Sunday, January 9, 2011

Been wearin' knits since 256 AD

Recently my interest has been sparked by knit garments. Sure, it's nothing new, and it's really no surprise because wasn’t it only this fall we saw girls dressed from head to toe in chunky knits?

We love knits! I wear knits daily. And so do you, you sock lover!

I guess I also have been curious about knits because I’m about to embark on a knit adventure with my senior collection.

It might have been a bad idea to design a whole collection with 75% of it being knit without ever really working with it (I’m definably a woven girl, but what do you expect? I worked in draperies for a bit; the woven cupid got to me first.) but, I’m going to give it a try. Ooohh, my own personal challenge: To conquer knits.

So this is what I’ll be doing for a while.. just giving you updates on first, what my questions are, and then what I’m learning. Hey got any pointers/answers for me, feel free to shout em out in a comment box whenever you want. Or email me. I love help and people who can teach me a thing or two.

1st question?

How is my favorite knit sweater mass produced? I guess I see knit work as something so out of my realm because I don’t know how to knit. I’ve never knitted a sweater, mittens or even a scarf!  So how does this …

Go to this….

by a machine? The only thing I can think of was that this was hand-knitted. But then I highly doubt this industry takes the time to pay someone to hand knit, they cant really be paying someone so cheaply that they can afford to do that..right?
I think I bought this sweater for 35.00 on sale?

Hmm don’t take my word for that, but I can at least say it wasn’t more than that.  (how do I know, well my mom, who bought it for me, nor would I, have spent more than that. May be sad to some, but what ev er.. haha I’m feeling saucy. Did I just give you guys a whatever?) ok

Back to topic

Here’s what I found after two hours of YouTube… I love YouTube, such a great tool for visual learners!

First, I couldn’t get past a ton of information on sweatshops.. but as I started to narrow in my search words, I did catch on to the name of a machine they were using in a factory (I believe in Sri Lanka) called Matsuya and this led me to better finds.

A quick note on sweatshops: I did watch those videos and I found something that has never occurred to me. There are workers called “guest workers” and they come to countries that have a high employment rate in the garment industry. Many of them come, working with people of different languages, different religions, all for one reason, to make money to send back to their families. 
This puts them at a very vulnerable position to work long hours doing whatever is asked of them, for next to nothing. Sometimes, being unaware of the situation we ask, Why do they deal with those wages? Because we, as Americans wouldn’t. But have we ever realized those tiny wages to us, are actually the highest wages that are available to them? (What they don't realize is the power they actually have. Without them... ) It also shows where their values are, and what they do to sacrifice for them. 
We can claim that we are helping their country, and sure, we are, we buy a lot from countries, such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, China, Japan, Korea, but we are also profiting sick amounts. Wow….this was not intended to be a rant about sweatshops.  So sorry.

Shima Seiki Knitting Machine

(see the knit as it comes out of the machine)

The easiest way to explain is for me to show you this video if found during my YouTube train ride. 

Now, this next one is only for the real textile enthusiast, but really shows what's going on inside and brings the whole concept full circle once she takes the knit off.

 I happen to love this woman and am now following her blog. This is the best video I found in learning how to understand the original questions.. except for the fact that it is not commercially done. But I can gather that the way this machine works… plus an industrial machine, sprinkle in a production line and there ya go. 
Cool huh?, not really? haha I like it!

SO, I guess it should have been obvious that we wouldn't have handmade knits mass produced..Duh! That would just take wayyy too long, But sometimes you just gotta double check on these things, you know? I'm not condoning to the fact that factory work is the best thing in the world, nor that the wages are fair... just answering a question, yea? Please read about Fair Trade here and here.

Anyways, I guess I’ll double check/confirm this with my textiles teacher this week.

Hope your week is filled with curiosity!

Your Doll,

50.00/mo=A 50 year old woman’s salary in Bangladesh

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