Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dictionary of Needlework

So I have a Dover reprint of S.F.A. Caulfeild's Dictionary of Needlework. (Dover gave it a new title: Encyclopedia of Victorian Needlework. It's a fine reference work for its time. This means it's full of terms for various bits of needlework that have different names now, and what we would probably now consider bogus bits of history. Probably large portions of it are accurate; I'm not well-read enough to know all of which bits are which.

If you can decipher older terminology (or are willing to give it a try), there's interesting designs in it for knitting, crochet (including Tunisian crochet), tatting, needle lace, bobbin lace, embroidery, and lots of other stuff. It's hard to figure out what the needle sizes are, and I find the weights of yarns indecipherable. (I haven't bothered to do the research yet; I imagine there's a historical reproduction group on Ravelry that would be able to help me out.) It's an English book, and so the crochet terms are closer to the modern English crochet terms (i.e. English double crochet stitch = US single crochet stitch).

If you live in the US, you can see a complete scan of the dictionary from the University of Michigan library:
(Yes, Caulfeild is spelled with an "ei", not an "ie".)

Friday, February 19, 2010

figuring the percentage of a circle that's been made

Okay, say you're knitting a doily from the center outward and you know how many rounds the whole doily is. It turns out that that there's a fairly straightforward way to calculate when you're halfway done (or whatever). You can't just say "I've knit 30 rounds out of 60, I'm halfway done", because the number of stitches per round keeps growing.

Here's the easy math: take the number of rounds you've knit so far and square that number (multiply it by itself). Take the number of rounds you're going to knit and square that. Divide the former by the latter, and that's the percentage.

30 rounds out of 60 means

(30 x 30)/(60 x 60) = 900/3600 = 25% or a quarter done.

Longer explanation:

The area of a circle is π times (r squared), where r is the radius of the circle measured in whatever units you're using.

If you think about it, rounds can be used as a unit of measurement. After all, if you're knitting something and you know that your row gauge is 5 stitches per inch, then you can count rows to know how many inches you have.

When you count how many rounds you've knit, you're measuring the radius of a circle, because you're measuring from the center of the circle.

Say you've knit 20 rounds out of 60. The area of the circle you've already knit is 20 rounds squared times pi, or 400π square rounds. ("square rounds" makes me grin, and is a strange unit of measurement--however, it will go away when we calculate the percentage.)

The area of the circle you will be knitting is 60 rounds squared times pi, or 3600π square rounds.

To find out what percentage the smaller circle is of the larger, you divide the area of the smaller by the area of the larger, so:

(400π square rounds)/(3600π square rounds)

Yes, that's a fraction. Fractions being what they are, there's a bunch of stuff we can cancel out: pi divided by pi is 1; square rounds divided by square rounds is 1, leaving us with 400/3600, which is one ninth of the circle, or about 11%.

It turns out, by the way, that you'll be about halfway done knitting any circle (from the center outwards) when you've knit about 7/10 of the rounds (or to be precise, 1/√2 ). In the case of the 60 round doily, that's about 42 rounds.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Donations so far

So far I have been able to donate $54 for relief efforts in Haiti. Thank you very much for making that possible!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pinion hat pattern!

I've just posted a new pattern on Ravelry, the Pinion tam:

Pinion Tam blocked on a plate

I will donate all proceeds for Haiti Relief (after PayPal fees are deducted) from sales of this pattern through the last day of February. Money will be split evenly between Doctors Without Borders/MSF, Partners in Health, and the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund. Thank you very much for your help!

This lacy tam is worked from the center outwards. The design spirals outward and flows into a ribbed brim. It looks more complicated than it is--if you know how to knit in the round, purl, knit two together, knit three together, and make a yarn over, you can make this hat.

Both charts and written out instructions (in abbreviations) are provided, along with suggestions for modifying the brim size to fit.

Other materials required include a darning needle for working in ends, about a yard of smooth, thin yarn for making a lifeline, and a plate for blocking (about 10 inches or 25cm in diameter).

You shouldn't need a Ravelry account to .

Thank you!