Since picking up my needles recently and entering the blogging world I have discovered many new things about knitting. Now I am not talking about patterns such as new stitches, cables or lace work. I am just talking about basic technique and tools.
It appears that when I learnt to knit as a child my teacher (yes Mum that’s you) didn’t teach me many techniques. I asked her about it recently. Yes, she knew all about them but never shared them with me.
I thought knitting involved using two straight knitting needles and keeping the working yarn in your right hand.
It didn’t help that all the things I have ever made and all the pattern books I have ever used only referred to 2 knitting needles.
So when I started reading other people’s blogs and learning more about knitting here are some things I thought:
- what the hell is knitting in the round. How is that possible with two knitting needles?
- oh my goodness, is that person knitting with 4 needles at once?
- why is the working yarn in her left hand?
- cool, when I am ready to start trying cables, I need another weird shaped needle with a hook in the middle!
- circular needles with a connecting tube? hey, that could work really well if you don’t want a seam. Oh, that is exactly what they are for and it appears that this is not new
- sometimes you need a crotchet needle to knit. Lucky I have a few at home, passed down from my mum. Wait she doesn’t crotchet. I guess she isn’t telling me something
So I thought I would share a few of the things I have learnt and take some polls from the seasoned knitters. I am really curious to see how others out there knit.
So far I have discovered the following techniques. Please feel free to share any others with me.
Knitting with 2 Single Point Needles – this is what I am used to knitting with
- slender, straight stick tapered to a point at one end, with a knob at the other end to prevent stitches from slipping off
- always used in pairs
- come in varying widths and lengths
Knitting with Circular Needles
- a long, flexible double-pointed needle
- can be used for straight or circular knitting
- two tapered ends are rigid and straight and are connected by a flexible strand that allows the two ends to be brought together
- two ends are used exactly like two needles, in the sense that the knitter holds one in each hand and knits as if having two
- advantages of using circular needles are that the weight of the fabric is more evenly distributed and therefore less taxing on the arms and wrists of the knitter
- also that there is more maneuverability of the fabric and needles without fear of the stitches falling off the needles
Knitting with 4 Double Pointed Needles
- tapered at both ends, which allows them to be knit from either end
- typically used (and sold) in sets of four and five
- generally used for circular knitting
Cable Knitting Needles
- special type of double-pointed needle that is
- typically very short
- only used to hold stitches temporarily while knitting a cable pattern
- Often have a U-shape or bend in order to stop the stitches from falling off the needle
Needles also come in varying materials such as metal, bamboo or nickel. I use metal but desperately want the fancy nickel ones. I have recently discovered these fancy Signature needles. What a dream.
There are generally two ways of knitting (videos courtesy of Cotton and Cloud). I prefer the English Method.
Continental Knitting Method
- working yarn held in left hand
- great for speed knitting
- the motion of the right wrist is used to slip the right needle into the loop of the stitch being knitted and ‘scoop’ or ‘hook’ the yarn onto the right needle
I tried this out. It felt a little awkward at first, but I could appreciate the potential speed. It was a little uncomfortable for me though
English Knitting Method
- working yarn held in right hand
- the yarn is wrapped around the right hand for tension and the right hand will hold the needle with the most recently knit stitches. The left hand holds the other needle.
This is the way I knit. I love using both hands and find I can work this way fast enough…
Thanks for taking the polls and I hope you had a bit of fun with them. Can’t wait to see the results and try out all the techniques for myself, especially knitting in the round! What are you keen on trying out?