aKNITomy: Knitting for Science Lovers

The first time I ever used circular needles, I accidentally knitted a Mobius strip. I made the amateur mistake of knitting into the bottoms of my stitches rather than the tops. In case you don’t know what a Mobius strip is, it is a “non-orientable” surface, meaning that it has only one side and one boundary. In other words, if you were to run your finger along the entire length of a Mobius strip, you would return to your starting point without having crossed an edge once.

This is what a Mobius strip looks like

My initial disappointment at having failed my first attempt with circular needles quickly gave way to excitement. I had made a Mobius strip, a mathematical conundrum! I was following in the footsteps of M.C. Escher; I was just one dimension away from the infamous Klein bottle! I started thinking – why knit functional things such as scarves and hats when you can knit math and science?

Imagine my excitement when, a couple days ago, I stumbled across Emily Stoneking’s Etsy site. Her shop, dubbed aKNITomy, is a veritable dissection lab of knitted frogs, rats, earthworms, and fetal pigs. Occasionally, more unconventional autopsies appear on the site, including the odd Hello Kitty, alien, or Easter Bunny. Pictures below (with apologies to the animal-loving readers of this blog!):

Dissected lab rat in actual dissection tray, aKNITomy

Dissected frog in actual dissection tray, aKNITomy

Bisected human head, aKNITomy

Lateral spinal column, aKNITomy

If you’re still fishing around for that perfect, quirky Christmas present (and have already checked out the Holiday Gift Guide for the Scientists in Your Life) you might want to check out these knitted lessons in Biology 101. They are on the pricey side, so if you have the means to knit them yourself, definitely consider purchasing one of the patterns, which are much more affordable.

Lastly, for more geeky knitting — including an epic periodic table sweater, exquisite sea creatures, elegant neurons, and mind-boggling models of hyperbolic space — check out Discover Magazine’s feature on “The Bizarre and Brilliant World of Knitted Science“.


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