Wip series: Twined knitting mittens in progress

The twined knitting mittens are in progress! It’s a slow knit, but I knew that already. And the reward is a sturdy, strong and windproof textile, and, of course, a quiet moment of making.

Treasured notes

I read in my Ravelry notes from my last twined knitting project that it would be a good idea to overply the yarn, since the yarn is unplying a little when the yarns are twisted. So before I started casting on, I ran my balanced yarn through the spinning wheel and overplied it. Hopefully it’s enough.

How I do it

Casting on for twined knitting takes three yarn ends, one dark cast-on yarn and the two working yarns. After casting on there are four ends hanging – the ends from the two working yarns and the two ends from the cast-on yarn. The easiest way to weave these in is to make a braid out of them. This is  a pretty detail, as well as practical for hanging up the finished mittens.

To prevent the material from curling, it is a good idea to start with a couple of rows of crook stitch (alternating knit and purl stitches with the purl thread in front of the work). I did four rows and then I started an xo pattern and finished the cuff with another eight crook stitch rows. I’m planning a pattern stitch for the back of the hand and a plain palm side.

I really enjoy this knit. I love the yarn and the structure that develops. I can’t stop feeling the softness of the yarn and the magical texture of the fabric.

A glimpse of the making

I shot a short video of the knitting. I put the baking table in my lap as a background and a flexible knitting light wrapped around my head like a crown. My husband looked at me very quizzically. Still, the lighting arrangement did its job and was successful.

As you can see, it is a slow and a somewhat fidgety knit. Both yarn ends come from the same ball of yarn and every now and then I have to stop and untwist the ball. But I get into the rhythm and enjoy the moment.

Towards the end of the video I show you the wrong side of the work. The horizontal lines you see on the back of the knit rows is where the yarns are twined. This makes the fabric sturdy. If you hold up a regular knit fabric to the light, you see the light through the fabric. This does not happen with a twined knitting fabric, it is really dense – and I’m using 2 mm needles, which would indicate the density of the fabric.

I think it will be a while before I write the post on the finished mittens, I will enjoy the slow knitting and the feeling of the progress of wool yumminess in my hands.

Happy spinning!

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9 Replies to “Wip series: Twined knitting mittens in progress”

  1. So beautiful! I dimly remember having read about a method that prevents the tangling of the yarns when working with different strands. Or, rather, it was about entangling them in one row and disentagling them again in the next by switching the direction you twine the strands. Not sure it applies here since you want the twines go all the same way and I don’t remember if the change of direction showed on the other side … I’ll see if I can find it again!

    1. Servus Stefanie,

      That sounds really interesting! As you say, I am not sure if the method you are referring to can be applied to twined knitting, but new techniques and problem solutions are always treasured! So please get back to me when you find something 😀

  2. Hi Josefin, I thinks this shows what I read about – I’m not totally sure (it’s hard to keep track while watching) but I think she wraps the yarns in two different directions and her yarns do not tangle (real action starts around 2:30)
    If this produces a too uneven wrong side, it could be done row by row – twisting clockwise on the right side, twisting counter clockwise on the wrong side (here we are again with our clocks ;-), tangling and untangling on the go.

    I’m not sure if there’s an exra wrap in what you do, though, due to the pattern you knit. Wow, that does look complicated, but it’s going to be so special!

    Have fun –

    1. Vielen Dank, Stefanie! This video is a thriller, it is really hard to tell whether or not she will live happily ever after with her mittens or not, they seem to have a very entangled relationship.

      It looks like she is knitting and twining with the same technique as I am. But changing directions for every row is an interesting idea. When I try changing directions, I see that there is a risk that the yarn gets way overplied (and the fabric biased) when you twine in the other direction. Twined knitting yarn is z-plied (and a bit overplied) to work smoothly with the twining. Changing the direction of the twining will affect the tension of the yarn (untwisting makes it longer and looser, twisting makes it shorter and tighter). Also, this is not a very smooth hand motion (referring to ergonomics again), at least not the way I do it.

      Does this make sense to you?

      A deeply geeky analysis again, yay! Thank you for playing with me!

  3. Right, I forgot about the z-ply you did extra for this! The yarn has to come from the same ball, right? Because – geek mode on – otherwise one could play with a z-ply and a s-ply yarn in alternate rows, with alternate twine? Would that even out bias in the fabric? (admitted, I at least have a hard time to distinguish between s and z even under normal circumstances, I don’t think I would be able to do so while knitting, so it might be a challenge to keep track, at least with the same color in both yarns).

    But, just for the love of theory and for me to understand this better – would it be the same concept with twined knitting if you used s-ply and only twined in the other direction?

    Also, when I searched for my original source, I came across two-handed stranded knitting (knitting continental with one yarn in the left hand and English with the other in the right hand) which also seems to prevent entanglement and is supposed to be ergonomic (and fast). I have not tried that ever myself (I knit continental- you knit English, as I see, which is curious, since you are on the continent :), but it might make things easier after a while … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2mUIVOn3uA

    This is so much fun! I guess I have to cast on some trial pieces tonight …

    1. Yes, the yarn ends come for the same ball. The alternating s- and z-plied yarn idea is interesting, though! I guess it would work without a biased fabric. But, as you say, it might be tricky to keep track of the different yarns if they are the same colour.

      As to your second question, I think the yarn would be overplied, since you are still knitting from right to left. But if that were the case, it would probably work if you were to knit from left to right. Now, that would be a challenge!

      When it comes to two-handed stranded knitting (which is the best invention since sliced bread), it would not work with twined knitting. This is because you would leave out the twining, which is the reason why the twined knitting textile is so dense and sturdy.

      I love knitting these mittens, it is the kind of project you want to get back to the second you wake up in the morning. Tangled yarns notwithstanding.

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