An odd comment by Hinke Osinga’s partner, mathematician Bernd Krauskopf, led her to think about her crotcheting, and realise that she “could crochet the Lorenz manifold,” which led her & others towards representing mathematical figures with stitching work of various kinds.
“Knitting and crocheting are helping us think about math we already know in a different light,” [said] Carolyn Yackel, a mathematician at Mercer University
As Daina Taimina geared up to teach an undergraduate-geometry class as a visiting mathematician at Cornell University, she realised that she had no model for a hyperbolic surface, just for flat & 3D — so she crocheted one. By adding a new stitch every few rows, she was able to produce a hyperbolic plane. David Henderson helped her to prove that the woollen model was indeed hyperbolic.
Knitting a mathematical shape may strike you as odd, but David Hilbert proved that it’s literally impossible to build a smooth model of a hyperbolic surface because of the way it buckles, so crocheting turns out to be well suited to the task.