Monday, May 05, 2008

My head is full of wool

Cotton wool, the kind that comes with a head cold, and snuffles, and husky voice. Now you would think a head full of wool would be ideal for a knitter and newbie spinner - but no, it isn't. and here it is winter, complete with hail, and snow, and ice and sleet. That all began Friday, and we were lucky to get out of Dunedin, two of the knitting campers didn't make it, they left late on Friday and were advised not to travel on the northern motorway due to ice-y conditions. But we left earlier in the day, and so Friday I went to knitting camp, with my box of tissues and knitting basket not knowing this was a real cold not just a case of the sniffles. Once I knew I tried my best not to contaminate any one. Don't worry, I was careful and didn't handle any body's food (I cleared plates into the dishwasher after they ate, I'm working on the principle the hot water and harsh chemical detergent kills all in its path), and I wasn't coughing at camp, that started after I returned home. And best of all, apparently I didn't snore (a great relief when room sharing - I don't think I snore, but with the cold and all - it is always a worry). Spouses can't always be relied on to answer that one truthfully.

So by end of day one, I had this little pile to show. First up was the orange and green swatch, 2mm needles - and I don't know how many stitches, but cast on number 1. White swatch, again 2mm needles and cast on number 2, a really cute little chain on the right side of the work. The larger grey swatch was my gauge swatch, as I worked out how many stitches for a mitten. I cast on 60, nope not gonna fit. This twining is not difficult, but is tricky and not as easy as ordinary knitting, so I wasn't intending to knit mittens that didn't fit and end up as gifts for someone who didn't recognise the amount of effort a twined mitten or two take. I switched ot 2.25mm needles, nope still not big enough, so I increased to 72 stitches and twined some more. About right - the Goldilocks principle, not to big, not to small. Some of these even measure 2.5 inches across!

Start of day two I cast on my mitten, and work the twined chain bands and the colour work section, latter that night at home I finished the colour work and today between coughing fits worked a little more on my mitten. This twining is slow knitting. It is knit with two yarns, usually the two ends from a center pull ball, and every stitch the yarn is twisted. The result is a smooth, elastic, firm, and quite squoooshy knit fabric that is very very dense. We discussed the reasons for twining, one book says it is more elastic than pure stranding, we also thought it was more cushion-y and would wear better. Any holes wouldn't ravel, with the yarns held firm with all the twining. We also discussed how in some European cultures brides had to knit many gloves and mittens as gifts for their in-laws. What an excuse not to say yes to a man you didn't like, "I can't marry you, I've not finished knitting my mittens yet" so much more polite than "I just don't fancy you", twining is time consuming - perhaps it was invented to delay the prospects of marriage?

And this is the inner side of my mitten, showing the twining. The reverse of the knitting really does look different. I started off twining the colour-work, but soon reverted to plain old stranding.

So I'm off to knit some more, maybe, and rest a little and have an early night. You take care.

Added after posting so a post script : my twining videos are here, here, and here, and I've worked out a smoother hold for the yarns so I'll do an update as soon as my camera bear allows, and a photo tutorial or two here.


vintage Purls said...

bcMy head is full of wool to and I must say I feel you may be to blame! Ah well, knitting camp was worth it. I haven't progressed any further with my mitten yet - I'm too foggy in the brain for concentrated knitting today. Your mitten is progressing so well.

Sarah said...

Welcome back! There are certainly worse things to have your head full of:) I think you may be on to something with the twined knitting as a delay tactic:) Unfortunately I haven't been proposed to yet, so I can't make use of it yet:) Also I posted an answer to your "forked" question on my english and french! I am giving bilingual blogging a shot this month!!

Knitting Linguist said...

I'm sorry to hear you're not feeling well, and that the weather's so awful! (It sounds like Older Daughter and I had better pack some majorly warm clothes!) But I'm so glad that you made it to the camp, and that you got to play with a fun technique in good company :) I love the idea of inventing twining to delay marriage to an unsuitable suitor (rather like Penelope with her weaving and unweaving?)!