Decisions, decisions

Today I worked on several crochet-related activities, but the one that has currently captured my imagination is Tracy St. John’s groovyghan.

The first task I faced when I began this project was choosing seven colors to use in the making of it. While I don’t often limit myself when it comes to colors, having just finished the Mamy bag that seemed to have taken me forever, I thought it would be an interesting experiment to find out what would happen if I, at the outset, selected a set number of colors and stuck with them.

After much internal debate, I settled on the following selection of Red Heart Super Saver colors: Cherry Red, Shocking Pink, Pumpkin, Bright Yellow, Spring Green, Delft, and Dark Orchid. Having selected those colors, I then began work on the part of the pattern known as the “dot motif.” Composed of only two colors, I figured it would be a straight forward process. Make seven dots in the seven different colors, and then square each dot off in one of the six remaining colors.

Today, I made two more of the seven dots needed:

spring green crochet circle
Spring green dot for my groovyghan

blue crochet circle
Delft blue crochet dot for my groovyghan

Once I finish the two remaining dots needed for my groovyghan-to-be, I will then begin the process of squaring off each circle with a color that is not the same as the color of the dot and has not been used on any of the other completed dot motifs. While this might seem simple and straight forward, what I really have on my hands is a permutation problem.

Using this handy dandy online calculator, I was able to confirm that the number of possible different dot squares was 42. When I squared off my first dot, I had six colors from which to choose, when I square off the second dot, I will have 5 choices, by the time I get to my last dot, I will have made six decisions about what color to use from twenty possible options along the way, and somewhere in there, I will wonder if I should have squared off the first dot in some other color which would have resulted in a completely different set of outcomes.

In a piece in the New York Times, Alina Tugend takes a look at what happens to our decision making skills when we are confronted with too many choices. Apparently a large array of choices taxes our decision making to the point that many of us decide to do nothing.

With that in mind, here are the five dots I have complete so far:

Five crochet circles
Five completed crochet dots for my groovyghan

Once I finish the dot motifs for the groovyghan, I will then move on to either the flower motif (composed of 3 colors for a total of 210 possible permutations) or the traditional granny square motif (composed of 7 colors for a total of 5040 possible permutations). The possibilities are (for all practical purposes) endless.

But with hook in hand and yarn at my side, I will persist, decision by decision, until the groovyghan is complete.

Related post: Resistance is futile

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One thought on “Decisions, decisions

  1. You could make a grid (or use a spreadsheet) with each color listed on the x and y axes (x for circle, y for square, for example). Then fill in the box where the 2 color names meet when you use that color combination.

    Visual representations like that help me to keep track of my progress.

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