aperiodic monotile

Aperiodic Monotile

The expression “aperiodic monotile” makes my brain hurt. But understanding the concept of it, is even worse.

First, What Is An Aperiodic Monotile?

Breaking down the words, we’ll start with monotile. Simply enough, it’s a single tile. And then, aperiodic basically means non-pattern-repeating. The full term describes a single shape (or tile) that when joined to itself in interlocking ways, never repeats a pattern. It’s kind of the last thing you’d want for a wallpaper design, for instance. Because when you join wallpaper, you want it to repeat endlessly and not create a noticeable seam.

Smartly enough, the scientific/math world has given this type of shape a much more likable name, the Einstein Shape.

My first dealings with the concept of tiling came when I was working with the logo graphic for the Men’s Knitting Retreats.

MKR Graphic Only

A graphic designer created this beautiful, image for our logo. But another graphic designer tried repeating this graphic and realized it wasn’t tileable.

Tiled Logo Not Lining Up

You see when put next to, or above or below itself, the stylized stitches don’t line up.

So he tried to modify the logo graphic to make it repeatable. He quickly realized that changing the slant of the stitches and the gauge, created a very unappealing graphic. He realized the original designer had really chosen the ideal aesthetic size and slant. And it wasn’t worth fiddling with.

But back to the Einstein Shape.

Einstein Shape Single

If you have access to the New York Times article about this, you’ll see that the shape has been used in quilting and origami and even ravioli. A google search shows that a crocheter has created the shape with crochet. But I’m wondering what a knit sweater might look with this as the overall shape design. When my brain-ache goes away, I’ll consider some intarsia version of a colorful Kaffe-like sweater.

Any other ideas?

Current Crochet

I have focused solely on this crochet shawlette that resembles the Hitchhiker.

And I’m still not finished with it. Crochet takes me a lot longer than a similar knit garment.

I’ve also needed to block this garment before each photo. The sawtooth edge and the tip of the shawl curl up quite a bit.

I’m grateful that a talented crochet friend of mine is also making this design. His is curling as well. So I know it’s not just my crochet abilities.

Suffice it to say, I’m glad I tried this design. But I will definitely put this shape in the category of “better with knitting than crochet.”

4 comments on “Aperiodic Monotile

  1. Made my head hurt too. But I did sort of understand some of it so thanks for that. Always good to get some new information to get me started in the morning.

  2. Interesting!!! Kinda reminds me of a Keith Haring print. Also…Nathan Taylor is making a knit blanket with this type of patterning. 😄😄😄

    1. Thank you, Bob, for mentioning Nathan Taylor, whose complex work I admire. As a result of your comment, I clicked on his Ravelry page and found a delightful Mobius cowl knitted in a chunky weight yarn. As I’m enjoying knitting a friend’s birthday shawl in that gauge, his Snakes and Ladders Cowl is just the thing to stay, um, thick. Cheers to you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *