There are only two authors that I read unconditionally, Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman. If they wrote a phone book, I would read it. I also dutifully watch all derivative works especially if the author approves of the final product. So I really didn't pay much attention to the advertising campaign for the movie Coraline. I was already sold and though I had heard a lot about the video of the miniature knitter responsible for the sweaters and gloves in the movie, I had not seen it. last night, I was catching up on my blog reading and a friend had the video embedded so I thought, why not.
At first I was awestruck, not only by the method of knitting on what appeared to be sewing needles, but at the final products as well. Itty bitty art sweaters done in perfect 1/12 scale. Then toward the end of the piece, Althea Crone stated that as far as she was aware, she was the only person knitting conceptual art sweaters on such a small scale. I took that as a challenge. I decided immediately to pick up a pair of matching tatting needles and a ball of thread and began to knit, just to see if I could.
I learned a few things about miniature knitting last knit. First, although Althea is certainly the only person doing art sweaters, she is by no means the only knitter working on this scale. There are enough of them to not only warrant production of tiny knitting needles, but to enough to sell the tiny patterns. Most of these knitters seem make baby doll outfits and furnishings for doll houses, some incredibly complex. Secondly, if you're gonna try this out, make sure you not only have appropriate needles, but even more vital is a small steel crochet hook for dropped stitches. If you drop a stitch at this scale, it requires patience and a delicate touch to reverse the damage. Panic, and it's all over.
Lastly, I learned that Althea's can conceptual art sweater monopoly is safe from the likes of me. Oh sure I can do it, I am lucky to be a fairly skilled knitter and being a needle tatter means I am very comfortable working with small needles and thread. I managed to knit up this small white square in just about 15 minutes. I just don't think I have the patience to design and create pieces as complex as hers. Even if I did, what on earth would I use them for. I don't collect miniatures or dolls so I guess this was just an experiment.
What I am compelled to do with my new skill, is find a way to combine mini knitting with needle tatting. It looks like it would be easy enough to do, but I need to find the right design to make it worth the effort. So thanks Althea for the inspiration to try something new. If you still haven't seen the video of her knitting you can check it out on Choklit's blog here.