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.





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