Periodic Table Sweater
Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 5, 2009
Front of sweater:
Back of sweater:
I knitted this sweater in 1996 using Lion Brand Wool-Ease yarn in Hunter Green, Burgundy, and Wheat Sprinkles (the yarn was a gift, so I didn’t have a choice of colour). It started out as a rather unusual and charming (in my humble opinion) cabled sweater for my husband. When I showed it to Baruch, he tried to feign enthusiasm but I could sense that he was disappointed. I asked him what was wrong and he answered, “I was hoping for something …. different.”
“No way.” He’s been asking me to make him something with pigs for years, as the pig is his favourite animal but this is Israel, after all. Can you imagine a nice orthodox man with a big kippah and tzitzis and beard walking around the Western Wall wearing a pig sweater? If he were over 6′ tall and a body-builder, I might have relented but he’s only 5’4″.
“Molecular structure diagrams?”
Baruch is a microbiologist in the pharmaceutical industry. I thought about it and studied his sketches. The angles of the lines and the hexagons looked like a charter’s nightmare and I decided, in the end, that I wouldn’t be able to translate them into knitting, not in the immediate future.
“How about the Periodic Table?”
I pondered for 2 minutes, then said, “That’s do-able.” He photocopied the periodic table from his highschool chemistry textbook and I charted the actinides and lanthanides. Halfway through the lanthanides, I realised that I didn’t need a chart after all and just knitted it directly from the photocopy. Any mistakes were corrected later with duplicate stitch.
The sleeves have fungi on one sleeve and bacteria on the other. His sweater was a hit at work and he was invited to give special showings in the chemistry labs.
The sweater was knitted in the round. I machine-stitched and cut steeks for the armholes.
A chemist neighbour borrowed the sweater for his mother-in-law to copy. When I realised that we wouldn’t have the sweater back by winter, I offered to provide charts. Important note: This chart is out of date. If you want a current chart with the most recent elements, you’re on your own!
Front and back charts are 109 stitches x 112 rows. I cut the charts in half so that they could be printed easily.
When my son was young, I briefly considered making a sweater for him of the square for gold (AU), with all the atomic number, atomic mass, etc., worked in intarsia.
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