Improbable Probability

These dice are loaded… mathematically.


I was intrigued, so I ran the numbers myself.
Rolling 1 red you have a 17% chance of getting a 6 and an 83% chance of getting a 3.
Rolling 1 green, there’s a 50% chance of a 5 and a 50% chance of a 2
Rolling 1 blue, there’s an 83% chance of rolling a 4 and a 17% chance of rolling a 1.
To solve for the probabilities of red beating blue I added the products of the probabilities of higher numbers of red… in math terms that looks like: .17 * .83 + .83 * .17 = .28… (Probability of red being 6 * bluebeing 4 + Probability of red being 3 * blue being 1.)
I did this for all the numbers and found that Red beats Green 58% of the time, Green beats Blue 58% of the time, and Blue beats Red 72% of the time.

Then I played with rolling two dice at a time, again first finding the probability of each potential outcome (this time multiplying the fraction of sides of the first number by the fraction of sides of the second number, e.g. for a red  outcome of 9 I did 5/6 * 1/6 + 1/6 * 5/6), and then followed the same procedure as before to find the odds of winning with any given match up.

With two dice, Red beats Blue 52% of the time, Green beats Red 68% of the time, and Blue beats Green 68% of the time. These results are the reverse of those above.


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I haven’t been blogging in forever, which I feel kind of bad about. I’m in a Master in Teaching program, though, and it turns out that grad school doesn’t leave me with an overwhelming urge to spend my spare time on the computer writing. Go figure. Anyway, I started a blog on the website I set up for students where I’ve been posting math-related stuff. I thought I’d start cross-posting it here in case any of you are interested. None of it is super high-level, since it’s for high school students, but I think a lot of it is really interesting and somewhat off-the-beaten-path. I’m just gonna post everything in this one post for now, and then from now on I’ll individually cross-post as I find things.


Remember: Only use your math powers for good

Social scientists have found that adding fake math to articles makes them more convincing. “The Nonsense Math Effect” at Washington Weekly


Math in Knitting?

Being a knitter, I had to share these sites. This isn’t the prettiest webpage, but click around and there’s a lot of really cool stuff. The Home of Mathematical Knitting shows that there is math in knitting, and that you can demonstrate really cool mathematical ideas through knitting. I love the klein, mobius and hyperbolic planes pictures. Woolly Thoughts is another math/knitting page and has a lot more pictures. I highly recommend clicking around under the Creations tab.


Math and Basketball

Math students using quadratics to model making a basket.


Google Earth, Meteors, and Math

Someone reconstructed the Chelyabinsk meteor’s path using basic geometry and algebra. (The computer skills they used were a bit more advanced, I think.) The video they used is below – they got all this information just from the shadows cast as the comet passed by. Crazy!

I think it would be unfair to talk about meteors without some awesome footage of the meteor itself. This video also shows some of the effect of the shockwave caused by the meteor. Wow!
The History of the Quadratic
This site has a brief history of the quadratic formula as we now know it. I never learned this in school, and I find it fascinating that quadratic relationships were first looked at about 4000 years ago by ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Babylonian engineers trying to figure out how big to make storage spaces. The idea was developed over time all over the world, with different groups of people making different advances on the problem. I think this is one of the coolest things about math – it really is a universal language that encourages collaborative problem solving.
Imaginary Numbers
The BBC has a fascinating piece about the history of mathematics, this time in radio format. This 45 minute show talks about the history of the much maligned imaginary number. Originally people just ignored square roots of negatives, even going so far as to call them “impossible” numbers. I still think imaginary numbers is a bit harsh, after all, these numbers have been shown to have very real applications in electronics, modeling fluid movement, and calculating electro-magnetic forces, to name a few.

