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Jan-Mar 2020 Knit Creative Developments

Since January I have been exploring different yarns and techniques to push my knit research forwards. Each week I had a loose focus usually around a technique or particular type of yarn.

  • To explore different transparent/reflective ‘yarns’: monofilament, transparent embroidery thread, nylon fishing wire, thin gauge wire, silver embroidery thread, silver yarn, reflective ‘yarn’

  • To explore contrasts: transparency vs opacity, reflective vs non-reflective, hard vs soft

  • To explore more open knits and decide which gauge machine is best

  • To explore pockets with hard materials inside

For each sample to see what effects produced when lit: shadows and reflections created. I also wanted to try out the 2.5, 5 and 7 gauge machines to see which would be most suitable. I'm just going to give some brief highlights and reflections on each week's work here.

Jan 30th Circular knitting

I spent the first week back getting to grips with this technique, firstly on the 10 gauge and then on the 5 gauge when I realised the structure was too closed for my purposes. The most frustrating part is trying to get the sides of each 'tube' to knit without retaining stitches on the end needles or without losing tension so that it becomes ragged and holey. Hanging small claw weights on each side worked with strong yarns but ripped the monofilament. I tried a few different yarns: cotton, silk, polypropylene and also tried knitting with reflective yarn which proved very difficult to work with. I'm keen to use transparent yarns if possible to indicate the invisibility of the intricate structures in each cell of our bodies.

February 6th Yarn explorations

The picture shows a sample knitted on the 2.5 gauge machine with silver embroidery thread and fishing line. The contrast between the two in terms of flexibility created some interesting convoluted shapes. Other yarns used were: silver lurex (too weak), holographic lurex (not as weak and knitted fairly well), nylon sewing thread and paper - which was a nightmare! Even with adjustments in tension or holding the yarn and manually regulating the tension, it still kept snapping.

February 13th Pockets with insertions

The photo shows nylon sewing thread knitted on the 2.5 gauge machine using the selective miss technique for creating 2-colour pockets with white monofilament. The circles and strip are silver mylar as I wanted to see what the reflections created would be like. It was tricky remembering to make sure that the circles were inserted with the shiniest side facing the same way.

For a first attempt at a longer flat piece stitched into a tube, I was pleased with the result.

February 20th Wire

The least successful week! I wanted to try knitting with wire as I'd been looking at the work of Ruth Asawa and wondering if it would be possible to create pieces by machine rather than by hand. I started on the 2.5 gauge using every other needle with 0.2mm wire, but it just kept breaking even when manually adjusting the tension and not putting it through the side feeders. One of the other students suggested moving to the 5 gauge and that worked better, but for the large pieces I want to create it's really not practical to use wire.

March 5th Stripes and Transparency

I tried a few different combinations: polythene (very course and not very transparent), monofilament, silver Abigail, silk and spun rayon.

The photo shows a sample knitted with spun rayon and monofilament which I think has possibilities.

This sample was knitted with silk and monofilament using the ripple technique. I laid reflective yarn in each ripple. The photo is taken with flash to activate the reflective yarn. I think this has possiblities too.

March 12th Stripes, monofilament pockets and perspex circles

Spun rayon and silver Abigail with monofilament pockets filled with laser cut perspex mirror circles knitted on the 5 gauge. This sample is the closest so far to what I'm trying to achieve. I still need to work out the exact number of rows needed for the pockets and how to join the flat piece into a tube.

This sample was knitted with green and pale cream nylon and pale orchid silk on the 5 gauge. Although it was very raggedy at the edges because the nylon yarns (green and cream) were very fine and kept splitting, overall I feel like I'm finally heading in the right direction. There's a LOT more refining to do yet though.

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