torsdag 22 september 2011

Knitting in the old tradition

The first time I saw this stitch pattern I knew that I would make at least one pair of mittens using it. The sheer symmetry and harmony that it displays appeals strongly to me. It was part of a mitten from the north of Halland, Sweden. When it comes to knitting, Halland is foremost known for the fantastic Binge tradition. But I have never seen this pattern used in Binge knitting.

These mittens are knitted on dbpns 2.0 mm with a thin 2-ply yarn spun in Denmark. The wool used is from the Swedish breed "Värmlandsfår" and the colours are natural. I used 140 grams in total. The gauge is 40 stitches to 4 inches and 40 rows to 4 inches.

The cast on and the first 6 rows are knitted in twined knitting to get a firm and durable start for the cuff. The rest of the mitten I knitted holding the yarn in my right hand, “throwing” the yarn in the way that was traditional in most of Sweden before we started knitting continental in the first half of the 1900´s. I have found that I actually find it easier to get an even fabric with this technique when knitting with two colours. It also reminds me a bit of twined knitting, so I really like it.

Rosenkransar - Old stitch pattern from Gotland, Sweden
Twice before have I used this technique, knitting in the old Swedish tradition: a pair of mittens with a stitch pattern from Gotland and a pair of wrist warmers in the Spede tradition from Scania, Sweden.

Wrist warmer in the Spede tradition from Scania, Sweden

söndag 11 september 2011

Black twined knitted mittens

When saying thank you is not enough, what does one do? For Gunilla I offered to knit mittens. Mittens that will last for years. 

I was prepared to knit mittens with complex patterns or many colours to show off the Twined knitting technique. But, I was asked to knit black mittens with no colour patterns, no striping, nothing extravagant. Possibly a hint of a second colour, and if so, it had to be gray.
I started these mittens a number of times, and frogged them over and over again. I became quite unhappy about how to design them and I got "knitter´s block" (if there ever was such an expression) about this project. It lasted until I decided to follow Gunilla´s wish to the point, it was after all quite explicit. 
Suddenly everything felt much better and knitting became a joy, as it should be.
So here they are, Black mittens knitted with my favourite yarn from Wålstedts in Dala-Floda, Dalecarlia. I used two black and one gray strand for casting on, traditionally it would have been one  in red, but Gunilla had said yes to gray so I used that. The only decorations used are  a couple of rows of an ornament that I saw in 2010 when visiting Dalecarlia studying old twined knitted items. 
 Next week these mittens  will be sent to Gunilla - hopefully she will like them.