Friday, May 20, 2011

Proof That Knitting Makes You Smarter, Even If You're Me

Hi, kids. I'm sitting at O'Hare airport, waiting for a flight to Oklahoma. I'll be teaching this weekend at the Sealed With a Kiss Knit Out 2011 in Guthrie, in the exalted company of Fiona Ellis and Jane Thornley.

I only just got home from my last trip–a joyful co-production of Boston's Common Cod Fiber Guild and Mind's Eye Yarn in Cambridge. The first event was a talk at M.I.T., in a terribly swish lecture hall designed with verve aplenty by Frank Gehry. We arrived to find the place crawling with equations. It looked like Einstein had inhaled too much chalkdust and sneezed violently across all twelve blackboards.

I had a few minutes of downtime before curtain, so I put on my thinking cap and got to work finishing what the class had started. Piece o' cake. Add a couple yos, balance with a few k2togs, start and end with asterisks to indicate the repeat and now you have a theory of velocity (or electricity, or gravity, or energy, or something) that also makes a really cute lace capelet.

A Little Talk at MIT

Hearty thanks to Patience for sharing her photograph with me. I hope the nastypants meanie meanie teacher who made me cry over long division in fourth grade in front of the entire class runs across this post and has a stroke.

63 comments:

Wendy said...

You even look smarter!

Ruby said...

This is just too much. If I had not already spewed coffee everywhere and removed the coffee out of the way, I would be again, cleaning up the mess.

Michael D. Carter said...

Brillz!

HipDroppedStitches said...

Oh, Franklin, I wish you were in my engineering classes!!!

Dee said...

Very clever!

Vanessa said...

LOVE IT! My husband pointed out that if I can figure out knitting math, I can figure out any sort of math. Numbers don't change based on their applications.

LauraB said...

I always knew knitting was the answer to life, the universe and everything...and 42, also. Thanks for the smile. One hopes Frank would love it.

Gail said...

Love it! Am fowarding to nerd son!

Windy said...

love it!!

Ken said...

It was a delightful talk, who knew Victorian lace could be so spellbinding!

Ariel said...

It looks like computer science (run-time analysis) to me...that's usually what O(n) means...

Now I want to write a blog post involving actual run-time analysis of knitted objects...

noricum said...

I agree, looks like you followed a Computer Science Discrete Math or Algorithm Analysis class. :)

JoAnn said...

Poor Franklin. You had more than your share of evil nasty teachers.

woolyjooly said...

Truly you are a genius. I know that my math skills improved when I became a knitter, but yours have completely sailed across the universe.

Kristen said...

BWAHAHAHAHAAAA!!! Your last line nearly killed me!

Aline said...

that bitch!

Rachel said...

You are too funny! I love your additions to the equations. All of a sudden, math makes more sense to me. And, a pox on that teacher, I'm sure you would have done the long division correctly if you could have. I'm sure you weren't deliberatly disrupting the class with your math imparement!!

Sally said...

knitting makes me feel as smart as you look in that photo! Well done!

Stacy said...

That is wonderful! You are making me wish I was still in Cambridge. Did you get a chance to wander around the lobby? There are some entertaining "art" installations there.

And yes, since the Gehry building is the computer science building, it seems likely it was a comp sci class in there.

Carrie#K said...

That teacher probably would but that's so clever!! Practical too.

Anonymous said...

I hated discrete math, but I love to knit ... so it's all good.

Meredith said...

I saw the picture before I read your post, and my first throught was, "I think I know that lecture hall..." And it turns out, I do, or at least, I did a few years ago. I'm pretty sure I never encountered anything in it quite as entertaining as lace equations, though.

Brooke White said...

What is it with long division? I had a mortifying experience when my 3rd grade class divided into two and had a race to see which team could finish successively doing long division problems first. I was second to last. And I couldn't finish my problem. My college degree in physics is my way of telling the teacher who devised that 'fun' activity to stick it!

dakini.grl said...

Hee hee! Brilliant. I always feel like knitting bamboozles me into doing math...

