I have always hated math, especially once it goes beyond 2+2 or 3*3. When letters get mixed in with the numbers it means an instant headache for me. I wasn't completely horrible at math in school, but it was my absolute worst subject. I was that kid complaining that I would never need to use this stuff in real life.
Imagine my dismay earlier this week when I found myself learning to use the Pythagorean Theorem to find the height of a sleeve cap. The surprising part is - it wasn't that bad. If the scary math of my youth is applied to a part of a sweater and yarny goodness, suddenly it doesn't have the same headache inducing abilities.
That is not to say that all sweater math instantly makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Yesterday I spent hours trying to figure out charting curves. I was staring at a chart in The Knitter's Guide to Sweater Design and it was just making my head hurt. Since the curve is for my recently accepted design, it is probably something super simple, that for anything else would make perfect sense. But because I am so anxious/excited/nervous to get my prototype done and the first draft of the pattern written...I can't see the forest for the trees, so to speak.
In the end I decided to make my curves another way using a combination of a percentage of bound off stitches followed by decreases. It was much better for my fragile state of mind and the curves, while not made with a complicated formula, look great. It still used math, just a simpler formula that made more sense to me. I am sure, in time, I'll be able to look at the curve chart and laugh that it was once so mysterious and scary.
I remember when calculating finished sizes from gauge swatches used to be intimidating. Now it is some of the simplest math I encounter in the designing/pattern writing process. There is hope for me yet!