Tag Archives: textile

Knitting | week 7

Knitting is a very popular and widely-loved technique of manipulating yarn to create a soft, warm fabric. This is done by looping the yarn with needles to create multiple rows of stitches and purls.

Common applications
Materials needed
  • Wool or Acrylic yarn of any size or colour
  • Knitting needles (size will depend on yarn chosen)
Process

Knitting basically consists of making knit and purl stitches in a variety of patterns. The number of repeated knit and purl stitches create different knit patterns such as stockinette, garter and ribbing.

Continuous knit or purl stitch creates a garter pattern which is the same on both sides.

Purl stitch. First time knitting!

After getting comfortable with purling, I tried to combine knit and purl to create a stockinette pattern.

How to do stockinette stitch tutorial

When adding different yarns, I also tried switching needle sizes to suit the larger yarns. Introduce the new yarn colour on a knit row to create a smooth transition between colours.

Switching yarn colours
Stockinette stitch by alternating between knit and purl
Traffic light!

I also tried to knit ribbing but this could be neater with more practice!

Experimentation: Knitting with unconventional materials
Knitting with golden wire
Attempt at knitting with wire

I attempted to knit with a fine jewellery wire but it did not work out beyond a few rows as the wire formed kinks and lacked elasticity, making it difficult to loop and manipulate.

Instead, I tried weaving the wire together with wool yarn to form a new 3-coloured yarn with white yarn, charcoal grey yarn and golden wire.

Twisting and coiling the yarns and wire together

I used this 3-coloured yarn to knit a sample which was soft to the touch yet stiff due to the wire coil.

Casting off to end the knitting with a smooth edge
Finished sample

The next unconventional material I experimented with was knitting with plastic, specifically a used correction tape plastic film and nylon string.

White-out/ correction tape plastic film

The two types of plastic used made this sample was very springy and curl inwards.

I also tried knitting with hemp rope. Rope, by nature, has a lot of friction in order to carry weights and maintain tension. It was very difficult to knit it because after 3 rows, the rope would be too stiff to manipulate.

I tried it once more, this time separating the rope into three strands and knitting using just one.

Twisted hemp rope
Separating the three strands

After this experimentation with knitting, I realise it’s an extremely versatile skill which can be applied to many different materials. It is not limited to wearables and clothing and can even be used as an interactive or smart fabric. I enjoy the calming, rhythmic movement of knitting and look forward to knitting a scarf for my loved ones this summer! 🙂

Smocking & Elastics | week 6

Smocking

Materials: Fabric of choice (heavy or sheer, plain or patterned), thread, needles, patterns, beads (optional to decorate the darts).

Steps outline
  • Start by drawing a grid and transferring the patterns onto the fabric. Varying the size of the grids will vary the effect.
  • Following the lines, stitch the intersections of the grid together in the same spot to gather the fabric
  • Secure it with a knot
  • Repeat for a few rows and the pattern will start to show!

Here is my first smocking sample using a heavy mixed grey felt. Using a stiffer fabric creates a more structured sample; the result feels closer to an object than fabric as it curves to create a new form.

Tracing the patterns for sample 1
50% complete
Completed ‘fish scales’ smocking sample using mixed grey felt
Under-side

I really like the smocking technique as it can create very intricate and textured results using simple hand-stitching. Different weights and textures of fabric creates varying results. I’ve seen these effects in bags, cushion covers and other decorated items but never knew it was this simple to create!

Next, I tried applying this smocking technique onto a thinner fabric (it’s a scrap piece of fabric from an old dress).

Smocking process
Completed ‘Bones’ pattern smocking
Close-up of ‘bones’

When completed, I was curious to see the effect of colour additions on smocking. So I lightly spray painted this black fabric sample to give it a metallic finish and accentuate the ‘bone’ structure and form. The additional gold colour creates more depth in the smocking.

Golden bones
Close-up of golden bones

More samples and experimentation to come 🙂

Sewing with elastic thread

Materials needed: lightweight/sheer fabric, lace, sewing machine, elastic thread

Work in progress! To be updated 🙂