Sunday, March 2, 2014

Guest post from our little brother, Jordan -- Memoirs of a Gigolo: A-dog's Afghan

Alternate Title: The Gigolo Strikes Back

I just completed another afghan for a lifelong buddy. This one was for the one and only A-dog. He was my roommate at UC Santa Barbara in the freshman dorms. We didn't really get along much that year as he was always studying physics and I was always partying. Our friendship really blossomed during the sophomore year when we didn't live together- we apparently make great friends but horrible roomies. Here he is enjoying a cuppa on a sunny Seattle morning:

And here he is after a successful farmer's market extravaganza- never mind the Drano.

He was the best man at my wedding, and the decision was a very easy one. A-dizzle fo' shizzle. I cannot adequately describe how cool this dude is, but I can point you in the direction of the A-fro he is wont to sport. I recently spent a month on my motorcycle touring the southwest with a full five days visiting the Dizzle's house cooking gourmet food and thinking deep thoughts while hackey-sacking. I don't have many pics of the two of us together- we simply aren't the sort to take a bunch of duck-faced selfies- but here is one from Santa Barbara:

For this afghan, I converted a granny square into a granny rectangle and just kept adding row upon row. I used four Caron Pounders of white and three different blues of increasing shade. I started off with a single row of each, then double rows, triple rows, and finally quadruple rows in order to create a pond ripple effect. As you can see from the zoomed-out shot, my corners began to outstretch the sides and the afghan is a little distorted. I think this is due to using a ch-3 for the corners instead of a ch-2. Or possibly because any pattern will reveal its weaknesses in a real world application when you take it to undue proportions:

When I was nearing the end of the triple-row iteration I began to be concerned about how much yarn was left. I weighed the remainder of each skein but needed a way to describe how much yarn was used per unit crochet. This led me to spend an intense caffeine-fueled morning deriving an algebraic expression to predict my yarn usage. I ended up with:

y = 64(nx) + 4[(X1-1) + (X2-1) + ... + (Xn-1)]

where x describes the row numbers of that particular color and y is the number of "stitches" where 1 stitch equals 3 double crochets. This counts the initial white row as row zero and requires a factor of +32 for the white yarn calculations.

Using this equation it was possible to determine the values of grams of yarn per stitch. I then calculated the number of stitches required to complete the afghan: the crunched numbers revealed that I had sufficient quantities of each color to complete the pattern, but just barely when it came to the dark blue, which makes sense because it uses more yarn for each pattern repetition than the other three.

Once I was done with all this BS I realized that MS Excel could aid me in these calculations with about 10% the effort. I used it to double-check my results and the equation held true.

I'm really digging this afghan. Part of me wishes I didn't tell the Dizzle that I was crocheting him an afghan, because then I could simply keep it for myself. I enjoyed many hours of winter warmth with this sucker draped upon my lap as I added row upon row. Here is the concise list of full albums listened to during the crochet process:

Arcade Fire- The Suburbs (I really should point out that A-dog sent me this album as well as Reflector right before I commenced the project. I don't mean he drop-boxed me some mp3s, I mean he really sent the physical albums purchased from a real store. Home-Dizzle rocks the house again)
The Avett Brothers- The Second Gleam
Beck- Mellow Gold
King Crimson- Starless and Bible Black
Live- Throwing Copper
Jim Croce- Greatest Hits Volume II
My Morning Jacket- It Sill Works
Radiohead- The Bends
Arcade Fire- The Suburbs
Russian Circles- Station
Yes- Close to the Edge
The String Cheese Incident- Born on the Wrong Planet
Phish- Rift
Ween- The Mollusk
The White Stripes- Get Behind Me Satan
King Crimson- Larke's Tongues in Aspic
The Mars Volta- Deloused in the Comatorium
The Builders and the Butchers- Self Titled
The Builders and the Butchers- Salvation is a Deep Dark Well
Arcade Fire- The Suburbs
Blind Melon- Self Titled
Gomez- Bring It On
Ween- White Pepper
Yes- Drama
Pink Floyd- Animals

A-dog and I discovered the band Yes together, and spent many priceless college-age nights tripping out on The Yes Album, Close To The Edge, Fragile, Going For The One, and Drama. He wrote a college paper on the Drama album and its meanings. Deep stuff. I remember a Hunter S. Thompsonesque road trip to Sedona, AZ that was spent listening to Yes albums in my beat up Civic hatchback. Good times.

If any single ladies in Orange County (Costa Mesa, specifically) are reading this, you really need to track this dude down and attempt to date him. You'll never meet a more cool, competent, and capable cat. He's the CSO of a profitable optics company that makes laser prisms for all sorts of top-secret contracts, and is a gourmet cook to boot. By gourmet I mean that he uses an all-copper bowl to beat egg whites. Try it and see. A-dog meditates, performs Tai-Chi, and loves a succulent dry-aged steak as much as the next king. Oh, and he keeps his bachelor abode spic-and-span. I can't wait until he flies out to TX this summer to visit me for some good homie chillin' times.

Oh, right, this is a blog about craft projects. Sorry for all the A-reminiscensces. Here's another pic of the afghan to distract you from my best homie ever, the hellarighteousdudeskillet known to most as the A-dog.


A note from Erin -- I am totally flying to Texas and stealing this afghan before Jordan has a chance to give it to A-dog. The colors are fantastic, and this is THE coolest use of a granny square-ish pattern!  I'm not experienced enough with granny squares to know why the corners are a bit pulled out.  I don't think blocking is the answer because that wouldn't really hold up with an afghan.  Who cares, though?  This afghan is still ridiculously awesome.  The math Jordan used to calculate the amount of yarn he'd need absolutely kills me.  He is a closet genius.  I can't wait to see his next project!


  1. He guys! A-dog here. I received the afghan in the mail and it really is a work of art! It’s comfy, durable and very pleasing to look at. I dig the color scheme, it has the colors I picked out plus a few extra ones, the white and the dark blue definitely give the afghan some extra flair. I gotta give Jordan a lot of credit for the sweet design and craftsmanship.

    The pictures of Jordan and I are a trip down memory lane. We had some pretty cool adventures, many of which fall into the categories of: road trips, frisbee golf, hacky sacking, listening to trippy music, or gourmet cooking. Actually we would most often combine two or three of these activities for one grand time!

    My inaugural afghan experience is reading The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, as well as Starship Troopers in deference to Jordan’s literary tastes. Jordan is on a mission to read all the Hugo and Nebula award winners, and I think I will join him in this quest. It feels great to read sci-fi while bundled up in a warm blanket made with TLC.
    Thanks Niki and Erin for getting Jordan into crocheting, this is a really cool arts and crafts forum. Cheers!

    1. Adrian, you are so cool. I have never gotten the chance to meet you (I wasn't able to come to Jordan's wedding because I was 9 months pregnant!) but as far as I've ever heard, you rule and you deserve the awesome afghan that Jordan crocheted you. Enjoy reading while snuggling under the afghan!!