Alison Ellen

The way I approach knitting is as a way of creating a garment, usually made all in one piece, with interest in colour and texture. Having trained in textile design at UCA Farnham in the 1960s, I sell my work through galleries and fairs, finding that direct communication with customers has caused another consideration in designing: to create clothes that are a pleasure to wear for different individuals.
I look at forms and colours in nature as an important source of ideas, dyeing my yarns to produce special effects such as tie-dyeing, as well as a rich and varied range of colours.
I have always enjoyed making pieces to be worn or used, but recently have begun to experiment with sculptural shapes, particularly exploring plant fibres, and using the plants themselves for knitting. This has helped me understand more about the structure of knitting and how it works: something that is a constant exploration.
I share my ideas through lectures, teaching, and my books, which explore my particular approach to knitting technique and design. My aim is to gain and communicate a deep understanding of the way that knitted stitches work and the possibilities of this adaptable, underrated technique.

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