I’m always fascinated by the thousands of different ways there are to knit. People learn from books, from teachers, from grandmothers, from mothers. We all make it comfortable for us, in our own ways.
My mom taught me to knit when I was about 8 years old. She knits English, so that’s how I knit. But even then we knit differently—back then, we only had straight needles (long ones!), and mom tucks the needle into the crook of her elbow, something I find impossibly awkward. I’ve since moved exclusively to circular needles, and after taking a class (in double knitting, natch!) at Stitches East, in which I sat next to a woman who knit Continental, I’ve switched to knitting with my left hand. (So I’m a completely self-taught Continental knitter—I saw it in action out of the corner of my eye, and I just unvented it for myself when I was back home.)
I’ve mentioned before, but I’ll say it again: Making the switch to Continental was really rather difficult. Getting an even gauge and even feeling comfortable with the motion (heck, remembering to knit Continental, and not just go back to the old way) took a lot of time. The payoff is so so worth it, though—I’d been a quick knitter before, but I’m lightning-fast now. And since I’m a product knitter, I like speed. (I’m also just an impatient person, so speed works for my personality.)
Here’s a video of me knitting. I don’t try to show you how to form a stitch, I don’t explain how I wrap the yarn: I am just working on my project. Note: This isn’t only knitting—I’m doing a k10, p1. Because purling looks so wacked out, and because I didn’t want people to be confused and think I was actually knitting the entire time, I say “purl” when I get to the purl. (So those of you who haven’t purchased the Tapestry Cowl or who don’t know me in person will get to hear my voice! If I sound stuffy, it’s fall allergy season.)
It’s funny to watch it and dissect the actions. Damn, I move the tips of my index fingers a LOT! Much more than I thought I did. In all the various times I’ve taught someone to knit, I’ve noticed more and more quirks to my style—how I hold the stitch I just knit with the tip of my right index finger. But there are some things I’d never realized until today—I feed myself more yarn by lightly pressing the middle finger of my left hand against the yarn.
I just filmed three short videos showing my technique in slower-motion—more of a tutorial on my version of Continental—with the aim to share that with you, too, but I’m having trouble getting them up onto the web. (And putting all 4 in one post might have been too much for the blog, anyway!) I hope I’ll be able to share them soon.
Knitting is so visual, and yet we rarely take the time to really look at how we do it. I’m loving making these little videos, and I hope to include video with all my future patterns so that the patterns are as clear as possible. But I maybe need some actual video editing software—as it is, I’m uploading straight out of the camera! Does anyone have a suggestion for something easy and, preferably, free?