By: Carolyn Hanson
So much yarn…so little time. How to resolve? You can …
Make more time to knit…quit your job, sleepless, or knit while cooking, walking, or reading to children.
Make fewer mistakes…take classes, practice more, or join a support group.
Don’t rip out multiple rows to fix one mistake. Drop a stitch down to the mistake and fix it, then pick up each ladder back to the current row.
Knit in the round, which means no purling; purling is slower than knitting
Want the stitches to fly off the needle? Use interchangeable needles and place a smaller needle on the left side. This will give the stitches more space as they approach the working needle and will not require effort to move the stitches from the cable to the needle. Remember that this only works when knitting in the round. When knitting in rows, both needles need to be the same size.
Read more ‘Creative Corner’ articles here: https://www.theconnectionsnj.com/category/creative-corner/
Only knit in garter stitch (This can become boring once you’ve moved beyond beginner).
Practice not looking at your work while knitting. Let the force be with you.
Knit Continental rather than English style. Fewer motions mean faster knitting.
English style uses a throwing method of wrapping the working yarn around the needle with your dominant hand, meaning that you need to transfer the right-hand needle to the left hand in order to wrap the yarn with the right hand.
Continental style holds the working yarn around the left index finger of the non-dominant hand and both hands remain on the needles at all times.
My journey: I learned to knit English style as a child and was intrigued to master continental knitting in my twenties. I knew how to create tension with the yarn in my left hand from crocheting, so holding the yarn that way for continental was not an issue. I forced myself to knit a vest for my husband using this method for every stitch. It was agonizing. I was so slow now. My speed had diminished greatly. I had to look at every stitch and purling was worse than before. WHAT WAS I DOING WRONG?
One day, while purling, I accidentally wrapped the yarn in the opposite direction and the new stitch slipped effortlessly to the working needle. I froze and repeated the motion. That was it! I was speeding through once again and now purling was easier than knitting. I was astonished.
Years later I met a knit designer who was blazing through a sweater at the speed of lightning. She watched me knit and told me that, like her, I was knitting Continental Combination. This method is a variation of Continental, but faster, and requires that you always knit off of the leading edge of the stitch. Let me explain. Each stitch sits on the left-hand needle with one side of the stitch approaching the tip of the needle first as it’s ready to be knit. If you always knit this portion of the stitch, no matter whether it is in the back or front of the needle, you will never twist your stitches AND the stitch opens wide to accept the working needle for making the new stitch. It also allows you to position the working yarn behind the opened stitch so that you can “pick” or “scoop” the working yarn through the loop. No wrapping required. One less motion. Scooping stitches, when knitting in stockinette, means that the yarn wraps counter-clockwise around the working needle. This means that on the purl stitch the leading edge is in the front. When purling, the key is to scoop the working yarn so it wraps clockwise. This puts the leading edge in the back of the stitch for the knit side. You just knit off of the back of the stitch. (one less motion).
Knitting continental makes ribbing, seed stitch, and moss stitch a breeze since the working yarn is in your non-dominant hand and can easily move from back to front to accommodate knit and purl. In addition, by holding the yarn in your non-dominant hand you can master 2-color knitting by carrying both yarns together and scooping either one color or the other.
Continental knitting is my preferred method and what I teach in all my beginning classes, as well as classes for experienced knitters who want to stop throwing and knit faster. Join the need for speed, follow me on Instagram (CarolynCHanson) or contact me for more information.
Carolyn Hanson is a local knitting and crochet designer, teacher and fiber artist. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org