Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Moments of lace (Moments in red)

Another of Shui Kuen Kozinski amazing designs - the Moonlight Sonata shawl with picot edging. Breathtakingly beautiful as always.
Made in less than 3 days.

Pattern: Moonlight Sonata 2  by SK Kozinski (another variation of the pattern - Moonlight Sonata shawl) - both patterns are available for free, i don't know what you're waiting for :)

Materials used:

Yarn: 3 skeins of Unitas Hana, 100% ecco cotton, 4ply (fingering)
Colourway: red lipstick
Metereage/yardage: 373m (408 yards)
Needles: 4mm (US 6)
Size: shawlette (finished measurements: 161cm x 65cm / 63.4" x 25.6" relaxed after blocking)
Blocking: iron blocked

It was a very windy day
Yes, the sea is a bit tilted, I don't know what happened to it, it used to be normal

Friday, 20 January 2012

Eastern uncrossed knitting: knits and purls

I am an Eastern style knitter.
To be even more precise, my knitting style is called the Eastern uncrossed knitting method. In knitting literature it is usually called simply Eastern knitting and commonly labeled- the oldest knitting method.

Where I live, many knitters practice this style but, knitters from other parts of the world either don't know anything about it or have a very vague idea of what it is.
There aren't many informations about it on the internet and, over the past couple of years, I have been asked to write about it  more than once. I have also promised to do so more than once.
The reason for constant postponing was - what looked like a simple project at first, turned out to be not so simple :) as it included collecting and processing a lot more material than I'd expected.
But, now, having collected most of it, I have no excuse to put it off any more.
I owe one huge "Thank you" to my friend Sunny for her extraterrestrial patience, her help and for being my photographer.

For the sake of simplicity and better organisation, I will  divide the material into a few posts. I still don't know exactly what will go where but, some of the things about Eastern uncrossed knitting that I will surely talk about (sooner or later) are: basics (knit and purl stitches), stitch mount, yarn overs, yarn tension, twisted stitches,  decreases, differences between eastern and western knitting, "translating" patterns, switching between the styles and more.

The first part covers the stitch mount, knit and purl stitches.
Let's begin!

(you can enlarge any picture by clicking on it)


Stitch mount

The stitches have two legs, right?! And one bottom! (well, they do!). For this reason, the stitches can sit on the needles in more than one way. The way they are positioned (or mounted) on our needles is technically one of the most important things in knitting as it determines the knitting style and dictates the whole process of knitting.
So, the orientation of the stitches on the needles is what we call the stitch mount.

Eastern uncrossed stitch mount

In  Eastern uncrossed knitting, the leading leg of the stitch is always behind the needle. Most knitters will simply tell you that the "right leg is in the back" but I find this explanation somewhat confusing (it gets even worse if you're one of those people who can never tell right from left). The leading leg works much better for me.
In the above picture you can see what it looks like in reality.
It is important to say that the stitches are always mounted this way in Eastern uncrossed (which is what makes it uncrossed); they're the same on the right side as well as on the wrong side, in circular knitting (in-the-round) as well as in flat knitting (back-and-forth).
Therefore, the stitches are always knit (and purled) the same way, too.
And this is how!

Knit stitch

With the yarn in the back of the work, we insert the working needle (right-hand needle) into the back of the stitch (as shown above)

The yarn is wrapped around the needle overhand or, as we usually say, clockwise. The former is probably more precise and less confusing.

When the yarn is wrapped around the needle, we simply pull it through the old stitch...

...and, it's a new knit stitch.

Here's a short video showing how it is done!

Depending on how the yarn is held, the process of making a knit stitch may vary.
I keep the yarn between my fingers and literally wrap it around the needle. Knitters who tension their yarn over the index finger, usually pick it up with the working needle (instead of wrapping it around the needle).
I will get back to the yarn tension in one of my future posts but, until then, you might want to see THIS VIDEO as it explains how a knit stitch is made by picking up the yarn tensioned over the finger.

Let's move on!

Purl stitch

Before making a purl stitch, the yarn should be in the front.

We purl into the back of the stitch, meaning that the we bring the tip of the working needle to the back leg of the stitch and insert it into it from behind .

Then we wrap the yarn around the needle underhand or clockwise a shown above.

