NOTE: Distance Lab became part of the Glasgow School of Art Innovation School in October 2010.
This is a snapshot of the Lab's web site around July 2010 for historical reference.
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Social Knitworking

a technique for creating knitted keepsakes reflecting online social interactions

Hilary Grant, Stefan Agamanolis

Social Knitworking is a pattern generation concept that enables users to reflect on the friendships they maintain on-screen, and online, through text-based communication. The intention is to provide a way to celebrate our online friendships by taking an abstract overview of our everyday conversations and drawing upon conversational and syntactical patterns to create a knitted keepsake.

Online social interactions, such as the type we have in Facebook and other social networking systems, are trapped on a screen and stored as electronic information in a distant server. The non-physical nature of these interactions can make it difficult to reflect on the depth and character of a relationship. Physical letters, photos, and gifts are tangible reminders of relationships that we increasingly lack in the digital age.

Social Knitworking is a technique for reflecting online social interactions in the form of a physical knitted keepsake. Using the technique, a computer programme analyzes the online textual interactions in an instant messenger or email dialogue. Based on detected conversational patterns, such as frequently used phrases or sentiments, emotional characteristics, and other features, the programme outputs an abstract knitting pattern. This pattern is then downloaded into a computer-controlled knitting machine where it can be knitted as a simple piece of clothing or accessory. The information becomes a tangible, tactile surface encouraging the owner to examine the pattern and make their own interpretation on how it relates to their long-distance friendships.


  • Hilary Grant's personal web site

  • High resolution project images