Saturday, July 30, 2011

You SHAWL not pass!

Clever title... really has nothing to do with the post.  Well, "shawl" does but that's about it.  I'm coming along thank you very much Mr Gandalf.

Firstly, I hope all y'all are enjoying the Math for Knitters.  Please share with friends etc. who might be having issues with knitting/fibre arts that my math might help with ;)

I am working on a shawl for my mom for her birthday.  It's the Trinity Shawlette.  I think it will be very nice when it's done!  I'm doing version 1 because I was thinking of version 3 but then I forgot.  I think I have one or two repeats to go.  It will probably be too big if I use all my yarn (~600yds of Misti Alpaca Pima Silk DK in "Eucalyptus Leaf").  I'm going to go to 8 repeats I think and then start the border.

It's my first shawl and my first lace, but it's coming along quite well and I think it will be nice once it's all blocked. 

I also downloaded the "Instagram" app for my phone.  It makes everything I do look hipster and arty!  So this is a closeup of the stitch pattern.  Actually the app did a good job of showing the stitches!  Maybe I'll Instagram everything from now on ... not.  (The app borderline bugs me... it can be used for comedic effect but I really think it doesn't take too much skill to use it.  Real film... now that's skill.)

Well, I've gotta go clean the apartment for guests tonight... Chili cookoff, what fun!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Math for Knitters: Part 2 (the weight)

I have seen this question come up time and time again, "what is the 'standard' mass to yardage for certain yarn weights?"  (Reminder: mass is how many oz or g something has, weight is the kind of yarn (fingering, worsted, etc.)

Section 1: Mass
To find out the information here, I picked the top 10 most popular yarn of each weight on Ravelry.  I found out how many meters were in a skein and how many grams each skein weighed.  I then found out the meters per gram (m/g) of each, and then averaged them (added all 10 together then divided by 10).  I also found the grams per meter (g/m) of each as well.  This is what I found:
weightmeters per gramgrams per meter

I left out some of the less common ones, because you can guess what weight it is if it's in between. Of course, your best bet would be to check what kind of yarn it is to begin with. If you have mystery yarn, you can use Math for Knitters: Part 1 (The Math) to find out more information about the yarn you have.
Not all yarns will fit exactly in with these numbers.  These are guidelines only, and can vary greatly depending on the material used.  If I have a pound of feathers and a pound of bricks, one will take up more space.   If I spun the brick and the feathers into yarn that knits up at the same gauge (so I had 1 lb of brick worsted and 1 lb of feather worsted), their meterages would both be very different.  Your best bet is always to go with the gauge information as prescribed by the CYC (below).

Section 2: Gauge
If you want gauge information, I suggest checking out Craft Yarn Council Standard Yarn Weight System. I won't republish their information, because it's super easy to find (following the link I just gave you).

I hope you find this post useful! Again, any feedback you have, please let me know!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fornicating Kangaroos!

I finished it!  I only have a crappy picture because I didn't have a chance to take a good picture of it before I gave it to my friend.  I used Cascade 220.  I did the ribbing on a size 6 needle, the hat on size 7, then I did the top decreases on size 6 DPN because I don't have size 7 DPN.  The DPNs were a little easier to work with, I had awful trouble when I was trying to do a sock.

In other news... well I'm applying for another job, but just between you and me, it's to supplement my fibre habit.  I want a winder and swift and some new needles (Addis would be great, but I might try some from elsewhere... suggestions?).   I also want to get some really nice yarn for a shawl for my mom for her birthday (I realize I have a month left... so maybe I'll hit up the yarn store tomorrow!).  I'm hoping for something in a leafy-olivey green, preferably solid, in either lace or fingering, I don't really care which because I have patterns in mind for both.

In other news, I received my yarn from Light Brown Hare in Nebula.  It's gorgeous and I can't wait to knit with it!  But I want to wait until I get a ball winder so I can wind it properly ;)  Photos will come later, when my camera returns.  I want to make Magrathea with it.  I've been in love with Magrathea since I joined Rav (it was one of the top shawls for a while, which is how I stumbled upon it).  It's gorgeous and I think it will look great in this yarn!  And if not... frog and make something better :P  (I also think that Nebula is fitting for Magrathea... or maybe I'm just a nerd)  I really hope I have to do 42 of something in that pattern!  I haven't downloaded it yet because I don't have the money (I know, it's only $6)... but that will be my gift to myself once I get that second job!

And my Aidez is coming along nicely.  I'm done the body up to the armpits and one sleeve (and the first 5" of the other one).  I'm so excited to see this come together!  Hopefully I'll have it finished by the end of summer.

Well that's all folks, I hope you enjoyed my Math For Knitters posts, let me know your feedback!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Math for Knitters (Introduction)

I'm going to preface this with a disclaimer: I am not a math person.  Actually, my personal math nerd is away, so I'm basically pulling what I remember out of high school math.  (In case you were curious, I did do calculus in high school and again for credit in university, but I could not have passed either without the help of my friends who actually knew what they were doing!)  I am training to be a teacher, so this series is an exercise for me in a) teaching things that most people don't understand and b) learning something well enough so I can teach it to others.

