Monday, August 21, 2006

hold the numbers

I have a little F - E - A - R of numbers. It's irrational, I know, like my friend's son's fear of M - O - N - K - E - Y - S (she has to spell it). Numbers can't hurt you. They're just digits! But still, they really bother me.

I am about to become a student again (again). This time it's very part-time, but it's a little scary because I'm not exactly taking classes that I expect to particularly excel in. I am trying to get the worst over with first, which means... numbers. Statistics, actually. Biostatistics. A word like that may not bother you too much, and if you are a math person you are probably snorting in derision at the applied nature of the statistics class I'm about to take, but it strikes cold, cold fear into my heart.


They're going to be everywhere! Like balancing my checkbook ten times over, every week! AAAHHHHH! But there's nowhere to hide, I have already sent in the rather painful tuition check for this semester.

I was thinking about this yesterday, because I started knitting this little sweater for my friend's new baby (how many times have I typed those very words lately? what is in the freaking water here??) and I was using a pattern I bought with the yarn. It's a little bolero jacket with raglan sleeves, and as with many patterns it's knit in a zillion little pieces and then sewn together. As you may know, I'm not so big on the sewing together. In fact, I bitched and moaned about it rather a lot, especially as I knitted further along and realized that this bolero would be a cinch to transform into a no-sew, top-down knitting pattern.

But of course, I couldn't do it just by looking at the pattern, because the pattern is just a bunch of dang numbers. I could have read it 50 times and would never have been able to re-write it for top-down. But as soon as I got the main body sections knitted and I could actually see the emerging garment, I wrote up the transformation in a flash. Too bad I've already knitted 2/3 of the darn thing - no point ripping it all out now just to avoid a little sewing.

But that's what I mean about the numbers. For whatever reason, they are an impediment to understanding for me, rather than a convenient way to convey information. I think I'd do better if there were a picture of five pink dots instead of a numeral 5 on the page - you know, like on dominoes. I know it would take up more space, but my brain would appreciate it.

Now watch out for those M - O - N - K - E - Y - S.


  1. I am the same way with numbers: I just zone out. Whaa...? Especially large tables of numbers, especially at work. The only math that ever makes sense to me is knitting math, and even then it's mostly just fuzzy, like mohair.

  2. Well, you know I'm all about the numbers, really. But the thought of balancing my checkbook? sends shivers through my soul. So, perhaps I'm not as mathematically inclined as I believe myself to be. Or, perhaps that's just not the right benchmark for numeric inclination.

    You'll do well in statistics...but, the question is...why?

  3. I like numbers well enough, but not when I have to use them to change a pattern. Numbers in knitting, I don't like.

  4. god,
    i know what
    you mean
    i start to see
    and my head
    starts to swim...
    i need air...
    must breathe.
    i hate numbers.


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