Politics of the knitting pattern: ethnography of knitting practice and a women’s knitting community

Taşdizen, Burak
This thesis aims to understand how knitting practitioners organize around knitting know-how and knitting patterns, which exchanges they have with regard to knitting know-how and knitting patterns and what meanings they associate to these exchanges. The fieldwork of this thesis is an ethnography of a community of knitting practice, the knitting course, through participant observations with the aim of first developing insights into practitioner’s production process by practicing knitting, and second into the dynamics of the knitting course. Based on the literature review and findings of the fieldwork, this thesis offers five main conclusions regarding knitting practice and the knitting course. Firstly, knitting practice is a skilled practice. Secondly, knitting practice is a creative practice, for it is based on the creative modification of existing patterns. Thirdly, for skill acquisition is based on observation and imitation, knitting practice helps build communities of practice and helps create third places for the practitioner, informal gathering places in urban environments other than home and work. Fourthly, because of the emancipatory and hierarchical practices it embodies in the way it is organized, knitting course is part of a wider fabriculture, which harbors both the very traditional and the very radical practices in textile. Fifthly, as knitting patterns are adjusted through creative modifications and new patterns make their way into the knitting course and knitting know-how is cultivated and spread, knitting course emerges as an unfolding archive of knitting patterns and knitting know-how. The findings and conclusions of this thesis have implications for design practice. Design practice, as in making practices, could focus more on archives of patterns and instructions to which access is offline and collective, helping to build communities of practice and third places for the practitioner.  


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Citation Formats
B. Taşdizen, “Politics of the knitting pattern: ethnography of knitting practice and a women’s knitting community,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2017.