Maths were never my strong suit

Churning along on the blanket, I bring you version #2 of

Blanket Size Check ’09


(Thanks Sam. )

I wondered where I was at today, percentage wise, and so I looked up the final dimensions of this bad-boy.

50 X 60.

Well, I thought. I wonder where I am now?

26 X 32

Wow. I reeled. See that?

26 X 32

50 X 60

26 is more than half of 50, and 32 is more than half of 60, therefore (and I was so giddy with joy about this) I concluded that I was MORE THAN HALFWAY. What great news. I mean, this thing was dragging a little but if I was making this sort of progress then dudes, I wouldn’t have to stick with this for long. I mean, more than halfway? That didn’t hurt at all! I can do that! I can’t even believe I was complaining! (Apparently, when hope is dangled in front of me like that, I lose all restraint in the area of exclamation points. Dreadful.) It was whole moments before I started to apply logic to the thing.

Wait… If the blanket is only the size that is shown above, and that’s more than halfway, then the blanket can’t be halfway because it won’t be 50 X 60. I boggled. 26 really is more than half of 50. 32 is definitely more than half of 60. (I double checked.) I sat there for a good long time trying to get how I’d screwed it up – before I remembered a grade school concept called “AREA” and its relationship to (heaven help me) multiplication. I did the calculation for area.

50″ X 60″ = 3000″


26″ X 32″ = 598″

Then I looked up how to get percentage (don’t mock me. I’m a writer. I don’t need to know it every day.)

598 divided by 3000 = .193333…. X 100 = 19.93 %

That’s not halfway. That’s only about 20%. Hope was dashed, the urge to use exclamation points vanished… but at least it explains how I can be halfway on a blanket that isn’t half it’s eventual size.

Freakin’ math. I hate it the way I did in grade 9, and it still makes just about as much sense. 32 is definitely more than half of 60.


Edit: Okay. That’s seriously the funniest thing ever. I put up a post about how bad my math skills are and then do the math wrong. Man. When I say I’m bad at something I don’t screw around.

Turns out that 26 X 32 = 832, which means I’m 832, which means I’m 27.7% done, which is a far better number.

Now I understand exactly what was happening that day that my grade 7 math teacher flipped right out on me when I was attempting to explain my approach to division.

202 thoughts on “Maths were never my strong suit

  1. Look at that! I read your blog for entertainment and get a math lesson. Thanks! I would not have figured that out by myself.

  2. I have good news for you, Stephanie. 26 x 32 is actually 832, so you are 27.7% of the way through. This makes sense, since you can fit 4 rectangles which measure 25″ x 30″ into a rectangle that is 50″ x 60″ (try it with graph paper).
    Over 25% of the way done is far better than less than 20%, isn’t it.

  3. Yes, well you’re dealing with areas, not lengths.
    Since you’re about halfway done with the width and about halfway done with the length, you’re actually about a quarter of the way done for the whole blanket (length x width = blanket surface). Does that make more sense to you?

  4. I hate to point this out to you, but your math skills do totally suck, LOL But I bring you good news because you have actually knit 832 square inches which is 27.7%, so you’re actually just more 1/4 done! Party time!

  5. Hate math (am major music geek). Loved this post. Also love the grey and black colour scheme. What a nice prezzie for a lucky someone.

  6. Actually 26″ X 32″ is 832 sq inches. 26″ X 23″ is 598. I’m hoping you just “fat-fingered” on your calculator and not your keyboard. If it really is 26″ X 32″ then you’re 28% done! Still not half done, but beyond a quarter done!

  7. Well, you can look at it this way: you are definitely more than halfway across the width of the blanket, and more than halfway down the length of the blanket, so you should be more than 25% of the way done. And, when I multiply 26″ x 32″, I get 832″ (I did it twice, and I have no reason to doubt my calculator), which makes the blanket actually about 28% finished. So you’re actually more than 1/4 of the way there! (See, you just gained 8% through the power of math! Don’t hate the math – it’s there for you.)
    And it’s coming along beautifully, too!

  8. Okay, I was reading along thinking you’re just over 1/4 done (accounting major in college so math and I get along), and then I saw your math…others have already told you the correct answer so I’ll refrain. Think of it as almost 1/3 done…doesn’t that sound loads better?

  9. So, you could be a fifth of the way done (not bad) or more than a quarter of the way done (not only not bad but better). This is measurable progress no matter which way you calculate it.

  10. The good news is you’re not great at math. You’re actually almost 28% of the way done. I realize that doesn’t make up for the ‘more than halfway’ hope being dashed, but it is a big improvement over 20%. (BTW, math and I are friends. Necessary to be a baker, economist and engineer. OTOH, I have no vision for delicious sock designs, so life balances, non?)

  11. I once was asked a similar question during a job interview….
    If you have a drawing that takes up the full page, and you reduce both the height and the width of the drawing by half, how much extra space do you have? I’m not too great thinking on my feet in nerve wracking situations, so I got it wrong. I don’t blame the math, I blame that interviewer.
    By the way, they offered me the job, but I turned it down. πŸ™‚

  12. Or put another way, since area is in Square units, and length not. If you are half the length on each dimension the 1/2 squared is 1/4.
    Though it occurs to me that this might be more confusing.

  13. Statistics, ya gotta luv’em! They can be manipulated to prove any point you like. Psychologically, you are over half way size-wise, just not in volume. Go with the statistics that make you happier to knit row after row after row after row zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..oops, sorry, nodded off there…..of Garter Stitch!

  14. Statistics, ya gotta luv’em! They can be manipulated to prove any point you like. Psychologically, you are over half way inch-wise, just not in volume. Go with the statistics that make you happier to knit row after row after row after row zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..oops, sorry, nodded off there…..of Garter Stitch!

