Learning to Knit

Tuesday, January 9, 2007
I thought I'd post the answer to this question here... I taught myself to knit by trial and error over 20+ years (I was very young!) and I ended up knitting “continental style” vs. how most Americans “throw” . I’ve found continental to be a much faster method of knitting. And, because my hands are always in control of the needles, I can do it while walking and carry it around easily (like when my kids are at the park & I’m following them around – I can still knit). Continental just means that I have the yarn in my left hand at all times – this also keeps the tension of the yarn even so stitches are uniform. People that I’ve taught how to knit this way & who were previous “throwers” love it and can’t believe how much easier and convenient it is.

Last year, I came across a podcast with Annie Modesitt and was enthralled – if I could find the link to that podcast, I’d post it here, but I can’t find it right now. Well, I rushed over to her site http://www.anniemodesitt.com/ to see exactly how she did her knitting – combination style. This is how I would recommend learning to anyone who wants to knit. Her site has a little how-to graphic that is easy to view and learn from. The only major difference that I’ve found from traditional knitting is that her knit stitch goes in through the back of the stitch – which makes it easier, especially when you get good at it and don’t need to look anymore. I’ve had some students learn this way and they picked it up easily.

Combination/continental style also makes switching between knitting and purling a breeze – seriously, there is no break in the rhythm – so this is great for patterns, ribbing, etc.

There are dozens of ways to knit, hold your yarn and cast-on. There are online video tutorials if you Google for it. This is just the way I’ve found works best for me and how I’ve been teaching it at our library and school programs.

Use good yarn when learning how to knit and it’ll be more satisfying. Personally, I like the way wool shows the stitches & it doesn’t have to be expensive – http://www.knitpicks.com/ has great prices on their Wool of the Andes if you don’t have a local yarn shop. If you’ll be using acrylics go for the “softee” kinds.

So, grab some needles – a 7 or 8 size and some nice yarn – and click over to Annie’s site. Cast on 10 or 20 stitches. Knit row after row until you’re comfortable with it. Take it out, do it again. Count your stitches once in a while – if you’re adding or losing some, just pay attention when transferring stitches to your right-hand needle. Once you’re comfortable, move onto other stitches. Good Luck!

I will always talk about knitting if you have questions.

1 comment:

  1. Thankyou so much for the info and the link - the diagrams are excellent - might have to give this a go.

    ReplyDelete

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