Textile Terrains: A Technique-led Design Methodology for Knitted Surface

Moore, Rachelle Maureen
Hedges, Susan
Smith, Mandy
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

This practice-led research focuses on developing a method of building knitted surface topographies using links-links stitch structures and the knitting technique of inlay. The knitted surface topography builds on the dynamic and fluid nature of knitting, where materials, making and maker absorb and translate properties from surrounding environments and interactions. A knitted surface is an entity constructed through a series of singular movements; stitch by stitch, the knit and the inlay pattern assemble in tandem, resulting in a hybrid surface. A single point builds the multiple to inform a collective surface reliant on neighbouring linkages. Layers interconnect during the making, and dominant material forces alter the knitted surface plane. Weave and knit are embedded digitally and physically in an inlay surface. The assembled material performances inherited from the hybrid textile technique are visible in the folded fragmentation of the knitted surfaces. Material agency folds and unfolds to reveal hidden inlay patterning, as intersecting material forces collide. These oppositional conditions increase the tactility of a knitted surface, providing opportunities for haptic navigation of the fractured topography, allowing the hand to read what the eye omits.

This research follows a digital-craft creative process embracing textile design methods of repetition, traditional weave patterns and digital machine knit tacit knowledge. An alliance forms during the making between designer, materials and technology. A mode of making develops, resulting in a temporal practice approach, designing with rather than against the heterogeneous knitted surface dynamics; the programmed materiality results in linear distortion through inlay pattern subtraction and link-links ground interactions. The compositional inlay placements further disrupt the knitted surface, exposing pattern traces that map material forces. This research journey asks the question: How can the hybrid knit-weave technique, inlay, be used as an ontological investigative medium into built, knitted surface topographies through the assemblage of heterogeneous material forces? The significance of knitted surface is examined, as alternative approaches to making encounter visible and invisible material dynamics that inform topographical terrains.

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