Monday, September 07, 2009

Knitting the News

I'm studying for my Programming for Interactivity class, which mostly means collecting examples of projects using the programming environment(?)language(?) Processing, a longtime crush of mine. In the midst of this, I happened upon a knitting project called News Knitter that uses Processing, somehow, to create visual representations of the news, translate these to a knitting machine and then make sweaters, comme ca:
 This reminds me, of course, of the less high-tech (though still knitting-machine based) work of Lisa Anne Auerbach's sweater/skirts, which are often news-related:
 There are a few great things about machine-knitted sweaters, and the most obvious being that they don't take as long to make, and you can pretty easily (if you're computer-savvy) create complex patterns that would be difficult to hand-knit, if not impossible. In both of these projects, that ease and speed are used to create complex and context-based sweaters that will be not only out of fashion but literally out of date in a relatively short period of time, memorializing and creating a lasting physical record of contemporary events.

The News Knitters also make more abstract representations of news visualization, which may withstand the test of time slightly better, and are taking names in the hopes that they might offer the sweaters for sale someday.

 All of this ties in very nicely with my interest in the idea of our everyday life objects forming our own personal living archives, and my very real desire to never ever ever get rid of the awesomely comfortable and nearly worn out t-shirt I was wearing when Pete & I first met.

Do your hand-made projects end up representing specific times and places for you? Do you think of your drawer of hand-knit socks as an archive of your progress as a knitter or as a person? Is it totally unreasonable to save clothing when it's no longer wearable for sentimental/archival reasons?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hooray! A Jess post! (Not that I don't love Pete's noise machine posts)

I have sentimental attachment to some of my handknits and not to others. With little discernible rhyme or reason, I associate some of them with what was going on in my life when I was making them and attach utmost importance to their completion. It's as if finishing a pair of socks or sweater successfully means at least something in my life is going well. I dunno. Other knits, I could care less. Strange.

Oh, and did you know I have a knitting machine?

9:51 PM  
Blogger Jess Shambler said...

I did *not* know that! How exciting! Is it a manual one, or one that you hook up to a computer? Have you tried it out?

Also, speaking of knitting geekstuff, did I tell you about KnitPro while we were out there? I feel like I did. Here's the link:
For the next time you want to chart a pattern, but don't want to pull out the graph paper.

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a very no-frills manual machine. I haven't really used it that much because it's not very intuitive to me. It would probably work just fine if I spent any sort of time with it. Any time you want to give it a whirl, we'll hand deliver it to you in NYC!

Thanks for the link to KnitPro. Oh the possibilities....

9:37 AM  

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