Friday, May 13, 2011

KNITWORKS: DESIGNING A GARMENT

2011 Maiwa Textile Symposium Workshop

Alison Ellen
$225 (Includes $15 Lab Fee) Three full days
October 3 - 5 (Mon - Wed) 10am - 4pm
Maiwa Loft - Net Loft Granville Is., Canada Class Limit 14


The aim of this workshop is to take a fresh look at hand knitting, forget knitting patterns, and explore some of the creative possibilities. The class will experiment with different ways of constructing knitted garments through different stitches and methods. The group will continue the experiments for as long as possible, so that students develop new ideas and try things they have not explored before.


The class opens with short exercises in 3D shapes and objects. Our goal is to move toward knitting without seams. Techniques covered include modular knitting, entrelac, bias knitting, circular knitting, and seamless knitting.

The class will continue with a study of shaping garments to learn how different designs suit different body shapes. We will look at how stitches alter the shape, the width and length and drape of knitted fabric without using increasing and decreasing.

There will be demonstrations and discussion of useful techniques, such as edgings (different cast-on and -offs, decorative edgings, etc), buttonholes, fairisle knitting, and ways of grafting, joining, and finishing. Students can work at their own speed throughout, trying as many of these techniques as they like.

Students will work on an idea they want to develop into a design and learn how to work out sizing for each design and stitch used, so that they take away all the information for making their design.


Alison Ellen

Having trained in weaving and textile design at Surrey Institute of Art and Design, Farnham, and worked with hand-printed textiles, Alison Ellen began designing and making hand knitwear in 1980. This background has enabled her to approach knitting as a way of constructing both a fabric and a 3-dimensional shape, exploring what the technique can do to alter the drape, thickness, and stretch of the material.

As well as an enjoyment of colour, texture, and pattern, Alison explores shaping through the structure of knitting, designing clothes knitted all in one piece with emphasis on construction. Her ideas for textures and colours are sourced from the surrounding countryside, gardens, landscape drawings, and museums. Designs for shapes are sometimes influenced by studies of ethnic dress from around the world.

Alison has taught in the UK for the past twenty-five years. Her teaching has stimulated more research into technique and history, inspired further explorations into design, and led to the publication of three books on hand knitting. www.alisonellenhandknits.co.uk


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