KnitWell, a practice-based project, explores a particular avenue of knitting practice within an approach called ‘free knitting’. Free knitting explores the choices one can make within knitting, such as yarn, colour, gauge and stitch choice in an open ended and creative way. This approach is more creative and complex than the repetitive forming of identical basic knit stitches, but more open-ended and exploratory than the practical projects typically undertaken by leisure knitters.
Somebody exploring the KnitWell approach might knit once a day for a month, to capture their emotional state at the time of knitting like a form of daily journaling. The focus on the use of ‘free knitting’ to create a knitted journal is an intentional parallel of initiatives which use ‘free writing’ with the aim of improving subjective well-being. KnitWell poses the question: what opportunities and limitations can this style of knitting offer as a means of recording an emotional state and what (if any) effect this activity may have, when undertaken daily, on mental well-being?
This doctoral research is exploring the KnitWell methodology with 12 participants who have taken part in three iterative phases of activity, creating a daily knitted journal for a period of one month in each phase. Participants were issued with a yarn palette of varied texture, colour and thickness that enabled them to express their emotions and cater for different moods.
Doctoral Researcher, Emily Joy Rickard
See each participant in turn and their Daily Knit Journal for each phase, with helpful insights gained through interviews and the Daily Wellness Knit Scale.
Specific qualities of the Daily Knit Journals are explored here, for example, stitches, colour choice, yarn choice, with insights into participant choices through interviews and written entries.
Emotions taken from the Daily Wellness Knit Scale are explored through choices made in the Daily Knit Journal with insights gained through interviews and written journal entries.
KnitWell's participant study has shown that through the process of keeping a Daily Knit Journal and workbook that 'free knitting' has enabled participants to engage with how they feel and express this through stitch and colour (not always at the same time). It has given participants a safe space to express themselves as the knitting is in code, it can only be read by the knitter.
This doctoral research is a starting point to developing KnitWell further. I am looking for community partners who might be interested in working with me. Could this be you? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Participant 12, Phase Two, Daily Knit Journal