## Celebrating complex knots and loops on International Tatting Day

It’s the 1st of April, and we all know what that means. It’s the day that every story you hear has to be taken with a bit of scepticism – you don’t want to be the fool falling for the crazy, almost-believable story on April Fool’s Day!

However, rather than spinning a yarn, or weaving a tall tale , I’ll focus on yarns and weaving of a different kind – today is International Tatting Day, the day we celebrate the age-old art of handcrafting lace-like edges using an intricate series of knots and loops. Tatting is usually done for decoration, for example to create fancy edges for doilies, collars, etc.

A range of different knots and loops can be used to create amazingly delicate and intricate patterns that have an almost mathematical complexity about them. In fact, with a little imagination the tatted patterns can almost resemble the beautiful fractal patterns created in mathematical topology.

Those engaged in the art of tatting are called ‘tatters’, and according to a number of sources, tatters celebrate International Tatting Day by “making tatted lace and eating chocolates”.

So, Happy Tatting Day, everyone! I don’t have the skill to join in on the tatting, but where did I leave that slab of chocolate?

## Fascination of Plants Day

So today, 18 May 2012, is the first ever official “Fascination of Plants Day”, launched under the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO).

In a way it is sad that there’s a need for an official day to get us humans to appreciate the many wonders of plants and the natural world around us. Expounding at length on the virtues of plants would fill volumes, so I’ll just touch on one aspect that leaves me forever fascinated.

Mathematical marvels

Plants are truly the physical embodiment of mathematical precision.  The more time we devote to the study of the mathematical structure of our flora, the more fascinating it becomes.  Ferns curve according to the golden section, fibonacci numbers appear all over the place, in the patterns of leaves, the number of petals on flowers, and the wonderfully intricate spirals appearing on flower heads. Then there’s the uncanny fractal structures created by veins of leaves, and beautifully displayed on the broccoflower.

So go on, spend some time in the garden – its good for you, not just physically, but mentally as well!