Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Couple of Deadlines Met & Ethnic Knitting Exploration

On the Knitting Front
I have been working to deadlines recently. The big one was the shawl. I got a nice picture of my neighbor modeling it. I called it La Valse because the swirling, twirling pattern mad me think of the music by Ravel. It was needed for a show starting Mar. 25.

I had started a pair of socks for DD in Florida for her birthday. It took almost a month to finish them, but they arrived in times. Aussi Sock yarn, Kathleen Power Johnson's pattern. I really like how the yarn works with this pattern. Her birthday is today.

My favorite yarn company asked for a fairisle pattern. He wanted it for a one day workshop/show Saturday Apr. 4. I finished the mitts yesterday and the pattern today. The graphics seem to take longer than the words in some patterns.

I'm still knitting the socks for Plymouth yarn. The foot is done and I'm working on the leg. The yarn is Happy Feet solids.

Ethnic Knitting Exploration
Over a year ago I received Donna Druchunas's first book in the Ethnic Knitting series. She started by freeing the knitter from patterns, explaining what you don't need to know (higher math and advanced color theory). What you need to know (stating the obvious), sweaters are made from basic shapes and a gauge swatch is needed to know how to fill the shape with knit fabric.

The first book concentrates on the simplest shape, drop shoulder sweaters with variations. Proportions are given based on the circumference of the body. A few basics are given, so that a beginner has everything in one place. The first country is the Netherlands, concentrating on texture. A small project is given for each country, to familiarize the knitter with the technique, in this case, a scarf with patterning at the ends.

You have 3 options for working the basic concept; visual, working from a schematic and filling in basic numbers in a short worksheet, planning worksheets where there is more calculating, and step by step instructions with blanks for customization.

Denmark, the second country features all over texture. Norway and the Andes feature color patterns.

The second book expands on what has gone before. Shoulders can be raglan, yoked, or saddle shoulders. Information for refining and customization is given.

Lithuania is the first country presented. Color patterns are more complex, shown on fingerless gloves and raglan pullovers with color bands. Centering large motifs and variations for making the design fit the size of the knitting are discussed.

Icelandic knitting is characterized by heavier yarn and ofter feature yoked sweaters with multiple color bands. The small project is a capelet, which gives practice in yoke shaping. Cardigans are introduced

Ireland makes many people think of elaborate texture patterns, although this style is fairly recent. Teh easiest way to follow these patterns is with charts, so these are explained. Designing your own, by sketching out the patterns is recommended. A rough sketch can tell you a lot. Cable swatches are necessary, to know how much each variety will pull in. Cables also tend to flare at the top and bottom. Prevention is discussed.

The small project is a poncho and the sweaters shown have saddle shoulders. Neither book gives specific instructions, but how to get a properly fitting garment is easy following the guidelines. Texture and color patterns are given as suggestions specific to the country servingf as inspiration.

The Exploration book ends with a discussion on cardigans. They can be knit in the round and cut after knitting. They can be knit in the round working back and forth. They can be knit in pieces and sewn together. Bands and buttonholes are covered.

Lastly, these books are part of the Green Press Initiative. using paper and ink that tries to conserve natural resources. The information in the books may well save more paper as they free the knitter from the need to have a printed pattern for a sweater that may not fit. Teh options are endless.


Donna Druchunas said...

Wow, I want to make that shawl. Absolutely gorgeous! Is the pattern available????

Mickey said...

Thanks for the information on the EK Exploration book as well as EK Discovery. I didn't realize that the books flowed so well from one to the other. I'm afraid a trip to the bookstore is in order. Great blog post and some wonderful knitting. You certainly are an overachiever.