Ivano Vitali and his paper knits

When you think of someone knitting with strips of paper, you don't think of this:

© Ivano Vitali
I had to stare at this for a few minutes to really take it in. It's knit entirely out of paper.
This outfit is called Marlene and is a "Wedding dress composed by a jacket made with the white edge of the dailies and silver ribbon (2004), a collar and a long transparent skirt (2009)." (Translated from Italian) 

There aren't many people currently knitting with paper. Italian artist Ivano Vitali may be the only one, but even if he isn't, what he's creating with this fine, delicate paper is absolutely unique. The fact that you can see the contours of the ribbing at the edge of the sleeves and jacket is just ridiculous. 

You can't get paper wet. You can't handle it too roughly without tearing it—sometimes you can't even look at it the wrong way. How is this man purling with it, let alone creating lacy yarn-overs?

He actually takes newspapers and sorts them out by varying degrees of color, so that they can be knit together in pieces that look as if they've been dyed. (This next one is woven)

© Ivano Vitali
"Black and yellow kimono made with newspapers and cotton thread."

He says on his website: "I start by ripping a newspaper into stripes, then I make a thread out of them, overlapping the two ends of the stripes without using water or glue, but just twisting them together. I avoid using glue because the thread would lose softness and elasticity and, by drying, it would create corners difficult to be knitted. I never add colours: the only colours I use are those I find in  printed paper: sometimes the background is already coloured, other times I select pages of advertisements in a certain colour, which I then transform into balls."

I think this looks like the moon. Squint at it from a distance. It's uncanny.

© Ivano Vitali

These balls of yarn are amazing to look at. I'm transfixed by this one in particular, as the strands look particularly even, as if this were spun on a wheel.

© Ivano Vitali

Ivano doesn't just knit, of course; he crochets, weaves, and manipulates newspapers in dozens of ways, and never with any glue. He even takes wooden chairs and weaves their seats, shaker-style.

© Ivano Vitali

There are even guitars.

© Ivano Vitali

On his website it says that "The guitar and other paper instruments are used by Ivano in his performances." I'm very curious to see how that works. 

He also knits giant "tape-stries" on what I imagine must be size 100 needles. 

© Ivano Vitali

The results never look like paper—they always look like expensive, hand-dyed yarns that could pass for recycled cotton or bamboo.
© Ivano Vitali
© Ivano Vitali
© Ivano Vitali

Of course, my favorite pieces are the clothing. I absolutely love what he is able to accomplish. 
© Ivanov Vitali

I love that his process is an art from beginning to end—selecting and separating colors, winding yarn by hand to give it a uniform thickness (so that it knits at an even gauge), then designing pieces with shaping and intricate detailing and either knitting, crocheting or weaving them together. 

You can see more of Ivanov's work at his website. I know I went a little picture crazy with this post, but the work really is stunning.

Happy Crafting!



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