Saturday, May 4, 2013

Boiling needles

Last week, I posted about the Jo Sharp Moebius Scarf and the different ways of casting on to create a Moebius loop. My inability to get the twist to work niggled at me, and I ended up going through my stash and pulling out some Silkroad Aran Tweed that I had left over from one of Dad's jumpers.

Of course, because there was no-one watching, this time I got it right on the first try. I was so excited that I abandoned my lifelong resolution never to upload a bad, home-filmed craft video to the internet - I pulled out the iPhone and did a short movie of me knitting the first round with the twist.

The two clips below are the only parts of the movie where you actually have any hope of working out what the heck I'm doing: Jane Campion is never going to lose any sleep over me! Basically, all I did was cast on (using a cable cast on), twist the cast on row about halfway along, then start knitting in moss stitch.

If you have a look at some of the stills below, it might be clearer!

Luckily, I chose the 'right' needles. The cables on Birch circular needles tend to kink, making it difficult to avoid twisting your rounds. Normally, when I buy a new Birch circular needle, I soak the cable in boiling water to get it to straighten. In this case, I didn't want it to be straight, I wanted help to get my twist - and sure enough I did. Have a look at the cast on below...

Cast on - Moebius Scarf
You can see that the cast on row twists up and around because of the kinks in the cable joining the needles. If you look closely, you can see where the work twists (on the right hand side of the picture). This was before I even touched it - it was very easy to see where the work naturally wanted to twist and to help it along.
Moebius twist - close up

With such an obvious hint, it was pretty obvious where I needed to grab the work and twist it!

Ironically, with a higher quality circular needle (such as the Clover needles) this is much harder to do - the cable sits very flat, and any kinks in the cable drop out naturally as soon as you open the packet. When I attempted my demo twist last week, I was using a circular Clover needle and I found that the work would move back into place no matter how much I tried to twist it. Usually, this is a good thing, but if you want a Moebius, it is a complete disaster!

I knitted the first round very easily, keeping the twist in place - if you look at the photo below, you can see the twist at the top of the picture. Ironically, now that I've got a couple of rounds on the needle, I'm tempted to whip it out of the work, take it into the kitchen and douse it with boiling water - although the twisty cable is very helpful when setting up a Moebius loop, it is a nuisance once the first round has been set up.

Moebius - first round
On the other hand, if I leave the needle as it is, it will be perfect for the next two scarves that I plan to knit (one following the Garnstudio instructions, and one following Cat Bordhi's method). Keep an eye out at Brunswick Savers for an influx of Moebius scarves this winter!!