5.02.2011

'Talk About Satisfying!

As if Saturday's Frolic wasn't enough I gilded the lily by indulging further in an all day class in Twisted Knitting (Tvaasstickkning) on Sunday.

The class was taught by Mairi McKissock and it was flawless. The technique is Swedish and yields a fabric that is very warm, quite wind resistent and yet surprisingly flexible. The basic premis is to work alternating two contrasting colours both held in the right hand by constantly twisting the yarns around each other in the same direction.

Interestingly the paired yarns are readied for use by creating two centre pull balls, one inside the other and drawing the yarn out of both from the same spot. This allows the knitter to loop and lock the ball once sufficient yarn has been pulled out and then release the excessive twist that accumulates as you work.

The cast on of choice is an English Long Tailed Cast On and again you hold the two contrasting yarns in the right hand with another single strand of either colour (or a contrast colour as I did) in the left for the usual thumb wrapping.

As you can see we also learned how to make the very nifty braided edge as well as how to execute and read charts for the "hook" stitch  enabling patterns like the square motif on the left in this shot...

We also went over how to maintain pattern while installing a gusset thumb and other mitteny shapings.

What I liked most about Mairi's instructional style was she was very careful not to overload us with incidental information about the technique. This allowed for focus on mastering the somewhat challenging manual aspects of an otherwise pretty straightforward technique - especially if you are already familiar with mitten construction.

I must admit I used to think if I could execute an "intermediate" rated pattern I was an "Intermediate" knitter. Yesterday I realized its possible to be knitting a wide and even demanding array of patterns and yet struggle with technique in a class situation if your knitting arsenal of skills is limited.

I've worked away at learning to knit both English and Continental, having done two handed colourwork, being comfortable with circulars but also dpn's, having a variety of cast on techniques with which I'm familiar...all these things made me much more capable of following along and keeping up.

The class was filled with very motivated knitters. . in fact there were extended periods of time when all that could be heard was the metallic clicking of needles. As a result Mairi's instructions moved along as quickly as the class could grasp them. One woman even finished her sample mitt complete with additional decorative detail she decided to add onto the back just for fun. Its so great to be in the company of that calibre of knitter!

My plan now is to finish my sample and then dive into knitting a full sized pair right away. I want to commit the technique to muscle memory before my hands forget it! It'll also be another opportunity to deplete that pile of remnant worsted that's driving me nuts.

Today is a Federal Election Day in Canada. Election related activity among youth this go around is making me dare hope our political landscape might receive an infusion of fresh energy and perspective and that larger voter turnout will mean whatever the government looks like tomorrow, its decisions reflect the best interests of our citizenry - not those of one party or another or worse, those of  the corporate interests that back them.

Thanks for dropping by!

6 comments:

Brenda said...

Sounds like a wonderful class. Your sample looks great. Peter said the election campaign has been a great 6 week soap opera - with no one getting shot. Aren't we lucky?

LynS said...

Wow. This results of this technique are wonderful, and I'm full of admiration both for your present knitting accomplishments and the courage with which you approach new knitting challenges. Good luck with the election. Here in Australia we have compulsory voting (of which I approve) and while it means the outcome does reflect the people's choice, I don't always agree with the 'people's choice'! Good luck.

Acorn to Oak said...

Sounds like it was a great class. What a fascinating new (to me) idea! I want to try that sometime. Thanks for sharing. :-)

Stephanie said...

I didn't really follow your descriptions, but I guess that's what the class is for. :) It looks really intricate and cool!

Sandra said...

love that mitred look stitch work! I always find when the students are motivated, the class is always more enjoyable.
And I voted yesterday. While I like my MP, her boss scares the crap out of me sometimes. I just wish he had more respect for democracy...

Mary Keenan said...

Hey - I recognize that gorgeous mitt!!! Mine was the blue and white one to your right ;^)