Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Ablet

I distribute a small bracelet called an Ablet. It's actually a counting device based on the Abacus. There are two rows of 9 beads each. The first row is the ones and the second row, the tens. If you are using it to count rows or stitch repeats in knitting, every time you complete a row or repeat you move a bead from the "ones" row along the row a little to separate it from the rest. When you have moved all 9 beads along, with the next row or repeat, you move one bead from the "tens" row along and you know that you have done 10 rows or repeats. You then start the counting all over again from the "ones" row.

Ablet and Shadows

I was at a show and sale on Saturday and I was wearing one to demonstrate the technique. I was also trying to broaden its uses from just knitting. I said, "for example, you could keep track of boyfriends on it." I got some laughs, some curious looks and I also realized how dated the comment was. I was still presuming that partners would be of the opposite sex. Given my family configuration, I should have known better!

Anyway it did get me thinking about how people have counted "things" over the years - you know the notched belt and worst of all shrunken heads!! I believe that there are cairns in desolate byways where travellers leave a rock or stone to record their passage there. I am sure that there are others- please comment, if you know of any.

I have always been fascinated by abaci - fortunately my spell checker told me that it was a latin word and therefore the plural would not be abacuses or would it. That word also passed muster! The plural of abacus warrants another post as does the premiss that the abacus was the first computer. I am not a math person and therefore, I will have to do some research - but not today!!

Have a day that really counts :)

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