Category Archives: math for crafts

Concentric circles and links to previous math posts

I was talking about math and design with my friend Lori, who designs crochet motifs (and uses a lot of geometry as a result) and I thought I’d collect my posts on the topic so far in one place as well as talking about areas of concentric stripes in circles (and therefore calculating relative yarn quantities).

The first is about figuring out the percentage of the finished area of a circle you’ve worked so far.

Summary: if a is the number of rounds you’ve worked so far (from the center out) and b is the total number of rounds in the circle, do this math: (a*a)/(b*b) to see how far you are.

Alternately, you’ll be approximately halfway done when you’ve worked 70% of the rounds.

All this assumes a fairly regular density of stitches.

The second is my recent post about working out how much yarn you need for each stripe in a striped triangle.

Discussing the triangle stripe problem led to the question of the amount of yarn used for the stripes in a circle.20130816-211045.jpg

I wasn’t expecting to find as handy a visual pattern as I did for the triangle shawl, and indeed I didn’t. But I found a more useful rule of thumb than I expected, which I will summarize before showing my work.

If your center circle takes exactly one skein of yarn, the second stripe will take approximately 3 skeins; the third stripe will take approximately 5; the fourth, 7; the fifth, 9; and so on. Count by odd numbers and you’ll get a good rough estimate. The more stripes you go, the less accurate the approximation will be at the outer edges, but it’s a good starting point.

This calculation assumes that the stripes each contain an equal number of rounds and are approximately the same density of stitches.

Here’s the math:

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Striped triangles – how much yarn?

(Good for any yarny craft, and probably some others too.)

This is a variation of a conversation I had on Twitter last week.

Say you’re making a triangle shawl that’s going to have two stripes. How much more yarn will the second stripe take than the first? The stripes are going to be different sizes because it’s a triangle.

Here is a simple method to approximate the relative amounts of yarn.

Note: Exactly how much yarn is needed will depend on the thickness of your yarn, your gauge, and your stitch patterns. If there are different stitch patterns in different stripes, they will probably have different amounts of yarn for the same area.

Continue reading Striped triangles – how much yarn?