Saturday, May 28, 2016

Urban Aboriginal ArtCloths[1]

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Experts estimate the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders that existed at the time of the start of the Anglo-Saxon colony in Australia in 1788 numbered 700,000. It fell to its low of around 93,000 people in 1900, a decrease by almost 87%. It will take until 2021 for population figures to recover to 1788 level if the current annual growth rate of 2.2% remains stable.

At present, 3% of Australia’s population identify themselves as Aboriginal. However, there are a large number of people who don’t answer the Indigenous question in the Census. It has been estimated there are approximately 1.1 million people whose Indigenous status we don’t know.

Contrary to what many people think the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in Australia’s Eastern States and not in the remote desert regions of the continent. Furthermore, more than 66% of Aboriginal people live in NSW, Queensland and Victoria while Western Australia and the Northern Territory contribute only 24% of the Aboriginal population. Queensland is expected to overtake NSW for the title of most Aboriginal residents in the not-too-distant future. The population is the lowest in South Australia (5.6%) and Tasmania (3.6%). The Australian Capital Territory is home to only 0.9% of Australia’s Aboriginal people. The Northern Territory has the largest proportion of its population who are Aboriginal (30%), compared with 4.7% or less for all other states and the Australian Capital Territory.

Aboriginal population in Australia. About 60% of Australia’s Aboriginal people live in New South Wales or Queensland. The figures are almost stable since 2001.
Courtesy of "Creative Spirits".

In 2006 the majority (75%) of Aboriginal people lived in cities and non-remote areas. 32% lived in major cities, 21% in inner regional areas and 22% in outer regional areas. Only a quarter lived in remote (9%) and very remote (15%) areas.

90% of Aboriginal people live in areas covering 25% of Australia, while 90% of non-Aboriginal people live in the most densely populated 2.6% of the continent. Compare this to who owns how much of the land!

Aboriginal people live in cities, not in the outback. It is a common myth that the average Aboriginal Australian lives in a remote community. Only a quarter do so.
Courtesy of "Creative Spirits".

National Sorry Day is an Australia-wide observance held on May 26 each year. This day gives people the chance to come together and share the steps towards healing for the Stolen Generations, their families and communities. Stolen generations refer to Indigenous Australians who were forcibly removed from their families and communities. This post underlines our support for National Sorry Day and it does so by showcasing the artistic talent of our indigenous peoples.

The following images are ArtCloth created by urban Australian Aboriginals.

Urban Aboriginal ArtCloths
The population of Australia was estimated to be 23,239,022 as of 6th November 2013. Australia is the 52nd most populous country in the world. Its population is concentrated mainly in urban areas so its not surprising that that is also reflected in the location of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Below is a small collection of urban aboriginal ArtCloth work, the images of which have been procured from reference [1].

Artist and Title of Work: Marlene Young – “Brabralung Dreaming” (1995).
Technique: Painted on Silk.
Size: 295.5 x 116.0 cm.
Courtesy of National Gallery of Victoria.

Artist and Title of Work: Bronwyn Bancroft (Designer) – “Snake Escape” (1995).
Lani Durland Studio, Sydney (Australia).
Technique: Screen print on Cloth.
Size: 314.0 x 145.5 cm.
Courtesy of National Gallery of Victoria.

Artist and Title of Work: Euphemia Bostock (Designer) – “Possum Skin” (ca. 1985).
Sydney College of the Arts (Australia).
Technique: Screen print on Silk Taffeta.
Size: 300.0 x 120.0 cm.
Courtesy of National Gallery of Victoria.

Artist and Title of Work: Lawrence Leaslie (Painter) – “Yarraboalla karuldai (rock painting)” (ca. 1983).
Linda Jackson Studio, Sydney (Australia).
Technique: Screen print on Cotton.
Size: 445.0 x 137.0 cm.
Courtesy of National Gallery of Australia.

Artist and Title of Work: Donna Brown (Painter) – “The Gounge” (ca. 1995).
Bachelor College, Batchelor, NT (Australia).
Technique: Painted on Silk.
Size: 115.5 x 293.0 cm.
Courtesy of National Gallery of Victoria.

