I am interested in hand knit traditional ganseys. They were beautiful and extraordinarily functional garments. Here is my research journal and thoughts on related historical issues
Probably a foolish question, but are you purling? Rowing-out might be the problem. I speculate vaguely about using the feed-from-the-left method using a hook pinned to the shoulder, which makes my purling a lot tighter. It's documented by Mary Thomas as having been used by the French shepherds who knitted on stilts. She describes their hand motion as "concertina-like," which might be a poor description of something like swaving, moving both hands at once and using a hooked needle instead of a twirling needle to help pull the loops through.
Those ridges are characteristic of unequal tension on the knitting and purling rows. I assume you only get them on back and forth knitting and not when you knit in the round, or so you hint in your post.
Your ridges are called "rowing out", and they're what happens when you work purl rows at a different tension to the knit rows. If they're as noticable as yours are you could try using a smaller needle for the rows that have the looser tension.
At first i assumed that the ridges were "rowing out"! However, I can hand knit back and forth without rowing out. I can knit back and forth with knitting sheath and straight needles (gansey or Dutch) without such ridges.Swaving uses the leg of the stitch as a fulcrum to lever the loop of yarn through the working stitch. (This lever action provides huge leverage for knitting very tight fabrics. And it tends to even out the stitches in the previous rows.) When switching from knit to purl the position of the fulcrum moves from the back of the holding needle to the front of the needle. That is relative to the working stitch the fulcrum moves by the thickness of a needle. Thus the tension of the yarn can remain the same, but because the position of the working needle changes, the stitch loop for a purl stitch is longer than the stitch loop for a knit stitch.Less (or more) tension for knit (or purl)stitches does not seem to fix the problem as it is not a problem with the tension, but of the relative positions of the needles.
So...it's still rowing out, since "the stitch loop for a purl stitch is longer than the stitch loop for a knit stitch." It's exactly the same thing that happens when you purl with regular needles. And it IS about tension, since you need to tighten your tension on the purl stitches to shorten the longer loop of the stitch.
Lisa, It seems that you do not do much swaving.Given the swaving process, tension is averaged over 3 rows. When knitting the round, this produces a very even fabric. When knitting back and forth, tightening the purl rows also tightens the last knit row and results in the next knit row being tighter, so the purl row is still relatively tighter than the knit rows on either side of it. This provides a definitive difference between swaved and gansey knit fabrics.The way to avoid the ridging is to gansey knit flat fabrics, or arrange production so that everything knit in the round. Another option is garter stitch. Swaving even allows crossed garter, which is a nice fabric that is not much used anymore. Swaving is faster and easier on the hands than gansey knitting. Also, when knitting in the round, it produces a more even fabric. Since, gansey knitting produces a more even fabric than knitting with hand held needles, the uniformity of the fabric provides another way to distinguish between fabrics produced with hand held needles, gansey needles with sheath/pouch, and swaving.
"When knitting back and forth, tightening the purl rows also tightens the last knit row and results in the next knit row being tighter, so the purl row is still relatively tighter than the knit rows on either side of it."But you said earlier that "the stitch loop for a purl stitch is longer than the stitch loop for a knit stitch." In that case, how could tightening the tension on the purl stitches make them tighter than the knit rows on either side? And you're right--I haven't done any swaving. I wouldn't use a knitting method that produced crappy-looking results.
lisa,Sometimes it is nice to walk, sometimes it is nice to drive, and sometimes it is better to fly.I like options.Swaving is very fast, very easy on the hands, and in the round, produces the most even, consistent (knit) fabric that I know how to produce.Going back and forth, it produces characteristic ridges. It is very hard to do decreases. And inadvertent YO resulting increases still keep me from swaving in very dim light.One can swave the cuff and foot of a sock, and gansey knit the heel flap, resulting in a rather wonderful sock with NO ridges. Or, we can think of the ridges as a kind of twill, and think the ridges as a normal part of a very fine fabric, as in denim, corduroy, or kersey. In any case, swaving is a game changer for things like glove fingers.I like options.In normal knitting the tension of each row is independent of the row below. In swaving, the tension of a row is dependent on the tension of the row below. It is different. And in the round, or as garter stitch, it produces a very uniform fabric.
But this thing you call swaving is awful for back-and-forth stocking stitch. It may be an oh-so-wonderful way of knitting in the round but for back-and-forth knitting if you want to produce an even fabric it's not fit for purpose.
"The way to avoid the ridging is to gansey knit flat fabrics"So we are back to your own, personal definition of words again. You haven't yet answered the qeustion as to why you call your technique swaving since there is no actualy evidence to define the word. Your argument that it's "because it works" is not adequate proof.
Wrong. Bad technique makes ridges like that. Nobody knows what swaving produces since nobody knows what swaving really was, including you Aaron.
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