That’s it. I’m getting ahold of myself.

This is the Lotus Blossom Shawl that I’m completely in love with.


I have six rows left to go. According to the handy dandy shawl calculator found here (look in her sidebar) I have completed 90.5% of this shawl. (Juno was talking about how much she loves this. I concur. The thing is more fun than a 60% off sale on merino. Try it. You’ll spend hours calculating how far you have come, how far you have to go…and if you are like me, timing your speed per inch and working out how much time that means you have left to go on it. Obsessive? I think not. Try it before you judge me.) That means, if my math is correct, (and let’s hope that it is considering what it says about me if I can’t subtract 90.5 from 100 correctly) that I only have 9.5% to go.

9.5%. That’s it. Just under 1/10th. Is that right? I was helping Meg with “rational numbers” last night and the whole thing was making me irrational. When did they make grade nine math so hard? It’s humiliating to be standing there with a little kid and not be able to answer their math questions. She’s asking me all this stuff about “integers” and how positives and negatives work when you are multiplying and dividing them and it was all I could do to find this web page (thank you Lois Terms, whoever you are) and pour myself a little tiny glass of screech. (No ice please. Mummy doesn’t need this diluted.) Screech does not, for the record, make me a better mathematician, but it does take the sting out of telling her that I know that “two wrongs don’t make a right” so logically, two negatives shouldn’t make a positive. (Note: They do. They totally do. Every time. There’s no ethics involved at all.) This whole thing is shaping up like the year that I had to sneak into Amanda’s grade 5 classroom at 4:00 when the kids were gone, quietly close the door behind me and ask the teacher if she could take a minute to teach me long division so I would stop getting my arse kicked by a ten year olds homework. Good times, but I digress…

Even a math whiz like me can knows that shoving a shawl that is 90.5% finished into the back of the knitting basket is…well. Let’s just say that it’s not what a knitter who wants to wear a new shawl to Chicago would do. So I’m going to finish it. I’m not going to do what I did this morning and spend any more of my knitting time for this project calculating how much more of my knitting project remains.

Tonight I will watch the premiere of Survivor (again…do not judge me.) and I will finish this. 9.5%….here I come.

(Note: Yes. This was a diversion tactic to distract you from asking me about the corset. What corset? I don’t see a corset around here.)

PS. Sarah-the-wonder-publicist has given me a time and place for the Chicago stop. I’ll be at Arcadia Knitting, Saturday October 1st at 4pm. Save me a seat (and maybe a little sock yarn.)

73 thoughts on “90.5%

  1. I was pretty good with the math homework up until pre-calculus (which I obviously can’t even spell!)… Now instead of helping my kids we are ‘learning together’ – hopefully I’ll be a quicker study than they are.

  2. I have never watched, nor have I any plans to watch, Survivor. If I did I would spend the entire show trying to figure out, if I were stranded (har!) on a desert island with only one knitting project/knitting book/knitting technique/type of roving, what would it be?

  3. You have yet to answer the age old questions about the mittens. Did you finish the 3rd? Was there a 4th? ARe they going to be given to a lucky winner?

  4. You do know that the last 9.5 percent are the longest rows, right? I’m not convinced you’ll finish this over an episode of survivor.
    Whatever happened to the highland triangle?

  5. Thanks for the post reminding us how you earned your illustrious title. But finishing projects is a good thing. You go finish that shawl, the corset will be waiting!

  6. Oh ya – TrickyTricot has a good question. I’d been wondering about the Highland triangle – the random spinning, non-random striping how’s this all gonna turn out shawl. Never did get to see how that turned out. Or the Zephyr that caused such a bruhaha…
    This shawl sure is a pretty colour though. What’s the yarn? (‘scuse me while I sneak into a corner at the office to read a chapter of my newly arrived bookbookbook2 now…)

  7. Ah, the joy of the last chart! I hate to burst your bubble because I do so love Lotus Blossom (thanks for the tip on that by the way), but I must mention those most time-consuming bobbles. Did you consider them? I’m sure you did because you are most intelligent and thorough. Although even if you didn’t, I’m sure there will be plenty of time to finish the little beauty before Chicago. I’m not even touching on the math thing – scary.

  8. OH, I am SO excited! When you said you were coming to Chicago, I thought, great, she’ll be out in some far flung suburb and I won’t get to go. But NO. Not only are you IN the city, but so close I’m ready to pee my pants. Of course, I’m 9 months pregnant, so just about anything does that to me. This baby better stay put until at least the first. I CAN’T WAIT!

