26 July 2017

Knitted Coral

I've continued experimentation with the Y increase and hyperbolic knitting.

In this case, I started with 8 pairs in the round. I alternated one round 1×1 ribbing, one round Y increase in every pair of stitches (thus doubling). I started with 8 pairs and bound off with 512 pairs. The yarn is Lily Sugar 'n Cream kitchen cotton — sturdy, inexpensive, easy-care yarn that comes in a 2½ ounce/120 yard put-up. Some stores also carry it in a 14 ounce cone.

I would love to make a very large hyperbolic poof. I think it would be interesting to be able to fall into one, as if it were some strange hyperbolic version of a bean bag chair. Here is the problem:

Powers of 2
  21  =  2
  22  =  4
  23  =  8
  24  =  16
  25  =  32
  26  =  64
  27  =  128
  28  =  256
  29  =  512
210  =  1,024
211  =  2,048
212  =  4,096
213  =  8,192
214  =  16,384
215  =  32,768
216  =  65,536
217  =  131,072
218  =  262,144
219  =  524,288
220  =  1,048,576
221  =  2,097,152
222  =  4,194,304
223  =  8,388,608
224  =  16,777,216
225  =  33,554,432
226  =  67,108,864
227  =  134,217,728
228  =  268,435,456
229  =  536,870,912
230  =  1,073,741,824
231  =  2,147,483,648
232  =  4,294,967,296
233  =  8,589,934,592
234  =  17,179,869,184
235  =  34,359,738,368
236  =  68,719,476,736
237  =  137,438,953,472
238  =  274,877,906,944
239  =  549,755,813,888
240  =  1,099,511,627,776

This is where imagination bashes up against the laws of physics. You hit the million mark on the 20th increase round, billion mark on the 30th, and the trillionth on the 40th. There are 63,360 inches in a mile. If you got four stitches to the inch, then 253,440 stitches in a mile. That means that at the 20th increase round, you need 4 miles of cables, double-pointed needles, or whatever it is you are using to hold the live stitches. Crocheters do not have this problem. On the other hand, I like the greater drape of the knitted fabric. Crochet is stiffer.

My poof is just under 4 inches radius/8 inches diameter. It is 14 rounds tall: cast on round, 12 rounds pattern, one bind-off round. The next increase round + plain round will take about one skein of yarn. The pair of rounds after that will take about 2 skeins. I might be able to get to around 216 = 65,536. I've made a blanket with 80,000 stitches and a fine-gauge reversible lace scarf with 75,000. So I might be able to make a poof about 16 inches in diameter that weighs roughly 20 pounds (assuming 5 ounces of yarn gets me roughly 2000 stitches). This gives you a sense of why ruffles are a sign of conspicuous consumption. They devour yardage!

Another way of looking at this is that every time you increase, you are committing yourself to using as much yarn as you have already used in the whole rest of the project. I stopped at 512 stitches, which was a little over a full skein. If I had increased again, I would have needed a full skein of yarn just for that increase row and its corresponding plain row. So another approach is to weigh yarn, cast on, and when you have only about half left, bring the project to an end.

If I am understanding this form correctly, the center is the least dense. If I had started with one pair, the form would progress from a point to a cone to a hyperbolic pseudosphere. Since I started at 8 stitches in the round, the center is a circle that becomes a hyperbolic pseudosphere. Although the form ruffles around to fill up three-dimensional space, the edge gets longer and heavier and packs in faster than the radius grows. I am thinking that at some point, the mass of the fabric becomes a well-packed ball. In my example above, can you really crush 20 pounds of kitchen cotton into a 16-inch sphere? It is that packing problem that makes me think to comprehend the form fully, you need to keep knitting.

Of course, another approach is to add even more plain rows between the increase rows. This would allow the diameter to grow more quickly. But if you want one with an 18-inch radius/36 inch diameter, you are still looking at a massive project. (What I would really love is one with a 6- to 8- foot diameter, where I could touch it and interact with it.) Then again, maybe just commit to knitting 50 pounds of kitchen cotton into a hyperbolic beanbag chair and queue up streaming Netflix?

I must admit I've had a fascination with powers of two since I was very young. I can remember learning to multiple at school. Second or third grade, maybe? We had a big green blackboard with yellow chalk in the basement play room at home. I sat on the floor and multiplied by two over and over again until I filled up the blackboard. I was fascinated. And here, decades later, I am still enthralled.

13 July 2017

Many Choices

I know right now is summer, filled with summertime distractions. But, there are knitting distractions coming up in the calendar.

This Saturday 15 July is North Georgia Knitting Guild's annual Beat the Heat Retreat in Woodstock. This is a day of knitting camaraderie with workshops, activities, food, and just general socializing.

The next weekend on Sunday 23 July is Christmas in July at The Whole Nine Yarns. This is the annual day to acquire lots of gift-appropriate patterns. Many of us who teach at the shop will be there to demonstrate the techniques, too.

Intown Quilters in Decatur is bringing Patty Lyons for a weekend of teaching Friday 18 August through Sunday 20 August. Classes are:
Friday night lecture: Oops, I Accidentally Knit a Dress (Tales of Lies, Heartbreak and Denial)
Saturday classes: Finishing Seams Simple & Best Buttonholes
Sunday classes: Secrets to Spectacular Sweater Success & Knitting ER Tragedy & Treatments

The September calendar overflows.
Yarn Rhapsody in Gainesville has scheduled Beth Brown-Reinsel for the weekend of September 9 & 10. Beth is a specialist in traditional knitting techniques. If you love classic Old World mittens, gloves, and sweaters, give the shop a call. Classes are Latvian Wristers on Friday morning, Introduction to Twined Knitting on Friday afternoon, and Top-Down Aran Cardigan all day Saturday.

