Knitting BIG with designer Jacqueline Fink
“While I was asleep, a big, loud, booming voice said to me, ‘you have to knit and it needs to be big’. The command was as terrifying as it was profound and it woke me from my sleep. But I had asked for guidance from the universe for so long that I didn’t dare question my vision. There was no way I wasn’t going to listen to it.” Jacqueline Fink says.
Jacqueline Fink had been in earnest search for a creative outlet, and it took a highly emotional event for her to find it. The life-altering dream occurred during the aftermath of her mother’s double lung transplant. Her mother was diagnosed three years prior with terminal lung disease and was saved with only minutes to spare. Jacqueline had been in what she describes as a very heightened and surreal state after this.
“The day following my vision I set about discovering what knitting big meant to me, trusting my intuition implicitly. I took the instruction to knit big literally,” she says. While searching “off the grid” for a suitable material, she came across her first bag of merino unspun wool from a farm in South Australia.
Using industrial size needles her dad made her, she taught herself to knit with the wool. “No one in their right mind knits with it because it is as delicate as fairy floss and prone to excessive pilling and breaking with use. But so determined was I to find a way to successfully use this delightful and beautiful material that I was undeterred,” she says.
Making lots of mistakes and pushing her body to its limits, the Sydney based designer discovered a process that would give the knits stability and functionality and would last a lifetime, including the labor intensive task of felting the pieces after they were knitted.
Her bespoke wall hangings, blankets, throws, decorative ottomans and installations, using mostly merino wool from a farm in Australia, have been showcased in interior and lifestyle magazines and have caught the attention of bloggers and stylists. She sells her wares both here and overseas.
She’s also developed her own brand of yarn and needles, called K1S1. The K1S1 yarn is made in New Zealand using merino wool. The yarn is the same scale as the unspun wool but doesn’t need to be felted afterwards, making for a quick reward. The K1S1 knitting needles are specifically designed to accommodate the yarn and unspun wool. They’re 50mm in diameter and about 110cm in length, made from PVC pipe with hand turned timber and bees waxed ends.
However, she warns that extreme knitting isn’t for the faint hearted. “An average throw weighs no less than five kilograms. My larger installation pieces can weigh over 80 kilos. That’s a lot of weight bearing,” she says. Stretching and regular breaks are advised. “I think the less you know about knitting the easier you will find the task because you are not having to unlearn the physical movements typically associated with regular knitting.” Not only a physical workout, but a therapeutic exercise as well, “extreme knitting is mindfulness on steroids”, she says.
Jacqueline’s knits are cuddly and comforting, with a luxurious texture and enveloping quality. And there are bigger things in the making! Jacqueline admits her obsession with large scale is getting worse.
For the up to date happenings of Jacqueline Fink, of Little Dandelion, follow on
To purchase her giant knits, or the yarn and needles to DIY, visit the website (littledandelion.squarespace.com). And for commissioning enquiries, email Jacqueline directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).
– Janai Velez