The Devel opment of Knitting
Chapt er 1 10
The Knitting Industry
Chapt er 2 34
Researc h and Design
Chapt er 3 76
Working with Color
Chapt er 4 134
Chapt er 5 166
From Design to Production
Glo ssary 199
Further Reading 204
In recent years knitting has seen a resurgence in popularity, with many different approaches emerging—from creative international runway fashions through to the application of knitting in interiors in the form of lightshades, cushions, floor coverings, chairs, and blinds, all based on the versatility of stitch structure. Conceptual artists, too, have exploited the traditional craft of knitting to create installations of all dimensions, from large-scale public sculptures to miniatures and wearable art, all of which challenge our preconceptions of knitting.
Knitting’s increased popularity has been assisted and promoted by the Internet and the growth of a virtual community of knitters who subscribe to the many popular and well established websites, online journals, and magazines. There are many Internet bloggers and photo bloggers who regularly show images of their work, provide links to other Web pages, and are active in encouraging readers to become involved in discussion forums.
Another current trend is the growing interest in knitting as a community activity. Groups meet regularly in churches, cafés, and on the street to sit, knit, and chat, sharing ideas and swapping patterns. Some groups meet to socialize, learn, and develop new skills, while others knit for charity, for therapy, or to “knit” for social change. Knitting and activism—known as “knit bombing” or “graffiti knitting”—has become widespread globally, with activist groups expressing their concern for the environment and other social and political causes by creating knitted installations and “knit bombing” the environment. These groups have been reinforced by knit-ins, knitting retreats, and knitting festivals such as Unravel and Knit Nation, both in the UK. The knitting festivals feature highly organized event programs of exhibitions, live demonstrations, and workshops, with the opportunity to purchase yarns, equipment, and knitting merchandise from exhibiting stalls.
The largest community event to date is the annual World Wide in Public Day, established in 2005 by Danielle Landes. In its first year it comprised more than 25 events staged around the world. Each year this event has continued to attract greater interest and recognition and now involves over 800 events. It encourages knitting groups across the globe to interact with each other, attracting a generation of new young knitters. It also results in many collaborative knitting projects, with largescale public installations and interdisciplinary projects between artists and craft workers developing within and between groups.
This revival of knitting in the twenty-first century has transformed our view of the craft. This book explores knitting by discussing the techniques, traditions, and contemporary concepts in fashion that have resulted in a profusion of exciting contemporary designs and developments. It examines new ideas and developments in the field of knitted textiles and design, featuring the work of some of the most exciting international designers in knitwear today.
Whether you are a student, designer, practitioner, or home knitter you will find this book a source of inspiration— illustrated throughout with samples, diagrams, and garment designs, demonstrating the potential of knitting and offering a wealth of techniques that can be explored and adapted for both hand and machine knitting.
THE KNITTING INDUSTRY
The practice of knitting, whether applying traditional techniques or new technology, covers a huge field and a vast array of techniques and processes, from hand knitting through to seamless knitting technology. This chapter discusses the manufacturing, design, and sampling methods within the fashion knitting industry. It also profiles the range of career opportunities available in the industry and, finally, explores the international trade exhibitions that provide a space for a range of exhibitors—from spinners to designers—to display knitted textiles and manufacturing machinery.
Weft and warp knitting techniques
There are two main forms of knitting: weft and warp knitting. Weft-knitted fabrics consist of a continuous looped structure of interlocking stitches or courses extending horizontally, and can be knitted with one continuous length of yarn. This creates fabrics suitable for fashion garments. The structure, however, means that work can easily be unraveled. Weft-knitted fabrics are the most common form of knitting and can be produced by hand using knitting needles, or produced on a domestic or industrial knitting machine.
Warp knitting is formed from loops of yarn zigzagging and linking in a vertical direction, creating very stable fabrics that cannot be unraveled. Warp-knitted fabric is produced by machine using one warp yarn for each wale; the wale is the vertical line of loops in knitting that each stitch hangs from. Warp-knitted fabric is used for corsetry, underwear, lingerie, sports fabrics, nets and tulle, curtaining, and trims.