Sum Wear

You could be forgiven for thinking I am beginning to lose the plot. My latest design is for Barbie! This is not just any Barbie. This is Fibonacci Barbie.

This is a project that has been languishing for more than 20 years. I started to make some mathematically-inspired clothes for a teddy bear, which I took to a maths and art conference at Oxford University in about 1997. I didn’t make any more because I didn’t see the point in writing patterns that would only fit my bear.

The idea resurfaced seriously last year when I decided to design my own toy that could be dressed. It ground to a halt again because my toy never developed its own character and wasn’t particularly appealing.

Fast forward to May 2019 when I designed an illusion knitting outfit for Barbie. You can read about the reason in an earlier post. This set my mind working again. Barbie is ubiquitous. Most knitters wouldn’t have too much difficulty getting their hands on one (or an ‘imitation’ version. It doesn’t have to be the real thing.)

By now I had realised that making clothes for Barbie wasn’t the important thing. It was just another way of introducing mathematical ideas to people who said they can’t ‘do maths’.

The pattern includes instructions for making the three dresses shown. Two are knit, one is crochet. If you know anything at all about Woolly Thoughts designs you won’t be surprised to know that one is knitted in unusual directions. More importantly, the final section of the pattern is about using the Fibonacci Sequence for other things. The ways in which the sequence can be used are really quite limited but there are a few tricks to help you on your way.

If I can convince just one person that you canâ€™t use the numbers out of order I will regard that as a success.

This is the first of an irregular series. It is about using particular numbers. Others will include interesting geometric constructions and other aspects of maths, They will be collected together under the name Sum Wear.

We even managed to get a ‘shop sign’ for the collection. You can see how it compares to a human-sized sign. We couldn’t call it Barbie’s Sum Wear because the sign only came with one letter B.

All the patterns will use very basic yarns, mostly DK, so they can be made from leftovers. I have various problems with my hands and working with small things is particularly challenging. I would like to use finer yarns and add more detail but that just isn’t possible.