I had the pleasure of meeting Aleks a couple years ago at Edinburgh yarn festival. I learned of the interesting knitting techniques she likes to use in her work. I was pleased to collaborate with Aleks on this project. For the launch of Seli, she has written a lovely blog post that I'm happy to share with you here:
Seli is about embellishment with a story. It’s inspired by a trip to Tõstamaa and Kihnu in southwestern Estonia that is full of unique knitting techniques, color, tradition and inspiring landscapes and architecture. The name Seli is the name of a small village with a just a few stone and wood houses near an old red wood church with beautiful graphic white trimming. The motifs that cascade in size and shape down each sleeve of Seli are inspired by this white trimming and traditional woven belt patterns from this region. It is created using an inlay knitting technique called Roosimine (pronounced ROSIE-ME-NEY) from Tõstamaa. It’s a technique that is used in a similar fashion to intarsia but much easier! It mimics the look of weaving and embroidery which makes it very eye-catching. This unique technique is traditionally used on gloves and stockings knit in the round. I wanted to try to push what this technique could do on a larger scale so I decided to go big in this case a making a sweater and cardigan.
The embellishment doesn’t stop there. I love making the cuffs and hem on any design a little bit more special and interesting with knitted braids and corrugated ribbing. They are techniques that are simpler than they look, much like Roosimine. The Kihnu vits or Kihnu braid in English is a herringbone braid that comes from the tiny island of Kihnu. It’s made up of two rows of knitting alternating colors knitting and then purling. The magic of the braid appears in the second round when creating floats on the right side while purling. It’s the perfect little braid that lends itself well for transitioning into corrugated ribbing or ribbing in two colors.
Seli comes as a pullover sweater and steeked cardigan version. The cardigan version has a bit of added embellishment with a corrugated rib buttonhole band.
The variety of techniques used in this design make for a very special finished piece as well as a great experience to expand any knitter’s skill set. It may seem daunting, but it’s much simpler than it looks and I’ve got technique tutorials (http://www.aleks-byrd.com/tutorials) to help you along with way.
|Designer Aleks Byrd wearing her original sample of Seli in La Bien Aimée Mondim in the colors Emeline, Goldenrod & Dawn.