kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (knitting!)
I arrived at I Knit London early enough last night that I could sit and knit with some of the regulars (and hawk my upcoming classes!) I was working on the entrelac sock, which is just barely into its next tier (I've mostly been knitting the Harika), so I got a chance to tell people about entrelac and how simple it really is. I hope a few of them sign up to take the class. Cody was also in attendance, showing off his jumper, and we talked about those classes as well.

I ended up with eight students in my class instead of the usual seven, so G rewarded me for my patience by giving me that ball of Kauni (in green, yellow and black, YES!) for free! :D

But the coolest thing, the above-all coolest thing from last night, was that I have a student in my class who is Portuguese. Now, obviously because my stepdaughters are half Portuguese and I have a good relationship with their mum, I do know some Portuguese people. But I taught my stepdaughters to knit; their mum knitted a few things for them when they were little but hasn't knitted in years. So my stepdaughters knit like I do, with their hands in their laps and, while I wouldn't swear to it, I think they both even knit Continental. I'll have to look sometime!

Y'all know I'm a knitting technique geek. I'm fascinated by different techniques, how to make stitches inside out, how indeed to knit backwards, and all kinds of other flash little tricks like that that make knitting easier and more fluid. I often say in class that it doesn't matter what technique and yarn hold I'm using: students who got an image in their heads of how people knit when they were very young, usually from a relative, will naturally knit in that style. So I make it my business to be able to demonstrate as many knitting styles as possible; this way I can show students how to knit more fluidly in a style that feels right to them. I can demonstrate English and Continental knitting styles with ease; I can even do that Scottish thing where you tuck the right needle under your arm and use your right index finger like a lever and almost all movement is in the left needle. And if anybody out there knits differently or oddly, I want to know about it, study their technique, and figure out how to demonstrate it or incorporate it into what I'm doing.

Years ago, I bought a Threads book called Knitting Around the World or something (I still have it) that showed various people from all over the world knitting in their special style. There was a photo in this book (and I've googled all over the net and can't find one to share with you this morning) of two Greek women knitting. The caption said only that they tensioned the wool around their necks, rather than directly through the fingers, and that the technique was quite fast for stranded work.

All this is leading up to something, I swear! Remember how I said that people naturally fall into the knitting rhythms they've seen in their cultures and from their parents and relatives? My Portuguese student naturally wanted to tension her wool around her neck! And -- there's more to this! It looked like she was doing everything inside out, but really she's not. OK, she is. The natural fast stitch for her is a very fast Continental-style purl, with just a thumb-hook. And, get this: Her knit stitch is like a Norwegian purl, only done what looks backwards to me! With the yarn in front, she double-loops and makes a twist, just like the Norwegian purl -- only back to front. She never moves her yarn. I stayed with her for a few minutes after class, because she was worried she wasn't doing everything right, since all the other students were knitting with their yarn tensioned from the ball and through their fingers. Once I figured out what she was doing, we put English names to her stitches, so she knows that when I say 'knit' I mean what she thinks of as a back stitch, and when I say 'purl' I mean what she thinks of as a front stitch. Absolutely fascinating.

So, on my way home, I rang F, the girls' mother, to ask her how she knitted! She said that yes, everyone in Portugal does it like that. Some people, she says, tension the wool through a big safety pin, like a nappy (diaper) pin, attached to their blouses, but she doesn't know how to do it that way. Next time we get together, will she show me, slowly, so I can demonstrate to other people? Of course, she says, though she is not a very good knitter anymore. I also rang [ profile] little_cinnamon, who, being Greek, might have seen this technique used in Greece.

So my question for the Kniterati out there: what other countries in the world use this tensioning method? I had previously thought it was only Greece, though Portugal makes sense as well. Is this how those amazing Estonian knitters turn out things so fast? I've also heard that middle eastern women knit incredibly fast, but I have no idea how they do it.

Tell me, too, about interesting knitting methods you've seen. If you can supply photos, I'd love to see them!

Knitting Portuguese Style
kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (iReaper)
[ profile] fourzoas posted this video last night, and as a long-time RT fan, I figured it would be a good idea to share it with y'all. So, you know. For all the brainy girls out there, and the people who love them, here's "Hots for the Smarts" by Richard Thompson.

kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Hee!)
Via [ profile] matt_ruff, A-Ha's groundbreaking "Take On Me" video -- with literal lyrics!


kniteracy: You can get this design on a card or a picture to hang! (Default)

April 2011

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