This week my two oldest girls and I have been working together to design a crochet baby sweater. They have been doing this in place of their more typical math assignments. (We homeschool, by the way). Maybe you would ask, What on earth does designing a sweater have to do with math?
They picked out the pattern stitch, an intricate cable from Robyn Chachula’s Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia. (If you zoom in on the picture and notice that the words and diagrams look all kinds of weird, that’s intentional. I distorted them to protect Robyn’s copyright). They also chose a color, and I made a swatch. I also used my Garment Designer software by Cochenille to print a schematic. I had them help me measure the gauge of the swatch after I blocked it. Then I tried to stay out of the way as much as possible while they figured out how many rows and stitches were needed in each part of the sweater. I had to do a little leading, but really tried to have them do most of the work.
On the first day, they both worked hard on it. On day 2, Princess, who is very into clearly-defined assignments and doing things the expected way, told me she didn’t like it, and asked if she could go back to her textbook and workbook. Drama Queen, on the other hand, who loves going where the wind blows her, and doing open-ended, creative things, finished her math session each day elated and breathless with excitement over doing math this way.
She’s figured it all out now, she learned that for the smaller sections, she could just measure that many inches on the swatch to find the right number of rows or stitches. She would measure smaller chunks and add them up to get the numbers for the larger sections. They didn’t do it quite as easily as I do, but they still got all the numbers! When Drama Queen was finished today, I showed her how I do it. I look at the number of inches I need, then divide by the number of inches in my gauge, then multiply by the number of rows or stitches in my gauge. For example:
If 17 sts and 11 rows = 4 in. and I need a length of 6.9 inches
(6.9/4)x17 = # of sts needed to make that length
My girls rounded 6.9 up to 7, and 1.55 to 1 1/2 to make it a little more simple, but those amounts don’t make much of a difference when each st is 1/4 in. wide.
It was great, and I’m glad that we did this together. Maybe at some point in the future, there will be a cabled baby sweater pattern out by me…and maybe I’ll name it “Drama Queen”.
Looking for free crochet patterns? Look here: