*swings open saloon door and saunters in with crochet hooks*
Just kidding. I’ve actually been here all along, I’ve just been working busily away at teaching and really not finding as much time as I’ve wanted to crochet.
You know how you go through these spells where you don’t crochet in a long time and then, all of the sudden, you’re hit over the back of the head with INSPIRATION and you’re like, “Must. Crochet. Now”, and you can’t make it home fast enough? Well, I had one of those moments a few weeks ago.
Our wonderful librarian at school was giving us a talk about all kinds of different mathematics cross-overs in different subject areas. (I’m a math geek, so I loved it.) At the very end of the talk, she mentioned some more unique mathematics books, one of which was all about hyperbolic crochet, which I had read a little about before. The book she mentioned was, Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes by Daina Taimina, and she just happened to have her own copy with her.
I took the book home and pored over it. (I’m now asking Mark to buy me my own copy for my birthday.) It was really interesting and delved quite deeply into the mathematics side of things! One of the things that inspired me the most was that Daina had included a guide so that her readers could calculate their own hyperbolic plane, with the constant curvature of their choosing.
Light bulb! I immediately thought: this is what I need for my sphere pattern! I need to make an algorithm so that people can calculate their own, individualized, sphere.
So I took to google docs and whipped up a form (and google script) that will automatically email out a pdf pattern for the size of sphere that you specify.
Here’s what the final pdf document looks like on the front page:
Here’s what the inside looks like for one particular example:
On the google form, you need to estimate how wide one of your single crochet stitches is (this will depend on the hook and yarn that you choose). As a reference, I use a 3.75mm hook and medium yarn, and my stitches (un-stretched) are about 0.5 cm wide.
After that, you need to specify the radius of your sphere (in cm) and your email address, so that the pdf will be automatically emailed to you. Your final sphere size will probably be a little larger than the radius you specify because the stitches will stretch when you stuff it.
Here is the google form! Note: I know it doesn’t look like it, but this window scrolls down so that you can input your information.
One final note, which I discovered while making my first few ideal sphere patterns, is that the bottoms tend to be a little pointy. This is why the last row in the pattern is unfinished by a few stitches. The loose end of yarn should be woven through every stitch in the opening and then pulled tightly to close. I find that this helps alleviate the pointiness. If yours is still a little pointy, take out a couple more stitches in your last row, then close it up again.
P.S. Please let me know if you run into any problems. I’m curious about what bugs might turn up that I haven’t found already.
P.P.S. If you’re interested in playing with google scripts yourself to generate forms, I highly recommend this tutorial, which was written by a teacher named TJ Houston. It helped me immensely!