Swedening the Deal

Day 4
in which in lieu of a picture a thousand words will have to do.

Warning: The following contains mature knitting content and brief scenes of explicit cat and yarn violence and may not be suitable for those indifferent to the craft of knitting.
(Seriously folks, if you're not into reading about the punctilios of my knitting you may just want to skip reading this post.)

I'm not much of a traveler. So I've decide that it's time to take my show on the road via sock knitting, the only way to travel. I've joined the Knitting on the Road Kal. This group has been knitting the socks from Nancy Bush's book "Knitting on the Road" a book of sock patterns that Nancy wrote inspired by her own travels around the world. I've had this book for a couple of years and I thought it would be fun to knit these socks along with the group.

Before joining the group I had knit only two patterns from the book thus far. I've knit the Huron Mountain socks (the Loon Socks) in memory of my father in law for the Day of the Dead KAL and the Conwy socks for my oldest son's birthday. The sock pattern that the group has currently chosen to knit is the Dalarna Socks which were inspired by Nancy's travels to Sweden.
Nancy gives a taste of Swedish knitting "...and how Swede it is",* in the Dalarna sock using a technique they call Tvaandstickning, or twined knitting, also known as two end knitting. The knitting is done by knitting with two strands of yarn, usually a strand from each end of the ball, thus the term two end knitting. The knitting is done by alternating the two strands each stitch, picking up the yarn from underneath the other causing the yarn in the back of the knitting to twist or twine.
Although I haven't tried this knitting method I have recently I tried my hand at another Swedish knitting technique from a pattern in the current Jan/Feb issue of Piecework Magazine. For my Knit Mitt Kit partner, I knit a little bag inspired from the knitting of Swedish knitter Marta Stina.
The technique that Marta Stina uses is similar to the tvaandsstickning in that you still twist the yarn around each other each stitch however twined knitting is always knit from under the other yarn, which gives you the twining yarn and Marta Stina alternates picking up the yarn from underneath the float and then over the float. It's more like Fair Isle knitting except the floats are never longer than one stitch.
It's a good method to use for motif knitting where you don't want long floats on the back. It makes a little stiffer fabric than knitting Fair Isle knitting. I thought that it was a bit fiddly for my tastes, if I were to knit the bag again I would have just used a Fair Isle, or *gasp* Intarsia.
Probably not Intarsia though, seeing how I dislike it so much and try to avoid it as much as possible. Although not entirely seeing that I knit Teva's Durham's kilt for my daughter

                        (But that's just because I shot my mouth off to her about knitting it for her in one day. However, in my defense I didn't remember it was intarsia when I said that I could knit it in one day. I thought it was just a striped rectangle knit on size 11's and then dropped stitched and woven.)

                                      One day, two days, ten days who's counting?

                                      Also if I were to use intarsia I would probably knit the bag flat rather than in the round. There are ways to knit intarsia in the round but this raises the fiddle factor once again and if I have to fiddle, I guess I would prefer to use Marta Stina's method of motif knitting over intarsia for knitting in the round.
                                      Marta Stina's knitting method by the way, is the way I knit in my ends when I change color in knitting Fair Isle.

                                      I loop the new color over the end of the color I finished with, so that the new color end is folding back on itself. I hold the new color end as a float, parallel along with the left needle, then when I begin knitting I alternate knitting from under the float and then over the float for about eight to ten stitches and then knit normally to the just before the end of the round, if I'm knitting circularly (which I usually am).

                                      When I come back to where I changed the colors, I stop about eight to ten stitches before the end of the row and I pick up the end of the color I had stopped using, (the one that is looped with new color), and I float that end parallel along the right needle and finish knitting, alternating knitting up from underneath and over the float for the rest of the row. When I'm finished with the knitting, I sometimes turn the work over and tug the two ends of yarns that are looped to snug them up a bit and then bury the ends under the floats or just trim them if the yarn is sticky enough, ie: Shetland wool.

                                      Other than the not twining of the yarns, tvaandstickning and the Marta Stina methods are very similar, however twined knitting is usually knit by throwing the two yarns from the right and Marta Stina's technique has you holding the two yarn's in your left hand and knitting continentally or if you're a heretic, like me, using the combined knitting method.
                                      I did like the way they had you hold the two yarns in your left hand as you normally would hold the yarn except having one yarn, the float, closer to knuckle and the working yarn at the tip of the finger. I found holding the yarn this way worked quite handily. I've held two yarns in my hand before but held one over the forefinger and one over the second finger which was workable but ackward.

                                      So I've been thinking over knitting the Dalarna sock and deciding how or if I want to knit it. Except for the chain stitch detail at the cuff which uses the two end knitting and the clock detail on the side, the sock is largely just your standard stockinette sock and not a very interesting knit.I'll be honest with you these past few weeks I just haven't been feeling it when it comes to knitting and I'm not certain that knitting these socks is gonna get me out of my slump. It's not that I haven't been knitting, I have, I knit.
                                      • I finished and blocked Anne's pooling colors scarf.
                                      • I've picked up the Forest Path Stole and have added a couple of tiers to it.
                                      • I've been working on socks for the A4A.
                                      • I finished Katie's mittens and started another pair for Annie in Harlot's "70's appliance colors", (Anne's choice not mine), though I think they are going to be quite pretty.
                                      • I've decided and swatched for the Anemoi mittens, I'm knitting for myself. (Chocolate and Cherry, Valentine's day may have had some influence on the color choice)
                                      • I've been playing around at knitting target wave mittens and
                                      • I've been knitting another square for the Bear Claw blanket that I started in the summer.

                                      Still, even with all that going on I'm feeling rather blase about the whole thing.

                                      I don't really know what it is that's making me feel this way. I'm fairly certain that it isn't the knitting but more a winter blues sort of thing. I think it's just a bunch of little things that are adding up and weighing me down and taking the j out of joy and the f out of fun. Whatever need it is that my knitting has always fufilled, it's not getting me there at the moment and blogging about it even less so.
                                      Anyway, back to the Dalarna Socks, I've been thinking that maybe I would up the challenge a bit to try to "Sweden the deal" * a bit and knit the sock using the tvaandstickning method for the whole sock. I have two patterns on two end knitting for mittens, one is by Nancy Bush in the Piecework magazine and the other's in the book," Homespun Handknit, Caps, Socks,
                                      Mittens & Gloves." I take that back, there are three, two patterns in the book, one by Meg Swansen and another by Carol Rhoades.
                                      My thought was that I would knit the Dalarna Socks and maybe incorporate parts of the other pattern's designs into the socks. But I'm having doubts about whether I want to do this at all, perhaps I should just knit the pattern as is and be done with it or not knit the sock at all. I don't know. Why can't I knit just a plain pair of red socks? Why can't I knit a plain pair of red mittens?
                                      I don't know, I don't know.

                                      You're crazy lady, all these little balls of yarn is nothing but pure fun!

                                      I'm afraid there's no help for it, once the puns start rolling there's no stoppin' em...many have tried, it's best to just try to ignor them.
                                      If you can...*wicked laugh*

                                      No knitting or animals have been harmed in the making of this post.

                                      2 Opinions:

                                      Amy said...

                                      You are such a goddess. LOVE the kilt.

                                      Chris said...

                                      The kilt is uber cute!

                                      Heh, May would be having those balls of yarn surgically removed from her tummy right now...

                                      I know what you mean about the winter blahs... Hang in there!