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Lately, my diet has consisted of a whole lot of blue and yellow inkle shoelaces.

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Inkle shoelace spaghetti anyone?

The family scoffed when I tried to serve this for dinner. Hey, in my defense, I figured, cotton is a plant. Plant = veggie = healthy, right? Win, win. Okay, well, no, I didn’t really do that. I did spice things up with a dash of purple and yellow laces I wove for my husband, his brother and nephew to wear to the Tough Mudder Challenge in Pennsylvania this past weekend.

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Read the purple letters (Team O’B). The yellow just shows the reverse of the weaving.

I didn’t finish them in time, fortunately, because they would have been ruined!

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Yup, it’s so messy people just throw their shoes away at the end.

So far I have sold 7 pairs of the 117 pairs of shoelaces I am weaving to raise money to donate to the One Fund Boston. That is 17.5 yards of the same blue and yellow pattern. With 110 pairs, or 275 yards (is my math right?!) to go, I realized I needed to add a bit of variety to the mix. So, I am now offering four patterns for people to choose from.

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As I designed the four patterns, I again relished in one of the things I love about weaving inkle bands; the seemingly endless possibilities of design. You would think it is limiting to work with such a narrow warp in only two colors. Not true! As I wove, I got to wondering exactly how many patterns are possible with 2 colors and 30 warp ends.

If you promise not to tell anyone, I will reveal a deep, dark secret of mine. Math is not my strongest skill. I needed (and still need) help figuring this one out. Turning to trusty Google, I searched “how many combinations 2 colors 30 items” and learned of permutations and combinations. I watch this video on permutations and this one on combinations and read this. After all that, I think what I need to calculate is a permutation… I used this permutation calculator, blog.inkledpink.com

and came up with 4 answers. 435, 465, 870, 900 pattern possibilities, depending on: 1) if order matters 2) repetition is allowed. Yeah, I don’t know if order matters or not – I think it does… But with two little ones, 5 months old and 3 years old, I don’t see much order, or sleep - and is repetition allowed, yes, he’s three! Oh, wait, sorry, I digress.

Now, I’m not sure which is right, but even if the answer is only 435 and I accept that many of the patterns would differ by only one thread changing, that is a lot of possibility to be sure!

Are any of you mathematicians? Which is it? Help. Warped minds want to know!

warp, weave, be happy!

~ Jennifer

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