Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Knitting "Twin"ing

I have been searching for years for the warmest mittens I could make. This does not include "Thrum" mittens. I don't want big bulky things, but rather sleek mittens to walk my dog on the cold days. My best pair to date were my "Incredible Checkerboard" mittens from Robin Hanson. These are simple stranded mitts, where the strand creates a double layer. Actually in eastern Canada/US they are known as Double Knitting.

While I love these and have made quite a few, they still let the wind pass through. I next tried to actually double knit (two sides at once) with Cascade on the outside and Misti Alpaca on the inside. Well, these are the softest that I have done and with no wind are extremely warm. The problem is that when the wind howls they are worse then the stranded ones.

Given my obsessive nature to find the perfect pair, as those of you who know me know I will, I then took a class with the "Yarn Harlot" on Matawa Mittens. Now the class actually did not turn out to be about mittens but it was about Matawa. And Stephanie did bring along her Matawa mittens. These looked good and felt warm. I still can't say about the wind as I did not have them outside. So, I ordered 3 skeins of hankies from Blue Moon Fibre. They arrived a few weeks back. Now I wish I could say I have made these mittens but instead tried something else.

I had just read about "Purl Inlay" technique in my "Principles of Knitting" book so decided I would do the outside as a regular mitten but use the Matawa for the Purl inlay. basically this is just stranding it and locking it in after every stitch on the inside. I finished one mitten. The problem though is that the Matawa has no stretch. So while it was warm and probably good against the wind, you could feel the matawa bindings and it felt terrible. I still want to make some actual Matawa linings but that is for another post.

So, know you are thinking "I read all this, but what does this have to do about twins". Okay....Over the holidays my son was looking for a pair of gloves for me to knit. He wanted them in one colour but warm. I figured I could do stranded using the same color for warmth but then saw something new in my "Principles" book. It was a technique called "Twining". I think it is from the area of Sweden. I had seen it before but never tried it. While, I had a few weeks during the holiday so grabbed some Sublime Marino extra fine DK and sought out to make a Twined Glove. As I began to knit this I started to fall in love with the results. Plush, warm, soft, and looking like they would do great in the wind.

I finished the pair and gave them to my son. Unfortunately this does not allow me to try them out much. So I then searched and found some new books on twining. One is called "New Twists" on Twining by Laura Farson. Wow...Anyways I have just tried making my first Twined Mitten. Actually it is a twined with a reverse stitch. Incredible. Well I am not sure about my colors, you can see below are some pictures of the outside and even better looking the inside. Also note the purl band. I want to work on my decrease ending as I like something more rounded but I am hooked on this technique. Now I am making the second and then off to some slippers from a second twining book from Laura

 Below (inside of mitten)

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