Friday, May 12, 2006

Slow process

This reminds me of a time when I learnt twined knitting.

Few years ago the Nordic Knitting Symposium was held in Vaasa, Finland. I took there a class by Annemor Sundbo (as if the Annemor Sundbo of Setesdal Sweaters). The class was about drop spindle spinning with Norwegian wool. I did not do very well in the class. I did not impress even myself. It might have happened easily that I would have dropped the spindle for the last time then haven't I received a beautiful spindle as a gift from Carol Rhoades (as if the Carol Rhoades who writes these great articles on spinning in the Spin Off magazine).(I was indeed in a very good company!) I came home with all the left over wool from Annemor's class (she was most generous and encouraging) and with the new spindle.

That summer I would sit at the steps facing the lake in the early morning sun and spin. By the end of the summer even my husband was impressed.

I did not take a class of twined knitting in Vaasa. There were few knitters very much into this knitting and they were knitting every chance they had. On a field trip in a bus I was sitting next to one very nice lady who knit twined mittens. It looked absolutely fascinating. I had never seen anything like that in my whole knitting life. I had to learn this technique. So what I did was I sat few minutes next to various knitters watching and taking notes. All the knitters were very happy to show me what they knew. Thank you so much if any of you are reading this. That way I collected bits of knowledge. I could not accomplish much with my knowledge but enough to know that I had to learn more. Then I was told to get a book of twined knitting called Tvåändstickat by Birgitta Dandanell and Ulla Danielsson. It was long gone from the markets but my library found me the book.

I did learn to do twoendknitting the same summer I learnt to spin with a drop spindle.

The process was low. About eight hours of knitting and two centimeters of a mitten. I'm honest. See, I had always held my yarn in my left hand and now the yarn was transferred to the right hand. And I had to manage not one, but two yarns with my stupid and unwilling right hand.

At the time I did not know where I could buy z-spun yarn that is needed in twined knitting. But no worries. I had my spindle. I was going to produce all the yarn needed with my spindle. About eight hours of spinning and four grams of usable singles. (Later on I found Anne-Maj Ling and her site).

That summer flew past while learning these new things, trying to find all the imformation for the twined knitting and trying to get even yarn with the spindle. What made it so enjoyable was the challenge to do it by myself. It would have been easier to wait for the next time to be able to take a class in twoendknitting but I did not want to wait.

The days came colder and shorter and the autumn crept closer. I had not accomplished very much. I guess this is more or less the only thing that materialized during the long summer days. One pair of wrist warmers.

The yarn (silk and wool blend) was made with a drop spindle, the knitting is twined knitting and then some wool embroidery. I was following my own image, not a written pattern, and the needle size was 2 mm.

So be warned, I have a calling for colored knitting with a techique that is described in this site (there is a short video of the technique) and where you knit with one yarn in your right hand and one yarn in your left hand. It is a totally new way for me to do it. My colored work has always been with the yarns in my right hand, I have been uncomfortable doing it and have not been good at it. But this technique produces such a nice stiff and sturdy fabric that I have to learn it. While learning I'm probably not going to get anything good done in the near future. But I'm very excited, very happy and anxious to get to my knitting. There is nothing to see yet, but you have to trust me, I have been very busy. Hope you don't get bored. You might have to wait until August before I have anything worth showing.

Would you like to see beautiful knitted lace? Check these beautiful doilies.

The weather? Really, I don't care at the moment, I'm looking solely at my knitting. But now that you mention, the lake is waving, there seems to be some rain and wind. Perfect for color work.

You all have a nice week end!

PS. The Lett Lopi colour in the Eris cardigan is called celery green heather and the number is 9421.


  1. Anonymous14:52

    Your wrist warmers are soooo beautiful! I like the colour combination a lot.

  2. Your wristwarmers are just gorgeous! Do you keep them out during the summer just to look at them? I would.

  3. WOW.

    Your wrist warmers are so beautiful. Your embroidery is wonderful!

    Thank you so much for sending us to that two-handed colorwork video! I knew how to do the basic knit, with each hand, but the twist in the back!!! I had no idea!!!

    Thank you.

  4. Beautiful wrist warmers! What incredible embroidery. I have the Twined Knitting book that you mention and I've been wanting to take some time to learn how to do it, I think it's a fascinating technique.

