June 2008


The LA-based Institute for Figuring has installed several reefs of crocheted coral in the South Bank Centre and in the Hayward Gallery. Unfortunately in the Hayward photos were not allowed.

This is an image of the “toxic” reef, I believe. But it may also be the UK reef– contributions from UK crocheters for the project.

There is math involved– a hyperbolic plane to be exact, or in IF’s words, the “wild and unruly” space of non-Euclidean geometry. Coral grows in a hyperbolic structure. Cornell University mathmetician Diana Taimina discovered crochet was the perfect medium for demonstrating hyperbolic space. Dr Taimina’s record plane, featured in the Smithsonian’s collection of American Mathematical Models, began with 24 stitches, with stitches added in every stitch, to measure 369 inches around the perimeter.  It weighs nearly a pound, but the piece is just four inches across. It’s interesting to note Dr. Taimina tried knitting a hyperbolic plane but the number of stitches on the needle became unruly– it is possible, but impractical. It has been postulated that our universe may in fact be hyperbolic in structure. A crocheted universe…now there’s a thought.

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Knitting at Parliament, originally uploaded by dansette.

OK, so this post is a bit late. Last weekend my friends Kate and Alice and I formed a team for the I Knit treasure hunt, put together by the fabulous Craig and Gerard at the shop

We ended up going around all kinds of secret corners as well as places mobbed with tourists, all the while knitting as we walked and tried to solve cryptic clues. (We realized that as right-brained knitters we weren’t that great at solving lateral-thinking puzzles. While knitting in crowds. Our competitive edge just started to wane!). A tourist did clock me knitting in front of Big Ben so it I can feel satisfied that I was actually Knitting in Public (I was knitting a scarf for the challenge non-stop for the total 4 hours of the hunt! Knitting while walking through tourist hoards! Through mobbed squares! But my scarf wasn’t that long compared to other teams– even though I’m a loose knitter, some teams seemed to be using needles much larger than the size 6’s in the rules. I’m sure we could have also gotten farther in the hunt if we had Google on our mobiles or had other pocket-brain devices to consult!) Next year I might just look for something that entails the mighty spectacle of a right-brained knitters together somewhere en masse! Flash mob knitting– that’s the ticket!

(I had many other great images taken by Kate but for some reason WordPress will let me upload them but not put them in the post. Drat.)