Knitting communities in the Andes

Joan Farrer, Antonia Hicks

Research output: Other contribution


Andean knitters possess inherent creative skills that have been refined over centuries (Willoughby 2004). The need to reendorse the connection with their culture, to perpetuate Andean traditional knitting, exhibiting significant mastery of stitch and structure, to establish markets and create a sustainable industry is critical. Currently the Andean communities’ attitude towards their knit textile work is one of economic necessity, compared with that of the leisure and Art House knitters in the developed world. The UK has lost a generation of hand knitters due to extensive use of the domestic knitting machine, marketed by Knitmaster and Jones during the 1960s coupled with availability of affordable, well designed high street knitwear. Re emergence of interest in hand knitting (Stitch n’ Bitch USA) has produced a large number of amateurs who have an altered comprehension of the subject, discovering materiality, structure and maximizing its use in an unlimited range of outcomes, which is moving the craft further from the developing world context. However in both cultures, networks of knitters gather to practice, disguising knitted ‘cosiness’ to produce work with political and social subtexts. This richly illustrated presentation will discuss and contrast social, environmental, economic and aesthetic characteristics of both cultures whose makers share a fundamental passion for the discipline, in order to establish if a more sustainable future for hand knit producers can exist.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherThe Textile Institute
Place of PublicationManchester
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2010


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