Knitting Data: Data Visualization and Crafts


Things have changed pretty drastically lately, and if there's one thing that social distancing has led us to think about, it's... knitting! After spending all of our zoom calls making socks, we wanted to take a closer look at the craft of knitting, and more specifically the practice of visualizing data through projects like scarves and sweaters. When we think of data today, we generally think of spreadsheets and surveys and media giants, but what happens these days when data emerges from the computer screen and ends up on a pair of knitting needles?

We found a treasure trove of projects about precisely that topic, including a scarf that tracks train time tables, a robot telling knitters what to make, and a cozy wool sweater that demonstrates the hard facts of climate change.

This virtual exhibit will guide you through a brief history of decorative crafts being used to record and convey information, open the door to some fascinating knitting data projects happening today, and culminate with a knitting project based on library statistics that you can complete at home and submit to our gallery, along with any other crafting projects you've been working on during social distancing!

Display by Bryn Ziegler - Library Supervisor in the Science and Engineering Library at USC Libraries, and Rebecca Michelson - Senior Library Assistant in Special Collections at USC Libraries

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