We pull the yarn through...

...and it's a new purl stitch.

Here's another short video!

Again, knitters who tension their yarn differently, purl differently too! HERE you can see a video showing another very common method. At first sight it looks quite different but, if you give it a closer look, you'll notice that it is actually the very same thing only achieved in a slightly different manner. In this style the yarn stays in the back all the time.

That's it for now!
In the next post I will talk about styles and yarn tension in Eastern Uncrossed knitting.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

My wreaths

First of all, I wish you all a very happy New Year! I hope you had a lovely time this Saturday. I also hope that you are sober by now!

Secondly- it is snowing on my blog! I hope you can see it! (If you can see the tiny little dots falling down from the header, then you're sober. If you always see tiny little dots falling down from the header, than you're never sober because I added this gadget yesterday! If you're reading this three years from now and think that it is still snowing, you have not been sober in years, my friend! Cheers!)

Ok, now, back to work! My first post in 2012.
In addition to my last post, I have two more wreaths to show you.
After seeing so many lovely hand-made yarn wreaths on the internet a fortnight ago, I got completely confused and was pretty sure that I would need at least a year to come up with a unique idea for my own wreath. But, as it turns out- I was wrong; making yarn wreaths is extremely addictive and, by the next evening, I had already made two. And I like them both. Now I need two New Years!

I took some pictures as I "wrapped" along. If you have no better things to do, stay here and look around.
And, please excuse the poor quality of some of the photos- the days are quite short and I did the majority of work later in the afternoon (I hated the idea of getting up at 7AM just to beg the Sun to assist me).

Here's how it went.

Although I originally intended to use styrofoam rings as the base, I eventually replaced them with simple straw wreaths; stryofoam is very fragile and I am awfully clumsy (read: I broke two wreaths at the very beginning).

MATERIALS AND TOOLS USED: 2 straw wreaths ( 20cm / 7in and 17.5cm / 8in in diameter), adhesive tape, leftover yarns (mainly 8ply) in 3 colours (pine green, deep red and white), some plied metallic yarn in golden colour, transparent glue, a crochet hook, scissors.
ADDITIONAL DECORATIONS: tiny cones (picked here and there), a few ornaments from my old wreath (something old), a few ornaments bought especially for my new wreaths (something new).

Since the wreaths I bought did not  come in plastic wrapping as they often do,  I first had to cover them with adhesive tape to get a smooth and even surface (Picture 1).
I decided to use the white yarns for my first, smaller, wreath. I found a tiny ball of a lovely, puffy yarn in snow white but I soon realised that I would not have enough to cover the whole wreath. But, there was just about enough yarn in the ball to give a lovely, snowy, final touch to the wreath. So; first I wrapped the wreath with another white yarn (just a stupid, ugly, 100% acrylic yarn), adding a few drops of glue as I worked along. The first layer created a solid, white base (Picture 2). Then, I sparsely wrapped the wreath with the second white yarn (I hope you can see the difference on the Picture 3).
Finally, the base was finished and it looked very puffy and fluffy. Just what I wanted!

The only thing left to do was to add the decorations.

When I started planning these projects, I promised myself that I would not spend money on shiny, glittery and sparkly ornaments no matter how appealing they are; I wanted my wreaths to be as hand-made as possible. Besides, I wanted to use some of the ornaments from the old wreath. But when I spotted the balls from the picture on the left, I just couldn't resist buying them. The special thing about this type of ornaments is that each ball is attached to a long piece of shiny wire on the back which makes attaching them to a wreath extremely easy. No glue required. I'll show you in a minute.

You simply untwist the wire, pick the ornaments you wan to use, and wrap the wire around the wreath (Picture 5). Then you twist the wire tails on the back to fasten the ornaments (Picture 6). That's it! Beautiful!
I also added a few decorations from the old wreath and and glued two tiny cones to the yarn. The result is shown in the Picture 7.
But I didn't like it. And, so I took some red yarn and turned my wreath into a sugar cane.

 I did pretty much the same thing with the second wreath.   

First the adhesive tape, then some glue and then the yarn. Pine green in this case.Once I finished applying the first layer of yarn, I added a spiral stripe of metallic yarn all around the wreath. Two layers actually!
Then I pimped it with some ornaments and the second wreath was done!


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