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Archive for January 28th, 2009

How to Knit a Mattress

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

While I’m on the “knitting as art” train of thought… A woman named Rachel John did a project where she knit 1000 strands held together at the same time as if they were one strand of yarn. This is full-body knitting, she did it on her knees and used both arms to make this work (with needles really small compared to the “rope” of yarns she was using to knit).

There is a video How to Hand Knit a Mattress: Rachel John, Extreme Knitting, 1000 Strand Knit” on Youtube. It is not quite 7 minutes long. Fascinating.


What interests me every time I read of projects this out of the blue, is how did the artist keep the idea long enough to make it happen? Many of us have big ideas but often we squelch them before they see the light of day.

Yet some follow the inspiration. Who does and who does not? How do they make these projects happen all the way to the final outcome? How do they find funding, display space or other support so that they can complete the whole idea?

Then again, I knit my self portrait and I am not sure I can follow the whole thought process to explain it. I would have thought it improbable that I could finish, but I stuck with the possibility I might make it work.

I do know that my friend/muse Susan Hensel was waiting at the other side of the project, expecting that it would work and that she would like to display it in her “Threads in Space‘ knitting as art show.

(When that web page was put up, my project was not yet finished so my computer rendering is what she used as the image for my piece. You can follow my own blog entries on this project in my Self Portrait Category of this blog.)

Susan has inspired me many times to take things into reality, when I was not sure if I could really make them happen. I don’t see her enough any more, but she has really been an inspiration to me on more than one occasion.

The first example of her support was my performance art project, “The Fabric of Friendship.” In that case I told her of an idea I had and Sue said, “Let’s make that happen.” Then we did. In the end it feels like magic but it was a lot of people coming together to make it work. It was wonderful.

Rae also helped me figure out which yarns I could use in the portrait and in what way, and she believed in my project every step of the way. I had to buy a LOT of yarn, some sockyarn and several kinds of laceweight (they have over a thousand yards usually, and I needed only a few hundred each but couldn’t buy smaller skeins). She helped me afford the supplies so that I could do the project.

Have you ever done a project that would normally seem beyond your resources? How did you make it happen? Did you depend on friends or colleagues for emotional, resource or financial support? How did it go?