I’m really pleased with how this online weaving study group (working through Exploring Multishaft Design) is going. One of the members is also a mathematician, and posed the interesting question, “How many distinct twills can you get on n shafts?”
I thought about this a bit and realized that this is basically equivalent to a problem in number theory: how many ways can you add up various summands to get n? This is addressed in a Wikipedia article on compositions in number theory. I’m still working through the details of the formula (my original stab at it undercounts the total number of twills by a small amount – I understand the nature of the problem but not the way to fix it yet) but I find it fascinating how mathematics underlies seemingly unrelated topics. I’m also pleased with myself for having remembered that there’s a branch of number theory devoted to partitions/composition. It’s been fifteen years since I dropped out of math graduate school!
Meanwhile, I have been winding the warp for the painted-warp project. I had forgotten how long it takes to wind a warp for fine work – I have to wind 1400 ends at 13 yards per end on a warping board. It takes me about 1/3 of a minute (20 seconds) to wind each end, so that comes out to 1400/3 = 440 minutes = 7.33 hours just to wind the warp! So I’m not going to get it done in time to paint this weekend. Probably just as well since I don’t have the space to paint it indoors and outdoors is not an option – weather report says it’s due to rain all weekend.
I have also been reading up on information architecture (which is basically all about how to architect websites to make them intuitively obvious to the user). Also about usability. Steve Krug has a great book, Don’t Make Me Think! that covers the basics of it, and which is highly readable (and quite funny in places). I highly recommend it.
Regarding the weaving project repository project – no, I have not forgotten about that! – I have been finding it rather overwhelming, but have decided that the best way to start is to pare down the functionality to the point where it’s extremely simple, then add on functionality in small chunks to get to the point of having something useful. Since I have to learn almost everything from the ground up, this will enable me to do something besides flounder about trying to learn everything at once. This means:
- starting out with just a basic data-entry page, written in HTML, not with CSS;
- having a basic display with nothing fancy (graphics, etc.)
- stripping out a lot of the fancywork like tags, etc.
I figure the next iteration will involve replacing the HTML with “clean” CSS, and then I can start adding in more tables. This will make it much more manageable as a project for a novice programmer.
I’m still not convinced this will ever be robust enough to be public, but it is interesting to play with, and hopefully I can make it useful someday!
Between learning about website design and documentation for my job, the project repository project, and the online study group, my brain is quite full right now. I’m hoping I can keep track of all of those!
Interview yesterday went well, but they have four or five strong candidates for the position. I should hear back from them “soon”, which puts them in the same timeframe as the web development contracting company I also interviewed with. Balsam Hill, fortunately, has said that they have enough projects to keep me busy for awhile, so I’m not too worried about becoming unemployed. Still, I’d like to get a permanent position soon.