My Hands Hurt: Switching to Portuguese Knitting

My forty-nine-year-old joins are starting to feel their age. With all of the knitting and typing I do, they get a workout, and I’m starting to feel pain, especially at night. Relief can be found in a bottle of ibuprofen, of course, but there are other ways to lessen joint pain. Hand exercises are helpful, but I find that switching up my knitting style helps most. I’m adept at both Continental and English-style knitting (picking and throwing, respectively), but there’s a third method that may help even more: Portuguese knitting.

Andrea Wong introduced me to this method of knitting a few years ago in a segment on Knitting Daily TV, and it’s been in the back of my mind ever since. Now it’s making its way to the front of my mind; my hand pain has reminded me of this fascinating knitting technique. And since Andrea just released a video tutorial, Learn to Knit in the Portuguese Style, my timing is perfect. Andrea demonstrates knitting, purling, increasing and decreasing, several types of cast-ons and bind-offs, colorwork, beaded knitting, and much more.

The fascinating thing about Portuguese knitting is how easy it is to work the purl stitch. In fact, it seems that purling is the preferred stitch for Portuguese knitters! This is because the yarn is always in the front. Stay with me. Since there’s no moving the yarn from back to front, the purl motion is a simple flick of the thumb. It’s really quite amazing. The yarn is tensioned using a knitting pin, or sometimes by putting it behind your neck.

Here’s Interweave Knits editor Meghan Babin to show you how it’s done.

Portuguese knitting seems like something I could pick up quickly, especially with Andrea’s video tutorial to guide me. Meghan says in the video that most Portuguese knitter’s use garter stitch, but that’s not exactly the case. Stockinette is also totally doable, you just have to work the knit stitch a little differently. I watched Andrea’s video, and it doesn’t look hard at all.

A knitting pin used for Portuguese knitting

Portuguese knitting pin

I’ve heard that Portuguese knitting is great for people who have trouble achieving even tension. The pin or around-the-neck tensioning is apparently really even and constant, so your finished knitting is beautiful, even before blocking.

There are several different pin styles you can buy, and they’re priced very reasonably (Andrea sells these basic pins on her website for $6). And let’s be honest—who doesn’t want a new piece of jewelry?

So who’s with me? I’m going to get a pin and give this a try. My poor little hands will thank me, and I’m looking forward to seeing if my tension even out a little bit, too.

Get Learn How to Knit in the Portuguese Style with Andrea Wong today and try something new!

Cheers,

1KCsig

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