Monday, 29 March 2010

Crocheting and Math?

The elbow saga continues, so still no knitting. However, I did run across this today: "Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes" by mathematician Daina Taimina.

She won a prize for the oddest title. I think she was pretty ingenious myself. Of course, I think it might take a crafter, or maybe a crafter who understands math, to understand the book, but it’s an ingenious connection all the same. Crafts isn’t just crafts and math can be used everywhere.

Having said that, I use as little math as possible myself. The only mathematical principle I ever understood well enough to actually use in daily life is proportion. If I can turn it into a proportion, I can figure it out. I turn stitch counts into proportions all the time. Ok, so they don’t always turn out so well, but the math is usually right, even if the practical knitting is not. Theoretical Knitting is so much easier, don’t you think?

Still, even if I’m never going to understand hyperbolic planes (and frankly haven’t got the slightest desire to even try because when you’ve lived this long ), this is one math book I’d actually look at if I passed by it in the shop.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Knitting Substitutes, Frogs and Hedgehogs

I’m being really good about this no knitting thing. I’ve knit maybe 10 rows in the last week. OK, still too much, but when you can suddenly go cold turkey for 2-4 weeks, I’ll send you a cookie. Maybe a virtual one since I’m not really supposed to lift things and baking requires lifting of bowls etc.

So, what does one do if one can’t knit in front of the telly in the evenings? For a whole week I sat trying to resist knitting and not knowing what to do with myself. I spent more time at work, went to bed early, the dog got pet a whole lot (a trend she’d much like to continue), read more paper books, actually watched telly (It’s still overrated as a single entertainment media. Most of its value lies in accompanying another hobby.), and twiddled my thumbs. Then, last night, I asked myself whatever in the world did I do before I discovered knitting? I know I spent hours shelling Walnuts, cutting up pumpkins and ironing, but two of three are seasonal and I’ve stopped ironing entirely and never missed it/noticed I’m no longer freshly pressed so why take it up again? I also used to play video games with or without friends, but no longer have a console because I just can’t justify spending $500 on a Wii.

Suddenly I realized that I used to work puzzles and that I have three in the closet which I haven’t done because I learned to knit. Sooooo, I toddled off to the next room and got the board I had intended to use as a blocking board, but my experiment failed, so it was still just a board. Grabbed a 2000 piece puzzle, dumped it on the board and started working it. I have to say it frustrates me a bit because unlike in knitting, you don’t really see progress since it’s all spread out. I also have to mention that none of you will ever see this puzzle, because although it’s a quite amusing cartoon puzzle, it’s rather naughty in places - there’s at least one naked cartoon guy streaking through the streets - so I shan’t be posting a picture of it here for fear of being branded a porn blogger. Still, it gives me something to do that won’t hurt my elbow any further and by the time I’m done, I should, hopefully, be able to go back to knitting.

Of Hedgehogs and Frogs: one of the first signs of Spring, and Autumn, here is the frog fence. I live near a lake, to/from which many, many frogs migrate every year. The frog numbers started declining as traffic picked up, so now there is a frog fence that goes up on the forest side of the street every Spring and lake side every Autumn. Volunteers then patrol the fence, picking up frogs there and carrying them across the road to safety. Only, it really only seems to catch the frogs with lower IQs. The frogs with the higher IQs, or maybe the more bloody minded of them, get through this fence and cross by themselves. Unfortunately, as mentioned, crossing the road is fraught with dangers in the form of steel belted radials and many don’t make it. What this means for the frogs is that although their population is on the increase, the average frog IQ is actually dropping because the smart ones get run over. We’re breeding generations of stupid and docile frogs who will become entirely dependent on humans for their survival. Let’s just hope future generations of school children still really, really want to go and spend an hour before school every morning picking up frogs and carrying them across the street or we shall be frogless within just a few froggy generations.

Soooo, let’s return to reality now (that was all tongue in cheek, just for the record). There are actually volunteers who go out at midnight looking for the frogs who’ve gotten through the fence so they don’t get run over (thus saving those with higher IQs or who are just stubborn and independent). However, as I learned on Saturday night, this still doesn’t save all the frogs. I was driving along the road before the volunteers came along, duly tip-toeing my Good Years through the froggy maze, when I suddenly had to slam on the brakes for a hedgehog who was looking pretty funny. His legs were stuck out at a weird angle and I was thinking he’d been run over and I would need to get out and, and the very least, get him off the road. However, before I could even put on my emergency blinkers, he scuttled off at a fairly good clip turning just enough to allow me to see that what he had been doing was snatching a frog. Those weren’t his legs, but the legs of a frog who was sticking out of his mouth. Frogs legs are back on the menu boys. Even at midnight you can learn new things. I didn’t know Hedgehogs ate frogs, but now I do. I thought they stuck to insects and snails and the occasional can of cat food when they can get it, but I was wrong. I wonder if they just eat the legs and leave the rest or if they munch down the whole frog. Oh wait, it’s nature, nothing is voluntarily wasted in nature.

