Microbes get a bad press. Some of them undoubtedly deserve it. And even although there are many bacteria that perform useful, necessary functions, they somehow have never really made the leap into the cuddly toy category. They have left that to the fish and the mammals.
At the Manchester Science Festival, which looks like a great event for scientists and budding scientists of every age, you can attend a workshop called “The Big Microbe Knit“. It sounds like a fun event, where participants can find out about microbes and learn how to knit at the same time!
Until I saw the microbe patterns, I had assumed that microbiology and knitting were mutually exclusive pursuits. It had never crossed my mind that one could deliberately set out to knit a tubercle bacillus (although I must admit to having produced a few accidentally on my way to mastering the intricacies of socks). There is a simple pattern for Salmonella, and a rather nice one for the ever-topical H1N1 virus, which looks remarkably like a hat I once tried to make. Perhaps I’ll dig out my needles and have a go at the Cholera, just to be able to put a flagellum on my knitting resume.
It turns out that the microbe patterns are just the tip of the science-knitting iceberg. After I found them I found many other science-inspired products from inventive knitters. Here is a sampling:
I wonder if any of my friends would appreciate a nice set of bacteria for Christmas…?