Friday, October 30, 2009

Joining "in the round" Knitting

Most of my knitting has been in the round – primarily on double pointed needles. I do have one unintended Möbius scarf from the stitches twisting as I joined, but I’ve otherwise been lucky.  While exploring "in the round" stitching, I have found two different ways of joining when using double point needles.

The standard is to cast on the stitches, divide them among the needles (three or four) then, being careful not to twist the stitches, take the first stitch in the first cast on stitch.

Another method is to cast all stitches on one needle, then, instead of dividing the cast on stitches, turn and start knitting the first row, in the given pattern, bringing in a new needle at the designated divisions. At teh end of that first round, do the join by beginning the next round in the first stitch.  Yes, you still have to be careful that the stitches have not twisted, but that one row makes it just a little easier to see that they’re all facing the same way.

The drawback of this method is that the foundation is “backwards” from what it would be. Assuming long tail cast on, in the standard method, the first round is stitched into knit-oriented base stitches. In the first round flat method, the first round is stitched into purl-oriented base stitches.

The traditional method creates a smoother, slightly roped edge. The "first round flat" method has an edge that follows the stitches more specifically so that if you are starting in a rib, the edge will ripple with the ridge.

Here are two photos, using the same yarn, same needles and same K2, P2 rib:

The first photo is using traditional joining, the second uses, "first round flat." The difference is less pronounced in these photographs, but my husband was able to see the difference (he liked the one on the right better!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A website for inspiration -- The V&A

Have you explored the Victoria & Albert Museum’s website? Have you been lately? It has long been one of my favorite websites for textile inspiration. From the home page, if you click on “Collections” you have the opportunity to look at the highlights from many different departments.

However, if you click on “Search the Collections,” you go here, their newly redesigned search area. There are now over 1,000,000 items in the database, lots of them with photos – and many of those photos are high resolution. You can search by keywords, and indicate if you prefer all results, or only those with photos, or only those which are the “Best quality records including image and detailed description.” Once you get your results, they can be narrowed by several factors. If you select to view them in list view (which still includes a small photo), you can sort them by any of these headings: Place of origin, Date, Artist/maker, Location.

On a recent “test run” I did a search on the word “border” and requested only records with images. The result was “over 1,000 records.”

My options for narrowing results were:

Category: Ceramics (365), Delftware (265), Earthenware (130) Embroidery (132), Lace (147), Textiles (349)

Collection: Ceramics Collection (408); South and South East Asian Collection (142); Textiles and Fashion Collection (396)

Material: Earthenware (165); Silk thread (147);

Place: England (123); Greece (112); Turkey (143)

Style: Ottoman. (140)

Technique: Embroidery (159); Glazing (243); Lace making (127) Weaving (197)

I decided to look at “Category Embroidery.” Note that Category/Embroidery, Collection/Textiles and Fashion Collection and Technique/Embroidery each has a different number of results. Not every item has all fields completed, so it’s best to do multiple searches.

Once I got my list of 132 items, I sorted by Date – clicking it twice to have the oldest item at the top. The 8th item down was the Tristan Quilt, a piece I love to come back and look at. Here’s a link to the item: Bed cover - The Tristan quilt - Victoria & Albert Museum - Search the Collections  This link was easy to place in this blog, with the “share” button that appears at the top of the listing – it sent it right to my blog, where I saved it in draft, and edited the entry with the rest of this text.

The listings provide far more information than they used to as well. It has all the basic information (place, time, technique, etc.) and a summary, but there is also a “more information” tab. The one for the Tristan quilt provides lots of details. A third tab brings up a map with a marker – I believe it is meant to be the location of where the item was made, or possibly found.

From this page you can print, obtain a PDF of the listing (including the “more information” but not the map) and order the image(s).

To be able to order images, you will need to set up an account – it’s free. Before you place your first order, you’ll need to provide details (though the initial registration is just email address, user name and password).

Ordering multiple images is a little cumbersome. As each image goes into your cart, be careful to use the BACK button on your browser, not the “Back to search results” button on the order page – that one will take you back to the search result list, not to the item you were looking at. If there are more images (the Tristan Quilt has nine), you will need to select each one and order it.

One great improvement – you can save your order for later – and you can name it (default name is the date, in European style so my order today is 2009-10-28). Handy when you’re browsing on a break at work. When you’re ready to place your order, click on the red “Your Orders” box at the top right. Select the appropriate order and click “Place Order Now.” (If you haven’t already provided contact details, you’ll be asked for them at that point). Your order will move to “Pending Orders” and within 15 minutes (they say) will be in “fulfilled orders” and you can download high resolution photographs of the piece.

So, go browse, register and order some study photos. See what inspires you. Me? Well, there’s one panel with an archer that may just be added to my “queue.”

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Some Knitting Thoughts

One of the many fiber crafts I enjoy is knitting.  This is kind of a surprise.  I taught myself to crochet when I was in Jr. High.  I've tried several times in the years since then to "take to" knitting, but have only recently been successful. 

But take to it I did. I got involved with the stocking project for Plymouth Plantation a couple years ago, and really enjoyed it. Haven't looked back since.  Here's a look at what I did...

I've particularly taken to socks and smallish projects.  Sometimes they're small only in the fact that the threads and needles are small, like my Sion Relic bag. It was done with silk perle and size 0000 needles.
Right now I'm working on a pair of socks for my husband -- I alternate a pair for him and a pair for me.  I'm extra lucky in that my husband likes, appreciates and wants my knitting.

How about you, do you knit? What are your favorite projects?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bayeux Piece Progress

My major piece of embroidery for this fall, winter, and probably spring as well, is a piece based on the Bayeux Tapestry. It will be at the aprpoximate height of the original embroidery (but, of course, signficantly less wide....). It will have figures meant to represent my husband and myself (in our historic re-enactment personae), and our usual arts (needlework frames for me, cooking for my husband).

The piece is designed and has been transferred to the linen which has mostly been put on the frame (called "dressing" the frame) -- just have to do the lacing and final stretch. I also have all my threads purchased.  Tomorrow I should finish up the lacing and stretching.

Looking for more information on the Bayeux Tapestry?  My favorite book for photos is this one -- David Wilson's The Bayeux Tapestry. It is nice and large and the photos are very clear.