The work of Erin Endicott.
Many of us grey-haired knitters may recall the art to wear movement and some of them became familiar at the height of home machine knitting and seminar circuits. I am beginning a thread that makes an effort to discover them in the present time, will add to this post as I find links. The order is purely random, includes published teachers and some of the knitters/ fiber artists found in the book documenting the birth of the movement pictured below.
I made a plastic bag woven piece back in my student days, it was woven, rya knotted onto a wool warp, with jingle bells and pom poms as both a decorative and a sound element; in an instance of art school need to name I called the piece my “Ceremonial Costume for an Acid Rain Dance”. At the time colored plastic bags were hard to fine, friends mailed them to me from wherever they traveled.
Switching to the abbreviated cowls/collars I found I needed lighter weight large “buttons”. These are hard to find or often expensive enough that in production the added cost would affect pricing significantly. As and avid collector of craft and multi media supplies, I have a significant stash of polymer clay dating back from months to decades. In an ah ah! moment I made prototypes for what I thought might solve the button weight and supply problem. After the fact I began to do searches on care of polymer clay buttons and methods used in making them, which in turn led to a big oops! moment.
I recommend dry cleaning for most of my items unless they are felted ones, in which case hand washing or even a gentle washing machine cycle in cold water works just fine. Polymer clay it turns out does not like dry cleaning chemicals. If used on items cleaned that way it is recommended that the button be covered with plastic wrap and aluminum foil prior to exposure to cleaning agents. Hot water washes and driers also damage the clay, cool water hand /machine gentle washing appears to not be a problem.
Here are some online sources on this related topics: for a wealth of information on polymer buttons. Ready made molds and ideas may be found here. Button shanks are available if that method of securing the buttons is desired.
The option I am choosing to pursue is making the button removable when the item is cleaned, which led to a search for button covers. Local chains that carry sewing notions had not even heard of them. A local mom and pop craft store however, had an endless supply in their “back room” dating back to when they were “in vogue”. Have to love elderly owners that are the shop version of inventory software and can just “go to” things that have not been out on the selling floor in years.
For anyone not familiar with them, here is an image of the item, available in a few sizes depending on source.
The plan of the moment is to affix the baked clay to the flat metal surface with a glue such as E6000 and further test the idea. Having the removable cover also means clay could be painted and finishes could be varied in ways that would not be possible if item was to undergo dry cleaning. My sample first efforts which I will torture/test are below. If not buttons perhaps all that clay may mutate to use in shawl pins.
Sewn on tags can pose interesting problems and be out of scale with accessories, or problematic in very open fabrics or reversible ones. One possible solution may be sew on “beads” created with baked and stamped polymer clay or shrink dink plastic. I as yet have not tried the former. Here is a photo of my “brand” initial on the white shrink plastic taken with 2 of the “beads” placed on an American dime for scale comparison.
I have pretty much religiously avoided blocking in my knitting career until I entered my present lace obsession. I traditionally wash, steam or press depending on the finished item, but blocking wires and pins had been completely out of my repertoire. Lace, however, does require formal blocking. One discovery: not all blocking wires are equal. Sometimes ends are not sharpened in the manufacture, snagging can result.
Blocking boards can be expensive. They come in a range of styles as well, including carpentry versions. Homasote or plywood with layers of padding, etc. work if steaming and pressing are a necessity. Such contraptions can be cumbersome, and heavy.
Portability and storage can be a big consideration in small studio space. With this in mind, some DIY options if boards are to be used for pinning and drying only are as follows. One is purchasing interlocking floor mat pieces, the kind sometimes seen in children’s playrooms. They can handle being stuck with pins, keep moisture from passing to the surface beneath, and best of all, they can be moved around like puzzle pieces to create the size you need for the piece you’re blocking. Discount outlet pricing is much less than that for online kits, and squares can be shifted around to alter shape as needed. Another is yoga mats. They have similar properties to tiles. I was able to find one at a discount retailer that is 47 X 95 inches, nearly 3/8 inches thick for all of $16.00. One side is “gridded” with bumps, the reverse is smooth. Add a large enough piece of gingham check fabric in the desired scale on top, and one has a large blocking surface that can be easily moved, rolled up and stored when not in use. Bumps are not a factor in affecting knit surfaces in these instances.
One perspective: Johanna Blakley on the subject, TED