Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Twined Knitting, volume 2

OK, now that I've knit a little bit of twined knitting, I've already learned some stuff.

1. This is essentially a "throwing" technique. It's also butt-slow. 

I am lucky in that I can knit using "picking" and "throwing" techniques (ie. "continental" and "english" style) with equal facility, so I've been able to try both on this technique. And I find it much easier throwing - and if you can support that RH needle, so much the better. I thought at first I could pretend I was doing colourwork, which I find easiest/fastest by continental-style "picking", but quickly found it impossible. It's because you have to constantly twist the 2 strands together in the same direction, and you basically need to drop one strand to accomplish this. Hence the use of my right hand (since I'm right-handed), and the requirement to support both needles while my right hand is busy twisting yarn. I can see why this is limited to small objects (unless you are using pit knitting or a knitting belt or something, with ultra-long DPNs).

2. Get clear in your head which way you need to be twisting those yarn strands.

Roll 2 strands of yarn together with your thumb and forefinger:

[roll two strands together - 
moving thumb up in direction of arrow rolls them clockwise]

If the yarns look like the picture below when you've rolled them, you have z-twist yarn and you need to twist the strands together with the bottom strand moving up and over the top strand - like you did when rolling the yarns together in the photo above. If you translate this motion into holding a screwdriver with your right hand, you'll see it's a "righty-tighty" move. 

[2 strands of yarn, unplying as they twist]

If, as is more likely, the strands look like the photo below, you have standard s-twist yarn and you need to twist by having the top strand move down and over the bottom one. Try unplying your strands by moving your thumb in the opposite direction, in the picture above. This is the "lefty-loosey" screwdriver motion, yes?

[2 strands of yarn, plying together harder as they twist]

Play with this. Pick up your knitting and twirl the 2 strands around each other first one way, then the other, and you'll soon see which way unplies them. For z-twist yarns and the "authentic look" of twined knitting, you'll want to ensure the yarns twist "righty-tighty" during both purling and knitting. For s-twist yarns you'll need to do "lefty-loosey" during both purling and knitting to get the unplying effect - and note, this means you won't be doing the twists the way that Knitty article tells you to do it!

As I mentioned in volume 1 of this series on twined knitting, the twist is a personal preference thing. A "compact" yarn produces a fabric with a different drape and loft, and the stitch definition will be slightly different than if you knit with an "open" yarn. Try a small sample using each twist direction to see which you prefer.

I found it useful to do this unplying test as I started knitting/purling, so I could get the twist going in the right direction...which brings up...

3. Yarn management becomes an issue within seconds. 

Because of all the twisting, you get a tangled mess pretty quickly. Best tip (thank you Principles of Knitting!): use two ends of a center-pull ball, ** pull off a "wingspan" or generous double armslength of both strands of yarn, and then clamp the two ends to the ball using one of those bulldog grips (or a clothespin, or a short knitting needle stabbed in and out a few times to trap the strands) so they can't unwind more. When you've used up the wingspan of yarn, dangle the ball so it unspins, unclip the yarns, and repeat from **.

[clamp the yarns to the ball using a bulldog clip]

Don't be shy about unwinding that "wingspan" - I've found it helpful to have at least 1m or so of yarn "free" at all times. With z-twist yarn especially, I'm unplying it as I knit and it helps to have the extra yarn free to "regularize" the twist. I've found that knitting straight-up twined for a few rows really makes things twisty, and that throwing in the odd crook round really helps decrease the twisting.

No comments:

Post a Comment