Saturday, December 03, 2011

Huh? It’s Math, right?

I’ve just finished an interesting little project that I’d read about in a Ravelry thread.

This little coaster is the “Self-intersecting Basketweave Coaster” by Brent Annable (it’s a free pattern on Ravelry). In the description, Brent writes “The basketweave pattern on this coaster is created by knitting two layers of fabric simultaneously and having them pass through each other to create the blocks. Aside from being an attractive and useful household item, it is also an interesting mathematical object: because the fabric is continuous around every edge, it actually forms a single self-intersecting plane.”

Once I’d read that, I had to try it. It is, of course, a double knit fabric, knitted on two straight needles. The knitting itself is very simple, a combination of knitting and slipping stitches (no purling, believe it or not). The cast on is a provisional cast on and the cast off is a stockinette and reverse stockinette Kitchener stitch. Confusing, yes?

It is also a lot of fun!

I am not at all mathematically inclined and this simply boggles my mind. I can see applications for it, though. Done in a lovely, cushy, colourful yarn, this could make a great scarf; it doesn’t curl, lies flat and has interesting texture. If you were so inclined, you could make it really big and make a really warm, double sided afghan (wouldn’t THAT be cozy??). Using worsted weight cotton, as I did, and a little larger, this would make awesome pot holders or hot pads. Incidentally, the pattern includes two sizes, the coaster size (40 stitches) that I made and a hot pad size (72 stitches).

If you want to try something really interesting and fun, I’d recommend trying this pattern. You’ll learn some new skills; I had never done a provisional cast on that wasn’t worked from the other end (you know, like starting a shawl, working one side, picking up and knitting the second side), nor had I ever done a reverse stockinette Kitchener stitch.

I’ve always hated math.


  1. How amazing is that? I am definitely going to have to give that a try. I could use a few new coasters right now anyway. But I love the idea of making potholders with this idea as well. Smart thinking Ev. It looks great too. :)

  2. This is fascinating! I am off to Ravelry to check it out. My math-brained niece, who also happens to be a knitter, will love this. Thanks for sharing!