Can knitting terrify?


Tank Cosy

(photographed by Mark Smith)

In CML, and especially Sendev, we do a lot of work on tangible computing and surface computing. Sometimes this involves combining touch screens with tangible objects. This combination begs many questions: what computer interactions are better done with physical objects rather than screen based ones; what interactions work best with both; etc? A few weeks ago Dave Kirk, one of the social scientists in our group, led a discussion about just these issues. Dave’s working on a framework to help us and others think through those tangible vs. screen based decisions. The discussion moved between the practical and the philosophical, the serious and the humorous. One of the interesting lighthearted moments was a discussion of wool objects. Things made of wool look and feel cosy, and Dave pondered why this was and set us all a challenge – to find something wool that was genuinely scary. Mie Nørgaard and I had already had a fun email exchange about edgy or extreme knitting which led to a blog post from me and a blog post from Mie. However using wool to subvert an existing idea and add a cosy edge (as Marianne Jørgensen did in the "Tank Cosy" at the head of this post) isn’t the same as scaring someone.

Stuart and Mie came up with some interesting tactics. They tried pictures of an angora rabbit (a shocked looking angora rabbit) and some killer sheep. But that’s cheating – it’s not really wool yet. Here are my suggestions.

Firstly people do try rendering scary subjects in wool, like this wooly balaclava or Halloween mask titled "Really Cold" from Adrian:

And some people’s idea of the erotic can be disturbing, like this one titled "Naughty Needles Outtakes: Bondage Onsie" from Nikol Lohr:

N.B Glasgow School of Art took this too far with their knitted phallus sex-toy: (this one is *not* work safe)

These will not be noteworthy for female readers, but for some of us blokes there is something unsettling about Sharleen Moroco‘s crocheted tampon cosies:

But none of examples so far frightened Dave. The only thing I could find that got close to shocking him was Andricongirl‘s "Lab test bunny". So sometimes it is humour that can be frightening!


The story isn’t over though. Dave claims that the scary part of Andricongirl‘s "Lab test bunny" is the eyes – and they aren’t wool! So if you have come across anything scary made out of wool do let me know, I’ve an argument to win 😉


2 Responses to “Can knitting terrify?”

  1. More scary knitting - is it the uncanny valley again? « Tim’s Zen Blog of Sparseness Says:

    […] of wool’. A few of us in the group tried, and I’ve already catalogued my failures in another post. But it’s such an intriguing idea – to find something woollen and scary or to understand why […]

  2. Extremely rude embroidery; is it a good idea? « Tim’s Zen Blog of Sparseness Says:

    […] The next time I came across this use of ironic reflection in needlework was when researching "scary wool". Two pieces of subversive cross stitch came up: "Hasty" by beefrank and […]

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