  9. Oh no! If you’re having trouble with the corset, which your clever little diversionary tactic would seem to indicate, I don’t stand a chance! FYI I’m still swatching and contemplating if I dare make the size 35″ for my 36″ bust.

  10. i second survior good…math yuck…although i am finding out i am much better at math when it is for something i enjoy (knitting, quilting)and by the way i hope to see you at Willow Books…i do like listening to you talk…

  11. I’ll be seeing you in Chi-town, darlin’… The family was in minor brouhaha, but all is settled now. Damn these, *ahem*, business meetings that come up!
    (In your honor, I’ve put up the lyrics to “Chicago, Illinois” in my LJ.)

  12. I can rest easy now knowing that you’ll be able to see the Harlot, roggey. And as for the corset: after leading you to ponder incorrect breast placement, it deserves a time out to think about what it’s done.

  13. I always hated math (dad was a math teacher, go figure). But lately I have found that I kind of like math when it’s knit-related. And I’m quite good at it if nobody’s trying to talk to me, or look at me, or in the same room with me.
    I got all excited when you said Arcadia until I realized that OF COURSE you weren’t talking about Arcadia, Louisiana! DUH!

  14. I got my BOOKBOOKBOOK2!! (Or…BOOK2BOOK2BOOK2, but that’s a *lot* harder to type.)
    I’m headed out of town tomorrow (lots of knitting time), and I plan to read it very slowy and savoringly!
    Thank you, Stephanie for providing me the opportunity to force my 17 year old son to go to a bookstore and ask for “That Harlot book. It’s for my mom….I swear.”

  15. I was at Arcadia Knitting this summer, and picked up some souvenir sock yarn while I was there. Even if I had wanted to resist, it would have been impossible … the Lorna’s Laces rep was there unpacking a delivery as I shopped. It was kismet.

  16. lol. I had to think about the 9.5% too! No spoilers on Survivor please! We get Armed Forces Network over here in Germany and we’re a day behind on the reality shows! I can already hear the music!!

  17. Oh for some knitting time. There is only 1% left on my Hanging Vines and I can’t stay home to knit. Phoooeeeey!
    Can’t wait to see your beauty.

  18. Yay! Survivor! But wow, how can you knit lace and pay attention to the show. I so need quiet and wine, well maybe leave off the wine. Quiet, yes.

  19. I was going to ask about the corset but you mentioned “Survivor” and…..huh? What was I saying?
    I only hope that “Survivor” is on tonight. The “President” will be trying to raise his rating and they’re going to be speculating before he comes on.
    “Great.” I said to myself. “No Survivor.”
    To me, that wouldn’t be something that would make me like him MORE. But then, I don’t think there’s anything he could do that WOULD.

  20. Math, it seems, is intimidating to many women. Which is why it is so cool that you are willing to ask the teacher for help so you in turn can help your daughters. Hopefully someday they will have no math fears, and so on and so forth. My best friend in high school wanted to be an engineer and pilot (which she is now) and was an absolute whiz at math. I was in awe, but it also inspired me. In college, all of my math professors were female, which was also cool because it gave me much needed confidence. Your girls are so gonna rule the world someday-if their mom doesn’t first. 😉
    And I laughed at loud at the comment about spending more time figuring out how much further you had to go on the shawl instead of just knitting it. Guilty of that myself…

  21. Why oh why do I feel so useless when I come visit? I have a shawl I have been battling for 2 months now, and I swear to god the thing hates me and I only have one kid and a small house and no garden and no cherries and I don’t take bike trips and I STILL CANNOT FINISH THIS THING!!
    What was I talking about? Nevermind. Just ignore me. I’m going to crawl back into my corner and rock myself to sleep while sucking my thumb…

  22. Hurrah! Arcadia’s in my part of the city and the owner doesn’t hate having guys in the shop.
    I just hope they have the crowd control in place. You have any idea how much buzz your visit is causing?

  23. Stephanie! bookbookbook1 has just become available to check out at the Lincoln Library (the public library, not the new whizz-bang expensive Presidential one). I stood in front of the shelf doing a little dance of joy, and tried to get some guy to check it out.

  24. well drat. i knew you would be at Arcadia, KNEW IT. but…drat. i have a wedding reception to be at…so alas, i cannot see you when you come to town. huge bummer

  25. Its worse when you studied higher mathmatics… and still get stumped from time to time. On 5th grade math. (I think they teach it differently now. Really. That’s my excuse)

  26. You just made it pretty damn obvious to me that by no means should I go anywhere near a shawl calculator. Sounds like the tool of the devil to me, it does.