Artist and Title of Work: Muriel van der Byl – “Marrinhan” (1992).
Technique: Screen print on Silk.
Size: 83.0 x 110.0 cm.
Courtesy of Art Gallery of South Australia.

J. Ryan and R. Healy, Raiki Wara, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (1998).

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Mark Making on Urban Walls – Post Graffiti Art Work
Facade Exhibition@The Palm House

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

My artwork has appeared in a number of exhibitions which have been featured on this blog spot. For your convenience I have listed these posts below.

ArtCloth: Engaging New Visions (Marie-Therese Wisniowski - Curator's Talk)
Sequestration of CO2 (Engaging New Visions) M-T. Wisniowski
Codes – Lost Voices (ArtCloth Installation) M-T. Wisniowski
Unleashed: The Rise of Australian Street Art (Art Exhibition) Various Artists
Merge and Flow (SDA Members Exhibition) M-T. Wisniowski
The Journey (Megalo Studio) M-T. Wisniowski
Another Brick (Post Graffiti ArtCloth Installation) M-T. Wisniowski
ArtCloth Swap & Exhibition
When Rainforests Ruled (Purple Noon Art & Sculpture Gallery) M-T. Wisniowski
When Rainforests Glowed (Eden Gardens Gallery) M-T. Wisniowski
My Southern Land (Galerie 't Haentje te Paart, Netherlands) M-T. Wisniowski
The Last Exhibition @ Galerie ’t Haentje the Paart
Fleeting - My ArtCloth Work Exhibited @ Art Systems Wickham Art Gallery
My Thirteen Year Contribution to the '9 x 5' Exhibition at the Walker Street Gallery & Arts Centre
Timelines: An Environmental Journey
Man-Made Fish Kills

Every two years the NSW branch of the Australian Textile Arts & Surface Design Association (ATASDA) holds a themed fibre and textile Art Exhibition at The Palm House in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney (Australia). The exhibition will be held between the 18th to the 30th May 2016 featuring the theme “Façade”.

ATASDA’s promotional poster for the Façade Exhibition @ The Palm House.

The organizer of the exhibition – Kirry Toose – wants textile and fiber artists to: “… explore its subtleties [of the theme], the cityscape and Garden's surroundings and events – think of colour, reflections, and the play of light on surfaces.... investigate unusual materials, in combination with traditional techniques.”

ATASDA Logo – Designed by Marie-Therese Wisniowski.
See ATASDA for rationale behind the logo.

This year’s exhibition is even more eventful since it is held in the year the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, will celebrate its 200th birthday and it also coincides with Sydney’s "Light Festival". As a consequence the ATASDA exhibition will attract many more visitors due to these simultaneous events.

Moritz Behren light show in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.

Before we delve into my contribution to the exhibition we should give some historical information about the venue, namely, The Palm House itself.

The Palm House
The Palm House was built 1876 at a cost of 1,371 pounds. Colonial Architect James Barnet designed it. The building was to display a variety of tropical plants, which could not survive outdoors in Sydney (Australia). The building was originally heated by hot water pipes under the floor, fed by a boiler located in the adjoining Stoke House. Repairs in 1899 and more importantly in 1912 changed some features of the building, but it survived basically intact until the 1980s, when parts of the structure had become unsafe. In 1993 The Palm House was repaired and refurbished. It is believed to be the oldest surviving public glasshouse in Australia.

The Palm House before 1912, when it was extensively renovated with designs by the government architect, George McRae. The shape of the roof lights and the glazing pattern are different from the present structures (see image below).

Timelines of Changes to The Palm House
1876 - The Palm House glasshouse built in Middle Garden of the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney by James Barnet.
1912 - The Palm House glasshouse had a new superstructure, designed by Government Architect George McRae.
1970-71 - Timbers replaced in The Palm House glasshouse.
1992-93 - The Palm House glasshouse was reconstructed to its 1912 form and adapted to become an exhibition space. About 50% of its original glazing was recycled on the south side, also c1920s patterned glass was reused.
2007 - The Palm House major renovations: timber and glazing repairs, painting, guttering, shade screens.

Present external structure of The Palm House, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, NSW.

Internal view of the present day The Palm House.

Mark Making on Urban Walls - Marie-Therese's Artist Statement
Wikipedia defines street art as: “…any art developed in public spaces - that is in the ‘streets’ - though the term usually refers to unsanctioned art as opposed to government sponsored initiatives. The term can include traditional graffiti artwork, stencil graffiti, sticker art, wheat pasting and street poster art, video projection, art intervention, guerrilla art, flash mobbing and street installations.” It can also include “hero/heroine” art but it definitely does not include territorial graffiti, vandalism or corporate art. Both men and women embrace street art. It is not gender centric.

This ArtCloth piece is themed on urban marks and mark marking wall imagery that I have reinterpreted and deconstructed to create Post Graffiti artwork. Deconstruction denotes the application of post-modern ideas of criticism, or theory, to a "text" or "artefact", based on architectural deconstuctivism. A deconstruction is meant to undermine the frame of reference and assumptions that underpin the text or the artefact.

This ArtCloth work reflects and interprets the use of the various techniques such as wheat paste that Graffiti artists use to secure paper images and/or stencils to create imagery on urban walls. Post Graffiti artists explore other media to produce similar art markings, thereby legitimizing the art rather than just rendering it as nuisance art showcased on public surfaces. My medium is cloth and so my mark making utilises the unique techniques and colors associated with that medium.

Mark Making on Urban Walls – Post Graffiti ArtWork

Full View.
Format/Techniques/Materials: Wall Hanging. Multiple silkscreens, stamped, stencilled, discharged, hand painted and hand drawn employing transparent, opaque and metallic paints, glazes, silicate and foil on paper and cotton substrates.
Size: 70 cm wide x 120 cm high.
Price: $800.00.

Detail View 1.

Detail View 2.

Detail View 3.

Detail View 4.

Detail View 5.

Detail View 6.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Cas Holmes - Stitch Stories
Book Review

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

There are a number of book reviews on this blogspot. For your convenience I have listed the other book reviews below:
Textiles: The Art of Mankind - Mary Schoeser
The Pattern Base - Kristi O'Meara
Creative Strength Training - Jane Dunnewold

I first encountered Cas Holmes when I was putting together a list of textile artists that I wanted to include in an exhibition which I was invited to curate - ArtCloth: Engaging New Visions. I was well aware of her work when I asked her whether she would be a contributor to my exhibition. She concurred.

Cas produced a diptych - Black Birds I and II - which reflected her interest in the open landscape, the shadows of marks made by man on the earth, the reflections in water and flooded fields, gardens and seasons changing. She grew up in the wind-swept fenland water and woods of Norfolk. Crows, ravens, magpies, and "black birds" were familiar to the landscape of her life. She created her work on found fabrics and paper, which further emphasized her commitment for a recycled world.

Artist and Title of Artwork: Cas Holmes - Black Birds I and II (full view).
Techniques: Print, paint, dye and stitch. Layering with paste.
Media: Cold water dyes, acrylics, conservation paper, assorted muslin and cotton fabrics, wax rubbings, ink.
Cloth Type: Found fabrics and papers.
Size: 60 cm (width) x 300 cm (length) for each artwork.

Since that time we have kept in contact. We have conducted workshops at the same venues in Australia and elsewhere. I was also asked in 2014 to open an exhibition - Memory Cloth - at the Museum de Kantfabriek in Horst (The Netherlands) - which featured artworks by Els van Baarle, Glenys Mann, Cherilyn Martin and Cas Holmes.

Marie-Therese Wisniowski giving the opening address at the "Memory Cloth: Remembering in Textile" exhibition.

I have hosted her in Australia and when I did we talked and talked and talked about textile/fiber art. If we had quiet moments of reflection, Cas would produce paper and water color paints and sketch or doodle what her mind's eye would see and interpret her surrounds. Clearly, she was sketching new ideas that at some later time might find their way into her textile artwork. It was an act of creating resources from surrounding inspirations.

