Math is Not My Strong Suite

Remember that fond day when I thought I was halfway done with the endurance-test afghan and I was somewhat befuddled by it? But still proud and excited because I was almost done?

Yesterday afternoon, I stood with my piles of squares spread out on my bed and my calculator in-hand and I was like “The number I think I need is not the number that will make up a whole afghan.” And yet, I just could not figure out how to unfuck my thinking.

So, here’s the problem. I have my squares bundled into bundles of twelve. I want my afghan to be 36 squares wide by 48 squares tall (each square being just shy of two inches wide)–or three bundles by four bundles. So, how many bundles do I need to make?

My first guess was twelve. Much to my own pride, I realized that this was wrong, even before I spread the squares out on my bed.

But then I had been telling myself that, what I need is four bundles high, thirty six bundles across. And, well, I had thirty-six bundles–score one for me.

I make my post.

And then, all day, I’m like–this just cannot be right. It’s not enough squares. Even spread out on my bed, it’s not enough squares. But I can’t figure out how I’m fucking up. For the longest time.

And then I realize, I have forgotten to multiply. I don’t need 36 bundles–I need 4×36 bundles. I am only a quarter done.

I had a feeling of both extreme disappointment and extreme relief.

There’s nothing more frustrating than knowing you have the wrong answer but not knowing where the flaw in your thinking is to fix it.

One thought on “Math is Not My Strong Suite

  1. The problem is that you are going from 1-dimensional units (wide and tall) to a 2- dimensional unit (area) and trying to use the same unit of measurement ( bundles). I think the confusing thing is that this works if your unit of measurement is square shaped. So, since a ” square” is square- shaped then you can do the math you want to do ( area= width x height) if you measure in squares: 36 squares wide and 48 squares tall means the area is 36*48 = 1728 squares = 144 bundles, as was your final conclusion.
    Since your bundles aren’t square, the formula doesn’t work, as you found out:
    3 bundles wide and 4 bundles tall does not give an area of 12 bundles.
    If you made your bundles square-shaped then the area formula would have worked. Suppose you put 16 squares in a bundle and you arranged the bundle to be a 4 by 4 square. Then you are 9 bundles wides and 12 bundles tall and the area is 9*12= 108 bundles, which is correct (108 bundles is 108*16= 1728 squares).
    Given that your units aren’t square then I think you have to just envision how to place the bundles so as to fill up the area. I think deciding that 4 bundles took up all the height and used up one square’s worth of width so that therefore you needed 4*36 total bundles was the correct approach.

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