  15. This won’t make you feel any better, but I totally thought you were halfway there too! In high school I was the one roaming around with oil paint in my hair; math still makes me go ‘righhhht’ (which might explain the nasty relationship I have with gauge swatches) Blanket looks fantastic, no matter how far along you are.

  16. Statistics, ya gotta luv’em! They can be manipulated to prove any point you like. Psychologically, you are over half way inch-wise, just not in area! Go with the statistics that make you happier to knit row after row after row after row zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..oops, sorry, nodded off there…..of Garter Stitch!

  17. I’m so with you on math. I’m horrid at it too. Ask any of my math teachers from 7th thru 12th grade.

  18. :::cautiously and calmly mentioning something I noticed::: Wait a minute. Aren’t the color blocks supposed to spiral around the central block, increasing on all sides evenly, with the first block remaining in the center? Maybe this is just some cool variation on a theme, where the first block ends up in the corner and all subsequent blocks fan out only north and west? Yes, that must be it. Oh, gee, I *hope* that’s it.

  19. Ooops – sorry about pc glitch, appear to have posted all my previews during editing!!

  20. I’m totally sure this falls under the “We all have different gifts and talents” line my mom alway used to give me when I had a horrible time making something work. I’m find at what I consider to be normal everyday math. The 4 biggies, and most geometry things, and almost all algebra things (like if x + 4 = 8, what’s x?) Physics on the other hand, and those word problems where 2 trains leave their stations at the same time, and one’s going one speed and the other’s going a different speed and the stations are this far apart, when will they crash? I still have nightmares about those.

  21. Hey….I’m a quilter in addition to knitter, and it appears that you may have made a mistake in the pattern, assuming that the pattern you’re mimicing is the “log cabin.”
    Assuming that the little white patch is your center patch, it should have been enclosed by the rectangle added after the black rectangle.
    Does that make sense?

  22. Math. I use it for knitting and quilting. And how many cookies I can divide amongst my kids before they won’t be hungry for real food. Other than that? I don’t use it much either.

  23. Oh, Harlot, you make me laugh every time. I eyeballed your dimensions and said, “Oh, a half the length and a half the width. Half of a half–looks like about a quarter.” But then I just finished getting one kid through fourth grade and one through second grade, so I actually DO need to know this stuff every day.
    Garter on! We’re rooting for ya!

  24. I agree that Jamie Bamber has unbelievably good NA accent, I saw an interview with him and I was SHOCKED when he spoke. Hugh Laurie’s is absolutely perfect as well, but at least I knew he was British.
    Also, on the blanket, the only time I can cruise along on garter stitch is when I’m watching TV or mentally engaged in something else. Sometimes I read a book and knit at the same time. πŸ™‚

  25. Since you are 27.7% done I hate to even bring this up but I’m not sure about the black rectangle…would it be better in the place of the smaller light beige piece? It’s just so big and dark. I’m a quilter and am looking at it from a ‘piecing’ point of view.
    (I may be a quilter who knits but I’m a total ‘math hater’!)

  26. I am glad your readership was able to catch your mistake! Maybe the next parts will go faster? I know that the bigger the area of the mindless knitting, the faster I seem to knit it, where the smaller the area, the longer it seems to take… For example, When knitting Longies, the tushy part goes much faster than the legs!

  27. Don’t feel bad at all. I read your post twice and I STILL don’t understand why it’s not half. I think I only passed math in high school because the teacher took pity on me. Seriously, how can that not be half if the measurements are half of what they need to be?

  28. This math dropout thinks you are too funny. I still don’t get it (and I’m okay with that) but the blanket is beautiful at any size!

  29. Stephanie — alas, I did that one in my head and knew what was coming, but I love you anyway. . . Do we really have to wait until the very, very end to find out who this is for? I owe two wedding presents, so was hoping this might be really fast!

  30. FYI, Mason-Dixon’s Moderne is a different type of log cabin. Steph’s doing it right.
    If she wasn’t, I’d trip Rams to be the first one standing on a chair to point it out.

  31. I was such a weird kid, probably explains why I’m such a weird growdup, I loved maths … I’d get to sleep doing maths in my head, and I’d see the patterns in everything. When I knit I count, when I walk I count … sometimes I think if you tipped me upside down you’d have a whole pile of numbers fall out of my ears. But even I found it weird when a half times a half became a quarter … then I realised it was a half of a half!
    Meanwhile, in the real world, I still do math .. but can’t get people right … they never add up!
    Thank goodness for knitting . oh and wine . oh and your blog – all three (not necessarily in that order) help me stay slightly on the positive side of sane.

  32. What a coincidence! While you were posting this, I was adding a comment to your last post on the math. Except I’m hard core. I don’t mess with inches. I counted the stitches. And if you’ve finished block 5, you’ve finished 32% of the blanket (excluding the border). And you’ve knitted almost 60,000 (get that??) stitches already, out of a total of 180,840 (but who’s counting?)
    So to repeat what I put in the other post, here’s your percentage completion (excluding border) at the end of each block:
    Block 5: 31.9%
    Block 6: 37.9%
    Block 7: 53.1% the epic half-way point!
    Block 8: 70.0%
    Block 9: 100.0% yea! fireworks! the gerbils come back to life!
    Stay strong!

  33. This blanket is the proving ground for garter stitch tolerance. I found mine way before I was finished knitting but persevered (the baby was coming regardless of garter stitch fatigue). I now have the thing back w/ holes in it I’m supposed to fix. And I never wanted to see that thing again. I wish you a high garter stitch tolerance and hope you put a no-return policy on the gift card!!

