Knit the Universe
A whole new kind of space craft!
We often liken spacetime to a fabric, but how can we bring this to life?
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 that can be completed in two to six hours. We call these our knit kits.
What is special about each kit is the story of the people and the science behind each one. Each completed knit kit, each square helps us tell the story of the fabric of the universe, and what we call spacetime.
Families at home, community knit and natter groups, scouts, guides, Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) participants, teachers and pupils looking for something creative and amazing to do during the long winter nights can (and should!) download the kits. With some knitting needles and a few bits of wool, you can knit your own patch of inspirational, spacetime science, learning skills along the way.
At the moment, we can’t be together, but we can share and show images of our squares on social media (@knittheuniverse on all platforms). You can knit a few, stitch them together and make a scarf that would make Doctor Who proud. Or knit many and make a throw or blanket (a DofE skills project perhaps?).
Later, when you can be together, you can gather up squares to make throws or blankets that you, your families, and your schools and community groups put together yourselves. We want to hear about them all on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.
Download the knit kits
A knitted blanked. Image credit: Jill Martin
How to knit
There are sure to be some seasoned crafters out there, but some of you will be knitting for the first time. To help you along, we’ve put together some links to get you started.
- Where to get supplies
- 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
For the knit kits, we used a type of wool called double knit (DK), which tells you how thick the thread is, and 4mm needles – that’s how thick the needles are, and they make the stitches a certain size.
We also say in each knit kit what colours and weight of yarn we recommend, but feel free to knit with what you have. Swap the colours as you like, and use the wool and needles you have available.
All of the knit kits are made the same way, which is using the stocking (or stockinette) stitch. That’s just a fancy way of saying knit one row, purl the next, knit, then purl and so on. All of our knit kits are 40 stitches by 40 rows.
Once you’ve 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’ll hold its shape much better after it’s been washed and blocked.