A Skill that’s Wanted – knitcroblo4

What kind of skill would I like to learn?  Well, I guess the most reasonable ambition for me is – I’d like to learn to knit in a “grown-up” way.  I don’t know how I got started this way, but I knit the way Sally Melville shows as the very first method of learning to knit in The Knit Stitch – I hold the yarn in my right hand.  That’s all – I hold it.  It’s not wrapped or tensioned in any way, just held.  And I have totally resisted any (minor, I admit) attempts to learn a different way of holding the yarn.

It has some advantages, actually.  I’m not as slow as you’d expect with it.  And I can produce nice even stitches and can do any kind of knitting maneuver I’ve ever tried.  (I can’t stand to do a post with no photos at all, so here’s a picture of one of my more interesting knitted products.)

But my knitting style also has a couple of disadvantages.  It’s pretty slow.  Not dead slow, perhaps – I’m faster than most beginners.  And when I’ve taken classes, I get finished faster than most people, but I don’t think it’s because I knit faster,  just because I’m faster at learning new techniques.   But the big disadvantage is just that I can’t teach anyone else or make videos or otherwise share my knitting skills.

I think I’d like to be able to knit continental, anyway.  Sally Melville (and others, I’m sure) recommends that you know more than one way and switch among them so that you can avoid repetitive stress injuries.  That sounds like a good idea.  And I’d like to be able to do two-handed colorwork.  But first I have to be able to do decent one-handed knitting.  Maybe I’ll bestir myself and try to learn.  My problem at this point is that my knitting habits are very, very deeply ingrained.  I knit frequently while reading or doing other things.  It won’t be easy to reprogram those muscles!  But who knows – maybe I’ll try it!


About Knitterly Anne

A knitter for many years, I have become increasingly involved with designing knit patterns in recent years. Other interests include my lovi
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5 Responses to A Skill that’s Wanted – knitcroblo4

  1. fridica says:

    You should try! I knit continental and I tried a little bit of English style when I was doing some colorwork – difficult and slow at first, but I was shocked at how quickly that as well became automatic! And recently I changed the way I hold my yarn. It would always be wrapped around tightly around my left index finger, and after some conversations on Ravelry, I decided that there must be other (less painful and blood-depriving!) methods. So I tried one of the techniques recommended on Ravelry, and while at first I was only toying with it for fun, trying it out for size, after a few days that was the only way I knit! And it’s stuck around! Engrained habits aren’t so difficult to change, it appears! It’s all muscle memory, after all…

  2. I hold the yarn in my right hand, too. I’m trying to learn to do continental for color work. It is hard! I’m just so comfortable with the English style.

  3. Brenda says:

    That is one gorgeous kid’s sweater. I know how you feel about slowing down even slow knitting in order to learn a new technique. In my case, it is an extreme lack of self discipline.

  4. Giselle says:

    I can only agree with Fridica. Continental knitting has the huge advantage that it’s quicker and more economical in movement, particularly if knitting with a circular needle as opposed to straight single points so you end up doing a bit of weight lifting while you are knitting.
    If you were to try out continental knitting first and then go back to seeing if you want to hold the yarn differently in the right hand, that detour might make a change to ingrained habits a bit easier?
    I knit only the continental way but tried out the English way (like you with a view to doing colour work with both hands) but quickly gave up on that because it isn’t as fluid. It is my habit to keep picking up the second colour with whatever hand is closest and holding it in the way of the needle for a quick grab (which I suppose is continental style as opposed to looping the thread round the needle), that seems to work pretty well too!
    PS: I have recently developed painful joints which annoys me when I do many other things, but I don’t even notice when I knit, my knitting method seems to be quite gentle on my joints.

  5. Sarah says:

    What a stunner the mosaic/intarsia cardi you made and a handsome model! I agree…what a post without a picture. Often I skip a post just because it’s picture-less 😀

    I taught myself how to knit in English style…for no particular reason other than that was what I picked up in the 80s I guess. Anyway, the power of the mind and willfulness–you can learn anything if you set your mind to it. I am a strong believer and walk the talk each day. I taught myself continental (American and European–yes, there are differences in two continents!) way and knitting backward…and I do switch around–but do not recommend it if your are a perfectionist because your gauge would differ (ask me how I know :D) Two summers’ ago, my eyes were giving me trouble. So, I mimicked how a blind person would knit and now knit by feel/touch rather by sight. Of course, from time to time, I still look to check to insure I am not off track (and I do recommend that!)

    Like you, I am not a fast knitter regardless what my finished projects portrait me to be. I just optimize my knitting time whenever I can. And I can knit and talk and walk comfortably. I think the key is what you are comfortable with–Continental, English, Portugal, European, German, Estonian…I’ve witnessed 90-year-old English knitters who are as fast as their peers in Continental way. Whatever you are comfortable with, you will be in good speed. I do agree knowing other options is very handy. For stranding work, I use both English and Continental applicationys where most efficient. Actually, it keeps my work balanced and no tugging.

    Bottom line: Whatever keeps you happy in your craft is the best method! Knit on…

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