Thursday, August 18, 2005

Pick or Throw?

Over the past year or so, I've taught numerous people how to knit. This has been great for the most part; however, I started knitting differently than most people at first and taught some people how to knit this way. Basically, I realized that my Old Ottoman Empire, or the westerner knit stitch (which is wrapped around the needle clockwise), doesn't work as well for knitting in the round, or for lace knitting. Late this winter, I changed my stitch (now I wrap the yarn counter-clockwise) because obviously these are things I enjoy knitting. Even with this change to my knitting, I still supposedly knit "wrong" according to some people... so I just want to clarify.

Here is a great quote by Fuzzy Galore, "The ultimate result, knitted fabric, can be achieved in many different ways, and how you get to that nice sweater is or should be irrelevant as long as no injury results to you or others. Knitting in public is fraught with almost as many pitfalls as breastfeeding these days, at any time some total stranger is liable to look over your shoulder and declare that "you're doing it all wrong" , slap your hands, proceed to rip your work out of your hands, and/or berate your grandma's teachings. This can be unnerving for the unweary beginner, to say the least. So let's first establish an important point: as long as what you're doing produces knitted fabric, you're doing it right, or well enough for you."

I knit in the English style, holding the yarn in my right hand. Its the only way that feels comfortable to me. This stitch is supposedly great when alternating between yarn colors and provides nice even stitches very easily.



Others knit using the continental style shown below with the yarn in the left hand. This style is supposedly more efficient in terms of speed since there is less movement in the hands throughout the course of a single stitch. It is also better for those who have repetitive stress injuries.



So basically, there is no right way to knit. As long as you are happy with what you are creating, that's all that really mattters. I do know HOW to knit continental, I just haven't stuck with it long enough to make it comfortable and natural. I've also read on numerous occasions that its really good to switch between both methods to prevent injury. For more great information, see this.

11 Comments:

At 9:08 PM, Blogger Christine said...

Great Informative, Mini article. Did I tell you how much I love the smell of Green Day???? OMG, smells like strawberry shortcake dolls!

 
At 10:14 PM, Blogger Beck said...

You're right, there is no right way to knit! I'm a thrower, as someone said to me in my knitting group, but that doesn't bother me. Like we said at that same group, each to his/her own.

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger Beth said...

Well said! I too am a thrower, as are DD#2 (8 yo) and my mom and aunt. Whatever works for the individual is what is right!

 
At 2:43 AM, Anonymous rachel said...

I taught myself how to knit again after my grandma taught me when i was about 12. I picked it up at 19 and taught myself from a basics book. I learned the english way but it felt so weird to me. i changed to Continental not even knowing that it had a name until about a year ago. I love knitting this way and was glad to finally find out that i wasn't a weirdo. =)

 
At 6:41 AM, Blogger Dani said...

Luckily when I was taught to knit by my best friend, she taught me both ways and told me to pick the way that worked best for me. I now knit continental, but when I teach someone I always teach both ways and let them pick. I have seen some of the most interesting knitting methods at my SnB. One member knits in the "Hungarian" way, where the yarn is around the back of your neck for tension. And the Yarn Harlot has this crazy throw method where her needle is under her armpit and her right hand doesn't touch the needle. Apparently that is a method of production knitting that come from Europe (Ireland perhaps?) But in the end, I agree that as long as you come out with a fabric and no one gets injured, there is no wrong way to knit

 
At 8:51 AM, Blogger Tracy said...

When I do my Poetry I knit English with the right and do Continental with the left. It took a while to master, but seems quite natural now. (Well it would if I could get back into the bloomin' sleeves again!)

 
At 10:37 AM, Blogger sarah said...

I knit like you. I can't imagine someone actually telling you that you knit wrong...especially with all the beautiful things you make! If it looks right in the end, who cares how you got there!!

 
At 10:37 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

When I retaught myself to knit I used the book "Knitting in Plain English" and she very clearly explains English and Continental and discusses briefly other methods. I tried them both and decided the Continental worked best for me (and maybe that's how I learned it as a kid - I honestly don't remember). I really think people get too worked up about "right" and "wrong" ways of knitting. I went to a knitting guild meeting where this lady proceeded to explain to me why I was knitting wrong and how the English method was really the only "correct" way to knit. I really had to bite my tongue, but I did say something like "my finished knitting looks just like your's, so it can't be all that bad!". Narrow minded busy body! Now, I'd love to hear more about the way the Yarn Harlot knits - sounds fascinating. Bottom line, you shouldn't worry about how you do it as long as you're comfortable with it and you like how your finished knitting looks (and it looks good to me)

 
At 1:14 PM, Anonymous katie said...

I throw, and I was very impressed to watch a brand new knitter and SnB this week pick up a book and teach herself to pick. This new knitter already knew how to crochet, and another woman there said that picking is easier for crocheters to learn because you hold the yarn more similarly.

 
At 5:13 PM, Blogger Lauren said...

Up until a few months ago, I actually knit twisted... I learned incorrectly in a class I took! I had never noticed the twisted stitches until I did things in the round... it was an easy fix, but I am glad that I retaught myself.

I knit continental but don't wrap the yarn around my finger like many of the examples do... so that is the way I differ! There is no wrong way! ;)

 
At 7:12 PM, Blogger Dani said...

I would be totally shocked if someone told me that I was knitting incorrectly because I live in the Land that Knitting Forgot. All the knitters I know are new and usually come to me for advice. Until last year I didn't even know any knitters that I hadn't taught myself.

BTW, I love the Wave Skirt. Where did you get that pattern?

 

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