I’m not really a maths kind of person. I’m much more likely to measure something by eye saying ‘oh it’s about so long’ or ‘this high’ rather than getting out a tape. Luckily I have a good eye and am usually about right. Long ago when I taught small people and was in charge of school displays I would always work by eye rather than measuring and things generally turned out well.
I love it that horses can still be measured in hands even though centimeters are now used for competition measurement. My pony is about 14 hands high. Here I go again! I’ve never measured him but I know that’s about right.
Sometimes approximation won’t do. We are busy fitting some new wool cupboards (yay!) into the crochet room as my teeny tiny shop has expanded a bit. David says I won’t be able to call it ‘Teeny Tiny’ for much longer, as the latest Stylecraft delivery arrives. The point is that there is only half a centimeter tolerance for fitting the new cupboards in the alcove so it was really essential to have accurate measurements this time. Soon they will be finished and filled with lovely yarn, can’t wait!
We live about five minutes from the sea on the beautiful Northumberland coast and for a while I had been contemplating making something with a sea theme. Over the summer I’ve been working on a coastal blanket design which has needed quite a bit of maths along the way.
I knew I wanted to use some kind of ripple to represent the sea but wanted to find a more textured effect than the patterns I had used before. I also wanted to break up the design with some shell and star motifs.
The shell designs really interested me. Browsing around for patterns I came across the nautilus shell which is a pretty spiral. I was then fascinated to find that it is also called the Fibonacci shell and long forgotten thoughts in my brain came to the surface. I remember studying the Fibonacci sequence at school and never thinking I might see it being used in real life, in crochet design no less but it’s the mathematical formula for natural spiral formations. Oddly this little thought gives me pleasure.
Did you expect to see a mathematical diagram in my blog? Maybe not. Anyway the shells are fun and easy to make so I started experimenting on ways of finishing them to form squares which I could then join into strips. Much counting was needed to make sure that the strips would fit the width of the blanket but by some miracle it seemed to work out perfectly.
I crocheted the yellow edges all in one go and joined them to the blanket edge using the plt (pull loop through) join from Cypress textiles. This is such a useful technique which I learned for making the African flower blanket and gives a really secure join.
The main body of the blanket, that lovely textured ripple, comes from a design called ‘Summer mist throw’ by Kim Guzman. You can find it on Ravelry. The original design uses four colours but I wanted five in mine so just judged by eye how to order them.
Those five pointed starfish caused me the most grief.
To use another mathematical term, five sided shapes do not tessellate or join together without gaps. The pattern is a simple star which you can find everywhere and they were soon made, but weeks of woe followed as I frogged and frogged again, putting the whole thing to one side for a while. Then I worked out how to circle and then square off the shapes again and soon got right back into it. Most of the colours are fairly uniform in this piece but I do like the pop of Stylecraft shrimp in those starfish. Once again I had to make the finished shapes fit the width of the blanket. This time I was only two stitches out for a perfect match so it was easy to fudge it. Don’t you love that about crochet? It is so forgiving when you need it to be.
I made up the edging which I wanted as a two colour window effect and I like the dotty look.
To complete the set I used a couple of my experimental shell squares and worked them up into granny cushions. Oh the soothing simplicity of working granny rounds after all that brain work. There’s that pop of shrimp in the colours again too. These are the big squares where you bring all the points together at the back and crochet together. I turn my work every round to keep it in shape.
Well I just love the finished set and also that it’s unique and my own. It’s currently adorning an old rather boring white sofa in our conservatory and looking lovely.
I’m sure one of the many benefits of this wonderful creative hobby is to keep my mind working. Happy crocheting everyone!