To Knit or Knot to Knit?

Jun 11, 2007

RAY: This was sent in a while ago by a fellow named Jeff Abuzaha.

He wrote:

My wife and I have been dieting for the last few months and it's been hard. To keep herself from snacking, she decided to take up knitting. I decided to take up casting porcelain miniatures of my favorite foods. (According to Jeff, he's done a little hot fudge sundae, with chocolate sauce and frothy whipped cream on the top and a cherry.)

Anyway, my wife was busy knitting a scarf the other night that she had been working on for a few days. After completing one of the rows she held up the partially finished scarf to show me her progress.

''How much longer can I make the scarf before I run out of yarn?" she asked.

I looked at the three feet of scarf hanging off the one knitting needle in her left hand. She had a great big ball of yarn and an empty knitting needle in her other hand. "Well, you knit until you run out, right?" I said.

'I can't," she said. "I'm doing something called the diagonal stitch and I need to know how much further I can knit so I can gauge when to start dropping stitches to finish it off. It's a different stitch at the end of the scarf."

''Well, we'll just measure the length of yarn left in the ball and subtract it from the length you started with and we'll know how much you used and how much more you can go.'

''We're not doing that," she said, "because I don't know how much I started with and I'm not going to unravel the three feet I already did, you moron."

I thought for a moment and then the solution came to me. I took the scarf that was on the knitting needle and the ball of yarn connected to it and the empty needle, and I ran into the kitchen. In a minute I came back and said, "You can knit two more feet before you run out." And she did.

The question is, what did Jeff do in the kitchen?
RAY: Now, the hint was that they're dieting.

TOM: Really?

RAY: Yes. We have a digital scale in the kitchen, you know there's more than one way to measure things. Well, you might want to measure the yarn by --

TOM: Ohh. He weighed it.

RAY: Exactly. He weighted the knitting, the knitting needles, and then he weighed the ball of yarn.

TOM: Of course, he knows the ratio now.

RAY: He knew the ratio, and he did the math and he said you can knit two more feet. Pretty cute, eh? So who's our winner?

TOM: The winner this week is Kim Canavan from Louisville, Kentucky, and for having her answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Kim gets a 26-dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at, with which she can get a copy of our double CD collection called, The Best and Second Best of Car Talk.

RAY: You figure we'll ever do like a third best of Car Talk?

TOM: No. After this we have to start coming at it from the other direction, like the best of the worst of Car Talk.

RAY: That might be easier.

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