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)

EASTERN UNCROSSED KNITTING

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.

23 comments:

  1. Obično kada učim svoje talijanske poznanice plesti kružnim iglama na kontinentalni način, kada vidim da imaju problema sa hvatanjem krive očice, predlažem im istočni način, kojeg vidim jednako vrijednim njemačkom, čak i lakšim. Doduše, za razliku od ovog načina koji ti pokazuješ, daleko je jednostavniji ovaj način prikazan ovdje: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCvJ6Oqf1Ao Pogledaj, nakon što nametne očice kako hvata pravu i krivu, mislim da većina Ruskinja upravo tako plete, pa taj način svojim prijateljicama i predstavljam kao ruski način.

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  2. Many thanks for sharing, this was totally uncommon for me.
    Now I wonder how you manage to knit cables with this technique.

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  3. Hvala na komentaru!
    Dok sam spremala materijal za ove postove, paralelno sam napravila "detaljno istraživanje" pletačkih navika u nekim zeljama istočne Evrope (hvala Ravelry-ju na toj mogućnosti!) i zaista, većina Ruskinja plete metodom koja je pokazana u video zapisu koji spominješ. Za ruse, ta se metoda zove jednostavno "pletenje" :) ali je van Rusije prepoznatljiva kao "Ruski stil" iako nije ograničena samo na Rusiju- u većini zemalja bivšeg istočnog bloka to je najčešći sistem pletenja (trebalo bi provesti MNOGO veće istraživanje da se otkrije je li u pitanju skorašnji uticaj ili duga tradicija).
    Na Zapadu se ovaj sistem uglavnom naziva Kombinacijskom metodom (Combination knitting ili Combined method) i jedan od najvećih autoriteta u propagiranju ovog sistema je Annie Modessit koja ga je i okrstila ovim imenom (u ranijoj literaturi na engleskom jeziku, koristio se uglavnom naziv "plaited knitting").
    S obzirom da ovaj sistem koristi kombinaciju istočnih i zapadnih očica, smatra se jednim od "ukrštenih" načina (za razliku od "čistog" istočnog ili zapadnog pletenja koja su neukrštena). Kombinacijsko pletenje povezuje nekoliko elemenata druga dva stila i smatra se ukrštenim jer je, nakon izrade, očice potrebn o "odmotati" u idućem redu. Zbog ovoga, u kombinacijskom ili ruskom pletenju, izrada očica kod kružnog i file (napred-nazad) pletenja nije ista.

    Naravno, kao što znaš- na ovim prostorima, sistem pletenja se najčešće preuzima od starijih generacija pa je svakom pletaču njegov stil najlakši. :) Ipak, kod onih koji samouki krenu u istraživanje načina, najbolje je da izaberu ono što im najviše odgovara. Mnogima zapeta nit koja se jednostavno pokupi iglom izgleda jednostavnije nego omatanje niti oko igle ali, iskreno, meni treba oko 10min da ispletem 20 očica na taj način. :) Čak sma pokušala napraviti kratki video tog stila (isti sistem, malo drugačiji stil) i odustala jer sam to previše nespretno radila. Natalijina stranica je pomogla. Na snimkama mog stila pletenja, rad sam morala usporiti bar 10 puta da bilo preglednije. :)

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  4. (da ne bude zabune; kada sam rekla da se na "Zapadu OVAJ stil naziva kombinacijskim", mislila sam na Rusko pletenje a ne na Istočno neukršteno :) )

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  5. @Michaela

    It's an interesting remark - I have always seen cable knitting only as a form of regular (RS) knitting in which the stitches occasionally switch position but I will keep this in mind for one of my future posts

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  6. Godinama već pletem na njemački način, gdje je kriva očica većini teško izvediva, pogotovo ako tek uče plesti s kružnim iglama. Zato, kada vidim da se baš muče, predlažem im ruski način. Osobno, nemam problema hvatati očice na bilo koji od ovih načina, dok ti lijevom nabacuješ nit na iglu, kod mene je to hvatanje niti, ali brzina ovisi uglavnom o iskustvu (jednom na stanici u Pompejima sam gledala jednu koja je plela na engleski način s nabacivanjem očica i to je radila jako brzo, dok sam ja spora poput puža s nabacivanjem). No, na stranu sve, već sam jednom prilikom rekla da su za mene svi ti načini jednako vrijedni, čak sam pokušavala plesti na portugalski način, čisto za probu.
    Jedini problem je po meni, kod uzoraka koji se rade s obje strane, gdje na krivoj strani nije samo pletenje očica kako dolaze, već moraš raditi uzorak. u takvim situacijama treba malo iskustva da bi se točno mogla reproducirati mustra. Ili recimo kada ti u uzorku traži da pleteš u stražnji dio očice, a u ovom načinu već u stražnji dio bodeš, pa to treba prevesti na prednji dio ...

