Monday, February 9, 2009

Itty Bitty Knitty

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.

9 comments:

rockcreekcreations said...

OH MY GOODNESS! I have to say that just reading and looking at the pics is enough for me. And I'm a jump in with my eyes closed type of crafter. Thank you for trying that for me!! LOL.

How neat that people do that. I never would have imagined anyone knitting in miniature...

Thanks for telling us!

Art Kitten said...

I saw that video, and saw the movie last night and was so impressed. Those sweaters really are incredible, and kudos to you for trying it out. I was telling my husband last night that I wanted to knit miniature sweaters, but alas, I can't knit...

Denise said...

You can crochet too, can't you? I kind of fancied doing mini crochet after seeing a sock monkey by this lady on Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pasubio9/

weirdly though, I like the idea of giant tatting :)
I'm working on your free scarf pattern in wool at the moment - it's about as thick as i think I can get through a shuttle. Lovely pattern though - I like that you can pick it up and put it down and not get lost too!

Wenchie said...

Nice! I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Gina said...

On a larger scale, I've seen (yarn)tatting used to join knitted blocks together for an afghan.

I'd seen the miniature sweaters a year or two ago - fascinating - but as you said, not for everyone. It took months for my eyes to get used to tatting - don't think I'll subject them to anything more!

. c h o k l i t . said...

You rawk! I think the only thing to do is start knitting tiny gothic Victorian capelets and putting them on taxidermied mice... it's our duty to put a twist on all that cuteness!

TotusMel said...

Oh, now I want to knit tiny caplets...anyone making taxidermy mice?

Waterrose said...

A friend of my moms use to make me sweaters, maxi coats, skirts, dresses for my barbie dolls and all were knitted. At the time I didn't think it was any big deal...not realizing the size of the needles that she must have used. I wish she were still around so that I could thank her properly!

Anonymous said...

I met Neil Gaiman in 1998 and he was the nicest guy, even drew some pictures for my baby. I read anything he does. The little sweaters are interesting. I have doll clothes crocheted for the Barbie babies, even the one that fits in the pregnent Midge. It is microscopic.