Treat your knitting needles to the traditional Swedish technique of twined, or two-end, knitting. Beth Brown-Reinsel’s twined-knitted gloves, featured in the March/April 2018 issue of PieceWork, make a great first project. Below, Beth explains how the yarn used in twined knitting is different from most commercial yarns. It’s all in the twist direction!
These twined-knitted (or two-end) gloves are made with the Swedish technique called tvåäandsstickning, which was developed in Sweden around the seventeenth century in the Dalarna region. By utilizing a strand of yarn from each end of the ball and using the yarns to work alternate stitches, a thick, warm fabric with embossed motifs can be made.
The Swedish knitters used Z-plied yarns; (i.e., yarns spun in an S direction, then plied together in a Z direction). (This refers to the angle of twist in the yarn matching the slant along the middle of the letters.) Using Z-plied yarns ensures that the yarns open and soften (untwist individually) as the knitting progresses because twined knitting adds S‑twist to the yarns.
The typical gauge for traditional twined knitting is high, usually 8 stitches to the inch (3 stitches per cm) or more. I teach a lot of twined-knitting classes and have found that students meet with better success and less frustration initially if they begin with a lower gauge. Black Water Abbey yarn is perfect for lower-gauge twined knitting because it is a worsted-weight Z‑plied yarn.
- Black Water Abbey Worsted, 100% Z-plied wool yarn, worsted weight, 220 yards (201 m)/100 gram (3.5 oz) skein, 1 skein of Haw (red, MC) and 10 yards (9.1 m) of Autumn (yellow-brown, CC)
- Needles, set of 4 or 5 double pointed, size 6 (4 mm) or size needed to obtain gauge
- Stitch holders or waste yarn
- Tapestry needle
Gauge: 12 sts and 12 rnds = 2 inches (5.1 cm) in twined St st
Finished size: 7¾ inches (19.7 cm) hand circumference, 10 inches (25.4 cm) long from CO to tip of middle finger; to fit a woman’s medium hand
To make Beth Brown-Reinsel’s “Twined-Knitted Gloves from Sweden,” download a copy of the March/April 2018 issue of PieceWork, our 25th-Anniversary issue.
Beth Brown-Reinsel has been designing traditional knitting patterns and teaching traditional knitting workshops for over twenty-five years both in the United States and abroad. A revised and updated edition of her classic book Knitting Ganseys (originally published by Interweave in 1993) will be available in July 2018. Her DVD Knitting Ganseys with Beth Brown-Reinsel (San Francisco, California: Knitting Traditions and Essanay Film & Television, 2010) is available on her website. Visit www.knittingtraditions.com.
First published February 2, 2018; updated January 2, 2020.