If you've been following Image Knits for a while, you know that for years I've made knitted images from digitally manipulated patterns (you can see these on my website at www.ImageKnits.com).
What you might NOT know is that as I learned to create the designs for these knitted pieces, I also developed techniques for digitally simulating the final appearance of the knitting, to help me judge when my patterns were ready to knit.
Little by little, these simulations became more accurate, to the point that from a distance (that is, when they are seen at the same apparent size) the simulations are visually almost indistinguishable from the knitted works themselves.
Recognizing what my simulations had become was a “light bulb” moment for me! I began to think that there might be even more creative potential in these simulations, and in making them even better.
So I kept working, developing my techniques...and now, where I have previously always created knitting that looks like prints, I can also create prints that look like knitting (that is, printed images of simulated knitting).
One thing about these digitally produced works that makes them unusual is that they are simultaneously extremely LOW-resolution (because the “actual” image is made up of stitches, which are very large in relation to pixels) and extremely HIGH-resolution (because the image of each individual stitch is extremely detailed and contains many, many pixels). This makes printing them very challenging, as extremely high resolution is required--I have gotten test prints from many commercial printers to find the best combination of process and paper.
It's also important to realize that these printed pieces follow all the principles that would be required for me to make physical knitted pieces. They depict the same number of knit stitches that would be used in actual knitting, and the colors are restricted to those actually available in the yarns I knit with. Printing allows me, however, to use MORE colors than would be practical for actual knitting, though I still limit myself to just a handful or so.
I can imagine some people wondering why this very "niche" approach to image-making had any particular appeal to me…possibly because they've never seen anything remotely like it before. But to me, once I saw what was possible, I immediately recognized that it's exactly what I've always been working toward. And one key thing to know: each image is not just a picture of generic knitting, it’s not just a semi-transparent overlay that looks something like knitting, but rather it is a stitch-by-stitch simulation of MY OWN knitting. It lets me produce works that are like fully realized thought experiments, the essence of what a knitted image can be—the ultimate expression of what MY knitting can be.