Thursday, February 02, 2006

Experience revised, and methods compared!

Surprise surprise!

This gansey is a mess. 10,000 stitches knitted on 4 different systems: Old circular (#1), new circular (#1), continental and English with knitting stick on US # 1 tight and US # 0 loose, so there are some variations in tension. What a weaver would call, "Lazy Lines." But, the average is about 7spi with a yarn weight of 1,100 yd/lb.

With the circular needles and continental knitting method, the effort to push the stitches around the needle was substantial. I never had this problem before when knitting looser fabric with GOOD circ. needles. Perhaps I would have done better to have knitted more loosely with #0 needles, but that would have taken more effort just to form such small stitches with this thick yarn. As it was, the effort to consistently form tight stitches was substantial. Nevertheless, circular needles/ continental method were the clear winner for travel and safety.

With the DPN, knitting stick, and yarn controlled with right index finder; the effort to move the stitches on the needles is much less, and the effort to maintain consistently tight stitches is less, while the actual speed of stitch formation is similar or better than continental method. I have some trouble with the first 10 stitches on a needle, so I just knit the first 10 stitches on each DPN in continental style before putting the needle in the knitting stick and switching the yarn to my left hand. All things considered, the time to move the yarn back and forth between my right and left hands is much less than the time to move stitches around the circ. needles. Over all, I am getting more knitting done with less effort. This fast and easy production is offset by the real issues of long sharp steel DPN.

Some old texts say that it is important to keep the tips of the knitting needles smooth and polished to avoid fraying the yarn. SHEEP POOP! It is important to keep the needle tips smooth to protect your fingers. I was in a hurry to test some new needle designs and did not polish the reground tips carefully. I ended up ripping my right index finger tip to bloody shreds!

While this gansey is clearly a beginner's practice piece, I am beginning to really see the potential of what I am calling high definition knitting. I think it is worth the effort.

1 comment:

Quelyn's Knits said...

I'm also in the process of constructing a traditional Gansey.
You've mentioned Gladys Thompson's book. Have you seen the one by Beth Brown-Reinsel "Knitting Ganseys" It has the basics you'll need to construct one. Including clear photo's of the techniques ans step by step construction methods.

The wool I've chosen is from Frangipani found here
http://www.guernseywool.co.uk/.

Getting 8.3 s/i on 2.25mm needles. I had hoped to get a tighter gauge then I did. Dropping to 2mm only got me 8.4 so for the sake of my hands I'm going with the 2.25mm.

Do have one question though. Where did you find the steel wire to make your 12" dpn with?

Quelyn