On Teaching Fashion: Teasing out Textile Resources: Knits

Monica M. touched on the difficulty of teaching textile science last week and proposed some great resources for applied learning such as spoonflower’s sampling options.

Gildan knitted sock

I want to tease out (pun intended) Monica’s discussion into the world of knits as a key aspect of textile education. For example, I just now reviewed a few fashion brand website job boards, there are many openings for knit designers and buyers.  I would say with some certainty that most brand inventories are primarily knits (and denim with a variety of finishes). Knits are seemingly everywhere from conceptual and creative knits to the essential and utilitarian, how many knits are you wearing as you read this (t-shirt, bra, underwear,sock,sweater-I am guessing with some form of knitted bottom or woven jean, right?)

Cable knit and diagram (threads magazine)

In addition to weave and print applied modules, it makes since to add an applied module in knit (and color and finishing although I am focusing on knits here).  Given a lack of time and resources one solution that supports Monica’s applied learning concept would be in having students provide their own context for applied textile learning by:

  1. Sourcing their own closets or
  2. Do “fashion research” via shopping the market

Students who stare cross-eyed during explanation of course, gauge, pointelle and yarn development would, in this model,  source key knits from their closets or in the stores.  Students would be asked to research current trends in knit and innovations, perhaps even expand the knit options in the ol’ textile science swatch book!

IKNIT downloadable course on shaped knits

(Image above is from the IKNIT download on shaped knits)

The world of knit is complex: modern, angular, curved stripes, impactive jacquards, extreme cables, manipulated complex pointelles, detailed fashioning….as well as interpretations on traditional fairisles, cables to name a few. I am not even touching on the world of yarn and fiber development, perhaps the worn through applied modules of textile learning lesson 3 and 4?

MoMU Exhibition Still Mark-Fast

One way students can understand the beauty of knitwear is to understand it’s complexity, flexibility and desirability from the perspective of a wearer, applying this learning forward into their work in Fashion and Apparel or Merchandising.

Know your Knits diagram from Threads magazine

At an Industry level knits happen on large machines and it is important to have students understand the scalability of knit. At the other end of scale: having a knitter coming into class to do a live demonstration can offer students a chance to touch materials and take a spin with the needles. Any regional knitting shop will offer basic knitting courses:  The Naked Sheep in Portland, Oregon: http://www.thenakedsheepknitshop.com/class_sched.htm

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Available now: Punk Style by Worn Through founder, Monica Sklar, PhD. Find it at : Amazon.com, Powell's Books, or a bookseller near you.