I am incurably right-handed when it comes to knitting. I learned how to knit by throwing the yarn over the needle with my right hand, and that’s what I did for years. Mum learned continental at some point, and raved about how fast it was, especially when it came to switching between knitting and purling, so she tried to teach me. I learned to do the knit stitch okay with my left hand, which I use in fair isle. But when it came to the purl stitch, I just couldn’t do it comfortably. And it certainly saved me no time switching. So I stuck with throwing.
Then, one day, I got a commission to make leg warmers. You might remember them from a couple years back. They were cute, and simple – 15″ of 2×2 ribbing. In a large tube. And the lady has two legs. It was enough to make me want to eat the things, it was going so slowly with my technique. Then about halfway down the first leg, I noticed that my fingers figured out something different. And it was a lot faster. After some experimenting and acclimatizing myself to this new technique, I love it, and I think it’s at least as fast as continental, especially when it comes to switching between knit and purl.
Now, I usually do photo tutorials, because I think they are fun, and I find knitting videos exceptionally long and awkward. But there was just no way to show you this effectively using just pictures; it’s too specific. I tried to keep this one short, but there was nothing I could do about the awkwardness. I also apologize for the blurriness; my camera is old and cruddy and can’t focus that close. But I think you get the idea. Go go gadget embedding!
It has a lot in common with pit knitting in that the right hand does the same motion for knitting and purling, a down-up, sewing-machine-like motion. But it’s done with just the fingers instead of the whole hand. I’m sure I’m not the first person to come up with this technique, but I’ve never seen anyone else do it, and I don’t think it’s technically throwing. Its not really picking either, so I can’t call it continental. So call it what you want.
Tomorrow – using this technique with both hands at the same time to do speedy two-handed fair isle knitting.