Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Learning New Stuff - Super Geeky

As a reward for kicking so much kitchen butt yesterday (You should have seen Oscar's face when he saw the cleared sink area!) today will be about some sedentary things.
One of my favorite things to do is learn a new technique or, learn anything new, really. Oscar shares this trait, which is why we love lots of the programming on Discovery, and History International etc. Yes, we be geeks. Nerdy geeks at that. As evidenced by our reservation already made for attending Penguicon for Beltane this year. (also our Handfasting anniversary, on May 5th)

I've been intrigued by entrelac, and this clued me in to a technique for knitting backwards.
At first I thought "Man, those folks must REALLY hate to purl." But after watching a youtube video or two I think it really could save time, especially when doing entrelac or other small pieces.

For those not interested at all in knitting, you may want to come back later this week for a non-knitting technique post.
For those who already know all about the entrelac and the knitting backward thing, this may become boring.
For those of you who like knitting but haven't heard of entrelac or knitting backward, you may want to keep on reading.

First, entrelac. Wiki has a pretty good article here: WIKI ON ENTRELAC but its basically multi-directional knitting. You knit some stuff, then pick up stitches on the sides of what you knit and start knitting at 45 degrees or 90 degrees or so from the first thing you knit.
When you knit in stockinette, it means you knit say, 10 stitches, then turn the peice over and purl 10 stitches, then turn over and knit etc etc.
(If you are intrigued by entrelac, one of the best knitting nerdy blogs I know is FUZZY LOGIC. The guy is brilliant. He has taken entrelac and moved it into knitting many different geometric shapes. I am strangely seduced by his entrelac Menger Sponge. When I have lots of time and concentration I will attempt it. In the meantime, I will learn enough entrelac to make these cute balls for the new kidling in our lives (see earlier posts about Sean Elijah))

In the meantime, all that knitting forth and purling back leads us to a useful purpose for backwards knitting.

How much faster to not have to turn the work over hundreds of times? Since purling is almost always a bit slower than knitting anyway, it can only save time if you can become as proficient at knitting backwards as you are knitting forwards.

I can knit either the English (throwing) method or the Continental (picking) method, although I think Continental style is much faster and more efficient (economy of motion-wise) that I almost always knit Continental. Since I was a crocheter for many decades before becoming obsessed with knitting, the Continental style also feels more natural as the wool/yarn is held in the same hand as for crocheting, and the motion of 'picking' with the right hand is similar to crocheting.

I was able to find you tube videos on knitting backward for both styles, and I will try both to see which feels more efficient to me.

First, a page talking about both Entrelac and Knitting Backward.
and another article, all about knitting backward no pics, but conscise instructions that make things easily understood.

Next, a video clearly showing how to knit backward English throwing style with verbal description (Sounds rather like tossing British citizens for distance, doesn't it?)

And last, a video clearly showing how to knit backward Continental Picking style no sound, just visual. (sounds like a European method of playing the banjo, doesn't it?).

So, that's my task/reward today, to learn to do entrelac, and to learn to knit backward. I am so excited! That's how I know I am a knitting geek, and happy about it :-}

(Note: still no camera cord, so image is yet another oldie with a tenuous connection to the topic. Tomorrow, I WILL find that thing!)


AlisonH said...

I love how the pairs of stitches look like opera glasses. As for entrelac, I have never yet done it. You're ahead of me.

Leslie said...

You beat me to entrelac as well. I am enjoying reading your blog. I look forward to seeing a pix of the real thang...