Improvised knitting and knotting

Amy Twigger Holroyd:

When I was on the train to Portsmouth on Monday, I thought about the different approaches I might take to the pile of junk awaiting me at the gallery. I could knit or crochet with anything long and thin, or crochet into objects to decorate them. The ideas that most excited me were to make an object into an improvised knitting machine, and to repair an object using knit.

In my very first dig through the junk, I found a coat hook ideal for using as a knitting machine – so my first piece was pretty immediate. There were loads of cables lying around, so I used them for yarn.

This one took a little more time, and continues a theme I’ve been exploring in my work recently, of juxtaposing ‘masculine’/hi-tech stuff with ‘feminine’ decorative craft. I’m calling it ’16 Appliances’ because it’s made from… you get it. This one is macramé rather than knitting, because there were 16 strands to work with all at once.

At the moment I’m working on another piece which is forming much more slowly. In the junk pile I found an old wooden chair with the back totally missing – it had been somewhat savagely sawn off just above the seat. I thought this was a prime candidate for knit-based repair, and was pretty excited when I had the idea of using the chair itself as a french knitting bobbin to knit the replacement back. It’s almost as if the chair is rejuvenating itself (with a bit of help). The french knitting is working the opposite way round to usual – going round the outside of the leg, rather than inside a cylinder. You get the purl (reverse) side of the knitting on the outside, but that’s ok. I’m swapping the yarns of the two sides at times, to create two horizontal bars across the back of the chair. This image shows it near the start – hopefully I will get it finished before my time here ends!

I’ve got a few other pieces on the go, continuing some of these ideas – so I’ll do another post in a couple of days to document the rest of my knit-based efforts!

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