Susan Goldstine

Susan Goldstine
First and foremost, I am a professor of mathematics. Over the past decade, I have slowly realized that I am also an artist and a designer of jewelry and knitwear, but at the core of my practice is the desire to share the beauty of mathematics with others through my visual and tactile works.

Hand-knitted garments hold a particular fascination for me. There is something profoundly satisfying in knowing that every inch of yarn in an intricate shawl or sweater has flowed directly through my fingers.

I am currently Professor of Mathematics at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts. Ellie Baker and I wrote the 2014 book Crafting Conundrums: Puzzles and Patterns for the Bead Crochet Artist, which contains many of our jewelry patterns. My knit and crochet designs are listed on Ravelry, where my username is sgoldstine.
Photographer: Justin Foreman. Model: Jasmine Long.
Seven Peaks
Hand-knit merino/cotton yarn, plastic buttons
2019
Collection: The Symmetry Completist

Each of the pieces in this collection catalogs all the symmetries of a particular mathematical type that are possible in a particular form of knitting color work. The three unifying design principles are as follows: the designs in each garment fall into one or several visually compatible families of patterns with shared motifs; each possible symmetry type appears exactly once in the garment; the resulting garment has a pattern that an experienced knitter can easily reproduce.

Seven Peaks:

Like the Fourteen Ciphers shawl, this cardigan grew out of my joint research with Carolyn Yackel into the mathematical structure of mosaic knitting. The seven two-color strip designs on the body of the cardigan exhibit the seven frieze groups (the possible symmetry types of patterns that repeat in one direction). These are echoed in miniature in the seven two-color strip designs at the cuffs. All of the patterns are built around the same simple triangular motif.

The direct inspiration for the garment was a wall hanging that I knit in four colors of yarn with the designs that became the lower body of the sweater. In the wall hanging, I used an I-cord edging to create polished side borders. It occurred to me that a variation of this technique could produce a sleek raised edge for a button band, and the seed for the cardigan was thereby planted.
Photographer: Justin Foreman. Model: Jasmine Long.
Photographer: Justin Foreman. Model: Jasmine Long.