Sunday, 26 June 2011

Random rows

It has been fun devising the colour bands for my Modern Throw, but after a while I found that I was repeating myself.  So I looked for a way to get a true random sequence.  I had decided on an even number of rows for each band, and it seems that 6 was the maximum, so I was looking for a sequence of 2, 4 and 6.  The easiest way would be to throw a dice where 1 and 2 = 2, 3 and 4 = 4 and 5 and 6 = 6.  But no dice was to hand, so I had to find another way.

The obvious solution would be to use the random function in Excel.  With a little bit of manipulation I could get it to produce the random sequence I wanted.  But to do that I would have to turn the computer on - not something I want to do in the middle of knitting.

Then I remembered my scientific calculator.  It has a random function that returns a three digit decimal number.  Perfect - easy to keep by my knitting and it gives an immediate result.  I pick out the 2, 4 and 6es, ignoring all other digits, and I keep on pressing the key until I have the number of numbers I want.  For one block the total should equal the number of rows in the block.  This is even more exciting knitting - not having control of what the block will look like.

I understand that there are websites that will produce random numbers, but why let somebody else do the fun bit?  I love maths, nearly as much as knitting.

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