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  7. da, prilagođavanje bodova tj. mustri je posebna priča. u jednom od postova ću se osvrnuti na to. naravno, prevođenje mustri sa zapadnog na istočni neukršteni način je najjednostavnije jer su ta dva sistema komplementarna. ali, nema puno problema ni kod prilagođavanja mustri ostali sistemima.

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  8. I had never heard of this. Very interesting!

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    1. Hi, Allison. Eastern and western knitting, although usually perceived as two opposites, are actually very similar- western style i a mirror reflection of the eastern style and vice versa. I intend to dedicate one whole post to the similarities and differences between the two styles very soon. Hopefully, other western style knitters will find them interesting too. :)

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  9. This is fascinating! Working in a yarn store we see so many different styles of knitting. Most people don't have a name for their 'style', it depends mainly on who taught them. Nowadays more often than not this becomes which youtube video they followed rather than which family member sat down with them!
    Very interested to read more......and a very happy 2012 to you!

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  10. Hi, AJ! Always happy to see you here!:)
    You're right about the names- I didn't use the official name of the knitting style until recently. But, now I see that, sometimes, it is important especially when it comes to adjusting patterns for a different style. I used to simply say that "I use the Eastern European Style" but, as it turns out, most people associate that name with the Russian technique of knitting which is, actually, the same thing as Combination knitting. And for a good reason- Russia is a huge country and combined knitting is, apparently, a predominant method in most east european countries.
    But, when it comes to tiny details- the list of different styles is endlessly long. :)

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  11. E, bas mi je drago, da si otovorila ovu temu - uvek, kada pokusam da objasnim, kako pletem, svi su zbunjeni (pogotovo, jer nit nikada ne ovijam oko prosta vec je drzim izmedju dva prsta) - pa sam tako sad odustala od toga objasnjavanja i jednstavno kazem, da pletem 'drukcije'. Negde sam procitala, da je ta metoda pletenja jedna od najbrzih metoda.
    Eto, toliko, vec se veselim sljedeceg posta na tu temu.

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    1. I ti, znači, držiš nit među prstima?
      Iskreno, mene ljudi često, kada im obasnim (a već mi je bilo dosta objašnjavanja :) ) kaži da im nije jasno koliko brzo se tako može plesti a ja pletem jako brzo. :))) Ako ti padne na pamet ikakav članak na netu, samo mi javi (jer ih je meni sigurno puno promaklo koliko god da sam pokušavala iskopati sve važno) !

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  12. Nisam znala da za taj nacin pletenja postoji ime. No logican naziv bio bi "Eastern crossed knitting", jer se prava i kriva ocica u usporedbi s zapadnim stilom pletenja strikaju "obrnuto" tj. "ukrsteno", na njem. "verschränkt", na engl. "crossed", a ocice se strikaju ODOZDO prema gore. U zapadnom stilu pletenja se prava i kriva ocica strikaju ODOZGO prema dolje. No, to je sigurno ista diskusija kao ona: Sto je bilo prije, da li jaje, ili koka? :-)
    Kombinacija tih dvaju stila upravo je bitna kod alpskih modela, gdje je glavni stil napr. zapadno pletenje ocica, a istaknute ocice pletu se "verschränkt", dakle "ukrsteno", ili na istocni nacin (kao u tvom primjeru) i time se postize vrlo plastican efekt istaknutih ocica. Mnogi japanski dizajneri upotrebljavanju upravu tu kombinaciju dvaju bodova, koji su u mnogocemu slicni alpskim. Oni za "ukrstene" ocice, dakle ocice strikane u istocnom stilu upotrebljavaju izraz "ktbl" = "knit to back loop" ili "ptbl" = "purl to back loop".
    Eh sad, tko inace plete samo istocnim stilom i zeli plesti alpske ili japanske bodove, nije samo dosta strikati navedene "ukrstene" ocice na zapadni nacin. To bi bilo logicno, ALI bod ipak ne daje onu sliku ocica koju daje kad se sve ocice strikaju na zapadni nacin, a samo "ukrstene" na istocni nacin. To se vidi vec u nacinu kako ocice sjede na igli. Svidja mi se ta Tvoja metafora! :-)))