  34. Math to me is like Kryptonite to Superman, so I know exactly where you are right now.
    The pieces look beautiful ( a the girlie too )and I know that the future owner will be thrilled with the gift.
    Keep up the good work & remember that chocolate not only taste great but it is filled with fortitude and happiness.
    Enjoy !

  35. Maths: is that a Canadian/UK thing?
    Here in Okie-land we say math or arithmetic.
    PS: Cowl pattern?

  36. I promise to never judge you based on your math, because as soon as I see numbers my brain freezes up and refuses to understand.
    Therefore, even though your numbers were wrong before your edit – I never would have known because I’m just not all that concerned about math, especially in blanket knitting.

  37. It’s okay. The first step to solving a problem is admitting that there is a problem in the first place. πŸ˜‰
    (Or how I see it: As long as you have a friend who is good at it, it doesn’t really matter THAT much how awful your math skills are.)

  38. Don’t worry–Einstein couldn’t do basic math either!
    So teenage girls still play Bowie before Prom? I can’t believe it’s been three decades.

  39. I’m terrible at math! It totally makes sense to me that you’re halfway done. If it were me, I’d live in denial and bask in the joy of being halfway done, whether the numbers support that delusion or not.

  40. Ha! I’m actually really grateful for the post just above (from “LInder”). Now THAT’S the kind of math I can have over for tea. Simple, concrete, idiotproof. But then again, I’m a writer. But with a good eye for colour (that must count for something, no?)

  41. Hugs, Steph. I knew at a glance that it was more than a quarter. Heck, it’s almost a third.
    You’re a writer. You don’t need to know math. It helps with the knitting, though.

  42. I like maths. They sure are purty to me. But then, I used to do tax returns cause I thought they were fun.
    However, counting stitches while swatching for gauge? Ummmm….. *crickets*

  43. Huh?
    No. Don’t,please, don’t try to explain it again. Just let me look at the blanket and say, “Ooh, pretty,pretty, and looks bigger than yesterday.”
    I admire your tenacity and determination. Knit on!

  44. You know what’s really sad. I’m a maths teacher. (I get a bit grumpy about people who proudly flaunt their lack of maths skills, but you’re not doing that, so we’ll move along.)
    I read your figures and thought: Bit over half the width & a bit over half the length – hey – she’s over a quarter of the way through it.
    But then I read your calculation and saw that you said you were not quite 20% of the way there and I totally bought it. It didn’t even cross my mind that you (a self-confessed non-lover of maths who had to look up how to do percentages – kudos to you, you looked it up) may just possibly have made a mistake.

  45. What’s the impetus to knit this blanket? Commissioned to? Giftie? Other?
    Cowl pattern? Do I hear an echooooo?

  46. It does look like about 1/4 of a blanket, so make 3 more and sew them together if you like short rows, or keep going if you like long rows. Either way, that’s a whole lotta’ knittin’. Thank the goddesses the humid season isn’t just around the corner ;-P

  47. It’s that rectangle thing that tricked you. You know all about area in shawls…. that’s why that last row is such a killer, because the area is so large. Half way by rows in a shawl is SOOOO not half way! But half way in a rectangle not knitted from side to side is much more devious.
    When I read your numbers, I too thought “oh, she’s more than half way”!

  48. I would have done the exact same thing. As a matter of fact I was reading your post and nodding along thinking, “Yes, that’s definitely more than half of 50 and more than half of 60. Where is she going with this? I’m not seeing the problem.”
    Percentages I am pretty good at unfortunately because I do sales I have to do them all the time. Still hate all math.

  49. I will say that if you had a square the size of the blanket as it is now, and laid it on the blanket at full size, you would see that its only about 1/4 of the size.
    But, really – math? I’m good at math, but bad at areas. (I’m with the math degree person above who sucks at arithmetic.)

  50. That’s why I married a mathmatician.
    I once did swatches and calculations and figured up the perfect number of stitches to cast on for a lovely hat for my mother. My infant daughter wound up wearing it.

  51. If it makes you feel any better at all, I actually chose my university based off the fact I would never have to take math or science ever again. Theatre conservatories are fun.

  52. That’s awesome. πŸ˜€ Considering that may not be the most exciting project you’ve done ever, I’m quite impressed with your progress! That’s like marathon knitting vs. tour-de-neighborhood jogging. πŸ˜€

  53. Glad someone else does math the same way I do. I followed you completely in your logic, but the blanket looked a little small to be halfway. At least you knew how to correct the mathmatical error which is more than me!

  54. You know, there are days when you’re funny..theres days when you’re not…but damn I keep reading for days like these when you are freakin hilarious….I have tears you are so funny…thanks girl I needed that…

  55. yes but, what are you watching while you are knitting? perhaps that’s the reason the math went all kerflooey.

  56. I knew something was up right away. You got to be half of one side or the other, not both. Half of half is a quarter. 1/4 is remarkably similar to 27%, no? (Fold a page in half one way, then the other.) I just realized your metric trained Canadian children might not immediately grasp this. Fractions do have their uses.

  57. My brother is a math-challenged reporter. He finds help from Dr. Math at a site I found for him when I grew tired of telling him the same thing over and over. My brother says the site is easy to follow with examples even a numbskull reporter (his term, not mine) can follow. Perhaps it will help you, too.

  58. You mentioned in a previous post about this blankie that you ‘might’ do a short tutorial on picking up garter stitches. While I’m sure there are thousands out there who don’t need this info, I feel safe in saying that it’s not good to assume that even intermediate knitters couldn’t use either a lesson or a fresh perspective on occasion. And beginners can use all the help they can get. Looking forward to (with luck) meeting you at Sock Summit.

