Saturday, April 16, 2011

Supporting your work

Basically, large objects get supported on the lap, whether you are working with circs, 3+1 x 14" DPN with a Shetland knitting pouch, 4+1 x 18" gansey needles, or 6+1 x 12" Scottish needles.

If you are knitting a gansey or rug for the Queen, then it helps to fold-up the completed work, and hold it together with a few stitches of waste yarn so it is easier to turn, and to keep it from dragging on the floor.

Very large pieces can be hung from a hook on a swivel attached to a belt, at or just below the waist or the bottom of the knitting sheath.  Again the object in progress is held in a compact shape with a few stitches of waste yarn.  This works for things like shawls and lace table cloths.  However, this is awkward, and you may have to adjust the yarn path or or switch to continental knitting, but it does allow working the edge of an object that is several feet in diameter and where the row you are working on contains thousands of stitches.  Normally, a modern knitter would think about doing such a object on circs with long cables (tucking the center bulk of the object into a bag to facilitate handling.)  

However, DPN with a knitting sheath allow finer and faster knitting, that cannot be sustained on circs.  And, the weight of the object hanging from a hook suspended from the bottom of the knitting sheath helps to counter balance the weight of the object on the needles.  If museum collections are any guide, then at one time such counter balance devices were fairly common.  Of course, if you are just knitting socks, a clew hanging from the bottom of your knitting sheath, will keep your yarn out of the mud as you knit on the quay and counter balance the weight on the needles.

I had better stop.  I have written too much about too little.


Roy Laws said...

I have found your writing to be both informative and entertaining. In my experimenting, I find that the spring tension of the right-hand needle seems to add to the effort rather than relieving it. Was it customary for the full length gander needles to be bent into a curve when in use so that the upward force was reduced, and the working level was a bit more "normal" and less of an upward reach?

I also noted that sock length needles I saw being used in a video at the heritage center were quite curved.

I learned thru an email correspondence recently that the last practicing "terrible knitter" of Dentdale had passed away recently at age 92. I was informed that she had continued knitting almost to the end. Sadly, it would seem that era has come to an end. Hopefully with your blog and my referring others to it, sheath knitting in the "old way" will not go the way of the dinosaurs for a while yet.

I note that Hazel Tindall, the current world speed champ knits with a knitting belt. Her YouTube video demo is quite impressive. She is a resident of the Shetland Isles.

Roy Laws said...

Please excuse the typo in my post. It seems "gansey" is not a word the iPhone approves of.

Projektmanagerin: said...

Dear Aaron,
thank you for writing up what you find out while researching and unearthing old and forgetting knitting techniques.
To me, it sounds very convincing that tightly knit wool should be warmer, more beautiful and more comfortable than any modern technical sports clothes. Alas, I have to believe, since I never wore such woolens myself, nor am I (yet) able to produce them.
In fact, I still consider myself a beginner, mostly self-taught/internet-video taught as well. As I am still struggling with the basics I already feel the urge to know more - about the techniques, the hows and the whys. It seems, as industrial wool mills, patterns and fashion combined aim for very different standards - what you have called "decorative knitting" in your posts - that I, like you, will one day have to go back to the basics, and reinvent (or restore) the wheel, if I want to do it "properly". I do believe I am still several years away from that point, maybe decades until I find the time and means to do so.
I am writing to you now to thank you for sharing your findings, so that I do not have to start at zero, and to ask, if you could possibly include more visual material in your blog posts, to enhance your points? Being a non spinner, I have no idea how thin or thick the yarns you spin are, and how you construct them, especially in comparison to commercial brands. (I learned a bit via Fleegle's blog, but good technique blogs are so rare.)
Also, I'd love to see a video of how to actually use one of your knitting sheaths - is there somebody who could film you? I have never ever seen this technique in action.
Anyway, thank you very much, and keep going!
Yours truly,
(knitting in Bremen, Germany)

Aaron said...

Roy & Projektmanagerin,
If the work zone is in the wrong place, do whatever you have to do to get the where it is comfortable for your technique. I would say that half or 3/4 of learning to use a knitting sheath is learning how and where to put it. One knitting group says that I have more belts then Mrs. Marcos had shoes. I use different belts for different knitting sheaths and for different techniques. Some belts are for knitting sheaths that I use a waist level, and some are for knitting sheaths that go around the bottom of my bottom.

Iron and wood needles tend to bend into a curve during use. There were also needles with a sharp bend in them that were used for swaving.

Did every one see the videos at Everytime I set something up to get a new set of videos, it seems to fall through.

Projektmanagerin: said...

Dear Aaron,
thank you for your quick response and the link to the gansey video. I'll have to watch it several more times -- better still, I'll have to build a training sheath to try it out myself. I'll report, whenever that will happen, in your Ravelry group - I only found it after your blog/because of your blog.
Thanks again!