As you can see I am biased on a number of fronts: I like her textile/fiber art; I like her ideas; I like the fact that she wants to share her knowledge with others.

Cas Holmes - Stitch Stories [1]

Front cover of Stitch Stories.
Courtesy of reference [1].

This is a most unusual book in that it is not designed to give you an extensive coverage of "how to do's" and yet, techniques play a major role in the book (e.g. printing with transfer paints, eco dyeing and printing with a gelatine plate etc.)

Gell plate and materials set up ready for the first printing.
Photograph courtesy of reference [1].

Artist and Title of Artwork: Peta Lloyd - Botanical Goats (2013).
Materials and Techniques: Tea-dyed envelopes, mail ephemera, gelatine prints, tar paper, collage stitch, ficus and gum leaves.
Size: 30 x 25 x 20 cm (closed).
Photograph courtesy of reference [1].

It does not aim to be a compendium of artists and their work and yet, it does contain the art of a large number of textile artists (e.g. Jane LeFazio, Ros Woodhead, Kate Boucher, Tania McCormack, Dionne Swift, Ann Mechelinck, Margarita Zigutyte, Yoriko Yoneyama, Rachel Doolan, Noriko Endo, and Ann Somerset Miles - just to mention a few!)

Artist: Ann Mechelnick.
Materials: Fabrics, upholstery tassel's and jute rope.
Size: 96 x 197 cm (37.75 x 77.5 inches).
Photograph courtesy of reference [1].

The book does contain a continuing thread of Cas Holmes' work and her approach to her art.

From drawing to cloth - small stitched collages.
Photograph courtesy of reference [1].

The aim of this book is far more inspirational and practical than all of the above three traditional approaches that are adopted by most authors who focus on textile art. Its organizing principle is designed to get artists to explore different methods of recording their ideas and inspirations so as to give a concrete and practical forum that can be utilized in order to express their emotions, feelings and intuitions of the meanings and values of life onto fabric. Hence the book moves from the inspiration through to the practical that enables you to implement your fabric art. It does so in six chapters:

Chapter 1: "Places, Spaces and Traces" The aim of this chapter is to create methods in which the artist can record their inspiration and/or aspiration - from keeping sketch books to taking photographs to other forms of recording ideas (such as collecting found objects, materials etc). This chapter also contains exercises in order to better hone the recording practice.

Artist and Title of Artwork: Jane LaFazio - Eucalyptus Blooms (2013).
Technique: Drawings of blooms in progress.
Photograph courtesy of reference [1].

Artist and Title of Artwork: Jane LaFazio - Eucalyptus Blooms (2013).
Materials and Technique: Free-motion drawing with sewing machine on to fabric printed with thermofax screens and stencils of blossom.
Photograph courtesy of reference [1].

Chapter 2: "Seizing Inspiration" This chapter explores tradition and unusual sources that provide inspiration for a textile artwork. For example, found objects, found fabrics, wall paper patterns, art nouveau designs, mark-making exercises using pens, inks and washes - all can inspire new fabric artworks.

Artist and Title of Artwork: Cas Holmes - Bird Song (2014).
Materials: The artwork incorporates cloth given to the artist during her travels in the USA. Photograph courtesy of reference [1].

Chapter 3: "The Natural World" The focus on this chapter is on how we can utilize the environment both as a source of inspiration as well as a natural resource to inform our textile art practice.

Artist and Title of Artwork: Holly Story - Red Canopy (2011 - 2012).
Materials and Techniques: Kerri-Leaf steam print on wool blankets (eco-dyeing) and hand stitched.
Size: 240 cm in diameter.
Photograph courtesy of reference [1].

Chapter 4: "All in the Detail" This chapter focuses on how artwork can be further embellished in order to yield extra dimensions to it. The artwork becomes layered in detail, meaning and in engagement.

Artist and Title of the Artwork: Neil Bottle - Blue (2010).
Techniques and Materials: Hand and computer generated images. digital-printed cotton sateen wall hanging.
Size: 60 x 60 cm.
Photograph courtesy of reference [1].