  59. Did the same thing with a quilt – wanted to make it half the size of the original so divided each measurement by 2 – and ended up with a very small piece!
    saw you were looking for some good tv/dvd shows – check out some of these from BBC
    Monarch of the Glen, Hamish MacBeth, Inspector Morse, Kavanaugh QC, Whycliff, Prime Suspect, Rosemary and Thyme. I can get them from my library (in Calgary not sure what is available in Toronto)
    and many more – the BBC dramas are so much better than ones from this side of the pond (imho). And no – I am not from Britain!

  60. Dawn – we do use and are taught fractions in the metric system also πŸ™‚
    1/2 of 1cm is .5, therefore 5mm etc. I think fractions are actually easier for us, with the base 10 thing, because even someone as mathmatically challenged as I can divide the number 10 πŸ˜€

  61. I saw your numbers and thought “She’s 1/2 done in each direction, which means she’s 1/4 done with the blanket.”
    Don’t hate me.
    Also don’t ask about ounces to grams conversion, because I sure as heck can’t do that.

  62. Maybe you could say that it is a baby blanket. And babies like small blankets, being small. And then you’d be done! πŸ™‚

  63. Stephanie, I’m still working on my blanket I had when you were here in Dallas, LOL
    I’m on garter ridge #26 on block 8, wihch is several rows into the 2nd ball of yarn for this block. I totally gave up on the whole math thing and decided to start measuring my progress by how much yarn I have left vs. how much I started with. (for this project, not overall. that would be expecting way too much.)
    As far as I can tell, I have less than I started with, by a fair bit, and that’s as much math as I am willing to do…

  64. I’m so glad you’re bad at math! All along I have been thinking I would never be a good knitter because my math skills are….shall we say lacking…..but now this! You, an excellent knitter, are bad at math as well, this gives me great hope to be an accomplished knitter!

  65. What’s truly scary about knitting is how often I use math that I was SURE would be utterly useless IRL. Take up a hobby, live & learn.
    I would love to see my 6th grade math teacher’s face if he ever heard this though.

  66. I feel your pain, both with the math and with the log cabin. I felt like poking out my eyes with my needles by the time I got that sucker finished!

  67. I have two math lovers here in the house hold, you know the kind, can do the problems in their heads. aggravating, yes. I am doing the larger version of that blanket, I keep putting it off,2 years now. Daughter wants it. Maybe for her b-day.(oct.) who knows. Have fun.

  68. *chuckling*
    I despise math, and yet I am a knitter (which requires math on occasion), a quilter (which also requires math), and a homeschooling mom (which means I have to teach my children math). Apparently math is one of those annoying little buggers that never goes away. Nevertheless, I have never had to solve a “story problem” in real life (did you ever have those in school?). Thus I will never concede that ALL math is applicable or necessary to life; Only those pesky things like multiplication, division, and fractions. Darn it all.

  69. Just finished an EZ seamless yoke sweater, and I’ve gotta say, math is one of things I love about knitting. Give me some proportions and some yarn and man, I’m a happy camper. Who doesn’t really like camping. Go ahead. Shoot me down. I probably deserve it. lol

  70. I consider it a grand joke of the universe that my favorite hobby sometimes requires me to do math. Ha ha.

  71. I am terrible and counting and 2nd grade math. I make *really* dumb mistakes all the time. What highly educated adult can’t count?
    I actually like math, but I feel your pain.

  72. Thanks goodness you didn’t start counting the stitches! Good ideas to just not go there! (Notice I am trying to impart goodness, energy and excitement with my constant use of exclamation points!!!)
    by the way, it’s looking gorgeous! totally! and will be well worth the effort!

  73. I really do think we need to hear your philosophy of division. Could have me rolling on the floor with the cats looking at me funny.

  74. I like the way you do math. If they had use knitting problems in math when you were little, you probably would have been a wiz!

  75. This is why my favorite speaking gig these days is entitled “Knitting, S.E.X., Chocolate and a Couple of Math Skills.” I have to use bald-faced seduction to get knitters to attend.
    Sorry Steph. I think math is elegant and clear . . . it’s predictable and that comforts me. And I’m an English major. Go figure.

  76. I was knitting a baby blanket (all garter stitch) on the diagonal. I wanted 40″+ for my square. I had reached 21″ on each side and realized I was way less than a quarter of the way through since each row was longer than the row before: while I’d knitted a quarter (or so) of the rows I needed, I’d only knitted the SHORT rows. I frogged, found a quick crochet pattern, and finished the sucker in about a week.
    But your blanket is prettier. πŸ™‚

  77. First:Sam is beautiful.
    Second:I’m glad I’m not the only one who has an “approach to division”.
    Third:The blanket is 100% lovely

  78. Oh, screw the math. Isn’t it about that time of year to devote your cleverness to the annual cherry tree adventure?

  79. Math is an evil conspiracy. On another topic because I can’t seem to Tweet, the prom picture is beautiful. Hope those kids are having a wonderful time. With apologies to Keats, beauty is youth, youth beauty.

  80. percentages are the bane of my existence…but the blanket looks great! soon you will need two blanket models instead of just one.

  81. Steph, you were close, but just missed visualizing the finished project. Imagine the whole blanket. You got about half of the width, and half of the length. So you got about 1/4 of the whole thing, a little more than 25%. Way to go with the garter stitch marathon!

  82. So… First of all, math is evil – a creation of Lucifer himself. Second, I have wanted to do a blanket like this FOREVER but I can’t get the picking up stitches thing at all. HELP???

