Friday, 11 December 2020


Via Seitvertreib, we are introduced to these wonderful vignettes from associate biostatistics professor at the University of Oslo Kathrine Frey Frรธslie who illustrates scientific concepts, in this case the R-number associated with viral contagion and herd immunity, through knitting and crochet (see also) projects. More to explore on science communication and data visualisations (including for the crafty the patterns to make your own COVID-related cosies) at the links above.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019


suburbia: Eliza Gosse paints Australian Mid-Century modern homes

emancipation of the dissonance: economist and performer Merle Hazard delivers an atonal tune

threadstories: crocheted masks and headdresses examine our online avatars and personรฆ

autoglyphs: Michael Light takes an aerial survey of the arid American west

forget about it: a versatile Italian word to know

needs more salt: a seasonings purveyor and a tech company collaborate to optimise spicing up your recipes

byggeskikk: a photographer becomes quite taken with a picturesque cabin 

Wednesday, 23 January 2019


Via the always excellent Nag on the Lake with a bit of an update from Colossal, we learn about a loyal but frustrated rail commuter who, much like Andean quipu or the zealous knitter who got carried away with the Doctor’s scarf, documented delays experienced in coloured wool bands during her daily trip (two a day—round-trip, hin- und zรผruck) between Moosburg an der Isar and Mรผnchen, which should take approximately thirty minutes on regional trains—once infrastructure repairs and diverting to buses meant that long interruptions became the norm.
Her one hundred-twenty centimetre long handiwork (reminiscent of a DNA test result in the rawest form) garnered a lot of attention after her daughter, a prominent journalist and news editor, posted it on social media. The knitter decided the auction off the “train-delay-scarf” for the charity Bahnhofs Mission, an outreach and assistance programme for the homeless, transient and precarious based in train stations, raising several thousand euro. Claudia Weber, the creator, is working on a new shawl for 2019.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

thread and transistor

As a heuristic exhibition to explore the shifting definition and value of craft in modern society and commerce, Dezeen highlights some of the best instalations during the Istanbul Design Biennial that employed stitching and weaving recontextualised in electronics and as a store of value, as in an heirloom quilt to hand down from one generation to the next.
Looms themselves prefiguring mechanical computational relays, we really enjoyed discovering the functional universal computer whose circuitry was embroidered out of gold and the yarn spindle whose spooling action can actually save a spoken yarn as an audio recording. I wonder if future electronic devices will be decentralised and once again a cottage industry. Moreover, given the value assigned to block-chain cryptography—secure and sturdy though mathematically also relatively simple, it struck us as particularly delectable that there is one gaming circle that calls for players to produce their own knitcoin to advance. Check out the link above to learn more about the individual works from Ebru Kurbak and others.

Monday, 26 November 2018


Often interpreted as a snowflake instead of a flower and universally as shorthand for all things wholesomely wintry and Scandinavian, the knit pattern selburose is an ancient symbol and predates its 1857 appearance on a pair of mittens (vott) that had the whole congregation of the town of Selbu quite smitten with the design.

The popularity of the pattern (selbumรธnster, which also sparked a whole cottage industry and helped women become more economically independent) coincided with the Norwegian independence movement from Sweden and became somewhat of a bold fashion statement as something distinctly Norsk despite the mixed pedigree. Read more on the origins and spread of this icon at The Atlantic and find similar stories about the familiar and everyday syndicated at Object Lessons.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017


microcosm: an annual photography competition invites us to explore the world around us just below the threshold of the naked eye

the luwians and the trojan war: the intriguing tale behind the lost frieze that may document the collapse of the Bronze Age

point and shoot: using algorithmic processes to inform the shutter when a photo-worth opportunity presents itself, one internet and technology giant is offering an automatic camera for home use—relatedly

gastaloops: one hundred day push to create gorgeous, encircling animations—via the Everlasting Blรถrt

high rate of staff turn-over: activities offered at the White House adult day care facility

extinction cos-play: crocheted costumes for the common pigeon to highlight the importance of biodiversity and fighting to protect endangered species—via Nag on the Lake

trek ‘splaining: a visual physics lesson on the problem-fraught workings of as seen on TV teleportation

Monday, 28 August 2017

cool and calculated

Thanks to the brilliant essay by Margaret Wertheim we’re reminded that not only is non-Euclidean geometry not just some contrarian theory, it’s moreover observable in Nature and we can learn to crotchet with hyperbolic patterns.
By pondering how simple creatures and primitive—even primordial—structures can prefigure the most complex and abstract mathematical concepts that mankind is credited for discovering rather than being informed by a disembodied function, the author explores how we might not have taken the most optimal and encouraging approach to academics and suggests we engage in maths jam-sessions and that virtuosity differs only in instrument. Study and practise aren’t being supplanted by license but rather the notion that our imagination is rather inhibited by convention and we’d be better able to see the next revelatory breakthroughs if calculus was the plaything of all aspirants and not just the few. When first taking a geometry course and being introduced to the different fates of parallel lines, I recall day-dreaming about the architecture and the topologically understanding of birds but didn’t know that these abstract concepts were embodiments of the physical world. There are a lot of thought-provoking avenues to explore in the piece whether or not one believes that honey-bees or nautiluses know what’s best suited to going about their business and the most resonant support for her argument was how mathematicians have time and again have found themselves feeling doubt and disdain for their most transformative theories and nearly didn’t dare share them for fear of rejection—whereas bit of contextualisation and craft might have proved liberating.

