Saturday, 9 July 2011

"So you don't just press a button?"

One of the advantages of procrastination is inevitable reflection. It is now several weeks since the very satisfactory MKAV Seminar, and time has worked to the surface my stand out memory, The Human Knitting Machine,seen by the lucky crowd on Friday evening.

Can I divert for a moment to note that our President, Angela, gets my vote in the category, Geniuses I have Known? The sheer number of ideas, and speed with which she moves on to the next thought might sometimes obscure the brilliance of her efforts, but the Friday night demonstration demands preservation.

This was machine knitting stripped back so far that even the machine was gone. This was machine knitting at its clearest - one needle, one stitch. You want more stitches? Have as many as you like as long as you can find a needle for each stitch. What can each needle do? It can either knit or not knit. If it doesn't knit, the yarn can pass over the top or underneath the stitch. And that's all. Everything else, the push buttons, the punchcards, the electronic controls, they are just means of telling each needle to knit or to not knit without the effort of hand selection.

I'll leave it to some subsequent video recorded performance to explain exactly what was done. For now you can just admire the knitted results.

Della wearing the knitted piece

A closer look at the knitting

At the other extreme, I caught part of a Barbara Fletcher workshop on hidden techniques in the Passap E6000, the most sophisticated domestic knitting machine available to us. What an extraordinary range of knitting interests covered! From the very simplest to the most complex machine any domestic machine knitter is likely to meet.


  1. Sewing and knitting are very difficult. Not everyone can do it. I am trying to learn this for about a year I am still pretty bad at it.

  2. Choose simple projects, and call any mistakes 'design features' Good luck