Thursday, 28 May 2009

Speed knitting

Well...... I find this a bit depressing! I knew knitting continental style could be faster than throwing - (yarn in right hand) but this really takes the biscuit:-) How fast is that?

I'm a thrower and although I can knit reasonably fast, now I'm knitting bigger projects, it would help if I was a little bit faster than I am! Knitting styles have always fascinated me. Everyone seems to knit just a little bit differently from each other. I was teaching a class the basics of knit a few years ago and the other teacher said I knitted weirdly. Weirdly? Yes, she said. You move your whole hand putting the yarn around the needle. But I can knit fast, I said. Yeees, she demured. With the word 'but...' hovering in the unspoken conversation. Okay, I said. How do you 'throw' and why is your method faster? So I got a demonstration of the yarn wound around the index finger and she literally 'threw' the yarn from the index finger around the needle and the rest of her hand didn't seem to move. Oooh, I said. You see how this could be quicker, she said. Yes, I said, but couldn't seem to get the hang of it as I kept wanting to knit 'my way'. Sigh. So I quietly forgot about my weird away of knitting and carried on as normal:-)

But now I'm wanting to knit faster and I'm thinking, should I learn this quicker throwing method or should I learn the continental one? It does seem even faster to me..... Or should I bother?

This is something I have been thinking about for a while now and more so since I watched Ysolda's video comparing throwing and continental knitting styles. I've watched and watched this to try and compare my knitting style to Ysolda's (she's fast!) and mine just looks different and is a lot slower! I mean, I know it shouldn't matter as I can knit and make everything I want to using my method albeit slower. My mum knits like this and her mum did too. So in a way I am continuing a family tradition. Would I be cheating if I modified my style so I could knit faster? More to the point, can I? Am I too set in my ways:-) These are the habits of a lifetime, the things you do automatically, like driving, playing the piano and knitting complex patterns. If you stop and think about what you are actually doing, it all falls apart;-))

Well, these are the thoughts buzzing around in my head while I am knitting away.

It's funny. I was knitting buttercup watching miss marple, who is forever knitting:-) and every time she had the knitting out I was watching her knitting style. Forget the plot - which I know pretty well off by heart anyway - and watch the knitting! She - Joan Hickson - is a thrower but holds the needle on top of the hand instead of under, with the yarn wound around the pinkie. Not so much movement maybe? I'm sure one of my grans knitted like this and it brought back memories of me with my 'grown-up' knitting, furiously knitting beside them trying to keep up!

So is speed so important and am I analysing this way too much and taking the fun out of the whole process? Or am I just curious enough to take my knitting one step further?


  1. I knit with the yarn in my left hand (like I do for crochet) but I also wind the yarn around the needles by moving my whole hand. Oh, and I also stick the left needle into the crease between my stomach and hip...because I have to let go of the left needle to wind the yarn. I really need to learn how to do it right!

    So, when it comes to improving technique/speed...I say go for it! At least try it. You might even like it better, faster or not.

  2. Now that's really interesting - another way of knitting. I don't suppose there is a wrong way if it knits up right but yes, it feels like there is 'the' right way and I'm not doing it:-).

    I've just checked how I crochet and I use the yarn in the left hand - very similar to contintental knitting in fact, so maybe I would find continental knitting easier than I thought as it is familiar-ish already?

    I will definitely give it a try.I do like to learn new things and it should be interesting to see differences - and fun:-)


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