Wednesday, November 01, 2006
You do the Math
Yesterday, 7:30 a.m. I'm alone in the house - the door bell rings. It's him. It's the one man that always brings me exactly what I need. Most times, he wants nothing in return. Sometimes, I must pay the toll. It's not his fault - the post office makes him do it.
My little indulgences often come disguised. This one came dressed as meat tortellini. The neighbours must think I'm a Pastafarian. I know better though. I know that inside dwells the nectar of the gods. On par with Socks that Rock, Koigu and Kid Silk Haze. My friends - inside this benign box is a glorious stash of Noro. Noro Silk Garden and Cash Iroha to be exact.
Now Noro and I have an interesting relationship. I buy it occasionally and knit it never. I stash it and revel in its potential. I can't seem to commit it to just one fate. It's too beautiful to actually exist as one manifestation. This particular purchase is ear-marked to make the amazing new design on the cover of the newly published book "Yarnplay" by Lisa Siobhana Mason. I definitely had a "gotta have it" moment when I saw this design and when I saw Wendy's version (of Knitty D and the City) I reacted with an involuntary spasm of my right index finger on the "buy now" button of an online yarn store with a nice robust Noro selection.
This design is interesting because the bottom section is "do what you think best". Wendy used the ancient mathematical strategy known as the Fibonacci sequence to determine where to place her unique strips on the bottom part. This stuff could actually make me like math!
The sequence was based on the question "How many pairs of rabbits will be produced in a year, beginning with a single pair, if in every month each pair bears a new pair which becomes productive from the second month on? It is easy to see that 1 pair will be produced the first month, and 1 pair also in the second month (since the new pair produced in the first month is not yet mature), and in the third month 2 pairs will be produced, one by the original pair and one by the pair which was produced in the first month. In the fourth month 3 pairs will be produced, and in the fifth month 5 pairs. After this things expand rapidly, and we get the following sequence of numbers: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, ...This is an example of a recursive sequence, obeying the simple rule that to calculate the next term one simply sums the preceding two:
This is important to my knitting because:
a) My yarn stash appears to multiply this way (much like rabbits).
b) Nature uses this logic and therefore using this sequence for the stripe placement should have a "natural look to it".
On the Knitty D and the City Podcast - Wendy indicates that her stripes were placed at row 5, 8, 13, 21 etc. It looks pretty darn good to me.
My Noro needs to stay out of the closet. It needs to reach its full potential right away. Besides, it's now been rationalized into a mathematical experiment. Not bad for a day's work.