Sunday, March 09, 2008

Using gansey needles for socks, mittens and sleeves

Here is an advanced technique for knitting sleeves, socks, mittens, and mobius cowels fast and tight. Is this how it really was done? Maybe not, but not many needles have survived and we do not know. This works, it is reasonable, fast, and -- well it takes some pratice, but it is worth it if you are knitting outdoor wear. This file is some 55 megabytes.

By the way, use steel sock needles. Wood needles do not like this technique.
Here is a close up of the finger motion. Note it is very similar to that of the standard gansey technique, but it requires a bit of finess so you do not pull the sock needle out of the socket.

When I get back out to California, I will reshoot all these segments (and few more), put them on a DVD and make the DVDs available.
A Natural Born Knitter with keen eyes has noted that the tips of the commercial steel needles were different. They are. I broke their polish by rubbing them with crocus cloth to make them a bit less slippery.
Some Knitting sheath will work with just about any double pointed knitting. Typically I use longer knitting sheaths with sock needles. Sheaths for gansey needles need to be stronger and made from harder materials than knitting sheaths for wooden, bone, or bamboo. The knitting sheath must fit the intended needles and suit the intended technique.

Edited in Jan 2013 to add, this was a work around.  Today, I swave such items using bent needles. Swaving is faster and easier.  Today, I am sure most gloves,  mittens and socks in the old days were swaved.  This is one case where I wondered down the wrong path.  It worked better than the hand knitting that I was taught, but there are better ways to produce such fabric and objects.

1 comment:

historicstitcher said...

Thank you SO much for posting your research out here where we can all benefit!

Since finding your blog through Ravelry I've been reading my way through and getting inspired! Two days ago I freaked out the local welding store by buying TIG rods and not being a welder. Today I dug out some upholstery-grade leather I had hanging around and made a knitting belt to try. I want to try a knitting stick/sheath next, but had the materials around for a belt and no tools or wood.

It works! I'm so excited! Thank you again and again!! I was getting close to having to give up knitting due to wrist and hand pain, and the gansey I'm working on Addi circs was causing the most damage - and now I know why.

I'm looking forward to whatever you post and share next.