Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Knitting Math

I've been thinking about the geometry of the knit stitch, and how needle sizing affects that. (My commute is very boring.)

First off, for this discussion, let's assume that yarn size and the tension on the yarn are perfectly constant. Makes life a lot easier. Here's a picture of what a size 0 (2mm) needle cross-section would look like next to a size 2 (3mm) needle, if they were enlarged to where 1mm=100 pixels.

A stitch is formed by wrapping the yarn around the outside of a needle, so the circumference is the important thing, even though needles are sized by diameter.

So we all remember that the circumference = pi*r^2, and r=.5(diameter). For a 2mm needle (what I usually use for socks), the circumference = pi(1^2) or 3.14 mm. Which is a handy, base reference number. The size 2 needles I bought today are 3 mm, which makes the circumference 7 mm. Three isn't a lot bigger than 2 (only 50% more!) but 7 is a lot more than 3 (125%). (Oh, and there's some rounding going on there, but y'know, close enough.)

So the difference doesn't seem like much because of the way needles are sized, but it's really pretty important. The difference between an 8 and a 10 (5 and 6 mm, respectively) is almost a centimeter in circumference. Multiply that by howevermany stitches you have in a piece and you can see why needle size matters.

All this is, of course, the verbose version of "I spent $30 on needles today."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Yarn Reference - MDSW 2007

This year I am SMART, because I am taking pictures and labeling everything so I know what it is when I finally get around to knitting it up. Last year I lost all my labels when I wound the yarn into balls. Dur.

This is from - Shelridge Farms their Soft Touch Ultra in Handpaint (#SU07-1003; they don't seem to have the handpaints on their website). I should try to get a better picture - it's not, in fact, blue. It's a mix of purple and brown and blue and green and all sorts of beautiful all mixed up. I loved the yarn I got from them last year and made a special effort to hit their booth this year. (Of course, there are two skeins of this, but I only took a picture of the one.) It is machine wash, dry flat.

This is from Blue Moon of course - the first Socks That Rock that I picked. It reached out and grabbed me by the throat, and I didn't even try to resist it. But I did try to counter the overwhelming power of the Beautiful Blues by trying something new (below). All the STR is machine or handwash, dry flat. This is Azure Malachite:

And this is Hot Flash. It's not for me, thank goodness. Why can't I find any of these colorways on their website? Could they be discontinued? If so, I feel awfully special. And I see that I must purchase some Sherbert STR, if only to have it lying around the house and looking beautiful. Anyway, Hot Flash, for the kiddo, which seems odd but she loves it.

And this is my foray into non-blue-green-purple. It's scary out there. But with this holding my hand and leading me into the wilderness, I think I'll do ok. It's Red Rock Canyon, and I adore it.

This is from Ellen's Half Pint Farm, and it's 50% Merino, 50% Bamboo. It's the first bamboo yarn I've bought. And look! No purple, blue or green to be seen. SH0XX0R! (It's not on their website at the moment, but I'm going to assume hand wash/dry on it.)

And this... wait for it. It was $40, which is actually very reasonable for what it is, which is 8 oz and 1000 yards of hand-dyed brushed mohair (10% nylon) in "Florida Sunshine". I saw it and it made me happy in my heart. I looked at the price tag and winced, since I'd already blown my budget on the things above. I said, ok, I'll go away, and if it's still there when I leave, it's meant to be mine.

It was. It is.

It's from Kid Hollow Farm. It doesn't seem to be on their website. Alas. It screams out to be made into a circular shawl, but I worry about having enough for the border. I may wind up doing geometry. (I didn't give up on math until after Multivariable Calculus, but geometry and I... well, we never got along.) Anyway. I'm not sure any picture would do it justice, but here you go:


And speaking of things that make me happy, here's my $1.50 coleus garden. Every time I look at it, I smile. (Not knitting, or related in any way to knitting, but hey.)

MD Sheep & Wool, pt. 1

One of the very best things about MD Sheep & Wool is that I met the person behind Ravelry.com. I didn't think much of it at the time, because all she said was, "This is my website, want a button?" and I thought, "ok, generic blog" and said yes just to be polite. Then when I got home and saw what it was, I DANCED WITH GLEE.

Stupid useless Blogger, your days are numbered. Tremble with fear! At least, I dearly hope that this will be the case. I'm not in the beta yet, but I did sign up for it.

However, seeing as how I'm stuck here for the time being, how about some pictures? I left what I thought would be plenty early, but didn't factor in the fact that the last 2 miles take 45 minutes to traverse due to an unfortunately brief left-turn signal. So when I raced to The Fold, I saw this:

Doesn't look too bad? Here's a better shot:

So I spent half an hour in line just to browse, then another half an hour in line to buy. But it was WORTH IT. (Yarn pics in next post.)

I had another festival to go to in the afternoon, so I didn't get to browse as much as I wanted, but I did spend way, way too much money. Perhaps it's best I didn't have more time. I'm bummed that I didn't get to see the sheepdog stuff or any of the demos - next year I'll plan my time differently. And leave at SEVEN, not 8.

Mr. Adorable Alpaca:

Goat? I'm a city girl. They're all fiber on legs, as far as I know. But this one was especially cute and fluffery:

This one I know. It's a sheep, for sure. (I meant to write down the breed and everything, but got distracted. I thought he had a thoughtful face, though.) The next one is sheep too. But different sheep.

Next up: What I Spent Way Too Much Money On.