It’s Friezing Out There: Take My Sweater! Examining How Math Can be Enhanced by Knitting in the Case of Frieze Patterns

Emma Busch

Name: Emma Busch
Major: Mathematics
Minor: Spanish
Advisor: Dr. Pamela Pierce
The purpose of this IS was to look at the relationship between math and knitting, specifically how knitting can be used to represent the symmetries that can occur in math such as the frieze patterns. The project begins with an introduction into group theory, looking at what exactly is a group and what are various properties that they can have. Next, the focus moves onto the frieze and wallpaper patterns. These patterns, made up of transforming motifs to create designs, have been featured in the work of famous mathematician and artist, M. C. Escher. We look at how to classify various frieze and wallpaper patterns and what makes these two symmetry groups special. The next chapter looks at the relationship between math and knitting and how the two fields benefit each other; whether that is through knitting mathematical objects for better visualization, or using knitting projects to teach mathematics to students in an accessible and exciting way. Finally, the project concludes with a look at the final knit product that was created: a sweater vest symmetry sampler representing the seven frieze patterns. The chapter follows along the process of designing the motifs used and transforming these motifs to represent the various frieze patterns.

Emma will be online to field comments on April 16:
noon-2pm EDT (PST: 9-11am, Africa/Europe: late afternoon)

Posted in I.S. Symposium 2021, Independent Study.