What is Two End Knitting?

Two strands


What is two end knitting?

Two end knitting is a technique that has been known for a long time in Sweden and Norway; Anything from hefty lumberjack gloves made from wool, to beautiful wedding gloves in flax or cotton have been recovered. But also in Denmark ( Lund and Dragör ) there have been archaeological finds of two end knitted glove fragments from the middle or the end of the 17th century. In the mining town of Falun, in Darlecarlia ( Dalarna ), there have also been finds from two end knitted woolen gloves from the 17th century. One of these gloves were adorned with a decorative tassel. (see left)

With other knitting techniques with two or more yarns, the threads   often run as good as parallel. With two end knitting on the other hand, the two threads are inter-twined between every stitch, thus creating a dense knit that helps keeping the chill out, as well as the shape solid.
This technique has often been used to knit socks, caps and pullover sleeves. The intertwined threads run like a plait at the reverse side of the knitting. Because of this, working gloves were often worn inside out, to give a better grip. (see right)


By letting one thread run at the front of the knitting, the knitter is given great possibility for creating beautiful patterns in relief ( effect ) (see left)


In old pictures one often sees the women knitting while wandering or during a work break. I know from my own experience of two end knitting,
that one can actually do something else, look the other way, while knitting, since a dropped stitch doesn´t run all that easily. (see below)

( Literature: “Tvåändsstickning” ISBN 978-91-978119-5-3,  “Kulturen” Lise Warburg, Omkring den anden lundavante.)


Photo: Gerda Söderlund, Leksands archive of local history

A groom´s mitten made from flax and cotton, from Sollerön.  Photo: KG Svensson

Glove from the Born estate in Falun, lost before 1680, found in 1974.  Photo: KG Svensson

Working glove from Värmland, in grey yarn from wool, in stockinette, worn inside out.  Photo: KG Svensson