  83. Um, seriously?? Did I just write this post??? Yah. So, I totally didn’t even really get how you figured out the area… this is why I married my math-hole husband. And why yes, yes I do homeschool my kids! πŸ˜‰

  84. This is too funny, but I sympathize as well. I remember my fourth-grade teacher trying to show us long division, and I was like, “…huh?”
    Oh, and I’m a senior in college, and I still haven’t taken my math requirement. In fact, I’m not taking it until my last semester of my college education, because it’s not on my schedule next semester. Laziness? Stupidity? I don’t know. I just hate math. πŸ™‚

  85. I hate fractions. I complained of my terrible math skills to my dad (an accountant) once, to which he replied: “It’s not that you couldn’t do math, you just couldn’t do arithmetic.” Apparently, while I understood the concept I just never counted the numbers correctly.

  86. Don’t feel all alone in this, I did the very same thing on a baby blankie that was a big granny square…the crochet rounds got bigger as the blanket grew….it took me weeks to admit to myself that the math was right and I was wrong. I, too, hate math. I am school counselor, so I can hate it and identify with the inmates, I mean, students.

  87. to break up my own Moderne log cabin I’m adding in little intarsia squares to give me something to chew on while I knit up 18 balls of Mission Falls superwash. I was motivated to give it a shot by Kay’s recent improvements on a log cabin.

  88. Gah – I share your math booboo issues – I think I have have my math spot on – then revisit and get the ‘correct’ numbers and wonder what the heck was goin’ on when I first calculated. I think it’s that Mercury retrogade thang

  89. I’ve now made this blanket three times – a small worsted weight cottom as a wedding gift/housewarming, a larger version for my own bed – it was knit driving 10,000 miles from Las Vegas to Alaska and back + 80 or so more hours when I returned; and a double worsted cotton for a child’s bedspread. I love the pattern. My nephew wants one for Hanukkah and has already picked out colors in shades of blue and grey. Keep up the hard work! By the way, I can’t finish a sock to save my life….but a blanket! No problem!

  90. I too am a high school math teacher who has been known to do arithmetic wrong. Like someone above, I too instantly got around a quarter, was very puzzled by your 20%, but didn’t think to check your multiplication.
    However, I was a more interested in pointing out to Marie-Jolie that every time you do math with your knitting and quilting you are doing a story problem. Ideally in mathematics a story problem is any problem where the problem is initially stated in words such as if I have knit my blanket to these dimensions and the ultimate dimensions are such and such then I wonder how much of the blanket it done? The problem did not just say what percentage of 3000 is 564. While this may not be a story problem that you in particular ran across in school, it is still a story problem. You can certainly use the math problems that you run across in your crafts to teach your children with story problems that interest you. I recently taught my child how to multiply by 8 by doubling 3 times in the context of figuring out what yardage I would have if I bought 8 balls of a certain yarn. It is truly very difficult to write word problems that appeal to all. When in your knitting and quilting you are using math it is to work out a problem which is in most cases not stated explicitly anywhere such as how am I going to evenly spread out the button holes if each button hole takes 2 stitches, I want 5 buttons and there are 60 stitches? The pattern doesn’t give you specific numbers and ask for a specific operation, you need to work out what math is required and why. That makes it a story problem.
    I hope my comment above doesn’t sound too preachy; I primarily wanted to point out that especially as you are home schooling you have the ability to make story problems that do interest you. I use my knitting and issues with my knitting to talk about mathematics with my students at times also.

  91. I was going to post a comment, but after reading the one above me, I just can’t. I just need to lie down.

  92. In solidarity I was only working on my blanket project too but…. someone got cancer and I reasoned that was an excuse to make a chemo hat real quick.

  93. Well, I’ve cringed about 30 times while reading the comments. There’s nothing I hate hearing more from my middle school math students than “I HATE MATH”. I understand how frustrating it can be for some, but if I can get them to at least tolerate math and respect its usefulness, I feel better. While I preach, “Math IS fun” everyday and approach every lesson assuming they will enjoy it, I know that most won’t share my enthusiasm. They could begin to think that it isn’t half bad (or that I’m a raving lunatic who needs to be locked up – one or the other.) One thing is for sure, math won’t go away. Maybe you don’t whip out the Pythagorean Theorem all the time – but you can’t escape math.
    At any rate, you should be very happy to know that you are over 1/4 the way done! I just hope that some of the commenters weren’t right in saying that you are knitting it wrong – geez – I’d hate to see you knit this more than once!

  94. Ha, I was all “she’s 1/4 through.”
    Then I looked at your numbers and thought “wait, 1/5.”
    And then thought “that’s not right, one half the length and one half the width means 1/4 of the rectangle!”
    And then I scrolled down.
    I have to say that this type of intuitive realization only happens for me with geometry. Put algebra in front of me and I don’t know the back from the front. This is how I ended up getting 25% on Math 12, but getting 94% in Geometry 12…

  95. I passed math. I even passed calculus (with a high enough grade to get a BA in geology. Just because you like playing with rocks, apparently you still have to pass calculus.) Your math makes total sense (after 3 hurricanes), and I totally believe that you’re only 20% done….ok…so I didn’t double check anything. But it make sense to me. I mean, look how “small” the blanket is compared to the daughter! Anyway, cheers to you for taking on the project. One of these days I might actually finish my blanket.

