The Ontario Science Centre is looking for contributors to their Satellite Crochet Coral Reef Project! Read below for all the details, instructions, and informations (and I mean ALL … I went to town with the ‘copy-cut-paste’). We have a donation box at the store where you can drop off your crocheted corals. I think it goes without saying that this is a super fun collaborative project, as well as a great way to use up bits of leftover yarn. It’s a great opportunity to explore colours and textures, and just play around with being creative – kind of like sketching with yarn.
Nature, however, does not stick to mathematical perfection and just as there is nothing in nature that is perfectly spherical, so in nature there are no perfect hyperbolics. Living forms result from imperfection, deviation and aberrancy.
The Crochet Coral Reef is an exhibition rooted in environmentalism. It calls attention to the devastation of living reefs due to climate change while exploring the beauty, science and vital importance of reefs through a community crafting art project. Crocheting corals could be a craft that engages both kids and adults, possibly a teachable moment for us all.
The Ontario Science Centre is currently seeking contributions to a province-wide community art project, the Ontario Satellite Reef. Help them create a colourful coral reef—made entirely from crochet! The Ontario Satellite Reef is part of Margaret and Christine Wertheim’s Crochet Coral Reefendeavour, an international initiative inspired by art, science and environmental activism. Since the Wertheims started the project in 2005, nearly 20,000 people from around the world have participated in crocheting 40-plus Satellite Reefs.
Create colourful pieces of coral, then send your work to the Ontario Science Centre (we are a drop-off point)! Your crocheted coral will be displayed at the Science Centre as part of the Ontario Satellite Reef. Plus, upload a pic of your work to social media to contribute to the virtual satellite reef.
How can you participate?
Follow these steps to contribute to the Ontario Satellite Reef:
Share a pic of your work on Instagram with the tag @OntarioScienceCentre and the hashtag #OntarioSatelliteReef.
Tell them about yourself and your coral creation! On a small piece of paper or index card, write the following information: Name, age, location and any details about your creation you would like to share. Attach it to your coral before you drop it off.
Once the science centre receives your coral, they will add your work to the Ontario Satellite Reef. They will also add your name to the list of contributors on display.
Contribute to the virtual satellite reef
To contribute to the virtual satellite reef, upload a photo of your work to Instagram with the tag @OntarioScienceCentre and the hashtag #OntarioSatelliteReef. Your photo will automatically be added to our online gallery.
Want to keep your coral creation? No problem! All crafters are welcome to contribute to the virtual reef. For more details on this project, check out these pages:
The Ontario Satellite Reef is composed of five sections, each with a different theme. Before you crochet your coral, check out the themes below for inspiration. If you don’t have a particular section in mind for your work, we’ll decide where it fits best in the Ontario Satellite Reef.
Tropical Coral Reefs
Tropical reefs exist in shallow, sunlit waters because the microscopic plants that live inside this coral rely on sunlight to produce food. These reefs form some of the mostdiverse ecosystems in the world, providing food and shelter for an estimated 25% of all ocean species. Suggested crochet materials: Any smooth or textured yarns in vibrant colours.
Canada has coral, too! Cold-water coral and sponges occur in coastal and offshore waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans. These slow-growing corals consume plankton to survive and live in very cold water without sunlight. Suggested crochet materials: Smooth white yarn; textured orange, bright pink or purple yarn.
Under stressful conditions—such as temperature increases, overexposure to sunlight and pollution—coral expels the symbiotic algae living within its tissues, causing it to turn completely white. Although coral can survivebleaching events, continued stress causes coral death. Suggested crochet materials: White or beige yarn in any shade or texture.
The Impacts of Consumerism
Millions of tons of plastic waste, which contains harmful microorganisms, enter our oceans each year. This plastic waste also blocks sunlight from reaching the coral, which can cause coral death. Suggested crochet materials: Cut-up plastic bags (to create plastic yarn); old T-shirts; other recycled materials.
Solutions to the Coral Crisis
Around the world, scientists and activists are working torestore and protect coral reefs. Use your imagination to create coral that lends us hope for the future. Plastic-eating coral, lab-grown coral, 3D-printed coral and more—we want to see your creative ideas for addressing threats to reef survival. Suggested crochet materials: It’s up to you!
Environmentalism meets crafting with Crochet Coral Reef
Crochet has an amazing ability to model the mathematically distinct geometry found in coral reefs (see below for a video on geometry in nature), all while bringing together crafting communities and science education. That’s what inspired science writer Margaret Wertheim and artist Christine Wertheim, twin sisters from Australia, to create the Crochet Coral Reef project.
Residing at the intersection of mathematics, marine biology, handicraft and community art practice, the Crochet Coral Reef responds to the environmental crisis of global warming and the escalating problem of oceanic plastic trash through a process of collective creativity. The endeavour highlights not only the damage humans do to Earth’s ecology, but also our power for positive action.
