Knitting to me conjures up piles of jumpers and Nan’s knitting scarfs. This is terribly untrue as I am just jealous because I can’t knit. My first task is to produce a mind map of what knitting means to me and what I associate with it.
I would love to be able to knit. My mum tried to teach me how to crochet when I was little and I didn’t get further than a chain stitch. This all changed when I was doing my GCSE Textiles as I decided to go big and crochet a hat, scarf and bag all taken from a 1970’s knitting book. I could only do it in ten minute intervals as I lost concentration. They are still in the loft somewhere I think so I will try to find them. Looking at historical examples of knitting and old patterns and how they were viewed at the time fascinate me. I do tend to laugh when I see them but they aren’t funny, they are deadly serious.
I like these ladies and their nice cardigans and jumpers. It gives a sense of grandeur and a ‘oh this old thing?’ The glamour of making your own clothes in the 40’s and 50’s was still very strong and I bet these ladies whipped them up in no time as opposed to my ten years to make a button hole. Some of these 50’s and 70’s patterns are excellent and I want a knitted pair of gloves and balaclava set.
The 70’s were a time of change and you too could treat your dad to a knitted poncho or you could knit yourself and your new boyfriend matching tank tops. These are wonderful tank tops.
I love all of these items and it makes me want to learn to knit urgently. As I was writing this I have already sent another one of my ‘Mum can you teach me how to…’messages.
I really like the knitted suit and the pattern on it and that blue jumper I would wear now. They make me want to say that things are ‘swell’ and ‘hip’. I won’t though.
Read this, it’s wonderful- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/the-filter/qi/10638792/QI-how-knitting-was-used-as-code-in-WW2.html – accessed 20th January 2017.
Looking at more contemporary knitting, there was so much to see. I have seen yarn bombing around Manchester or tree wrapping or ‘cardi trees’ but I never really knew why. I used to think it was nice but then I worried if the wool would go bad over time so is it a repeated thing once this happens? I looked at the recommended site called Knitta Please and I found it really interesting.
The basic premise was-
‘Knitta Please, also known as simply Knitta, is the group of artists who began the “knit graffiti” movement in Houston, Texas in 2005. They are known for wrapping public architecture—e.g. lampposts, parking meters, telephone poles, and signage—with knitted or crocheted material. It has been called “knit graffiti”, “yarn storming” and “yarnbombing”. The mission is to make street art “a little more warm and fuzzy.”
Knitta grew to eleven members by the end of 2007, but eventually dwindled down to its founder, who continues to travel and knit graffiti. Internationally, as many as a dozen groups have followed Knitta’s lead. Sayeg and the group have shown their art across the United States and around the world’
I like how the knits are called ‘utility pole warmer’ and ‘Tree hugger’
The scale of this new knitting movement only needs you you type in yarn bombing or art knits into a search and it brings up loads of things.
This resurgence of knitted art has even been shown in galleries and is a real thing. There are groups for everyone to join to learn to knit either their own things or a full scale piece together. I remember seeing an article about a knitted town before Christmas on twitter and further research brought up the village of Mersham.
‘Mersham, in Kent – has been lovingly knitted by a small group of very twinkly ladies who started 23 years ago with a couple of cottages and some pigs, and ended up creating more than 60 properties, complete with wheelie bins, outdoor loos, gas tanks, cars in the driveways and even a smart red telephone box’
and then I found the work of Freddie Robbins who works predominately in wool and textiles and I loved it!
Collection of Knitted Folk Objects – Pocky, 2014, machine knitted wool, reclaimed knitting needles, 700 × 400 × 120 mm
I love her work and I spent hours going through and finding out more about her. I will be seeing if her books are in the library.
I think after overloading myself on the world of knitting my initial thoughts about it being all Nan’s and W.I ladies is still true as the Nan’s knitted the village but also the fashions at the time I don’t think are too stereotypical as it was over 30 years ago when a full on knitted suit could be made for £5. Balaclavas are not really great attire anymore but I do have one to wear when I am on the beach in winter and it is the warmest thing I own. None of it makes me cringe or wish it never happened as half of the stuff I would knit and wear myself if I could be bothered to sit down and learn. A lot of the recent knitting groups have been reborn with younger people taking over but I feel sometimes they can become worse than a W.I as its a ‘friends’ only place and can become clicky.
I do like the yarn bombing as it does make things look nice but I wouldn’t sit on a knitted bench as the wool would have things in it and it would be terrible if it rained. You may know this if you have ever worn a wool coat in the rain. I like the idea of the messages for political reasons or to tell people about something and some of these do end up in galleries.
or this..flipping heck.
and finally my favourite knitted article that I own, a monkey teddy man called Algernon.
All websites and links accessed- 12th/17th January 2017.