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©Woolly Thoughts 2020

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We do not sell any completed items but you can buy patterns for most things, to make your own.

Pat Ashforth & Steve Plummer - Mathekniticians

We have recently been described as Mathekniticians, which seems a very apt description.  

Woolly Thoughts started, in 1994, as a book about making sweaters, jackets and other garments using mathematical methods. Using these techniques, garments are guaranteed to fit regardless of the yarn and needles used. The possibilities are endless.  

Since then our work has gone in many different directions. To many people, we are now best known for our large-scale knit and crochet wall-hangings. These pieces are just one means of presenting mathematical ideas in an easily accessible way. When it is more appropriate, we also work with fabric, screen-printing, paper-folding, and various other media.

Our knit and crochet work has proved to be very appealing to many people who just like the look of the things we make, even if they don’t really have much interest in the mathematics. We always use simple methods and our designs are very easy for others to re-create from our instructions.

From the early 1990s we ran sessions for teachers at the annual conferences of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics, always using shapes, or other visual means, to covey a variety of mathematical concepts.

By 1997 our work had reached the attention of the Science Museum (London) and four pieces were bought for the Mathematics Collection. Due to a series of coincidences, MathsYear2000 proved to be major turning point in our involvement with education. We produced a small booklet for schools which was quickly adopted in many parts of UK for use in formal maths and technology classes, and for school craft clubs. It quickly spread to other parts of the world and to adult groups. (See Afghans for Schools and Group Projects for further information.)  This led to us introducing our unconventional ideas to teachers in many parts of England at INSET (Teacher training) courses and even being invited to speak to the National Association of Mathematics Advisers at their annual conference.

The booklet is still available and can be found as a download on the Afghans for Schools page.

We are mathematicians at heart and so most of what we do has a mathematical basis. This may not always be obvious and it doesn't explain the cartoons and word-play which often creep in.

In 2009 we took a slightly different turn and became very interested in Illusion Knitting (also known as Shadow Knitting). Perhaps it was our mathematical background that allowed us to chart  illusion designs in a new way, which made it possible to create far more complex designs. Most of our illusion patterns and tutorials can be found at The World of Illusion Knitting.

Click here to read a magazine article about mathematical knitting and crochet.

More pages about us



‘Penrose’ Table

Needle Gauges


Little Yellow Ducks

Reflections in a Pillar