Tag Archives: stitch hacking

14GB

Let’s have another story in pictures – this time showing the stitch-hacking of my most recent piece, ’14GB’.

14GB is on display in the Made in the Middle exhibition, along with three other stitch-hacked pieces and my pattern-blagged Shetland lace shawl (more info about those pieces here). Here’s some information about the exhibition:

Made in the Middle is an open exhibition originated by Craftspace and selected by an expert panel. Previously showing contemporary craft from the West Midlands, this year the exhibition has been expanded to include the East Midlands and celebrate creative practice across the whole region. This exhibition brings together 35 makers whose diverse practice reflects the wealth of high quality work produced across the region and the talent nurtured in the Midlands. 

The exhibition is at mac in Birmingham until 15 April, then it will tour the region for another fifteen months (further information on each venue can be found via the exhibition website):

The National Centre for Craft & Design, Sleaford, Lincolnshire 28th April – 1st July 2012

Shire Hall Gallery, Stafford 15th September 2012 – 27th October 2012

Rugby Art Gallery and Museum 15th January – 9th March 2013

Bilston Craft Gallery 23rd March 2013 – 11th May 2013

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery 25th May 2013 – 6th July 2013

At the preview of the exhibition at mac, I was delighted to be awarded the prize for ‘Best Overall Exhibit’. All those hours spent hacking and blagging were worth it…

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ATH + Jayfor

It’s been a while since my last post… so much going on, it has left little time for reflection and communication. Anyway, to make amends, here is the story of the making of a new stitch-hacking piece, told in pictures…

ATH + Jayfor is on display at an exhibition titled WOW: wonder of wool and the art of knit and stitch, at Rheged in Penrith until 15 April. Also on display is my Knitted Engine, and work by a stellar lineup of contributors, including Deirdre Nelson, Freddie Robins, Rachael Matthews, Annie Shaw, Celia Pym and many others. The exhibition is curated by Trevor Pitt of Pod Projects.

Here’s the blurb about the piece that I wrote for the exhibition:

Title: ATH + Jayfor
Materials: Found wool/nylon jumper, nylon yarn
 
Stitch-hacking involves the laddering and re-forming of stitches in existing knitted fabric. This technique has been developed by Amy and allows her to create structural patterns within found knitted garments. For this piece, she has taken the text from the label of an old jumper and transposed it to the body of the garment, ’embossing’ it into the structure of the plain knitting. Amy has also recorded herself within the work, through the inclusion of swiss-darned text. 
 
This work plays with questions of authorship and ownership. The original manufacturer made the stitches, and their information has been made dominant on the garment. However, Amy has physically made the piece her own through the attention and painstaking practical work of her intervention. Through pieces such as this, Amy wants to celebrate the craft of knitting in all its forms – industrial and domestic – and to encourage others to tinker with mass-produced objects, which we often see as ‘closed’.

Workshops: crocheting, stitch-hacking, granny squares

I thought I would share the fun from a few recent workshops. First up was a crochet lesson in a tent, which formed part of the hen party celebrations for Lisa, organised by her sister Claire. None of the group had crocheted before, but in the two hour lesson they managed to produce enough pieces to create a stunning – and certainly unique – cushion cover panel!

I had a fun afternoon puzzling the rectangular and not-so-rectangular pieces together.

Each person tagged their piece with their name, so Lisa could remember everyone who contributed.

Next up was my Stitch-Hacking workshop at Prick Your Finger, held to coincide with the start of my exhibition in the shop (more on the exhibition, and what stitch-hacking is, here).

It was a lovely cosy afternoon and everyone got the hang of the technique pretty quickly. Here’s a picture of Rachael Matthews stitch-hacking a plain pink jumper she picked up when we were in Shetland last year.

And here’s a birds-eye view of some more of the action (including Tomofholland wearing his amazing red knit-frock which he’d just completed – read about it here). Good work everybody! I would love to see pictures of any ‘hacks’ you do in future!

And finally, I wanted to share an email I received after running a Hand Knitting and Crochet Workshop here in the Keep & Share studio a couple of weeks ago. I had a little group who worked really hard all day, going from absolute beginners to competent crocheters! The email is from Amanda, who particularly wanted to learn so she could make a granny square blanket:

“I just wanted to drop you a quick line to say a really big thank you for a most excellent Crochet workshop on Saturday. I have attached my first granny square attempt that I completed on Sunday evening. Although not perfect I am so pleased that it actually looks like what I set out to accomplish and two others actually can tell what it is. I am now planning on putting the quilt to one side and trying to do a single square blanket – hopefully in time for Christmas Eve (will let you know how I get on!)”

Here’s Amanda’s granny square – good luck with the blanket!

crocheted granny square

You find out more about my workshops here. My next Hand Knitting and Crochet Workshop runs alongside a Stitch Hacking Workshop on 17 March 2012.

 

 

 

Stitch-hacking and pattern-blagging at Prick Your Finger

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?

Found cardigan

Stitch-hacked

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

Pattern-blagged

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.

Amy 2010

Found cardigan

Stitch-hacked

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

Found cardigan

Stitch-hacked

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

Pattern-blagged

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)

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