Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Apparently, I may be a knitting freak

Today during my lunch break, I journeyed over to Youtube to watch a video on how to do a 3 needle bind off for the child's vest I'm working on. I find Youtube invaluable for knitting help; seeing a video really brings techniques home for me in ways that simply reading about them does not. I watched the video, and felt optimistic about the technique. I had never done this sort of bind off before; apparently it creates a seam, in this case, in the shoulders of the vest. Good, that was settled.

Before I navigated away, I caught a glimpse of a recommended video on my right navigation bar for making a knit stitch in the Continental method. For those of you that don't knit, this is where it gets all gobledegook-like.

There are 2 ways to knit. One is called the Continental method, and it involves picking up the working yarn with your right needle to slip through your stitch. The other, the predominant method in this country, is called the English method, and these knitters are called "throwers" (rather than the Continental "pickers"; that seems like a bit of a crass way of putting it, but for whatever reason, that's the common parlance). In the English method, one throws the working yarn over the right needle to then slip through your stitch.

I knit via the English method. Or, at least I thought I did. I had heard on a knitting podcast recently that the Continental method is really good for using multiple small strands of yarn to create colorful motifs in what is known as Fair Isle Knitting, which I've always wanted to learn, so I thought that one of these days I should check out Continental knitting. My friend Stacy from my knitting group knits this way, so I knew that I could go to her with questions.

Thus (finally, I know) I clicked on the link in Youtube. The nice knitting lady demonstrated a knitting stitch in the Continental method. She described how Continental knitters hold their working yarn in their left hand and then pick the yarn up on their right needle counterclockwise. Huh. That didn't look all that different from what I do, since I too hold my yarn in my left hand. Ah ha! I see there is also a video by the same nice knitting lady on a knit stitch in the English style, so let me objectively look at that one to compare.

And this is where the shock comes into the picture. I mean, it's shocking for me because I'm so invested in knitting. For anybody else that managed to read this far into this post, well, God bless you. The video informed me that English knitters hold their working yarn in their *right hand*. Um, no they don't. Because I've never held my working yarn in my right hand a day in my life, that's simply not possible.

Thus, I ignored aforementioned nice knitting lady. And consulted with my knitting group. The verdict?

Yep, English style knitters hold their working yarn in their right hand. The thought of doing so makes my hands actually clench into claws, it seems so onerous and out of place to me. So I hold my working yarn in my left hand like a Continental knitter. But yet, I definitely "throw" the yarn like an English knitter, I don't "pick" it. So what does that make me?

A bit of a freak it appears. I apparently knit via some mysterious 3rd method that nobody knows about but me. We'll coin it the "Tiffany method." I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that I crocheted for decades before I learned to knit, and I always crochet with my working yarn in my left hand, since the hook is in my right hand.

Who knew? Not me, and I've been knitting for years. You learn something new everyday. So perhaps Continental knitting won't be so hard for me to pick up after all...

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