Thursday, 18 September 2008

A Stitch in Time

Yesterday we had a lovely sunny autumn day at last, after summer hadn’t arrived this year. It was like waiting for Godot. Like a piece in time is missing. Was it not just late spring, also long awaited, when the hawthorn blossomed, blessed with the few dry and sunny weeks of this year, as were the aquilegias? When the Lady’s mantles just emerged. When we had strawberries from the garden with ice cream.

Now all is wilting, drying, dying back - earlier this year, it seems, than usual - having been smashed so frequently by rain and wind. Strawberry time was good and happy. Mohrle was still here, our blind black cat. She loved to lick the empty ice cream bowls. She also loved egg yolk, when we had boiled eggs – served to her in the tops of the eggshells. She left us nearly three weeks ago, forever, after she had been a loved and loving companion for 13 years. She had only become blind about 1 ½ years ago and coped well.

Where I sat yesterday to write this post was her last favourite place in our mutual world. She used to have favourite places for periods of time. In the last few months every morning she insisted to go out to spend most of the day on the garden table, under the parasol we had bought in Lidl, initially to protect her from the sun at strawberry time. It turned out to be her umbrella sheltering her from the rain later. Now she is in her final resting place. She is missed. I will forever think of her when we’ll have eggs or ice cream, and especially at strawberry time.

Not when I’ll see the rhododendron flowering that grows down along the road, because Mohrle didn’t go that far anymore when she was blind. But rhododendron had the same good time as the strawberries and the hawthorn this year, other than the roses. Quite every year a wet period sets in when the roses would come into full bloom, and quite commonly that wet period lasts, and not their flowers. They hardly ever reach their full potential of beauty here.

I remember walking down with my neighbour at rhododendron time, and as nearly every year, she told me how fond the late old lady who had lived in our house, was of it. I said to her: If we think about it… We see nature’s seasonal signs and patterns, if we are lucky, only 70/80 times in our live… Maybe we should be more aware of this to value nature, and life indeed.

Seventy pattern repeats, that’s not much if you come to think of it.

I guess this post turns out to be about time and patterns. I’ve noticed that I can’t go on to always upload several colour sequences of one structure. It is technically time consuming, and it doesn’t go smoothly with real time, because in real time I’m always already at other structures.

I wish to thank some nice people in the “geek craft” group on ravelry, who have done some maths for me. I had asked for the total possible amount of different combinations of Ks, Ps, Xs and Os that go into a 4x4 grid, where every row or column contains at least 1 P or K. Their complicated calculations resulted in this number: 221238784. They agreed that only 1/16 of that is relevant for knitting because the grid = chart is repeated in knitting, and that makes 15 of 16 charts redundant. (ABCD repeated horizontally or vertically gives the same result as BCDA, CDAB, DCAB) That still leaves 13827424 combinations, possible different structures. And that’s only for the 4x4 grid. They said they don’t attempt larger grids, as the numbers would be “intimidating”. The various possible colour sequences are not considered in this.

So, there is a lot to explore, and I want to try different structures and do a range of colour sequences only sometimes. That means I’ll put up only a single pattern a day in the future, instead of giving nine colour sequences for one structure. It may also be less confusing for readers. I’ve shown how colour sequences do change the resulting pattern, and there is room for readers to experiment. The proverb fits quite neatly here:
A stitch in time makes nine.

In a year’s time, if I really manage to upload a stitch a day there will be one for every day. That would give the possibility to use them as “birthday patterns” in birthday presents, for example.

I’ll start with a stitch a day tomorrow. It’s the birthday of a special person. Today I have these patterns for you. They are very easy to knit, but quite charming for that, I think. The resulting fabric is rather elastic, especially vertically. (The order is 1A, 1B, 2A,2B)

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