German Short Rows for Eastern Uncrossed Knitters

I had never heard of the term or technique of Eastern Uncrossed knitting until a few years ago when I started frequenting my local yarn store.  The owner, a talented knitter and designer knits in this manner and hence, so do some of her clients/students.  There is not a lot out in books or even on-line about this method other than how to knit and purl.  For the Eastern Uncrossed Knitter’s (EUK), stitches are oriented on the needle with the leading stitch leg in the back.  Stitches are either knitted or purled through the back leg and the yarn is always wrapped clockwise around the needle, thereby maintaining this orientation.  The savvy EUK knows how to manipulate the stitches when decreasing and increasing to get the proper “lean”, left or right; there is a bit of translation required when reading “western” patterns.
My challenge came when I was putting together a workshop to teach German Short Rows at this same yarn store last winter.   I put together my own photo tutorial and practice exercise for the class.  Two of the students were EUKs, but I knew this ahead of time.  Being unsure of how the traditional method of making Double Stitches (DS) would work with the stitches oriented as they are for these EUKs, I had to not only figure this out, but first had to learn how to knit Eastern Uncrossed.

The swatching began and my method of German Short rows did not work at all.  After much trial, I discovered that the only way I could make a DS with the stitches oriented for EUK was by pulling the yarn from back to front instead of front to back.  It worked, but it didn’t seem as natural as it should.

I am now teaching a sock class with a German Short Row heel, and once again,having two EUKs in the class, I again began swatching to find a better way.

Basically, I had the best results when the slipped stitch was reoriented with the leading stitch leg in the front before pulling the yarn up and to the back, just like a Western knitters DS.  Later when working this DS, the EUK simply knits or purls the DS through the front “loops.

The resulting stockinette fabric looked great on both sides.  The needle points to the stitch column of the worked DS.

I put together a short photo tutorial that can be downloaded here:  EUC German Short Rows.



Yoko Saito Bag – completed

There is nothing more satisfying than completing a handmade project, especially one that has consumed countless hours of your time.  I have finally finished The Bag!

It is pieced, appliquéd, quilted, and lined.  The handles were created with no less than four layers, and all inside seams covered with self-made bias tape.  This has been a mini-journey in both hand and machine stitching and finishing details.  Will I use this handbag?  Maybe, at least once, but I had to sew it and get it out of my system.

Yoko Saito Bag

After knitting like a crazy person for the past few years, I have once again been bitten by the sewing bug.  This new fever has been stoked by my latest acquisition:  A book by Japanese Quilter Yoko Saito.  Simply titled “Japanese Quilting, piece by piece, the cover photo of a beautifully shaped, wonky log-cabin quilted bag, seduced me at once.

The book includes full-sized patterns in an envelope at the back.  I was astonished by the small size of the bag as it measures no more than 12″ across.  What a good starter project I thought!  So off to the store I went to purchase an assortment of taupish fabrics with which to begin.

My fabrics are a mix of neutral browns and wine.  I also purchased some beiges but decided they were too light for the outer bag, but might be great for the lining.  The log cabin squares are meant to be wonky and uneven.  I cut my strips around 1 to 1 1/2″ wide.  After settling into a comfortable spot at the table with excellent lighting, I began to hand-sew my log-cabin squares to resemble the provided picture.  It took me around 45 minutes to complete one square, and the bag requires 26 squares.  After sewing two more squares I gave in and started piecing with my machine…soooo much faster.

The “squares” are arranged on the bag front (and back) overlapping each other and are then hand-sewn to each other.  Once they were attached to make a fabric, I cut out the bag front.

That is where I am at for now.  Next I have to do this all over again for the bag back.