Thursday, July 22, 2010

A little history...

Knitting has been around for centuries. I've been researching different websites, and most of them cited a similar story as to the beginnings of knits.
The word is derived from knot, thought to originate from the Dutch verb knutten, which is similar to the Old English cnyttan, to knot.
There are a few different views as how this came to be, but there is a supposition that knitting may be connected with the ancient activity of knotting fishing nets. And this also agrees with the historical view that knitting was introduced by Arabian seafarers sailing and trading in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.
Knitting certainly appears to have its roots in pre-Christian times, but the spread of Christianity may have carried the germ of the practice with it. Its evidence in South America, for example, is thought to be as a result of the influence of the Spanish conquistadors. The lack of many surviving examples – fabric and fibers deteriorate relatively quickly – makes it difficult to judge the exact history of knitting.

Nalbindning is described as an ancient Scandinavian technique used to produce woolen clothing from lengths of yarn and a single short needle. This method created a tight weave which was suitable for felting and therefore, provided maximum protection from the cold. While this is not considered knitting, it is suggested it may be its precursor and certainly that of crochet-work.

Evidence of the earliest knitting, using two needles, is believed to come from Egypt in the eleventh century, where more knitted socks were found.

But from there we jump to thirteenth and fourteenth century Europe, particularly France, Germany and Britain. The painting, The Visit of the Angels, circa 1390, by the German painter, Master Bertram, depicts the Madonna knitting in the round.

Knitting guilds

Fashionable knits were known in France as early as the 1420s. It is also known that knitting guilds, exclusively male and with structured apprenticeship systems, were formed in Europe in the 1400s. These knitting guilds appear to have been established to improve the quality of the profession and to attract a wealthier and more stable clientele.
From the Elizabethan period in Briton, knitting history is easier to determine. The development of knitting was driven by the fashion of the time, in particular fitted stockings worn by the men under short trunks. These stockings were exported to many other parts of Europe.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Properties of fabric

Properties of fabrics

Schematic of stockinette stitch, the most basic weft-knit fabric

The topology of a knitted fabric is relatively complex. Unlike woven fabrics, where strands usually run straight horizontally and vertically, yarn that has been knitted follows a loopy path along its row, as with the red strand in the picture below , in which the loops of one row have all been pulled through the loops of the row below it.

Because there is no single straight line of yarn anywhere in the pattern, a knitted piece can stretch in all directions. This elasticity is unavailable from woven fabrics, which only stretch along the bias. Many modern stretchy garments, even as they rely on elastic synthetic materials for some stretch, also achieve at least some of their stretch through knitted patterns.

Close-up of stockinette stitch

Basic knitted fabric (as in the diagram, and usually called a stocking or stockinette pattern) has a definite right and wrong side. On the right side, the visible portions of the loops are the verticals connecting two rows, arranged in a grid of V shapes. On the wrong side, the ends of the loops are visible, both the tops and bottoms, creating a much more bumpy texture sometimes called reverse stockinette stitch. (Despite being the "wrong side," reverse stockinette is frequently used as a pattern in its own right.) Because the yarn holding rows together is all on the front, and the yarn holding side-by-side stitches together is all on the back, stockinette fabric has a strong tendency to curl toward the front on the top and bottom, and toward the back on the left and right side.

Stitches can be worked from either side, and various patterns are created by mixing regular knit stitches with the "wrong side" stitches, known as purl stitches , either in columns ( ribbing), rows ( garter, welting ), or more complex patterns. Each such fabric has different properties: a garter stitch has much more vertical stretch, while ribbing stretches much more horizontally. Because of their front-back symmetry , these two fabrics have little curl, making them popular as edging, even when their stretch properties are not desired.

