My daughter goes to a great school. But the bussing situation stinks, so I have to pick her up from school. Their parking lot is small, so I could sit in line with the other cars wasting gas and holding up traffic on Acadian Thruway, or I can park in the parking lot which the folks next door graciously let us use, walk up to the bench she walks by on the way to the bit of sidewalk car riders wait on, and sit down to knit while I wait.
Guess which one I choose.
Well, it just so happens that other people notice me knitting on that bench. Like the kindergarteners, first graders, second graders . . . you get the idea. Last year an extremely precocious preschooler befriended me out of fascination, so I taught him to finger knit. He spent most of his nap times for the remainder of the year in a corner working quietly with yarn.
His mother is a biologist, and when she saw the March-April 2013 edition of American Scientist magazine, she immediately thought of me. She passed it along, and I'm so glad she did.
In the cover article, "Adventures in Mathematical Knitting," sarah-marie belcastro (smbelcas on Ravelry) discusses the thinking behind knitted mathematical object design, beginning with the why. Turns out she's thought about this quite a bit. Like, published a journal article and two books about it. That much.
And it's fascinating.
She takes care to make objects whose inner and outer skins are continuous in identically reversible fabric, so both sides look the same. Conversely, she makes sure to knit objects whose sides are mathematically distinct in stitch patterns which have non-identical sides. She knits graphs into her shapes, or works stripes highlighting certain of their aspects. And there's more.
Cowls inspired by diagrams in textbooks (page 52). Hats inspired by Klein bottles (that one's still in the works). Oh yes, you can wear these mathematical objects!
I find this exciting in the same way that Lynne Barr's books thrill me. No surprise that smbelcas is a member of the Ravelry group for fans of Lynne Barr. They both challenge the limitations of a single strand of yarn.
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