Textiles group critique

Machine Knitting: Shaping While Making

In this introductory course, students gain an in-depth understanding of the use of the knitting machine, including a core grasp of pattern drafting and construction techniques. Students initially focus on the “grid” found in most textile structures, and then explore what makes knitting unique–that it can be shaped during the making process, and it stretches. Emphasis is placed on understanding the expressive qualities of color, texture and pattern inherent in knitting, and how to utilize those qualities to explore personal concepts.

Students begin with an in-depth study of color, including how landscapes can inform stripes and how a collection of motifs can be integrated into color studies. Students then move on to learn a series of machine knitting techniques, culminating in a rich and comprehensive vocabulary of methods and an extensive personal library of materials and samples. A discussion of the history of knitting and an introduction to methods of finishing are also included. The final project, usually a completed garment, interiors piece or fine arts piece, is an exploration of the multitude of ways one shapes the knitted fabric during the knitting process. No previous knitting/textiles experience is required. The tuition provides access to the RISD Textile department’s extensive yarn collection for sampling.

Students exhibit their work at Open Studios held 4–6 pm on the final day of class.

Course #1944
Anne Emlein

Schedule A
June 22–July 28, 2020
Mondays + Tuesdays
9 am–4 pm

Tuition $2,975
Tuition for RISD Alumni and Students $2,380

3 Credits


Anne Emlein

Anne Emlein is a textile and apparel designer with a focus on the history of dress. She has a BFA in textiles from California College of the Arts and an MFA in textiles from RISD. She served as teaching faculty fellow in the Costume and Textiles department at the RISD Museum from 2010–12 and was founding director of the Textile and Fashion Design department at Maine College of Art, which she designed and implemented from 2012–16. Emlein’s primary area of expertise is the manual knitting machine where she develops analogue systems, complex manual manipulation techniques and pattern drafting for knitwear. She has exhibited fine arts and apparel work in regional and national shows and museums, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, American Craft Council shows and Fuller Craft Museum, and she served as knit consultant to Jenny Sabin’s MyThread Pavilion project with Nike FlyKnit.