Just How Geeky Are You, Really?

I am such a fiber geek that I knit in binary.  No, really.  Knitty has a binary scarf pattern.  I, of course, thought this was too cool for words.  With that and a binary translator, I could knit anything!  Secret messages, cool ideas forever immortalized in a fuzzy warm scarf, or dreams that no one else would ever know.  Can you read binary at a glance?  I can’t.  Very secret.

But it had to be the right scarf.  I couldn’t knit just any old thing in binary.  I almost made a scarf for a friend of mine who’s into LOTR.  He’s also a devout Christian.  I was going to get someone to translate the Lord’s Prayer into Elvish for me, and then translate that into binary, and knit that.  But I wasn’t sure how the elvish would do in binary.  And something that specific and complicated, I decided was as yet a bit beyond me.  He got a very nice scarf for graduation, in a plain-ish lace pattern, so as to not offend his masculinity and dignity.

I knit a lot of presents for college graduation.

Next, I turned to the computer geek who was also into almost all things Japanese and swords.  Can you tell where this is going?  Carefully, and with some backtracking and checking which number came first, I knit this scarf.

Each line is one 8-bit.  Actually, for obvious reasons, once I’d done the first row, it was pretty easy.  Next time I will use double knit to make something like this, but this time I knit it in a tube so that the ends wouldn’t show.  I just had to keep checking the order of zeros and ones for each line.  So I handed him this scarf the night before graduation when we had our party . . . . and just about fell over laughing.  He had no idea what it said!  Of course, as soon as he went home that night, I imagine he looked it up then and loved it even more.  I had ever so carefully written out for him:

If you touch my scarf, I shall hit you with my katana!

I like to think he hangs the scarf every summer next to his katana — just to make sure the threat is taken seriously!

As part of my using-up-yarn plan (I’m getting to the stuff I’m spinning myself, soon, really, I promise!), I’ve been going through some nice sock yarn.  There was a maroon/green that had been a present in return for a double pair of ankle socks (four separate socks total, so losing some would be alright).  I cast on the socks and thought about what I wanted to do with them.

By the way, that may look weird to both non-knitters and some sock knitters.  I knit two socks at a time on the same needle, and I also knit from the toes to the cuff.  Cuff to toe socks always confused me — you have to measure how much yarn is left, and where to go around the heel, and then when you finish the toes, you still have yarn left over.  With toe-up socks, I knit until I have no more yarn, and that’s as long as my socks are going to be.  Very easy.  I knit both socks at the same time so that I always know that what I did to the first sock I can right away do to the second sock.  Left, right, left, right.  Or one, two, one, two, as they are interchangeable between the feet.  If I did one and then the other, I might forget how many inches between the toes and the heel, or where I changed the pattern.  Both at the same time, I always do the same thing to both of them.

Anyway, here I had the socks, and I needed something to do with them.  As they are wool, I didn’t want to make really lacy socks, because then my feet would be cold.  Okay, solid pattern.  But I still wanted something interesting enough that I wouldn’t get bored knitting them.  Umm.  Solid pattern.  Mmmmm.

So I’m knitting DNA socks.

Take the DNA knitting pattern from the scarf.  Translate it into socks.  Follow the pattern.  Cackle hysterically (and very quietly if knitting at work).

I’m thinking about setting up some transcription after the ankle with RNA.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Just How Geeky Are You, Really?

  1. Jillian Nellwyn Robbins

    Love the scarf, no lie ^_^

  2. Nora

    if you manage RNA, i want to see your charts. because seriously. i NEED to have them.

  3. Morse code is also a coding possiblity. And Knitty beat us to it again. Their current issue has a pair of mittens with encoded messages: http://knitty.com/ISSUEff11/PATTmorsecode.php

  4. Nora, you chart it, and I will knit it.
    And somehow, my life hasn’t intersected with Morse Code since the Swallows and Amazons, and that was semaphore anyway.

  5. emma

    Just want to say that your truely epic 😉 i didnt think knitting could get any better, im going to try my antique loom out at making a dna scarfe, thanks for being so inspirational!! The katana scarfe was amazing, well done and thankyou again so much! 😀

  6. Anita

    Hope to see the completed socks! (It’s 2015 now, so surely…?) But also wanted to point out to you, Margaret Mills’ “Denature” sock where the dsDNA runs down the outside of the leg, then at the ankle bone denatures, and one ss runs down to the toes, the other to the heel. A cuff-down pattern, alas (from another toe-up taat sock knitter).

    • The DNA socks were finished and worn and loved and worn out and patched and wore through the patches, and sadly are no more. Never fear, more DNA socks are on the needles! Pictures later.

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