Safe travels!

Karen Smith said...

oh, Franklin, you are a delight! I had a "nastypants meanie meanie teacher who made me cry over long division in fourth grade in front of the entire class", too.... but your last few words were priceless! Thank you for the laugh!

Stephanie said...

omg. i think I recongize that lecture hall :D I wonder if there were knitting "lectures" back when I attended classes at the 'tute!

Nytate said...

That is so funny, I hope she/he does too.

Sarah said...

Was that on the board the whole time? Whoops I didn't even notice your talk was so interesting. Come back to Boston anytime!

kshotz said...

Love this! Especially that closing line! LOL in stitches! (Ha! my verification word is "shothell.")

Lauren said...

Yep, that's 6.006 (intro to algorithms). Love your additions!

kristy said...

Did you by chance have Nuns teaching you? shudders just the thought O f the wooden ruler over my knuckles sends me into a panic.

juliafc said...

I can't see the first *, so I don't know where to repeat from, but I can tell you that so far, this looks suspiciously like a pence jug.

Tola said...

i kept wanting to click the *like* button on every sentence (and photo) of this post!

FiberQat said...

Well, you are an engineer who happens to work with string. So there, meanie nastypants teacher. PBBBBBBBBB!!

soxanne said...

Yeah for you!

Have a great time in Guthrie - SWAK is a great shop!

Syd said...

I can't stop chuckling...Visions of my high school teacher seeing your equation and sputting like a motorboat. Thank heavens I have learned to put down my coffee cup when I go to your blog...Really really love you!

Cynthea G said...

As a passionate knitter who also loves/teaches physics, I love this!

gerri in St Paul said...

Well, I figured out why the Rapture is apparently not happening. That was the equation that was inputed, copied from the board last night, to direct all the ships upward. With the yo's, it just directed them to continue bobbing happily here. Life mystery solved, as per usual for knitting.

Tall Kate said...

Thanks for a fabulous talk in Boston--a friend and I trekked in to MIT to hear you and were not disappointed! Fascinating, educational and hilarious: a great combination.

gayle said...

It should be some consolation that the "nastypants meanie meanie teacher who made me cry over long division in fourth grade in front of the entire class" probably couldn't understand those equations. If she could, she'd be making college students cry, rather than fourth graders...

Marcia in Austin said...

Verva Plenty sounds like a 1950s comic strip character. A vivacious, warmhearted and well-groomed socialite-- everyone likes Verva!

kathy b said...

ha ha ha. .....You crack me up.

Andrea said...

Thank you so much for the laugh. My unhappy math class flashbacks are cured now!

Anonymous said...

Mean people suck.

Anonymous said...

Well, if that pic doesn't make the meanie teacher drop, probably the Addi turbo ad in the leather will!

A hui ho,

Lisa

Darci said...

Can I tell you how very much this rocks...

Anonymous said...

My eighth grade math teacher wrote a comment on my report card to the tune of 'Gabrielle needs to learn how to work within the system.'

Linda said...

I hope the teacher reads it too!

C said...

It's algorithmic analysis of multiplication of long numbers, using the divide and conquer method.

Actually that gives me a great idea - you could totally illustrate certain sorting algorithms using knitting! Bubblesort and insertion sort come to mind...

Amy said...

Lace equations. . .now there's a powerful concept!

aelievense said...

I LOVE YOU.

Anonymous said...

Repeat from *. LOL!

twinsetellen said...

Knitting patterns and mathematics - both of them are languages. This may be the equivalent of Spanglish - an equally successful.

lotsawool said...

Discrete math bites (bytes?), but that's hysterical!

Seanna Lea said...

This is awesome! I had prior plans (which always seems to happen on guild meeting days), or I would have been there!

Sarah said...

You crack me up!!! I totally relay to your sentiment with your 4th grader teacher. I was on the same boat LOL

Dana S. Whitney said...

This made me laugh out loud.

Anonymous said...

It look do funny and smart
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I love it...laughter with a vengeance! Hohohoho

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