Public Participation Machine Knitting

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This Sunday I’ll be doing machine knitting demonstrations from Noon-6pm at Threshold, in Madison, WI. I’ve spent a lot of time this week preparing for the event.  In addition to demonstrating my own knitting, using img2track, one of the things I want to do is to set up a Public Participation Machine Knitting Project. I’ve sort of gone back and forth on a lot of ideas about what that should be, and have settled on creating a crocheted rug from a knitted tube. (Credit where it’s due, I have always wanted to recreate this installation art piece by Liz Collins.)


So I dragged out one of my bulky machines, and some bulky yarn from my stash and made a start on the project.



This is probably the easiest, least intimidating way possible for people who have no prior experience with machine knitting to get a little hands on time at the machine. It’s a pretty bomb-proof project. I just set up a piece that’s 8 stitches wide, and knit, knit, knit. Add more yarn and knit, knit, knit some more. Even if stitches get dropped, even if the whole thing drops off the machine, it’s easy-peasy to just rip back a few rows and put the 8 stitches back on the needles. Since the stockinette knitting naturally curls at the edges, it creates a sort of tube structure all on its own.



I then take that super sized tube and use it to crochet round and round, creating a little rug, or chair cushion, or meditation mat, or pet bed. No additional tools needed, I simply use my fingers to pull the loops through. It makes a yummy, cushy structure that is lovely under the toes.


I did a similar demonstration some time back at the Madison Children’s Museum – Knitting Kids’ Art. I had the kids draw pictures with markers, and then I chose a few to knit.



The staff then helped out by making them into little pillows, which they eventually hung from the ceiling in a semi-permanent display. I had a blast doing this project, and I think it turned out really well. We’ll see if others feel the same way. I’m hoping that people jump right in and knit lots. I think it’s fun for people to participate, and see something ‘real’ being made from their efforts.


How about you? Do you like to jump in to hands on demonstrations?

4 Responses

  1. Else-Marie Meier

    What a good Idea. Like it very much.
    Inspired to do something like that on the next craft fair I’m going to participate at.
    A good way to work away some of the stash.
    Or for my grandchildren to do when the visit me.
    Else-Marie in Sweden

  2. Leslie

    This looks so fun, Tanya!!

  3. Tanya

    Thanks, Les. It’ll be a fun activity.

  4. Tanya

    Thanks, Else-Marie. Hope you try it.