I’ve realised over the past few weeks that it’s difficult to blog about all the exciting projects you’re doing when you’re so busy doing them, there’s barely time to eat, let alone type.
Anyhow, work on the Knitted Engine is coming on a treat. Since my last post, I did two days at BMW Plant Hams Hall. I was able to quiz BMW associates about the intricacies of engine design (turns out I’d got most of the bits right on my last diagram, apart from a random belt assembly on the right hand side that I’d totally invented, and misplacing the clutch and flywheel). I also measured all the engine parts that I’d been trying to assess the size of via photos (much easier).
The main activity at BMW was running workshops with thirty year 6 pupils from Coleshill Primary School. They learned to knit, crochet, french knit and finger knit and I was so impressed with them! Four BMW apprentices joined in too. I don’t think they were really expecting knitting to be part of their training but they took to it with good grace.
I then went into school for two more days of workshops, using the children’s development samples to inform the design of the final components. It required loads of french knitting (on bobbins ranging from the traditional 4 pins in a wooden bobbin to a customised 25cm plantpot), hand knitting and crocheting round metal rings. They worked really hard and they were really positive about the experience of learning to knit, which was lovely to hear.
I’ve now got all the bits the kids made and I’m madly forming them into the final engine components! I made the exhaust yesterday, and now I’m onto the pistons which connect to the con-rods I’ve already made. Still lots of knitting and stitching to be done, but it’ll all be sorted by next Friday when I install at BMW for a few days before moving it to Lichfield Cathedral on Monday 11th July. Exciting!
Update: there are 5 posts in total about the Knitted Engine, from initial sketches and workshops to photos of the finished piece. View them all here.