By Hook or By Crook

Crochet, which has been going on since Christmas, gives me weird core-sample glimpses into advanced topologies. For example, to make the basic granny square, you make a chain, join it end to end to form a ring. Subsequent stitches are made back through the ring, where a loop of yarn from the future strand is grabbed and pulled back through. (According to S. I am now my own grandmother.) According to my friend Sarah, the primary distinction between crochet and knit stitches is that machines cannot make crochet stitches. Put that in your Cylon Detector, Dr. Baltar!

And then, when I looked into the Smithsonian Crochet Coral Reef online, I find out that the forms emerge from mathematical models of hyperbolic space. At Cornell in 1997, a Latvian mathematician with crochet skills was finally able to provide a concrete and stable approach to modelling the algorithm that shapes hyperbolic space.

As per the normal absurdity, all this post-Euclidean know-how sparked an epidemic of dishcloths. Dishcloths are awesome. They provide immediate gratification and a blank canvas for endless stitch pattern permutation. Confidence and momentum, mutually perpetuating properties, are key at the start of any fiber craft. Otherwise, the less coordinated among us would frustrate ourselves out of the game before the magic kicked in.

It didn’t take long for me to concoct patterns of my own, which are available for download over at Ravelry. Oh, Ravelry, you repository of patterns and fiber fellowship. I owe much of my perseverance to that site, because it fed my new crochet obsession with possibly unhealthy dosages of technogeekery. Stash management, oh yes. I am now a seasoned yarn photographer. Yarn photography feels a little like tabloid photography, all perched over my kitchen table, endlessly snapping a yam shaped like Elvis. One shot will be perfect, but it’s all lighting and angles. This proved fruitful, however, in light of a recent but compelling foray into hand-dyed yarn. There’ll be way more about that soon.

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