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Grandpa Elephant

When we went through my roommate’s stash a year and a half ago, we found the start of a scarf in a wonderful smooshy alpaca. She explained that she had started it when she first started knitting as a gift for her grandpa, but had set it aside. Her grandpa had since passed away, and she knew she would never finish the scarf. I convinced her to reclaim the yarn and save it to do a memorial project with. A year went by, and it got to be time to do another stash cleansing. The same ball of yarn was sitting there, untouched, and she said she just didn’t think she would ever know what to do with it. I asked if I could hang onto it and try to come up with a good project. Looking for something to cast on one day, I started feeling the ball of yarn and trying to figure out what it wanted to be. It was so soft, I thought a stuffed animal would be perfect. I asked my roommate if there was any particular animal that reminded her of her grandpa. She said an elephant…


I looked around Ravelry until I found this pattern, which I liked the look of. Of course, it was for a totally different weight yarn, but that’s never stopped me. I divided all the numbers in the pattern by two and started knitting. This actually worked shockingly well, except for the bottom piece, which was too small, so I had to re-knit it bigger. I changed the ears to be a single layer in garter stitch, added a tail, and made the tusks out of felt.


The one thing I’d change about the pattern if I did it again would be to knit the trunk and legs in the round. It would reduce seaming, and I think would look more polished at the end. Overall, both my roommate and I are happy with how it turned out.


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Puget Sound LYS Tour Sunday

 I set my alarm on Sunday so I could get down to the ferry terminal in time to make it to Bainbridge in time for opening. I was so excited that I wound up waking up early, though! On the way over I proved to myself that this is why I can’t have nice yarn…

Churchmouse Yarns & Teas (Bainbridge Island):

I have been meaning to get over to Bainbridge to see this shop for a few years now, and it was just as lovely as I imagined. I actually got there a few minutes before opening, and was happily sitting outside trying to fix the sock disaster I showed above, but they opened the shop a little early so I didn’t have to wait outside. I really appreciated that, and felt very welcomed. Their pattern offering was the Capricious Cowl knit in Kidsilk Haze. What stuck with me the most about Churchmouse was all of the luxury yarns. They had a whole corner for handpainted yarns, which I absolutely loved. Definitely worth the trip, although most of the yarns were out of my price range (rightfully so, given the fiber and colorways).

Gorgeous silk

Handpainted heaven

Delicious pastries from Blackbird Bakery right next door

So Much Yarn (Seattle):

So Much Yarn is a little bit hard to find, as it’s on the second floor of a gated building downtown. Once I found my way up there, however, it was lovely. They had a large selection of yarns, particularly Manos del Uruguay. They had an exclusive ( so far as I know) So Much Yarn Alpaca Sock yarn, all in natural colors made locally. The pattern offering was the Fishtail Shawl in Maxima by Manos del Uruguay.

Alpaca Sock Yarn, exclusive at So Much Yarn

Shop layout

Seattle Yarn (Seattle):

This shop in West Seattle was such a treat! On the West Seattle Bridge headed over, there was a statue visible, and it was decked out in all manner of knit-wear, with a cute little sign advertising the LYS Tour. I have to admit, that put a huge smile on my face, and definitely made me happy I visited this shop. While I was there, a group came in with Seattle Yarn as their last shop. Unfortunately, they were out of the pins and stitch markers that finishers got, but to make it up to them, the shop owner went across the street and bought them coffee, which I thought was really sweet. The pattern offering was Lincoln Park After Dark knit in Cascade Eco.

Always a sucker for bright colors…

Luxury Mohair display

The Yarn Stash (Burien):

This shop was a fair-isler’s heaven. They had every color imaginable of Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, and their featured pattern was Team Spirit Mitts in the same. The shop layout was really open and didn’t feel crowded at all, which I appreciated.

Colorwork hat on display

Open-feeling shop layout

The Knittery (Renton):

The coolest thing for me about this shop was that the yarn was displayed such that it could be browsed from both sides, meaning that if I was interested in the same yarn as someone else, we could both easily look at it at the same time. They also had a ton of really pretty silk, and were friendly. Their pattern offering was the Hand and Heart Christmas stocking, knit in Lamb’s Pride Worsted.

