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.
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.