Max Alexander – Knitting Jewellery, Animation, Sculpture
I started designing and making jewellery for knitters in May 2009. I love knitting and the designs sprang out of my desire to wear something wooly even when it was too warm for knitwear.
In 2011 I made the knitted knitting octopus. He was featured across many craft blogs and there were lots of requests for the pattern. That was very popular and I have since been knitting and planning more patterns. I will be releasing lots more throughout 2013.
I’ve just completed my first moth of 2016. I started it last November but then Christmas jewellery orders went a little crazy and I had no time for mothing.
It feels great to be knitting moths again and I wanted to share some photos of this one in progress. It’s the Merveille du Jour Moth (Griposia aprilina). It’s common across Britain in September and October. It has a wingspan of around 4-5cm but mine is closer to 25cm!
I started off with my pencils and graph paper and got stuck in.
Progress is made with 2.25mm knitting needles and Shetland wool
You can currently see my knitted moths at two exhibitions in the UK.
I was very pleased to be invited to return to Prick Your Finger with a new series of moths after my first show there last year.
The moths will be on display until Saturday the 19th December.
They are already starting to fly out the door so don’t delay! Prick Your Finger, 260 Globe Road, London, E2 0JD
Open Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6.30pm.
I also have six moths in an annual group exhibition called Winter Warmth at The Park Gallery in Scotland. I had some work in the 2009 show and was delighted to be asked to participate in their 15th anniversary celebrations.
The show features over 35 artists and they have chosen wildlife as the theme this year. It looks well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
The Park Gallery, Callendar House, Callendar Park, Falkirk, FK1 1YR
Open every day from 10-5 (2-5 on Sundays).
From the 18th-26th July 2015 it’s National Moth Week. “National Moth Week celebrates the beauty, life cycles, and habitats of moths. “Moth-ers” of all ages and abilities are encouraged to learn about, observe, and document moths in their backyards, parks, and neighborhoods. National Moth Week is being held, worldwide, during the last full week of July. National Moth Week offers everyone, everywhere a unique opportunity to become a Citizen Scientist and contribute scientific data about moths.”
As you can imagine I’m quite excited about all this moth activity. Having only discovered the beauty of moths last year there’s still so much more to learn. The list of moths that I’m planning to knit is getting quite daunting…! So I’ve decided to knit as many as I can for moth week. As the NMW logo features an Io Moth I’m working on one of those now. Here’s a sneaky close up of it’s eyespot.
I’ve added a page of Moths where you can see all the one’s I’ve completed so far.
Here are all the Events taking place during National Moth week if you want to get involved too.
The Grant Museum of Zoology currently has an exhibition on called ‘Strange Creatures’ and on the 19th May I took part in The Great Grant Knit-a-thon. Inspired by artist Ruth Marshall’s knitted skin of a Tasmanian Tiger on display, The Museum teamed up with Prick Your Finger to get people knitting strange creatures of their own.
We armed ourselves with piles of carpet yarn in animal colours and spent 12 hours knitting and crocheting specimens from the museum’s extensive collection. We also had Ruth Marshalls pattern for a possum skin.
I took some of my moths along and was very excited to meet their real life counterparts. Here’s the Garden Tiger Moth alongside the Tiger Moth tray. I was going to knit another moth from their collection but with over 60,00 specimens to choose from I went for a Flying Fish. I loved it’s wings and the fact they can glide for up to 200 metres out of water!
Rachael crocheted a very accurate gorilla femur. There was also an excellent squid, a spider monkey skull and many possum skins.
I helped people to knit specimens with Rachael of Prick Your Finger and Larissa of Travel Knitter. You can read their accounts of the day and see more pictures from them here: Rachael – Larissa
It was an excellent day and I’m really grateful to The Grant Museum for the opportunity to spend so much time sitting and knitting specimens. It’s a great way to study and learn about strange creatures. The current exhibition is only on until the 27th June but it’s an excellent place to visit any time if you like cabinets full of bones, creatures and unusual specimens.
