WWW: Research & Academics Special Edition

A demonstration – “whimsical” indeed.

Computer researchers have developed a way for a computer to visually mimic a knitted fabric. Cem Yuksel, Jonathan Kaldor, Steve Marschner and Doug James developed the method while graduate students at Cornell University, and presented their work at the recently at the 39th International Conference and Exhibition of Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH).

To realistically simulate a knitted fabric in the past, a computer graphic artist would have to model the 3-D structure of each individual stitch. The method developed by the Cornell team creates a 3-D model of a single stitch and then combines multiple copies into a mesh, like tiles in a mosaic, that is projected onto a shape to form a “garment”. To demonstrate the method, they dressed a sheep in a rather fetching ripple-knit onesie with ribbed legs.

Knitting, Mathematics and Feminism: A nice piece on the BBC website profiling some “21st-century” knitters and the way that the craft has shifted since the writer’s granny did it. Dr Sarah-Marie Belcastro, knitter and professor of mathematics, was interviewed about how she uses knitted fabric to demonstrate complex concepts in topology. (It’s a shame that the main image looks suspiciously like crochet, but it’s otherwise great.)
Sarah-Marie has a whole page on her website dedicated to mathematical knitting, and she’s rounded up an amazing number of articles and projects that will appeal to both the numerically-inclined and the simply curious. There are also links to talks and classes.

I wish I could go.

There will be several sessions about knitting in the 2012 edition of Textile Society of America Biennial Symposium, to be held this September in Washington, D.C.

Quoting from the Society’s material: “Throughout human history and across the globe, whether as intimate artifacts of interpersonal relations or state-level monumental works, textiles have been imbued with political importance. Textiles can communicate and construct status, ethnicity, gender, power, taste, and wealth, and have functioned at the nexus of artistic, economic, and political achievement in human culture. As trade goods, creative medium, and social artifact, textiles have been instrumental in generating, supporting, and challenging political power. The Textile Society of America 13th Biennial Symposium, befittingly held in Washington, DC during the presidential election this fall will explore the crossroads of Textiles & Politics.”

Sounds absolutely fascinating. The knitting sessions include a series entitled “New Scholarship, New Direction”, featuring Karen Kendrick-Hands reporting on the progress of the Knitting Heritage Museum, Susan Strawn of the Dominican University talking about Knitting and Scholarship, and Jennifer Lindsay of The Smithsonian Associates/Corcoran College of Art and Design on Mary Walker Phillips and the Knit Revolution of the 1960s.

Less academic, perhaps, but absolutely wonderful: Cast On, Baby! KnitKnack yarn shop in Maplewood New Jersey has created their own version of this summer’s hit “Call Me Maybe”. Knitty gets a shout-out, even. I dare you not to sing along!

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5 thoughts on “WWW: Research & Academics Special Edition

  1. Kristy

    It’s not often that the same article will be linked both by knitty and by the ACM computer science headlines! Cornell’s simulated knit fabric almost made me decide to go there for my CS grad school – and I still think it’s the coolest ever intersection between my academic and hobby interests!

  2. EmEm

    I love that you included Sarah-Marie Belcastro’s piece from BBC. I have had her book “Making Mathmatics with Needlework: Ten Papers and Ten Projects” on my wish list for a couple of months now. Perfect for the knitter who also loves the numbers.

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