In the first class we began by sketch-booking and creating mood boards to help us begin to work up our own designs. Initially I was disappointed to not start straight away on a machine but I soon changed my mind. I often rush into projects and then later I’m surprised when I don’t like how they turn out: they aren’t the right colour, the fabric/wool choice isn’t right for the design or they don’t work with anything else I have. Being made to take a step back and think about colour and texture was really valuable, its made me think in much more detail about how I want my final project to look and made me be more aware of the knitwear I see everyday.
Edinburgh Contemporary Craft has a collection of inherited knitting machines. My favourite is this one from the 1950s, its colour and design are so beautiful.
I also love the cover illustration on the manual.
In weeks two and three we’ve worked on learning to cast on and make some simple swatches. I’ve been working on a Knitmaster, its been challenging but really rewarding too.
I love how mechanical the machines are. Having spent a lot of time working on modern sewing machines I was surprised to discover that these machines require no electricity to work: they are powered by cogs, wheels and the movement of your body. There is something poetic and really satisfying about that.
Creating the swatches has opened my mind to what is possible through machine knitting. When I first started the class I thought my final project would be something chunky and weighty to the touch. But the machines are much better suited to lightweight wools and I have now started to dream of floaty garments with delicate pattern details. I haven’t had a chance to press my swatches yet, but I’ll do another round up from the class in a few weeks with more photos and hopefully a video of the machines in action.