My exhibition of knitted moths opened on Friday and I wanted to share some pictures of the moths that are on show. If you want to take a closer look they will be on display until the 20th December. There is also a 2 metre moth but he deserves his own post…!
I am excited to announce an exhibition of new work coming this November. I will be showing a variety of knitted moths & other creatures at Prick Your Finger, the fantastic yarn store in London.
Like a bull in a china shop, a moth in a wool shop is a pretty terrifying prospect. These moths, although a bit creepy, are soft and cuddly and will hopefully show that not all moths are evil wool-eaters.
The idea stems from a spot of moth trouble I had in 2008. I was going to have a show of large knitted creatures in Prick Your Finger but as I was installing it I noticed a suspicious hole in the back of Benoit the Bee. I looked closer and was horrified to find a nest of moth eggs and creepy larvae. I had to take it all away and was so embarrassed I didn’t return to the shop for 3 years. Luckily I was forgiven for bringing nasty moths into the shop and it feels pretty funny to be bringing new safe moths back 6 years later.
I’m currently working hard on knitting enough creatures to fill the shop. There will be replicas of fantastically colourful moths such as the squeaking silk moth (below), the elegant Luna moth and the neon Rosy Maple moth. There will also be swarms of little moths and even a giant mega moth…
If you want to see more sneak peeks as I go along please follow me on Instagram or Facebook. I’ll also be accepting suggestions for other beautiful moths to knit.
Like a Moth in a Wool Shop
22nd November – 20th December 2014
Opening Night: Friday 21st November 6 – 9pm
Last night I took part in the Yan Tan Tethera event at the English Folk Song and Dance Society in Cecil Sharp House. It’s an exhibition exploring the connections between textiles and song. Read more here.
I was a part of the Prick Your Finger section of the event. We were creating a knitted mandala featuring charms based on traditional English folk songs. People came and knitted and crocheted chickens, flowers, ducks, sheep, windows, doors and tiny socks whilst two choirs sang folk songs related to textiles. There were also knot dances where people created knots by dancing with colourful ribbons on bobbins, similar to a maypole dance.
I loved listening to the song Tarry Wool as it has a lot of lyrics about carding wool. I’ve been doing a lot of carding recently and have fallen in love with the process of combing and combining different fibres.
The folk mandala was the work of Rachael Matthews (who runs Prick Your Finger). I did a lot of the knitting to create the background. That big circle of green took a little while…! We made a booklet to go alongside the project which contains patterns for the charms and words to the songs. It’s called Yan Tan Tethera’s guide to knitted meditation through folk song and it’s a beautiful object by itself. I was very excited to contribute patterns for tiny socks and naughty sheep.
The exhibition will be at Cecil Sharp House until September 25th 2014. So you can go and investigate all the different works. There’s also pieces by Freddie Robins, Stewart Easton and the Mcgrath Maker’s Group.
Also, in case you were wondering, Yan Tan Tethera is an ancient method for counting sheep and also stitches in knitting. Here’s the wikipedia page if you want to learn all the numbers. 15 is bumfitt which I think is a great reason to start using it to count everything…!
Five years ago today I opened an Etsy shop selling little earrings made from tiny balls of wool & mini knitting needles, two weeks later I sold my first pair. I couldn’t imagine then that it would be a full time job and I can hardly believe it now…! Slowly but surely I’ve expanded my jewellery range and started designing knitting patterns and I couldn’t have done it without the support of all of you.
To celebrate I have lots of lovely surprises!
I’ve designed these mini balloons so I could have a little party with my octopus and axolotl.
Since I started making knitting themed jewellery in 2009 I’ve often been asked to make crochet versions of my earrings and brooches. For a while I was carving tiny crochet hooks, but that was so fiddly and I broke so many it made me a little crazy. Now, thanks to laser cutting, I can make mini hooks that look good and don’t take 2 weeks to make! I hope you like them as much I do, because who doesn’t love miniature crochet…??