I’m new to the Re-Crafting Math Team. I’m Angela Caldwell and currently a returning student receiving my BFA in Metals. I have always been a maker and come from a family of “hands-on” doers. My Grandma was a piano major in the 20’s here at I.U. and also a beautiful seamstress. My Great-grandfather was a tailor, my Grandpa a carpenter as well as other family members who were always crafty. I was also a Montessori art teacher for 14 years and also taught art courses in the community. It’s exciting to see where my experiences can cross paths with new teaching ideas.
When I first heard about the Re-Crafting Math project I thought two things – “Why didn’t I learn math this way,” and “I might be just the person they’re looking for.” I’m one of those women who have math anxiety yet also one of those knitters who can always find a way to “fudge” a project and figure out how to make it work. I guess I’m doing math then, right? The concept that working in traditional crafts can teach math without one really knowing it was intriguing.
While knitting, stopping to think about if and when I’m doing math was a curious task. At what stage in a pattern is my brain adding, subtracting and possibly doing more complicated equations? Can math be visual? Can numbers present themselves in many ways?
In planning ideas for the project, the first idea I had focused on scale. Using the same yarn, I knit the same number of stitches and the same number of rows using different size needles. The outcome was pretty obvious but a simple way to show ratio and scale. I then went on to create triangles, which required adding stitches to my knitting. I then decreased and mirrored my knitting by turning my triangle into a diamond. I slowly realized that math was present in most aspects of knitting.
As a jeweler, I liked the idea of making a picture with beads in my knitting. Graph paper and counting are necessary to accomplish that – more math! After several attempts at mapping out my design for a simple flower, I was ready to knit. This project involved quite a bit of focus and counting in order to correctly follow my pattern. Again, several attempts to stay on track were needed, but finally I was very satisfied when I could look at my knitting, and very clearly see the flower pattern created.
Taking a break from knitting at the moment to work on e-textiles with stitching and embroidery. We’ll see where that leads me.