Student uses Museum Collection to Create Unique Knitted Artwork

Jacaranda Brain Knitting the Giraffe on a Knitting Frame at the Framework Knitters MuseumA 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.

Jacaranda Brain, 20, only started to learn how to use the knitting frames at the Framework Knitters Museum in July, and has since used one to create what is believed to be the first piece of art using this machine, a 15 inch by 15 inch picture of a giraffe.

Jacaranda is about to begin her second year of studying for an undergraduate degree in Fashion Knitwear Design and Knitted Textiles. She is volunteering over the summer holidays at the Framework Knitters Museum, after visiting the museum with her university. Using the machines to knit involves eight individual movements that need to be joined together into one flowing action.
The creative process 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. 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 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 Knitted ArtworkThe keen frame-knitting enthusiast is also working at G H Hurt, the historic Nottingham shawl makers established in 1912. They are famous for supplying the Royal christening shawls, as well as creating other items of the finest lace knitwear. Jacaranda is planning to link her two experiences together by using the knitted artwork to create a unique shawl.

Paul Baker, Museum Manager, 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 Framework Knitters 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.

For more information on the Framework Knitters Museum, including opening times, visit www.frameworkknittersmuseum.org.uk

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