The Wertheims’ collection of Crochet Coral Reef sculptures has been exhibited worldwide, including at the 2019 Venice Biennale, The Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), Hayward Gallery (London), Science Gallery (Dublin) and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (Washington, D.C.). It will be at the Science Centre until the end of October 2021.
The project also encompasses a community-engagement program in which nearly 20,000 people around the world have participated in making 40+ locally-based Satellite Reefs. The Ontario Satellite Reef is the latest addition to this ever-evolving collection.
The Story Behind the Crochet Coral Reef project
Global warming is destroying the ecology of living reefs. That’s what drove science writer Margaret Wertheim and artist Christine Wertheim, twin sisters from Australia, to create the Crochet Coral Reef project in 2005. They realized crochet has an amazing ability to mimic the mathematically unique forms of reefs while bringing crafting and science education together.
The Crochet Coral Reef calls attention to the devastation of living reefs due to climate change while exploring the beauty, science and vital importance of reefs through a community crafting art project. The Wertheims’ Crochet Coral Reef travelling exhibition has been presented around the world, inspiring community activism, environmental awareness, and math and science learning.
Through a participatory program the sisters designed, more than 20,000 people have crocheted more than 40 community-based Satellite Reefs—from Chicago, New York, London and Melbourne, to other sites across England, Ireland, Latvia, Germany and the United Arab Emirates. The Ontario Science Centre is currently building Ontario Satellite Reef—the latest addition to the ongoing global network of Satellite Reefs.
The Artists Behind Crochet Coral Reef
The Crochet Coral Reef project was created by sisters Margaret Wertheim and Christine Wertheim, who are also co-directors of the project’s host organization, the Institute For Figuring, in Los Angeles. The Wertheims have created Crochet Coral Reef exhibitions for more than 20 museums and galleries internationally, and together they are the authors and editors of the Crochet Coral Reef book.
About Margaret Wertheim
Margaret Wertheim is an internationally recognized writer, artist and curator. Focusing on the interconnected relationships between science, art, culture, crafting and community STEM engagement, her honours include the Scientia Medal for Science Communication (Australia), and the American Association of Physics Teachers prestigious Klopsteg Award for “conveying the excitement of physics.”
Ms. Wertheim is the author of six books, including a trilogy about the cultural history of physics, and has written for publications ranging from The New York Times to New Scientist. Before moving to the USA in 1991, she conceived, wrote and co-directed Catalyst, a six-part television science series aimed at teenage girls.
Christine Wertheim is a poet, performer, artist, critic, curator and collaborator. She has a PhD in literature and semiotics and is a faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts in the Department of Critical Studies, where she teaches courses on art+feminism, pataphysics, nonsense and rubbish.
Christine has authored and edited eight books, including three poetic suites and three literary anthologies. She is a former director of the CalArts MFA Writing Program and has written for many magazines, including X-TRA and Jacket.
This simple wrap combines two fundamentals of knitting to create a reversible, welted texture: stocking stitch and reverse stocking. It is knitted on the bias, increasing in width as you go, so you can make it any size you like and use any tension of yarn you like – it’s a great stash-buster! The pattern may look long and complicated, but it isn’t, it’s just written with detail for inexperienced knitters and people with short attention spans. The pattern repeat is long, so a chart is included to guide you and help you keep track of where you are in the pattern. You can use any yarn you like, which makes it a great stash buster (see amounts below).
Its called the cottage wrap because it’s a great thing to wrap around your shoulders on a cool night, but maybe especially at the cottage. It is a freebie, from us to you. Please enjoy this pattern as we all emerge from our nests with joy and trepidation.
approx 82”/205cm long (from tip to tip) & 20”/50cm deep (at longest point)
The amount of yarn you use is flexible and depends on the type of fibre you choose and the thickness of the yarn – you’ll probably need 2 scarves worth of yarn. Yarns that are knit as a looser fabric will go further, yarns knit tighter may require some extra, especially bulky to super bulky weight yarns. Use a needle size that works for your yarn.
This pattern has been percolating for a long time … it was a victim of a bit of “scope-creep“, the result of some underlying issues with perfectionism (and the sundry crud that that springs from). I’d like to say thank you to my sample knitters Tessa and Adrienne, who made the wraps in the pictures and helped edit the pattern. Thank you to Erica, Noel and Rosie for just putting up with me. Thanks to Judit who helps me clear the blocks. Thanks also go to everyone whose been so patient and waited for me to finish the pattern. This pattern was far from being my dissertation and definitely not my life’s work, but it was a bit of an albatross. I’d like to raise a toast to letting go of our tethers and stretching our wings: may it be the first of many similar experiences for us all. In the words of my then eight year old nice: “You watch this girl go!”
I think binge-watching Drag Race during lock-down has paid off, because Rosie has NAILED sweater modelling. Seriously, she’s killin’ it. File that away under “unexpected pandemic-aquired skills”. Thank you Rosie, for sharing your project. Also, mad props for putting yourself out there. Letting yourself be seen can be a REALLY hard thing for many people, myself included. You are IN the arena, you inspire me and I couldn’t be prouder. YOU GROW GIRL! (By the way, if you are looking for details for Rosie’s Hat, you can find that HERE)
Things I love about Rosie’s sweater:
The Colour. The world needs colour right now, people need colour. It doesn’t matter which colours have been forecast, are trendy, or which celebrity is wearing what, just grab a colour that makes you feel good and run with it …. RUN WITH COLOURED SCISSORS!
The Simplicity. It’s a basic raglan construction, no fancy shaping, just a casual sweater. The garter stitch down the shoulders and sleeves is a simple decorative detail that adds a bit of interest without any fuss. The pattern is worked from the top-down, so you can make it cropped or you can make it long, or like Rosie it can be right in between – whatever suits your body.
Rosie made her sweater with Flax, a free pattern by the very reliable Tin Can Knits. The pattern is unisex and very size inclusive and ranges from 6 months old to 6XL (66″ chest). It is also novice inclusive, and is written with inexperienced knitters in mind, assuming that you have never made a sweater in the round before (it even has little illustrations to help you understand the construction). It is such a good pattern that it has been made 19,300 times on Ravelry, that’s an accomplishment.
The yarn Rosie used is Cascade Eco+ Merino, an affordable merino wool that’s big on colour and squish. She only used 2 skeins to make a size M/L, which is always a satisfying feeling. Eco+ Merino is a Bolivian merino wool, which makes it a good sweater kind of soft. It has lots of body and a lot of bounce. Both of the Eco yarns are fairly flexible when it comes to gauge, and Rosie used the suggested needles and got the extact gauge. You can also use other yarns, listed below:
There are a lot of new knitters picking up sticks for the first time, so I thought a nice little pattern to get you beyond scarves might serve you well. If you’re already an experience knitter you might want to keep this project in mind for people you end up teaching down the line!
Toboggan is a basic hat knit flat and seamed up the back. It only uses the knit stitch, which I think makes it great for kids as well as adults.
Kids L / Adult XS (Adult S/M, Adult L/XL)
Circumference (unstretched): 17½ (20½, 23¼)“
You’ll only need about 100g of yarn for this project, so one ball of any of the following yarns will work:
Beginners generally do best with straight needles (circular needles tend to get confusing early on). Because you are going to be putting on a bunch of stitches a longer 13″ or 14″ needle is a good idea. (9″/10″ straight needles are my favourite to start people off with, especially for scarves, but for a hat you’re really going to have to jam the stitch on there and it gets uncomfortable).
If you knit tight go up a size to a 6.5mm/US10.5 and if you knit loose consider going down a size to a 5.5mm/US9 needle. (I prefer to knit my hats a little bit tighter on purpose to block out the wind, so I go down).
In general, beginners seem to learn fastest with wood needles: they’re light, easy to use, and they aren’t too slippery (slippery is NOT good for beginners).
Either will do, they’re basically the same thing, except one is straight and the other has a bent tip.
What’s a craft hobby without accessories?! But seriously, a good Pom-Pom *makes* a hat. You can either make your own pompom or buy a real or synthetic fur pompom. Personally, i swear by the Clover brand pom-pom makers (I’ve made A LOT of pom-poms with them). These days, I’m partial to a raccoon fur pom-pom – they’re light and fluffy and the way they bob around makes me happy.
I came acrossToboggana few years ago, it was a freebie from Classic Elite Yarns, which unfortunately no longer exists. I’ve found a link for you through the Internet Archive, but be sure to download it and save it in your preferred cloud drive (Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, etc) – don’t take your patterns for granted, sometimes the internet lingers and other times things disappear.
The pattern is written in two ways; knitted in the round and knitted flat. Be sure to use the version that suits your skillset. Working in the round will require 16″ circular needles and double pointed needles, but you won’t need to seam it. Working flat uses one pair of straight needles, and it has to be seamed to finish it up.
There are lots of good resources on the web for knitters, it’s really an embarrassment of riches. A few reliable favourites are KnittingHelp.com, VeryPink.com, and Interweave has a great Knitting Glossary. If you want to take a great online class check out Craftsy.
I came across Manos del Uruguay Serpentina on a distributor’s website while I was browsing through their patterns and BAM! I saw it and thought “What IS that?! WHY is that?! What is THAT??!!!” Pattern after pattern, it knit up so consistently stunningly (plus Manos is an ethical company with a great track record) …. It’s the holidays, and we could all use a little extra cheer this year, so I got some!