  96. Thank you for the great “real life” word problem. Do you mind if I use it (and the picture) with my students?
    This is one of the first posts whose comments I read with great interest. I teach math to students at a high school level. The vast majority of students are pushed/pulled/dragged through the final two or three math courses required to receive a high school diploma.
    It’s long been my suspicion, and the majority of these comments demonstrate, that the math courses don’t do a good job of teaching much of anything at the earlier levels. It’s seems most people ‘fall off the train’ at around grade 6 or 7. I spend a lot of time thinking about why/how that is. Any ideas?
    And…a second vote for using this example (and the myriad others that naturally arise in knitting, quilting, gardening, baking, etc.) when teaching math to your children. Don’t worry about making mistakes. Finding your errors and figuring out how to fix them is a big part of math (and life!) Your enthusiasm for the activity will be contagious and create the best kind of homeschool day: MEMORABLE and MEANINGFUL lessons.
    We homeschool, and I know those days don’t ever come around as consistently as we’d like, but they’re always amazing.

  97. I have always been terrble at math. I share your thoughts of garter stitch. I am making the most boring scarf ever.SOS

  98. See, now I’ve told my kids many times that I had them because a) they’re cute and b) they do my math for me. Anything beyond adding and subtracting fractions makes my brains leak out my ears and I make funny little noises. (Amazingly, without doing the actual math – which I never would have worked out – I did estimate that you were about 25% done. Huh.) My stunning lack of mathematical ability is part of why I was a history major. Of course, I’m also bad with dates…

  99. Oh math, you cruel, cruel mistress, you!
    I use it every day, and it STILL occasionally bites me. Especially when it’s “easy” math. Ask me to do the linear regression thing, no problem. Percentages, loan payments, return on investment under scenarios 1 through 8, you got it.
    How much is 8 plus 5? Uhhhhhhhhhh…fifteen? No wait, twelve. No. Wait…

  100. Steph, I’ve emailed you an Excel spreadsheet to help you keep track of how far you’ve done/how far to go. It also tells you how much you’ve done since the last check, which encourages me to beat yesterday’s total.

  101. It makes me really sad to see posts/comments about math being hard and evil. Although I’m lucky to have some intuition for it, I don’t believe math is really so hard that anyone should be afraid or resentful of it.
    The problem with math education is generally in the teacher, not the student. Think about how difficult the English language is. Most people do fairly well with English because they use it all the time. Practice and a patient teacher can make someone math literate in surprisingly little time.
    I promise that I could get 99% of people through calculus if they would just be patient and not use “math is hard” as an excuse to give up.

  102. I am just going to knit away and when the yarn is gone, so be it. No measuring!

  103. I get it. Really. Once I was at a restaurant and my dinner companion was trying to figure out the tip. She said she’d just figure it out at the cash register, and I exclaimed, loudly: “But then you’ll have to do Math!”

  104. It would seem to me that you know enough math to accomplish wonderful knitted items. That should be enough to you!!!!

  105. I get math however my spelling leaves something to be desired and don’t start asking me any grammar questions.It’s improved with vast amounts of reading (hmm that doesn’t look right) just like your math skills have probably over the years. This all comes in under the heading of everybody’s good at something.
    Re Dorky TV don’t know how extensive your cable is but season 1 of True Blood can be had on HBO Canada on demand (308 rogers) and season 2 has fired up on HBO Canada. Do we get reviews of the new and Dorky?
    Dorky #2 Merlin- new Arthurian retelling 13 episodes NBC starting soon Toronto Star says it’s good. Re this there’s an older Hallmark offering of Merlin’s story, Merlin and a follow up Merlin’s Apprentice Sam Neil is Merlin. First one is good (won an Emmy) have yet to watch 2nd one. I’d say odds are good the Toronto Library system has it

  106. 10th grade Math Teacher had same last name as me..not semester of my math reasoning..he resigned, married my favorite teacher(HomeEc who taught me to knit), vowed to change his last name and profession. Hmmmmm! Never know what kind of impact one has on others…I’ve always wondered if he learned to Knit. I just reviewed ‘AtKnitsEnd’ on my blog. Maybe you could review my review.

  107. In the immortal words of Jimmy Buffett….
    “If necessity is the mother of invention
    Then I’d like to kill the guy who invented this
    The numbers come together in some kind of 3rd dimension
    A regular algebraic bliss.
    Let’s start with something simple
    Like one and one ain’t three
    And two plus two will never get you five
    There’s fractions in my subtraction
    And X don’t equal Y
    But my homework is bound to multiply
    Math sucks (math sucks)
    Math sucks (math sucks)
    I’d like to burn this textbook, I hate this stuff so much!
    Math sucks (math sucks)
    Math sucks (math sucks)
    Sometimes I think that I don’t know that much–But math sucks!”
    Good luck with the blanket, I like the way it’s ‘churning’ out!

  108. I hate math too. And my dad was a math teacher. Sometimes its better not to know how close you are to being done. It always seems to take longer, psychologically, to get to that last row if you know how far you have to go. Don’t look at the goal. Just keep knitting. Your blanket is beautiful, but I fear I would not be able to knit it. I need yarn-overs and knit-two-togethers to keep me alert. I think your blanket might be just a bit too much garter stitch for me.

  109. I love math. Math makes sense and doesn’t lie. Ever. Gauge swatches, on the other hand…

  110. Aww, c’mon. You have a titch more than 1/2 of one side, and a titch more than 1/2 of the other side. That’s a titch more than 1/4 of the final blanket – which is the figure you got. It’s not math. It’s visual. (I hated numbers but did great on geometry.)

  111. *Error!* *Error!* *Systems overload* *Not programed for any math other than 2+2 equaling…*
    (and this is what my brain does when I attempt to figure out math)

  112. should white touch on white
    as the harlot proceeds with
    log cabin blanket?
    or is it a trick of the light?

