What’s Your Knitting Style?
Here’s an age-old knitting question: picker or thrower? Okay, not really age-old, but it’s something knitters talk about.
When I first learned to knit I was a thrower. What was I throwing, you ask? Well, I was throwing the yarn around the needle, I guess. I really wasn’t actually “throwing” the yarn around the needle, but throwing is a common term for what’s been known for years as English knitting.
When I joined a knitting group, I noticed a couple of the gals were holding the yarn in their left hands and sort of scooping it through the loop to make their knit stitches, and they were doing it pretty speedily! (This is the Continental method of knitting, also known as “picking.”)
I asked for a lesson, and discovered my tension, which had been perfectly even, by the way, went crazy when I knitted in the Continental style: loose stitches everywhere! I decided to practice my picking skills on a felted bag, which is so forgiving; once it’s felted, the loose stitches disappear. The bag gave me enough practice to improve my tension and get me comfortable with this new method. And the speed was amazing! Purling wasn’t quite as fast as knitting for awhile, but I’m adept at both stitches now.
The surprise in all of this was what a bonus it is to be able to pick and throw. Working on stranded projects is the most obvious use of both methods, but I find I switch to throwing when I need more control over the yarn, such as when doing large cable crossings (six or more stitches crossing over)picking up stitches, and knitting or purling more than two stitches together for lace projects. I default to picking now, but I appreciate being proficient in both styles.
And there’s no correct way to knit, really. Your way is okay, my way is okay.
A few years ago, the staff at Interweave took photos of themselves knitting (that’s me with the pink yarn), and I love the variety of ways that people hold their yarn. Check it out:
Even though all of the knitters either pick or throw, each has a different way of tensioning her yarn.
I persevered in learning the Continental method because I wanted that speediness. If you’re an English-style knitter who wants to learn the Continental style, get our kit, Learn Continental Knitting with a Cowl Project.
Instructor Biggan Ryd Dupps will teach you the ins and outs of the Continental style as you work on a colorful cowl project. You’ll get an instructional video, the cowl pattern, four balls of Biggan Design DK yarn in a beautiful blue and teal color scheme, a set of knitting needles, and buttons to finish off the cowl pattern. That’s a lot of great stuff!
The Striped Cowl pattern is written especially for this workshop, giving you the perfect opportunities to work Continental knitting in different situations.
After watching Biggan’s workshop and practicing your new techniques a bit, you’ll soon be skilled in both Continental and English-style knitting.
Get your Continental Knitting Kit today and learn something new!