Sunday, January 04, 2009

Fearless (Experimental) Knitting

So, yeah, I have been knitting on the cardigan... almost 2 balls down now. Today, however, was spent doing some learning, experimenting, swatching.

A while back (a few months ago), one of the girls I work with was clearing out some books and she gave me a couple of knitting books. One was "Flying Geese & Partridge Feet, More Mittens from Up North and Down East", by Robin Hansen, with Janetta Dexter. It has a selection of traditional mittens from the east coast area. One pattern has been niggling at my imagination from the time I first saw it and I decided to try the technique to see if I could use it, not just to make mittens, but socks perhaps.

The mittens are the Double Rolled Mittens. The technique involves using an unspun yarn (I used what I'm pretty sure is White Buffalo, from my stash) and some Patons Classic Merino (also from the stash). The pattern calls for needles way smaller than would normally be used for either yarn. In this case, I grabbed a set that I thought was about 3.0 mm; they were, in fact, 2.5 mm, which gave me the called-for gauge of 6 sts/1".
Basically, what you're doing is wrapping the unspun yarn around your working yarn as you knit. To keep everything from getting hopelessly tangled, you only use 8-12" lengths of the unspun, flipping it over the working yarn, anchoring it with the left hand while knitting with your working yarn in the right hand, English-style. Apparently, it does not work as well if you knit continental-style. The secret of this technique is that the yarn must be twisted around the working yarn.

I used contrasting yarn on purpose. It makes it easier to see how everything actually knits up. The unspun yarn does show through, giving it a kind of folksy look. From the inside, you can see how the unspun is intertwined with the working yarn. The resulting fabric is quite stiff, but would be very warm and wind resistant.

It has my brain churning. I could see using this technique to make slipper socks. They'd be thick, meaning they'd be more hard-wearing. They'd be warm because of the double layer of wool. They'd keep my toes warm, for sure.

Oh, speaking of warm toes? The thrummed socks that I made, that feel so cozy on the feet? Well, they fit John perfectly. On me, too big. Back to chilly toes for me. Figures, huh?

1 comment:

  1. This is a very cool technque and seems like it would make very warm fabric. I may have to try this for slippers - Thanks!