Chapter 5: "Off the Beaten Path" The traditions of social and historical contributions of textiles in themselves inform, inspire and help to create new artworks. This chapter looks at personal reactions to these themes.

Artist and Title of Artwork: Alke Schmidt - "Aftermath" (2014).
Materials: Found textiles - Walthamstow-source fabrics and Western-styled clothes made in Bangladesh as well as shalwar kameez - traditional South Asian dress that was also worn by the Rana Plaza garment workers - as well as thread, acrylic and sawdust on canvas.
Photograph courtesy of reference [1].

Chapter 6: "Telling Stories in Stitch" This chapter continues the theme of stitch and social narrative in relation to mark-making on cloth.

Artist and Title of Artwork: Judith R. Shamp - AkaHappa Kimono (2009).
Materials and Techniques: Maple-leaf shapes were cut with a hot knife, leaving positive and negative pattern shapes. Small seed beads give additional detail and textures to the stitching.
Photograph courtesy of reference [1].

This is a book that deserves to sit on your bookshelf. It not only inspires but is peppered with practical techniques and suggestions and so teaches you a myriad of methodologies, one or many of which will translate your inspiration onto fabric.

[1] C. Holmes, Stitch Stories, Batsford, London (2015).

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

This is the fifty-second post in the "Art Resource" series, specifically aimed to construct an appropriate knowledge base in order to develop an artistic voice in ArtCloth.

Other posts in this series are:
Glossary of Cultural and Architectural Terms
Units Used in Dyeing and Printing of Fabrics
Occupational, Health & Safety
A Brief History of Color
The Nature of Color
Psychology of Color
Color Schemes
The Naming of Colors
The Munsell Color Classification System
Methuen Color Index and Classification System
The CIE System
Pantone - A Modern Color Classification System
Optical Properties of Fiber Materials
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part I
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part II
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part III
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part IV
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part V
Protein Fibers - Wool
Protein Fibers - Speciality Hair Fibers
Protein Fibers - Silk
Protein Fibers - Wool versus Silk
Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff
Cellulosic Fibers (Natural) - Cotton
Cellulosic Fibers (Natural) - Linen
Other Natural Cellulosic Fibers
General Overview of Man-Made Fibers
Man-Made Cellulosic Fibers - Viscose
Man-Made Cellulosic Fibers - Esters
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Nylon
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Polyester
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Acrylic and Modacrylic
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Olefins
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Elastomers
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Mineral Fibers
Man Made Fibers - Other Textile Fibers
Fiber Blends
From Fiber to Yarn: Overview - Part I
From Fiber to Yarn: Overview - Part II
Melt-Spun Fibers
Characteristics of Filament Yarn
Yarn Classification
Direct Spun Yarns
Textured Filament Yarns
Fabric Construction - Felt
Fabric Construction - Nonwoven fabrics
A Fashion Data Base
Fabric Construction - Leather
Fabric Construction - Films
Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins
Fabric Construction – Foams and Poromeric Material
Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns
Weaving and the Loom
Similarities and Differences in Woven Fabrics
The Three Basic Weaves - Plain Weave (Part I)
The Three Basic Weaves - Plain Weave (Part II)
The Three Basic Weaves - Twill Weave
The Three Basic Weaves - Satin Weave
Figured Weaves - Leno Weave
Figured Weaves – Piqué Weave
Figured Fabrics
Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements
Crêpe Fabrics
Crêpe Effect Fabrics
Pile Fabrics - General
Woven Pile Fabrics
Chenille Yarn and Tufted Pile Fabrics
Knit-Pile Fabrics
Flocked Pile Fabrics and Other Pile Construction Processes
Glossary of Paper, Photography, Printing, Prints and Publication Terms
Napped Fabrics – Part I
Napped Fabrics – Part II
Double Cloth
Multicomponent Fabrics
Knit-Sew or Stitch Through Fabrics
Finishes - Overview
Finishes - Initial Fabric Cleaning
Mechanical Finishes - Part I
Mechanical Finishes - Part II
Additive Finishes
Chemical Finishes - Bleaching
Glossary of Scientific Terms
Chemical Finishes - Acid Finishes
Finishes: Mercerization
Finishes: Waterproof and Water-Repellent Fabrics
Finishes: Flame-Proofed Fabrics
Finishes to Prevent Attack by Insects and Micro-Organisms
Other Finishes
Shrinkage - Part I
Shrinkage - Part II

