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Red Herring Knits is the culmination of the idea that when a knitter creates a sweater or other knit design, the tangible process involving yarn and needles is a diversion from what is actually happening.


Every design begins with a concept–an idea of how it should look, fit, feel.  What thoughts and emotions it should evoke.


This leads to a technical evaluation.  How do the sleeves fit into the armhholes?  What size gauge is required?  Where does the shaping happen?  What stitch patterns are used?


The final stage is execution–the actual knitting–hopefully culminating in a finished object.


Knitters find the above process so familiar as to be unnoticeable, and most knitters have probably dabbled with design in one form or another.


But we like to take knitting one step further.


Knitting in its truest sense is a form of technology—the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of knit fabric in order to solve a problem, improve a pre-existing solution to a problem, achieve a goal, or perform a specific function.


Knitting also has deep roots in mathematics.  Most knitters just scratch the surface when they follow a pattern stating “cast on 32 stitches” or “knit two stitches, purl two stitches.”


The language used for knitting (all the abbreviations, the formatting, the numbers mixed with letters) has strong ties to mathematical notation.  Not only does a finished knitting pattern resemble a computer algorithm, the pattern “knit two stitches, purl two stitches” resulting in a double rib stitch is a tangible application of the concept of mathematical functions we learned in school.


Every knit shape possible can be described and classified with a branch of mathematics known as topology, just as each individual stitch has topological qualities.


Knitting is also an application of mathematical knot theory.  Every closed cable design is a mathematical knot, and every piece of knitted fabric is an unknot.


When a knitter sits down with needles and yarn—between the adding, subtracting, dividing, multiplying, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, functions, topology, knot theory, graph theory, and who knows what else—they are manipulating over two thousand years of mathematics.


So while we at Red Herring love our yarn and needles, and our goal is to make every design attractive and unique, we must make a confession:


The knitting is just a red herring for the math.

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Our patterns are of the highest quality and are thoroughly checked for any typos or errors.  However if something slipped past us after publication, please let us know! Links to errata will be posted here.

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