June 15th, 2005


Even sewing can be geeky...

Reasons I love my sewing group -- a quote from last night:

"I think sewing is hard because it's like topology. It's taking these flat things and making them into fitted clothing. Knitting is simple because it's very two dimensional."

Which amused me at the time, and of course made me suggest knitting a klein bottle, which can't really be done since it's a 4 dimensional object and thus can't be made in 3-D space. But it would still be really cool if we could.

And as I was walking to campus today to read about accommodation and amblyopia and other sciency things (since after all, that is what I do for a living), I started thinking about crafts and what's unique about the ones I really like (or at least the ones I like of late)... knitting and sewing particularly and realized that what is really special about these crafts is not only that they are functional, but also that they are ways in which any given project involves adding a spatial dimension to the starting materials. Knitting is taking, essentially, a line, and making it into something that has both height and width by twisting and knotting it over on itself. Sewing takes a plane, or a series of bounded planes (geometric shapes) and attaches them in such a way so that they become a 3 dimensional surface. Knitting can get to a point where it does this as well... if two ends of a flat shape are attached, the shape increases from being two-dimensional to three-dimensional, which is the same principle as sewing... it's just that the joining together of edges happens in a different manner.

Of course, thinking about all of this does probably explain to some extent why I like these crafty hobbies more than other crafty hobbies. (Though drawing and painting I really enjoy as well... the irony being that those take a 3-D medium, the world, and reduce it to a 2-D medium while trying to retain some of its 3-D qualities. Plus the added interest of light and how light works, which is so essential to making the 3-D qualities of the world seem present in a 2-D depiction).


It's probably because I write and think things like this that people say I'm a natural born scientist. And my self-observation forces me to agree with them on that point.
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