Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Finished my socks

I finally finished these socks a couple of weeks ago, and they were an interesting knit. I put the videos in my last post on youtube, but have since taken them down for hopefully a clearer video of how to "trap" or "catch" with stranded knitting around the neck.

My youtube channel is gradually building up as I make interesting discoveries in the world of stranded knitting around the neck.

But for now, I am working on a pattern for a new pair of Central Asian style socks, and also spinning for them, so it will probably be a while before I get around to adding more discoveries.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sock progress

Just a quick update today re my sock with Bosnian motifs. Before I started the colour stranded sections, I dug up a Dutch handcrafting magazine that my mother-in-law had lent me. At the end of the magazine was an article about Bosnian socks, in which it says that the coloured sections of the socks are knit with just a single stand of coloured yarn. So the socks don't use intarsia-in-the-round! This is actually making the knitting a little easier, and the motifs still look ok.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Turkish socks: Central Asian/Mediterranean (aka "Portuguese knitting") stranded techniques

I am not a prolific blogger unfortunately, but I decided to post today in order to record some knitting information as much for myself as for anyone else that may happen upon it and find it useful.

Ever since I bought myself a copy of PGR's Ethnic Socks and Stockings, I have been obsessed by something she wrote in there about colour stranding techniques used in old Central asian socks. She says:

The use of many colours is common throughout this region of the world. Tensioning the yarn around the neck and working on the purl side in the traditional manner greatly simplified the use of multiple colors. This old technique has been largely abandoned in favor of 'modern' Western technique.
There are now three video sources for information about this form of knitting, which makes it easier to learn. My favourite videos are the series by chuanavit on youtube. They are free, and are a really great way to learn from scratch. There are also some other videos which are commercial and are produced by Andrea Wong. I have bought her sock video but was severly disappointed that the "Fair Isle" sock she detailed was basically just a sock with a band of 2-colour knitting at the cuff - no details about weaving or intasia or the use of more than 2 colours, but still useful for showing the possibilities for how to hold the yarn when knitting. Of more value to stranded knitters who want to see stranded techniques in the old way, is a video by Janet Willoughby called "Peruvian Knitted Hats". This isn't hugely useful unless you have patience and a good dvd player where you are able to hit slo-mo repeatedly to see what the hell is going on, but it is a droolworthy and breathtaking dvd just to see the stranded knitting using this old style of knitting.

It seems to have become the norm to refer to this style of knitting as "Portuguese knitting" (I suspect because of Chuanavit and Andrea's videos), but since this form of knitting in used in Central Asia, parts of Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and Peru, I am going to avoid calling it "Portuguese" because I'm an Asperger that way. ;-)

Because I love eastern socks, I have finally gotten around to trying my hand at knitting a pair of stranded eastern-style socks using this old method of "knitting around the neck".

All the yarns used in these socks are handspun. The black is spindle-spun from Ouessant wool, and the remaining colours spindle-spun from Clun Forest wool.

After a bit of experimentation, I worked out how to trap/weave the colours. The videos below (and maybe more in the coming days as I get to the intarsia) document what I work out.