Thursday, April 2, 2015

Roving Crochet Reporter: Crochet Coral Reef

The Crochet Coral Reef, international project of the Institute for Figuring, has partnered with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Mississippi Watershed Management Project to create a Minneapolis satellite coral reef. The finished Minneapolis reef will go on display at the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization in September 2015. Until the end of July, community open crochet circles are being held at the MIA and Mississippi Watershed Management Organization to encourage people to explore this intersection of math and art. Two of our Crochet Twin Cities (CTC) members recently attended one of the crochet circle meetings - here is Lisa's recap of the event.

I went to an open crochet circles at the Minneapolis Institute of Art on Saturday, March 28, 2015. There were about 40 people there, of all ages and crochet abilities. CTC member Judith was also there.

The project coordinator was there with several plastic tubs of yarn—mostly synthetic yarns, bright colors and some novelty yarns. She also had a container of crochet hooks, the pattern handout and a handout with information about turning in finished projects. The crocheters sat in a large circle around the area with supplies. Many people had come in small groups and sat and talked while they worked. Others walked around to see what people were making. Everyone was very friendly, and it was easy to strike up a conversation with someone nearby.

The group met in the Target wing first floor atrium where a small, white section of the Institute For Figuring coral reef is displayed in an enclosed case. Photos are not allowed. The crochet on this section is very delicate, including lace sections and what look like folded doilies decorating some of the tubular pieces. The white coral reefs represent the bleached or dead coral, and is often displayed with a more colorful section to emphasize environmental damage. (For a gallery of coral reef pictures, see

Some people were new to crochet and needed some help following the patterns. The pattern sheet has very general instructions since these creations are the ultimate “free form” crochet. There is really no way to make a “coral” wrong. Each creation is unique. One woman near me had a bag full of sea creatures that she had already made; she was working on a 3-armed coral piece which she had stuffed so it stood upright. There were pods on the ends of the coral arms, and she was deciding how to decorate those. A Minneapolis Institute of Arts staff member stopped by to crochet on her turquoise pseudopod during her lunch break.

Some of the people at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts crochet circle had also been to an open crochet circle at the Mississippi Watershed Management facility. They said it was a beautiful new building, definitely worth visiting.

There is no charge for attending one of the crochet circles and there are several more dates for from now through July - some at the Minneapolis Institute of Art  and some at the Mississippi Watershed Management facility. The CTC fifth Saturday event in May (Saturday May 30) will be at the Minneapolis Institute of Art crochet circle. For a complete list of dates and times for all the crochet circles, see This page also includes a link to the submission form that you need to enclose with any contributions plus explains where to drop off contributions. We will have the form available at Crochet Twin Cities meetings through July and will help coordinate drop-offs from members.

If you are attending a circle at the MIA, they do ask for an RSVP (so they know approximately how many crocheters are attending) -  call 612-870-6323 (press 0) or visit (Tickets are not required, though, so if you don't get a ticket in advance, come anyway!) Be aware that you do need to pay for parking for any events at MIA.

Thanks Lisa, this really does sound like a fun and unique event. And thanks for sharing pictures of the corals you have made!