Evenly spaced eyelets

The directions “space X yarnovers evenly between Y stitches” can be hair pulling.  There is at least one online calculator to help you with this.  But I really wanted to know the formula behind it.  The closest that I could get was something with 4 variables. Sigh.  The math behind knitting isn’t actually very scary – it is all addition, subtraction, multiplication and division as far as I can tell.  But sometimes your unknowns (variables in math-speak) aren’t where you might expect them to be.

So I’ve been scribbling numbers and little math equations for the past couple days, I’ve covered most of 3 notebook pages and played with a number of permutation on excel before the most obvious answer in the world occured to me.

See I have 34 eyelets to space evenly between 211 stitches to end with a total of 245 stitches.  The end number must be divisible by 7 so that I am ready to start the lace (a repeat of 7 stitches). [k6, yo] 35 times would work great – if I wanted 35 YOs and had 210 stitches to deal with – but I don’t.

[k6, yo] 34 times, k7 does work (6×34+34+7=245 and 6×34+7=211) – but where to place those 7 stitches so they are evenly distributed among my 34 groupings?  And so I determined that I needed 27 groups of [k6, yo] and 7 groups of [k7, yo].  And I started playing with excel.  And then I realized that I would end my row with a YO – this is a big no-no in knitting.  Of course I actually I have a border of 8 stitches on either side of my 211 stitches so that would contain it – but it would look funny to end with a YO right next to my border when on the other side of the buttonband it is 6 stitches away.  It occurs to me that if I switch the second half of groupings to a [yo, k6] that would be more symmetrical – but then I have a place in the middle back where two yarnovers meet and that is no good (they’d become one big yarnover and I’d be out off one stitch in the final count).  

So I start figuring out how I can get a nice number of stitches between the middle two yarnovers.  And I start playing with groups of 4, 5, 6 and 7 stitches between yarnovers.  And I played some more and some more.  1 1/2 hours later I have a eureka!

[k6, yo] 17xs, k7, [yo, k6] 17xs.  This gives me 34 yarnovers between 211 stitches and almost every single spacing between yarnovers is exactly the same count – except the back middle and that isn’t off by much.  OMG!  How did I managed to be so clueless for the last oh hour and half that I’ve been scribbling numbers and adding and dividing and multiplying.

Symmetry to the rescue.

I’m guessing most of what I wrote above is still hard to follow if you are scared of math in knitting.  Also, sometimes, as great as math can be – a visual representation sometimes works better.  On Ravelry I heard of someone using spare change to do this.  Pennies represented the stitches she had on the needles and dimes represented the stitches she needed to add.  She just placed them in a long line and started playing with them – aiming for whatever looked even visually.  For me I use excel boxes.  And then I copy them and try various permutations.  I also used the sum function to make sure my numbers were adding up correctly.

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November 11, 2008. Tags: , . Knitting, Problems, Solutions.

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