Archive for the ‘In the beginning’ Category

Translating the history of genetic engineering into a knitting pattern? Blue yarn. Definitely.

February 4, 2010

A few stitches later

The first attempt at purl stitch resulted in a large red knot and needles in a twist. This second attempt might not yet be Dolly the sheep, or even the Flavr Savr tomato but it’s getting there, building on human error, stitch by stitch.

The first few tentative stitches…

February 3, 2010

Drop-stitch Dorothy takes the first step

But we’re not going to let broken bones get in the way of scientific progress. On Tuesday we headed down to Somerset House on Tuesday to join SOCK (Society of Courtauld Knitters) who’ve very kindly taken us in and offered to teach us all they know. Armed with genetics books, a charity-shop haul of needles straight from someone’s nan’s roof, and wool scraps scrounged from friends and relatives, it was time to get our needles dirty.

And so after two weeks of being told ‘the bunny goes up the hill, round the tree, and down the hole’ by patronising youtube knitting tutorials, endlessly trawling wikipedia and trying to get to grips with imperial to metric needle sizes, Drop-stitch Dorothy cast ON. We’re well and truly off…though only in about 1860 so far.

I’m getting stuck into Darwin’s theory of evolution and Mendel’s pea is also coming soon…

If anyone knows of any knitting techniques which only require one hand or has any ends of wool balls which would like to get involved in a creative science project please let us know!

Fall at the first hurdle…

February 3, 2010

The day after we initiated our grand genetiknits plan, disaster struck…
I broke my wrist playing football. I’m reliably informed by my friends in the knitting world that one handed knitting isn’t going to happen, but, finger knitting might be possible. Perhaps there’s a chance I can add to the piece with my cast on after all?

Yesterday Drop-stitch Dorothy knitted her first few rows, taught by Needle fingered Sue. Impressive progress has already been made.
Meanwhile I’m planning what should be included in our section representing genomics and human/clinical genetics.

The aim of the game

January 26, 2010

Our aim, bizarre though it may seem, is to knit a piece that explores the link between the craft of knitting and science.

We see knitting and science as similar. They are both based on structure, both man-made and involve certain tools. Luckily for us too, both inevitably involve human error which can be visible, or masked by repair. We are all novice knitters, but what we lack in skills, we make up for in ambition.

We are basing our creation on a rough plan (which we’ll put up when it’s a bit less rough), but like science, its evolution will depend on its progress: what is created will depend on what has been created beforehand.

Different colours, materials, stitches and techniques will be used to represent different scientists, theories and fields throughout the history of genetics. We see our creation as beginning with a few single, tentative strands, then broadening gradually, more and more noticeably after each key event. Rediscovered theories such as Mendel’s will feed back into the knit after a period of absence.  The discovery of the structure of DNA by Watson and Crick, and the later ‘cracking’ of the genetic code, are seen to be explosive events (we’re thinking bright coloured pom-poms)

Our final piece is going to be photographed and exhibited as a large poster, with annotations explaining its various features.

But first, we need to learn to knit…