  27. Stephanie,
    The shawl calculator *so* does not work if you are doing Spider Queen. 3 huge borders to go…

  28. I have to tell you, I am so happy for Chicago. I know you don’t like to shop but the Crate & Barrel there is to die for… no yarn but lots of other yummy stuff for the house.
    And book3/2 is waiting for me at Book Revue… to be picked up tomorrow and savored over the weekend.
    As for math, I love it when I get it; I hate it when I don’t. What more needs to be said?

  29. Oh, I’m a bit sad…I moved to NYC *from* Chicago literally days after the Harlot party, and now I will be stuck here while you visit my sweet hometown! Arcadia is great, and another fun, new yarn shop is Nina on Division street. Then you can go have dinner at Lula (in Logan Square) which might feel like a trek but is so delicious, reasonable, and worth it. I hope you have nice weather!

  30. I picked up bookbook #2 today. I plan to read it slowly too. Who says I had to wait for my birthday to read the book. I guess I will just have to get another knitterly book for my actual birthday present;)
    I also talked today with the owner of an independant book store in town and she is going to try and see if she can persuade your publisher to send you out this way. We do get huge turnouts for signings here in spite of an publisher misconceptions to the contrary.

  31. OMG, where were you with this math link Monday when I was taking a 3 hour basic education test so I could take a couple college courses? The only thing I didn’t ace was integers because I couldn’t remember the rules for multiplying and dividing positive and negative numbers. (still got a great grade, but I’m a perfectionist)
    And is Lois Terms a play on the phrase “Lowest Terms”, as in what you reduce fractions to? The bookmark said Rebecca Lindsay’s Tutoring Service. (told you I was a perfectionist)

  32. I don’t see a corset either.
    Of course, I haven’t had the eyedrop exam in a looooong time, so that thing could quite possibly be jiggling right in front of me and I’d miss it.

  33. My nearly 13 year old is naturally good at maths and always has been. I am really not good at maths, to the extent that if I was in school now they’d probably test me for dyscalclia. So whenever we have to discuss maths it invariably involves much sniggering on his part. So good for the old confidence.

  34. Damn it! Why can’t Sarah-the-wonder-publicist work on getting your arse into Cincinnati?
    Before you ask, yes I do have issues with instant gratification…

  35. I am stunned beyond reason that you watch that crap TV, and I am having a hard time carrying on. Truly. I stopped reading the rest, I was so stunned. I hope it wasn’t anything important. ;-D

  36. Rhinebeck, hmm? Looked at the website and it looks like another weekend trip to plan for the fall, after this weekend a foray to the local cider mill’s HUGE craft fair where I buy little except rose scented sachets, anything garlic flavored–garlic mayonnaise whoa! and of course, cider and donuts yummy.
    Then I promised my creative friend we would go to a Quilt show on the first. Wayyy beyond my skill level.
    Then two weeks later Rhinebeck to see where wool comes from. LOL. Maybe I can drag DH and DS along to watch the sheepherding dogs while I smell the yarn.

  37. Email me anytime you need the math help. I’d be glad to help, if it can be done long distance from BC. And hooray for screech!

  38. Come on Stephanie — and all you other ladies — math isn’t THAT bad, is it?! Next time your kids are having trouble with their math homework, send them to me or one of the other VERY MANY knitters/math types.
    BTW I’m currently foregoing Survivor for CSI. And so, I think that just about gives away all my geekiness in one fell swoop.

  39. I’m with Norma about the crap tv. I am also still flabbergasted that book2book2book2 is not getting more play on this site? What’s the deal? I got it the other day from amazon and am alternating between ripping through it at light speed because I’m enjoying it so much, and trying to make it last. It’s perfect nursing reading because it’s small and easy to hold and the chapters are short enough to accomodate switching sides and having to stop and do something else at a moment’s notice.
    Thank you!

  40. Think of the negatives as cancelling each other out like when someone says “I don’t got none”. If you don’t got none, then you must have some. (My kids hate it when I use that example to correct their grammar). On the other hand, two wrongs don’t make a right because that’s doubling the wrong instead of cancelling it out. BTW, my kids all know to ask Dad for math help after 6th grade if they want a decent grade on the homework (‘tho they will still occasionally ask me ’cause sometimes geek-Dad gives them more explanation than they really want).

  41. I can’t believe it, I’m flying into Chicago on the 1st at 2 pm. How perfect is that! Can’t wait to see you since I couldn’t make it to Portland when you were there in August. Looking forward to the silliness!

