From Paris With Lace, pt 3

Good day to you, my colleagues.  I have for you today the third installment of our latest adventure: In Part 1 Miss Alyssa Rynne found some artistic inspiration in Paris, along with some gorgeous lace yarn to send to Miss Julia Sett.  In Part 2 Julia replied with her plans for a most ingenious shawl, if she could get her knitting machine to cooporate.  Now let us continue the tale with a journal entry of Julia’s, where she is puzzling over that very thing.

From the Journal of Julia Sett:

I have been most fortunate with the operational guidance of the automated knitting machine. It was a bit tricky to begin with – the hooks were not moving smoothly and some would not engage at all. It turns out a moth had gotten into the mechanism and caused the issue. Once I had tracked down the bug and removed it, everything worked much better. I must say I’m not sorry to see that moth meet its demise; they are vile wool-eating creatures.
While the instructions did not work correctly at the first go I was quite pleased to be able to adjust and have it work from then out. I am using a method similar to what I use myself, whereby the machine “reads” the previous row to determine what operations to perform next.
I have finished several iterations of the triangular repeat. It feels about half done and yet I know I will need three times the yarn already used if I do another full iteration. Though I believe I might instead be able to repeat a smaller iteration alternated with two solid triangles for a total of five in that row. Much as the last row contained three triangles, one of which was solid.  We shall adjust our figures tomorrow to be sure.

Ah, the mind of a knitting mathematician is interesting place, that’s for certain.  However, this isn’t the first time I’ve tried to follow along as my knitter friends explained their on-the-fly pattern rewrites and clever solutions when faced with too little yarn.  We know that won’t stop Julia for long, and I’ll have the final exciting installment for you shortly.  You won’t want to miss it!

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From Paris With Lace, pt 2

Hello my colleagues!  Time to continue with Part 2 of our most interesting exchange between Miss Alyssa Rynne and Miss Julia Sett.  The lovely silk yarn Alyssa sent off (in last weeks installment) made it safely to Julia and served as some ingenious inspiration.  Fortunately, her letter was in excellent condition and able to be scanned, so you can enjoy it in its original format.

As you recall, Miss Sett has been pursuing the idea of automated knitting for some time, so I find it quite exciting to read about her progress; even if it happened over 100 years ago, it feels as though I’m along for the journey!  As I admitted before, I had a hard time following a few of her concepts, but on seeing this lovely little sketch, the idea of “self-similar, self-referential figures” suddenly clicked (sometimes even us brainy folks need a picture).  We’ll see what continued progress Julia made with her wonderful shawl pattern next week!

From Paris With Lace, pt 1

A most lovely day to you, my colleagues!  We’ve all been so hard at work on the book, but I realized I must tear myself away for a moment and give you all a little treat.  I’m thrilled to share with you another lovely exchange between unlikely friends – and most entertaining pen-pals – Miss Alyssa Rynne and Miss Julia Sett.  But when a knitting mathematician and a glamorous international… diplomat put their heads together… well, you’ll have to stay tuned to see what brilliance ensues.

Darling Julia,
It was such a treat to catch up with you and the rest of our Ladies at the symposium. As always your intellect and innovative ideas sparked my own imagination. The samples you brought were stunning! My goodness! To think such fine, delicate pieces were created by an automated machine. You truly must be congratulated on your new invention.
After leaving the symposium I took advantage of being abroad and went home to Shanghai via Paris. It has been too long since I was there. The city has always been a magical place, but this new age of technology has brought new life and vibrancy to it. The recent World’s fair must have been quite something. This new tower of Monsieur Eiffel is a stunning testament to our ability to create inspiring works. I cannot imagine a better way to enter the city than via the dirigible dock they have at the top. I took care of some business while I was there and did manage to dine with that American entrepreneur. His conversation may be trying, but as always we ate well and I did indeed glean the requested information.  After that I did need a bit of fun. My contacts in Paris told me that a place called the Moulin Rouge is quite the place to encounter artists and other freethinkers. They were not wrong. It is indeed in a red mill and the people who frequent it are quite stimulating. I think I danced all night. I was also fortunate enough to be invited to the studios of some of the artists. The art I saw in progress at the Bateau Lavoir was shocking. The subjects are so different that what I’m accustomed to seeing and their way of portraying those subjects… I’m without words. I have no idea if the world is ready for this. Heavens, I’m not sure I’m ready for it, and yet those images haunt my thoughts in ways traditional paintings do not.
Before I forget, I am enclosing some silk yarn I found in Paris. It made me think of your automated knitting machine immediately. Perhaps it would be suitable for a shawl or other large piece.  I just know that the fineness of the yarn and the color reminded me of you. Please do enjoy dear sister and may the time between our meetings be shorter this time.
-Alyssa
LTFK

I will have the next installment along for you shortly!  In the meantime, enjoy these last fleeting days of summer and, if you’re at all like me, dream of Paris.

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