Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Shepard's knitting

In my inventory of knitting methods I included the hooked knitting by the shepherds of Lands referenced by Mary Thomas.

I got a number of comments back on that.

However, if one constructs the equipment as instructed, the results are as indicated.
 Hooked needles made from steel (like umbrella ribs), used for knitting coarse yarn.
Knit while rapidly pacing the family room.

It is knitting, no crochet.  The working stitch is held behind the hook, where the needle diameter is at a minimum, the other hook is inserted, the yarn looped around the working needle, the yarn loop is pulled through the working stitch, and the motion pulls the stitch off the left hand needle.

The hooks simply act as little stoppers, keeping stitches from falling off the needles as one walks while knitting. It is a brilliant solution to knitting rapidly while walking even on rough terrain.  The little hook faces one way for knitting and the other way for purling.  The hooks facilitate a different angel of motion,  and do not impede knitting what so ever. 


Holin Kennen said...

That is some of the saddest knitting I have ever seen. My first time student's knitting looks better than that uneven, raggedy sample you so proudly display. Time to go back to basics, Aaron.

Emily B said...

Is this the sort of tight knitting that you need special tools and leverage to work?

Aaron said...

You need something like long hooks - I think some are commercially available, just not in the size I wanted so I made my own. The ones in Mary Thomas's Knitting Book were made from umbrella ribs.

There is no real leverage, but the movement is driven by the upper arm muscles and is very powerful.

And the fabric is a true knit fabric rather than the "poked" mittens of Maine, Poland, Norway and Robin Hansen's book, Favorite Mittens.

It is also possible to make very tight dense fabrics using crochet stitches per Robin Hansen. The trick is to use a hook taper of special hooks to wedge the working stitch open, pull the loop through and allow the stretch of the yarn tighten the stitch.

Emily B said...

Sorry, I wasn't clear. Is the fabric in your photo here an example of what you believe you need special tools to create? I'm asking because it looks like it's about 6-7 stitches to the inch with a sport weight yarn, which is easily in the range of what I could do with regular size 3 DPNs with no trouble.

Aaron said...

E., it is heavy worsted weight, and it is not very tight, but it is better than I can knit walking that aggressively while knitting with ordinary needles.

And it is a first try with new tools and a new technique. I am sure that with a few weeks practice, I could do better.

If I had to walk over rough ground for a few hours each day, I would practice, and learn the technique better.