Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Knitting Machine Woes.

I was asked by my weaving professor Lesli if I would help her with a project she was working on involving knitting experimental fibers on the knitting machine."Experimental fiber" intrigued me, so I jumped at the chance. I've also been working a lot with the knitting machines this semester, including completely taking one apart, so I figured it wouldn't be too difficult.

Tip: Don't take apart a knitting machine if you want to keep your sanity.

Oh boy, was I wrong. I believe what this fiber is made out of is biopolymer (I need to double-check but I'm pretty sure) and it's biodegradable.

This stuff breaks if you look at it the wrong way.

The people developing it are going to be doing testing on it as a fabric to see what it can be used for. Right now, they are considering medical uses. Where Lesli comes in is to turn this thread into a fabric to be tested. She had already been doing samples and working with it, and brought me in to do some of the samples.

 This is one that Lesli did. The red on the top and bottom is just cotton.

This material was so difficult to work with. It stretched out very easily and would snap. When that would happen, the whole thing would fall off the machine and the dropped stitches would immediately unravel down to the bottom row. What I thought would have taken me 30 minutes to do ended up taking me 3 hours, and they don't look near as good as I would like.

It was actually going well at this point....
Nevertheless, I got my three very wonky and small samples done, although I don't know if they're usable yet because I wasn't able to do very big sections.
Who knows, I might be back in there next week trying to make new ones.