This page features discussion, comments, insights, information and just plain old ramblings about hand knitting
A style journey
I was taught to hand knit by my Grandmother, in the ‘English’ style in which you throw the yarn with your right hand. Although a prolific knitter, I never saw her knit with a circular needle, and although she knitted socks, I don’t recall her using double pointed needles to knit in-the-round. So my formative hand-knitting years were pretty ‘vanilla’, limited to straight, metal needles and the quite frankly boring hand-knitting yarns available in our local West Country market town. As I explain in the Introduction to ‘Translating Between Hand and Machine Knitting’, my interest in hand knitting waned in my teenage years, and wasn’t rekindled until my mid-twenties when I discovered the most scrumptious Italian Hand-knit yarns whilst I was studying machine-based knitted textile design.
Despite this new interest it wasn’t until years later that I discovered that there were other ways of knitting: ‘European’, ‘Continental’, ‘Russian’ and even more exotic styles from South America, one of which I saw demonstrated involved hanging the yarn around your neck as you knit.
Loving a technical challenge I tried various methods, but my early muscle memory prevailed, and I still am happiest with ‘English’ style, although I hold my needles like a knife, not a pencil!
The reason I persist is that I think having a few variations on how you hold the yarn/needles must help to keep the dreaded RSI at bay.
I posted this Hyperlapse of me practising ‘continental’ purl stitch as part of the Instagram #SeptTextileLove organised by Seam Collective.
Please be kind when watching…I am still trying to teach those muscles to co-operate.