It is how the "Terrible Knitters of Dent" knit so fast.
Miriam Tegels as a speed kitter? Ha! she does not even have a "clew." See (http://www.truveo.com/Learn-to-Speed-Knit/id/144115227455160401 ) Swaving takes all that, and pushes it to the extreme; including minimal motions and keeping the shoulders loose by flexing them. Then it goes beyond that, by synchronizing the hand motions so both hands are making similar symmetric motions. This seems to make coordination of everything easier, i.e., none of this; right hand do this, and left hand do that stuff. Both hands just make tiny circular motions together.
Swaving is not continental knitting. Both swaving and continental use the left hand to tension the yarn. However, with swaving, both needles move at the same time.
It was not just a fiction. I know how it is done. I am not real fast - yet! In fact, I have not even worked out how to purl yet. But, damn it works! Wow! I have not timed it yet. Maybe it is not as fast as it seems. I doubt if I will be able to knit 200 spm – that is for nimble fingered young ones that started knitting as kids. Still the nature of the motion makes it seem very, very fast. We will see.
Very low stress on both hands. All the effort in both hands is from the shoulders and upper arms. On the other hand, knitting fast is a high effort activity, No wonder the Victorian ladies let this style of knitting die out.
This makes it clear that there were at least 4 styles of knitting based on knitting sheaths and knitting pouches:
- There was/is the English which produced very tight fabrics
- Continental was/is fast, but tended to produce looser fabrics
- The two handed, two -yarn techniques for Fair Isle, weaving, and twining
- There are specialized techniques for carrying two yarns in on one hand
On a lighter note as I pick up the sock I was – swaving – last night, I note the needles in it are cheap, old aluminum (Susan Bates or Boyle or ?) that somebody bought in a “hobby shop” and I got in a bunch of used needles on eBay years ago.