Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Crocheted eukaryotic cell - with tutorial

 Not as exciting as bacteria, but lots of fun to make nevertheless.

The entire thing is worked up in worsted weight yarn: cotton for the nucleus, DNA, and mitochondria, acrylic for the ER, and wool for the cell membrane. I used a size G (US) hook.

If you want to make your own cell, here's a brief tutorial. You'll need to be able to make flat shapes (either intuitively as you crochet in the round, or with a modified...pot holder pattern I suppose).

Materials: Yarn needle, size G hook and worsted weight yarn in 5 colors.
Skills: Magic/double ring, single crochet, increases, and the ability to make a flat disc in the round by placing increases appropriately.

Cell membrane

Magic/double ring start. Crochet 14 rounds, making the membrane remain flat. Then crochet 2 rounds without any increases to form the "wall" of the cross section.

Magic/double ring start. Crochet five rounds, making the nucleus remain flat. Then crochet 2 rounds without any increases to form the "wall" of the cross section.

FUN PART! Loosely wind some yarn around your fingers and nestle it into the nucleus. Thread one loose end through a yarn needle and sew up and down through the nucleus, tacking the chromatin in place as you go. You can then sew the nucleus on to the membrane.

Made in three parts, and worked in rows instead of in the round. Chain 18, and crochet 2 rows on top of this. Repeat as above, starting with 15 chains, and then again with 11 chains. Using the loose ends, sew the long edge down parallel to the nucleus. Conceal the ends.

Make 3 or 4 of these as follows: Chain 4 and crochet in the farthest chain from hook to make a ring. Crochet in a spiral for 3 - 6 rounds and finish off, preferably on the same side of the mitochondria as your start point. Then use these ends to tie onto the cell membrane. Conceal the ends.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Anita Bruce's plankton

I feel cheated that the internet has been hiding these from me for 2 years: beautiful, ethereal, biologically inspired plankton knitted and crocheted from fine wire, made by the brilliant Anita Bruce. You can read more about them on her blog, and see more pictures on her Flickr album.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gargantuan Etsy Bolus

I just posted over 40 items to the Etsy shop - so many that my hand is now actually tired from clicking. There are lots of pendants (as you can see from the photo) but also cuttlefish, sea weed, mushrooms, mustaches, a log (for some reason) etc etc.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Aztec Wunderkammer

I am probably not alone in acute National Geographic nostaliga - my parents subscribed when I was a kid, and I spent many happy hours mining through our stacks and stacks of gold-spined volumes. I just recently started a new subscription, and the first spread in the first issue I opened happened to be a glorious image, the 7th in this series, of an offering box containing thousands of objects, largely marine in origin, but still incredibly diverse. According to the accompanying article, the offerings were arranged in such a way that the relationship of each object to the other bears "cosmic significance." Please go look!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A scheme for crocheting fronds, ferns, seaweed, etc

A few people have asked me for patterns for these types of structures. I think it is much easier to just explain the gist of how to freeform it, rather than give an explicit pattern, so here is my attempt.

Simply begin with a chain, which, at some point, you'll begin single crocheting back into. This will form the point of the leftmost branch. When the sub branch is as long as you would like (three stitches for the first small branch in the diagram above) chain again to start a second sub branch. Single crochet back onto these new chains to complete the sub branch. You can then continue to single crochet along the "stem" of the branch to finish it off, and chain again once you are back to where you'd like the main "stem" to be. (A "stem" is made from chains that remain without single crochets while you start working another chain.) Repeat as desired, and then begin single crocheting back along the stem instead of chaining again when you've finished the branch farthest from your start point. To make new branches on the other side of the main stem, you simply chain, and single crochet as before - but remember to single crochet when you reach the stem.

The "sea grass" here is was worked up in size 10 thread, but it's also fun to make in worsted weight or heavier yarn.You can also try varying the height of stitches (double crochet, slip) that you use to work back into the chains.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A sampler of bacterial anatomy

Prokaryotic cells exhibit an astonishing panoply of sizes and shapes, their forms adapted to life in varied environments. Scale: 1 cm = 0.5 um.Top row: Spirochaeta halophila, Ancylobacter flavus. Second row: Nocardia opaca, Escherichia coli, Methanogenium cariaci. Third row: Prosthecobacter fusiformis, Stella sp., Caulobacter sp. Fourth row: Planctomyces sp, ratoon stunt-associated bacteria. Fifth row: Bifidobacterium bifidum, Borrelia burgdorferi, Clostridium cocleatum. Sixth row: Aquaspirillum autotrophicum, Alphaproteobacteria. Bottom row: Micrococcus sp, Bifidobacterium sp.

Adapted from Kevin D. Young, 2006. The selective value of bacterial shape. Microbiol. Molec. Biol. Rev. 70:660-703.

This was also made for The Dazzle.

EDIT: Now available online via Magic Pony.

Plush Mollusk Anatomy

Above, a bivalve, and below, a scaphopod and chiton. These will be exhibited in Toronto next month at The Dazzle!

Monday, January 4, 2010


LOVE THEM. Eating them, looking at them, and reading about their weirdo biology. Only makes sense that I would crochet them sooner or later. I hope to do many more, but these three designs, and their size variants, are now available bundled together in one package - so you can crochet them too!