Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Twined knitting is slow knitting

Yesterday I mentioned that I don't know how I will get my twined mittens finished before the Olympics end.  That is because since I started on Friday evening, I have gotten this far on Mitten #1 (and am not quite as far as that on Mitten #2):

I'm not even 100% sure these babies will fit; the pattern called for 56 stitches which I quickly ripped back to so I could add another 8, but since then I've increased to 72 stitches and it's still going to be snug through my hand.  I think the next weight up of yarn might have been a good choice after all.

Narrow stitches usually go along with abbreviated row heights, but that isn't the only reason it's taking me so long to show progress.

See, when you twine your yarns, what you're really doing is twisting one strand around another, for every stitch.  On the back, the texture is very tight:

and should be warm, which is why it's worth doing if, like me, you live in a city that's cold in winter (most years.)

But the side effect is: hello, you are twisting with every stitch, and the twist is traveling into your yarns.  Check out how tightly over-twisted that makes the yarn between my fingers and the mitten, compared to the looser yarn trailing from the other side of my hand:

To say nothing of the way that extra twist travels down the working yarn as you knit:

The bottom line is, you have to stop and release that twist every so often, which in my case is every 18 stitches.

I couldn't take a picture of this while I was waiting around knitting today, owing to not having the necessary 4-5 hands, but I can describe the process.

First, you put down the working needle someplace where it won't drop, roll away, or stab somebody.

Next, you push the last needle you knit onto and the next needle in line down as far as they will go without dropping stitches.  And do the same for the other two needles, where they face upward.  You're getting them out of the way so they don't catch the working yarn.

Finally, you raise the working yarn so the mitt is dangling, and pull the two strands away from each other so the twist travels down to the needles.  The mitten will spin until it runs out of twist, and then you can pick it up, push the needles back where they should be, and carry on.

(until you've knit another 18 stitches.)

Can you say, GAH! ?

On the upside, this is knitting you can do without anything else to entertain you, which is very handy if you are waiting around knitting... sadly less so while trying to watch the Olympics. 

Short Version of This Story

I am totally finishing Bob's socks before I finish my twined mitts.

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