Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Bavarian Twisted Stitches

It's only a few weeks now before the Unravel Exhibition at Farnham Maltings, the 19th to 21st February. As well as having a stand at the exhibition I am also teaching a workshop on Bavarian Twisted Stitches on the Friday morning. The workshop is from 10.00 to 1.00 even though access to the stalls (the official opening time) isn't till 12.00

Quite a few years ago (April 2006) I wrote an article about Bavarian Knitting in Knitting magazine and thought I would republish the article here, so here it is.

Bavarian Twisted Stitch
By Fiona Morris

Bavarian Twisted Stitch is one of the traditional styles of knitting that originated in the Bavarian region of Germany. The patterns look similar to Aran patterns but use motifs with finer detail and stitches which travel across the knitted surface.

Like many types of traditional Folk knitting these patterns were developed mainly in stocking knitting. The patterns were used to create shape as well as interest in the stockings. The patterns use a large variety of twisted and travelling stitches, fine cables and twisted knit stitches often worked on a purl background. The use of twisted stitches tightens the stitch and helps to raise the pattern above the purl background resulting in a more sculptured effect.

Many of the motifs used in the stockings are reminiscent of the fine carved wood work found in this southern part of Germany. These stocking motifs became more and more elaborate and as time passed were also included in waistcoats and jackets for both men and women.

The raised sculptured effect is produced by the use of twisted stitches within the pattern. Looking at the pattern from the right side of the knitting all the knit stitches are worked by ‘knitting through the back of the loop’ to create a twisted stitch which is tighter than a normal knit stitch. Traditionally garments would have been made in the round so it was only necessary to work through the back of the loop on knit stitches, however if the pieces are worked flat on wrong side rows the ‘twisted stitches’ are ‘purled through the back of the stitch’ to give a tighter stitch.
The ‘cables’ in the samples are all 1 over 1 stitch, but can be a ‘knit over a knit stitch’ or a ‘knit over a purl stitch’ either to the right or left.  The ‘cables’ are quite easy to work without a cable needle. If you want to work without a cable needle the stitches can be crossed in a number of ways. I have described two ways of working the cables without a cable needle. The first method works the stitches out of order whereas the second method swaps the position of the stitches before they are worked.
Cable Twist Left
Knit into the back of the 2nd stitch on the left needle taking the right needle behind the first stitch, then knit into the back of the 1st stitch on the left needle before slipping both stitches off the needle.

Cable Twist Right
Knit into the back of the 2nd stitch on the left needle taking the right needle in front of the 1st stitch, then knit into the back of the 1st stitch on the left needle before slipping both stitches off the needle.

Working this method I find the stitches can look uneven, so I prefer to swap the positions of the stitches before knitting them.
Cable Twist Left Knit over Knit (CT2L)
To do this, with the yarn at back slip the next 2 stitches (purlwise) to the right needle, insert the tip of the left needle into the 1st slipped stitch (from left to right) crossing in front of the 2nd stitch, drop both stitches off the right needle and with the tip of the right needle pick up the 2nd stitch and put the tip of the left needle under the front strand of this stitch (from left to right) to work a twisted knit stitch and then knit through the back of the 2nd stitch.

Cable Twist Left Knit over Purl (CT2LP)
With yarn at front slip the next 2 stitches to the right needle, insert the tip of the left needle into the i1st slipped stitch (from left to right) crossing in front of the 2nd stitch, drop both stitches off the right needle and with the tip of the right needle pick up the 2nd stitch. Put the tip of the left needle into the stitch (from left to right) but behind the right needle ready to purl the stitch. Knit the stitch on the left needle through the back of the loop for a twisted stitch.

Cable Twist Right Knit over Knit (CT2R)
To work a right crossed cable, with the yarn at back slip the next 2 stitches to the right needle, insert the tip of the left needle into the 1st slipped stitch crossing behind the 2nd stitch, drop both stitches off the right needle and with the tip of the right needle pick up the 2nd stitch (crossing in front of the 1st stitch) and work a twisted knit stitch. Knit through the back of the 2nd stitch to complete the cable.

Cable Twist Right Knit over Purl (CT2RP)
With the yarn at the back slip the next 2 stitches to the right needle, insert the tip of the left needle into the 1st slipped stitch crossing behind the 2nd stitch, drop both stitches off the right needle and with the tip of the right needle pick up the 2nd stitch (crossing in front of the 1st stitch) and work a twisted knit stitch. Purl the next stitch on the left needle.


Working without a cable needle makes the knitting much quicker than working a traditional cable cross with a cable needle.

Below are examples of a number of Bavarian Twisted Stitch patterns taken from the  'Bäuerliches Sticken' pattern books. These are a set of 3 books of traditional stitch patterns in German giving the 'charts' in there original form. The books are available from Schoolhouse Press and include an explanation for the unusual charts/symbols used throughout the books.





No comments:

Post a Comment