  42. It’s a good thing my husband is so smart. So he will be doing all the hard math. That would be anything other than adding and subtracting. Yes I just recently graduated from college and took Business Math and Accounting. But for some reason, I can do my tax return and any kind of business-y math, but when it comes to regular school math, my brain turns to mush.
    And no that wasn’t a good enough distraction. What did you do with the corset? lol

  43. Aw, Norma, that’s harsh. You got no low tastes? No Modesty Blaise novels, no Star Trek reruns? Totally cruchy up there? VT stands for Virtuous Tendencies? I myself would rather knit argyles out of acrylic than watch reality shows, but Stephanie apparently doesn’t eat ice-cream — it has to come out somewhere. (Besides, if I remember this discussion from before, Lene eggs her on — don’t you, cherie?)

  44. You non-mathy knitters, do not fear the maths. If you can even think of calculating gauge or substituting a different gauged yarn, you can do math. Hell, I’d go so far as to say that if you can tackle those without screech, you could probably do Vector Calculus and Linear Algebra (Think super calculus and algebra they make engineers take so things don’t fall apart). Just reward yourself with some wool every time you get the right answer.
    Though uhm, you might want to give Microsoft Student 2006 a try or some equivalent OSX compatible software made to teach students. Or just sic’ them on Ken. Then steal his Cracksilk.
    Survivor? I knit most of a heel while watching Amazing Race last night. Gosh, I dunno what season this is but the pro wrestlers/husband wife team show their affection by insulting each other horrendously. The heel thought the drama was quite interesting.

  45. I got my copy of bookbookbook part deux n the mail yesterday. I love you, Amazon per-order! I know what I’ll be doing all weekend.
    Steph, for the love of all that’s wooly, seriously, you need to think about making audio books. Ever so much easier to knit and listen than it is to knit and turn pages. K? Somthing to think about? Just sayin’ is all.
    Have a great day!

  46. I am giddy with joy, because you will be in Chicago. Huzzah, I say.
    The shawl looks fabulous, by the way, and I was totally distracted from thoughts of the corset.

  47. I remember once in fourth grade, my teacher guided us through figuring out for ourselves how to calculate the area of a triangle. When I was done, he called me a mathemetician, and I got mad at him. I know it’s a sterotype for girls to be bad at math, so I sometimes feel guilty for hating it. Especially since I’m not really bad at it. I just find it tedious and irksome. The head explosions are really much less frequent than I like to think. My problem nowadays is that I just can’t remember how to do a lot of stuff due to lack of use (although long division has not yet become a problem). Anyway, good for you for taking the trouble to re-learn something just to be able to help your kids!

  48. I’m with Stalker Angie on this one – I would *love* to have audio books of your stuff.
    This would include your talks to the lucky folks who get to hear you on tour – since nobody will let you come to Houston I will probably never get to go to a signing nor nuthin’.
    Please keep it in mind when looking for the next public project.

  49. YEAH I’m with Stalker Angie. We want audio books, and no stand-in readers. We want your own sweet voice makin’ us laugh. With a tumbler full of screech if you want…

  50. Your newest book is in at Borders in Bangor, Maine. Not on the shelf yet, but a nice lady went out back and unloaded a carton of books so I could buy it yesterday. Your newest book “Knitting Rules” has the publication date of March 2006 on their computer. Is that correct?

  51. I also watch Survivor and knit – I thought if I were ever to be on the show my item I would bring would be knitting needles and yarn. Just think of all the useful things you could whip up, use, and frog for the next need! Of course 40 days away from family and such responsibility with lots of time on your hands screams project, project project …

  52. Math Phobes unite! Stephanie – I am envious that you had to get to ninth grade math before you were stuck. Last year, my youngest (then in 2nd grade) brought home some math that was – I tell you the truth – PRE-ALGEBRA!! And that was regular math. My little boy is smart, but not in any gifted program – just regular second grade math. I was stuck, his 18 year old brother was stuck – I needed to go to his teacher to have her explain the answer to me – Sheesh!! Really did a number on my Math Phobia. My boys know not to come to their mom for math help. Not writing and literature, history, psychology, baking, cooking, knitting, no problem. Math??? Talk to your dad!

