Sunday, January 09, 2005

Twined knitting makes great outerwear

Bill and I are off on a 3 day high tide weekend birding adventure around San Francisco Bay with bird guide Steve Shunk. Today we were at Palo Alto Baylands looking for the Black Rail and tomorrow we will be at Pt. Reyes doing the very same thing. Bill's trip notes are already online, thanks to internet access from our hotel room.

The knitting connection is these twined knitting half mitts:


These grey half mitts with contrasting red braid at the cast on edge were my first twined knitting, knitted in 1992. The first one was intended as a test of the technique before I made a pair of mittens for a library school colleague. I planned to chuck the commpleted mitt in the swatch basket & move on, but Bill really liked the feel the fabric and asked me to make him a mate. He did wear them in Illinois, but their true value has been as birding gloves for the past 10 years here in California. The fingerless design leaves his fingers free to manipulate binoculars, spotting scope, and camera in cold weather.

Twined knitting or "two-end knitting" makes a very durable fabric thanks to the extra firmness and thickness created by this technique. But after 13 years, the inside edge of the thumb had started to wear out. In preparation for our current birding trip, I ripped out the thumb, looked up how twined knitting works again and knit a replacement thumb. The photo shows (clockwise from top) the Twined Knitting book containing the pattern for the mitts, the Pingouin Fleur de Laine yarn I used 13 years ago and still had in my stash (hah!), size two bamboo dpns I used for the repair, a small pile of very worn yarn from the old thumb, and the finished mitts with the new thumb closest to the center of the photo.

I don't have a "before" picture, since I started the reknitting after my photographer had gone to bed, but I'm reasonably pleased with the repair. The new thumb is fuzzier than the rest of the glove, but a bit of wear should solve that problem. Twined knitting was pretty tough on my arms, because of the extra twisting motions required and the one-size-too-small needles I chose. (Should have looked up the project notes before I started the repair -- pattern calls for 3 mm needles.) This is the first time I've tried twined knitting in many years, and again I am struck by how fabulous this fabric is. I would love to make more small projects in twined knitting if I can build up the strength to do it!


Blogger Bogie said...

Those half mitts are great! I remember you talking about them in SnB, so it's nice to see a photo. I sure am happy that Bill liked the fabric, 'cause it would have been a shame to have the first one buried in the swatch basket.

January 10, 2005 2:06 PM  
Blogger Ilona said...

The twined knitting technique looks to be a terrific technique to learn. Hmmm.... must think about what I'd want to try with this cool technique... You know, I've always wondered - my fingers are what usually get the coldest on my hands - I am having trouble understanding how fingerless gloves will keep my hands warm... maybe I'll get snippy with an old pair of gloves...

January 10, 2005 11:22 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Its so cool you stil had the yarn in your stash and were able to reconstruct the thumb. Here's to 13 more years of wear for the mittens.

Oh, and nice photo by the way!

January 12, 2005 2:29 PM  

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