Quick Update – Learning to Machine Knit

If you follow my Instagram you might have noticed that I have started to learn to Machine Knit at Edinburgh Contemporary Crafts. So far we have only had three classes but I am already hooked.

Machine knitting class #sketchbook #moodboard

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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.

#sketchbook #moodboard #machineknitting

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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.

Passap knitting machine


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I also love the cover illustration on the manual.

Machine knitting manual from 1956 #machineknitting

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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.

Casting on the Knitmaster

Casting on is a slow process but one I’m slowly getting the hang of, especially since I have had to do it so many times.

A test swatch

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.

The inner workings of a knitting machineCreating 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.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Quick Update – Machine Knitting, Punch cards, Tucks and Prepping the Final Project | Art, Thoughts, Fashion, Tech

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