Knitting Climate Change

In the summer of 2014, with the ladies of Woodberry Down estate’s “Knit n Natter” group, I ran a project to ‘knit climate change’. The group took a trip to the local nature reserve, where we discussed the localised impacts of climate change with the wonderfully named Richard van Neste. Over the course of a few weeks, we discussed what aspects of climate change most concerned the group, and how they would like to represent this in a visual form. The main topic that struck the group was summertime overheating; the group mostly consists of older women, many of whom live on their own, and getting very hot and being unable to cool down was one of their main concerns. And so, they decided to knit a parasol with a map of the local greenspaces to celebrate the role that greenspaces and reservoirs play in keeping their urban environment cool.

Knitting is a practice that requires a huge amount of embodied and material knowledge, but is often overlooked. I’m interested in the way that the practice of knitting connects and builds relationships between people, nonhumans and materials. I have just written a book chapter on this subject for the upcoming book “Geographies of Making”, edited by Harriet Hawkins and Laura Price.

In 2014, Ed Davey, the then Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change came to visit the group. He was not very good at knitting.