Sunday, January 10, 2016


I have been knitting, and had a pile of stuff around my knitting chair.

I put excess stuff away, and there remained 6 WIP. One is a Guernsey from Aran weight yarn on 2.25 mm gansey needles. 3 are sport weight yarns being knit on 1.5 mm needles. And, the other 2 are finer yarns on finer needles.

I have drunk my own Koolaid and like finer needles.

Frangipani  knit on 1.5 mm needles
weatherproof gansey fabric
~ 116 stitches per square inch

The same yarn knit last year at 80 and 90 stitches per square inch.
Note that there is a quantum difference in texture! At
116 stitches the little holes are gone, and
the fabric feels smoother.

a swatch left over from last year!
5x2-ply = 10-strand sport weight
gansy yarn
knit on 1.84 mm needls @ 106 stitches per square inch
weatherproof gansey fabric.
10-strand has better drape than the 5-ply at the
same grist/ tension.


Michelle Rosch said...

I have been following your blogs with interest, but I have to"inverse" much of your advice . It is useful too! You always talk of knitting sweaters as weatherproof , as warm as possible . The thing is , I live in a warm , Mediterranean country , and if I want to wear wool , and I do , experience as led me to knit loosely , to let air go through the fabric , not to fit too closely , make an open neckline , and shorten the sleeves . This way I can wear wool sweaters part of the year . Just the opposite of what I read in your blog.

Aaron said...

I live in California - also very Mediterranean.

I started with the question of how did the old sailors and fishermen stay warm? - also a problem for the old Mediterranean sailors and fishermen.

The other side of this is what did the old knitters know that modern knitters do not know? That question is just as important for those of us that live in warm climates, as for those who live in cooler climates.

I think that if we just knit loosely, then the garment will hang like an old sack, rather than draping gracefully. I would point to the classic Greece sculptures (not Roman copies) for examples of wool draping gracefully in a Mediterranean climate.

I would use fine yarns so the fabric is very thin. Then, I would use fine needles to knit a fabric that is just firm enough to drape gracefully. In warm weather, I do not want an extra milligram of wool around me.

Also, I think that objects that are knit loosely tend to lack durability.

I have some Italian wool sweaters that are (frame)knit from fine yarns at about 450 to 900 stitches per square inch. I find these are lighter and more comfortable than the sweaters that are knit more loosely from thicker yarns. And, while I have never seen wool hand knit that finely, I have seen silk hand knit at ~30 stitches per inch.

So your comment got me thinking, and I went to the stash and got out some Gentile Merino 2-ply lace weight (6,000 ypp ??) and started swatching it. The suggested needle was about 2 mm but the fabric that I liked for a warm weather sweater was on needles of about 1 mm @ ~24 spi. The fabric is feather light, cool as a breeze, and translucent - almost diaphanous. It is a fabric for people that are proud of everything, and willing to almost show it. For this graduated swatch, I ground the points off of 3 sets of needles in the under 1.30 mm size range. The "new" wires allowed knitting faster than I expected. Still at 600+ stitches per square inch, I might consider frame knitting the body and just doing the details by hand.

I must thank you for enabling me to 3 new sets of wires!