Knitty went A-Froggin'

...sung to the tune of “Froggy went A-Courtin’ ”...

Knitty went a-froggin’ and he did sigh, uh huh.
Knitty went a-froggin’ and he did sigh, uh huh.
Knitty went a-froggin’ and he did sigh, with a yarn and needle by his side, uh huh, uh huh, uh huh.

This was the start of a cardigan, knit flat, bottom up from button to button hole that turned out to be way too big. It’s double-knit with the yarn around the neck which makes the whole thing so easy and so effortless that even a lazy-ish, not-especially-gifted, beginner knitter like myself can do it. The next one will be more in the style of the Cowichan Indians of Vancouver Island. They don’t dye their wool. They have white sheep, black sheep and they heather together a mixture of the two for gray. Here’s a YouTube video of a Canadian news story about these awesome Cowichan sweaters. Check it oat, eh.

PS Mark in Chicago first mentioned these Cowichan sweaters here a good while ago and I’ve been pierced with desire ever since.

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JRob's picture

Tom, I can not wait to see the finished sweater. I love the design and video. Thanks for sharing. JRob

ronhuber's picture

We've all been there. The design was beautiful. Good luck on the next.

Bill's picture

Tom, Loved what you were knitting...sorry it had to be frogged!

Tizian's picture

nice nice

And thank you for your explanations

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

That was a gorgeous bit of knitting. Too bad that it had to visit the frog pond. Looking forward to seeing how the second attempt goes.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

SAPBrown's picture

I feel your pain.
I just frogged my top down raglan. The plain stocking net was getting monotonous. Fear not, the needles did not stay empty long.

"It's double-knit with the yarn around the neck which makes the whole thing so easy and so effortless that even a lazy-ish, not-especially-gifted, beginner knitter..." Sounds like my style. Can you explain "the yarn around the neck" technique(?).
Can't wait to seethe finished product.

Tom Hart's picture

Sure, it’s as easy to explain as it is to do. You put the yarn down on the floor to one side of you. You run the yarn up under your collar and down over the opposite shoulder to the needle.

Here is the video for how to purl:

Here is the video for how to knit:

It’s a style called PK or Portuguese knitting. There’s a ravelry group. And loads of YouTube videos.

It’s a very easy way to work with two yarns at once. They never get tangled.

Double-knitting is an advanced and laborious technique in the English and continental styles but with PK a 10-year-old could double-knit. Your collar tensions the yarn and your neck “holds” the yarn with the result that all your hands have to do is work the needles. The only part of your hand that touches the yarn is the tip of your thumb as it flips the yarn over the the tip of the needle. By using more parts of the body, PK takes the job of tensioning and holding the yarn out of the knitter’s hands. Literally. When I’m knitting and I’ve got yarns on either side of me running up around my neck and down to the work in front of me, I feel like a bit of a loom sometimes. (And that is loom with an “m”.)

And that is the only drawback with PK: it involves “getting in harness”. If you’re double-knitting, you’ve got yarns on either side of you running up under your collar in opposite directions. Your project is literally around your neck. So if you have to get up quick to do something you’ve got to get out from under it all. With English and continental knitting you can just drop it and go. You can’t do that with PK. Also I’m not sure I’d recommend this method unless you were really into double-knitting or stranding. I’m not sure I’d bother running the yarn around my neck for single-knitting. I’ve recently started relearning continental knitting and Norwegian purling for those times when I’m single-knitting (like the cuff of a sock). It’s interesting doing the same exact stitch from such completely different angles.

SAPBrown's picture

Thanks, I will go research a bit more

New York Built's picture

Tom, again your enthusiasm and drive moves me to write!

I don't know if you had been part of the exchange here a while ago, but I waxed hue and cry about Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts and Deborah Robson's Knitting In The Old Way.

If memory serves me, many other members here have agreed that this resource will keep you knitting for years.

The chapter on Cowichan Sweater techniques amplify everything you cite as of interest or more about these North American folk art garments. The unique designs, amazing double bind-off shoulder, sizing the garment, and the famous collar that looks great and will keep you warm for a decade or three...well worth making.

But as an even greater incentive bang for the reader, the information on Combined Eastern and Western knitting (merging continental and English styles to make you truly Ambi-Textrous!), South American knitting and garments that utilize the Portuguese knitting style, Intarsia in the round, twisted purl color designs, and crochet-enhanced knitting from all over the world...the rest of the book covers more cultural history and techniques than an anthropology survey course. If I had to take one book to the fabled deserted island with yarn...this is the one for me.

My copy is dog-eared, stained and spine-broken...and deeply revered.

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

Bill's picture

I have an extra copy of this I can give you...

Tom Hart's picture

Thanks so much, Bill! I'm really looking forward to getting a look at it.

Tom Hart's picture

Thanks so much for that, Mark. I can't wait to check it out!

Nehkhasi's picture

Loving what I see! Haven't reached the place where I'm comfortable with this level of knitting but looking forward to it!