January 03, 2009
I've long wanted to do a post on knitting math.
There's lots of algebra and basic math in knitting. Knitting is mostly just ratios: you do a swatch to find out how many stitches to the inch and then find the equivalent fraction for however many inches your knittery should be. I love scribbling out my little solve-for-x problems.
There are also times when the Pythagorean Theorem comes in handy. Like when you're making something on the bias and you want to make sure that you're knitting a true square. You are making a triangle and you can solve for the hypotenuse to make sure your real hypotenuse is hitting the target.
That stuff pumps me up on dorkosterone.
When I taught knitting classes, I taught a handful of homeschool kids. I always made sure to tell their mothers that knitting can be used for math word problems. I am sure the kids were thrilled that I made knitting into schoolwork.
I am always the first to pipe up with my knitting algebra whenever people repeat the dumb "wisdom" that once we get out of school we never have to use that math stuff again.
So when AWTM told me that Chuck Z wondered if I could make him gloves, it was just a matter of doing a little glorious math.
The backstory on Chuck is that an IED took part of his left hand. He lives in cold climes and can no longer wear store-bought gloves. What he needed was custom-made ones to fit his injured left hand.
Obviously, the right glove was just a regular old man's glove. The left glove took some math to adjust the circumference of the wrist and hand, to accommodate Chuck's bigger left wrist but smaller left hand. Chuck's wife took extremely detailed measurements and I scribbled out some ratios and knitting math.
And Bob's your uncle.
I am not entirely happy with the fingertips. The pattern called for cinching them, but once they were done, I wish I had tried to kitchener them instead.
But I did infuse them with manly awesomeness: I knitted them while watching classics like The Terminator, We Were Soldiers, and Death Wish.
Chuck says they "fit like a glove", heh.
I am completely chuffed that my knitting helped support the troops. I mean, this is something that only a knitter could do. Chuck needed me, and I was so excited to oblige.
Plus there was math.
Posted by Sarah at January 3, 2009 01:40 PM
That is OFF the cool-o-meter!! Seriously. AWESOME!
You made me cry. I think it's lovely and amazing. Good job, and I get pumped up on daily algebra dorkosterone, too.
That is seriously one of the coolest things I have EVER SEEN!
That's so completely COOL!
You totally rock!
And let me add math to the list of reasons why I haven't gotten around to learning how to knit yet ;)
You are truly blessed when you lose yourself in the service of others. What a wonderful thing for both the giver and receiver.
I was hoping you'd embed actual knitmath problems in the post so us nonknitters could dust off our old skillz and see if we have what it takes.
the dumb "wisdom" that once we get out of school we never have to use that math stuff again.
There have been moments when I wish I remembered some of that stuff ... and even more moments when I wish that statistics had been an integral part of my math curriculum in school.
The pattern called for cinching them, but once they were done, I wish I had tried to kitchener them instead.
I have no idea what this means. Maybe you could recycle knitting jargon in a political context and watch as your commenters start using it. I want to say "cinch" and "kitchener"!
When questions like this arise, I say Google Images!
Here is a kitchener finish, and from what I can find, to cinch something is to run a string of some sort through it and pull it tight. The cinch finish probably leaves a tight bump, unless I miss my guess. Can't find instructions on a knitting "cinch" stitch, but plenty of references to "just cinch it closed".
Now, to the more important point, I LOVE those gloves, and I'm certain he will wear then until they are lace.
My daughter saw the pictures and said "That glove is missing a finger." I told her they were custom made for a soldier who lost his finger over in Iraq. "Isn't that cool?"
"Ya, but is not cool that he lost his pinky!"
I really couldn't tell her what else he lost!
I second the Armorer! You rock!
HAH! Agreed, Amy. LOL!
Sarah- those are the kewlest gloves EVER. You, indeed, ROCK!!!
I will never complain about swatching again!
Well that explains why he's been kinda quiet on the blog. He's probably out playing in the snow.
That was a really awesome thing to do.
That's awesome! I think it's great that you make so many "lapghans" for injured troops, hats for preemies, and now gloves. What a sweetie!
Bravo!! Your awesome contribution makes all knitters want to do more for our troops. BTW Congrats on the math!
Way. To. Go.
I'm still a very, very basic knitter. I had no idea there was math involved. I secretly like basic algebra ("solve for x" is easy and kind of fun, as is the Pythagorean Theorem – I was actually pretty good at geometry), so maybe I'll have incentive to make it more useful in my life. I want to homeschool Babysierra, so teaching him algebra through knitting is a FABULOUS idea. :)
Great gloves! I'm always heartwarmed by your gift projects. :)
What a seriously cool way to serve!!! :-)
Awesome gloves - you are so kewl :-)
I especially like the part that Chuck gave the finger to the bad guys!
In the words of Pet Detective "Ace Ventura"...
"Like a glove"!!!
My wife only does knitting/sewing algebra and geomerty when she is sewing or knitting, and she does it in her head. Other than that she gets a blank look and says "what?".
Nice gloves by the way.
Totally cool. As someone who has never graduated from squares, I'm doubly impressed. :-)
No wonder I never got along with knitting.
But seriously, that is the coolest that you were able to do that. He looks so happy with his new gloves!!