  113. My comment whenever numbers are involved:
    “I was an English major-you do the math!”
    Saw it on a tee shirt once-love it.

  114. I’m seriously wondering whether being good at math has an affect on creativity, which you definitely have a great grasp on, both in your writing and your knitting. πŸ™‚ Are there math whizzes out there who are also hugely creative? Are most of us who knit not great at math? The only math I am doing in the near future is after I finish the last two square areas of my throw. I’m going to call on hazy multiplication memories to find out how many stitches are in it. No, I don’t want to know yet. Two more to go….

  115. I’ve always been good at math, up until the second semester of calculus when I just hit a wall and absolutely nothing made sense anymore, which was totally disconcerting for me because that had never happened before. I may have freaked out a bit.
    No one’s good at everything. You excel at things I couldn’t dream of doing.

  116. I think it is side splittingly funny that an erudite, funny, intelligent and liberated woman such as you is so bad at arithmetic!
    I hug your math challenged-ness
    (my math and economics and finance degrees are waving at you!)

  117. Math…hate just isn’t a strong enough word for it. I get sweat beads on my lips, clammy hands and a churning tummy every time I remember math class. I am hopeless…totally hopeless.
    They build calculators for people like me…now if I just knew how to work one…..

  118. I am doing this for twin babies. Finish boy’s and started on girls. I reward myself after each finished rectangle. It is the little things that make garter hell easier.

  119. It is a rare event when the Comments are funnier than what you penned for that day.
    To cookknitwine 19June 5:02P, Sweetheart, you are a Linear among many Spatials in this group (I know, I married one – Linear, that is).
    To zeyla 20June 1:15P, I hope those “3 hurricanes” made me think KatrinaRita&Ike!
    To the rest of you … thanks for the hilarity.
    Personally, I think our beloved Yarn Harlot is excellent at Maths; at least multiplication. Lovely Daughters as evidence (thanks Sam).

  120. I was going to say “no, Steph, you’re about 25% done because each side is 1/2 what it needs to be, which gives you four squares (fold a piece of paper in quarters to see what I mean). Then I read your edit and wanted to hug you because you got it eventually anyway.
    Chug on. One stitch at a time, right?

  121. o.k., even what I wrote doesnt’ make sense to me.
    Leave out “I hope” in the note to zela and
    “Thanks Sam” should have been first, not last.
    I am quite sincere that the Yarn Harlot and her beloved have Beautiful Children …that is multiplication in its finest form!

  122. I saw someone’s comment about their very small quilt (wanting about half the size, they divided each measurement by 2).
    I’ve done this at least twice, trying to upsize by a percentage, and forgetting to multiply by enough to get enough yarn! 25% larger in one dimension as well as 25% larger in the other dimension does not equal 25% more yarn!

  123. I love your blog entry and I very much hate math. The ironic thing is I use it every day in my job and I was terrible at it in school. And we have to use it in knitting. Don’t you love irony.

  124. Okay, 26×32 is by length and width more than 50% of 30×60. But the comment regarding stitch count throws it all off. I math! Half if half, yes? Still, the pattern, colors, they’re great. Drink some coffee, work one more row…you’re almost there.

  125. I totally understand about the math. I have a son who wants to teach something intimidating, like math, when he gets bored with his engineering career. Fortunately, besides his math skills, he has a lot of discretion and diplomacy. For instance, once he asked me if a certain baby was about a year and a half old and I replied, “No. She’s 18 months.” He didn’t say a word and was most gracious when I figured it out about three hours later.

  126. I too am saddened by all the posts against maths. As knitters we spend *so* much time telling people that knitting is fun and easy, and *yes* they can do it too. Guess what? So is maths! Fun, easy, useful… and you get a balanced checkbook at the end. Let me second the recommendation for
    and her new book will be on algebra (being written now)

  127. This is very like the doilies I crochet. (Yes, people do STILL do that.) When you have completed half the rounds you are nowhere near half done. That happens at about 2/3 of the rounds. Fun, huh?

  128. Thanks for the edit. I thought I was pretty decent at math and I had figured you were approximately 1/4 or 25% through and was thrown by the 19%. I feel better now. 1/4–it’s not over 1/2, but it’s not bad. You can do it! I’m still plugging away on my 1×1 ribbing. good luck!

  129. I apologize for the triple comment. I was using a new laptop and wasn’t familiar with it.

  130. Here’s the funny thing. Many of the best knitters I know are engineers, accountants and math teachers. Or musicians and contra dancers. I think it has something to do with pattern recognition and the repetitive nature of knitting. Even those who disavow any skill at math can have an instinctive grasp of the “rightness” of the work. And wasn’t it Elizabeth Zimmerman (or Barbara Walker, I forget which) who said that most knitting can be accomplished with a fourth grade education? Maybe fourth grade was harder back then.

  131. P.S. Thanks for updating the KWB total. I might have more karmic balancing gifts in my stash.

  132. I’m going to try to maybe make you feel a little better about your math mistake – give you an “out” so to speak. IF you were using the number scratch-pad on your computer keyboard? The 8 is directly over the 5. So see, you could convince all of us that you made a typo the first time which you carried into your calculations…
    Happens all the time, when you’re a numbers cruncher (like me), and perfectly understandable.
    (so don’t tell anyone if you were using the row of numbers at the top of your alpha keyboard, okay? shhhh…keep it a secret!)

  133. Sam looks really gorgeous, you know. And your math skills are fine, it’s just your arithmetic that suffers.

  134. Too funny…my ‘math’ brain said when I saw the dimensions…WOW, she’s finished more than a quarter of the blanket already. Then I read “more than halfway” and thought, what? You’re doing great!!! LOVE it in those neutral colors!

