Friday, April 6, 2007

Political Knitting

In the chapter called "Art Meets Technology", Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century mentions microRevolt's knitPro, which I had to investigate.

The site is fascinating.

First of all, KnitPro itself is a web application that translates digital images into knit, crochet, needlepoint and cross-stitch patterns. Just upload jpeg, gif or png images of whatever you wish--portraits, landscapes, logos--and it will generate the image pattern on a grid sizable for knitting, needlepoint, cross-stitch and crochet patterns

KnitPro is "based on the tradition of pre-industrial craft circles who freely shared patterns and passed them down from generation to generation." MicroRevolt uses knitPro to make "logoknits"--knitted garments with the logos of sweatshop offenders, which out and shame these offenders. See some Logoknits pictured here.

From microRevolt's blog, I also found out about Stitch for Senate, another activist project in which knitters make helmet liners for their state senators. US knitters submit helmet liners along with testimony about their Senators' positions on the war in Iraq. Photos of helmet liners and testimonies will be posted on the website, and the helmet liners will be presented to all 100 senators when all are completed.

And microRevolt is also organizing the Nike blanket petition, a project coming from an international collective of knit and crochet hobbyists who have stitched a 14 foot wide blanket of the Nike Swoosh. Each crocheted pixel (square) acts as a petition for fair labor policies for Nike garment workers. MicroRevolt has collected virtual signatures and hand made squares from over 20 countries and almost every state, and they are still updating the list. Once the border of the blanket is knitted together, the Nike Blanket Petition will be delivered to Phil Knight, Chairman of the Board of Nike Corporation. To send a hand stitched square, here are more details.

Finally, there is the Needlecraft Art Show which features some projects made using the knitPro application, and the patterns for each are available from a link within the Show: among others, you'll see a crocheted Snape Graph-ghan, a crocheted Plant Ovary, bomb-hugger cross-stitch, a Fender Knit Guitar, a Kurt Cobain Laptop Cover, and a needlepoint recreation of a spacesuit patch for the international communist space program based in the former USSR, Interkosmos.

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