Tuesday, July 19, 2005

My oldest piece of finished knitting

Over on the New England Textile Arts list this question was raised - what's the oldest piece of finished knitting that you still have?

I immediately thought of this knitted snake that I made so long ago, I can't be sure when. Probably the early 80's, is my best guess. I still have it to this day - in fact, I just took the pictures of it this morning.
folkcats knit snake heads.jpg
Heads on view

I've always been pleased with how this project turned out. No, it's not perfect. It was an early experiment I did with doubleknitting. In doubleknitting, you work on an even number of stitches on straight needles. The pattern is K1, S1 on ever row. In each row, you should be slipping the stitch you knitted on the previous row, and knitting the stitch you slipped on the previous row.

The fabric this forms looks like stockinette stitch on both sides. It has two layers - if you separated the stitches on the needle, you'd find a pocket inside.

I wasn't doing anything with circular knitting on dp needles yet when I learned double knitting. I was intrigued by the structure of the double knitting, though, and I wanted to explore how I could shape a piece. So I thought of knitting a snake.

I started out with only about 4 stitches, I think, at the tail end. I had to figure out how and where to place increases in the work as I went. I forget what increase stitch I used. I worked short rows occasionally to form curves in the snake's body - I was envisioning something sculptural, that would sit on a table like a snake coiled up. I didn't know about wrapping the stitches at the end of short rows yet, so I wound up with little holes that I went back and sewed together later.

folkcats knit snake tails.jpg
Tail view showing knitted-in curves
and short row holes sewn together

This was fun to make at the time, and I've always been happy with how the curves came out. It might be interesting to revisit the idea, and make a new doubleknit snake incorporating all I've learned about knitting in the last 25 years.