When I was young, and in shcool, I was very good at math.
When I was in 3rd Grade, our teacher, Mrs. M., lets call her, decided that since our class held both 3rd and 4th graders, she simply didn't have time to teach math to both groups. The third graders (we really were rather bright) were left to their own devices. Given a math text and the command..."Do all the exercises," I went to work.
My mother helped. My brother (13 years my senior) helped. My best friend's father attempted to help us both. (He was an engineer and had a lot of difficulty with division on such a simple level, much less two giggly 9 year olds!) Jana and I were the ONLY TWO to finish the assignment by the end of the year. We were very proud when we turned in those HUGE stacks of manila paper with our beautifully penciled sums, products and quotients. Mrs. M. took them, glanced at them and, without so much as a thought about how it would affect the futures of two earnest little girls, dumped them into the wastepaper basket beside her desk.
We were appalled! All of our work FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR! TRASHED!
We both received A's in math, the only two in the class to do so. I was no longer bitter, as I felt that at least my effort had been recognized. I made my peace with Mrs. M. and went on to conquer differential equations in college. Jana, however, never forgave her, and to this day cannot STAND anything concerned with numbers, math or word problems!
Lately, however, since I began knitting, I've begun to rethink my forgiveness of the malicious Mrs. M. I suspect that somewhere in the math that was presented in third grade, there was some secret that I somehow missed. I always thought I could count, at least! WRONG! Casting on any project will tell you that! You can cast on 100 stitches, count and recount them, and end up with 102 (or 99) when you knit them! I cannot count rows, even with a row counter. (Seaming up sweaters is an adventure in serendipity!) With the advent of the Mystery Stole #3, I became more and more certain.
Working from the chart, I figured this would be an easy thing. I mean, jeez, it's PICTURES, for pity's sake! I knit this to row 87, twice. (Since the first time it was simply beyond my ability to tink back to a point where I could figure out where the fuck I messed up!) The second time, I rethought the use of the lifeline, about every 20 rows...then every 10 rows. I even put an extra lifeline at row 87, since I'd already done this TWICE! I kicked my dogs outside, and my children to their rooms, and threatened my husband with a sexless marriage for the rest of eternity if he even SPOKE to me while I was working row 87! And I STILL had to tink it back to row 87 twice more! Finally, I think I discovered the secret that I missed in third grade. By holding my breath for twenty stitches at a time, with my tongue sticking out of the right side of my mouth, and mentally counted each group of stitches twice, I managed to get row 87 done....and I've finally finsihed the first week of knitting! I'm only 2 weeks behind now!
Now if I can only figure out how to stand to make the stash quit multiplying!