People who like to mess with yarn fall into two camps: knitters and crocheters. In knitting, you use two sticks and it’s a disaster if you drop a stitch. In crochet, you use one hook and I don’t know if it’s even possible to drop a stitch. There’s a lot I don’t know about crochet. In fact, until the beginning of July, the only thing I knew how to do was to crochet a single chain of loops that I could use to start knitting a sock or a hat.
The first weekend of July, I was at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and saw a table for the Smithsonian Community Reef. Someone taught me how to crochet a pseudosphere – it’s like a sphere, kind of, but in hyperbolic space, which is this other kind of geometry that is not the Euclidean geometry of planes and squares and nice normal things that you learned about in ninth grade. Crocheting hyperbolic shapes turns out to be kind of hypnotic. Here’s me learning how:
The reef is being built by hook-wielding volunteers like me; the pieces all have to be turned in by sometime in September and will be on display at the Natural History Museum as part of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef starting October 16. Last week I went to a workshop at a local yarn store to learn more, and I’m now working on my third piece of coral. Here’s the collection so far:
You’ll see that it’s a great way to use up that hideous orange acrylic yarn.
I wrote a blog post about the reef for Smithsonian magazine.