Thursday, March 02, 2006

Nerd Knits

So here's the thing. Once a week, my department has a physics colloquium, where someone comes in from another department or another school and gives a physics-y lecture. Naturally, I use this time to further my physics education by exposing myself to a broad range of research, by which I mean knit. Besides being fun, it also keeps me awake. I'm one of very few women, and, I thought, the only knitter. Until a week or two ago, one of my professors came up and asked me about my knitting. She looks like your typical knitter, but also happens to be a professor of physics. I was working on my double knit scarf, which looks exactly the same only marginally longer, so I'm not going to post another picture. She was fascinated, and started talking about the topology of knitting. This goes way beyond a mobius scarf, but I'll get to that in a moment. I confessed to here that I want to knit the chart of the nuclides every time I see it. Actually, these days it's fairly often, as I'm taking my nuclear physics elective.
I let her borrow the double knitting pattern; it's really simple and I'm sure she'll have no trouble with it. In return, she sent me these links, part of the beauty of nerdy knitting.
First, she told me about this DNA scarf, which she adapted into an afghan for one of her sons. The cable pattern really looks like the DNA chain. It may be biology, but it's still nerdy enough to interest me.
She also found this DNA baby toy, which actually has the correct base pairs. (If you don't care at all about DNA, just translate "base pairs" into "pretty colors," but if you don't care that much, you probably won't knit DNA.)
But it turns out there are many, many nerds out there, which you can easily see thanks to Google. You can crochet a Lorentz manifold. And there are a bunch of other mathematical functions you can knit/crochet here. You can also quilt math things, but I'm not so good at that. In fact, the only quilt I ever tried was assembled completely backwards, and is sitting in my parents garage. Not only was I totally bad at it, I also broke up with the guy I was making it for. This was before I knew about the sweater curse. Aparently there's a quilt curse too.
The moral of the story is, I'm not the only nerdy knitter out there. People have designed these things. And I'm so going knit them.

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