Crafts and Computing.

Sometimes you find things to interest and inspire the crafter in you in the most unlikely places.

Today we took a family trip to Bletchley Park, the home of the WWII code breakers. My husband has been keen to visit and it is his birthday tomorrow so, while I wasn’t sure it would have much to entertain me or the children we set off. (of course, the fact that we could stop at a nearby ikea had nothing to do with my apparent generosity of spirit)

There was a surprising amount of knitting on display. In a room devoted to showing how people lived in the war room

Then a fantastic exhibit on Make Do and Mend showed jumpers knitted in the wartime. This one has a different colour yarn on the sleeves where the knitter presumably ran out.

It pointed out that fair isle was so popular in the war because they could use lots of small amounts of yarn to good effect. Obvious really, but I hadn’t thought about it before. I do love those 40s vintage fair isles.

Sadly both the wartime home and the make do and mend exhibit will be removed before the year is out as the management want to make everything more directly related to the code breakers. (and the fact that they probably all wore jumpers is a bit too tenuous I guess)

I think I was the only visitor who stopped to notice this wonderful quilt hanging in the mansion.

It was made by a girl that lived on the site in the war years. Spot the dots and dashes on the path ways? Yep you guessed, it she stitched Morse code into the quilt.

Then thinking about computers and crafting got me thinking. The wires in Colossus look rather like bad stranding on the back of a fair isle sweater.

And don’t the punch tapes look like lace trim

Inspiring. I would love to do what the quilter did and encode some meaning into my craft. Perhaps a fillet crochet trim in code would work? What do you think?


  1. says

    I knit my nephew a neckwarmer for Christmas, and had graphed out his name in Old English runes (as used in The Hobbit) to knit into the body of it. Being a rather beginner knitter I didn’t realize that garter stitch letters would just sink into a stockinette background until I was several rows in. So I gave it up and made a plain welted neckwarmer instead – but it was still a cool idea. (If I had it to do over I’d make a scarf with a garter stitch background and the letters in stockinette.)

    Didn’t Madame Defarge knit messages into something? (A Tale of Two Cities – which I started but never finished so I can’t give any more detail than that.)

    Those punch tapes do look exactly like lace. And I love that quilt – it has a rather trompe-l’oeil effect.

    P.S. Isn’t there something called mathematical knitting?

  2. says

    Try twisted knit stitches on a reverse stocking st back ground if you want to make it really pop.
    Yes there are people who knit maths I found this link and of course pi is used by Elizabeth Zimmerman to great effect in circular increasing instead of using a radial model. And yes madame defarge knit the names of the people to be killed into her knitting – how gruesome.
    Ooo, this could turn into a series!