Monday, 14 February 2011

Following months of indecision

And one completely off-topic post.

But hey, I'm allowed, they overthrew a dictator. Good for them, I'm totally in support of that, it's brilliant. Go Egypt, woohoo, and so on.

But back to topic anyway.

So, the indecision part of this last few months has been due to having to decide at some point before may whether I'm picking knit or weave next year. Easy decision, surely? Well, not as easy as you'd think. After all, there is a healthy living to be made in machine knitting apparently, in this country even (imagine that! making a decent living without selling my soul or moving to the other side of the world to oversee hundreds of slave-labourers!). And I was starting to get bored and frustrated with the limits placed upon me in the weave department regarding what i was doing.

So I have been seriously considering knit, simply for the reason that I'd be able to make a proper living when I came out of I'm honest. But at the end of the day, that isn't a sensible reason for me to do anything. Putting all that effort into getting a well-paid job in an economy that has been contracting and dying off all my adult life? Madness surely. Add to that it's an economy that's supported by a state that has systematically declared war on and destroyed large sectors of the economy in the not too distant past, just for the sake of destroying it's political opponents. And I don't care what colour tie the rubbery faced public-school-boy that's running the country's wearing. They're all capitalists, they're all from the priviledged classes, and there's not one of them that gives a damn about people that actually work for a living.

So that's done away with the Alleigance-to-mainstream-society-in-the-form-of-getting-a-proper-career-with-a-salary-and-everything argument that was in favour of knitting.

So what about the creative side of things? Well, I've pissed about on the knitting machines and I've done plating, and fancy cabling and combined 2x2 ribs with full cardigan and all this, and none of it really inspires me. Really knitwear should be simple, and I just don't have any ideas for doing anything different on a knitting machine that hasn't been done a million times before by a robot in Asia.

So bugger it, my weave is actually half-decent and i have ideas for it, so I'm doing weave, even if it does take a whole day to set the machine up. So that's that

Speaking of which, I can't remember if i mentioned the outcome of the concrete project. Well, i wove with core-spun elastane, otherwise known as knicker elastic, in both the warp and the weft, which totally wasn't as big a deal as people said it would be. I just think noone's done it before because it sound like a nightmare, but it really isn't such a big deal. it's a right pain to thread up mind you, but that's kinda expected isn't it?

But anyway, we never got to cast the pieces, because 2 inches of snow in this country apparently spells the end of the world as we know it. We're pathetic. So the entire thing was a bit of a waste of time. It's almost as if they didn't think this whole thing through at all and just bolted it onto the module at the last minute because it sounded like a good idea and someone had a head full of inspirational buzzwords from the marketing imps at

Once again, i should have ignored the module brief and done my own thing. If I had I might have had conducting fabric by now. Damn them all!

Oh well, decisions made. Now I've got nothing better to do with the bulk of the week but lie on my back and do research on the internet for the knitwear module on bloody high-fashion because i went and bruised my hip and can barely walk now. How i hate researching fashion and writing about it in my journal. Such a load of consumerist bullshit, it really is.

Ugh, better hobble outside so the dog can take a leak. This is what i get for playing tarzan. Damn fool



Anonymous said...

Ah yes, making a living... not many fields in which that isn't an absolute bugger - unless you are inclined towards soul-selling, and I don't get that impression about you - so you might as well enjoy the ride while you can :-)

Geodyne said...

What Cally said.

Bravo Andrew, I think you've made the right decision for the right reasons.

Meg in Nelson said...

Playing devil's advocate here. Because I don't want you to be dirt poor and hungry... If machine-knitting can give you a bit more of an income, is there a way you can do a little bit of both? Like knit enough to keep you fed and houses, maybe even clothed, while you pour your creative energy on weaving?

You know many of us have "bread and butter weaving" and make rather same-old stuff to sell in the hopes of earning an income? Well, in your case, if the knitting brings you better returns than weaving, because you can do both, you might want to make your "bread and butter" knitting, and your art, weaving. You'd have to stick to something that comes to you relatively easily on the B&B department, something not very labour-intensive. Just a thought.

It's actually enviable you have this option, you know. Just so you look at the bright side, too.

deborahbee said...

Egypt made me feel hopeful, how long before we get the message here!I was a machine knitter before discovering weaving but it never got my creative juices flowing like weaving does. If you do the knitting option you would be able to develop your weaving skills yourself I suppose. My daughter did Constructed Textiles and works in the fashion industry as a product manager. She longs to weave but is earning too much to give up her job! I have been approached to weave linen towels for a posh shop but sense a dilemma over profit margins. All that setting up (as you say) and there is a ceiling on what you can charge. Hope you make a good decision.

Dorothy said...

I sadly agree abut earning a living. That's why I'm publishing a magazine instead of weaving.

But, can you do the knitting well enough, if it doesn't inspire you? Have you visited Joyce Forsyth (42 Candlemaker Row, Edinbrugh? (

humblebumble said...

hello good people! I am fully chuffed that people are still following this blog after such a long period of deafening silence.

anyway, no decisions made yet.

I have started doing the spring clean today, trying to get rid of all the stuff i don't need. Maybe when I'm not weighed down by a ton of crap I'll be able to think better. Anyone want to buy a telly? ;)


Anyway, to address meg and dorothy's thoughts (thanks for raising these points) I'm sure i could continue knitting on a commission basis for the cash, and a bit more knowledge of domestic knitting is one of the things i always hoped to get out of this course. And my knitting is vastly improved from before, which is nice. But i do have to get through college, and attempt to make it enjoyable. It would also be nice to be able to distinguish myself a little and I can't do that with knit, I just don't have any interesting ideas for things to do with the knitting that would justify my picking it over weave.

The main thing about the economic argument is that the future, economically speaking, is a big cloudbank, nothing can be seen. Doesn't matter which way I look, the probability is that any mechanical task i become good at will get taken over by a machine or a more efficient process somewhere else. And also, textiles isn't the only thing i'm interested in, and i don't believe the traditional economy will survive this century. It's on it's way out. I'm very interested in plastics recycling, bio-plastics, desktop 3D printing, personal renewables, ubiquitous computing interfaces and substrates, a whole host of things, and it may not be the wisest thing to become overly obsessed with one particular aspect of production

i need a whole range of skills, including, but not limited to 3D modelling, basic chemistry, computer programming, electronics hacking as well as the weaving and knitting. I'll have to be able to manufacture my own machine parts one of these days after all, you can't rely on your suppliers to stay in business. There's only one company in the UK that supplies reeds for heaven's sake, and the supply of parts for most brother knitting machines is finite as they're no longer being manufactured. And why should i expect to pay thousands of pounds for an electronically programmable dobby box when i can build one myself with about £50 worth of parts and a simple microcontroller?

but this is all window dressing. I just have to do what i enjoy, because I'm going to be dirt-poor one way or the other, so I might as well enjoy my work while I'm being dirt-poor

and on the subject of the arab world. Libya, Bahrain, Iran are fighting now. The House of Saud is very worried and threatening intervention in Bahrain if things go against the dictator. At the end of this all, the House of Saud must fall.