Not quite embellished

…at least not yet.

Twined knitting for challenge 5

Twined knitting for challenge 5

When this is done, it will have embroidery, but it won’t be in time for the embellish-challenge. So instead I will talk about this twined knitting project I have planned for the upcoming challenge of Peasants and Pioneers. The twined knitting is an old technique which has been alive and kicking in the mid-north forest areas of western Sweden (and also in Norway) since the 17th century, as far as any surviving pieces can tell. In the 19th century there are documentations of women never being without a knitting project, even when they are working in the fields or walking to the fäbod (the cottage with summer pastures in the woods). To not use all time you could possibly have your hands free to knit was considered really lazy. Photographs and drawings show that women were always bringing their knitting projects, even if they also carried something like a rake under their arms, because there were a lot of socks, gloves and sweaters needed for a household. Most of the surviving objects are knitted with thin yarns and thin knitting needles, usually less than size 2 (in European, or at least Scandinavian, knitting needles measurements. I don’t know if needles have international standards or not…) If you understand Swedish and want to know more about twined knitting, I would recommend the book Tvåändsstickning by Birgitta Dandanell & Ulla Danielsson (ed Kerstin Ankert).

It’s also in that book where I found the inspiration for my project. It will be a small bag for fire making tools, like flint and steel. The originals are knitted and embroidered, probably using a free-hand embroidery technique. I will not attempt to copy the embroidery, but do a bit of my own. I will look for inspiration in the embroidered historical objects, but it’s funnier to do your own thing, and the free-hand look will be preserved in any case.

It does take longer than normal knitting. And, being rather self-taught in the technique, I have made up a sort of creole technique which gives the same results, but according to others might be a bit more time consuming (unless you’re already in my position, where the proper one takes even longer… 😉 ). I’m happy with my technique, though, as I feel I have more control over the yarns now than I had with the proper technique. As long as it works, you’re doing it right! – that’s my philosophy.

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Filed under Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge

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