Nicely displayed yarn

Serial Knitters (Kirkland):

What a treat as my 21st shop! I think this may be my new favorite LYS. The people there were incredibly helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly. I’d been curious about knitting from silk hankies since reading about it over at the Yarn Harlot’s blog, and I actually found silk hankies at Serial Knitters! I was so excited. So I asked them about how the process of knitting straight from these works, and they actually got me a sample to play with knitting on! I was so grateful, especially since it turns out to be a finicky process, which I don’t have the patience for right now (especially since my hands are a bit rough and snagged on the silk constantly.) I’ll have to try a project another time. I also had a question about the Signature Needles I heard they carried. They pulled out a sample pair and let me knit with them and… oh my goodness. People were not exaggerating when they said these needles were the Porsches of knitting. I now understand why someone would pay $40+ for a pair of these. Yum. Serial Knitters’ pattern offering was the Rosebud Capelet in Berroco Remix. Enough with the talking… on to the pictures!

I forgot to mention… they carry knit picks needle supplies *in house*! No more waiting for the right size cable to arrive, I’ll be going to Serial Knitters. ❤

The aforementioned silk hankies

Yummy silk… mmm…

And that all but concludes my LYS Tour writeup! All that’s left are pictures of the loot, which I will work on getting up here. I had a blast, and recommend that anyone who is able do at least part of the LYS tour next year. I met so many lovely people and new shops, and even found a new favorite not too far from my house.

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Puget Sound LYS Tour Saturday

Saturday dawned bright and early, as it is wont to do in the Pacific Northwest. I, however, did not rise with the sun, but instead slept in, and didn’t get rolling until after noon. It was a good thing that I only planned to visit three shops Saturday, because I really needed that break. Here was my plan for the day:

The distance was about the same as the previous day, but with only three stops the pace felt much more doable. I got a bit of an earlier start than originally planned, however, because the border lineup was reported to be an hour and a half. When I got to the border, though, it turned out the wait was only 20 minutes. Yay! More time for yarn! Less time sitting in my car going nowhere! I was pleased.

I drove around a bunch of water and then out onto Fidalgo Island (which I’m not convinced is an Island, but who am I to argue?), around Fidalgo Bay, and up to Anacortes. So much water! And sun! Very pretty drive. Again, I was pleased. I did not take many pictures of the scenery, because I felt it would be irresponsible to take photos while driving, but imagine a really pretty view of water with sunshine. It was like that.

Ana-Cross Stitch (Anacortes):

I loved the needlepoint here. There were some absolutely gorgeous pieces that looked like watercolor sunsets in the Pacific Northwest. Folks were friendly, and I liked the combination of yarn and cross-stitch materials. Their pattern was for “Anabeth’s Majestic Rockin’ Donetello” knit in Pollyanna. The sample was cute, and I liked the beading on it. Overall, a very nice shop.

Cross stitch supplies

I like the wall display here

Watercolor cross stitch

Next up was Coupeville Yarn, which I will talk about, but first I need to talk about Deception Pass. I don’t think I’d ever seen Deception Pass before, and if I had I certainly didn’t remember it. The view was absolutely breathtaking. I didn’t stop for pictures, but a quick Google Image Search will give you a pretty good idea.

Here’s one image, just to give you the idea. Stolen from

Jaw-droppingly beautiful. And then onward to more yarn!

Coupeville Yarn (Coupeville):

This was my 14th shop! Meaning I got a second stitch marker, and that I was 2/3 through the tour. I really liked the pattern for a tweed stitch bag in Cascade Yarns Covington, and was sorely tempted to buy the yarn for the project. I kept to my strict budget and didn’t, though. Maybe next time!

Inside the shop

Knitty Purls (Langley):

After more driving in the sunshine with gorgeous scenery all around me, I got to Knitty Purls somewhere between 5 and 5:30 PM. The town is super cute, and the yarn store matches. The woman there was very friendly, and we chatted a bit. They dyed their own yarn for the tour, which I think is really cool. The colorway and pattern were both called Rhododendron, which is Washington’s state flower. The pattern and yarn worked well together to evoke the image of a rhododendron. I also go to see the Mountain Colors interpretation of last year’s yarn, which was also locally inspired (I’m forgetting the name now.)




