Rhymes With Fuchsia

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

V is for Video

Some time back there was a meme making the rounds that involved posting a video of oneself knitting, and a week or so ago Imbrium was trying to teach herself Continental knitting and asking about different knitting styles, so I figured, with V also on my plate, it was time for a demo.

If I'd tried to narrate what I was doing while I was doing it, my poor husband would have been holding that camera all night, so I'll describe it below.

First I knit with bulky yarn on some big wooden needles — these are in fact the wonderful needles Roxie gave me that I thought I'd misplaced. I think my knitting style is just garden-variety Continental knitting, but my way of tensioning the yarn may be a bit unusual: I wrap the yarn around my pinky, under my two middle fingers and over the top of the index finger.

Then I turn and purl. This is standard Continental purling rather than combined purling; in the former, the yarn is wrapped counterclockwise as the needle point faces the knitter, which involves pushing the yarn down over the top of the needle (at least that's how I do it). Some people find this annoying, so they scoop the yarn around the bottom of the needle instead; that's combined purling. If you wrap the yarn the other way you'll end up with twisted stitches unless you work them tbl on the next row to straighten them out. My friend Julie uses this method, and says it's much easier and faster; I think it probably is, and the stitch mount wouldn't confuse me, but when I tried it I found it was too much work to retrain my fingers to wrap the other way, so I figured if it ain't broke and stuck with what I had.

Next I lay aside that swatch and pick up Miro, working a plain 2x2 ribbing row, so you can see me switching back and forth between knit and purl, slowly, then faster. I have one strange quirk, which you may be able to see here: when knitting, I hold the back of the stitch open with my left middle finger so that the needle goes in a little more easily. I didn't even know I was doing it until I was trying to teach Marjorie how to knit and she pointed it out. I don't do it when purling, only when knitting, I don't know why.

I read somewhere recently (on a Ravelry thread? I think?) that people who were taught English and knit that way for many years never get entirely comfortable with Continental, and vice versa; this hasn't been my experience. I learned to knit when I was about six; I was taught English and for many years never knew there was any other way. My step-stepcousin Kirsten (our stepmothers are sisters; I don't quite know how best to describe that relationship) taught me Continental in my early 30s, and I didn't grok it then, but eventually went back and retaught myself with a book, that time sticking with it long enough to get it, and now I always knit that way by preference. I've been very lucky never to have any tension problems with Continental purling; even flat reverse st st comes out fine.

The one thing I meant to show in this video but didn't get to was stranded knitting with one yarn in each hand, but I'll save that for another day.


  • Thank you! It's always interesting to see how other people knit...we're all doing essentially the same thing, but we all have little quirks and oddities. I look forward to the stranded video. :)

    By Anonymous Imbrium, at 10:55 AM  

  • I just saw that you've entered the ranks of the published! Congrats on getting into the Winter Knitty! :o)

    By Anonymous JessaLu, at 4:07 PM  

  • congratulations on your scarf in knitty. and miss B. is beautiful! she looks so grown up.

    By Anonymous maryse, at 4:18 PM  

  • Congrats on being in Knitty! I saw the pattern and your name and knew it had to be you!

    By Blogger WandaWoman, at 2:39 AM  

  • In musical terms, a step-step would be a major third. Presuming those are whole steps, of course.

    By Blogger Jena the yarn harpy, at 11:29 AM  

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