The same weekend is Georgia FiberFest in Columbus. The festival runs Thursday 7 September through Saturday 9 September. (Hint: You could attend the festival and still squeeze in a class with Beth on Sunday.) This year Georgia FiberFest has put the spotlight on knitting. The headliner is Franklin Habit. Also attending is Russian lace expert Galina Khmeleva.

Franklin's classes:
Thursday afternoon: Knitted Tesselations: Playful and Powerful Patterns in Practice
Friday morning: Embroider Your Knitting: Level One
Friday afternoon: Garter Party: Garter Stitch Gone Wild (with Special Guest I-Cord)
Saturday morning: Introduction to the History, Methods, and Styles of Lace Knitting
Saturday afternoon: Now You See It, Now You Don't: Shadow Knitting

Galina's classes:
Friday day all day: The Fundamentals of Orenburg Knitted Lace
Saturday morning: Spinning the Orenburg Way
Saturday mid-day: Plying Orenburg Style

I am also on the schedule with two of my favorite classes:
Friday afternoon: Oops! Now What Do I Do?
Saturday mid-day: Now How Do I Finish?

And there's always Varian Brandon:
Friday morning: Converting Flat to In the Round
Friday afternoon: Using Steek Stitches

If Varian's steek class weren't opposite my mistake-fixing class, I would already be signed up.

If you are north of the city — specifically all the way in South Carolina — then that same weekend South Carolina Knitting Guild is bringing in Edie Eckman. In this case, classes are Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Classes are:
Saturday morning: Go Bi-Textural: Combine Knitting and Crochet
Saturday afternoon: Mix It Up Miters
Sunday morning: Where do they Get Those Numbers? (or Math for Knitters)
Sunday afternoon: 5 Knit Buttonholes You Need to Know Now
Monday morning: From Start to Finish: Finishing Techniques

And then we get to October:

You can sign up for those classes here.

Marly's classes are also the same week as Spinzilla, which starts at 00:01 on Monday 2 October and runs through 23:59 on Sunday 8 October. Doh!

And at the end of October is Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair. This year's dates are Friday 27 October through Sunday 29 October plus an extra day on Thursday for workshops. As usual, this show is a bounty of workshops, shopping, competitions, demonstrations, and sweet animals. It is, however, a longer drive from Atlanta than Georgia FiberFest. Of course, if you don't want to drive, you can sign up for Yarn Rhapsody's Saturday bus trip to SAFF.

My classes include:
Thursday: Conquering Kitchener and Brioche Rosetta Stone
Friday: Liberating the Labyrinth, Sonic Boom Möbius Cowl, and Italian Perfection
Saturday: Modular Mystique and Small Rounds + Two at a Time
Sunday: Daring Double Cables and When to Combination Knit

So, if you have been thinking it is time to learn something new, there is plenty of opportunity!

03 July 2017

Initial Experiments with the Y Increase

A couple months back, I posted a video showing how to work the k-yo-k increase in reversible lace. I mentioned that one of the interesting things about reversible lace is you can knit into the same stitch twice. Each "stitch" is actually a knit-purl pair. You can knit, purl, then back up and knit again, then purl again.

I've tentatively named this a Y increase because it is one stitch that splits into two stitches. When I sketch it out as a stitch chart or stitch map, it looks like a Y.

I've begun experimenting with this increase.

One of my plans for reversible lace is to turn circular shawls into swirl jackets. Circular shawls are fabulous lace projects. But how do you wear them? For so many people, the first thing you do is fold the shawl in half. When worked reversibly, you could insert sleeves and have a swirl jacket instead. I decided to test the idea with a teddy bear jacket.

It turns out that an 8-section polygon was a little hyperbolic. The 7-section design worked better. I suspect 6-sections will also work. In fact, I might need to make some swatches in 5, 6, 7, and 8 sections to see clearly what happens. For this project, I increased every-other round. The increases alternated between double yarn-overs and Y increases. For an even number of pairs on a section edge, I used the double yarn-overs because even numbers have a center gap. For an odd number of pairs on a section edge, I used the Y increase because odd numbers have a central pair.

Christmas in July is coming up on Sunday 23 July at The Whole Nine Yarns. As typical, I am contributing a pattern.

If you crochet, you may recognize this as a basic crochet hyperbolic plane. Stitches are doubled every-other round by working a Y increase into every stitch. The one on the left is five rounds tall and worked with the sample of Cedar Hill Farm Journey I received in my goodie bag at the Yarn film showing. The one on the right is seven rounds tall and worked from a Madelinetosh Unicorn Tail.

Those of you who follow knitting minutiae may notice they don't have the same bind-off. On the left I've simply bound off in pattern. On the right, I've worked Japanese three-needle bind-off (flat three-needle bind-off). A plain in-pattern bind-off is easier and faster and also a little more ruffled. The three-needle bind-off is cleaner and more structured. Both work.

If you have admired the crocheted coral reef projects but don't crochet, now you can knit your coral reef instead if you work in 1×1 ribbing and use the Y increase. As per my usual practice, I'll hold the pattern back for a couple months before posting it on Ravelry. If you want it sooner, you'll need to attend Christmas in July. This would also make a fine shower poof if worked in dishcloth cotton.