I think I have it, the non-roll stocking stitch edge. Well its not stocking stitch but it looks pretty much like stocking stitch, and it doesn't roll - it is twined knitting. This edge is the start of a new project, so today - I'm talking most about twined knitting, I've got a new video showing how to knit the middle section of this non-roll hem, and a little intro about a new project in a new yarn.
First the non roll edge, this is a twined knitting hem on a swatch for a new project. I've had the book Twined Knitting : A Swedish Folkcraft Technique for a while now. Ever since I borrowed a copy from a friend I've been absolutely fascinated by the textured look of twined knitting, so much so I had to obtain my own copy. Nearly all the patterns in the book are for items entirely in twined knitting - which I wasn't ready to attempt. Recently I borrowed The Complete Book of Traditional Scandinavian Knitting from the local library. Sheila McGregor has a few little illustrations of cardigans and jackets where twined knitting was used for hems and for bands to decorate otherwise plain garments. I thought this would be a great little subtle feature for my next sweater so set about swatching.
Wow - not only is it is a nice little subtle hem, it doesn't roll up! In a way the non-roll-stocking stitch edge is elusive in knitting, almost a mythical quest for those adverse to ribbing. Oh we have the faced hem in all its forms, plain, purled turning row, and picot, and we have rib, and garter and moss stitched edges - but for me this twined hem is a new favourite and I can see many many sweaters and cardigans with this edge in my knit future. On the swatch edge above, I have used a three strand cast on, two complete row sets of a chain effect (crook stitches) and a center panel of twined knitting. Below I have posted a video showing how I knit the twined knitting section. You can see the twisted yarns on the 'wrong' side of the swatch. Can't you just see this hem on all those items which can't be 'fussy', boys and mens things?
So Twined knitting, what is it? Simply - it has been described as colour work without the colours, each stitch is knitted alternately from ends yarn from the same ball. Importantly after each stitch the yarns are twisted around each other, producing a thick, firm, slightly elastic fabric. Most importantly for me - the result is stable enough not to curl, and simple enough to be used on plainer sweaters. In this video - I knit with the yarns in my right hand, because to knit twined knitting you need to be able to twist the yarns over and over each other. I have not worked out a way to do that with knitting continental (yet). I do have a video of the chain effect to post soon, and plan on of the 3 yarn cast on. The only catch is that with all the twisting - the two yarns do get seriously twisted around each other - but there is a neat solution. Secure the yarns around the ball with a half hitch and let the ball dangle and untwist - as easy as that.
And the new project? Well I want to knit the baby alpaca I have in stash into something for me - but still don't quite know what to knit with it, so ... I've cast on a simple sweater for Toby. The yarn is Touch Yarns Merino Possum and is heavenly soft. This could be the softest yarn I have ever felt. I've done the swatch, washed and measured the swatch, done the math, and cast on the hem. I've completed the hem and am now working on the body section - but more about that next time. Today I visited a spinner - who gave me a few pointers, and some home work hone my technique. She was rightly concerned that I was developing an ability to spin only fine dense yarns. I'm so glad to have a little guidance, so over the next few weeks I will finish up the merino and work on my spinning practice as instructed.
Yesterday my faithful Minolta Dimage Z1 fell from the coffee table onto the carpet floor and broke. The photos and video in this post were thankfully made before that - but with the blog, I feel some urgency to replace the camera soon. We have good insurance, but it all takes time to sort. A long winded way of saying - please bear with me while I find and learn how best to use a new camera.