Scientific Knitting: Thinking about Science Online 2014

Thursday, February 07, 2013
This past week I got to attend the #SciO13 (Science Online 2013) conference, conveniently held locally to me on an annual basis.  I've been attending this conference for many years, off and on, since it started as the North Carolina Science Blogging Conference and was held (free!) in one classroom building at UNC.

Brain Hat, copyright Alana Noritake, ganked from Ravelry
The conference is great, and someday I'll post some summaries of what I went to (science hip hop! Google Hangouts for starwatching! what "crap" writing can teach science writers! open science! open notebooks! altmetrics!), but for now the piece that's stewing in my brain is the intersection of science and craft.  Of course, in my brain that craft is knitting with a side of spinning and dyeing, but there are lots of examples other places.  Several of this year's attendees and I are brainstorming ideas for an unconference session next year (or event?) on this idea.  Your thoughts are more than welcome.

Soma Cube, copyright Woolly Thoughts, ganked from Ravelry
There are ideas like, representations of scientific concepts in craft, like the mathematical games of WoollyThoughts or the dissections by aKNITomy (Ooh! she has a new one for an alien!).  Computer code is represented through things like the Binary scarf on Knitty.  Morse code is also popular, which I suppose is not surprising, as are tricks of perspective like illusion knitting.  There are a slew of patterns that use DNA as a motif, both cabled and in illusion knits.  There's the Brain Hat, various hearts (this one is from Knitty), and of course, the uterus (aka "Womb" - also from Knitty).

I've started a Pinterest board for scientific knits - it's pretty sparse so far - please feel free to suggest additional pics for it.

The question, of course, is what part of what knitters love about scientific knitting also translates to non-knitters?  How can we create a discussion about science and craft that is interesting not just to the (probably small) subset of us who are both, but also to those who are just one?  In this case, "just" scientists?  Because the conference is held at NCSU there's an off chance that we could include someone from the School of Textiles, but that's by no means a sure thing.  Thoughts?

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All content in this blog, including patterns and photos, is the intellectual property of Katherine Vaughan. All rights under US Copyright Law are reserved. Teachers, please direct your students to download/print out their own copies of patterns used in class. You are, of course, welcome to use items knit from any pattern for charity or sale, with the statement "design by Katherine Vaughan" appreciated.