Tuesday, 20 November 2012


It took two years to organise, but turned out to be worth the wait. Susan Guagliumi, international star of machine knitting, came to share skills and opinions. And she came right to my living room, the original home of the Brunswick Machine Knitting Novices

We saw amazing samples and demonstrations of knitted effects achieved using bridging techniques.
Speaking for myself, I did not take a lot of notice of the directions on how to achieve particular effects. But I will read the book with much improved understanding if I am moved to try out some 3D embellishment in future projects

Have a look at Jules blog  for the beautiful photos of Susan's work. Evil gremlins have throated all my efforts to include them in this post.

Seeing Susan at work was an epiphany opening up possibilities for structural elements worked in the middle of a row. I see waist level cables used for shaping in my future.
An outsider's eye was as interesting as the knitting. Susan explained how the domestic machine market was never an independent market. Rather it was a handy supplement to the market for machines used in small factories, mainly in developing countries. It makes sense to support our local dealers and service technicians as much as we can, to preserve our machine knitting support networks as long as possible.
But perhaps there is another option as well as doing what we can to help the older businesses survive. After all, there will surely continue to be small factories knitting things as long as there are places with limited infrastructure and a need to sell something to the folk in places where they have money. And the businesses that make the machines for them will always be grateful for some breadth in their market. Susan was hugely impressed by Dairing , a business where the only apparent cobwebs are ethereal textiles constructed from fabulous contemporary yarns. 

Imagine a business that could sell a machine knitting virgin a shiny new machine (a good one, not one of those dodgy prerusted disappointments) and a selection of up to the style minute kits with beautiful contemporary yarns and bulletproof knitting instructions for the machine you have just bought. No swatch necessary! Please do not faint in horror, it is not you, the dedicated vintage machine knitting enthusiast, at whom this business is aimed. Rather it is the cashed up, time poor citizen who needs a short cut to the satisfaction of creation.

Thank youSusan, come back soon with some more ideas for us to think about.
Thank you Jules for giving me the photos you took, and thank you Libby Poppleton for doing everything needed to bring Susan to expand our horizons.

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