New year, ongoing project. We had our second Knitalong meetup last weekend. Emily Cunetto, designer of the Radiata pattern joined us. We shared our progress and talked about local clothes.
I’m two wedges into my own shawl. Unlike Sue and Natasha I’m not used to knitting local fibre at all. A portrait of the alpaca my fibre comes from is printed on the yarn label. I’ve enjoyed showing it to interested parties when they check out my knitting. There has been a little bit of dried grass twisted in the yarn. I was warned this might happen, but it doesn’t happen often enough to be a problem. It comes out easily if I’m careful to pull in line with the twist of the yarn. The yarn is loosely spun and largely uniform. I haven’t had problems with splitting. Very occassional slubby sections aren’t visible in the knitted fabric. Being suri alpaca, the yarn is slippery which has made stitches like Slip, Slip, Knit (SSK) a little more tricky. The outstanding aspect of my experience has been the light, soft feel to the fabric. Everyone comments on it, and my knitting has been much admired and handled!
Our second conversation
We were very lucky to have Emily Cunetto join us at our second Knitalong meeting. Emily lives in the USA so we appreciated her making time to video conference late in her evening. She told us about how she approached the design of the Radiata shawl. She had a lot of considerations because she didn’t know what yarns people would use. She also wanted to design for beginners and experienced knitters alike. An important aspect of the design for her was fabric drape, so she started there. She decided against lace and opted instead for a more structural design.
We talked about the challenges of making money from the arts and textiles. Emily has been producing knitwear and has a couple of knitting machines. She’s now moving into education and enjoys teaching people to knit. She showed us the jumper pattern she’s working on at the moment. Expect more patterns on her website in the future!
Our conversation went wide and we talked about the systemic challenges of connection to clothing. Emily feels we currently buy clothes on ‘credit’, in the sense that we don’t currently pay the full price of producing the items we wear. We don’t see the pollution and impact on people that clothing production makes. It’s possible the US experiences a more extreme version of this than Australia which was slower to the fast fashion trend, but both countries share similar challenges now. We’ve all noticed there is now an expectation we can buy what we want for less.
We felt that a connection and engagement to clothing production was needed. Our Knitalong is an opportunity for engaged makers, but the wider population needs something else. We recognised that not everyone will participate in clothing production. Specialists in different areas benefits society. We explored the local food movement to see if there were insights we could apply to clothing as well.