Open thread: hyperbolic crochet

Apparently we’ve never had a hyperbolic crochet thread before. Criminal, I say. Here’s an example:

A close-up of a very multi-coloured crochet item, with many curves folding in on itself
Image description: a close-up of a very multi-coloured crochet item, with many curves folding in on itself. Image credit: Michael Wade, CC BY-SA.

Two of the major things brought widespread awareness to hyperbolic crochet were Margaret Wertheim’s TED talk on the beautiful math of coral and the Hyperbolic Crochet Reef exhibitions. Here’s a picture of one the latter:

hyperbolic crocheted coral reef
Image description: a shot of many crochet items forming a coral reef sculpture. Image credit: Steve Jurvetson.

There’s a book on getting started on your own creations and there’s Flickr groups to admire the work of others: Hyperbolic Crochet and Hyperbolic Crochet Taxonomic Gallery sharing details of the models too!

Note: this is an open thread, and comments can be on any topic as long as they are otherwise ok with our policy. An increasing number of commenters are posting apologies for off-topicness on the open thread. Nothing is off-topic on the open thread! We promise! Hyperbolic crochets are only the start of what you could talk about!

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About Mary

Mary is a women in tech activist, a programmer, a writer, and a sometime computational linguist. She writes at Her previous projects include co-founding the Ada Initiative and major contributions to the Geek Feminism blog. She's @me_gardiner on Twitter.

18 thoughts on “Open thread: hyperbolic crochet

  1. Peter

    Speaking of visualizing hyperbolic spaces (and mathematics in general), Vi Hart ! Especially her talk at the joint meeting of MAA and AMS. The best popularizer of mathematics out there.

    1. Catherine

      When I saw this exhibit, I could see that some of the shapes were stuffed with plastic bags. Could also be fiberfill in this instance, as Shiyiya said. Also, the shapes are usually crocheted at a pretty tight gauge, to make them a bit stiffer. I’ve made a few myself; they’re pretty fun to do!

  2. Erithacula42

    Maybe this comment will be kind of a mood-downer. I’m posting under an older nickname so some people I know won’t make any links.
    Computing is the only “serious” thing that interest me.
    I think for most people I may be the stereotype of a stupid woman.
    Some years ago I was ashamed of liking programming, and stopped.
    Last year I reinterested myself into programming.
    But some years ago I “promised” myself to go to the WhateverCon if it ever happened in my city.
    It’s too complicated. I feel like I always have to live up to a standard when I’m with someone else. I try to speak IRL to other people interested in computing, but it seems I strike as version of “scene-whore” trope in programming. Maybe some of my questions are stupid as I’m interested in how other people became interested in programming or computing in general but I ask mainly to start the conversation, and I’d like to join a project but it would be weird if the people who already contribute to this project started asking me questions mainly because I feel like some of my other interests are too different to programming for me to be taken seriously. Has anybody here ever felt the same?
    Then I said I was most people idea of a stupid woman, but whatever I’d try I feel like I’d have to stick to a stereotype. So, there is what I call this WhateverCon coming, and I don’t know if I’ll go because I’ll feel like I won’t fit in and just go to the conferences and feel weird and that I don’t fit in at the conferences. The other things that interest me, I feel like I don’t fit in talking about it to other persons because of my character. I like reading people here talking about knitting and computing and other things that I didn’t know of before and seeing the little schemes that repeat themselves in every subjects, and it’s not like they had to conform a stereotype or felt they did, it’s just that they are interested in that and that. I really admire people that can see “the little schemes”.
    Thanks. I feel way better after having wrote this. My problem is sometimes I think it doesn’t matter, but then I’m trying to talk to other people and I feel like I’m a big red button. One time on IRC they were talking to each others, and I wanted to join in, and one said “you ain’t interested in that?”. I think the problem is mainly how I perceive others, but I’d feel relieved if someone told me personally they had felt in a similar way before.

    1. John

      I get the impression that many people at conferences have quite a variety of interests — and there are probably quite a few who go who aren’t sure whether they fit in.

  3. Jane

    I just stumbled on your thread and want to correct some info – hyperbolic crochet started not with TED talk – TED talk is shortened version of talk by two mathematicians in Kitchen, NYC co-organized by IFF and Cabinet – it was a talk folks in city still remember! Taimina who started to crochet these forms was last year in Lion Brand Yarn studio – kinda reunion! here is a video

    1. Mary Post author

      hyperbolic crochet started not with TED talk

      I’m not claiming this, sorry if it seemed that I did. I wrote brought widespread awareness.

  4. John

    Site bug report: something is putting superfluous pairs of opening and closing quotes on the front page (might be surrounding blank lines).

    1. Mary Post author

      A </q> was missing on the link spam, browers auto-correct that mistake poorly!


  5. Natalie

    Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I love your blog, and I would like to place it on my blogroll at my site above. While my blog is basically just nerdy stuff (and, since I just started, it’s not too exciting at the moment), I also am trying to focus on women. I love your blog and can’t wait to see more.

    1. Mary Post author

      Hi, Natalie, fun blog title! Go ahead and link to us if you like. For anyone else wondering: no need to ask first, shallow and deep links to us are fine.

  6. Matt K

    Hi! I think this is my first time posting here, but I’ve been following the blog for a while. I’m looking to put together a panel on privilege and power dynamics within geek communities at the upcoming Seattle Geek Girl Con (happening in September) and I was wondering if it might be possible to get a signal boost, as I expect at least some folks here might be interested!

    1. Mary Post author

      Two options:

      1. If you have a link to the call for participation (or whatever) we can linkspam it;
      2. If you have a substantial piece that’s more than just a CFP (eg contains some story/analysis etc) you could guest post.

  7. Marina


    Can you please write about the latest GNOME Outreach Program for Women news? The GNOME Project has put out a press release that describes the accomplishments of the 8 interns who participated in the last round of the program and announces 15 new interns!

    You can also find some relevant images on this page:

    Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions!

  8. Kat Braybrooke

    haha, hey matt k. our paths cross again. and hello geek feminism ladies — i’ve been recommended your blog by countless ladies across europe involved in open software hacking and thought it was high-time i introduced myself. i’m working on an ethnographic thesis related to the role of Millennial-aged females in hacker/coder circles in major European cities, and am very inspired by the posts that have come up on this blog. I’m still looking for a few more ladies to interview and a few more hackspaces to check out, so if there is a way i could collaborate with you at all, i’d really appreciate it. thank you in advance!

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