January 20, 2013

Let's NOT Do The Twist

Just after Christmas, I purchased yarn on a cone for the first time. It is a worsted weight Rowan wool. I was drawn to it for three reasons. It is the shade of brown I wanted. Since I am knitting an adult sweater from the top down, it’s generous 825 grams would enable me to knit the entire garment without having to join a new ball (a pain in circular knitting). And the price was right – an entire Rowan wool sweater for $25.00!
The gals at the LYS warned me that the stitches, before blocking, would seem very loose and sloppy. But assured me that with blocking, the stitches would bloom and be lovely. They also cautioned that it was truly imperative to knit a swatch, block it, and recheck the gauge.
The good news is that the wool did bloom beautifully and my gauge did not alter after blocking.

Notice how uneven and sloppy the stitches look before blocking.

And how much the yarn blooms and the stitches fill in after blocking.


The yarn, it turns out, has a very high degree of twist. Now, you may think that for the for the price, the twist in the yarn is a minor inconvenience. But if the twist isn’t addressed, the garment will end up being knit on the bias. Techknitter has done an excellent post of this issue. And the problem became obvious as soon as I completed my swatch. You can see that the stitches are all leaning to the left. I have tried any number of suggested manoeuvres to deal with the twist – improvising a lazy susan for the cone, knitting with the yarn coming over the top of the cone, putting a long knitting needle through the cone and setting on top of a bowl horizontally so it turns freely, turning the cone upside down, unravelling and rewinding portions of the cone in the opposite direction but, alas, none so far have worked for me. And I don’t want to wind the yarn into smaller balls and have to cope with many yarn joins in the garment.

The pattern is Wagenfeld by Ankestrick. It is a simple yet stylish pullover. The project is very slow going because I have to stop up at least four times per row to dangle and untwist my knitting. This pattern deserves to be knit again, pleasurably, in a wool that does NOT twist!

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