Hyperbolic Space For Charity

The other day a cheerful mail with a photo attached landed in my in-box. It was from the lovely Reefer, Jenny Byrne. Jenny is one of the rock solid core members of The Reefers group that is promoting and not least loving the Irish Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef.

It turned out that Jenny had entered a few photos from our Hyperbolic Crochet Workshop at Courthouse Arts Centre, Tinahely on the 2nd of October when The Ray D’Arcy Show on TODAY fm organized a fund-raiser for Barnardos with a book of snapshots of life in Ireland on that day. Jenny was talented enough to have one of her pictures selected for inclusion in the book, and this is it.

irish_reef_workshop2b_jennybyrnePhoto by permission from Jenny Byrne
for US 2 book in aid of Barnardos

The caption in the book reads: “Crochet, hyperbolic style. A year ago none of us knew one another. By 2 Oct 2010 over 100 people living all over Ireland had contributed to 2 exhibitions of craft work that included elements of crochet, maths, marine biology and hyperbolic geometry. We held a workshop on 2 Oct in Tinahely, Co Wicklow.”

Isn’t it just amazing how this project is spreading itself hyperbolically? Seeping into all sorts.

On a personal note, I must say that I find it quite amazing that my crochet hook and I are going to be knocking about on very many coffee tables for years to come. We, the people in the picture, will be part of a moment in time captured for posterity and all in aid of the most noble of causes. Well done Jenny!

Note: The book can be bought in all good bookshops in Ireland as well as in Meteor stores countrywide, but the fantastic Kenny’s Bookshop in Tuam Co Galway, stock it in their on-line store and post it out free of charge. Marvellous!

hyperbolic crochet coral reef

Golden Hyper Doily

My Great-grandmother was a fine crocheter as was my granny and  I am the proud owner of some fancy doilies and runners that my darling granny made for me. I remember as a little girl sitting beside her watching her churning out rounds and rounds of beautiful fine lace with her tiny steel hooks. I remember one hook she had, which had a wooden handle and a wooden cap for protection. They were beautiful tools and my mother has them now; I only found out a couple of weeks ago and I can’t wait to touch the tools that my granny used and who knows, perhaps her mother before her.

IMG_1481smallGreat Granny’s Golden Hyper Doily © 2010 Irene Lundgaard

My great granny left a book of crochet samples from her youth when she died many years before I was even thought of. My mother inherited this fantastic book from her mother and has lent it to me, I treasure it and I keep it real safe and handle it with great care. As far as I can work out the book must be from the late 19th century when my great granny was young and was at a form of finishing school.  To me that book is pure gold and the other day I finally had time to sit down and start to decipher some of the samples. The lace edging in the book lent itself perfectly to a snip of amber crochet and I simply had to pay tribute to my crochet heritage on a piece of Hyperbolic Crochet.

Hyperbolic again. Woooops! Compulsive Obsessive does spring to mind… 😉

Note: This piece of crochet coral is worked on size 1.25 mm hook. More pictures can be found here.

hyperbolic crochet coral reef

The Finer Details of Science

The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef made it to the Irish Times yesterday managing to capture another one of the hot topics of the moment as I see in the world news section that the Chagos Island is being made a Marine Protected Area. If our Woolly Wonder will help raise further awareness of the effects our lifestyle choices have on our planet, every single tight crochet stitch has paid for itself by the yard.


The journalist, Sylvia Thompson, sums up The Woolly Wonder in the best of ways and she even quotes me and she even quotes me accurately although, the finer details are a bit lost, so for anybody who may be offended by my stating that the project is a very female take on science, I actually do mean that, as crochet is historically a very female occupation. I mean, 3000 women has contributed and three men; the figures speak for themselves.

However, what the quote does not specify is the fact that this project has made it possible for non-mathematical people to approach science from a handicraft angle rather than a theoretical angle. As Margaret Wertheim so eloquently puts it “… an alternative way of doing things: The Play Tank where people can engage with the highest level of computing, maths and logic by physically playing with ideas”. That, is the aspect of this entire project that appeals so much to me but I also must state that I do realize that very many women come to this with their science mind first and their hands second or with the two in unison, I just don’t. The most important aspect is that we are doing it together, in harmony, sustaining each other, just like a coral reef sustains so very many diverse lifeforms.

And now, back to the world of no internet access and corresponding red hot crochet hook!

Crochet hyperbolic crochet coral reef

I Did It Again

Paddy’s Day is coming up. I had to make a bit of ‘Oirish’ Coral… Had to! And here it is:


Paddy’s Hyperbolic Crochet Coral © 2010 Irene Lundgaard

Note: This coral is worked on hook size 2mm in yarn from unlabelled cone which appears to be flax.

Crochet Fun hyperbolic crochet coral reef

Hyperbolic Inspiration

I have completely abandoned the whole Christmas Crochet thing and have gone into hyperbolic mode. The other day I received some wonderful pictures of inspiration from Margaret Wertheim which I would love to share with you. She even sent pictures of knitted corals too.

hgh-res-green reefA collection of crochet corals.

This is bead work.

_MG_7511This looks like knitted pods to me.


_MG_8337A toxic coral made from plarn (plastic yarn)

The ideas are coming fast and furious and I don’t have enough hours in the day to manifest them all, which to me is yet another example of survival of the fittest. The ideas that are really really good manage to make it into crochet. Right now I am short of yarn… Well, strictly speaking you can’t say I am as my stash is fairly well stocked but I am out of coral coloured yarn for the particular coral I am crocheting at the moment…

I feel another idea pushing through, I’m off to the hook!

If you are inspired by this, please get out your hook and start making your own pieces of crochet beauty. You can find base patterns here:
Free Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Patterns generously distributed by the Sydney Reef.
Inspiring Hyperbolic Knitting Patterns by Dr. Sarah-Marie Belcastro.
You can find details on the origins of this project at The Institute For Figuring.

Pictures by Margaret Wertheim, with thanks!


Irish Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef

I will do a few workshops on the Irish Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef to kick start submissions for the exhibition at The Science Gallery in Dublin next spring. Once the final details on dates and times are completed I will post them here. In the meantime, I encourage you to grab your hook and get going, there’s not much time before February.

You can find patterns here! Courtesy of the Sydney Coral Reef crowd.

You can find the intricate and exiting details of the whole project here at The Institute For Figuring.

For inspiration, check out Stitchlily’s site.


Hyperbolic Crochet In Dublin

Stitchlily, our ever alert and accomplished crocheter is yet again completely on the ball. The Irish version of a Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef is in the making at the Science Gallery in Trinity College Dublin on Pearse Street in The Naughton Institute:

A workshop will be held on Saturday October 24th @ 13.00 – 16.00. Tickets are free and need to be booked in advance. Click here and scroll down until you find the workshop.

The spiel reads like this:

“The “Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef” is a worldwide project that marries mathematics, marine biology, handicraft, community art practice and environmental consciousness-raising. People all over the world – from London and New York to Capetown – are collectively crocheting coral reefs, a woolly testimony to the disappearing wonder of living reefs that are being devastated by global warming.

In this workshop, Crochet Reef creator, Margaret Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring in Los Angeles, will teach the techniques of hyperbolic crochet and talk about the project. At the workshop, participants will begin the process of making an “Irish Reef,” to be exhibited alongside the international crochet reef collection at Science Gallery in Spring 2010.”

I have booked my ticket already, will I meet you there?