  135. Looks great! I love ecowool too. And the neutral colors will make it turn out with understated elegance. I looked on Ravelry and found some, ah, interesting color combinations in the various blanket projects. Each to her/his own! I like Linder’s comment about the number of stitches you have completed and how many the finished blanket will have. Wonder if this is comparable to a sock? a lace shawl? Hmmm. More math…

  136. Found A hilarious dorky British series on Netflix today “the IT crowd”. IT as in computers. I do not describe things well…so I will not try. It is funny though.

  137. Freakin’ math, indeed! If it wasn’t so frustratingly necessary for knitting I would have left it in the dust years ago.

  138. Love math here, and when I saw how much you had done I thought it my head she is slightly more than a quarter. When you said 20% I was already to check your math.
    The reason it is a quarter. Draw a square (or rectangle doesn’t matter). Draw a line across halfway on one side, now do the same for the other – this represents what you have done on the blanket. Skip the math and just draw things out. Math is a visual exercise if you can visualize it you can tell if you are getting the right answer or not.

  139. sam is beautiful. does she know that or is she like most women who only realize it in retrospect, many years after the fact? πŸ™‚

  140. *snark* About a month ago, I was working on a square that had to be a foot long at the edge–and I was working from the center out. I did some SERIOUS Matheletics to figure the diagonal to the side edge ratio– I used a square root and formulas and EVERYTHING. But I must have broke something, because I just tried to do basic subtraction and failed miserably– be careful, knitter. You only have so much good math in you. the rest is for shite and will bite you in the arse.

  141. Still less than half, honey. You need to start some lace or you may just lose it.

  142. As one who just completed the first round of square one of Philosopher’s Wool Mandala – for the 7th time – and finally got it right! – I sympathize whole-heartedly! Keep on chugging along – all will be well
    Jenni in Edmonton – 1st day of summer – hooray!

  143. Beautiful daughter, handsome blankie.
    I can do math (better if nobody’s watching), up through algebra and analytic geometry.
    But Calculus had no clear use. I could keep it in short-term memory just long enough to pass each exam. Maybe if the math teacher had been able to give me an actual real-world use for calculus, it would have stuck. I use algebra for shopping, geometry for sewing. I’ve never needed calculus.

  144. Your daughter is beautiful. (Oh, and so is the afghan.) Happy knitting!

  145. are all knitters bad at math? Do we all have dyscalculia? I know I have.. and so do most of the commenters on your blog.. interesting isn’t it?

  146. I’m always doing this – and miscalculating – with knitting projects. The blanket does look good, though – and 28% is much better than 20%!

  147. Don’t feel bad, Stephanie. I think Elf may be right. Knitters with math issues seem to be able to knit beautiful things, not to mention your talent for churning out socks like an assembly line.
    I, on the other hand, do math for a living, and seem to be constitutionally unable to knit a sock without at least one gaping hole in heel or toe (or both). And I consistently overbuy the yarn needed for a project. So on balance, I’d say it’s better to be unable to do math and be able to knit.

  148. Okay 27% or whatever. But as the rows get longer, doesn’t it go faster? Cuz you’re a superfast knitter and turning around just slows you down, so if you have to do it less often, it’ll go more quickly, right? (she said with great optimism).

  149. It’s a baby; how big does it have to be really? Just tell the mom it’s a diaper changing layette. :o) – Or maybe a modesty blanket if she’s breastfeeding…

  150. But see? This is why you need math. Back in 8th grade, when you wondered why you ever needed to “know this stuff”, the teacher should have answered, “to figure out when you are half way done with your knitting project”. Then we would have jumped on it.

  151. Math sucks! The blanket does not suck. I love the simple elegance of the crisp lines, solid blocks of color and the neatness of it all. I teach first and second grade students with special needs… they correct my math mistakes. My recovery lines are always, “You’re so smart!” and “Just seeing if you’re paying attention!” Doh!

  152. You have more fortitude than me. I knitted to 26×32 and called it a crib blanket. Just sayin’ ….

  153. What is with everyone (me included) doing the crazy-making garter stitch projects?
    I love this blanket you’re making, but also know that I would go insane before I finish it. Especially if I started trying to figure out how much more I need to do.
    I would stop checking if I were you.
    Just sayin’

  154. An easier way to figure out the percentage you’ve done:
    32 is just a bit more than half of 60, and 26 is just a bit more than half of 50, so when you multiply the numbers together you should be just a bit more than one-fourth (1/2 x 1/2 = 1/4) of the way done. 25% is one-fourth, so you should be a bit more than 25% done.
    This method is pretty bad if you want exact numbers, but it’s great for estimating.

  155. Hey, I see you have a kazillion readers so might possibly miss this comment. I run a charity for newborn babies and moms in SA. We are always desperate for little knitted hats and cardigans and it would be awesome if we could get your readers involved. Mail me if this is possible.
    My blog
    PS, your daughter is gorg, mine turned 7 on Sunday and my little one turns 5 this coming Monday.

  156. Your math is bad? I don’t even understand what you’re talking about!! πŸ™‚ 30% is good though, right??? πŸ˜‰

  157. I love reading how many folks chose to round-up their percentages to encourage your progress. Very nice blanket! It looks like it will be finished well before the cool weather sets in again. Happy knitting!

  158. oh my gosh… I’m actually in tears right now from the laughing. Math is good at making me cry… and evidently, laugh as well.

  159. I love math but not so much when it comes to knitting. Now you know why so many of us crochet blankets, regardless of how lovely those some of those cabled creations can be. Knitting blankets just takes way too much time and frankly, more patience than I possess.

Comments are closed.