If you got to grade 10 math, or have done physics or chemistry in high school, this should be simple enough for you to understand.  Math for Knitters is simply rearranging equations.  You don't necessarily have to understand how it works but you do need to be able to take my examples and apply them yourself.

If you want to know why you'd want to do this math, I'm going to tell you.  If you have mystery yarn and want to know how much you have (or if you have enough to make something), you could unwind it, run it through a yardage counter, then wind it back up again.  Or, you could save yourself the money on the counter, do a bit of quick and easy math, and get the same result.  If you need to substitute yarns, but only the meterage or only the mass of the yarn are given, then you can change more easily.  Some yarns are denser than others, so using meters makes sense in that context.  But if a pattern tells you "400 meters of Cascade 220", how much of that nice cotton from your stash would you need?
I'm going to ask you a silly question: "what weighs more: a pound of feathers or a pound of bricks?"  Think of yarn like that.  Laceweight is feathers, and bulky is bricks.  You could have 50g of each, but you would have a lot more laceweight (meterage-wise) than you would of bulky in that 50g.  Also, not all fibres are created equal.  Some are heavier/denser and others are lighter.  The heavier and denser it is, the more it will weigh.  You could have a string of lead at the same gauge as laceweight silk.  The lead will be much heavier than the silk.
Note: when meterage/grams are given for yarn, it is often from a controlled environment in a factory.  Weighing at home always has a margin of error because your scale probably isn't professional trade-quality.  If you need an exact measurement, like to the inch, a yard counter is your best bet.  Or, just to be on the safe side, get an extra skein of yarn, and hopefully you can return it (or use it for something else).

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to comment or contact me otherwise (my name on Ravelry is andreabrightside).

Last thing: I have created this document through my hard work and fiddling with LaTeX builders online.  (It hopefully looks effortless but it took quite a lot of thought) Please don't reproduce this or use it as your own.  If you would like to use it for commercial purposes or spread it elsewhere, either link straight to this entry or contact me for more information.

Thank you and I hope you enjoy this post!

Math for Knitters Part 1: The Math
Math for Knitters Part 2: The Weight

PS: this math is for crocheters too, anyone who likes yarn, and anyone who likes math!!

Math for Knitters: Part 1 (the math)

One of the most common questions I see on Ravelry is something to this extent: "I have/need yarn.  How much do I have/need?"  Another frequent question that has the same answer is "Should I buy a scale or a yardage counter?" Either way, the solution to your problem comes from converting between mass and meterage.  **NOTE: I use the term "mass" to talk about how heavy a yarn is (i.e. what I read on the scale in oz or g).  "Weight" refers to the fibre weight or density, such as laceweight or worsted.

I'm Canadian so for the purposes of this entry, I will be using the metric system.  It's not scary and it makes a lot more sense than the imperial system.  However, not all manufacturers use the metric system, so that's OK.  If, everywhere you see "g" (grams) you substitute oz (ounces), and for "m" (meters) you substitute yards, everything will work out fine.  If you need to change units, you can either use a converter tool (I usually just Google something like "50m to yards" and it gives me the answer I'm looking for).

Anyway, I'm going to cut to the chase.  Read the introduction if you want to know why on earth you would want to do this.  You'll need a scale, a ruler or meter stick, and a calculator.

Step 1: Find out the weight of your yarn.  You can do this by:
a) Looking at the ball band or the yarn page on Ravelry
a.1) My yarn has a mass of 70g and each ball should have 110m of yarn.  I want to find out how much one meter of yarn will weigh.  We do this by dividing meters by grams.

b) Finding out your grams per meter using a scale and ruler
b.1) You find this out by measuring some yarn out using a ruler or meter stick (I would go with 3m of yarn at least, maybe more for laceweight or lighter).  The more yarn you measure out, the more accurate your reading will be.  Home scales may be sensitive to air currents and are not always sensitive to the last decimal point.  Unfortunately this may mean that your final number could be off by a bit, so that's why it's important to invest in a good scale (or work in a deli or post office!).  You use the exact same formula as above, substituting the numbers for the ones you measured.

Step 2: Find out the mass of your yarn.  Put the yarn on the scale and weigh it.  I have 55g of yarn.  I know some of this ball has been used but I don't know how much, and I'd like to make something that calls for 100m.  Will I have enough?

This is the easy part.  We have our magic number from above (1.571m/g).  We just have to multiply the grams to find out meters.  If you remember from school, what you do to the bottom, you do to the top.  So if we multiply the entire number by grams, the grams on the bottom will cancel out, leaving us with meters (and, more importantly, a number you can use!).

... whoa, was it really that easy?  I'm kind of bummed that I only have 86m, but I guess I can go buy more yarn!

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