Finish the Row My mother's knitting
Everyone, say hello to my mother: Kate! My mom loves watching birds, drinking lattes, and eating at fancy restaurants. What my mother loves more than anything, though, is knitting. Her knitting projects take up a significant amount of her time each day: "I generally spend an hour or two in the morning knitting, sometimes with some kind of audio in the background. Break for lunch and may work for another hour or so in the afternoon. Often finish up with an hour or two of working in the evening. The amount of time I spend varies from day to day".
Because of this, when tasked to create a bibliocircuitry project inspired by a maker, I knew immediately who would inspire my project: my mother.
I started with a used Grey's Anatomy book that I found from a local thrift store. I was drawn to it because of the writing done to the sides of the pages; the book's previous owner had already started the process of transforming the book for me, so I was able to continue with my project guilt-free.
I was also interested in the photo on the front cover. The veins and muscles running across the silhouette reminded me of threads of yarn trailing across the page. Illustrations throughout the book were similar -- color photos of human anatomy that also reminded me of knitting. I found these illustrations oddly appropriate for my project, so I paid my two dollars, carried my book home, and got to work.
My mom learned to knit at a young age. However, there was a long period of time when she didn't knit at all. Instead, she rotated through a multitude of other hobbies: scrapbooking, stamping, and beading just to name a few. She only became re-introduced to knitting when I expressed an interest in learning myself when I was young: "I put it down [but] started again when you decided that you wanted to learn because I wanted to have something to work on with you. Ever since, I've had plenty of reasons to continue knitting". My interest in knitting faded away as quickly as it had appeared, and I had nothing to show for it other than a row or two of basic stitches. My mother, however, kept knitting and never stopped.
Because of this, I found it appropriate to re-teach myself how to knit and incorporate my own knitting into the finished product. I didn't want to ask my mother for help (this book is going to be a surprise gift to her), so I consulted a number of intro knitting videos and, after multiple do-overs and sighs of defeat, I finally figured it out. I knit and knit until I ended up with a long thin thread of stitches, which you can now see wrapped around the completed book. It's not perfect, but that's okay -- it's about the process, not the product.
The majority of my mother's knits are given as gifts to loved ones. She believes, "One's talents are to be shared. [...] That there is great satisfaction in making and great joy in giving". I decided to highlight just a few of her many knitted gifts that she's created throughout the years by utilizing AR. The AR app Eyejack allowed me to create augmented reality artworks. The viewer of the book simply needs to download the app, scan the QR code on the page, and then hold their phone over the pop-up picture. The app then superimposes a photo of the same individual with their knitted gift.
To make the book easier to flip through, I hole-punched each page (one hole at a time -- my hand got quite the workout!) and tied sections together with the same yarn used to knit the long knit thread.
To top off the book, I attached a laser print silhouette of my mother holding up knitting needles and attached my finished knit thread to the end of her needles. I designed the laser print by using a silhouette of my mother from an old photo taken (see below). This photo shows her joyfully showing off brand-new hardwood floors that we had just gotten installed in our kitchen -- an energy that I wanted to translate to my book. I added the silhouette of knitting needles to her hands, submitted and received my laser print, and then painted and attached the laser print to my book. I enjoy that it looks like she's rejoicing above all of her completed projects, proudly looking down at the work that she's completed over the years.
Because my mother is always knitting, my family and I often need to let her know well in advance before we do activities together as a family. If we want to go out to eat, play a board game together, or go see a movie, our requests for her to join us are usually met with, "I'll be there in a few minutes. Let me finish this row". Therefore, I decided that "Finish the Row: My Mother's Knitting" was the perfect title for this piece, as it celebrates the beautiful pieces of knitting that these finished rows have created and hopefully encourages her to keep making.