MicroRevolt is a website that combines traditional craft with new media technology to illuminate issues of sweatshop labor. MicroRevolt has developed on-line tools and craft projects that actively engage digital communities. One is a free web application called knitPro and one is an initiative called the “Nike Blanket Petition”. The primary audience of the site is networked craft hobbyists.
knitPro is a web application that translates digital images (gif, png, jpg) into knit, crochet, needlepoint and cross-stitch patterns. It takes a high-resolution digital image, reduces its size, and maps a grid with coordinates over it. Users can then read the pattern to create whatever graphic they wish. This program has also enabled the free sharing of patterns, which has been somewhat stifled by expensive softwares and constraints of copyright. knitPro celebrates the tradition of early craft circles that freely passed down patterns from generation to generation and mimics this tradition through digital distribution.
When knitPro was launched in the summer of 2004, it brought many people to the rest of the website, inspiring knitPro users to participate in a collaborative project called the Nike Blanket Petition.
The Nike Blanket Petition is a 14-foot wide Nike Swoosh, made up of 4 x 4 inch hand-made knit or crochet squares that act as pixel in a large bitmap blanket of the Nike logo. Each square is a petition for fair labor policies for Nike garment workers. Fiber hobbyists from all over the world have participated by mailing in their hand-made square or by virtually signing a square.
The main objectives of microRevolt projects are to empower craft hobbyists and to educate on the sweatshop crisis. knitPro allows on-line craft hobbyists to generate patterns for their fiber projects from a digital image. This has inspired a community that shares and distributes their digital patterns.knitPro users have also participated in the Nike Blanket Petition, an anti-sweatshop initiative. Members of microRevolt have travelled with the blanket to knitting circles in major cities in the US where they interview knitters, give knitting lessons, demo the knitPro application and talk about the sweatshop crisis with others.