So what we’ve been doing all along hasn’t actually been just saving frogs, but creating Hedgehog Buffet Month. No wonder there are more hedgehogs than there used to be. I hope some of them move in with us. We have a few rock piles that have been empty since our last hedgehog got run over which means our slug and snail population is out of control. Maybe I should advertise over at the frog fence: Free room and board for hedgehogs across the road. There’s room for you and your whole family. Yung’ens welcome.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Knitter’s Elbow Continued

Thanks to everyone for their comments and suggestions about the knitter’s elbow and how to help it (resting). I did this over the weekend and also invested in an elbow strap specifically designed for tennis elbow, and it felt a lot better by Monday morning. Unfortunately after a half a day at work I was in pain again, despite the brace. This morning I had to go looking for ice at work just so I could sit at my desk. Post ice, pain killers, tightening of aforementioned brace and repositioning my chair to change the angle of my arm, I was relatively comfortable for the rest of the morning. I am, however, going to the doctor this afternoon just to get better pain meds and in the hope that he’ll have other helpful advice.

Also thanks for the comments about the needles. Everyone has their own favourites it seems. It all depends on what kind of knitter you are. The funny thing is that I used to adore my bamboo knitting needles until I discovered that, I tended to bend them while knitting so they became deformed, and that I really prefer using circulars for most things. Circulars mean you can spread your work out, try it on while knitting and the Options are exchangeable so I have all I need with my two sets. Unfortunately, they haven’t come up with the absolutely perfect needles yet. Addis kink, the Option cable joins are weak, Pony/Inox joins are horrid in general, straights are just dangerous (ask my cat who likes to sit next to me while I’m knitting) and too short, metal needles are slippery, wooden ones stick, etc. etc., and I’m sure there are hoards more out there that I haven’t tried. I’m equally sure they all have their good and bad points. Personally I want Addy metal tips and joins with the memory free Options cables – I’ve heard there are problems with the Addy circular sets too. I’d also like to see it mandatory to have the size indelibly printed on every needle ever made so that I’d never need to look for my sizer again. I must add a big thanks here to Uncle for lending me and showing me how to use his metal engraver to engrave the size on my Options needles without causing any snaggy edges. It worked a charm.

Knitting work has been slow to non-existent lately. People think knitting is such a quite, non-dangerous hobby. Little do they know…

Friday, 12 March 2010

Knitter's Elbow?

There's not much new on the knitting front. I'm still plugging away on my Byzantine Bazic, which I'm enjoying for the most part. The only part I'm not enjoying is that part where I make a mistake and have to fix it, but I can hardly blame that on the pattern, or can I? If you have a way I can do so, please let me know. Why should I take the blame for my own mistakes when most of the rest of the world doesn't? Of course, there are those who make mistakes and then make a big song and dance apology to the public. Somehow I can't help but think that no one reading this will care if I apologize for making mistakes in my knitting and that they would probably just tell me I'm the one suffering for my mistakes, which is quite true. But if it's true for me, why isn't it true for the rest of them? I'm sorry, but neither their apology nor their failure to make an apology effects my life in the slightest and I doubt it really effects the vast majority of the public either. If few people really care, make that apology to them. It might get you further.

Anyhoo, I digress (really, I wasn't intending to say any of that). Since I don't have any snazzy pictures or interesting things to say about my knitting, I'll tell you about my new Harmony needles. I'm terribly glad I didn't buy the whole set. I tried switching to the wood from my metal ones and it took me all of two seconds to realize that there's a reason I've liked the metal. I'm a very tight knitter and need the metal so I can slide the stitches along the needles. They don't slide on the wood and frankly, I just can't be bothered putting that much effort into knitting with wood. Ergo, I'm sticking with metal from here on out. I suppose I could try the new arylic ones, but I can't think of any reason they should be better than the metal, so why spend the money? Again, if anyone knows a reason, I'm open to new thoughts.

Finally, I have a question for you. Does anyone know if it's possible to get tennis elbow from knitting? From what I read in the Net, I have tennis elbow, but I don't know where I got it from. It could be from knitting or from mouse work at the office, but I don't know. Has anyone heard of someone getting it from knitting?

Monday, 8 March 2010


Knit & Play With Fire has returned to the blogosphere after a short break and was kind enough to hold a contest to celebrate, and guess what! I won! So a big thank you to her! She'll be picking something out specifically for me. Nothing like a bit of fibre to make your day. She does some wonderful yarn herself. If you like fibre, you ought to go over and check out her blog. She also posts some lovely photography and that's always worth checking out.

Thursday, 4 March 2010


I'm here plugging Wandering Cat Studio's Yarn Contest becuase she has some really scrummy yarns on offer. There's many a time I've thought I'm lucky to live 10'000 miles away from her or I'd be in trouble.

Speaking of which, now that Audible is owned by Amazon, I think Amazon actually owns my soul. I wonder if there's an AAA group out there, Amazon Addictives Anonymous. I think I might need one.