I want to create something original, that’s really precious. Knitting really attracts me as you have multiple ways to control what the final fabric looks like. I can totally express my designs and ideas. It creates something unique, you can’t find another piece with the same fabric anywhere else in the world.
I’m now researching a knitted silk stocking found in a shipwreck off the coast of the NL from 1735. The curator thought that the stocking was of the same age, but it’s not. The stocking is about 100 years earlier than that. I believe that the stocking was a treasure belonging to one of the passengers. It’s similar to those in paintings by Rembrandt.
You can use knitting to make a case for so many aspects of life: mental health and well-being, identity, heritage; personal as well as industrial heritage; sustainability now. I’m interested in where we go with textiles. It’s important that we attend to what we do with textiles in everyday life and how these skills help us out in the future.
I’m an architect and I’ve always liked spaces that you could modify somehow. Very minimal background and you can completely change the room with a vase of flowers or a piece of art. I thought wouldn’t it be cool if I knit a base sweater that has component parts that can be changed. I’ve thought about it a lot, a round necked sweater with ¾ length sleeves and you can change the collars and cuffs and just button through.
Holding this yarn and connecting with people about making something was transformational for me. I was making something from nothing, I could feel it run through my fingers. Going to a yarn shop, touching all that yarn felt so good. That led me to a path to eventually go to trauma therapy and do a lot of healing. Knitting saved my life
I remember that my action man had salmon pink vest and knitted pants and my brother James’ was blue and were crocheted. You couldn’t get their trousers on over the top as they were so thick. We had crochet hammocks as well.
I got married and so I became Mrs Sample, the sample knitter. I sat knitting all day with yarn that came from abroad, that the Directors got from yarn fairs. They would bring new yarns like boucle cotton, or yarns with a coloured thread wrapped through them, or pure angora, all sorts of things were placed on my desk.
Even at a young age I remember the excitement of looking at possibility. I still feel the same when I come across materials like that now in a charity shop, vintage market or a haberdashery store, it’s like being in a sweetie shop.
I must have been the only teenager hand-knitting socks. I’ve knitted socks for years and years now. I knitted them for myself, I don’t think anyone else wanted any. I’ve been married for 30 years next month, and my husband just will not wear the socks that I knit.
I’ve made quite a lot of horrors for small children, all sorts of things: lots of hats and bootees; a few quite bad animals including a memorable wonky Donkey …