Rhododendron sock and yarn

Just some of their yarn offerings

Last year’s sock pattern and yarn (as interpreted by Mountain Colors)


Completely exhausted, I made it to the ferry in Clinton and was in Mukilteo by 6:30 PM. Filled up my gas tank, went home, started writing about my adventures, and slept until the start of Sunday’s touring. Which will be yet another blog post, so keep an eye out for that.

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Puget Sound LYS Tour 2012 Friday Part 2

So we left our intrepid protagonist (er, me) at Wild Fibers in Mount Vernon. From there I headed to Knot Just Yarn in Burlington.

First off, this may just be the cutest door ever. Second, I absolutely loved their pattern: a slouchy beret knit in Stonehenge Sepherd’s Wool, which is made in the US. I was pretty tempted to get some, because these hats looked so good! I may decide to work this project yet, and if so, I’ll definitely go back to Knot Just Yarn to do it. I loved how friendly folks there were, and their focus on local/US products was cool. Also seen here: a really cute start to a cowl in Heritage Silk and Zauberball. And… on to the pictures!

Aforementioned cool cowl

Obligatory blurry general shop photo

Gorgeous locally made shawl pins.

NW Handspun Yarns (Bellingham):

The downstairs here was nice, and there were lots of cool locally produced yarns (yay!) But the real treat here was the loft upstairs. There was a gorgeous table and seating area perfect for a knitting circle, tons of fiber for spinning, and *tons* of sale yarn. I got myself a skein of 100% Romney (I don’t have the label with me right now, but I promise I’ll photograph it and post it later) in a colorway that can only be described as “on fire.” Their pattern offering was a “Serendipitous Shawl Collar Scarf” knit in Spincycle worsted yarn. Knit up with this yarn, the colorways and ridges worked beautifully together. I think I’m going to have to do a separate post with pictures of all the patterns if they go up on Ravelry. I, of course, forgot to take pictures of them all figuring “I have the pattern.”

Spincycle Yarn

This basket was on the stairs. I’m not sure why, but it really tickled me to see “local clean soft fiber” as the tag.

Beautiful work space!

I’m not a spinner, but this looks like *so much fun*

Apple Yarns (Bellingham):

First off, I loved the yarn-bombed tree! Second, I loved the quotes on the window and on all the walls. Everything about this shop was bright in a really fun way (not overwhelming.) The space felt very open, which was nice, and the owner was very friendly and chatty. She was really knowledgeable and excited about local yarns, and wanted to hear all about the other places I’d been and had great things to say about all of them. I loved how positive she was, it really made the shop seem welcoming and fun. Their pattern offering was “Park City Socks” knit in SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock (link is for the Ravelry page.) What a pretty pattern. I will definitely be using this.

I’m starting off with this picture because I think it really shows the sense of fun that this shop has. A quote from Albus Dumbledore in the bathroom. Win.

Shop layout. I am having the hardest time picking which photos to use for this place. The lighting was so good, I got a bunch of really nice shots.

Work-space, a quote, and more yarn

Beach Basket Yarns (Birch Bay):

This was a cute shop, with a great view. I got there at 7:55, and was delighted to feel welcomed rather than feeling like I was imposing by showing up at the last minute. Thank you for that! This was a delightful way to finish my day, especially getting to see the bay at dusk. Their pattern offering was “French Beenz” knit in Plymouth’s Coffee Beenz (it’s a mug cozy.) Very cute, especially with the buttons they used. I also got to see some gorgeous colorwork with Kauni here. I will almost certainly need to go back, since by the time I’d made it there I was pretty exhausted and probably didn’t catch all of what they had.




Kauni colorwork

Wall of yarn!

Dusk on the Bay. Wouldn’t this be a lovely spot to sit and knit and watch the sun set?

