Saturday, November 10, 2007

Continental knitting

A comment has inspired me to post on how I purl in continental knitting. I'm hoping this might help others, since this was my big stumbling block to being able to knit either way.

Technically when I purl when I'm knitting continental, I purl backwards. The stitch ends up on the needle backwards.

Here's the best explanation that I can manage without pictures. With your knitting in front of you, hold the yarn in your left hand in front of the knitting, insert the right hand needle as if to purl. Look at the orientation of the yarn and the needle. Now, it's relatively easy to scoop that yarn up from front to back, but if you have to try to grab it from back to front, you end up doing all kinds of gyrations. The most effective way that I've seen to do this involves holding it at a weird angle with your index finger (which works but isn't particularly fast or efficient for me).

So, when I'm knitting continental, I scoop that stitch up and keep going. By doing this, I actually think that I purl much faster than I knit. The drawback is that the stitches end up reversed on the needles. That's not a big deal, since all you need to do is knit or purl into the back of the stitch.

I was encouraged in this behavior by one of the ladies behind Just Our Yarn, and by Knitting for Anarchists by Anna Zilboorg. I particularly like this book, since it pretty much echoes my philosophy for knitting, spinning, weaving, etc. Do what works for you, don't be persuaded to do something a specific way because they believe that it's the correct or only way.

I do find purling into the back of a stitch to be a pain, and so I often wont use continental for something with a lot of knit/purl patterning (cables for example). I also don't find it as satisfying for my knitting experience (and stress relief), so I usually end up designating fairly simple projects as my continental knits. Knitting continental doesn't bother my shoulder nearly as much, so that is often the motivation I need to cast one on.

I think it's time to go do some spinning.

1 comment:

Christine said...

I have a spinning question for you! I have some lovely angora that needs a core yarn, so I was thinking silk. What do you think? And what kind? Should I spin the stuff from a hankie or a cap, or use some already reeled or unreeled???