(click on some of the examples to read about individual chain knits)

' In 1922, for example, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy used the telephone to order five paintings in porcelain-enamel from a sign factory in what could be considered the first event of telecommunication (-related) art: with the factory's colour chart in front of him, he sketched the paintings on graph paper while the factory supervisor on the other end of the line took a 'dictation' by transcribing Moholy-Nagy's sketch on the same paper. Greene, Rachel. (2004)   Internet Art.   London. Thames and Hudson World of  Art. p154

I began to consider ways information traveled before the invention of the Internet. How had the knowledge of hand knitting developed and been comminicated over time. People would spread knowledge and information by word of mouth or by the things they created. Each stitch would hold its own narrative and demonstration of skill. Within the craft of knitting history was evident in the garment. Now information traveled so freely, information could be shared via the internet. Knitting like many other social activities had brought people together.   Sharing knowledge in this way gave a sense of community.

Each little pocket of craftsmen gave their own particular twist to the story. The knitters of the Austrian Tyrol sprinkled their heavy embossed fabric with brightly coloured embroidered flowers reflecting the beauty of late spring in the Austrian valleys. The knitters of Fair Isle, inheriting their designs from Spanish sources, still preserve the Catholic tradition that made Christendom. We can still find on the sweaters they knit 'The Sacred Heart', 'The Rose of Sharon', "The star of Hope' and 'The Crown of Glory'.

When we move to the ice-cold wastes of Norway, we find that the fir tree and the reindeer have been copied in their woven and knitted fabrics and that even peasant costumes have been transformed into dancing figures that form border patternings on their gay sweaters. The fisherman and sailors, who were great knitters in their day, have taken the ropes and the anchors and have translated theses into cable patterns and embossed designs, thus allying their day-to-day life as they go down to the sea in ships with the craft they practiced in knitting jerseys to protect them from the elements." Norbury, James. (1973) Traditional Knitting Patterns from Scandinavia, the British Isles, France, Italy and other European Countries. Dover Publications. p10

Knitting was still creating this sense of community. It was bringing people together. It was giving a variety of people common ground. Knitting had come from the privacy of our homes to people doing it in public. Knitting was exposed, it wasn't uncool anymore. People weren't ashamed they were proud. The internet had become a great resource to make connections with other knitters and to see what people were up to across the globe. The internet was creating links. The internet was creating webs of people who were interested in knitting. The internet was like knitting it was weaving things together.

Much has changed in the last 25 years . Whereas the last "revolution" was spearheaded by young fashion and knitwear designers this "revival" has risen from the streets - or should I say from the living rooms. Selvedge 'A ripping Yarn' p62

Many of my friends were knitting. It upset me that long distance and work commitments were preventing us from being able to come together and knit. I wanted to see what they were knitting not just hear about it. If one of the results of knitting was making connections why could it not be a thread of wool itself that tied people together.  

The rise of computing and the internet have had a role to play in the resurgence of knitting. It has opened up global possibilities, eased the transfer of information and most importantly allowed British knitters access to the American enthusiasm fro all aspects of yarn craft and enabled them to buy yarn to peruse. There are over 200,000 knitting blogs. ...whilst we no longer have many real wool shops we can visit virtual ones. Instead of going out to buy the wool staying at home to knit it we are now doing the opposite, shopping in private and knitting in public. Selvedge 'A ripping Yarn' p66

I began to create a link between knitters. I wanted to know the reasons why people knitted and what they gained from it. . It seemed I was surrounded by more knitters than I had realized and each of them knew of someone else that knitted. I wanted to create a sense of community even though we lived miles apart. Usually we relied on the internet for this communication. I wanted to use more traditional methods of communicating. Word of mouth and the post.

I sent pieces of knitting to eleven people. Each piece of knitting had twenty nine stitches representing my age. I had knitted for forty minutes to represent the attention span of a human being.   Participants were asked to increase or decrease the number of stitches to match their age and knit for the 40 minutes. They were also asked to attached a provided label with their name, address, age, occupation and why they knit. Then pass it on to another fellow knitter.  

The chain knit was really rewarding. It was great to receive something in the post. It was great that so many people wanted to take part. The pieces are really beautiful each section holds its own character and demonstrates the talent of the knitters. Each tag gives us an insight to the individual and how they feel about knitting. The participants have ranged from a 12 year old girl to a 100 year old lady to a man who learn to knit for the first time with a broken finger. One lady whilst on holiday in Scotland collected fleece, washed it in the river and spun her own wool. Another lady did a stitch for each person that had died in the London bombing.   One lady couldn't was so excited for her turn to knit, she couldn't wait so started her own. The feedback from those involved has been really positive its allowed new connections to be made. People liked working on something communal. It demonstrates what we can achieve if we work together, that distance doesn't have to get in the way and the internet is not our only way of making connections from a far.

Knit 1 - Angela Robertson - Bentham UK - Returned
Knit 2 - North Trafford College Emedia Office - Manchester - UK - Returned
Knit 3 - Margaret Noble - Todmorden UK - Returned
Knit 4 - Heidi Hofman - Portland USA - Returned
Knit 5 - Rachel Bailey - Whitstable UK - Returned
Knit 6 - Leeds Metropolitan University Graphics students - Leeds UK
Knit 7 - Manchester Metropolitan University Jaquie Butler - Manchester UK
Knit 8 - Sarah Inkster - Manchester UK - Returned
Knit 9 - Judith Deakin - Kendal UK - Returned
Knit 10 - Melissa Thomas - London UK
Knit 11 - Liz Stirling - Leeds UK

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