Unravel: revaluing the craft of knitting for new emergent design contexts within a post-industrial world.
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STEED, J., 2012. Unravel: revaluing the craft of knitting for new emergent design contexts within a post-industrial world. Making Futures, 2, pp. 297-306.
Knitting is embedded within our culture and navigates between practice, artefact, and narrative, acting as a rich metaphor for social change (Hemmings, 2010). Knitting can transcend traditional boundaries of craft practice and transfer knowledge from one discipline to another. Sennet (2008) refers to this as the “domain shift” where the principles central to one craft can be transferred to another. A cultural phenomenon, knitting derived from the everyday domestic activity and over history has played an important role within the community, from patriotic knitting to guerrilla knitting, (the term used for creating public art through knitting) and performance. Knitting however has been largely neglected within design and academic research due to its strong association with domestic life. Arguably, it is because knitting is so closely associated with the everyday that it has been overlooked as a craft that can add value to a broader range of design issues. Today, in the face of so much complexity an understanding of a practitioner’s core craft skills is paramount when working in transdisciplinary environments. Within this new context a re-evaluation of the role of knitting is required to fully appreciate the contribution that the craft can bring to current and emerging design issues. Through examining contemporary examples of craft practice, together with designers working across traditional boundaries of knitting, the author challenges past perceptions by re-evaluating the craft and discusses how knitting can be used more expansively in the future.