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    1. Da, terminologija je, kao i obično, manjkava. Ali, jedino nam preostaje povinovati se već ustaljenim nazivima kako ne bi nastajale zabune. Ovaj naziv je zvanično prihvaćen i najprepoznatljiviji pa nemam puno izbora nego da ga koristim. :)
      Što se tiče ovog ukršteno-neukršteno, budući da mi je ova tema od ranije interesantna, prošle godine sam prolistala literaturu A>nnie Modesitt i sve ostalo što ona navodi kao refencije (a do čega sam mogla doći) da vidim zašto i kako se "rodila" ova klasifikacija.
      Ovako to nekako izgleda- pojam ukršteno i neukršteno odnosi se na poziciju očica NAKON što su ispletene u jednom redu. Kod metode koju sam ja pokazala i one najčešće zapadne metode (koju koristi većina pletača koje viđamo na netu), očice su podešene za daljnje pletenje istog trenutka i u povratku nije potrebna nikakva intervencija kako bi se ispravile. Zbog toga je moguće plesti jednako u krug i file-stil.
      Termin "crossed" (odnosno, u prvoj verziji, "plaited" ) tako se odnosi na sisteme (kao što je kombinacijsko pletenje ili ruski stil pletenja) u kom se očice u radu na pravoj stran i uvrnu (tj. ukrste) pa ih je na krivoj strani potrebno odmotavati zbog čega pletenje kružno i file u takvim stilovima nije jednako (potrebne su intervencije).
      Dakle, taj termin su izvukli ne kako bi naglasili razliku između stilova kao što su istočno i zapadno "redovno" (ili neukršteno) i ostalih ukrštenih sistema (kojih ima više i razlikuju se od prva dva).
      Takva je bar standardna terminologija i takva su objašnjenja.

      Prilagođavanje izraza kao što su "tbl" i slično ću svakako spomenuti u postu o "prevođenju" bodova sa zapadnog stila na istočni.

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  13. OMGoodness! This is what I do! I didn't know there was a name for this or that anyone else knitted like this! Thank you =)

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    1. hahahaha. then, I'm glad you stopped by. :)
      It's funny actually- there are many knitters who practice this style and yet it is so hard to find useful informations on the internet.

      I'll talk more about the name and the differences between eastern and western uncrossed knitting in one of my future posts so, stay tuned. ;-)

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  14. ahhhh...ja pletem po Youtube-skom nacina :D
    neznam kako se zove ali jedva sam naucila da pletem...niti jedan od ovih nije mi odgovaralo...pogotovo ovaj tvoj purl...znam samo da mi je isti knit sa tvojim, a purl razliciti nacin pletenja

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  15. To further confuse the question...:-)
    When my husband was in the Navy, I learned this method from an elderly Russian lady who was from a tiny village in eastern Russia (the name of which I can't pronounce - probably can't even spell :) ).
    She taught me that there are two knit/purl combinations and that you have to match them to your work. (She said Western knitting was too simple because you don't have to match your stitching to your project. And it's slow.) I was instructed to use the knit/purl combination you show for circular knitting or garter stitch and to use what you call "Russian" for stockinette. Although that might seem confusing, it isn't and I can do it much faster than Western knitting. I even use the different knit/purl methods in the same piece depending on the texture. For example, Uncrossed for a garter border and then Russian for the center panel - even if there are cables. Because the yarn is tensioned in exactly the same way, there's no inconsistency in guage to worry about.
    But I don't think that Combination and Russian are the same thing. In Russian knitting the purl technique uncrosses the knit stitch without taking any extra action, vice versa. Poke the needle in, yarn between needles, pull the new loop through. Same for knitting. There is a Russian man that has offered some youtube videos.
    Combination knitters say they have to do something, but I'm not sure what. Flip every stith around before knitting or purling maybe?
    There are a couple of changes from Western knitting such as if a pattern says to knit through the back loop, I knit in the Western style. There are also differences in increasing and decreasing that go beyond the basic substitute ssk for k2tog.
    You couldn't give us a quick brioche lesson could you? Or do you know a source so that I can make something other than waffle stitch?
    Good luck with this long, and long overdue, project. And thank you for doing it. Soon I'll no longer have to lurk in the shadows with my unorthodox methods on knit night. :D