Manos del Uruguay Serpentina is a stunning artisanal experience … its both hand dyed and handspun, which automatically makes it both scrumptious and glorious. Gorgeous colours run throughout the yarn at random which enhances its tactile quality. The result is a fabric that is soft and squishy to the touch with plush stitch definition.
100% Merino Wool
100g/120m (131 yds)
Aran to Bulky Weight
15 to 16 sts = 4″/10cm
4.5mm/US7 to 5.5mm/US9 needles
Hand wash, lay flat to dry
Made in Uruguay
A simple toque takes on new dimension with this stunning yarn
Sometimes the simplest is also the most effective. A double seed stitch is just knits and purls. Be sure to keep track of your rows, and if you aren’t a pro at fixing mistakes try inserting a Lifeline every time you complete Row 4.
This shoulder cozy (or capelet) is soft, light, airy, and oh so cozy! Wear it over your shoulders or around your neck as a cowl.
Don’t be tempted to work another cast-on method here. You really do want the stretch of the e-loop around the bottom where it will hit both your bust and your arms. At the same time, don’t work a traditional bind-off on this piece. Follow our instructions and work it loosely. If you have to, pull it out and try again. You’re after a relaxed, stretchy neck edge so that you can style the finished piece in a variety of ways.
Without cowl: Approx. 9 ( 11, 16, 18)”/ 23 (28, 41, 46)cm long when laid flat, after blocking.
With cowl: Approx. 13 1/2 (16 1/2, 24, 26)”/34 (42, 61, 66 )cm long when laid flat, after blocking.
To fit 4-7 year old (8-12 year old, Adult S/M, Adult L/XL).
Instructions are given for 4-7 year old size, with larger sizes in parentheses ().
Shown in Adult S/M with cowl. We knit this Shoulder Cozy in Color 1562, which is no
Premier Couture Jazz is the favourite yarn of arm knitters, and we agree that it’s the best material for super-duper bulky blankets whether you’re making on needles or with your limbs. It’s a soft and fluffy knitted tube of fine, brushed acrylic, which means that it can be washed and it will look great in your home for a long time. (We want you to love your projects, and the wool roving that is used in arm knitting videos popular on social media is unfortunately by its nature very delicate and will start to pill and look mungy even before you finish your blanket. We love the way roving looks in pictures, but it regrettably doesn’t have much longevity after the photo shoot.)
As soon as I saw this FREE pattern I knew I wanted to share it, but I figured I’d better wait until the heat settled down, and all the best yarn options had arrived. I love the elegant shape and texture in this “swancho” (it’s like a poncho, but with little sweater sleeves). If the textured panel seems a little daunting you can omit it and just knit the front panel like the same as the back, in stocking stitch.
You can use any chunky weight yarn (something that knits up on a 6mm/US10 needle). Berroco Vintage Chunky is soft, machine washable, and comes in a spectrum of great colours. Cascade Eco is made with 100% Peruvian wool that comes in both dyed and undyed natural colours, and is the most cost-effective choice, especially as the sizes grow). For a stunning statment, use Malabrigo Mecha, a gorgeous hand-dyed, machine washable, buttery soft single ply merino wool.
Grignasco Sahara looks lovely, it’s easy + feels great to knit with, and it looks amazing knitted up. Sahara is a soft, luscious fibre blend for Spring + Summer: 20% silk, 40% bamboo, 40% linen. It has a lovely semi-matte sheen and uneven texture that gives it a very modern, very urban texture. It’s also discounted (Squee!) because it has been discontinued (Boooo-urns!).
4.5 to 5mm needles
18 sts + 24R = 4″/10cm
20% silk, 40% bamboo, 40% linen
Hand wash in cold water, lay flat to dry
Made in Italy
SALE $7.50(regularly $10)
Dropped Stitch Spring Cowl
This project is my favourite combination of simple, fast, easy, and deceptively impressive looking. For a snug fit cast on 75 to 80 sts, for something longer that can be wrapped twice cast on 140 to 150 sts (you’ll need 4 balls).
Initially we started making the Easy 1-Ball Cowl pattern (much cred to the designer!) but made changes to make the most of this very pretty yarn and to make it easy for you to make one too.
Madeline Tosh Tosh Merino DK Delicious is the best way to describe Madeline Tosh Tosh Merino DK. It is a seriously sexy yarn. It is a 100% superwash merino wool, with a generous 225 yards per skein. This single ply yarn is the thicker cousin of tosh merino light using the same fiber to create a hand-dyed skein with rich depth of colour and tone. It knits up at a versatile dk to worsted gauge, perfect for sweater and accessory projects. Each squishy soft skein is hand-dyed in small dye lots and machine washable.