On Saturday I did a demonstration at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester as part of their Textile Art Now programme. I talked about my work, giving some context as to why a video artist might wish to explore the world of machine knitting, before trying some practical experiments.
A big part of the talk was the discussion of the role of punch cards in relation to textiles, digital media and potentially film. Participants produced their own punchcard reel, and did a test knit to get a sense of the practical aspects of the knitting machine, and the way in which the punch card interacts with the needles. Designing a punchcard is also a very simple but useful task for understanding how to maintain the integrity of an image when working with a small resolutions.
I also demonstrated how the knitting machine can interface with digital images, thanks to the FTDI cable and IMG2Track software. Working with a photo taken on an ipad, we looked at ways to manipulate the image in photoshop before taking it into IMG2track. The final design was a 100 x 150, and a reasonable size once knitted. Thankfully Iris helped out with the casting on and casting off process (using her custom made cast on rags).