You’ve seen the before…

here’s the after. The tucked sample I showed you before on the left, its sibling on the right. Both washed on the ‘whites, eco’ setting on my washing machine, which I think is 60C, and both well felted. The button resists I added to both worked well, the string resist I added to the one on the left doesn’t seem to have made any difference. Perhaps I should have pulled it tight? – time for another experiment.

While I was at it I added an embroidered piece to the washing machine.

This was inspired by the Ai Wei Wei work shown below: kantha stitched on wool felt with added buttons. This has shrunk  so well the buttons have snuggled up together. Unfortunately some of the felt has attached itself to the top surface, but if I had more patience I could get it off. 


What next?

Having finished the my third degree – all bar the weeping/celebrating when I get the results – where am I going next? Having spent the last year knitting very big 3D structures…


the one thing I was sure I wasn’t going to do was knit. Embroider, weave, perhaps even sew – but certainly not knit.

That lasted about  a week, and then I woke up one morning thinking about knitted balls. As you do. And then I thought about all sorts of knitted 3D shapes. This is a theme – 3D textiles without seams – which I explored years ago when I was doing City and Guilds, and then the foundation degree, but it didn’t get a very warm welcome from the teachers, so I dropped it.

But now I’m a fully fledged BA Fine Artist (fingers crossed) I can make my own decisions!

One problem with the very big 3D pieces is that they need heavy engineering to hold them up. Now I want to try smaller (much smaller ) pieces that hold themselves up – more or less. The problem with that is that knitting isn’t intended to be self-supporting. Think of a sweater which stands up by itself and you are thinking of something it is impossible to wear.

One way to make knitting stiffer is to shrink it. If you choose a stitch which makes the knitting thicker, and then shrink it – will that make it stiffer still? Only one way to find out.

So the answer to ‘what next’ is this – an experimental sample.


And like almost all my samples, it didn’t end up the way it started out.

The bottom section is wide, reverse stocking stitch tucks separated by a couple of rows of stocking stitch, all in wool.

Then I decided it would be interesting to make some tucks in cotton yarn, which won’t shrink – or not as much as the wool. In the spirit of ‘what if’ I made the tucks in stocking stitch, and narrower, and the separating strips wider. Half way up I remembered that you can make picots in tucks, so I did. (Those are the blobby tucks in the middle.)

Then I ran out of the cotton yarn, so I went back to all wool. Before I shrink this piece I shall try some resists in that top piece – unshrinking insertions to restrict the wool’s ability to shrink – because I like distortions. When I’ve done that it will go in the washing machine and we’ll see how it comes out. (I once read in an American book that you can’t felt wool in a front loading washing machine. Oh, you can. Believe me, you can. Especially if you don’t want to.)

You may realise from all this that I am a process led artist. Try it out, see what happens, and then decide what you’re going to make. Watch this space.




This is a very neglected blog…

Like a distant friend, I occasionally remember it and have a quick word with it, then forget it again until I’ve go a bit of time to fill.

It was an intense friendship when I was doing my Foundation Degree, and set up this blog to record my progress and process. Which is why it’s called what it is: at the time I was working mostly with paper, plastic and string. The friendship has cooled since then: the BA in Fine Art I’ve almost completed hasn’t required a blog of process and progress: I did start another blog to record gallery visits, but decided I preferred to keep my musings to myself and the teaching staff, so that one is even more neglected than this one.

After I completed the Foundation Degree in July 2012, posting got much more sporadic. For a while I used it to record my explorations of the app iColorama, which resulted from particularly bad insomnia (so time to play) and the arrival of my first iPad (on which to play). The app remains brilliant, but I am sleeping better, most of the time.

More recently I’ve used it for some WordPress photography and writing prompts, but the last few haven’t really appealed to me, so they’ve fizzled out.

What prompted this post was another WordPress initiative, ‘Learning the Fundamentals’. OK, I’ve been blogging for years, but do I know what I’m doing? No. My blogs tend to serve my purposes, and I have no interest in ‘building my brand’ to quote WordPress’s 13th missive which has just arrived.(This post is in response to missive 4, so you can tell I haven’t been keeping up.)

This missive asks us to identify the sort of person we would like to read our blog, and write a post for them. Well, obviously, it has to be someone who doesn’t expect regular posts, or a blog that knows where it’s going. You, dear reader, assuming you exist, should be someone with a rather weird sense of humour, prepared to read through rambling posts with no real point to them. There may be ponderings on the meaning of life, the universe and everything, plus an occasional mention of art, or of iPad apps.

Speaking of which, I’m supposed to include a media element I haven’t used before. Considering the difficulty I have persuading WordPress and Macbook to communicate well enough to include even photograph, that’s a big ask. Lets see what I can do.

OK, it won’t let me add a video unless I ‘upgrade my plan’. Which ain’t gonna happen. Nice try, WordPress. So here’s a photo.


i promised you ‘weird’.