crochet as a landscape

Hyperbolic Crocheted Monstrosity

I think I first heard of hyperbolic crochet when I was on a TED Talk bender on YouTube (I can never watch JUST one). I watched Daina Taimiņa’s talk “Crocheting Hyperbolic Planes” and found myself getting really excited and inspired by…math? It’s weird, because I’ve never been excited about math before. I did well in school, but the higher the math, more more intangible it felt, and the less it made sense to me. After the first few classes of Calculus BC in high school, I dropped the class for something that I found more interesting.

I followed up on my curiosity by looking at other examples from The Institute For Figuring, and their Crochet Coral Reef project. I’d heard of math proofs being described as “elegant,” but here I finally saw the beauty in math for myself. And while I can’t say that I understand the math component in its entirety, this completely changed the way that I conceptualized exponential growth–I feel like I can see it better now, quite literally!

Usually I like to have a purpose for a project, a pattern, an end-goal in mind, and this defied most of those norms. I had no idea what this would look like by the end, or if there would ever be a definite ‘end’. My only guidelines were to stitch in regular increases until I felt like stopping!

hyperbolic display

I started with an asymmetrical fan shape, working a half double crochet (hdc) stitch back and forth in rows, and only increasing on one side. Once my little fan was about 6″ tall, I began increasing every 6 stitches with an additional increase on the one edge.

It rippled, twisted, and grew heavy…and in the process consumed 2 smallish skeins of a purple wool and acrylic blend (400 yds), and 2 larger skeins of variegated Caron Jumbo aryclic yarn (1190 yds).

Then a few months later I gradually added another variegated skein and an ENTIRE 1 lb. skein (one of those huge ones from JoAnn fabrics)–you can see the scant 2″ purple border it added to the bottom!


It’s relaxing to work on, and even hypnotic at times. I love that it has no defined object status…it’s utterly impractical, and reminds me of the versatility of textiles, and the way our own creativity can take us to such unexpected places when we follow it.


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