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    1. Hi, there and thanks for this comment.
      Hearing (or reading) straightforward questions makes it a lot easier to prepare these posts.
      As for the Comnination/Russian method siilarities- it appears to be a real 'lost in translation' type of problem. I cannot advocate as I'm not a Combination knitter but, while preparing the material for this series of posts, I contacted many Russian knitters and asked them if they thought that their method is the same as Combination knitting (obviously, I could have simply brought that conclusion myself after seeing a few videos on Youtube but, as you know, many times, such videos are often wrongly labeled and I wasn't 100% sure if I'd actually found the right ones). All Russian knitters replied the same- it is the same as the Combination method and, according to them, the root of the trouble is the name as many styles are called Russian although they're not what russian have in mind when they say "knitting our way" and, at the same time, Combination knitters from the rest of the world refuse to use the name "russian" because they say that Combination is a better word. :))))) Quite confusing- in the end, i can only say that both is possible; that it is a unique method and that there indeed are two, somewhat different systems (it is never good to be in the middle of a Russian/American argument). :D
      AS for this "flipping" - you have actually nailed the the topic I've been thinking about these days as I've received many questions about the "uncrossed" part of the name. When the stitches are knit in Combination method, their position is, in a way, twisted which calls for an intervention on the way back (WS) which is exactly where the second method jumps in. Annie Modesitt, probably the biggest advocate of this style in the West, usually says that the stitches need to be "re-set". Or remounted. The combination of elements solves this problem by default and so, no additional steps are required BUT only in FLAT knitting. In circular knitting the stitches cannot be approached from the wrong side which calls for a bigger intervention. That is why the in Combination and Russian knitting (regardless of whether they're the same method or not), unlike in western and eastern knitting, the stitches need to be knit differently.
      The latter two styles need no intervention which is why they're uncrossed. Or, in better words- why the combination method is considered crossed (or, sometimes- pleated).
      BRIOCHE stitch is a GREAT idea! I can do that, yes! Thanks for the idea!

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    2. Wow! Thanks for the quick reply.
      Knitting should be above politics, but alas... Ok, so in summation Combination is a type or a portion of Eastern knitting- which has possibly been renamed to prevent abduction by the McCarthyists. Or my "Russian" is something else entirely. So do you think I should get Annie Modesitt's book? I have no one left to teach me who isn't a Western style knitter and they all think I'm knitting all backwards. You should see the looks of pity, and here the bewildered comments such as "How does she make anything that looks nice?"

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    3. Hahhaha. My late grandmother would have said the same thing for Western knitters- Everything else is always wrong. :))) Don't pay attention to that. I will soon publish a post about the 'differences' between western and eastern knitting - they're almost the same thing only approached from a slightly different angle.
      If you indeed knit using the Combination method, I'd say that Annie's book would certainly come in handy. Her explanations are clear and thorough. You might also want to check out her Knitting Heretic blog (modeknit.com)in case you haven't already.
      But, don't be bothered by the fact that you knit differently. We all create the same fabric in the end.

      And, yes, your summation of the Combination/Russian trouble is great.
      The truth is- I know that some Russians knit Eastern Uncrossed. But, generally speaking, they mostly knit combined. And so do knitters in other Eastern European countries that used to be a part of the ex Soviet bloc. I own a few Russian magazines published some time in the 70'es and, according to the graphics, the Combination is the predominant method there. Still- it doesn't have to be the ultimate truth.
      I'm thinking that the elderly Russian lady must have had a form of Combination in mind since she mentioned matching stitching to the project- in Eastern and western (knitting) everything happens by default. In Combination and Russian knitting- the flat and circular knitting call for somewhat different approaches.
      Many knitters who practise the style explained above call it imply Eastern (European) knitting. But, as it turns out, that name has become a recognisable sign of the Russian technique (which is crossed) and so, we have to stick to this Uncrossed part to make sure that we aren't misunderstood.
      If you have any questions feel free to ask either here to or via email (I'm on Ravelry too).

      And, I have to say once again- the Brioche stitch was a splendid idea, I will post a tutorial soon. (I burnt my hand the other day- it's just not the best time to take pictures of my hands at the moment and publish them on the web! :D )

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  16. Hi, I knit eastern european style and have had many difficulties trying to interpret certain patterns and stitches as to how to mirror them. Would you be kind and teach me how to do the wrap and turn using this method.
    Regards, Gloria

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