Nine Worlds 2013: Knitting Stream

Again, apologies I’ve been absent from blogging for so long – it’s been a busy few months with research, upgrade and attending ‘In the Loop 3.5’ in Shetland – a knitting conference I’ve attended (and blogged about) previously. ‘In the Loop 3.5’ was brilliant, and it was (and always is) an amazing space to be part of. The conference showcases such a breadth of skills, knowledges and enthusiasms about knitting and ways that knitting can be a creative, transformative and affective force in the world. I’ll be sure to dedicate a blog post soon to sharing my experience in Shetland. In the meanwhile, I’d like to introduce a new, and forthcoming space for knitters to confer and use their enthusiasm and skill to make creative interventions in the world! Welcome, NineWorlds ‘GeekFest 2013’ a conference around “gaming, film, cosplay, fandom, literature, science, geek culture, meeting people and having a really big party” – as part of this weekend event they’ll be a whole stream dedicated to knitting, organized by Sasha McKenna. The knitting stream at NineWorlds Geek Fest will explore knitting’s role in social and collection action, and the power of craft communities to reflect and document (and be part of!) the vibrancy of fan and geek culture! As part of the knitting stream, they’ll be workshops for learning new knitting skills, ‘stitch n bitch’, discussions on knitting culture and some exciting talks by movers and shakers on the ‘knitting scene’! I’m really sad to not be able to make the event but luckily I managed to ask Sasha a few questions, to get the knitty gritty (sorry, I’m not sorry!) on what fab events can be expected this weekend:

How did you get involved with Nine Worlds Knitting Stream?

I knew Ludi, one of the organisers, through queer feminist burlesque collective Lashings of Ginger Beer Time and when I heard they were having a knitting stream I offered up my services straight away!

What can be events can be expected at Nine Worlds Knitting Stream?

I’m super excited about the programme for the knitting stream – we have a mixture of workshops where you can learn new skills, like charting knitting patterns or knitting a zombie jumper, talks and discussions on knitting culture and social events like our Nine Worlds Geekfest Stitch n Bitch.

How can knitting and craft skills represent ‘geek culture’ in unique ways?

Knitting’s as much a medium for creative expression as it is a tool for making useful things. One of the things I love about geekdom is this culture where, if you love something, you use it as inspiration for something creative – I think fanfic, vids and crafts are all different ways of doing this (along with all the many, many others). I think part of the reason why crafts are unique is that so much of geek culture is still very cis-male dominated and crafts have a very feminine history – knitting groups are still seen very much as ‘women’s spaces’ so if you have an online Doctor Who knitting group, that offers a unique space for people usually marginalised by much of geek culture to go and celebrate things they love.

What’s the history of knitting and fan art? Can attendees expect tips on how to make their own? How does knitting feature in cult TV and film?

This is the session I’m the most excited about! Knitting as a form of fanart – or as an artform at all – has been really overlooked but there are some super amazing things out there! I think it’s gained a little more recognition since the ‘Jayne Hat’ phenomenon but that’s just a tiny part of what people are creating. We’ll be running a joint masterclass on knitting in cult TV and as fanart, which includes a few patterns inspired by cult TV and film, plus we’ll be talking about the process of creating your own fanart using knitting.

Who’s your favourite knitter in cult TV and film- or knitting scene?

My personal favourite TV knitter is Emerson Cod, the private investigator from Pushing Daisies. 

Who’ll be talking about ‘yarnbombing’ at the event? Are there plans to yarnbomb the conference? What might this look like?

We’re really lucky to have Lauren O’Farrell, the head of Stitch London, to talk about yarnbombing at the con. She’s also the founding member of Knit the City, London’s graffiti knitting group so she certainly knows what she’s talking about! If you’ve never tried yarnbombing before, be sure to come along to our very first session where we’ll be yarnbombing the whole con! We’re hoping to leave surprise yarn creations in as many nooks and crannies as we can find! 

What level of knitter can join in with the Knitting Stream? What do knitters need to bring to the conference?

Anyone is more than welcome to come and join in – if you pop into our Stitch n Bitch session on the Friday evening then you can learn the basics. If you already knit, you might want to bring some yarn and needles – don’t forget there’ll be a yarn swap so make sure you bring anything unwanted!

For more information on the timetable of events for the Knitting Stream at Nine Worlds Geek Fest 2013 click here and for inspiration ahead of the event, check out the tumblr Sasha has been running here!  

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