Megamendung Hats : Two Versions

Megamendung is the name of a batik pattern which originates from Cirebon, on the northeast coast of West Java. The name ‘Megamendung’ means ‘rain cloud’, and the pattern depicts cloud forms with color gradation from light to dark.

Indonesian batik

“Batik” is derived from the Javanese words “amba” (to write) and “titik” (dot), referring to a process of dyeing fabric by making use of a resist technique; covering areas of cloth with a dye-resistant substance to prevent them absorbing colours. The technique itself is more than a millennium old, but it was in Java that the resist dye method of decorating fabric was developed to unprecedented heights and into a unique art form.

Traditional designs from central Java form the basis of classical batik style. Classical batik patterns can be divided into two principal categories; those based on geometric division of the decorated area, and those that are freely designed without any attempt at symmetry.

motifkawungThere are several classical batik patterns that are easily recognizable as “Indonesian batik”. One of them is “kawung” pattern. The kawung, which is built up from circular or elliptical shapes that touch or overlap, is one of the principal ‘forbidden’ designs of the royal counts of Java, but now it is widely used, not restricted to the royal families.
This symmetric geometrical design can be applied as stranded knitting motif because it has relatively small repeats in stitches and rows. It can be applied to the whole garment or as a decorative band.

I have designed several knits which applied this ‘kawung’ motifs, including these berets which patterns have been made available for you to download.

This one is “Brown Kawung Beret”, which applied the traditional colors of Indonesian batik (brown and beige). You can buy the knitting pattern (not the beret) by clicking the “buy” button.

“Batik” is derived from the Javanese words “amba” (to write) and “titik” (dot), referring to a process of dyeing fabric by making use of a resist technique; covering areas of cloth with a dye-resistant substance to prevent them absorbing colours. The technique itself is more than a millennium old, but it was in Java that the resist dye method of decorating fabric was developed to unprecedented heights and into a unique art form.

Traditional designs from central Java form the basis of classical batik style. Classical batik patterns can be divided into two principal categories; those based on geometric division of the decorated area, and those that are freely designed without any attempt at symmetry.

motifkawungThere are several classical batik patterns that are easily recognizable as “Indonesian batik”. One of them is “kawung” pattern. The kawung, which is built up from circular or elliptical shapes that touch or overlap, is one of the principal ‘forbidden’ designs of the royal counts of Java, but now it is widely used, not restricted to the royal families.
This symmetric geometrical design can be applied as stranded knitting motif because it has relatively small repeats in stitches and rows. It can be applied to the whole garment or as a decorative band.

I have designed several knits which applied this ‘kawung’ motifs, including these berets which patterns have been made available for you to download.

This one is “Brown Kawung Beret”, which applied the traditional colors of Indonesian batik (brown and beige). You can buy the knitting pattern (not the beret) by clicking the “buy” button.

This one, “Black Kawung Beret” is similar to the brown one, but different in the beret top motif design.

Another Indonesian batik element that I tried to apply for knitting is the ‘tumpal’ design. Tumpal is the triangular motif drawn in rows, used for decoration of various garments, most often for the ends of a batik cloth.

I tried to apply this element of Indonesian batik design to two of my beret designs (well, at least two :D …there will be more, I hope) : Blue Tumpal Beret and Red Tumpal Beret. The tumpal designs are similar, but still they’re different. I personally like the red one better. And the colors of the red one are more or less similar with traditional dyes that are often used in traditional batiks.

Blue Tumpal Beret (free pattern, downloadable on the previous blogpost).

(source : Roojen, Pepin van (2001), Batik Design, Pepin Press BV, Amsterdam)

First pattern on Ravelry : Blue Tumpal Beret

Finally, my first pattern on Ravelry, one of the Indonesian Batik Inspired Knits Series beret : Blue Tumpal Beret.

This pattern is downloadable for free as a PDF file here : bluetumpalberet.

Other patterns from the series will be available soon, some of them won’t be free, though :) .

Indonesian Batik Inspired Knits : Launched!

I’ve been trying to apply Indonesian batik motifs to knitting since…when was it…mid 2008, I think. I remember it was ‘parang’ motifs, and I just made a couple of parang motif samples, and one clutch in another motifs (from the edging of one of my batik shawl). After those samples, I was on knitting hiatus for a while.

I started again a few months ago, with new energy (from pregnancy, I think. Everytime I was pregnant I was more productive and creative than ever! Should I pregnant every year then? *NOOOOO!*). Kawung and tumpal motifs were my focus, and I tried to apply them to beret or tam, because I love how the beret-top-shaping affect the motifs.

These are some of the results (the ones I’m happy to present here…:D)

More will come…and the patterns will be available soon!

Indonesian style knits

I’ve been obsessed with creating Indonesian style knits for quite some time, because Indonesia is rich with distinctive tradition and I thought “Why don’t I apply those to knitting?”. My first try was in 2008, I knitted a ‘kebaya’, a traditional clothing of Indonesian women. It was a successful attempt.

It was knitted in 100% rayon DK yarn with no 6 needles. I made the kebaya in 2 months, and very happy with the result. I entered it for Lion Brand Challenge at instructables.com , and soon it was featured, favorited, and became one of the challenge’s winners.

I made another kebaya a year later, for my sister. But it was a non-traditional style kebaya, because traditional kebaya usually has long sleeves, while my sister asked for a short-sleeved kebaya. After 5 excruciating months (mostly because I used lace weight bamboo yarn and no 1 needles…Gosh!!), it finally came to life.

Unfortunately I didn’t have a proper camera to take its picture and soon it had to be sent to Indonesia. The photos were taken by webcam, on a very unflattering figure of a pregnant woman (me, that is!).

My next project was trying to apply Indonesian traditional motifs, especially Indonesian batik motifs, to knitting. And that, deserves another blogpost :D .