After I published my book “The Book of Russian Knitting”, readers of my book started sending me emails asking the same question “Is Russian knitting the same as combined?” What “combined” knitting is? So I started looking for an answer.
In M.Thomas’s Knitting Book originally published in 1938 and re-published in 1972 there are definitions and charts on page 53 Fig.39 for crossed and un-crossed Western and Eastern stitches. “Knit Stitch – uncrossed” … “this method combines the Western with the Eastern in forming an uncrossed knit stitch, and in Russia and neighbouring Balkan states, this is the accepted mode of knitting.”
The word “combining” as a reference to a knitting technique came from the book “Ethnic Socks & Stockings” written by P.A. Gibson-Roberts in 1995. This book talks about knitting and crocheting traditions developed in a great mixture of nations leaving in the region of “Asiatic Russia” and Black Sea. The need to explain to English crafter how “Asiatic Russia” knits, the author was using terminology of Western and Eastern stitch mount and then the word Combined was used as a an alternative way to explain the details of a stitch construction. One thing the author did not know is that neither “Asiatic Russia” nor “Russia” or “Small Asia” regions ever used any terminology in a stitch construction at all. Rather the motions of hands and the yarn position were passed from generation to generation copying the same hands and the same yarn position from centuries to centuries.
Later on another inspired American knitter A. Modesitt decided to re-invent the wheel and announced her self as a herald of this combined knitting. This is where the complication for me the Russian knitter and educator of this technique started.
Neither of these ladies really knew how people in all these mentioned regions really knit. Interpretation of combining knitting technique was shown in many different ways including various different ways of holding the yarn and moving hands. One thing was true though is the final mount of knit and purl stitches. Apparently knitting charts shown in the “Ethnic Socks & Stockings” travelled to A. Modesitt books. It seams that interpretation of these charts produced numerous different ways of knitting.
Observing all that, I must confirm that yes – mount of knit and purl stitches is the same in combinational and Russian and Small Asian knitting; no – using hands and positioning of a yarn in combined and Russian and Small Asian knitting is not the same.
I made these videos to show the real Russian knitting technique. If you wish to learn more about Russian knitting and crochet technique, please come to my group “Russian Knitting Technique” on ravelry.com.
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