Sunday, January 29, 2012

Comin' Correct

It recently came to my attention that I've been using the term "Western knitting" all wrong.  In Experimentally Speaking, I talked about learning to switch between Western & Continental knitting, when what I should have said is that I am learning to switch between English & Continental knitting.  Apparently English knitting is the correct term to describe a knitter who holds her yarn in her right hand & throws it over her needle.  The term Western knitting refers to which part of the stitch you knit into.  Confused?  Well, according to Samurai Knitter,
WESTERN is how the majority of us knit in Western European-founded cultures. That includes (other than W Europe, obviously), most of N America, Australia, and parts of Africa (the sub-saharan parts). The knit stitch sits on the needle so that the front of the stitch faces left. When knitting, the yarn is brought under the needle and up, wrapping around the right hand needle in a counter-clockwise direction.EASTERN is how Eastern Europe, Arab and Arab-settled countries (Spain, and by extension, much of S America) knit. The knit stitch sits on the needle with the front facing right. When knitting, the yarn is brought over the right needle from the back, wrapping around in a clockwise direction. This is considered the oldest method of knitting, and purling with this method is very efficient.
And Grumperina describes Continental vs. English knitting this way:
"Continental" and "English" knitting refers to the way a knitter holds yarn and uses it to make stitches.  If a knitter throws the yarn over the needle and then pulls it through to make a stitch, that is called English knitting.  If a knitter uses the needle to scoop yarn through stitches to make new ones, that is called Continental knitting.  More often than not, Continental knitters carry the yarn in their left hand, and English knitters carry yarn in their right.  However, there are exceptions, especially among lefties.
So I stand corrected!

Now I don't know if anyone else does this, but I keep a small box of extra knitted items around, in case the need for a last-minute gift pops up or I need to donate an item to a raffle, auction, etc.  (This also gives me an excuse to knit all the awesome hats/gloves/scarves that I just don't need myself!)  As a board member of Women in Film Seattle, I actually find myself donating to events fairly often.  The event I recently sent a piece off to is the upcoming Post Alley Film Festival.  It's a short film festival happening on Sat. Feb. 25th made up of "female-centric & eccentric" films from around the corner & around the world.  There will also be a raffle & a silent auction & one of the items up for grabs will be my Wildflower Mitts.
The pattern is quite basic but for me these gloves are all about the yarn.  This is Crystal Palace Fjord Print in the Violets colorway.  It's a single-ply 100% wool yarn that was unfortunately discontinued last year.  It was a joy to knit with as it was incredibly soft & squishy.  The gloves came out super-cozy, though they are tighter than I usually knit my gloves so someone would need thin, small hands to wear them. 

The raffle & auction also contain some pretty sweet items from local restaurants, yoga studios, music venues, stores, etc so if you're a Seattlite who likes off-kilter short films, I hope to see you there!

1 comment:

juniperjune said...

interesting! i guess i knew that "english" was the term you were looking for, but i thought that "western" might be a synonym or something. but i had no idea about this actual western/eastern distinction, and i think it explains why i can never make head or tails of the knitting that i sometimes see little old asian ladies doing!