Ooh heck, there's been lots going on in the past few months and there's a blog post backlog mounting up!
First, I should mention that I'm very pleased to have lots of work in the current exhibition at Walford Mill Crafts in Dorset, Knit 1, Mend 1, Keep 1, Change 1. They're showing several stitch-hacked and pattern-blagged pieces, along with my re-knitting sampler garment and a nice big version of my spectrum of re-knitting treatments. The exhibition is on until Sunday 1 March, and features work by other makers, including the fabulous Celia Pym. Highly recommended!
And now, here goes with a quick post about a really great day in January.
It was my first experience as a participant in a hack, and I found it really nice to have a day set aside for playful exploration, alongside interesting people from diverse backgrounds.
I teamed up with Holger Ballweg, a live coder, to explore whether it was possible to write some code to convert a written knitting pattern into sounds. We based it on a traditional Shetland lace stitch - horseshoe - and used a free pattern from Knitting Bee. Towards the end of the day we tested the code with another lace stitch.
I have to confess that the division of labour felt rather unequal - Holger slaved away over creating a whole new lot of code, while I knitted a nice repetitive and familiar pattern!
We made it so the speed of the sounds could be varied - at knitting speed (as in the first YouTube clip below), or much faster, which shows the repeats in the pattern quite effectively (and amusingly - click the second clip below). I think the version at knitting speed could (with lots of development and refinement) be useful for knitters, especially those with visual impairment.
Hopefully, we'll be able to develop this in the future... A big thank you to Holger for taking on my challenge, and for posting the clips online. You can read his blog post about the project, which includes a link to the source code, here.
There's been a sudden rush of activity on the exhibition front!
On 19 September, the fantastic Knitwear: Chanel to Westwood exhibition opened at the Fashion & Textile Museum in Bermondsey, London. The main exhibition is an incredible showcase of twentieth century knitwear, featuring not only work by big name designers, but also popular vernacular styles (such as a display of beautiful Fair Isle jumpers). Sitting alongside is the Visionary Knitwear display, curated by Sandy Black, a 'showcase of bold visions in contemporary fashion knitwear' - including my stitch-hacked piece, St Michael - 12 - 40 (shown, in situ, above).
I highly recommend the exhibition for all knitwear fans! It runs until 18 January 2015, and visitor information can be found here.
Soon after attending the private view of the Knitwear exhibition, I was packing up work for another display - this time in Poland, part of Łódź Design Festival. The exhibition is called Brave Fixed World, and is curated by Daniel Charny (known for his fantastic Power of Making exhibition at the V&A in 2011). I'm sad that I won't get to see the exhibition, because it sounds great! Here's the introductory blurb:
The world we live in is shaped by the heroic successes of mechanisation and mass-production. The democratisation of access to goods and improved quality of life brought about by industrial production has come at a price. While the abundance of cheap standardised products strain our environment, we are distanced from the experience of making, so leaving many with the limited choices of buying new or doing nothing. This ‘Brave New World’ needs fixing.
The Gallery element looks at ‘fixes’ covering a range of activities ... fom these examples the Fixhub invites debate and speculation on what our world may be like if fixing became the norm? What if it became a legal imperative or a sweeping social movement?
The exhibition runs from 10 to 19 October, and will feature my re-knitting work: the 'spectrum' diagram (which shows an array of re-knitting options), the 'tester' jumper showing five different treatments, and my first ever stitch-hacked piece, 'Who Made This?'.
Hot on the heels of the exhibition in Poland is Knitting Nottingham, an exhibition at Nottingham Trent University's Bonington Gallery which explores 'new knitting directions and technologies, which challenge current knit practice and offer future-focused ideas'. It celebrates Nottingham Trent University’s 170 years of knitting education, design and research.
Knitting Nottingham runs from 6 to 28 November (plus a preview evening on 6 November), and is free to attend. Visitor information can be found here.
In August, I’ll be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Keep & Share. Yes, that’s right – I’ve been exploring the possibilities of sustainable fashion, through the magical medium of knitting, for a whole decade! Doesn’t time fly…
I have a couple of exciting activities planned to mark the occasion: an exhibition and talk at London yarn mecca Prick Your Finger, and a print-and-online pamphlet telling the ever-evolving story of Keep & Share, in my own words.
It’ll be a busy summer, as we’ll also be popping up with the Keep & Share Knitting Tent at Latitude festival in July.
The talk and exhibition launch will take place on 21st August: ten years to the day since the first ever appearance of Keep & Share, at an independent fashion market in Manchester.
I’ll post further details nearer the time, but wanted to spread the word so you can get the date in your diaries. All are welcome – especially friends and customers of Keep & Share, past, present and future!
So, that’s Thursday 21st August, 2014 at Prick Your Finger, 260 Globe Road, E2 0JD - join us to celebrate between 6pm and 9pm. I’ll be giving a slideshow talk – sharing my experiences of a decade in experimental slow fashion knitting – at 7pm.
Many thanks to the wonderful Rachael Matthews of Prick Your Finger for inviting me – long live the knitting community!
It’s been a while since my last post… so much going on, it has left little time for reflection and communication. Anyway, to make amends, here is the story of the making of a new stitch-hacking piece.
Update: see images of the finished piece here
Let’s have another story in pictures – this time showing the stitch-hacking of my most recent piece, ’14GB’.
Update: see images of the finished piece here
14GB is on display in the Made in the Middle exhibition, along with three other stitch-hacked pieces and my pattern-blagged Shetland lace shawl (more info about those pieces here). Here’s some information about the exhibition:
Tomorrow I’m off to set up a exhibition of my work at London knitting mecca Prick Your Finger. I’m focusing on stitch-hacking and pattern-blagging, two techniques that I’ve developed over the last couple of years:
Last week I worked in residence at Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth, as part of an exhibition called Working Title. The idea was to work with junk that had been donated by local people. There's more info about the exhibition in my previous post.
Update: the original blog post included descriptions and images of the pieces created at Working Title, taken from two guest posts I wrote for the Working Title blog, which can be found here and here. The full collection of work I created can now be found on this site in Projects, here.