Thursday, May 11, 2006

I'm a new picker

First, a disclaimer:
There is huge controversy about English/Continental knitting styles in the knitting world. I am presenting only my current thoughts on the matter. A la Annie Modesitt, I think that everyone should just knit in the way that feels best for them. And be flexible.

Ok, now that the disclaimer's out of the way. . . I think I am now a Continental knitter, a.k.a. "a picker" rather than "a thrower".

This happened last night.

I was looking at my knitting (working on the baby blanket that is going to go on for years), and I started watching my hands. I noticed that there was so much wasted movement with the continual wrapping motion from my right hand. I kept taking my right hand off the right needle to wrap my yarn. Thinking of a post I'd read about Norwegian purling at Wendyknits, I really wanted to get more efficiency of movement. (Don't worry, I'm not up for Norwegian purl just yet. . .)

I was watching my hands and realized it would be so much easier to just pull the working yarn through the stitch on the left needle. And that I could keep my right hand in one place and keep the yarn in my left hand. And magically, I re-invented Continental knitting.

Once I'd realized just what I'd done, I turned to my trusty Vogue Knitting and checked it out. Surprise!!! It was Contintental knitting!

So I'm currently struggling to figure out the whole stitch-orientation aspect of this. Because now the stitches look 'backwards' to me, with the right side of the stitch in front. I guess if they're all going the same way, it'll all work out in the end. I just don't want to have twisted stitches all over the place. Of course, this led me to research Combination Knitting... and I'm not ready for that yet.

However, I did come up with some great links if you're interested in Combination Knitting:
Annie Modesitt's How-To
Grumperina's Explanation
Grumperina's Conversion Table
Sara's Explanation

And if you want to read more about the whole Continental/English thing: Fuzzy Galore on Knitting Styles

And something to aspire to: Two-Handed Fair Isle! Good incentive for learning to knit both Continental and English, no?

Next up for me: purling Continental. Ack!


Blogger lexa said...

There's a lady who comes into the store where I work almost every day. She's from Germany, and one day she took my knitting from me and showed me how she knits. WOW! Soooo much faster. It looked so easy watching her do it. I tried, no go! I am going to check out your links. I am a thrower, and I would like to learn Continental so I can knit faster!

8:03 PM  
Blogger Linz said...

Last time I tried it was useless, I had to somehow be ready to switch...

But if you're interested, here's something:
Continental video

11:01 AM  
Blogger Ginny! said...

I learned to knit continental for the Norwegian purl. I have the gorgeous pomatomus socks on the needles, but the back & forth was too slow!

The whole thing is still a little awkward, and I'm sovery right-handed that the tricky things like tinking and fussy bits end up being sort of continental, sort of English. But it gets knit. ^_^

(If your stitches are twisted, it looks like you might be either accidentally knitting combined, or wrapping in the wrong direction. But I can't really give advice without visuals. Are you back in town on the 21st? I think that's when there will be a crafting afternoon.)

10:12 AM  
Blogger Linz said...

Ginny -
Yes, the 21st will be great! I don't think my stitches are knitting up twisted, they just face 'the other way' on the needle. Maybe I've been doing it wrong until now?
We'll see...

And I'm impressed with you and Norwegian purling!

10:35 AM  
Blogger Karlie said...

Hmm, when I knit English, all my knit stitches do in fact have the right side of the stitch in front - were you maybe wrapping the yarn differently than I do?

I think I'm also getting ready to stitch, the more I knit nowadays the more frustrated it makes me to drop the right needle every time - but I'm not sure if I want to give up the convenience factor of English, since I already know it so it's fairly fast.

11:17 PM  

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