There are currently eight data bases on this blogspot, namely, the Glossary of Cultural and Architectural Terms, Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff, A Fashion Data Base, the Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins, the Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns, Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements, Glossary of Paper, Photography, Printing, Prints and Publication Terms and the Glossary of Scientific Terms, which has been updated to Version 3.5. All data bases will be updated from time-to-time in the future.

If you find any post on this blog site useful, you can save it or copy and paste it into your own "Word" document etc. for your future reference. For example, Safari allows you to save a post (e.g. click on "File", click on "Print" and release, click on "PDF" and then click on "Save As" and release - and a PDF should appear where you have stored it). Safari also allows you to mail a post to a friend (click on "File", and then point cursor to "Mail Contents On This Page" and release). Either way, this or other posts on this site may be a useful Art Resource for you.

The Art Resource series will be the first post in each calendar month. Remember - these Art Resource posts span information that will be useful for a home hobbyist to that required by a final year University Fine-Art student and so undoubtedly, some parts of any Art Resource post may appear far too technical for your needs (skip over those mind boggling parts) and in other parts, it may be too simplistic with respect to your level of knowledge (ditto the skip). The trade-off between these two extremes will mean that Art Resource posts will hopefully be useful in parts to most, but unfortunately may not be satisfying to all!

Knitting is a process by which needles are used to form one or more yarns into a series of interlocking loops. A knitting machine can make fabrics 5 to 10 times faster than a loom. It is possible to fashion garments by knitting so that they need not be cut and may be sewn as woven fabrics. Knitted fabrics are in unprecedented demand today. The increased opportunity to travel, interests in leisure time activities such as sports, informal relaxed living styles and emphasis of easy-care fabrics have been responsible for the expansion of knits in the fields of outerwear apparel, home furnishings and automotive textiles etc. New technological developments in knitting machinery, new ideas in knitting construction and new finishes have contributed to the use of knots in high fashion garments and in the use of wearable art.

Libby Peacock and her eldest daughter, Fenella, design hand knitted collections of evening-wear.

Laminating knits to polyurethane foams have made it possible to use thin and in some cases uneven knits such as jerseys for outerwear. In bonded fabrics acetate filament tricot is widely used as a backing fabric.

Recycled sweaters cover the polyurethane foam and wood.

Knits are desirable because they do not wrinkle easily, shape to the body without binding, are elastic, porous, yet light and warm.

Brett Whiteley’s Jacaranda Tree – interpreted in knit wear by Ruth Fitzpatrick [2].

Some of the advantages may also promote other disadvantages. For example, the unstable shape of the knit stitch results in the loss of shape and size in many cotton, rayon and wool garments. They are warm in still air but must be covered by a wind-repellent layer to keep the body warm on a windy day. On a warm humid day, knits may be too warm because they tend to fit snugly and keep the air close to the body.

Vida Lahey’s Lunchtime – interpreted in knit wear by Libby Jones [2].

Knits may be made of any fiber. Spun yarn used in knitting is of rather low twist and must be made very uniform or else thick-and-thin places will occur in the fabric. Synthetic filaments are uniform and easy to knit.

Ikat print filament knit.

Methods of Knitting
The two methods of knitting are warp knitting and filling knitting. These terms are borrowed from weaving techniques and refer to the way loops are formed.

Comparison of warp and filling (weft) knitting.

Warp Knits
Warp knits are machine knits from one or more sets of yarn placed side-by-side, the same position as warp yarns for weaving. Warp knitting started around 1775 with the invention of the tricot machine (or warp loom) by Crane of England. The machine knitted fabrics 16 inches wide and was primarily used for silk stocking cloths. The development of this machine was unique in that there is no evidence that warp knitting was practiced as a hand technique. In 1880 Kayser established a warp knitting mill in the USA.

