Knitting is an art form. It is constructing a flexible fabric from a notionally continuous thread. The surface can be smooth or textured; and the yarns can be light or heavy. Knitwear stretches to fit your body, or hangs loose without sagging – it’s the ultimate expression of sophistication and comfort.
Most stitch patterns, no matter how complicated the finished appearance, have their beginnings in simple knit and purl. It’s important to respect traditional stitches and patterns. Using traditional knowledge we can manipulate it into something new and more minimalistic. By making three-dimensional prototypes we are able to experiment, explore and create something new. The combination of different textures, yarns and stitches is an adventurous journey that requires, in equal parts, passion and patience.
Textiles are surfaces and volumes made out of yarns, fibres or filaments. New technologies and fibres have transformed knitting from a homely discipline to the most innovative and exciting textile medium in fashion. This medium is finding new expression on the runways of the world, and VHR creations are at the leading edge of this exciting trend.
Textiles are constantly evolving! Yarns range from the subtle to the extravagant, thin to chunky, single to double, boucle to cabled, sexy to carefree, robust to nostalgic. It is crucial to use the right yarn to breathe life into the original concepts. Yarns are becoming more technical and intelligent; fabrics can be transparent, stretchy, comfortable or lightweight.
Knitwear is universal. We all wear it in some form. From hosiery, to underwear or outerwear – chances are you already own some and you probably love it. Knitwear and knitting is diverse. From interesting yarns, construction, and engineering both two- and three-dimensional shapes can be crafted.
Knitwear shares an affinity with the body through the innate characteristics of stretch-to-fit, loose with no stretch and its structure. All of these aspects make knitwear a complex exploration of motion.
Knitted construction is versatile. Says Vicky: ‘I use the garment shape, also known as "fully fashioned". Each piece is designed to fit perfectly into the other, this takes precision and lots of calculations...’
Successful combination of yarn and structure is paramount to the success of a knitted garment. Stitch structure and stitch density play a major role in creating the storyline.
With all the wide ranges of yarns, the variety of gauges gives infinite possibilities of weight and fabric characteristics. The versatility gives tremendous creative potential.
Gauge refers to the number of stitches and rows a knitter or crocheter makes per inch using a certain yarn and needles or hook. Gauge varies from person to person, so it is very important to make sure you are achieving the gauge of your pattern. It is sometimes called "tension" and is basically the number os stitches per inch, which is determined by the yarn and needle thickness. The thicker the yarn and needle the fewer the stitches.
Knitwear and knitted textiles requires interplay between craft, design, technology, fashion and aesthetics. To create something new and exciting you need to marry all of these aspects and explore new ones with each collection.
Natural fibres consist out of three types: Animal fibres (wool, mohair, angora, alpaca, and cashmere); Plant fibres (cotton, bamboo, linen); Natural continuous filament fibre, silk, which is either cultivated or wild.
Manmade yarns are made from a variety of synthetic fibres (rayon, nylon, viscose, polyester, and polyamide). Many are made from renewable resources. These yarns are usually very soft, drape and lustre well, some even look and feel like artificial silk. Many have a high tensile strength, bulk without weight and moisture absorption. These qualities make acrylic yarn highly attractive.
There are loads of aspects to love about knitwear. When asked, Vicky says: ‘But what I love most about knitwear? I adore the different textures that make all my senses go on alert. I want to touch, play, and smell the garment. Tactile! I am driven daily to create new textiles, from exaggerating to downplaying knit to create something new and fresh.’