#KnitBod 2016

This piece was commissioned by Dr Liz Granger from The Young Scientist Centre at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston, and funded by The Physiological Society.

Our brief was to respond creatively to the problem of having too few activities for younger children at The Young Scientist Centre. After a few sketches, we decided on how we could make an interactive body full of things to play with, to help engage young people and be a learning aid. It was an ambitious project, which we decided to share with some victims wonderful volunteers.

The most tedious part was probably knitting the small intestine, which was proper ‘plodding’ knitting and seemed to go on for weeks. We tried to share it around and I took my intestine out to several cafes and soft play areas during school holidays. The most exciting part was undoubtedly seeing the bodies completed.


They even decided to drop into our ‘Woolly Thinking’ exhibition at Oxheys Mill Studios!

I was delighted to be involved in this project. All the volunteers, my family, and I learnt things about how our bodies work. If you want to knit your own body, sign up for the Happy Makes newsletter and you can download the patterns for your school or group – Free! Signup here.

*Caroline Finnigan is an artist with studios at Oxheys Mill Studios, Preston. She teaches knitting, crochet and other crafts, enjoys photographing things from strange angles and lives with dotty 2 cats.

3D Printing Part 3: First Prints, fixing things

The CD had a test file on it, which I made a mess of the first time, as the filament was just flung around in circles. I tightened the belt, and tried again.

It worked!

I can’t describe the relif in printing something recognisable.

Chris and I both started playing on Thingiverse and found plenty of lovely things to print. The crochet hook didn’t work very well, but I think that’s because the base layer didn’t stick very well onto the bed so it couldn’t join the sections.

We did have great success printing small letters for each of the girls, and I printed a coral cuff off because hey, I’m a woman who built a 3D printer! I get new jewellery on a whim.

So, now I have a whole new avenue to explore, and what a learning curve it is!

I would like to try making my own models soon, and experimenting with different types of filament. At the moment I’m using PLA but I would like to try flexible and conductive filaments, and I would like to learn to use Sculptis to make more organic models.

Excuse me while I set go and set about printing a new loom.

3D Printing Part 1: Choosing a Printer

You have probably noticed my love of combining technology and art.

Something that has fascinated me for a while is the potential of 3D printing, both as a means to replace or replicate parts and as a tool to help with my art, such as making practical items like crochet hooks, yarn bowls and weaving looms.

As a matter of fact it was partly due to missing my old rigid heddle loom that I ended up buying a 3D printer. I thought I could print one, like other people have.

After lots of research, and consulting with my partner in crime, I settled on this kit – the Prusa i3 DTP-11-ATL which I bought from Amazon.

I decided to buy a kit because I enjoy practical things, like Ikea drawers, and I hoped that building it myself would give me a greater understanding of the processes and set up. Most – if not all – 3D printers require calibration and maintenance to work at their best, so a DIY kit was ideal for learning the ins and outs of the machine.

The kit I chose came with auto-levelling, which would be handy if I wanted to take it out to visit places for projects (although it’s not very easy to transport). It also accepts a wide range of materials, including wood effect and flexible filaments. I’m not sure about chocolate, I’ll look into it.

A few days later this arrived. Yay!

The following Saturday, when I new I had a full weekend, I cleared the dining room table, unboxed, and began to build.