Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Project VI: PlateaKnit. 25th-29th January, by Ingrid Murnane

I’m a knitter. Any of you who follow me on Twitter will know this: sometimes it might seem that it is all I go on about. There are a few of us who are on the @platea Steering Committee who also knit, so really it was only a matter of time before there was a knit-related performance.

I’ve been thinking for a while about combining social networking and knitting more than I do already, by crowd sourcing tweets to make a knitting pattern. I thought that I would decide on a basic pattern to follow, perhaps for a hat or scarf, but would receive the instructions for any other details from my twitter followers. It’s something which I’ve sort of done before, with the aid of a few friends, but not on such a scale.

I mentioned it to An Xiao and the rest of the @platea Steering Committee and although not all knitters they thought it could be an exciting idea to try out over Twitter. So here goes!

Tension Squares by InnyNaney. Used under Creative Commons License.

The Project Details

The performance will take place on 25th – 29th January on Twitter only.

You can take part in two ways this time: as an instructor and as a maker. We will ask the instructors to use the hashtag #plateaknit when they give the makers abbreviated knitting instructions in a tweet. These will be picked up by the makers and incorporated into the piece they are knitting. Although we will be making use of knitting abbreviations, makers can use whatever media they like to interpret and perform: perhaps your drawing or photography could be influenced by the knitting pattern instructions?

If you do decide to knit, you can either cast on a number of stitches to work from as a base and follow the instructions to make a freeform piece of work, or use a garment as the basis for your performance. Simple things will work better for this such as scarves, shawls and basic hats. It doesn’t matter what kind of yarn or needles you use either. As with all making, there will be a certain amount of personal interpretation of any instructions to fit what you are making.

Knitting Round the Table by InnyNaney. Used under Creative Commons License.

It will of course be possible to search the #plateaknit hashtag in order to see the whole pattern as it grows, and to follow the instructions in their entirety, but it will also work if you dip in and out of the feed. We have @platea performers on many continents and in opposite time zones, so we won’t all receive the tweets at a time appropriate to us. You may choose to follow just one or two people’s tweeted instructions, to only participate when you see an instruction telling you to do a certain thing (e.g., make an eyelet) or just go completely freeform and dip in and out of the main instruction pattern whenever you are online. It is entirely up to you: that’s the fun of it. We will all come up with completely different interpretations of the pattern instructions, which makes such a diversion from the traditional process of following a knitting pattern.

Knitting Abbreviations, you say?

For those of you who are not familiar with knitting abbreviations, I will be posting a good basic selection of instructions and ideas with notes on how to use them on the blog shortly for your use. Here are a couple of examples of what might be used, though:

Tweet 01: sl1, k1 *m1, p2, k2tog, p1* (repeat from * three times) k to end #plateaknit

Tweet 02: Do two rows in the colour you are currently working with then change to something (more) green. #plateaknit

Tweet 03: Change one of your needles up three sizes. #plateaknit

Tweet 04: Add five stitches to your next row in any way of your choosing #plateaknit

Tweet 05: Bind (cast) off and start a new piece. #plateaknit

Tweet 06: Do the next five rows in a k2, p2 rib. #plateaknit

Tweet 07: Make it shine! #plateaknit

Don’t be startled with all the lingo if you’re not a knitter: some makers might like to interpret the instructions differently, instead doing something (for example knitting an eyelet, changing needle sizes or switching to blue paint) whenever a particular word such as ‘and’ or ‘row’ is mentioned in a tweet or when somebody tweets about food. This is kind of like Lee Meredith’s Game Knitting concept, if you’re familiar with it.

Basically, makers will interpret instructions to the best of their abilities, including (if they choose) interpreting any part of an instruction tweet as additional guides. It really is up to you how off the wall you want to make this performance. Whatever you do with it, however simple or complicated you want to make it, just have fun!

If you are a knitter and are on Ravelry, then we will be documenting it there on our, and also on the @platea Facebook fan page. You can add your works in progress (WIPs) to the @platea Flickr pool throughout the week and we will feature some on the blog too. Of course, be sure to follow us on Twitter.

We are also planning a series of blog posts in the two weeks after the performance featuring the final articles that you’ve made. I would love to see what you’ve made and additionally read some commentary about how you have interpreted the instructions. It would be great to hear from knitters and non-knitters; instructors and makers, alike. I am going to knit up something with the full instructions which may take a while longer than the performance lasts, as well as knitting something smaller in real-time, and this final piece will be shown here on the @platea blog and will also be available as a pattern on the online knitting magazine, knitonthenet in the near future.

Hope that you are able to join us.

Please do sign up below in the comments as either an instructor, a maker or both.


  1. I am soo interested in being an instructor!!!!! the twitter account I will use is @grrlshapedyarns

  2. Great idea! Vicarious knitting sounds good to me as I've had less time to knit than I'd hoped I would whilst at home with a small baby.

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  4. Ingrid Murnane
    Instructor and Maker

  5. Yael David

  6. Fab!

    @brendadada on Twitter
    brendadada on Ravelry

    Maker (also Instructor if you might need another one).

  7. I'll be a maker - dlad2002 on everything

  8. I'm in to be a maker and instructor.


  9. Maker:
    FunkyFatGirl on Twitter

    Betsy Mitchell Henning on Facebook

    blogging at funky fat girl dot com all one word.

  10. D.

  11. This sounds like the perfect reason to pull out my needles again! Count me in as maker!


  12. since the last time i knit any thing (thing being the operative word) was 20 years ago, this should be interesting
    (maker: @_randomthoughts)

  13. Talia

  14. I'd love to be an instructor I'm @plainsight on Twitter and amyo on Ravelry.

  15. Maker!
    @risager on Twitter
    Procrastinator on Ravelry
    IRL Copenhagen, Denmark or Arinaga, Spain

  16. Instructor ... yay!
    G_Greenhouse on twitter

  17. Maker. What fun.

    @ElselineT on Twitter

  18. I'd like to be a maker

    @kisstheflowers on Twitter

  19. Sign me up as a maker! Thanx. @dr_amyjaneb

  20. @christinielsen on twitter.
    I'll be a maker.
    I'll follow some instructions, but I'm going to allow random tweet patterns to instruct me as well.

  21. Maker :-)

    @itsokadascat on Twitter

  22. Don't even know where the nearest yarn store is, so I'll be an instructor!

    @jenniferwyng on Twitter