Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pi Day

So today is March 14, and in the part of the world that puts months before days, that means it's 3/14 or Pi Day. My friends who are not on break are having various events on their respective campuses. There are bake sales and pi runs (approximately the length of a 5k, or 3.14 miles), and pie-a-prof booths. I am on spring break, and therefore celebrating this fake approximate holiday in a somewhat more staid manner. I had my morning tea in my math mug:
(The sock-in-progress is the handspun from the last post. I'm almost through the gusset on the second sock.)

And I've been watching pi-related videos on youtube. Here are my favorites.
Vi Hart has a whole amazing channel of stuff. This one amuses me, because while she makes the pie crust from scratch, she uses canned filling, which is entirely backward from my pie-making usual. I am neutral on the pi/tau debate, but the math here is excellent. This morning Vi posted a video of herself singing pi, but my favorite of that kind of thing is below.

I've only seen a few Numberphile videos, but I really dig this one. I'm so amused by the process here. Pi calculated in terms of pie. Also note the video length.

This one is just bizarre in a wonderful way. (Warning: there's a little inappropriate language.) I had seen and loved this video a couple years ago, and it turns out it's from Chris Hardwick, the Nerdist, who I have since come to love for other reasons.

As for other celebrations, I don't know. I was thinking of taking myself out to see Life of Pi this afternoon, but I may start knitting a pi shawl instead. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Handspun and Millspun

So Jillian Moreno wrote a great column about knitting handspun yarn in the new Knitty, and people at knit night last night were talking about it. You should read it, but essentially she knit commercially spun and handdyed yarn and handspun fiber dyed in the same colorway by the same dyer, and there are swatches, oh so many swatches. Of course, I've been (much more slowly) doing the same sort of experiment. In 2010 I knit a pair of socks in Socks That Rock mediumweight, in one of my favorite patterns. The yarn is a softly-spun three-ply with a lot of plying twist for bounciness and density. Here's a ravelry link to my project, but pictures are below IMG_0475 The start of the socks with the ball of yarn. IMG_0558 Finished socks, which long held court as my favorite pair, but have now been worn through and patched enough times that they have been retired. (I think I darned the heels at least four times before deciding there wasn't enough there to darn anymore.) Sometime in their long and glorious reign, I ordered a sheep-to-shoe kit from Blue Moon in the same colorway (Jabberwocky). I spun the fiber (slowly, I don't spin fast) long-draw from the fold, and three-plied it with a lot of plying twist. This was one of the methods discussed and sampled in a Spinning Sock Yarn class I took with Abby Franquemont at the Trading Post (in 2010). I cast on this past summer, but socks haven't been a thing as much lately, so they've been moving slowly. So these are a handspun equivalent pair of socks - except for the missing garter rib, but no big. IMG_1384 They're going to be fantastic, but they're not really at all like the millspun ones, are they? The above is an older picture, I'm halfway through the second sock by now and hope to knock the pair out by the end of my impending Spring Break.