How do you knit? Poll Results

I throw with my right - 13 (26%)
I knit continental - yarn in the left hand - 15 (30%)
I can do both! - 25 (50%)
and nobody said they used another style of knitting!

Thank you to the 50 readers who responded to this poll.

                                                                                                                                                                    

Congratulations to the lucky knitters who can do both - you probably already knit fair isle (aka stranded) knitting projects using both hands - one yarn in each - do you?

Or do you favour one hand over the other......and use one hand for both yarns?

I learned to knit the Scottish way - needle tucked under my right arm.......with my left needle moving up and over and down and under the right needle as the stitches were formed.....I now know that this similar to using long double ended pins and a knitting belt.

My Grant Avenue Vest.....
photos taken on the Grotto
at Stourhead, Wiltshire UK
(At one time I completely refused to try circular needles because I just couldn't imagine knitting without part of the needle tucked under my arm.  I was a Rowan knitting phase in those days and I searched for ridiculously LONG straight needles - I did find some in Romni in Toronto - but never did use them - I abandoned the Rowan project I was attempting...and went on to something else...
 my first Starmore fair isle - my Grant Avenue Vest - I modified the shades a bit
 and made it much longer - it's still one of my favourite sweaters.)

Always being fascinated with this style of knitting....while in Shetland I purchased a knitting belt and some pins.....wait.....they are in a drawer around here somewhere......ah yes, here they are.  It wasn't until I was writing this post that I realized the correlation between holding the needle under your arm and using the knitting belt.  Well, this is something I MUST TRY!

Looks like I bought a lot of long dpns - obviously
to try my knitting belt - but I haven't seriously given it a try yet!
In the meantime.....here's what you 26% throwers and 30% continental knitters need to do.....if you want to be able to knit fair isle with both hands - you need to "train up" that unused hand.  Throwers need to learn how to pick continental style, and you continental knitters needs to learn how to throw with your right hand.  As knitting is a mind/hand/eye coordination exercise....it's just like anything else that requires repetitive motion to become proficient - PRACTICE!

Since traditional fair isle is done in the round - you practice knitting should be knit in the round.  A circular needle - either a short one or if you are familiar with the magic loop technique a longer one - cast on a good number of stitches, sufficient to fill your circular need (or give you a reasonable circumference if doing magic loop) - join being careful not to twist - and start knitting with the hand that you aren't comfortable knitting with.  (Do a few rounds first with your dominant hand to set up the circular knitting - then switch to the opposite hand.)  (I'm assuming here that you know how to knit circularly - let me know if you need this demonstrated.)

Knit even if it looks sloppy, or too tight.  Knit if it feels awkward....persevere!  Eventually it will start to feel better and you'll see the difference in the stitches you are creating.

You don't have to be equally proficient in both hands - but you do need to feel comfortable with your "other" knitting hand.

Practice, practice, practice......it's the only way.

Don't worry about what you are knitting....this is just practice and it is disposable.....so don't use your best yarn....but use a weight of yarn that you are comfortable knitting with - don't feel that you have to use fine fingering weight yarn to practice with (just because fine fingering weight is traditional for fair isle)........you need to develop your motor skills first.


Please let me know how you feel knitting with the other hand - how you are doing learning to knit with your "wrong" hand......how long it takes, or is taking you, to adapt.  



Comments

  1. I learned how to knit with my "unfamiliar hand" about 10 years ago - I practiced by doing a small felted project - then it doesn't matter how sloppy the stitches are!

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  2. That's an excellent idea Julie - you could make something useful - like mittens - designed to be felted - and practice your "other" hand at the same time!

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  3. Several years ago I learned how to knit fair isle the Philosopher's Wool way - carrying yarn in both hands. But for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to do purl stitches with yarn in my left hand. Recently I got a continental-knitter-friend to teach me and I practiced by knitting a prayer shawl(k3,p3 forever and ever). I'm glad I learned how - but love it when I go back to the old familiar method.

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