Last year, while working on Hopkins, I posted some advice on colorwork. I think it’s still good advice, but I have an update. Instead of the magnet arrangement, use Mavalus Tape. You can take a little strip and put it directly onto the chart. When you finish the row, lift it and move it to the next line. It will not damage or stain your book. This is the absolute perfect solution for chart-following.

Pictured here is Erin, or the first few inches of her. Since I am working over 336 stitches, it will be a long time before there is enough to make a proper portrait of, so I am going with artistic curves. You can see the nice colors, at least.

This is Erin, from Alice Starmore’s Celtic Collection, being knitted up in Elann’s Peruvian Highland Wool on … hmm… I will have to check, but I think these are #3 needles. I know that I always want to see this information when I zoom through knitting blogs, so I try to put it in occasionally for zooming knitters.

I also have an update on the mathematical question: is it reasonable to use statistics to estimate the odds of finding a suitable mate? I realize that most of you have not yet had an opportunity to weigh in on this question, but I have to speak up here, because both Pokey and Sighkey have brought up a paltry objection: namely, nobody actually does this.

Well, granted. As I recall, when I was Pokey’s age, my major criteria for choosing a date were dancing ability and good cheekbones. (I will take the opportunity here to point out that all my kids have great cheekbones.) Was this reasonable? No. This is why married ladies such as The Empress and I have to tease unmarried girls like Pokey mercilessly — um, I meant, give excellent advice to them about their dating habits.

In real life, people either believe that there is One Certain Mr. or Ms. Right for them (the Cinderella hypothesis) and go around with the equivalent of a glass slipper in hand, trying it on one after another and discarding each in disappointment, or just randomly flit from one person to another with no plan whatsoever. Some of them are reproductively successful and some are not. What does this have to do with statistical analysis? Nothing. This is because math and real life have nothing in common.

I still think that the calculations are fairly trustworthy, or could be made so if we didn’t just use 1/2 whenever seeking a proportion. I think that Pokey has probably found that 2% of the guys she has seen during her vacation have been suitable — though it is possible that she has only seen four single guys in her age range, so that 2% of them equals a small fraction of a person. This does not invalidate my hypothesis. She will not admit this, of course.

Yesterday, I spent four hours cleaning my house, while my husband watched kung fu movies. I make no further comment. The connection between this event and my having chosen dates by their cheekbones is too obvious to require comment.

Then #2 daughter and #1 son came home from work and we had lunch, and she and I set off to the library for some more fact-checking. I was working on a senator. It turned out that — while this was not mentioned in the encyclopedia article I am checking — he had murdered a guy in his law office. There was a fight, he and the other guy both pulled their guns, both were shot, and the other guy died. The newspaper said rather demurely that the coroner’s jury could not establish who had fired the fatal shot. Hmm. A public fight, two guys with guns, one dies. Doesn’t seem that hard, does it? Are you beginning to wonder, though, whether there are any politicians from my state who did not have public gunfights?

We got home in the mid-afternoon and settled in with our knitting and a Gene Kelly marathon on TV. Gene Kelly — dancing ability, good cheekbones. He was never in my dating community, of course, but #2 daughter and I both enjoy looking at him. She had a soft spot for the young Frank Sinatra, too, but he was snapped up by a lady cabdriver.

Here’s a nice song for New Year’s — “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” — from someone who figures that his or her invitee has received a thousand invitations. Their math is probably less realistic than mine. I have not received any, myself. My children are all at the age where what they have is multiple invitations involving last-minute cell-phone calls — dates, that is, to call one another and see whether they want to do stuff. So they may all be out roaming in packs, and I might be home with my husband watching Dick Clark (who must have a portrait in his attic, like Dorian Grey) celebrate in Times Square. Since we live in the central time zone, this allows us to toast the new year without staying up so late. He won’t dance any more, my husband, but he still has excellent cheekbones.

By the way, if you have never read The Picture of Dorian Grey, go click on that link and read it, for the whole text is there. You will start the new year with a serious flaw in your education corrected.