And thus ended Friday’s adventure (well, after I crossed the border and got to where I was sleeping around 9 PM.) Saturday’s adventure was only three shops, but it’s definitely its own full post.

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Puget Sound LYS Tour 2012 Friday Part One

My plan for Friday was as follows: take care of errands I needed to until 1:30 PM, then drive north and hit as many shops as I could before sleeping at a friend’s in Vancouver. I figured that this way I could spend Saturday coming back down via Anacortes and Whidbey Island. Here is the planned route of shops for Friday:

A few notes about this plan:

1. It involved getting to 8 yarn shops ‘and covering over 150 miles in 6.5 hours max

2. The map to the left there? Yeah, I had to splice several screenshots of google maps together to get that. It was too long for my screen to get in any kind of decent resolution.

3. I’m pretty sure I’m completely insane for deciding this was a good idea. So without further ado, here is the run-down on how Friday went (conveniently organized by yarn shop) I was driving by myself, so I didn’t have a ton of time to take notes, but I did try to jot down a couple things about each, and I took pictures all along the way (see, I learned since Thursday’s dash!)

4. This is way too much for me to post all in one go, especially since I visited another 6 shops this morning. So I will type up the first four shops I visited as one post, and then post the other four later. When I feel less like I’ve been hit by a truck.

Main Street Yarns (Mill Creek): This shop felt very open which I liked, and there was a large table set up for folks to sit at. They had a number of gorgeous samples that were really inspiring. Their pattern was a pretty cabled cape made in Joseph Galler Heather Prime Alpaca. Here’s a picture of some inspiring color-work.

Gorgeous colorwork

Great Yarns (Everett):

The wonderful thing about this shop was that it felt like a labyrinth of yarn. Which, really, if I’m going to be in a labyrinth, I want it to be made of yarn. There were several rooms (I think 5? Maybe more?) and each had its own distinct feel and was *jam packed* with yarn (but in an organized way, such that I did not go crazy.) So many beautiful things, I will definitely be back. I want to spend hours there. Their pattern was the “Simple Elegance Wrap” knit in Great Yarns Elegance.

Mmm… Noro…

One of many lovely corners

Pretty sure this is every color of Cascade ever

PinchKnitter Yarns (Stanwood):

This shop had a nice open feel, and a huge table to work at. I sat down and knit a couple rounds on some socks, until I realized I’d made a mistake several rows back. The owner of the shop took a look at it and offered me some ideas, which was so lovely. It was really great to take a little break and get a feel for the shop. Their pattern was for a bath mitt and washcloth, with the featured yarn being allhemp6. I bought myself a skein, since I’ve never worked with hemp before and have heard awesome things (I recently bought a copy of Amy Singer’s No Sheep for You.) I also got to feel a sample of it that had been washed a couple times and gets *so soft!* I’m excited to get to play with it. Also! This was my 7th store, which meant I got a cute little stitch marker commemorating the tour. I will post a picture with all my loot after all my yarn-store write-ups.


Unfortunately it’s blurry, but this picture gives a sense of the shop layout

I’ve always wanted to play with one of these (yarn that is dyed while knit flat and then you knit a sock from that.) It was cool to get to see one in person.

Wild Fibers (Mount Vernon):

There were a couple of yarns here that I was completely smitten with. I had met Madeline Tosh Merino Light before, but I don’t think I’d ever really gotten to know it… they had a few samples out on the table and they were squishy and wonderful and just… mmm… So yes, I will be getting some of that at some point. The pattern they handed out, Daphne Beaded Wrap in Juniper Moon Farm Findley is charming, and I think I will be using some of my lace stash for it. Again, I was impressed by the gorgeous samples around the shop.

Really liked this yarn, may need to pick some up

Here are the Tosh merino light samples I was talking about. And a book with a hat model that a fellow tourist said looks like me. She has a nice hat, I will take it as a compliment.

I really am a sucker for Noro’s colorways

A shot of the general shop layout (or part of it. The store was fairly large.)

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