  5. Fascinating... Now I have questions for you:
    1. does the fabric end up thicker that way, with the second yarn in the back?
    2. why the z-spun yarn? And what happens if you do it with regular s-spun? Have you tried?
    3. What would be the reason for using this technique with just one color? Must be the quality of the fabric (?).
    My swedish is way too rusty to understand everything on Anne-Maj's website, but I'll have to try over the weekend!

  6. Hi Lene -- I'm currently in the process of finishing up my very first fair isle sweater knit with the 2-handed technique shown on the Philosopher's Wool site. I found it incredibly enjoyable and am thinking about ordering supplies from them for another sweater. There's an in-progress pic of my sweater here: The body tube is complete now. I plan to cut the steeks tonight and hope to have a picture of the finished project by the end of this weekend. Enjoy!

  7. Congratulations on your dedication and perseverance. The wrist warmers are fabulous. If you only made one thing, you made a work of art. Your great-grandchildren will marvel at your skill and ability to create art.
    As for two color knitting, I hold one color in the right hand and one in the left, although I normally knit with the yarn in the left hand. And, I had to do many, many trial pieces before getting tolerably good. From time to time, I knit stockinette with the yarn in my right hand, just to practice. Some people carry both yarns in their left hand, over one or two fingers. I've struggled with this and haven't been able to do it well enough to make anything. Keep up the practice and courageous spirit!

  8. I just looked at the doily website--fabulous. I bet the patterns are only available in Finnish. Outstanding work. Makes me want to make every one of them.

  9. Those are super gorgeous! I love the embroidery you did.

  10. I understand being busy and not having any product to show! Sometimes I'll post my swatches (especially when I need advise). I appreciated when you posted your experiments with toe-up socks.

  11. Those are gorgeous! You can use them for drink cozies in the summer (the little things that hug your beer or soda bottle and keep them cool)... ;-)

    Your posting is pushing me towards learning that two-handed style. I knit Continental (left-hand) style too, and my few attempts to knit with the yarn in my right hand have been frustrating. But perhaps if I'm alternating I won't be so grumpy... though I know I won't have even stitches at first!

  12. I love the two handed color knitting technique - it just zips along once you get used to it. Could twined knitting be accomplished the same way - ie holding one strand in each hand and alternating strands every stitch, or is there some other key aspect to it that I'm missing?

  13. I am on the floor, dizzy and dazzled with the beauty of your work. As we like to say in America "I am NOT worthy!" Meaning that you are such a stunning knitter I can only bow down in honor of your skill.

  14. I love the colors in your wristwarmers. I've been learning two-end knitting, too. It is amazing how slow a process it is! But so warm and sturdy in the end.

  15. I learned how to do that two handed weaving technique from a workshop that Philospher's Wool did. Best thing I ever learned. You'll love using that technique. And the knit lace was inspirational. I've plans to do a round tablecloth as soon as I move. It's been a long time since I've done lace.

    Your work is truly lovely and it's a great job of spinning. And to do it on a spindle really makes it for me!

  16. Those wrist warmers are daughter just adores them too.You are very much in love and dedicated to your art ,well done Lene.

  17. Beautiful embroidery! It reminds me of 'echo' quilting, but I like yours much more! I loved the doilies, especially the large one on the table. The flower appears to be an iris, one of my favourite flowers. You have trouble getting your right hand to co-operate. I knit English style and have trouble with the left hand! Oh to be ambidextrous (?sp)!

  18. Anonymous04:58

    Beautiful embroidery! It reminds me of 'echo' quilting, but I like yours much more! I loved the doilies, especially the large one on the table. The flower appears to be an iris, one of my favourite flowers. You have trouble getting your right hand to co-operate. I knit English style and have trouble with the left hand! Oh to be ambidextrous

  19. Anonymous05:11

    I had never heard of twined knitting before I read your post. I was curious so I watched part of the video. I don't think I'm ready to try it yet! My sweet daughter went to Toronto yesterday and bought me some sock yarn, for a Mother's day gift. She was not feeling well but struggled along Queen street in order to get to Romni's yarn shop. She purchased four balls for me and then had to return home, with her stomach in turmoil. Needless to say, I was very touched by her present. Do you celebrate Mother's day in Finland?

  20. Anonymous05:58

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.