Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Driving and drawing

I've done a lot more traveling this year than I typically do. I'm not going to recite my entire 2012 itinerary at you, but I did just get back from four days in Madison, Wisconsin, which is my favorite Midwestern city. It's pretty, pedestrian-friendly, and environmentally conscious (at least, compared to where I live), and there's a great abundance of good food and drink. You can't walk a hundred yards in downtown Madison without the opportunity to buy beer, cheese, or beer-battered cheese.

The reason for this trip was that my spouse was giving two talks at MathFest 2012 and I went along. As a recovering mathematician, I often get to see old friends at math conferences. For example, we had lunch with D. Jacob "Jake" Wildstrom, crocheter, combinatorist, and coauthor of Making Mathematics with Needlework. Jake was kind enough to share an order with me of the finest cheese curds in Wisconsin, to save me from eating them all myself.

One particularly great thing about Madison is that they have figured out that coffee and yarn should be together. I spent an hour knitting on a very comfortable couch in the Lakeside Street Coffeehouse, which shares a building with Lakeside Fibers. I would have stayed longer, but a heavy lunch was making me drowsy (remember those cheese curds?). I also went to Late Night Knitting at The Sow's Ear in nearby Verona, WI, which may be the Knit Night to end all Knit Nights. I talked to a lot of great, interesting people at both shops and, of course, did a little souvenir shopping.

One of my spouse's talks was about graph theory and blackwork embroidery, and I helped out by drawing some of the diagrams for his slides. Here are the slides for the whole talk; the illustrations with a fabric background are mine.

Now that I'm home, I've got some knitting technical illustrations to draw ASAP. I'll show you a sample of my illustration style and answer a frequent question about Skew at the same time. The original wording for the lifted increases is confusing. So here's a hopefully-clearer restatement, with a picture.

LLinc: use the left needle to pick up the aqua strand in the direction of the arrow; knit in the back of this strand.
RLinc: use the right needle to pick up the purple strand in the direction of the arrow; transfer it to the left needle and knit it (in the front).

If you're having trouble remembering whether to knit in the front or the back, the key idea is that they are intended to be untwisted. (Of course, if you want them to be twisted, by all means. It's your knitting.)

By the way, MathFest is scheduled to be in Portland in 2014. I'm desperately hoping it will coincide again with Sock Summit, like it did in 2009.


hunter said...

Hey now...they have to synchronize Sock Summit with Portland Brewer's Festival. Let's not get our priorities confused here. Math is all well and good, but beer is just as important!

owner said...

My priority is for my spouse's employer to pay for our hotel room. :P

mandymaz said...

I've been trying to make Skew, but am having trouble with the LLinc and RLinc. From reading the instructions and looking at the tech picture, I'm confused. The picture doesn't seem to show what the original instructions describe. Could they be reversed?

owner said...

mandymaz, you're right, they were switched. I've edited the post.

mandymaz said...