Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Hyperbolic Crochet - Where Science Meets Art and Craft

image hyperbolic crochet pseudosphere coral

Those of you who have been crocheting for a while will probably have heard of hyperbolic crochet - an amazing use of crochet devised to help mathematics students understand and visualise hyperbolic planes and other forms of hyperbolic geometry.  The idea was first developed by Daina Taimina, a mathematics professor at Cornell University (as well as an accomplished knitter, crocheter and artist) but has since been taken on by others and expanded upon to create beautiful works in other fields, including the mind-blowing crochet coral reef by the Institute for Figuring.

image hyperbolic crochet pseudosphere coral

When I first read about hyperbolic crochet, I hadn't yet learned to crochet, but was fascinated by the concept because I love it when science and art/craft meet and because Mr Cheeky Monkeys is my favourite maths geek and could have gone far in the world of maths if he hadn't had to find a job to support a student wife.  Anyway, since learning to crochet, I have been keen to try out hyperbolic crochet.  I was a little surprised to discover that, though the results look spectacularly complex, the method for creating simple pieces (such as this "coral", or pseudosphere, that I made for the little Cheeky Monkeys) is really very simple.  All you need is some perseverence to keep going (your stitch number does increase exponentially, after all!) and you will be able to create a fun and beautiful piece.  And if you want to try this technique for yourself, a quick Google search will yield a multitude of patterns for you to try out.

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