At school I studied art up until A level; we always had to make one piece of work which was ‘functional’. I was always stumped and I ended up making strange candle holders or jugs. If only I had discovered knitting back then! It wasn’t until I visited a friend in Oxford that the possibility of knitting popped into my head. A student at Oxford, who I had never met before, was sitting knitting in her room when my friend took me to introduce myself. This was the first time that I had ever seen a young person knitting, not only young but beautiful and incredibly smart, so knitters are not just grannies?
When I left Oxford I told my mum that I would like to learn to knit. After four months in Mexico I had completely forgotten about it, until my mum gave me a welcome home present of a knitting book called ‘I love knitting’. Since then I have done nothing but knit and my degree has most definitely suffered for it.
I love trying new techniques and pushing the boundaries of knitting. One such example is Amigurumi: a Japanese technique of knitting or crocheting animals or objects in the round. I came across a book by Hansi Singh who knits the most beautiful Amigurumi knits and have knitted so many of her beautiful animals which are really just like intricate little sculptures. My favourites have got to be the octopus and the Kracken, which both have bendable legs to wrap around things, and the stag bunny.
What I find fascinating about knitting is that you can pretty much create anything with the right techniques. Knitting is almost as versatile as clay: it is possible to mould it into any shape with a little experimenting and planning. I hope to come up with my own designs for various animals in the near future and would also like to knit my own modern art by making intricate and thought-provoking sculptures out of ‘plarn’ (after having been tortured with piles of plastic carrier bags I decided to turn them into yarn but cutting them up into strips).
I find myself spotting knitting everywhere and thinking how I could knit them myself, for example, those Hunter knitted boot toppers, tea cosies in Mitchell’s on Market Street, knitted Aran jumpers, little knitted gifts in Bonkers and it just goes on and on. When I go into Accessorize I am constantly analysing the knitted hats and scarves, most of which I could definitely recreate myself if I put my mind to it. I came up with a design for a mug cosy in Spanish the other day when I saw a knitted jumper that I liked on a girl in the row in front of me!
I am so passionate about knitting that it has taken over my life! In the library I find myself looking up ‘knitting in the news’ or going on to my favourite knitting websites such as Knittaplease. The designer and founder of Knittaplease, Magda Sayegf started the sensation which is yarn bombing, also called ‘guerrilla knitting’ or ‘yarn storming’. The knitting society has talked about yarn storming various buildings around St Andrews, for example the staircases in the union or lampposts along south street and other ugly aspects of urban life in St Andrews.