M is for Maths

Apologies for the delay in posting this. Life got in the way, but if I blog on weekends I should be able to finish the alphabet before the end of the month.

There’s a reason a lot of geeky girls, and guys, knit. Well, mostly because knitting is awesome and a great stress reliever, but also it’s very easy to geek out with your knitting. From things as simple as a Dr Who inspired lace shawl, to orange and yellow striped ear flap hats that have no relation to cancelled TV shows we swear, or even the emission spectrum of your favourite atom, there’s geeky knitting for all tastes.

Possibly the geekiest knits are those inspired directly from maths. There are two ways that knitting is really good for playing with maths.

1. Knitting is all about patterns. Essentially knitting is a grid, so just apply some simple rules and you can get all kinds of fun visual patterns. How about some chaotic two colour knitting? Or maybe something more along the lines of sierpinski triangles? Is that a cable in your sweater, or are they braided topological qubits?

2. Now this is where things get interesting. You can already draw patterns on paper, but what if knitting and crochet could do something that paper couldn’t? See, this is one thing that knitting and crochet have over paper or fabric, in knitting and crochet you’re making the surface as you go, so you get to set the rules.

It turns out crochet is perfect for making hyperbolic planes. (In fact it can be better than knitting for this. Since in knitting all the stitches are kept on the needles, increasing as much as hyperbolic planes require would have you running out of space.) Hyperbolic planes appear in many places in nature, and one project that takes advantage of this is the  hyperbolic crochet coral reef.

If that’s not enough mathematica fibre crafting, check out Botanica Mathematica, based here in Edinburgh as part of the Year of the Mathematics of Planet Earth. Binary trees as far as they eye can see.

And that’s just the tip of the mathematical iceberg. You can always go looking for mobius knitting, klein bottle hats, or even fractal spinning. Or check out all the maths-tagged patterns on ravelry and try to avoid casting on, I dare you!

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