Meet the un-knitting machine. Imogen Hedges, a London based furniture-product designer, created this pedal-powered un-knitter to recycle unwanted knitwear. After a discovery that charity shops spend countless hours unraveling knitwear by hand, an idea was born. Imogen says "they can make more money out of selling the wool than they can from the sweater".
This contraption is built around an old bicycle, has a seat and allows for wool and other continuous fibre yarns to be un-spun along the circumference of a wheel. The yarn passes through the steam of an electric kettle to remove kinks and winds up on a hand-cranked spindle. Clever. Ugly sweaters no more, a quick stint on the un-knitter yields balls of yarn ready for re-knitting.
This machine does so much more than just unravel yarn. It restores a sense of value and meaning to consumer products by reconnecting the mode of production with the individual. It promotes the type of behaviour change needed to develop more sustainable consumption practices.
Thank you Imogen Hedges.
The un-knitter will be on display at the National Centre for Craft and Design in Lincolnshire on the roof gallery from November 10 to January 6.
"My grandmother spent a lot of time knitting sweaters but my mum threw them all away once we'd outgrown them because she did't think anyone would want them. With my machine you'd be able to take them apart and knit something new." Imogen Hedges.
Imogen Hedges from Rachel Mc Closkey on Vimeo.