One of Kayser's beautiful design for silk gloves now housed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Warp knitting provides the fastest means of cloth fabrication. The loops are all made simultaneously by interloping individual warp yarn into loops of adjacent warp yarns. The loops form vertical wales on the right side and horizontal wales or courses on the wrong side.

Two-bar tricot fabric. Top: face side. Bottom: reverse side.

A modern warp knitting machine. It can knit fabric up to 168 inches wide and can produce 1,000 courses and 4,700,000 stitches per minute.

Modern warp knitting machines

Fabrics are usually knitted flat and are made on several different types of machines. Those most common are the tricot machines employing a single needle bar with two guide bars for plain fabrics (see above) or two to four guide bars for pattern fabrics, and Raschel machines having one or two needle bars and up to 30 guide bars. The guide bars lay the threads around the needles.

Diagram showing motion of the guide bars in knitting.

Tricot (pronounced tree’-ko) comes from the French word tricoter meaning “to knit” and is the name given to warp knit fabrics, which are widely used in underwear, dress and blouse fabrics and backing fabrics. They are either run- or snag-resistant or runproof.

Tricot jersey fabrics are knitted 160 inches wide and cut into 40 inch widths for sale as yard goods or for use in ready-to-wear garments. Most tricot fabrics are made from filament yarns. Nylon jersey is heat-set to stabilize the fabric. If it is off grain, it cannot be straightened because the yarns have been set and will not assume another position when they are wet. Acetate tricot is used for backing in most bonded fabrics and has wide use in textured knit for dresses. Arne tricot is less expensive than nylon and is employed in the same end uses.

108 inch 40 denier tricot turquoise

New developments in tricot have been made by stitch construction, by yarn construction, by finishing or by combining these. Effects achieved by stitch construction are:
(i) over-all clipped dots made by a third set of yarns put in as a lappet design as is done in woven fabric
(ii) a tucked fabric
(iii) a ruffled tuck
(iv) simulated pleats in which some of the fabric is sheer and some heavier.

Effects achieved by yarn construction have been mainly in improving the feel or hand of the tricot. Using trilobal nylon (Antron) has given warmer, more silk-like hand. Textured nylon and acetate (Taslan, Ban-Lon) yarns are used to give better hand. Crepset nylon makes sheer tricot. This fabric looks like chiffon or georgette and has the appearance of true crepé without the high potential shrinkage due to high-twist crepé yarns. Novelty yarns can be used for special effects, but at present are rarely commercially employed.

Nylon taslan dobby.

Effects achieved by the finish include cross-dyeing for striped designs or leather effects, embossing for surface design, or opaqueness and burnt-out designs. The most important embossed finish is Shreinering, a process in which round yarns are flattened to give more cover – to make fabrics look and feel flatter. Other embossed finishes give a leather-like look to fabrics. Burnt out designs are made by knitting in an extra yarn of unlike fiber content and printing an acid or caustic on the fabric to remove sections of the extra yarn.

One fabric finish is Shreinering. The natural luster of many cloths such as cotton-back satin, satin, muslin, linen and lining is enhanced by a method of milling or pounding called shreinering. The material is subjected to the physical action of a roller, usually made of steel, with a great many fine lines per inch engraved in it. The roller flattens the threads in the cloth and imprints onto the surface a series of ridges so fine that it is necessary to use a microscope to see the fineness of the work. These very fine lines reflect the rays of light and bring out the appearance by which the cloth is characteristically known. Some of the finishes allied with shreinering are frost-shreinerization, imitation schreinerization, imitation mercerization and bloom finish.

Raschel knitting machines combine high productivity with extensive pattern designs. They knit anything from very fragile hairnets, tulles and veilings to coarse rugs and fur cloths. Elastic fabrics for foundation garments are made on Raschel machines.

Drawing of a power net, knitted on a Raschel machine.