  53. Finally, something the Harlot can’t do that I can – multiply negative numbers! Just for future use, http://mathforum.org is fantastic for math help. And I do not only say this because I’m in grad school at Drexel. 🙂
    Drat, I can’t make it to Stitches East – I have a double 30th birthday party to decorate and attend. :-/

  54. A couple of Math sites recommended by the Internet Public library:
    Kenny Felder’s Math and Physics Help Home Page
    Collection of papers that “explain various concepts in math and physics.” Topics include partial fractions, a trigonometry review, tips for using Texas Instruments graphing calculators, general relativity, quantum mechanics, entropy, Bell’s theorem, and related concepts. From two brothers with backgrounds in math, computer science, and physics.
    Ask Dr. Math!
    This is primarily an archive of K-12 student mathematical questions and answers answered by a group of students, instructors and mathematicians. The archive is searchable both by a Table of Contents and by keyword. The site also includes problems suitable for students of varying grade levels.
    Curious and Useful Math
    Learn how to find out what day of the week any date will fall on, how to take the square root in your head, and other tricks to make your calculations faster and to amaze onlookers with your mathematical ability.
    Eric Weisstein’s World of Mathematics
    “MathWorld is a comprehensive and interactive mathematics encyclopedia intended for students, educators, math enthusiasts, and researchers.”
    Webmath not only solves your math problems, it shows the steps taken to reach the solution. Types of problems inlude everyday math (i.e. figuring out a tip), polynomials, units conversions, and quadratic equations.

  55. Honey–stop saying you can not do math! Women always do that just because we fell asleep in math class or looked out the window. You balance a household budget, knit (almost all math when you think about it…how much wool, how many stitches, now how far until done, etc…), calculate bike distances, etc. Math is everywhere and you are damn good at it. Why they don’t teach that in school is beyond me–no one needs to memorize multiplication tables, but almost everyone can calculate a tip or better yet, a discount on wool….

  56. The math/maths discussions are interesting. I was put in honors math starting in 7th grade. I learned to ask questions when I didn’t understand. I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t understand, but I was the only one brave enough to ask. Geometry was my downfall, but I also had a terrible teacher. So I declared that I wouldn’t take math unless I could be in regular algebra II. I had a wonderful year – being the top of the middle instead of the bottom of the top. Great teacher. I could even do those story problems about filling swimming pools and trains. I didn’t take pre-calculus or calculus in high school. But in college I had to take a math class. Took Elementary analysis. Great teacher, but way beyond me. Passed through the grace of the teacher. Thirty years later I am talking to a math professor neighbor and he tells me that Elementary Analysis is really hard. Oh, it has nothing to do with elementary as easy. It was such a revelation. So I can do it, but I can’t explain it. So my husband helps with homework of all sorts. But he was stumped in pre-calculus the other day.
    Peg in Kensington, CA

  57. Oh, yes you do need to know the multiplication tables. They found that out with “New Math” – you do much better if you learn the basics first. But what on earth is “pre-algebra”? Either it’s algebra or it isn’t.

  58. Didn’t you say (when you were in Berkeley at Stash) that Joe was quite good at math? Seems to me his hockey coach/math teacher could only remember that he was a little slow on wing and not that he won all kinds on math awards. I think you can do math just fine, but can’t Joe help out?

  59. I’m really really sad that I’m going to miss your visit. I’m heading out of Chi-town and moving to California early on Oct. 1.

  60. Usually, I don’t hold with that women are bad at math thing. Our bookkeeper (a woman) is brilliant and can not only understand math (a useful trait in a bookkeeper), but she understands accounting math AND US tax code. She is a wonder. I had a friend in college (also a woman) who was a math major and was whiz at it. But me, nope, I am the one who the stereotypes are all about. I can do basic math, don’t get me wrong, but I made a point to immediately forget any algebra I learned as soon as I graduated from high school. I selected programs in college, that although were harder in some areas, completely eliminated the need to take more math. Of course, as a result, I know a lot more about the Reformation, Martin Luther and the creation of sustainable societies in Third World nations than your average gal. And pre-algebra is beginning algebra, or in my youngest son’s case, starting to give second graders the beginning of the idea that symbols sometimes can represent numbers instead of using the actual numbers. Boy, if that didn’t send my head spinning! I was at least hoping for him to get to 7th grade before I got stuck on helping him with his math.

  61. Stephanie – Just wanted to let you know that I absolutely enjoy reading your blog…and since I’m so good at paying attention to things like the sidebar, I really didn’t know you had written a book (or a couple of books, actually, or were writing another one) until you post about receiving your copy of the latest one in the mail…please keep up the good work. You make me (and I’m sure many others) smile. 🙂

  62. I remember a good explanation of the negative-times-negative thing… Imagine you’re digging a big hole, and making a big pile of dirt next to it. You’re videotaping both processes. The hole is negative; the pile is positive.
    Now, we know that if we play both videos forward — negative times positive and positive times positive — the negative will stay negative and the positive will stay positive. If we play both videos _backward_, the pile will get smaller — negative times positive is negative. But if you run the hole-digging video _backward_ — negative times negative — the hole gets smaller. It fills up. It’s positive.
    Don’t know if this makes sense or is helpful, but it was worth a try…

Comments are closed.