Student uses museum collection to create unique knitted artwork

A student from Nottingham Trent University has created what is thought to be the first piece of knitted artwork using a Nottinghamshire museum's historic knitting frame.

A student from Nottingham Trent University has created what is thought to be the first piece of knitted artwork using a museum's historic knitting frame.

Jacaranda Brain, 20, only started to learn how to use the knitting frames at the Framework Knitters Museum, in Ruddington, Notts, in July, but has since used one to create a picture of a giraffe.

Jacaranda is about to begin the second year of her degree in Fashion Knitwear Design and Knitted Textiles at the School of Art & Design. She is volunteering over the summer holidays at the Framework Knitters Museum after visiting the museum with the University.

Using the knitting frames involves eight individual movements that need to be joined together into one flowing action.

After being taught the basics of how to use the machine, Jacaranda went on to teach herself how to knit lace by transferring the stitches from one needle to another, and from there she devised the method used to create the knitted image.

Jacaranda's piece involved painstakingly transferring up to 200 stitches by hand in each line of knitting, with only a basic outline drawn on a piece of paper to guide her.

Jacaranda said: "I wanted to learn how to use the machines to a good standard as it is such a rare skill to have and gives you such appreciation for knitting and the knitting industry. It has been time consuming, but I'm really happy with what I have achieved."

The keen frame-knitting enthusiast is also working at G H Hurt, the historic Nottingham shawl makers established in 1912. The company is famed for creating the Royal christening shawls. Jacaranda is planning to link her two experiences together by using the knitted artwork to create a unique shawl.

Museum manager Paul Baker said: "The rate at which Jacaranda has mastered the knitting frames is truly exceptional, and as far as we are aware no one else has ever used the machines to create an image in quite the way she has. It is unlikely that framework knitters in the past would have created artworks with no financial value to them so we suspect that this is a first."

The knitting machines at the museum date from the 18th Century. They would have been used to knit material for stockings originally, and were eventually adapted by the workers to knit the first Nottingham lace. They are on display at the museum, and can be seen in action every day the museum is open.

Student uses museum collection to create unique knitted artwork

Published on 15 September 2015
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