essay: Knitting Textures

by Admin on 23/09/2008

in knitting+crochet+yarn

Lately I have been thinking about all of the ways that texture is at work in any given piece of knitting.

First, there is the weight of the yarn, and the way that the yarn is spun, then there is the texture of the fiber from which the yarn is made, and THEN there is the pattern in which you knit it, from garter stitch, to stockinette, to something a little bit fancier. All of these things add up to create a beautifully complex story in the texture of the knitting.

The swatches pictured here were knit in the last couple of weeks with an exploration of knitting textures in mind. Pictured at top is a Merino wool blend knit in the King Charles Brocade pattern found here. Second from the top is a wool blend knit in the Pavilion pattern from the same site – you can find the stitch pattern here.

So what’s with the funny little swatches? Why all the blah-blah-blah on texture? I find it helps me when planning new projects to think of just one aspect of a process or craft, in order to expand my idea of what it is capable of. Currently, I am brainstorming ways of using knitting in the home. Not as a sweater, or even a tea-cozy, but maybe in a way I haven’t seen before. For example, could knitting be used as a textured wainscoting, or wallpaper? Anybody else been using knitting in unusual ways to decorate their home?

About the writer: Zoe Hartley Carter is a Canadian artist and crafter who blogs about photography, crafts, design, and sweet treats at Morning Toast.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 karen September 23, 2008 at 11:30 pm

Oh, yes, Zoe – it’s all about the stages of the process rather than focusing mostly on the result. This gives me great joy – as it obviously does you.
And enhances a home with meaningful objects. F’r’instance I have ripped a flannel sheet into strips and knit a bathmat; hang skeins around the neck of a wooden man and stack wool winder wound balls here and there; pile handmade socks in a basket so they are on view; knit on my arms using men’s ties as the yarn – this is in progress and is either going to be a yoga mat carrybag or a small rug…….


2 Zoe September 24, 2008 at 1:53 am

Wow Karen, you really think outside the box with your supplies! I am inspired by your large scale knit and crochet pieces, like the knitting with men’s ties.


3 Liz September 24, 2008 at 2:48 pm

I’m really interested in knitting used as decoration–art, if you will. I’ve seen a few wall hangings, but I wonder why more isn’t done? Cross stitch and embroidery pieces are hung, why not knitting? Anyone have thoughts?


4 Zoe September 25, 2008 at 4:08 am

I wonder if knitting as art hasn’t taken off in the same was as, say, embroidery, for the reason that it’s not generally as directly representational of a visual image as cross stitch or embroidery. But it’s a pretty fun thing to think about… would you knit an image using many colors of yarn, or would the image be in the shape of the knitting – like a sculptural piece – or would there even have to be an image involved? Lots of options I guess.


5 kylie gusset September 29, 2008 at 4:23 am

i’ve just gotten back from a weeklong workshop “knitting on steroids” where we explored other uses for knitting. one of the ones that came out really cool were large samples of knitting in cotton which were then stretched over large wooden stamps to become stamps in themselves. inked up with metallic fabric paint and stamped on a plain black tshirt – interesting effect, particularly when strands of painted yarn were also used to loosen things up. i’ll see if i can get some flickr uploads from the participants…


6 Zoe November 19, 2008 at 1:58 am

Kylie – that sounds very cool! I’ve never considered using knitting that way, as a medium with which to create other art. Thanks for sharing this unique idea.


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