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Pediatric nurse by training, stay-at-home-mum by design... now "nursing" a knitting obsession : ) Twitter & Rav ID: nursenikkiknits

Monday, January 30, 2012

Whatever the Mood Monday: Plodding Along

Happy Monday everyone!

Since finishing last week's knitting marathon, I have enjoyed taking things at a more leisurely pace. To that end, I have started reading the Yarn Harlot's blog from it's inception in January 2004. Besides giving me reason to laugh like crazy and also causing hours of time to mysteriously disappear, the Harlot's blog has also had me thinking about deep knitting related questions.

First, 2004 was BR (Before Ravelry). What a different place the world of knitting was then. There was no single online source for patterns, or yarn, or to compare patterns and yarn or even any way to lurk around at what everyone else has knit. Crazy! There also seemed to me a whole lot of novelty yarn going on in 2004. Can't say I'm sorry to have missed that.

Mostly though, I have been left thinking about the way I knit. The Harlot is pretty hard core about knitting with straights. She avoids circulars whenever possible. She says that she uses a method where she hold the right needle static under her arm and uses her hand to only pivot the yarn. Check out here photo here. She also says it is very fast.

Personally, I almost exclusively use circular needles, even it I'm not knitting in the round. In fact, I think I only own three sets of straights. I like having the bulk of my knitting in my lap instead of holding it up with my wrists.

I am a determined knitter. But, truly, I am not very fast. I would actually go as far as to say I plod along. I imagine I look like a very focused Eeyore when I knit.

Of course, then there's knitting continental... a whole other barrel of worms!

Will I get faster in time? Would an attempt to change technique be an exercise in folly? Every time my dad has ever tried to change anything about his golf swing his entire game has gone to hell. I wouldn't want to risk that. I think that my knitting is nice. My stitches are pretty and even. I get the job done... eventually.

But wouldn't it be amazing to be able to knit like this?

I would love to know what you think. What do you prefer: straights or circs?


  1. My Continental knitting has improved significantly since I started about a year ago. If you change it will take time to even up and neaten. I prefer circulars to straights as I have always had wrist problems. Circulars mean less strain as the fabric sits in my lap.

  2. I use straights unless I need the extra space that circs provide, but I knit in the round a fair bit so I use circs a lot!

    I haven't really tried knitting continental, I'm happy with the way I knit and the speed is pretty good for me I think. But I just did a colourwork hat where I held the yarn in both hands, so I got a small feel for how continental works. I'm just not sure if I like it!

  3. I prefer circulars totally! I'll also use the magic loop method before going to DPNs. I can knit while sitting in my roching chair and not hit the arms of the chair with long needles.

  4. I'm pretty attached to my circulars! I wonder if Harlot originally learned that way or if she changed her technique to become faster? I don't know if I could change the way I knit just to become faster, but I was very happy when I added continental knitting to my skill set so that I could knit stranded knitting with both hands.

  5. I prefer circs, for the very reason you stated. And because, you can do more in the-round-knitting to eliminate seams. As to changing your style, I have taught people to knit, I have friends who knit, whenever I am hit with this questioning of their knitting speed I reply "It isn't the speed at which you knit that matters, its the amount of time you can devote to knitting that does. If both you and the lady above could only devote 5 minutes a day to knitting, her speed would not appreciably produce more knitting. If you devoted 5 hours a day, then yes, she is going to produce more knitting. But it's not like she is going to have a sweater done while you only make a dishcloth. The speed of our knitting doesn't make us any more productive, its the time devoted, the items we are making, and the difficulty of the pattern. All of that is less important than what we get out of knitting. If you are knitting just to produce, get a knitting machine. If you are knitting for the joy of it, keep doing what you're doing, in the manner it feels comfortable to you. That's what matters. I think that was more than what you asked for. LOL! Happy Knitting!

  6. I had to smile when I read your post today. I started reading the Yarn Harlot about a year and a half ago and I did the very same thing - went back and read her entire blog. She definately speaks to me when she talks about straight shiney metal needles. They are what I learned on and what I have used for years - BUT - not exclusively. Somewhere along the line I figured out that it wasn't much fun trying to work the stitches on a big sweater or shawl when they were all bunched up. In the end though I still reach for straights and DPNs most of the time. I think it's just a habit. Meanwhile - I've also tried switching my knitting style - but it just doesn't work. I "pinch" the yarn between my thumb and index finger on my right hand and throw it and my stitches and tension are remarkably even and I've done it this way for so long that I think I'll just plug along as always. I agree with Chrisknits that it's more about what we get out of knitting than the speed or style.

  7. I plod along, too! And the only time it really bothers me is when I'm knitting socks. I see other people pushing out socks left and right and it takes me a month to finish one pair! So, I feel like learning Continental if only to speed up my sock production!

  8. I have been in a similar quandary about my knitting style lately. I knit mostly on circulars (mainly to avoid having to seam) and using the English method. But lately I have been jealously looking at videos on YouTube of Continental knitters speedily and efficiently knitting along at a much faster pace than I could ever achieve by throwing. I even went so far as to start a small project to practice knitting and purling Continental style. Hopefully, there might be two handed stranded knitting in my future after all! I love how the Yarn Harlot knits.


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