Saturday, February 9, 2008

Eastern Uncrossed Knitting: Coming Out of the Closet

As with most knitters like myself, we have secretly marveled at our ingenuity of creating a knit garment, perhaps even gloating that we didn’t need a teacher to figure this out, unknowing that it was not the mainstream or Western way of knitting. As others have witnessed our amazing feats, we have been appalled and confused by comments that ”we learned to knit “wrong”’! Nevertheless, we have presevered in secret, often embarrassed to knit in public or explain why we were knitting the way we do. Only when our creations were finished did we dare to venture out to show off the beautiful examples of needlework, to the oooh’s and aaah’s of admirers, who had no idea how we created it.

Well, the time has come to “come out of the closet”. We have Annie Modesitt to thank for convincing the world that it IS possible to knit in a different way and come out with amazing knitted things. I understand she makes the argument so eloquently in her book, “Confessions of a Knitting Heretic”. I still need to get myself a copy. We need not be afraid of teaching others our style of knitting. I understand that Annie’s classes in “Combination Knitting” seem to be sold out. Is that telling us something? Wouldn’t you want to learn a new way to knit if you found that it was easier, faster, less of a strain on your hands and wrists and produced a more even fabric in stockinette? As I grow older I sure can appreciate these things and thank my lucky stars, my knitting has not given me arthritis or carpel tunnel. I have heard more horror stories of Western knitter’s who "throw" doing this.

Learning that Eastern knitting started somewhere about 200 AD in Arabia, made me realize that Western or American knitting came later. The Eastern knitters, had the technique down earlier, and have the right to claim that Western knitters learned it “wrong”. Isn’t that enlightening?

Actually, neither style is “wrong”. What does it matter when you can come out with the same result? When teaching the style, it should be labeled correctly and patterns should differentiate what style the pattern is written, so knitter’s can make adjustments in their techniques if needed.

Pictures are worth a thousands words, but a video is worth much more. This is why I thought I would show how I knit in the Eastern Uncrossed Style. I’m not much of a talker, so I tried to show you what I’m doing by doing several stitches rather the one. I knit alot faster than the demo. For instruction purposes, I wanted the viewers to understand exactly how I do it. I hope it helps. By the way, I knit Eastern Uncrossed Continental Style. I hold the yarn just like I learned when I first crocheted. To me this is a faster and smoother way of knitting that allows the tension to be more even.

Video #1 Diana’s Eastern Purling and Knitting
Video #2 Diana’s SSK: right-slanted decrease
Video #3 Diana’s K2tog: left slanted decrease
Video #4 Diana’s Eastern SSK-PSSO: double decrease left slant
Video #5 Diana’s Vertical Double decrease: center stitch on top


Anonymous said...

A MILLION times - THANK YOU!!!! I had to switch to eastern uncrossed because of arm pain but I never had been able to figure out the right slanting decrease.
Margie in Maryland

Anonymous said...

I found this tonight. How cool to find that the way I've been knitting for a gazillion years has a name. Now how did my mother learn it so she could teach it to me? That will remain a mystery, unfortunately. But like Margie, I'm grateful to see how to do the right slanting decrease. I've been doing it "wrong" although it seems to work okay--probably because I'm not much of a critic. But I can't wait to try your way. Thanks for the videos and the explanation AND validation.

Emilie in Virginia

Annika said...

You don't know this, but you taught me to knit through your videos. I just wanted to say thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wow! A million thanks. I recently took up knitting again after a 20 year hiatus. This is how I learned from my mom who is 90 yrs old and from Spain. I am bookmarking your page as I know I will need this info in the future. I am really a beginner as I was not too serious about knitting in the past but I have already run in to a few problems using traditional patterns. If you have any other resources to recommend I would greatly appreciate it.
When I asked for help at my local yarn shop, all she said was that I "knit weird" and she couldn't help me. Hah! I get to tell her my way has been around a lot longer!

Cindy said...

My stockinette stitch looks so ridgy in Eastern style. The purls don't turn out quite right. Any hints on how to keep proper tension? Also, how do you cast on for Eastern knitting? Is that the traditional long tail cast on just working through the back loops.

AmyW said...

Thank you so much for your amazing videos! This is how I've been knitting and had no idea what it was called. I do the same thing except that I mirror it because I'm a leftie. A million thanks for your wonderful videos. I hope you continue to post more videos in the eastern uncrossed style.

dukeofpurl said...

Is there a special way to Cast-On for Eastern uncrossed? Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Just a reply to dukeofpurl, you can use any cast on with this style. I

Christ In Me said...

I learned from an English style knitter, but soon after, i meet a woman whose work was just flying. I had her slow down so I could copy it & practiced a little & never looked back. I've been knitting this way for 40 years now. But like your other commenter, I only knew it had a name in the last few years. Before, it was "Kathryn's" way.

Christ In Me said...

Yes traditional long tail cast on requires you to reverse the stitches from front leg forward to back leg forward on the first row. I usually do a cabled cast on, or Norwegian cast on. Norwegian creates same situation.