Friday, 4 November 2016

sweater weather

The fabulous Messy Nessy Chic invites us to peruse the pages of a gem of car-boot sale find in the big book of British knitting patterns called “Wit Knits,” published in 1986. These ugly sweater connoisseurs, including Joanne Lumley (aka, Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous), haven’t even a touch of irony in their enthusiastic modelling.  Be sure to check out the entire rogues gallery (which might even inspire a crafty project) at the link up top.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

haberdashery or bodhisat

Since first spying this knitted cap in the style of Buddha’s (note the distinction between Skinny- and Fat-Elvis Buddha) scalp on Everlasting Blรถrt, I’ve been both enamoured and intrigued.
Not that I actually need another hat, though an avid hat-wear am I, since I have many outstanding ones, including animal ones: I got an owl and H got a cute deer which unfortunately bears a strong resemblance to Pedo Bear so that one does not get worn often and a superb one hand-made from a crafty friend from a kit. I do not however have an animal hat made from a kit, like these fun ones courtesy of Nag on the Lake. Wearing the hand-made one always makes me yearn to learn to knit in earnest and start a cottage industry, though the feeling fades once the hat is doffed. I wonder if some clever person might make instructions for this. Meanwhile, if you are confident with placing an order, there’s a website from Japan that sells them featured on Biglobe.

Monday, 4 January 2016


It never occurred to me to me that that vestigial “pepper” dangling off a tomato pincushion had a special purpose—I thought maybe it was just to segregate the pins from the needles, but it’s really pretty keen I think that it’s resonant and gets people talking and maybe appreciating the neglected knitting-basket in the corner.
The Victorian Era design (introduced as seamstresses and tailors became more common and pins less dear—being kept under lock and key in prior ages) invokes a belief that a tomato on the mantle (as was the fashion at the time) of a new home would ward off bad luck. If no tomato was available, the new occupants would improvise with something of that general shape and colour and the sampler work of making a tomato pincushion served a dual purpose—as did the composition of the hassock itself—the tomato being stuffed wool wadding to prevent rust and the little strawberry was filled with sand to sharpen the pins, though superfluous now due to the way pins are manufactured and treated so as not to dull and are considered disposable now. I wonder what other sorts of surprises are lurking in the design everyday, maybe antiquated things.

Thursday, 17 December 2015


purl two: upon request the BBC would send out the knitting instructions for the Fourth Doctor’s iconic scarf

uppruni: a young Bjรถrk reads the Nativity story for an Icelandic television audience

food pyramid: Vox examines at different ways nutritional guidelines are influenced and imparted globally

zodiaco: Salvador Dalรญ’s astrologic menagerie plus a hint into the obsession the artist had with his departed elder brother, Salvador Dalรญ

tween: proposed EU rules would raise the social media age of majority to sixteen

Saturday, 13 June 2015


viewer-discretion advised: graphic and unsettling no-nukes animation from 1956

how can you have your pudding if you don’t eat your meat: 90% of food-crops in the USA are genetically modified

this just in: how the hammering in of the Golden Spike for America’s transcontinental railroad marked the beginning of breaking news

purl 2.0: artist incorporates chunky stitches for maximum comfort

figleaf: the cyber attack on US government workers is bigger than anyone is letting on, having targeted security clearance questionnaires

Saturday, 28 February 2015

stioch or yarn-bombing

Collectors’ Weekly curates another fine show-and-tell segment with the editor whose fascination with hobbyists of the 1970s, gleefully without the need to fill their off moments with one of an infinite number of distractions that all fall somewhere short on that spectrum called productivity, cultivated their creative juices through determined clacking, has helped in part spark a revival. These knitted fashions are are truly spectacular and in many ways—not just nostalgic feeling for the vintage, are inescapable, representing a sense of experimentation and a mentality of craftiness that we’re happily not ready to give up. Even though a lot of the sway of style is up to the fashionista-set, unconventionality is well tolerated, and maybe in part because that flair is just kept at a simmer by that same catalog of diversions that don’t hone skills and by a manic admiration for things consciously imitative of the the past, one’s childhood memories, whose template becomes something rather deflated and demystified, that originality, durability, security twice- or thrice-removed. When there’s too much sentimentality, I think, it’s easier for the authorities to step in and reintroduce some balance until the next iteration of discovery.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010


What sort of daily sentiments, gems of wisdom, especially shop-talk or the poetic haikus of sociopathic rage that the boss of my boss has scribbled on all too ephemeral note pads, would you like to turn into keepsakes? Crochet it on a pillow? Steotch, the New England needle-artists, has produced a vast selection of such samplers, adding a touch of kitsch and permanency to tag-lines and memes, internet doctrines and covenants not necessarily captured in tee-shirt form, from Transportation Security Administration awkwardness to LOLCats (give us this day our daily cheezburger) to Peanut Butter Jelly Time to O RLY owl to Double Rainbow.  A happy and humourous Thanksgiving to everyone... Om Nom Nom.