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Textbooks provided the next idea. We were working with squares so what would be more
logical than square numbers. A nice property of square numbers is that they can be
generated by adding all the odd numbers together. Add the first two odd numbers (1
and 3) and you get 4, which is the square of 2. Add the first six odd numbers (1,
3, 5, 7, 9 and 11) and you get 36, which is the square of 6. We could represent these
with squares made from nesting L-

The squares could have been made individually and stitched together. It is tedious to make lots of small squares so six or seven colours seemed to be the best choice. As soon as the squares were drawn and coloured they were reminiscent of a rainbow, with each new band of colour curving round the rest. The colours and title had suggested themselves.

The final construction was not separate squares stitched together. An easier way was to knit strips similar to those used for Counting Pane. The difference here was that the strips had to go round a corner and we wanted the rainbow to look symmetrical. Ridges of garter stitch are very pronounced and can easily spoil the effect of matching pieces. The ridges on the two legs of the L needed to be at right angles to each other.

The solution was to knit the centre square of each L first, diagonally, then pick up stitches along two of the edges and knit the two legs straight. This meant that the ridges on both legs were parallel to the ends of the rainbow. The number of stitches needed for the straight knitting was worked out using Pythagoras’ Theorem and the square root of 2, as so often before.

At this time many of the afghans did not have an efficient means of hanging. We did not realise how vast the collection would become and how often we would be putting them up and down in classrooms, workshops and exhibitions. Some Square Over The Rainbow originally had crochet loops along the top to allow it to be hung from a pole. The heading was changed later to make it hang better and easier to handle.

SOME SQUARE OVER THE RAINBOW