Is that a double helix round your neck or are you just pleased to see me?

In which we take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to celebrate… a scarf. At first glance, it looks like an ordinary strip of black and grey wool, but if you look down its length, an iconic hidden pattern emerges (see below).

Yes, thanks to this present from my awesome friend Alice Bell, I now get to wind an illusory double helix around my neck. There’s probably a joke about histones to be made.

The DNA illusion scarf is Alice’s own design (video here). In her own words:

DNA and illusion knitting seemed to be made for one another. The ladders of the striping pattern twist round those of the helix as purls and knit-stitches collect  to display a regular shape. I also like that you have know how to look at the scarf to really see the pattern. There’s an “OH!” moment when you spot it. Symbolic of the science it reflects, the pattern isn’t self-evident.

If you’re not already doing so, you can and should read Alice’s sharp musings on science communication at Through the Looking Glass, and on knitting at Slipped Stitch

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