A couple of things have caught my eye recently …

First is the new social network, Stitchin Fingers, started a few days ago by Sharon B of In a Minute Ago, and already looking like a great place for anyone who practises textiles to explore and enjoy. 

Next is Spyn. Alan brought a short flyer back from CHI 2008 about “a system for knitters to record, recall and share information surrounding the processes of handcraft”. It’s a prototype design using digital techniques to literally craft personal stories into the knitting.

That set me thinking about metaphors we use in English that link story and fibre – we talk about losing or picking up the thread of a narrative; of spinning a yarn; of unravelling the truth. Maybe others…

I was also reminded this week, by this post on Blue Beyond by Tiree artist Colin Woodcock, of a Hans Andersen story I loved as a child. The princess spins a yarn of nettles to knit shirts that will free her brothers of the evil enchantment that has turned them into swans. Her hands are burnt and blistered and she is forbidden to speak, but the pain and love she may not articulate is embodied in the healing garments she creates.

And something else comes to mind – I’m always a little overwhelmed by the fact that text and textile are actually, etymologically, related:

“The word text is a cognate [of textile], coming from Latin textus ‘that which is woven’, referring originally to a particular style of Medieval script which was so dense that it looked like weaving.” 
Quoted from Take Our Word for It Issue 33

I’m suddenly feeling very excited about the possibilities here.

knitting, with woven yarn

stitchin fingers, cyborg knitting, and the threads of story

5 thoughts on “stitchin fingers, cyborg knitting, and the threads of story

  • May 22, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    I love the idea that text and textiles are etymologically related (its obvious really when you look – i just never have)- maybe thats why reading and stitching are such great things. Im very excited about this idea – im not sure what to do with my new knowledge though!

  • May 23, 2008 at 8:59 am

    what a find!take my word for it 🙂
    thanks a bunch for the link.
    Yes i agree, there’s a lot of excitement in the textile community.hard to keep away from the computer.

    thanks for your visits to my blog.

    neki desu

  • May 23, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Oh Fiona,
    I love the research and thought that you have put into the relationships between our language and the textile arts. Perhaps you can weave a story in here? Thanks for your comments on my work Cheers Tricia

  • June 12, 2008 at 11:05 am

    I had never made the link between text and textiles. Thats a bit of a lightbulb moment!

  • June 30, 2008 at 3:33 am

    I remember that fairy tale very well — I loved it and I wish I still had the beautifully illustrated book that had the story in it . . .I thought it was a Russian fairy tail but must be confused about that. And she wasn’t able to finish the last sleeve on the last sweater, so the youngest brother always had one swan’s wing. Thank you for reminding me, and for the wonderful blog.

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