It's Happy Fibonacci Day today!
Leonardo of Pisa was a 13th century Italian mathematician who came up with the Fibonacci sequence to solve a hypothetical question asking how quickly rabbit populations can grow. The sequence is a very simple one, where each number is the sum of the previous two numbers:
0 + 1 = 1
1 + 1 = 2
1 + 2 = 3
2 + 3 = 5
3 + 5 = 8
5 + 8 = 13 and so on... Add the last 2 numbers together to get the next number.
November 23 (11/23) is the first four numbers of the sequence.
The Fibonacci sequence is found everywhere in nature. It describes the whorls of seeds in the sunflower, the branching of trees, the flowering of artichokes, the scales of a pinecone. We are naturally inclined to appreciate the beauty of these numbers that surround us. They just look aesthetically pleasing to us.
Now, how do we use them for knitting, crochet, quilting, weaving, and other design?
The most simple way is to use the numbers as units of measure. For example, 1", 2", 3", 5", 8". You can design stripes for scarves, sweaters, hats, any knitted item with combinations of these. I'll show you two sweaters where I did this.
This is my grandson, sporting the sweater I knitted him last year. He chose the colours and I added the stripes to the original Zippity Raglan pattern by Elizabeth Sullivan: lime green - 1" wide, purple - 3" wide.
The original pattern by Caitlin Hunter doesn't use stripes at the bottom, but I wanted to bust some stash so I added them. My Ravelry pattern notes detail the colours and width of stripes, but basically I used 1", 2", 3" and 5" stripes at the bottom of the sweater body and the sleeves.
Stripes don't have to be in the same sequence, you can mix the numbers up. For example, at the end of a scarf you can add some stripes as follows: 3" | 1" | 3" or whatever width of Fibonacci numbers you prefer.
The following is a Protection Quilt I made for my sister who was very ill at the time. I wanted to create something for her to hang over her bed and help keep her safe at night.
The quilt is full of imagery that is meaningful to her, and uses old lace handkerchiefs that belonged to our great-aunt, a nurse and healer. Notice the buttons at the left and top edges. They came from a button box I inherited with three generations of button collecting by the women in my family. I sewed the buttons in Fibonacci numbers - sets of 1, 2, 3, 5 and 8.
You can use Fibonacci numbers to design quilt borders too. If you have 2 border fabrics, try using a 3" inner border and an 8" outer border. If you have 3 border fabrics, use a 5" inner, 2" middle and 8" outer border. Or any other combination that gets you the quilt size you need.
The next example I have is a tea towel that I wove following the Jane Stafford Online Guild classes. Jane teaches the Fibonacci sequence in depth for weaving design. One of the projects is called Asymmetry, and this is one of my samples:
The wide stripes are divided into 5 sections, 2 green and 3 purple. The vertical stripes are 5, 1 and 3. Easy, right?
And lastly, just for fun, this is a link to a blog post I wrote way back in 2008 on how I used Fibonacci numbers in landscape design (my former profession).
How will you use this wonderful design tool?