Sunday, May 17, 2020

Real String Theory

String theory is one of the most famous ideas in modern physics, but it is also one of the most confusing. At its heart is the idea that the fundamental particles we observe are not point-like dots, but rather tiny strings that are so small that our best instruments cannot tell that they are not points. It also predicts that there are extra dimensions to space beyond the obvious length, breadth and depth, but we do not experience them because they are bunched up in tiny spaces. --Michael Marshall in New Scientist, 15 Apr 2009
I consider myself pretty intelligent. I'm good at solving problems and I enjoy figuring out difficult puzzles. I think this is why I enjoy working with yarn so much: I enjoy working out the math and the measurements to turn string into garments and objects.

But what I don't understand yarn itself. I mean... like what the heck, yarn? Why don't I understand you? Do you operate in a totally different dimension? The yarn dimension?

Case in point: I spent the greater part of yesterday afternoon and evening searching my house for a ball of yarn which I AM SURE IS HERE SOMEWHERE, but I can't for the life of me find it. I looked through every single ball in my stash, which is not insubstantial and did not see any sign of it. Then I searched every room, every drawer, every box... nada. I even looked in Seymour's toy box, in case he decided to save it for himself. I knew I was really in trouble when I found myself in the pantry checking all of the shelves... maybe I was holding it while I was searching for a snack...

It is nowhere. And it is driving me crazy.

I have moved on and started to work on something else, but I'd be lying if I said I'd given up on finding it. I just need someone to open up another dimension for me and I'm sure I'll find it in there. It's just a matter of time...

Another example of this weird yarn dimension is my newest finished project. This is my Pulmonaria Lace Shawl, a pattern by Elena Gotlib:

It was a pattern I found to use up a skein of Madelinetosh laceweight yarn. It was a skein of 950 yards and I wanted to try to use the majority of it up. When I looked up the pattern, it said it would use between 600 and 900 yards, depending on how many repeats of the pattern you did and your needle size. I looked through other people's project notes and found that, on average, people were using around 750 yards with a size 2 needle with 5 repeats. I do not own a size 2 needle, but I do own a size 2.5 needle, so I rationalized that I would use around 800-850 yards.

I slogged away and cast off the other night and weight my leftover yarn.

Turns out I used 760 yards. Just 10 yards more than everyone else, even though I used a larger needle. 

*Insert Twilight Zone music here*

Anyway, I still love it:

The textured stitches really bring out the gentle tonal beauty of this yarn. I adore the teal variations throughout. And I am very pleased with how well the beads are sitting. I have a habit of pulling the yarn too tight when I work with beads, but this time I really tried hard to make sure that the beads were seated just right:

It will be rather short for my broad shoulders to wear as a cape, but I really don't care:

And it's hard to see, but I have beads placed all along the bottom edge of the shawl. They give the whole thing a wonderful drape. It's quite elegant:

So, I understand math and I enjoy learning about physics, but I really feel someone should invest some time in yarn physics sometime and explain to me exactly what the heck happened with my missing ball of yarn and my weird miscalculation. I guess I can be grateful that at least I didn't run out of yarn this time.

I'm off to go enjoy the evening. I hope you are well. Have a good week.


Michelle said...

It’s beautiful!

AdrieneJ said...

Thank you. I think this will be a favourite!