Sunday, February 19, 2006

Knitting Olympics Day 10

The stole measures 51 inches, but, hey, it would be about twelve feet if all the pulled-out rows were included. There ought to be a way to include that in the official final stats. Something like, "One thousand rows completed, six hundred completed with no errors, total sixteen hundred rows, ten points for the good ones, five points for the rejects, total fifteen points".

Also, because I'm sure you're all wondering, I've compiled a list of all the different ways I can make a mistake in a six-stitch repeat pattern that I've done successfully hundreds of times:

1. knit a stitch instead of doing a yarnover
2. forget to do a yarnover at all
3. slip a stitch instead of doing a yarnover
4. knit a stitch instead of slipping it
5. slip a stitch instead of knitting it
6. count stitches before I get to them, as in "4-5-6-7" when I'm only on 4.
7. forget to pass-slipped-stitch- over
8. knit the border stitch on the right hand side as if it's a pattern stitch.
9. drop the border stitch off the left end of the needle and knit two rows before noticing.

I could go on, but you can see how it goes. All these errors are caused by wandering attention, which happens constantly now that the pattern is memorized. A couple of times I even zoned out while just counting the stitches on the needle, from one to thirty-nine. What was spooky was that the count was accurate. Like, one-two-three (zone out - zone back in) twenty-seven - what? How do I know I'm on 27? Count again, 27 it is.

This would be great if it could be repeated reliably, but of course it can't. I've always been fascinated by what human beings can do unconsciously, ever since I learned to touch-type. To this day I don't know where the letters are on the keys but my fingers do. Most of the time, anyway. And why do they sometimes forget? And those days when you find yourself at the bus stop with your purse and your lunch and the last thing you remember is watching the toast pop up? What's with that?

Being number-challenged as I am is a handicap in knitting, which is a math-based craft. I often wonder how early knitters, most of whom were illiterate, coped with that. I assume that most of European peasantry could count to a hundred and could work with groups of ten. You see that all the time in the Bible. "Divide them up into groups of fifty," etc. But what did they do if their gauge didn't come out even? Did they have some way of doing fractions and decimals? I suppose they worked in the same gauge pretty well all the time, using their own handspun yarn, and if something was the wrong size they just pulled it out and re-knit. Fitting tended to be general rather than specific in those old patterns. But what about all those cable and lace patterns? I suppose it was the people with a natural gift for math who developed those, and others just struggled to learn from them.

One good thing about being number challenged is that I'm not the least bit fazed by the Knitting Olympics time clock. I don't have one on this site anyway because I don't know how to put it on, but lots of K-Olympians have it and are freaked out by it. For me, it would be a problem if it was a pie chart. I understand pie. But numbers I always view as through a veil of gauze. So I'm fine with the clock.


Ashley said...

Love the color... such a pretty red. But yea, the clock doesn't bother me until I stop to think about it. Maybe when I realize that there's about a week left I'll flip. Really I have less than a week because of a trip I'll be on this weekend.

Anyways, good luck.

Bethro said...

51 inches! That's fantastic. How long is it going to be? Mine will be 44 and I am 14 away (and I put two other projects on the needles this week). 51 sounds great.

I am with you on the knitting math part.

Gingersnaps with Tea... said...

Love the color, Red in any shade is great! I felt bad about missing the knitting Olympics--I started my shawl on Saturday--just a little late to join in.

I totally sympathize with you on the numeracy problem. I've only had to rip back a couple of rows on this project but I've been down the zone-out road before ;-D

Good luck with it!

Agnes said...

Thanks for the encouragement, everybody. It's nice to know somebody's watching. I don't know how long it should be; I think maybe eight or nine feet. I don't know how much it will stretch when it's blocked, either. It will all be a surprise!

Casey said...

I thought I was the only one who (sometimes)counts accurately while zoning out! How do our brains do that? I'm glad my lace pattern only has YOs and K2tog. No slipped stitches or psso. Two less things for me to screw up on. I'd be afraid to add up all the messed up stitches I've knit!