Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Twined knitting

(Every now and then I get questions about twined knitting and this post answers some of them. If you have read my blog for some time, you already know all this... so you might want to skip this.)

I first saw twined knitting in Nordic Knitting Symposium in Vaasa many years ago and from that first moment I knew I had to learn it. I did not take a workshop while there but was shown the technique briefly. I bought a booklet on the technique and managed to make my first mitten following the instructions in the booklet. I then knew only how to knit when holding yarn in the left hand and had to learn to hold the yarn in the right hand and I found it very difficult at first and it took hours (and hours!). I am very glad I took the time (long time) to learn it, as today it makes fair-isle knitting easy and I very often change the knitting style just to let the other hand rest. Lately when knitting with cotton or thick yarns, I always throw, I find it easier on my hands. 

You need Z-plied yarn for twined kitting and I quickly found out that I could not find z-spun yarn in Finland. This led to spinning and once I was able to make my own yarn, I was happy for a while. Later on I found Krokmaskan and bought my yarn from there. Today the place to shop the yarn is Zgarn.

I love twined knitting mainly because it is an old technique and I love the texture. It provides a stable canvas for embroidering. I have knitted several mittens, a pair of gloves, fingerless mittens, one sock (yes, lonely one) and two sweaters. I am sure I would have knitted more if only there were more yarns available. While the yarn by Zgarn is very good, I have knitted so much with it that I am little bit tired with the limited palette although there are 28 colors at the moment.

I cannot say what would be the best book in English for studying twined knitting, as most of my material is in Swedish (Swedish was compulsory language when I went to school.) The only book I have in English is New Twists on Twined Knitting by Laura Farson. This book has very modern look and I think most (if not all) pieces are knitted with s-plied yarns. It is modern and has a fresh approach to twined knitting, but it does not have quite the same appeal to me like Dandanell-Danielsson Tv√•√§ndstickat book with old embroidered mitten pictures. Anne-Maj Ling has made a book in English called Two-end-Knitting but I have her Swedish version of the book (more like a booklet in Swedish, my version has no photographs), so I cannot say much about the English version. 

I have not looked but I believe that there are plenty of videos in Youtube about twined knitting. And I am sure there are lots of blogposts also. I follow AsplundKnits and he does lots of twined knitting (not only that but many other interesting projects as well, at the moment truly beautiful Faroese sweater!) and he also teaches the technique. 

In the fall of 2011 when I knitted Kaamos mittens and stranded them all the way through, I realized that while the texture of stranded knitting is not quite the same as in twined knitting, it still provides good back ground for embroidering. I can make use of my yarns and have more alternatives. 

Sittin was wondering why I am thinking about using Shetland wool instead of Finnwool for my new cardigan. The Finnwool that I like best is Studio Maisa Tikkanen wool. Her wool is rough and earthy and dyed as fiber and has truly beautiful colors. I am not sure if it is still spun because last time I ordered it, I did not get all the colors I would have loved to and now I am looking for substitutes for that.

The pictures is this post are taken during the process when I was picking up colors for the embroidery of the mitten. And the last picture shows the colors I ended up using.

Wool as always,


  1. Those are twined? I thought they were simply stranded. They're gorgeous.

    Have you ever 'pretwined' your yarn by plying two yarns together on your wheel, the knitting so as to untwist them? You don't need to stop and untwist the yarn that way. It only works if you're using the same amount of each color, of course.

  2. Lene and Carolyn, you two just made my head hurt. :-)

    By the way, those are beautiful mittens. I love your creative and beautiful work!

  3. Lene,
    I have bought Z-plied yarns from Toots LeBlanc out of Oregon. Her website is Her color is more natural wool, so this might just be of interest to your American readers. It's high quality, though, and beautiful.

  4. Anonymous21:38

    Lene! That first photo answers many questions!! :)
    Ellen in Conn

  5. lizzi00:43

    Thank you, Lene. This has given me lots of food for thought.

  6. I was just wondering when & why you choose twinning over stranded and here is this post! What I understand, then, is it depends on the which wool you'll use & whether that is a S or Z -ply. Do I have that right?
    So many new twinning patterns suggest using S-ply and just dealing with the untwisting every once in awhile. Do you ever do that?
    I am so inspired by your work, especially the embroidery and your colour choices. Thank you for sharing!

  7. I follow your blog regularly. Your work is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing.

  8. DominiqueBe14:36

    Thanks Lene for you post. I'm thinking of trying twined knitting one of these days. I don't know if you already mentionned them, but here are 2 interesting articles about twined knitting, published on Knitty's website :

  9. GrannyWitch15:31

    Thank you so much for your post. I was about to spin enough Z-plied wool to make myself a twined cardigan. Now it is just my son-in-law's mittens that are the wrong way. And I can't wait to try Carolyn's tip

  10. Granny Witch15:34

    Sorry I meant to say S-plied. I now know I nedd Z-plied.

    Thank you again - I look forward to catching up with all your posts.


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