The History of Guerilla Knitting session by Rose White at Chaos Communication Congress

"Guerrilla knitting" has a couple of meanings in the knitting community - to some, it merely means knitting in public, while to others, it means creating public art by knitted means.

Rose White from yarnivore spoke at The History of Guerilla Knitting session at the 24th Chaos Communication Congress in 2007 in Berlin on day 3 - 29/12/2007. a torrent video can be downloaded of the session. (open the video in VLC if you don't have another video player that can play the .mkv video file). The Chaos Communication Congress is organised by the Chaos Computer Club, Europe's largest hacker group, founded in 1981.

Rose gave a brief history of knitting, and some of the myths held over the years about the foundations and age of knitting. She compares knitting with computer hacking referring to proprietary knowledge, pattern making, knitting guilds. Also about the commercialisation and control of patterns prior to 1960s and subsequently by Knitting pattern books and yarn companies who controlled the market

Elizabeth Zimmermann who in the 1960s generated generic pattern books which broke out of the usual mold of patterns requiring a yarn makers yarn to make the pattern correctly. Effectively she made knitting open source again! She had a TV show in the USA which brought her style of knitting to the public, and she ran knitting camps to teach others.

Rose also mentioned KnitML, the knitting XML code specification which is being introduced to standardise knitting patterns and terminology.

"The KnitML Project's main goal is to develop and promote adoption of a standard content model for knitting patterns. By developing a community-supported specification (KnitML) and providing basic rendering and transformation tools, the KnitML Project aims to make KnitML easy to use and valuable to the knitter."

Questions were raised also about knitting (patterns) and Creative Commons licencing. many patterns are not available to be used as they are still covered by US copyright so are still unavailable to the public.

Rose talks about giving back the creative power to the knitter - to allow them to modify the patterns, or not make the project exactly as per the pattern. even changing the colours used in an accompanying photo of a finished pattern is a stretch for some knitters!

Rose says, "over the past 30 years or so, there have been different individuals who have contributed to this geekier, more hands on approach to knitting - wresting it out of the control of commercial enterprises. this leads us to guerilla knitting in the end."

Barbara Walker - Rose referred to her as "a knitting engineer". "she wrote 4 books of stitch patterns, where she knitted swatches, and dissected them and included written instructions on how to knit them - stitch by stitch. and she also developed a charting system, so that next to the swatch there would be a grid showing you how to do it in pictures, so that, you didn't even have to speak her language to do it. so that many of these knitting patterns were available, not just to English speakers, but to anyone who could pick them up and look at them. so this enormous dissemination of knowledge occurred when she started doing that."

Debbie New - who creates "labyrinth knitting" and wrote a book called Unexpected Knitting, which includes experimental knitting patterns including her swirl, sculptural, free-form, swatchless, labyrinth, cellular automaton, virtual and ouroborus knitting techniques.

also featured was Dave Cole and his knitted lead teddy bears and giant outdoor knitting using cranes and telephone poles as knitting needles to knit the American Flag at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

the Simply Crafted website also lists some of these knitting pioneers as well as some freeform fibre (knitting & crocheting) artists such as Prudence Mapstone

also mentioned was the new Ravelry site - a social networking site for crafters, knitters and fibre artists, where they can "Organize projects, stash, needles, and more" & "Show off your work. Share your ideas and techniques." & "discover. Find new designs & yarns. Make friends. Try new things." the site is only open in beta stages at the moment. aso of today, they send out 500 - 800 invitations daily and there are currently 6,193 people waiting for their invites, so the site is in demand!

"Guerrilla knitting" has a couple of meanings in the knitting community - to some, it merely means knitting in public, while to others, it means creating public art by knitted means.

Rose White from yarnivore spoke at The History of Guerilla Knitting session at the 24th Chaos Communication Congress in 2007 in Berlin on day 3 - 29/12/2007. a torrent video can be downloaded of the session. (open the video in VLC if you don't have another video player that can play the .mkv video file). The Chaos Communication Congress is organised by the Chaos Computer Club, Europe's largest hacker group, founded in 1981.

Rose gave a brief history of knitting, and some of the myths held over the years about the foundations and age of knitting. She compares knitting with computer hacking referring to proprietary knowledge, pattern making, knitting guilds. Also about the commercialisation and control of patterns prior to 1960s and subsequently by Knitting pattern books and yarn companies who controlled the market

Elizabeth Zimmermann who in the 1960s generated generic pattern books which broke out of the usual mold of patterns requiring a yarn makers yarn to make the pattern correctly. Effectively she made knitting open source again! She had a TV show in the USA which brought her style of knitting to the public, and she ran knitting camps to teach others.

Rose also mentioned KnitML, the knitting XML code specification which is being introduced to standardise knitting patterns and terminology.

"The KnitML Project's main goal is to develop and promote adoption of a standard content model for knitting patterns. By developing a community-supported specification (KnitML) and providing basic rendering and transformation tools, the KnitML Project aims to make KnitML easy to use and valuable to the knitter."

Questions were raised also about knitting (patterns) and Creative Commons licencing. many patterns are not available to be used as they are still covered by US copyright so are still unavailable to the public.

Rose talks about giving back the creative power to the knitter - to allow them to modify the patterns, or not make the project exactly as per the pattern. even changing the colours used in an accompanying photo of a finished pattern is a stretch for some knitters!

Rose says, "over the past 30 years or so, there have been different individuals who have contributed to this geekier, more hands on approach to knitting - wresting it out of the control of commercial enterprises. this leads us to guerilla knitting in the end."

Barbara Walker - Rose referred to her as "a knitting engineer". "she wrote 4 books of stitch patterns, where she knitted swatches, and dissected them and included written instructions on how to knit them - stitch by stitch. and she also developed a charting system, so that next to the swatch there would be a grid showing you how to do it in pictures, so that, you didn't even have to speak her language to do it. so that many of these knitting patterns were available, not just to English speakers, but to anyone who could pick them up and look at them. so this enormous dissemination of knowledge occurred when she started doing that."

Debbie New - who creates "labyrinth knitting" and wrote a book called Unexpected Knitting, which includes experimental knitting patterns including her swirl, sculptural, free-form, swatchless, labyrinth, cellular automaton, virtual and ouroborus knitting techniques.

also featured was Dave Cole and his knitted lead teddy bears and giant outdoor knitting using cranes and telephone poles as knitting needles to knit the American Flag at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

the Simply Crafted website also lists some of these knitting pioneers as well as some freeform fibre (knitting & crocheting) artists such as Prudence Mapstone

also mentioned was the new Ravelry site - a social networking site for crafters, knitters and fibre artists, where they can "Organize projects, stash, needles, and more" & "Show off your work. Share your ideas and techniques." & "discover. Find new designs & yarns. Make friends. Try new things." the site is only open in beta stages at the moment. aso of today, they send out 500 - 800 invitations daily and there are currently 6,193 people waiting for their invites, so the site is in demand!

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