Tag Archives: machine knitting

Apprenticeships in the Making

I’m in a film!

I was one of the makers chosen to host two apprentices, Chris and Mark, as part of Craftspace’s action research project, ‘Apprenticeships in the Making’. Here’s some information on the project, which I have grabbed from the Craftspace website:

Apprenticeships in the Making was an action research project which took place in the run up to the current Made in the Middle exhibition. The project worked with young people who are not in education, employment or training, to discover and challenge their preconceptions of craft and to introduce them to potential pathways within the sector.

Through a series of taster sessions the participants experienced the skills of three makers from the exhibition, before progressing onto a week long residency. An aim of the project was to provoke the makers to contemplate the implications of taking on an apprentice long term and to consider what support, as sole traders, they would need to make this a viable proposition.

“I hadn’t really considered what a craftsperson did before, but working with Amy has made me realise the skill involved in knitting.” Mark

“My Granddad used to knit, he taught my Dad too. Amy has inspired me; even my Dad has started to knit again.” Chris

Chris has developed a real love for knitting! Instead of commissioning an item of knitwear (the final part of the project), Chris requested a knitting machine – so I sourced and reconditioned a machine for him. Within a couple of weeks of receiving it he’s already knitted several jumpers and is using YouTube and instruction books to learn new techniques. I’m hoping to work with him again in future and look forward to seeing how his making skills develop.

Vincent and his little blanket

Special occasions call for special knitwear, so to celebrate the birth of my new nephew Vincent, I made him a little personalised blanket in organic cotton with a crocheted trim.

It utilises my special ‘stitch-hacking’ technique, where I manually reverse stitches to create a design. Usually I do it on existing garments (more on this soon, as I’m going to be exhibiting some of these pieces at Prick Your Finger next month) but for Vincent’s piece I reworked the stitches while creating the fabric on the machine.

Here he is, clutching it and waving. What a good boy…

Keep & Share Knitting Workshops

I recently sorted out the dates for my next round of knitting workshops, from October 2011 to May 2012. I’ve listed them below, or you’ll find full details on my Creative Breaks page here. I run a range of workshops, for both complete beginners and more experienced knitters, in hand knitting, machine knitting and there are also more unconventional workshops, like Calculate Your Own Patterns (ideal for those who want to knit ‘off-piste’!) and Stitch-Hacking.

The workshops are always great fun with a nice relaxed atmosphere and a friendly bunch of people. The maximum group size for any workshop is 8 participants (with myself and my assistant teaching), though often the group is smaller, with just me teaching. All equipment and materials are provided (we use chunky Knitmaster 155 machines for the machine knitting workshops, which work in a similar way to all Knitmaster/Silver Reed and Brother single bed machines) – or you’re welcome to bring your own. At the workshops I also provide advice on buying knitting machines and sourcing yarn – essential at the moment while machine knitting is an underground activity!

All the courses take place at Keep & Share HQ, my studio at Lugwardine Court, Hereford, HR1 4AE. I’ve got a list of lovely local B&Bs – so if you’re thinking Hereford is a bit far, why not treat it as a weekend break? There’s plenty to do for partners/family etc if you want to bring them along.

All Saturday sessions run from 10am to 4.30pm, Sunday sessions from 10am to 1pm, followed by a pub lunch. Workshop fees (listed below) include all materials, equipment, lunches and refreshments. A 50% deposit is due on booking, with the balance paid 2 weeks before the course.

KNIT YOUR OWN GLADYS CARDI 2 days £170 

5-6 November 2011 | 14-15 April 2012

Join us to knit our award-winning style, the Gladys Cardi, in a single weekend. We’ll guide you through the making process, including basic machine knitting, using a punchcard and seamless joining techniques. We’ll show you how to hand finish the piece, and before you know it, your very own cardi will be ready to wear. Suitable for both absolute beginners and those with more experience. More info and booking for this course here

HAND KNITTING & CROCHET WORKSHOP 1 day £60

15 October 2011 | 17 March 2012

Our hand knitting and crochet workshop welcomes knitters of all abilities to pick up new skills in relaxed and supportive surroundings. Amy will work with you on whatever techniques you are interested in – from knit and crochet for absolute beginners to lace and cables, multicolour knitting and garment finishing. She can also help you trouble-shoot individual knitting problems! More info and booking for this course here

CALCULATE YOUR OWN PATTERNS 2 days £150

28-29 January 2012 | 12-13 May 2012

At this workshop, designer Amy – who has produced scores of original patterns – will introduce you to her pattern design techniques. She will cover the selection of stitches and structures, taking accurate stitch counts and generating shapes for garments as well as calculating rectangles, angles and curves. You will gain the confidence to start designing your own pieces, freeing you to work more creatively. Suitable for both hand and machine knitters. More info and booking for this course here

MACHINE KNITTING FOR BEGINNERS 2 days £150

1-2 October 2011 | 18-19 February 2012

Whether you’re an absolute beginner or looking to refresh your skills, this course will give you a good grounding in the basics of machine knitting. Amy will teach you how to cast on, cast off, increase and decrease, and create textures, patterns and edgings using simple manual techniques. You will be confident in the basics and have a range of samples to take away. More info and booking for this course here

ADVANCED MACHINE KNITTING: SEAMLESS 2 days £150

1-2 October 2011

One of the key properties of the knitted structure is the ability to create seamless three-dimensional shapes. Working on the knitting machine, pieces can be joined seamlessly during the knitting process. We’ll introduce you to these principles – signature techniques of Keep & Share – and guide you in producing sculptural and seamless samples with many potential applications. More info and booking for this course here

ADVANCED MACHINE KNITTING: PUNCHCARDS 2 days £150

18-19 February 2012

Build on your basic machine knitting skills to get to grips with the punchcard function of machine knitting, allowing you to create a wealth of different structured fabrics including tuck, slip and fairisle. Amy has loads of tricks up her sleeve for creating both basic and more advanced fabrics using this versatile method of programming – you’ll leave the workshop full of ideas! More info and booking for this course here

STITCH HACKING 1 day £60

17 March 2012

Stitch hacking – a new textile technique recently developed by Amy – involves the laddering and reconfiguration of stitches within existing knitted fabrics. This versatile technique allows you to retrospectively create integral knit/purl designs on plain stocking stitch fabric, and many other unconventional effects. Learn the skill, and you’ll never look at a plain jumper in the same way again! More info and booking for this course here