Sunday, 3 April 2011

Endless Knitting

I've been doing a lot of knitting recently. This being the second semester, we've been tasked with making a fully-fashioned knitted top, to go with a cut-and-sewn jersey dress.

I'm not showing you my dress because it's crap. Very little thought went into it, I had limited access to the sewing room, and my skills in that arena are very poor anyway.

But that's not what this post is about, it's about the knitted top. And all the other knitting. I bloody well dream about knitting recently. Well, that and colonel Gaddaffi (no shit, I dreamt I took him to a riot, thought it would help him connect with his people)

This is the top, as seen when laid out upon my fine and glorious carpet. The funny thing about this top is that it's completely mutated beyond all recognition between initial conception and the putting together of component pieces. What you see here is what has become of "the rib", which was supposed to be a sort of fluffy collar/cuff kind of thing that would go round the back of the neck and down the inside front of a kind of waistcoat garment. It changed from that in my notebook to being a sort of huge circle that would completely enclose the wearer when in use. Oh, it was going to be quilted too. But as mentioned above, my sewing skills are less than L55T, if you know what i mean.

However, due to practical issues, not the least being the fact that I've forgotten all my high school maths, I decided to instead make the thing out of triangles. Initially I wanted to make a sort of rough circle out of triangles, but my dodgy grasp of maths told me that I'd need 40 pieces 10 stitches wide on the inside just to make one side of the circle. Which sounded like bollocks to me, so I just winged it.

What you see here is a centre piece that begins at 10 stitches wide and increases by 1 stitch on each side until it reaches 180 stitches wide, and then 2 panels on either side, decreasing by 20 stitches at the outside until it ends with two pieces that are only 20 stitches wide on the outside.

This is a little more difficult to explain. The layers are joined by 50 courses of knitting. I kinda just hooked two pieces onto the needles in a sorta bodgy and messy kinda way and then just started knitting, then hooked on two pieces of the opposing panel and did a little bit more knitting then casted off.

This isn't really a great way of doing it, it makes a sort of loose join, which is a shame, maybe if i did the initial courses at a higher tension it'd sort that out. Or if i used a linker instead of just doing it this bodgy way. But i don't have a linker at home, and I have been relying a lot on working at home to get my work done as I seem to be incapable of waking up in the morning at the moment but can, however, manage to work till 3 or 4 am, no problem.

Anyway, yaah, i'm thinking of putting like inflatable sacs between the layers, but i don't know what i could use exactly. I suspect anything i can get my hands on commercially in my price bracket wouldn't created the effect I desire, and I doubt i have the time to collect the materials and skills I require to make my won inflatable sacs to shape, so I think I'll just have to get by with them being uninflated.


And this is my worktable, in Knitting Mode. All modes include computer mode BTW. The folder in the middle is my technical development file for this year. I plan to make a knitted book using the aforementioned techniques in which to keep the technical samples contained therein. Such a thing would be, by necessity, big, bulky and time-consuming to construct, but would probably bump my grade up a notch. Considering that this project was supposed to be done with a particular high-fashion brand in mind, and considering that aspect of the project has completely slipped my mind for the entire duration, and that this garment and the fabrics from which it is constructed don't appear to fit into anyone's idea of current fashion trends (bollocks anyway, fashion is a stumbling corpse) I might need that.

So yeah.

An insight into how my design process currently works. Chaotic and unpredictable are both good descriptors for it.




Meg in Nelson said...

I don't know much about knitting, but the knitted book sounds wonderful. I would like to see your garment on a ... 3D model, possibly yourself (hee hee) when you're done... Or with the inflatables, are you thinking this is more a sculpture?

humblebumble said...

hey meg

The garment is totally not finished yet, so you'll have to wait.

oh, the suspense. They don't call me the Alfred Hitchcock of student weaving for nothing.

As far as the inflatable goes, this is definitely an aspiration. I tend towards the sculptural/architectural in my college work recently. It just makes life more interesting. Flat fabric is so boring, and i got a lot of inspiration for textured wall coverings when i visited the chelsea design centre in That London last month.

But I just think it's a lot of fun, and who wouldn't want to make their own homemade inflatable sacs?

Anyway, I've just had a long conversation with a friend who's always full of good ideas for making odd stuff and now have several new ideas about how to make said inflatable sacs.

I'm certainly not promising anything, but i feel somewhat more optimistic regarding this whole thing. Now i just need to collect a whole shitload of plastic bags. Either that or go and find a whole shitload of plastic sheeting in a skip or something

Meg in Nelson said...

Alfred Hitchcock of weaving - LOVE THAT. What's the point of being obvious about what you make, right?

Re inflatable, are shapes you're going for something you can achieve by taping (and changing the shapes of)regular balloons? I've been wondering what you can use that's cheap because it'd be (excuse my French) F***ing Awesome if you could show it as you intended. Also, those Styrofoam shapes they sell in craft shops? What about beanbag stuffings? I guess for that matter the quilt stuffings? Anyway, it seems you and your friend had enough ideas.

I think going sculptural is great - I think it's great for student work and grades, and when/if you get back to flat weaving, it might give you a totally new perspective on the way you design/weave.

You know, ever since you mentioned it, I've been thinking about a 8-page book woven in double weave. Each page wold have to be relatively simple, (probably plain weave, maybe something like Log Cabin), but bound at one end. I'd probably make it small, and use something like 20/2 cotton, but it's a great idea, don't you think??? Great big thanks to you for the idea. It'll probalby take a year for me to execute it, though. And what do I do about the warp ends..... But if I ever do that, I'll give you credit, 100%!!

(Wouldn't small booklets like that great to sell or give away at my exhibition next year?)

humblebumble said...

hey meg.

the book thing sounds good. Are you talking about making an 8 layered weave in a single warp? Nice.

I guess you'd have warp AND weft ends to worry about there. But you could braid them, or darn them back into the fabric, or plait them along the edges.

It's actually a very nice idea for making photo albums now i think about it.

And now you have me thinking of swatch books. I've seen some very nice swatch books.

A nice way of spreading goodwill and advertising your weaving at the same time, especially as it's hand-made. People can tell

Meg in Nelson said...

You got it! It's the warp and weft ends I'm more concerned with now.