aquaeri: a piece of hyperbolic crochet (hyperbolic crochet)
[personal profile] aquaeri posting in [community profile] intertwined
As soon as I figured out I wanted to start this community, I knew the first item I wanted to posted about: the first thing I ever made that combines maths and textiles.

I was 11 years old. I can still remember the afternoon I came home from school and decided I was intrigued enough by cubes and triangular-base pyramids and that cool shape my aunt had with pentagons that I was going to figure out if there were other shapes like that. So I re-discovered and proved to my own satisfaction, the five Platonic Solids although I didn't know that's what they were called, or that what I was doing was mathematics (although I did discover these things within the next year).

My favourite of the five shapes was definitely the one with twentry triangles (icosahedron), and fiddling around with bits of paper convinced me you could make the triangles five different colours so there were always all five colours at every "corner" (vertex), and I thought it was particularly neat that it appeared that at each vertex the colours were in a different order. But I wanted to make sure, and I happened to also want a pincushion, so I made myself a pincushion out of felt triangles, stuffed with a small bag of sawdust I got off my father.


What I also discovered in that following year was that it was extremely unusual for 11 year olds to do maths like that off their own bat, and that my culture thought maths was a male thing. I was already aware that sewing and other fibre crafts were considered female. I think the sheer joy this pincushion and things like it gave me was enough for me to ignore all the social messages, and I realise I was lucky to have become a mathematician (in some sense) before I found out what that was and the cultural baggage attached to it.

My pincushion is old and worn now, and the colours rather give away its vintage. Also, my current pincushion has about five times the surface area because I have a lot more pins. But now I'm wondering if I'm letting myself down in that it's just a pillow, and I should make myself a larger icosahedral pincushion.


You can see how hard it's worked - those spots on the cream felt are holes where the felt is about to give way. But I'm surprised at how good it looks in the photos.

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intertwined: interlaced knot of rainbow yarn (Default)
The intersection of fibre arts and mathematics

January 2013

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