Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Shawls and Obsessions
Although I have plenty of other projects I could be working on, I became obsessed this weekend with starting a new Flower Basket Shawl. I did a little stash diving on Sunday night and came up with two balls of Katia Austral. Each ball contains 153 yards of yarn. So, I only had 306 yards to work with. How big could I make the shawl without running out of yarn? Ah! Time for some mathematics.
After I knit up the first ball of yarn, I did a little calculation to figure out what percentage of the shawl was completed and what percentage remained to be knit. Here's how you do it:
- To determine how much you've already knit, add the number of stitches in the first row and the number of stitches in the row that you just knit. In my case, that was (7 + 151) = 158.
- Then, divide the result by 2. This gives you the average number of stitches in each row. OK, now I've got (7 + 151) / 2 = 79
- Next, multiply the result by the number of rows you've knit. This tells you how many total stitches you've knit. I'd knit 72 rows so the calculation was (79 x 72) = 5688.
- Now, repeat the exact same calculation, but use the numbers from the last row of the pattern and assume the number of pattern repeats you'd like to be able to complete. For my Flower Basket Shawl, that calculation was: (7 + 199) / 2 x 88 = 9094
- Finally, divide the first result by the second and you get the percentage completed. Using my numbers, that percentage was 62.5%
By my calculation, I'd completed more than 60% of the shawl and still had 50% of the yarn left. So, I knew I'd have enough yarn to make the shawl as large as I wanted. Just for grins, I redid the calculation to see if I had enough yarn to complete yet another repeat of the pattern. No go. Those last 10 rows eat up a lot of yarn.
I've never tried this calculation with anything other than a rectangular shawl or a triangle shawl knit from the top down with a constant rate of increasing (i.e., an average of 2 stitches increased per row), but I think it would work even if you knit the shawl from the bottom up. I've actually set the whole thing up as a spreadsheet so I was able to monitor my progess as I knit the Flower Basket Shawl.
Not that I'm obsessive or anything.
Looks like my calculation worked:
Pattern: Flower Basket Shawl (Interweave Knits magazine)
Yarn: Katia Austral
Date Started: August 21, 2005
Date Finished (but not blocked): August 23, 2005
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