# Knitting as computation

Wouldn’t LIFO be “Last In, First Out?”

Yep, but never mind. Maggie Bowden wrote about knitting and computation in the seventies in Artificial Intelligence and Natural Man and a few people have followed her since. Always loved the analogy

The Inca did some fine work with this topic as well.

I’m reminded of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden books about Theo Waitley, taught to make lace in order to intuitively understand mathematical concepts. Excellent series, btw. (first one is called “Fledgling”)

Also, there are strong and (somewhat) profound links between double crochet and low-dimensional differential geometry: when you’re crocheting, you’re basically creating a 2-manifold by choosing its Gaussian curvature at every stitch.

The amusing thing is that since the resulting crocheted object is flexible, you’re not really choosing the way that the surface sits in space when you’re crocheting: you’re really only generating the intrinsic geometry of the surface. The distinction between intrinsic and embedded geometry is probably one of the biggest ideas you see in a grad school differential geometry class, and was one of the big advances in differential geometry a century ago or so. (I’m a combinatorist, not a differential geometer, so I’d be happy to be corrected on any of the above points - but I believe that I’m correct)

Wikipedia’s already collected most of the links that I would have posted here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematics_and_fiber_arts

Some interesting ideas here; I’m a computer science student who knits rather often and I’d never thought of it this way.

(Side note: the data structure to which the author refers should be spelled *deque*, not *dequeue* to avoid confusion with the dequeue operation of removing an item from a queue)

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