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:
Stitch-Hacking the laddering and reconfiguration of stitches in an existing knitted garment
Pattern-Blagging the modification of an existing knitting or crochet pattern to create a personalised item
The techniques are used to adapt existing garments and patterns to include personalised content. On a conceptual level, these pieces explore authorship and ownership; on a personal level, they allow me to put something of myself into my wardrobe.
Here’s a sneak preview of the pieces in the exhibition – though I reckon it’s worth seeing them in the flesh, if you can.
Who Made This?
This cardigan has particular personal significance, and was the first piece I made in this body of work. The original cardigan was found in my late great-aunt’s house, in a chest of drawers full of hand-knitted cardigans. We think it was knitted by my grandmother (who taught me to knit) but can’t be sure. Who made this cardigan? The original knitter made the stitches, but I laddered and re-formed them.
20.11.09 – 1976
Filet crochet smock
Original pattern published in ‘Knitting, Crochet & Embroidery’ in 1976.
My first pattern-blagged piece. I originally intended to make this piece ‘true to pattern’, but when I came to the first row of the original design (a floral border, created within the filet crochet structure), I rebelled.
I acquired this cardigan at some point in the last few years, at a charity shop or perhaps a jumble sale. It languished, unnoticed, in my wardrobe for some time before I heard its call to be hacked.
St Michael – 12 – 40
All of the information hacked into this St Michael cardigan was taken from the labels inside the garment. The hacking celebrates, and painstakingly brings to the surface, the unremarkable story of its original creation.
1.12.2010 – Lugwardine – Amy – 1.10.2011
Shetland lace shawl
Original pattern ‘The Rosemary Shawl’ designed by Gema Ord for Jamieson & Smith, published in ‘My Weekly’ in 1994.
In September 2010, following my presentation on Stitch-Hacking and Pattern-Blagging at the ‘In The Loop 2’ knitting conference in Shetland, I boldly stated that I would pattern-blag a Shetland lace shawl. Twelve months later, here is the result. My rules: the personal adaptations had to be decided upon during the making process, and constructed spontaneously without sampling.
Want to have a go? I’m running a stitch-hacking workshop at Prick Your Finger on Saturday – enquiries/bookings to the shop on 020 8981 2560.
The exhibition will be on for 6 weeks or so – private view tomorrow from 6pm, all welcome so hope to see you there! (260 Globe Road, E2 0JD, nearest tube: Bethnal Green)