Different combination of knit and purl stitches, along with more advanced techniques, generate fabrics of considerably variable consistency, from gauzy to very dense, from highly stretchy to relatively stiff, from flat to tightly curled, and so on.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Part of my passion for knitting comes from the pleasure I get when I create something with thread, whether it is wool, acrylic or vegetable fibers, it's always the thread who runs the show. I like the way we can weave thread, creating beautiful patterns and designs. It's a satisfaction that only one who knits can understand fully, it takes me away, like a meditation, maybe it's the repetition of it.Having to count each stitch helps me relax and focus in what I'm doing, helps me to be in the present.
Since I was very young I have always been very interested in Greek mythology. I found this article, which I find very interesting and I wanted to share it with anybody who's willing to know about it. Here it is:

THE MOIRAI (or Moirae) were the goddesses of fate who personified the inescapable destiny of man. They assinged to every person his or her fate or share in the scheme of things. Their name means "Parts." "Shares" or "Alottted Portions." Zeus Moiragetes, the god of fate, was their leader,.
Klotho, whose name meant 'Spinner', spinned the thread of life. Lakhesis, whose name meant 'Apportioner of Lots'--being derived from a word meaning to receive by lot--, measured the thread of life. Atropos (or Aisa), whose name meant 'She who cannot be turned', cut the thread of life.
At the birth of a man, the Moirai spinned out the thread of his future life, followed his steps, and directed the consequences of his actions according to the counsel of the gods. It was not an inflexible fate; Zeus, if he chose, had the power of saving even those who were already on the point of being seized by their fate. The Fates did not abruptly interfere in human affairs but availed themselves of intermediate causes, and determined the lot of mortals not absolutely, but only conditionally, even man himself, in his freedom was allowed to exercise a certain influence upon them. As man's fate terminated at his death, the goddesses of fate become the goddesses of death, Moirai Thanatoio.
The Moirai were independent, at the helm of necessity, directed fate, and watched that the fate assigned to every being by eternal laws might take its course without obstruction; and Zeus, as well as the other gods and man, had to submit to them. They assigned to the Erinyes, who inflicted the punishement for evil deeds, their proper functions; and with them they directed fate according to the laws of necessity.
As goddesses of birth, who spinned the thread of life, and even prophesied the fate of the newly born, Eileithyia was their companion. As goddesses of fate they must necessarily have known the future, which at times they revealed, and were therefore prophetic deities. Their ministers were all the soothsayers and oracles.
As goddesses of death, they appeared together with the Keres and the infernal Erinyes.
The Moirai were described as ugly old women, sometimes lame. They were severe, inflexible and stern. Klotho carries a spindle or a roll (the book of ate), Lakhesis a staff with which she points to the horoscope on a globe, and Atropos a scroll, a wax tablet, a sundial, a pair of scales, or a cutting instrument. At other times the three were shown with staffs or sceptres, the symbols of dominion, and sometimes even with crowns. At the birth of each man they appeared spinning, measuring, and cutting the thread of life.
The Romans called the goddess Parcae and named the three Nona, Decuma and Morta.
I used as a source of information for this article.

double basket weave scarf...this pattern is not the easiest but not too hard either.. it requires a lot of concentration since I had to knit 18 rows to form one panel.. and then repeat the whole pattern again until I reached the length I was happy with... focus.. focus..

this is a honey comb purse I made for a client. She loves it! I used 100% cotton. Honey comb is a kind of cable , I think cables are beautiful, even though they can get a bit complicated to do... but here's the finished product.. I crocheted the strap and made the buckles myself out of bamboo, the button is also handmade by me, it's a carved deer horn..

I made this hat during the winter... following a pattern... it feels really nice and soft... so warm too! perfect for the North Carolina winters....
hi guys! I guess I need to work on this blog... I've never been good at expressing myself through writing... visual expression is my thing.. but I've been asked a lot of times about a knitting blog... so here it intention is to show what I do as far as knitting and crocheting is concerned.. I'll have pictures... and even might share a few patterns if I'm allowed to do so... hopefully people might find it interesting and you're more than welcome to drop me a note if you need help with a project, I'll do my best to help you.