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February 21, 2006

aČ + bČ ≠ my sweater

Here's a confession: I haven't knit that many raglan sweaters in my knitting career. So it wasn't a big surprise when I hit a conceptual wall on the raglan shaping of my trusty Olympic sweater late Saturday afternoon. With one sleeve and the back complete, I was confronted with the following set of facts:

(No pictures, I'm afraid. The Olympic deadline does not allow for such luxuries as snapping pictures of miscues before ripping them out. [If only NBC had the same approach to capturing Olympians -- if I have to see that poor Canadian skater fall one more time...])

A re-write of this section of my pattern was clearly in order. I consulted Jenna's awesome sleeve tutorial to make sure I had a grasp of the general raglan principles. I measured again (and again) and sketched out the raglan lines on graph paper. Somehow, the numbers still weren't working out right. At this point, Jason got involved, and there was much talk about how one calculates the slope of a line and the Pythagorean theorem. This served as a great geometry refresher, but still didn't solve the problem. Finally, I put down the measuring tape and graph paper and looked -- really looked -- at the raglan lines on my model sweater.

Not straight!

Eureka! Those lines aren't straight! Looking at the raglan shaping on the body, the first four decreases are worked every four rows. The remaining decreases are then worked every other row. This makes the raglan shaping "bow" out a bit rather than follow a straight line from armpit to neckline. Here's the real kicker: in order to make the sleeve and body fit together, the "bow" has to be reversed on the sleeve. So the decreases are worked every other row for the first 12 rows, and then every fourth row for the rest of the sleeve.

I did some quick calculations to get the same effect on my raglan sleeves, ripped back, and tried again. This time, it worked.

Also not straight!
Take that, Pythagorus!

Posted by shannon at February 21, 2006 11:28 PM | For related posts: For Me!, Olympic Knitting


Ah Pythagorus. What would we do without him?

Posted by: Colleen at February 22, 2006 7:23 AM

Oh I'm so glad it worked out! I love using math in knitting.

Posted by: Laura at February 22, 2006 8:20 AM

Nice work!!! I had the same conversation with myself last night. I'm still scratching my head...

Posted by: Bookish Wendy at February 22, 2006 8:46 PM

wow. knitting AND learning all at the same time. :) It looks great!

Posted by: shireen at February 23, 2006 9:07 AM