Computational Models of Knitting

Close up of knitted pink yarn with a pair of knitting needles

This part is all about the process of knitting as seen through the lens of a computer scientist. [W]e will now take a look at hand-knitting as computation.

First off we can observe, that hand knitting needles both have a storage and a stitch processing function. For example when knitting socks, three or more needles may be used, only two of which are operated by the bi-manual human, while the other needles only serve to hold the stitches.

This is really quite brilliant:

  • Knitting needles as abstract data types stack and deque.
  • Free memory as expressed by the yarn ball.
  • Stitches modeled by a data structure with pointers to subordinate stitches.
  • The finishing work representing allocated memory.
  • Dropped stitches as an accounting for automatic garbage collection.
  • Thread processing units…twiste stitches…

While the needles constitute the main memory, there is an immense amount of external memory available. Free memory usually takes the form of the yarn ball, whereas allocated memory is constituted by the finished knitwork. Once a stitch is dropped off the needle it is automatically saved to the external memory.

Photo via feminspire.

Via k2g2.

This entry was posted in Science by Heretic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

2 thoughts on “Computational Models of Knitting

  1. Cats helping = static electricity? Not liking the dropped stitches to the garbage collection, I’ve retrieved too many. Maybe more of a parity check?

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