Sunday, January 13, 2013

It is one of those Love/Hate relationships

I am coming to really like swaving.

  • It allows the production of very fine, very consistent, very tight fabrics. 
  • Minimal stress on the hands.
  • The knitting tools are very compact. 
  • The knitting implements are not sharp.  One can work very fine yarns into very fine fabrics with tools that are not very pointy. 
  • Swaving is very fast. 

Swaving has some real downsides.

  • "Lace stitches" are difficult.  
  • Decreases are so difficult that for cuff down socks I switch back to sock needles for the toes.
  • Repair of mistakes is difficult, NO!, I mean really difficult. Picking up stitches after frogging is difficult.  On the fabrics where I really need them, I have not been able to make life lines work.
  • Soft fabrics with loose gauge are difficult.  
  • It requires a good knitting sheath with a needle adapter that allows easy rotation of the needle/prick.  the needle adapter may have to be oiled or greased - that means gunk on the knit object.

I am sure that I will find other issues, as I have not tried a large object like a sweater yet.

On balance, the speed of production, ease on the hands, and beauty of the fabrics wins.  Yes, it is the right way to knit socks and gloves.


=Tamar said...

Could you oil the knitting adapter with lanolin?

Have you considered bending hooked needles for swaving? I am guessing that it might help with lace stitches.

Anonymous said...

Can you provide any evidence that what you are doing is what the old knitters used to call swaving? It's clearly an efficient technique, but as far as I know there is no way to know for sure that it's the same thing.

Aaron said...

Until someone else comes up with another method of knitting using authentic tools, fitting the description of swaving, that rapidly produces very fine fabric with ease, I have to consider my method "authentic", just as I have to consider my use of long needles to be authentic "gansey" knitting until somebody shows me something better. Bring me a style of knitting that you believe to be more authentic, and we can cheerfuly revisit this issue.

I look at the books on vintage socks and ganseys and see how the gauge has been changed to make the knitting easier, and NOBODY asks if they are authentic.

I go the other direction, and look for ways to better knit old patterns at the original gauge. I do that because those old tightly knit fabrics have real virtues. I am always looking for better ways to knit these fabrics.