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Headline: Susan's Daily Journal

Hat Math
27 January 2002

One hobby has taken Palmer Station by storm this year: knitting. In the last few months, almost half of the station residents have learned how to knit. One person made an afghan, but most people have been knitting hats! The knitters have used lots of ingenuity in designing styles and patterns. They have used many colors of yarn.

As you may guess, there is a lot of math in knitting! One needs to figure out the gauge, or the number of stitches per inch. This varies, depending on the thickness of the yarn and the size of the needles that are used.

Palmer Station doesn't have a complete supply of knitting materials. However, a few people did some shopping in Chile when they left Palmer to go back to the United States. They sent wool and knitting needles back to the people here.

Brittney Baldwin is a good knitter. In fact, she is so good that she decided she needed a challenge. She wanted to knit a hat out of wool and then thrown it into hot water, and then dry it. She thought the hat would come out like felt. Well, it did come out to be soft felt, but after it shrank, the hat was smaller than she wanted it to be. So, she tried again.
Here's the math: the first time Brittney tried this experiment, she started with 102 stitches on her needles for the edge of the hat. When she washedthe hat, it shrank to a circumference of 19 inches. Brittney wants her hat to have a circumference of 23 inches. How many stitches will Brittney need to start with on her needles for the hat edge, in order to end up with a hat the size she wants?

Brittney Baldwin, Carmen Lemon, and Orion Carlisle do some knitting during a break. Notice the hat that Brittney is knitting.
Brittney Baldwin, Carmen Lemon, and Orion Carlisle do some knitting during a break. This is one section of our dining room here at Palmer Station. Notice the hat that Brittney is knitting.
The finished hat, before washing! Did Brittany make the hat the right size? The finished product!
The finished hat, before washing! Did Brittany make the hat the right size? The finished product!

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