Knit the Universe
A whole new kind of space craft.
Take a look at our beautiful ‘Knit Kits’.
From Kraus et al (2020). A triple-star system with a misaligned and warped circumstellar disk shaped by disk tearing. Science, 369(6508), 1233-1238. Reprinted and adapted with permission from AAAS.
We have converted amazing, cutting-edge astrophysical images and findings, e.g. a gravitational wave ‘chirp’ or intersecting dusty discs around stars, into cute knitting patterns. We call these our Knit Kits. These each take about two to six hours to complete.
Each Knit Kit tells the story of the people and the science behind the image. Each one tells us a little about the fabric of the universe, what we call ‘spacetime’.
The Knit Kits are free and can be found below.
With some knitting needles and a few bits of wool, you can knit your own square of inspirational spacetime.
You can knit a few, then stitch them together as a scarf that would make Doctor Who proud. Or knit many and make a throw or blanket. For a Duke of Edinburgh skills project perhaps?
Or gather up squares to make throws or blankets that you, your families, schools and community groups put together. We want to hear about them all on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Please share images of your knitted squares and projects on social media using @knittheuniverse on all platforms.
Download the knit kits
A knitted blanket. Image credit: Jill Martin
Instructions and how to knit
For the Knit Kits, we used a type of wool called double knit (DK), which tells you how thick the thread is. We used 4mm needles, this is how thick the needles are. Taken together this makes the stitches a certain size.
All of the Knit Kits are made the same way, which is using the stocking, or stockinette, stitch. That is a fancy way of saying knit one row, purl the next, knit the row after that, then purl a row and so on. All of our Knit Kits are 40 stitches by 40 rows.
We also say in each Knit Kit what colours and weight of wool we recommend, but feel free to knit with whatever colours you have. Swap the colours as you like, and use the wool and needles you have available.
Once you have finished the pattern, cast off from the needles and wash and block your square (wet it, squeeze out the excess water, then stretch it and pin it in shape to a cork board or something similar). It will hold its shape much better after it’s been washed and blocked.
Some of you will be knitting for the first time. To help you along, here are some links to get you started. Or ask a friend or relative, it is surprising who knits when you ask. The Knit Kits do not take much wool, especially for the minor colours. You can find supplies from a local craft store or online shop, or ask around to see if anyone you know has some spare wool.
- How to make a slip knot
- How to cast on
- How to knit
- How to purl
- How to change colour
- How to cast off
- How to block