Monday, 9 December 2013

Decorate Transreal!

Today was light up day for Decorate Edinburgh and that means a full reveal of the Transreal Fiction  tree I've been decorating with mathematical knitting and crochet. Decorate Edinburgh is a fund raising project for local charities. Around the city, small businesses have given money and received trees to decorate in return. Their Tree Trail leaflet lists all the participants so you can see how they've all gone about decorating Edinburgh for Christmas.

I volunteered for the decorating without much persuasion. This seemed like the perfect reason to finally knit Norah Gaughan's  stellated dodecahedron. After all, her father, Jack Gaughan, illustrated science fiction books and magazines. So now my version of her design top of Transreal Fiction's Christmas tree. (Want to make one too? the pattern is here and it's free www.berroco.com/patterns/celestine).

So much for the tree topper but what about the rest? Well, having started with a mathematical idea I figured I could crochet and knit lots more in the sparkly yarns sitting in my stash for just such a project.  Hyperbolic pseudospheres have been used as baubles since mathematicians started crocheting them so I made some of those.  Strips of hyperbolic surfaces make lovely garlands - a couple of those were made.  Mobius bands are a perennial favourite and so I crocheted a few small ones.  I also found a couple of patterns using modular knitting to make stars by tiling parallelograms and made a whole bunch of them. The most comprehensive web page mathematical knitting information is maintained by sarah-marie belcastro on her Torioidal Snark site.

So far so straight forward.  I went hunting something a bit more obscure and I found the Seifert surface patterns by Hugh Griffiths.  Hugh helped me design a large scale hyperbolic knit when he was a PhD student in Edinburgh a few years ago.  It was exhibited in Transreal Fiction's previous shop. So a Seifert surface was duly knitted.  This one is related to the trefoil knot but there are are others for other knots.  You can find out more about the maths and get Hugh's pattern here.

Once I assembled all the sparkly knitting I realised my subconscious had added another layer of maths to the project for I had made:

8 parallelogram stars

5 hyperbolic baubles

 3 Mobius bands

 2 hyperbolic garlands

1 Seifert surface

 1 stellated dodecahedron

The quantities turned out to be the Fibonacci sequence!  I'm thinking of adding 13 little knitted knots and maybe 21 other things if time allows between now and Christmas. Pop in to Transreal Fiction at 46 Candlemaker Row and see how I've got on...

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