scarves you see everywhere.

So, the mini-clap, suitable for use as a winter scarf, was born.

Quite simply, you take a skein of sock yarn (or other reasonably fine gauge yarn), needles a pinch larger than called for by the yarn manufacturer and just start knitting the Clapotis pattern.

The only trick to this is figuring out how many stitches you can cast on and have enough yarn to complete the scarf...this is a one skein project after all.

Oh comes the math! I love middle school math!

Pay attention knitting club at WRJP...this is an excellent example of how "useless" math can be applied in real life!

First we picture the completed Clapotis as a parallelogram shape. I know, in real life it's a bit curlier and more squint...but stay with me.

Now, in order to create an "around the neck" scarf in a pleasing shape, I figure that the Clapotis should be about four times longer than it is wide, plus the additional length of the head and tail sections. (That's just my preference, you can tinker with this ratio.)

Notice that the head and tail segments are symmetrical, so we can assume that added together they create a fifth complete segment.

Here come the numbers!! Each of the five equal sections will require 20% of the yarn to complete. Because the head and tail sections are roughly equal, they will each require 10% of the yarn.

An electronic scale is really useful for the final part. Weigh the full skein of yarn and jot down its weight. I usually pull out my 10% "head" section and tie a stitch marker to the yarn at that point, then I know that I can knit my set up section and increase section right up until I reach the marker. (You will have to continue up to the 6th row of the increase section of the pattern even if it takes you a bit past your 10% marker.)

Just to be sure, weigh the skein again after you have reached the beginning of your straight section. The difference between your starting weight and your current weight is how much yarn the head section required. REMEMBER this number! You can now knit away at the straight portion of mini-clap until your remaining portion of the skein approaches the "head" section weight. Then, start the decrease section.

Hey look...we used our 2 dimensional geometry, ratios, subtraction and percentages...all for one project!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Clare made DH and I a set of dolls holding hands as our Valentine's Day present. She may have used an old photo of us as models, both DH and I are considerably greyer now.

We also made oatmeal chocolate chip and oatmeal-cranberry-coconut cookies as a Valentine's Day addition to the ton of candy the kids brought home from school.

Things have been busy and crazy and not always light and frothy, so even though I've scaled back my knitting projects to just repeats of old favorites (somehow that sounds better than "projects that I've proved I can't screw up"), I still don't have much to show.

In the meantime, a couple gratuitous Haley pics taken by Clare:

Haley had a dog pedicure...aren't her feet cute when they're all smoothly shaped like a bunny's feet?

Notice how Haley's nose pinks up in the winter?

Monday, February 09, 2009

They Thought He was a Goner, but the Cat Came Back...

Sorry to evoke the memory of Canada's NFB classic when the reality isn't nearly as much fun.

It's back...the Basal Cell Carcinoma. Ick...and it's put me in a right ornery mood. Ornery enough to be nearly unable knit and certainly ornery enough to be displeased with anything I do knit.

So, in the interests of healing my slightly damaged spirit, I frogged a few projects that were annoying me...just because I could. So, no more of this

Or this,

Sorry Smallton, but I promise to make you something really nice once I'm back on my game.

And instead I cast on another Adirondack sweater for DH and another Hey Teach...this time for Clare.

Rote knitting is just about all I can manage right now...but don't worry, once I have more information about what comes next, I'm sure I'll be back in the saddle once more!