Filling Knits
Filling knits are made with one or more yarns carried back and forth to make a flat fabric or are knitted completely around to make a circular fabric. Filling knits are made both by hand and by machine. An experienced hand knitter might produce 60 stitches per minute while a machine can produce at least 3 million stitches in the same time.

A circular knitting machine for filling knits.

Filling knit fabrics are usually a plain knit or rib knit. A third stitch or purl stitch is used to make imitations of hand-knit garments for children and in combination with plain or rib knit in patterned fabrics.

This fabric contains the vertical wales, which are characteristic of a filling knit.

Plain knit is one in which the loops are drawn to one side of the fabric. These knits have a definite right and wrong side with wales on the face side and courses on the reverse side.

Plain jersey stitch. Right: face side. Left: reverse side.

The face of the fabric has more sheen than the back. Plain knit is also called jersey stitch, named for the turtle neck sweaters originally worn by sailors from the Isle of Jersey. The stitch is used in knitting sweaters, yard goods in dress and suiting weights, sport shirts and hosiery.

Jersey purple. A basic stitch used in weft knitting, in which each loop formed in the knit is identical. The jersey stitch is also called the plain, felt, or stockinet stitch. Jersey fabric is created through the consistent inter-looping of yarns in the jersey stitch to produce a fabric with a smooth, flat face, and a more textured, but uniform back. Jersey fabrics may be produced on either circular or flat weft knitting machines.

Rib knit is made by drawing every other stitch to the face of the fabric. These fabrics look the same on the right and wrong side. Rib knits have more elasticity crosswise than plain knits and are therefore used as wrist and neckbands on sweaters. Rib stitch is also used in making bulky knits. It is seldom used in yard goods for outerwear garments but is used in underwear fabrics. Rib stitch fabrics do not curl at the edges as do plain knits.

Plain 1 and 1 rib stitch.

Purl stitch knits look the same on the face and reverse side and look like the reverse side of jersey. This stitch is used to make sweaters, especially for infants and children and booties. The fashion for bulky knits has increased the use of this stitch. Purl knits have excellent stretch both crosswise and lengthwise.

Purl stitch.

Tuck stitches are made by collecting more than one loop on a needle and then drawing a single loop through them. Lacy or meshed fabrics are formed in this manner.

Tuck stitch. A knitted stitch, which produces a tuck effect by having certain needles carrying more than one loop at a time. The resulting stitch produces an elongated wale (lengthwise ridge) on the front of the fabric, while on the back of the fabric the tuck stitch appears as an inverted plain stitch. The stitch can be elongated for two or more courses (rows of loops/stitches), depending on how often the stitch was tucked.

Jersey, which is made in tabular form, is seldom pressed at the factory with wales parallel to the creases of the fabric, and the courses or crosswise ridges straight with the cut edge. Before cutting a garment from jersey, put a basting line or a line of pins along a wale to mark the lengthwise grain, refold the cloth, and then straighten by steam pressing or wetting the fabric. A very small needle should be used in stitching.

Lacoste men's cotton jersey V-neck sweater.

Double knits are made with two sets of needles, creating firm fabrics that have more body and durability than single knits. They have the good characteristics of regular knits, and in addition are less apt to “sit out”, require no skirt lining and can be hung on hangers. They are easier to handle in cutting and sewing since they do not curl on the edges.

Double knit scarf.

The most commonly used stitch is the double piqué stitch, which gives a subtle diamond-like effect surface. The double piqué stitch is made on specially designed circular equipment and is most attractive in finer gauges. Other double knit constructions are ribs, single piqué and bourrelet. Bourrelet is a ripple stitch or corded fabric made by raising loops across the surface.

Bourrelet headdress, which has been reproduced from a stunning 15th Century effigy - Lady Margaret Herbert of Coldbrook (wife to Sir Richard Herbert of Coldbrook).

[1] N. Hollen and J. Saddler, Textiles, 3rd Edition, MacMillan Company, London (1968).
[2] J. Rogers, The Art of Knitting, Collins, Angus and Robertson, North Ryde (1991).