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Learn Something New: Twined Knitting

Sep 17, 2012

There are so many little knitting techniques that can make a difference in the finished work. Twined knitting is one of those techniques.

    
Freja Twined Scarf from Northern Knits Gifts by Lucinda Guy
In her new book Northern Knits Gifts, Lucinda Guy uses this technique in some of her designs. Here's a little history on twined knitting, followed by instructions about how to work the technique.

Twined Knitting

Although conventional knitting was practiced, the vast majority of early Swedish knitting, especially in the northern areas, was in fact twined knitting: Tvåändsstickat or two-ended knitting. This technique, in which the knitter uses both ends of the same ball of yarn and then twists the two yarns after each stitch, produces a uniform fabric of double thickness that is smooth, firm, warm, and hard wearing.

This style of knitting is ideally suited to mitten and sock making. Less elastic than conventional knitting, twined knitting is an ideal base for embroidery; there are many examples of beautiful, brightly embroidered twined knitted mittens and gloves from the Dalarna area of Sweden.

     Freja Scarf closeup
Extra time and effort was afforded to the making and decoration of mittens for festive and special occasions. These were not only heavily embroidered with various stylized flowers, leaves, and hearts, but also had colorful tufted borders and edgings. Crook stitches, distinctive raised patterning effects achieved only with twined knitting, were used as decoration, either in conjunction with embroidery or on their own.

How to Work Twined Stitches
Knitting: *With both strands in back, insert right needle into next st on left needle as if to knit, bring the strand farthest from the tip of the right needle over the other strand, and use it to knit the stitch: rep from * alternating the two strands and bringing each strand over the one used before.

Purling: *With both strands in back, insert right needle into next st on left needle as if to purl, bring the strand farthest from the tip of the right needle under the other strand, and use it to purl the stitch: rep from * alternating the two strands and bringing each strand under the one used before.

—Lucinda Guy, from Northern Knits Gifts

This stitch seems like a lot of fun to work, and the result is beautiful. Just look at the Freja Scarf, shown above. The two-color repeat used in the Freja Scarf are perfectly suited to twined knitting, which uses both outer and inner ends of the same ball of yarn at the same time, as you can divide your ball of yarn into two separate colors by winding the first half of the ball in one color and the second half in a contrasting color. Then, when you start knitting, you will be using one end of each color; the pattern and twined knitting will work hand in hand.

There are so many great gift ideas and fun knitting techniques in Northern Knits Gifts, so pre-order your copy today, or download the eBook version if you just can't wait!

Cheers,

P.S. Have you started knitting gifts for the holidays, yet? Leave a comment and let us know what you're working on!


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Comments

on Sep 22, 2012 11:19 AM

I lived in Denmark many years ago and remember this technique.  I think I'll try it again.  As for Christmas, I am too busy falling in love with the new yak yarn, Embrace, by Reywa Fibers to even think about anything else.  I just can't get over how fabulously luscious this stuff is.  It is super soft and warm; and seems to be ideal for those small, one skein Christmas gifts.  I just finished a pair of mittens with thrums that are like wearing warm pillows.  I am just not sure if I will be able to part with them.

on Sep 22, 2012 9:55 AM

I am knitting 12 pairs of socks for Christmas - 4 pairs down - only 16 more socks to go!  I have all the yarn and patterns and hope to be able to do a little twisted knitting and entrelac in the process.  The whole project is one of learning for me and I'm enjoying it, while living currently in Antigua, Guatemala.

I'm also during lots of volunteer work with these wondderful, but poor, people.  Some of my favorite activities involve teaching knitting and crocheting to several women and some children - boys and girls.  Felix Navidad a todos....

Jess Alise wrote
on Sep 18, 2012 9:12 AM

I am knitting a few gifts this year, but not like in the past due to this being my senior year of college and it requiring a lot more than years past! :) I'm mainly making ornaments, because they're so quick and easy! Right now I'm working on minature mittens (in plain colors or basic designs) and they knit up really fast! The only big knitting project I have planned is for my cousin, whose name I drew in our family gift exchange. I'm planning on making her a set of mitts with a hat to go with them.

The twined knitting technique looks really awesome; I'm going to have to try it one of these days!

mafleur wrote
on Sep 17, 2012 11:13 PM

Two cardigans from Essentially Feminine Knits by Lene Holme Samsoe.  Coco started Labor Day weekend and is about half finished.  Lovely simple lace.  Quite fun.  For a friend.  Lily comes next for my mother.

Must also find time for some more socks for assorted friends.  Good commuting project.  Went to Cat Bordhi's workshop last month and learned her new Ripe Tomato Heel.  Loved her.  Love the heel.  It's super!  Want to do more.

knitpho wrote
on Sep 17, 2012 1:00 PM

Christmas sliper sock knitting from Laura Farson's Knitting Scandinavian Slippers and Socks.

How often is it suggested to untwist the yarn ball when twine knitting? My stitches are twisted up the whole way...am I missing something?

rachsouth wrote
on Sep 17, 2012 11:59 AM

Christmas knitting: I always try to be realistic when it comes to holiday gift knitting... Yet, somehow, I always wind up with a list of about 30 gifts I need to make!

Right now, I'm 5 1/2 projects in, with another 20-ish to go. Oops?

But, then, I'm making multiple things for everyone - hat/scarf/glove sets for my sisters & their partners, sweaters & socks for the niece & nephew, a blanket for my mother, and a capelet, hat, & mittens for my daughter. I always choose multiple projects for everyone so that, worst case, everyone gets something, even if it's not everything I wanted for them.

...but I should be knitting instead of reading & commenting!

smiller1810 wrote
on Sep 17, 2012 9:21 AM

Christmas knitting: I have an ambitious list, making scarves for 3 daughters, 2 sisters, granddaughter, mother and mother-in-law. I am using this as a way to use up some yarn stash and learn new stitches/techniques. So far I am on schedule to make 2 scares apiece and only had to buy a little to meet color wants. Learned to do brioche last week - love it!  Hope to make something for myself, too, after all the gifts have been mailed off.

Nurnanc wrote
on Sep 17, 2012 9:03 AM

Xmas gift knitting: A bulky wool cowl in school colors for my daughter in law who is a school teacher.

Lisa@279 wrote
on Sep 17, 2012 8:20 AM

The instructions you quoted seem odd for the purling, but maybe that's the point? Why would you hold the yarn in back for purl stitches? Are these directions written for Continental vs. English technique?

Also, why couldn't you use two balls of the same yarn in different colors for this technique?

Vann@3 wrote
on Sep 17, 2012 8:09 AM

I knitted a hat using twined knitting.  It was fun and beautiful.   My Mom took possession of it.  The only problem is just any yarn does not work.  It has to be strong yarn.  The yarn I used came from an independent yarn dealer, in other words a farm that raises sheep.  Can you give some recommendations?