Happy new year - and resolutions?

Dear fellow knitters,

Happy new year to you all from London.

It seems that Quinton has done better than me on the knitted gift front - my Dad'd jumper never even made it onto the needles, let alone off. Although I did finish a felted reindeer table mat (!!!!!) and a cable hat...

So, as to resolutions. My husband bought me a great fairisle pattern source book for Christmas so I'm going to be using up my ever-increasing stash and getting fairisle friendly. Necessity is the mother of invention and all that so we'll see what happens.

I'm also planning to master the art of continental knitting - my Swiss/Italian friend always always tells of her Italian Nonna winning speed knitting competitions in the village hands down - and so I'm going to give it a go. I'm OK on the knit but the purl stitch is a b*s^t%r*! Any tips welcome.

Love and happy knitting to you all



AKQGuy's picture

Use the left hand index finger to hold the tension downward on your yarn to allow you to pull through the stitch on the left hand needle and slide the new stitch to the right needle. I can't tell you how many times I've had to share that motor skill to allow easy transition with other knitters. It seems so easy once you have it but right handers have less dexterity with the left hand and tend to forget to use it in the process. I guess I was lucky in having my mom teach me chrochet as a kid, training as a violist and then workin with birds of prey at a zoo and having to tie my falconry knots left handed so I have a bit more dexterity with the left hand than other righthanders. that and breaking my right arm twice helped.

Good luck with the fair isle. I'll stick to my texture work myself. Have a great 2012 and congrats on having a husband that seems to appreciate the fiber arts.


davidUK's picture

Thanks for tips. I'm on Skype and FaceTime so perhaps I could have a tutorial,

Happy new year


superi's picture

I'm a continental knitter. My trick is to use your index finger like a sewing needle on a machine. Going down to tension the yarn to wrap around the needle and pull a stitch through, then raising it back up as I slide the previous stitch off the left hand needle and to make sure the stitch is snug, and evenly tensioned on the right hand needle. Here's a video from knittinghelp.com that shows the continental purl. She uses her middle finger to tension the yarn down, but it's basically the same concept.



bobinthebul's picture

As a string instrument player, one of the first things I learned was to keep movements small and eliminate unnecessary movement. So I did a little video to show someone else who had asked me how I purled; here it is:


One note - if you keep the length of yarn between your index finger and the stitch short enough, then the index finger practically serves to push the needle back through. I also use my right index finger to push the "source" needle back, which ensures that the next stitch is in the best place to purl it.

Eggs_the_monki's picture

I'm also a continental knitter, not so much for speed so much as it's just more comfortable than holding the working yarn in my left hand (probably because I'm ambidextrous). After watching both videos that bobinthebul and superi posted I noticed I do my purl stitch a little differently. It's kinda hard to explain. I'll try to set up a demo and post it so that you have another option.

Happy knitting


Joe-in Wyoming's picture

My Continental purling technique was learned from a knitting book written by a Swiss woman. The video clip that describes it best is listed as "Norwegian" purling where you move the yarn to the front of the needle [rather than keep it in back, which is more usual for Norwegian] and then looping the needle around the yarn to wrap it. Sounds complicated but it really isn't...Elizabeth Zimmermann also shows it in her books. All I have to do is move my yarn forward and back to do knits and purls and my forefinger doesn't get tired, unlike when I move it up and down to provide tension.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.