Yarn holding question

Me again. I am new at this, so don't be made that I post every day. Anyway, I know I don't hold the yarn properly. I am not doing continental or English. I guess I am close to English. I hold the yarn in my right hand (not wrapped around an fingers or anything), and during stitches I just move my whole hand and wrap the yarn around the needle. I know this isn't the proper way, but for the moment it is working. I'm sure some people will say to do whatever is most comfortable. My problem is that since I am holding things wrong, my tension is only so-so for knitting and horrible for purling.
I know I need to wrap my fingers somehow before I get into to many bad habits and can't change. I have watched the videos on knittinghelp.com over and over and I can't seem to get the wrapping down. It is either too loose and falls off my fingers, or to tight and doesn't flow for the next stitch.
Can anyone give me any advice? When I was trying continental, it definitely felt like a much smoother and faster stitch (except for the whole tension issue). And I am a lefty if that matters (for deciding between the 2 styles)


It sounds like you're still deciding what works best for you. FWIW I'm a lefty as well, but I knit right handed (because that was how I was taught) and I knit continental. Videos and books work great for some people, but maybe you need to find a real live person who can specifically show you how you might do things differently in order to meet with success. Of course, there's also the matter of practice, practice, practice, which comes with time . . .


ManMadeKnits's picture

I think many people call that "Throwing" which, for some, is actually faster.

Don't worry about it too much.

"The only sin is mediocrity." --Martha Graham

knit_knot_eat's picture

Thanks, that makes me feel better. I think it would be easier for me to learn how to control my tension with this current method, than it would be for me to learn a whole new way.

MMario's picture

I'm a lefty who more or less knits just the way you describe. Whether or not I wrap the yarn around my fingers depends on the yarn, the pattern, if the yarn is coned, balled, on the floor, the desk, etc.
in other words - with experience you learn to (more or less unconsciously) adjust your yarn/fingers to provide correct tension under varying circumstances.

then someone makes you think about what you are doing and you can't knit worth s**t for a few minutes!!!

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

YarnGuy716's picture

As a fellow leftie I had the good fortunate of being taught to knit by a very wise woman who said "knitting is two handed, there is no left-handed or right-handed knitting."

I think everyone will agree that we all felt fumbly and clumsy when we first started knitting. I knit Continental and my tension was all over the place when I first learned how to knit. I had the yarn running over, under and around my fingers and my tension was still uneven. Time and practice will fix that. The best way to get better at knitting is by knitting.

I'll echo Peter's sentiments that you might do better with actual face to face instructions. Check out your local yarn store for classes. Even Michaels and Joanns offer beginner knitting classes, or look into adult ed classes. We have a few groups that meet informally every week and we always welcome new knitters. There is always someone who can help you.

Remember, if what you are doing results in knit fabric, then you are knitting. I'm sure there is room for improvement, but don't feel you have to knit exactly the way "someone" has decided is "correct." The knitting police will not show up at your door to take away your yarn and needles because you hold your yarn differently. Just keep at it and you will see yourslef getting better.

YugiDean's picture

I don't hold the yarn "correctly," either. When I go into my yarn stores, I typically get odd glances from the women there how I can possibly knit by holding the yarn and needles the way I do. One lady said, "Do you prop the needle on your chest after each stitch for fun, or is that just how you do it?" Yup...that's just how I do it. LOL But it works for me! I say try all kinds of different styles (even the "correct" or suggested methods), and if it works, go for it. I think this is one of many art forms that doesn't have a "right" or "wrong" way.

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"Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread." --Richard Wright


JDM511's picture

Remember the goal here is to wrap the yarn around the needle, so if you are comfortable with the way you are knitting and you are getting good results, how you do it is mute. I have always been a thrower, but learned continental this past summer, although I really like the continental except I feel very awkward when I am doing a cable pattern. You may use different methods for different projects.

One suggestion, if you have someone who is helping you learn to knit, have them teach you to read your knitting. It is very easy to twist your stitches at first, which can cause some problems in the fabric, unless this is part of the pattern. It makes it so much easier to have someone to point out see this stitch is twisted and this one is not.

Good luck!


MasonM's picture

Experience will teach you what works best for you and gives you the best results. I don't believe there is a right or wrong way. Personally, I knit English, and wrap the yarn around my pinky for tension control and then over my index finger for throwing. Works quite well for me.


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albert's picture

That's exactly how I knit, Mason.

Veni, vidi, kniti.

thairapist's picture

I am a lefty myself.
I tend to wrap the yarn around my ring finger. Sometimes i have the yarn go over my index finger, other times i just wrap the yarn with my finger and thumb around the needle. It all depends on the stitch and yarn. Sometimes i have had people give me a hard time about my knitting style but it works for me and my stitches come out nice and even and i am pretty fast. I can do a cable sweater with a zipper and lining in a couple of months. I say knit the way that feels comfortable and gives you an even fabric. If you are really worried then go take a class and have someone show you exactly how it is done.