January 2022

Patience and Perseverance

Last week, I bought a skein of wonderful, soft, shiny, dyed tencel yarn. It was a spontaneous purchase. The local yarn shop owner offered to wind the skein into a ball using the shop ballwinder. I agreed.

That was the first mistake. Such slippery yarn should never be balled using a ball winder. While winding it, the ball fell off the ball winder. The shop owner started winding the rest by hand. But 630 yards is a lot of yarn to wind by hand. She suggested I come back another day.

On Tuesday I picked up the yarn. The center pull ball looked sloppy. I decided to rewind it when I got home. That was the second mistake. Since the original was not well wound and the yarn so slippery, the ball fell apart. I had a tangled mess on my hand.

I was ready to give up. I was ready to go back to the yarn store, put the half balled yarn and remaining tangled mess on the “free” table.

But then I remembered that I had just bought the yarn. It wasn’t cheap. I still loved the color and the shininess of it. I still wanted to make a shawl from it.

So I sat down and started to untangle. That was Tuesday.

Wednesday, I untangled some more.

Thursday, I untangled even more. I was beginning to see some progress.

This was how far I got on Friday morning.

Do you see the ball of yarn? All that yarn was part of the tangled mess. By Friday morning, I had only a small amount of yarn to untangle. By Friday afternoon, I had finished. I have half the skein still on the ball winder and half the skein in a tightly wound ball. In another couple of days I will wind it all off the ball winder.

This was a lesson in patience and perseverance. I’m glad I didn’t give up.


My “Year of Knitting (and/or Crocheting) Mathematically”

One of the things I want to do during this sabbatical year is to work on projects that combine knitting or crocheting with mathematical ideas. I have  done some mathematically inspired projects in the past: Moebius purses, baskets, and cowls using Cat Bordhi‘s amazing Moebius cast-on, hyperbolic crochet inspired by Daina Tamina.

There are more mathematically inspired fiber projects in the two books edited by sarah-marie belcastro and Carolyn Yackel. Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer at Woolly Thoughts also have interesting projects. A search for “Math” in the tags at Ravelry yields many more results. I could knit or crochet a Siefert Surface or a Scherk Surface. Or how about a change ringing scarf?

There are so many possibilities!

So this year my goal is to actually read through the books by Daina and sarah and Carolyn and do some of the projects in those books. I would also like to do some of Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer’s projects. I would like to put together a little display of the projects along with brief explanations of the mathematics illustrated by the objects.

I finally finished my first project of the year. Norah Gaughan in Knitting Nature has some wonderful mathematical designs, including several fractal patterns. I made her Triangle Scarf, depicting the Sierpinski Triangle. It took me much longer than I expected but now that it is done, I can start thinking about my next project.