Saturday, April 26, 2008

Some Thoughts on Various Knitting Styles

I am right handed, (nominal)--that is I write with my right hand--Though there are plenty of things I do left handed by preference, and some things I can do equally as well with either hand.

I am not ambidextrous--To be ambidextrous, you need to be able to most things equally as well with either hand. I have mixed or double dexterity. I do some things well right handed and some things well left handed, and some (a very few)things well with either hand.

When I knit, I hold the yarn in my left hand (sort of a Continental style)--but I don't hold my index finger 'still'--rather I flick the yarn round the needle, using my left index finger.

In the standard Continental style of knitting, the right hand needle is twisted to create the stitch, not the left index finger.

To complicate things further, I wrap the yarn in a non-standard way (ie combo) for purls, --which then causes them to be mounted backwards, and requires me to knit into the back of the loop on KNITS, but the front of the loop on purls—this combination of styles --Knitting into back of loop/purling into the front of the loop is what gives combination (or combo) knitting its name.

One detail of combination knitting is, if you don't have any purls, (i.e., in stocking knit done in the round) the KNIT stitches never get “turned round” --so when knitting in STOCKING KNIT, in the Round, I work in Standard, aka, European, style.

But all this changes if I work in a pattern that has purls.. then my non standard wrap style results in 'through the front loop knits'( standard European style) and 'through the back loop on the purls”! It sounds confusing doesn't it?

I figured most of this out with out any help, eon's ago (well when JFK was still alive!)

My take on Combination/combo knitting, is, IT takes more thinking, but its physically easier to do.

Standard knitting --that is European, which, by the way is just the standard style in US and MOST English speaking parts of the world-- Requires less thinking.. but it's a bit harder to do.

But in the past 5 years, I have taught my self to knit in several styles..

First, I learned 'true left handed'--that is working my knitting from the right hand needle to the left hand needle--and I am not alone in learning this. LOTS OF KNITTERS have learned to do the same thing--especially if they do entralac--I learned when knitting an edge onto a HUGE poncho.

I didn't want to have to turn the mass of knitting in my lap ever 20 stitches..(I am lazy) and it was easier to learn to knit 'Backwards –more correctly, True left hand. Since the edge was a combination of knits and purls, I learned to do both knits and purls left handed—some knitters only learn to knit left handed.

I still USUALLY knit 'standard combo—but I know how to knit:

  1. Standard, continental
  2. True left handed (standard)
  3. True left handed (combo)

and I just learn

  1. Portuguese style (the yarn is held and moved by thumb, not index finger!)

I can't-- for the life of me-- knit with yarn in my right hand!--but lots of other knitter have mastered that--(and knit fair isle '2 handed').

I can do a stitch or two, but not a row! I learned both true left and Portuguese style in minutes. And could do both of them with almost no change in my gauge. Even with hours of practice, my right hand yarn hold knitting pathetic, sloppy and uneven. And I am frustrated by the slowness.. I can do right hand yarn hold knitting, but WHY?

There are lots of ways to knit... And learning Standard European knitting is useful, even if you rarely use it.

Since some 70% of knitters in US/Canada/and Western Europe knit in the standard style, there is a huge collection of pattern designed for this style.

But about 20% of knitters are combination/combo knitters, (and with the inter-net, this style is gaining more and more acceptance every day.

Still, there are 10% of knitters who have less common styles like True left handed or Portuguese.

Portuguese knitting is very interesting.. in the Portuguese style, the the knit stitch is worked with the yarn held to the front of work (purl position for "standard" knitting)..The knit is worked like a reverse 'Norwegian purl! If you don't find this video helpful, google Norwegian purl for many other video's and tutorials.

Some Links you might find useful:

This link is to one of Chuana's YouTube Videos--she has 10 others! Watch them all

Here is a less clear video, and this knitter is using eastern style needles (one end of the needle has a hook like crochet hook, the other end is pointed)

Andrea Wong has a web page and DVD's (for sale) also about Portuguese knitting.

There are several places to learn about Combination knitting,Anne Modisett blog for one,

Grumperina's blog for an other.

There are also lots of other places to learn about various styles of knitting—including Eastern style (one I didn't even mention!)


Anonymous said...

Wow, I did not know knitting could get so complicated! All I'd really heard about before were English (which I do, sort of) and Continental (which I aspire to learn one day but haven't quite gotten around to yet). This other stuff looks awfully interesting, too!

Cindy G said...

Hooray for thinking knitters who understand what they are doing and why!

And hooray even more for thinking knitters who share their thought (and knitting) processes. I really enjoy your blog.

Anonymous said...

You've now made me "need" to learn Portuguese style...
are there videos for this too?
(why do I think I"m going to spend my day watching knitting videos learning how to do the Knit stitch??)