Knitting is bursting out from street, says Katie Nicholls the
Knitting is big news and hot contemporary knitwear is everywhere! Just take a look at the autumn/winter 2015 catwalk where huge super-chunky knitwear rules among the collections of Edun, Lacoste and Alexander Wang. Today’s young knitters are hungry for exciting designs using bold colours and experimental techniques. Big, it seems, is better, and the trend for knitting with oversized yarn on giant needles is gathering pace. Designer Debbie Bliss is the latest convert, inspired by what she saw at Italian knitting industry show Pitti Filati: “One of the big trends for spring/summer 2015 seen at Pitti Filati in January was tape yarn. I’ve been slow to warm to tape yarn in general, but when I saw the way that the right tape could be used and how it could bring much needed variety to the season, I was on board!”
BIG IS BETTER Who can ignore the flurry of big knitting books and patterns flooding shops and blogs? Add to that a variety of new yarns made from a myriad of materials, such as upcycled t-shirt yarn or sari silk and you’ll be intrigued with this new revolution. Designer Melanie Porter (melanieporter.com) was one of the first to spot the potential of going gargantuan with her knitting. “I love using texture in my work, especially felting,” says Melanie who is looking forward to the release of her new book, Big Needle Knits (rylandpeters.com) in October. “While I love the dense, tight textures I wanted to take it to the other extreme and create super-oversized cables and bobbles. I started trying to knit with rope on broom handles!” Melanie’s chunky, hand-knitted chairs and sofas have certainly influenced the big knitting trend.
FINGERS AND ARMS While Melanie prefers enormous needles to create stitches, designer Anne Weil (flaxandtwine.com) author of Knitting Without Needles, explores the possibilities of finger and arm knitting. “Weaving yarn by hand brings great satisfaction,” enthuses Anne. “I started designing beautiful finger-knitting projects as a way to use up the miles of finger knit strands we had made for fun. Before I knew it, I was attaching strands back to themselves to make a wider knit fabric.” Her book is certainly testament to that – from woven rugs to a stylish dip-dye scarf, Knitting Without Needles is an inspirational read. “We’ve only just begun to explore the possibilities,” says Anne. “With a few twists, you can apply almost any traditional knitting technique to arm knitting, from increases and decreases to cables and lace!” Melanie agrees that big knitting offers the chance to be hugely creative, “I feel very free when designing a big needle knit,” she says.