Updated: Jun 13, 2019
If you haven't read this recent article on knitting and physics in the NYT, go check it out!
It covers Dr. Matsumoto and her colleagues studies of knitting and it's potential uses as a programmable material that can be applied digitally and physically in real world applications.
This area of study is way over my head and involves things like knot theory, isotropic hyperbolic planes and "topological programmable materials”. I won't pretend I knew what any of those things were before reading this article.
“She is also attracting a lot of people to the field who might not otherwise even think about science.”
- Pedro Reis
One area that caught my eye was that even in the science lab, people appreciate knitting's ability to bring people together that may otherwise never meet and to broaden peoples perspectives to what they can be and even what the world can be. Knitting can act as a buffer zone for many to interface with the people and environment around them and integrate into experiences they may otherwise have missed.
Combining math and knitting isn't some new crazy idea, knitting is math, but having knitting taken seriously in innovative scientific studies is an exciting movement that I hope gets more momentum with deeper implications than knitted athletic shoes.
“I’d love to write a paper using the word ‘floofy’ as a technical term.”
-Dr. Elisabetta Matsumuto
Dr. Matsumoto describes yarn's floofiness as the “halo area, where ephemeral fuzzy fibers stick out,”and the article explains how "it changes the way two pieces of yarn interact with each other, their friction and energy exchange." This simple principle that's so everyday for knitters is an important quality of yarn that Dr. Matsumoto and her team consider during their research.
Something exciting to talk about next time someone refers to knitting as just a hobby or something they're Grandma used to do. While you're reading up on the latest advances in knitted fabric behavior and it's applications in wearable technology, you can also check out the health benefits of knitting. Because I know you need more reasons to knit.
PS How cool is this "Dragon of Happiness Shawl"? Pattern is mentioned by Dr. Matsumuto in the article and written by Susan Winsauer.