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Vikki Haffenden

This month we welcomed knitters from far & wide who came to meet Vikki Haffenden author of Translating between Hand and Machine Knitting. Before Vikki’s talk visitors were able to meet up with friends and stock up on yarn and machine knitting spares.

Vikki laid out a large selection of swatches for us to study and discuss with her before her talk. One of our visitors was Janet Collins who is Chairman of the Knitting and Crochet Guild (KCG). The former Guild of Machine Knitters has amalgamated with the KCG. Janet stressed that it was vital for us all to encourage younger people to join the KCG. Whilst older knitters may have the skills it’s younger people who will keep organisations like the KCG going in the future. Vikki supported Janet’s comments.

Vikki’s talk covered her life from her early years when her mother had a knitting machine through to her time at University where she enjoyed all aspects of her course but found the sessions on pattern repeats were particularly useful in her future career. Vikki became fascinated by knitting machines, making & selling simple lace garments in the summer breaks. Vikki gained a lot of knowledge on using industrial machines from the technicians on her final placement. After graduation Vikki worked in a factory in Huddersfield as a designer and once again it was the technicians who helped to expand her knowledge. Over the years Vikki’s knowledge of industrial machines grew and she became particularly interested in the use of computers to programme machines, at one stage working full time in this field. Whilst bringing up a family Vikki worked as a textile designer and lecturer. She took seven years to complete her doctorate and now concentrates on various academic studies as well as being a visiting lecturer at the Royal College and being Senior Lecturer in the Department of Fashion Textiles at the University of Brighton. The whole talk was fascinating, covering a wide variety of experiences in knitting showing how Vikki’s life changed when she grasped the opportunities that come along.


Some examples of Vikki's work:

Sadly Lynda was unwell so she missed a unique talk. Thanks to all who helped with running this event.