Archive for January 10th, 2009

Math and the Fiber Arts

January 10, 2009

hyperbWe’re back from the Joint Mathematics Meetings in DC!  There were lots of great books at the Exhibits, lots of great rocks at the Smithsonian (more on that tomorrow), and lots of great talks at the conference.

One of my favorite sessions was the AMS Special Session on Mathematics and the Fiber Arts.  You can see the complete session (with links to home pages and talk summaries) here, but a few of the speakers also have web pages about their topics.

sara-marie belcastro talked  about braid words that describe the twisting that occurs when making helix stripe pattern.  She has an extensive page on mathematical knitting.

Irena Swanson showed how to make semi-regular tessellations while quilting — not just by sewing the pieces together, but by making use of some intriguing shortcuts in pieces and cutting.  She has a page with some of her mathematical quilts.

Mary Shepherd used cross stitching to illustrate cosets in group theory.  She has a web page about using mathematics to design cross-stitching and symmetry which also has some of the coset information from the talk.  It also shows her using cross stitch to show Frieze Patterns and most of the wallpaper patterns (but not all, because those that have a rotation of 60° can’t be put on the grid pattern).

Good times,  good times.  Now I just have to switch my mind away from knitting and back to classes!

The photo above is of two hyperbolic planes that I knit crocheted last year for my geometry class.