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Alterknit Rebellion: Radical patterns for creative knitters

Alterknit Rebellion: Radical patterns for creative knitters

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Alterknit Rebellion: Radical patterns for creative knitters

5/5 (2 évaluations)
169 pages
55 minutes
Sep 15, 2020


A collection of bright, bold and beautiful knitting patterns based on Honsestrikk, a Danish knitting movement from the 1970s which broke away from traditional knitting rules.

Honsestrikk, which loosely translates as 'chicken stitch' was influenced by the radical social and political movements of the time, including the women's rights movement, and this can be seen in the personal and political messages of the some of the pattern designs. Instead of the more traditional fair isle colourwork techniques, Honsestrikk knitting featured political messages and motifs, colours clashed and borders butted up against each other in a riot of colour and pattern.

Honsestrikk is about knitting in a freer style so you have the freedom to express yourself and create truly unique, personalized garments and accessories.

Designer Anna Bauer has been inspired by the Honsestrikk movement to create this collection of basic designs and patterns so you can choose your own combinations and create and knit your own free, radical knits.
Sep 15, 2020

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Alterknit Rebellion - Anna Bauer



– a love story

Of course, I’d knitted before, but when I came across hönsestrik, my knitting quickly escalated. With an enthusiasm that bordered on obsession, knitting started to take up much of my waking hours and sometimes my nightly dreams. There was something about it that felt so very familiar. Suddenly I was reminded of flickering super 8mm films of myself when I was little wearing a jumper with rows of houses and birds and enormously wide sleeves. A hönsestrik jumper. Later, I found that small jumper back at my childhood home.

This book is a personal tribute to hönsestrik and the desire for creative freedom. The book contains instructional patterns for 12 basic models and a large number of borders and repeated patterns. In several of the patterns you work with your own personal measurements and you get to choose what patterns and borders you use in your knitting.

Knitting with freedom is liberating, to choose your own new colours and patterns where the garment’s surface is a blank canvas for you to fill with what you like and want. To let your desire and, to a certain extent, chance dictate. Following a well-thought-out and well-written knitting pattern feels safe and, if you’re lucky, you’ll pick up a few new tricks to add to your repertoire, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I also sometimes knit to patterns.

Often, I’m really pleased with the result, but the experience isn’t the same. We can compare it to a journey. Knitting to a pattern is like an all-inclusive trip. You know exactly what you’ll get, but you’ll have no surprises. Knitting how you want is more like backpacking, you choose what you feel like doing as you go along.

I think it’s time to set knitting free again! Embrace the unpredictable, let go of the barrier and head out onto thin ice! You can always rip it back if it doesn’t feel good. Knitting can be so much: a political standpoint, relaxation, kinship and, not least, a voyage of discovery in your own creative space. Let the journey begin.

Hönsestrik and guerrilla craft

It was in the mid-1970s when the Dane Kirsten Hofstätter wanted to publish a book on how knitting could work as a tool in the political struggle. Since she herself was active in the women’s movement she took her idea to the political publishing house Den Røde Hane (The Red Rooster), where she was rejected because knitting didn’t have anything to do with politics. She then started her own publishing house Hönsetryk instead and entitled her first book Hönsestrik.

The book gave its name to the style and hönsestrik became a term in its own right, becoming a model for a whole generation of knitters. The colourful borders with different patterns and the garment’s woven-in message: the closed fist in the middle of the female gender sign, the peace sign together with patterns originating from traditional folk art from all over the world became characteristic of the style. She later published more books along the same theme.

Hofstätter encouraged knitting with freedom as a political and personal standpoint against the consumer society, but also as a way of freeing oneself from the needlework of previous generations with its many rules.

The 1970s were a political time. Moving to the countryside, growing your own food, making your own clothes and trying to be self-sufficient were part of the green wave. Now, in a way, the green movement is back, but as waves remind us that not every wave is exactly the same, this updated green wave is more urban. We are leaning towards urban farming, fermenting, sour dough, microbreweries and composting on a small scale.

Hönsestrik has been picked up in recent times and given new life in guerrilla craft, still with strong colours and strong political elements. An example of this is the American artist and photographer Lisa Anne Auerbach, who started knitting when she gave up her dark room. With Auerbach, too, the political message is central, which she believes is reinforced when worn as clothes. In 2012, she put on an exhibition at Malmö Konsthall, at which all personnel wore jumpers with her message on. Another example is the Swedish artist Lina Niklasson, who, humorously and accurately, uses her knitted work to make contemporary comments.

Your knitting – your rules

Remember there are traditions in knitting, but there are no rules.

What do you think is important when you knit? Is it the process that’s interesting? Seeing how it grows, or is it the joy of realising an idea? The warm feeling of creating something unique for someone you care about?

Pay attention to what you like, what gets you going and what you grow tired of. We all have unfinished projects, the so-called UFO, lying around. Was it the yarn you didn’t really like? Were there too many straight stretches of tedious stocking stitch? Something with the gauge?

If you find it hard to get going, think about what’s stopping you. You'll be more likely to complete your work, if you make sure you minimise the getting started period. Leave your projects out, in a basket next to the sofa or in

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