Work in Process / Machine Knitting

In the 1950s and 60s, knitting machines were marketed to young housewives. Although there were several brands, machines made by Brother were among the most popular. In the last few decades, home knitting machines have become less widely available, but are still used by hobbyists, textile artists, and apparel designers. RISD has several Brother knitting machines in the Textiles Department, where students regularly use them.

Sonia Rykiel’s polychrome suit questions perceptions of what “inside out” means by exposing a striped cardigan’s purl side (usually the interior) instead of its knit surface (typically the exterior). Rykiel reinterprets a classic design by highlighting the stitches inherent to machine knitting, playfully reexamining how makers approach knitwear.

Peyton North (RISD BFA 2015, Textiles) shows us how to create stripes on a vintage Brother knitting machine.


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