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Wreck Tangled always attracts interest at exhibitions specifically for mathematicians but seems to lack excitement for knitters. Perhaps the colours should be more striking to make it a ‘work of art’ as well as a mathematical curiosity. The colours were deliberately chosen to be very much alike because the rectangles are much more alike than they may appear at first glance. Each rectangle has exactly the same area. There are the same number of stitches in every rectangle. In addition the background is exactly the same area as the total of all the rectangles.

We seem to veer between using ideas we come across in other people’s work and those that materialise out of thin air. I don’t remember where the inspiration for this came from. Maybe it was from a very simple task I had often used in school to help children understand the difference between area and perimeter. Twenty four pieces of fence could be used to make a large number of fields which could enclose different areas. Similarly, the same area could be enclosed by different numbers of fences, depending on shape. It was a nice activity, accessible to all.

Wreck Tangled was difficult to design but easy to make. It had fourteen rectangles, all different, in a range of shades of green, on a dark background. Each rectangle has the same area. In knitting terms that means each has 3360 stitches. What’s more, the total area of the rectangles is exactly the same as the area of the background, which has 47040 stitches. It was a very satisfying project.

WRECK TANGLED