Woo Hoo! Combination Knitting

After watching one of the gals in my local knitting group; and knitty gritty, on Friday. I just picked up combination Knitting, which for plain ole knitting, non fancy Knit or Purling, a few yo and easy stuff. Is fast, fast fast! I'm cranking out the rows now; or will be when my hand quits cramping up. Who knew there were so many unused muscles just in the fingers. I wish I would have picked this up when I started. But, alas, at that time I could'nt tell a knit stitch from a purl stitch, let alone a twisted stitch from an untwisted one. Now, I'm flying between English, Continental, or combinaton, holding the yarn in the right hand, or left all depending upon my mood. It's all about the stitch, the beautiful, beautiful stitch. I have been set free! Look Ma! I'm flyin', I'm flyin'!


Blankie's picture

I did combination knitting by accident for years... just didn't learn English correctly from the diagram, and yes, it is faster I think.

I've heard that the problems with it are with executing decreases and such--but you just have to adapt.

It's nice knowing all three types, isn't it!

It's all about the stitch. For it to be faster, you have to put the yarn on the left hand. What I really like is while ribbing, I have no trouble knowing what is coming next because of the orientation of the next loop. I expect, after a while, I'll be able to rib without looking.
Yes, knowing all three methods, I now feel as if the shackles have been removed from my hands. On combination, while I build familiarity, I'll sometimes start with throwing the stitch, with the yarn in my right hand, then switch the yarn to the left hand and scoop. My left hand is not completely comfortable yet with the pattern; but, it is the fastest way. I will conquer. And, I had heard that decreases and such don't work as well; but, for straight garter, or stockenette, ribbing and such, it's whiz bang pop... fast.
For combination, on the right hand, for ribbing it's *throw(k), throw, throw(p), lather rinse repeat from *, no time saved really; but, using the left hand it's: *scoop(k), shift, scoop(p), shift, lather rince repeat from *... very fast.
Knitting and Crocheting since 2006


I don't know anything about this. I'll have to check it out online. Combination knitting. Sounds interesting, but I'm afraid it also sounds ambidextrous, which I am not.


You can learn it using your right hand to throw, with is only slightly faster than English; but, once you learn it on your right hand, switching to the left hand for the yarn is fairly easy, and so much faster you'll want to do it.

To combo, starting from the English method. On a knit, just knit into the back of the loop (right to left), instead of the front (left to right).
Then, to purl, (English Combo), put the yarn in as usual to purl, but trow it clockwise instead of counterclockwise, and then pull the yarn through the stitch, just like normal purling.

That's the first step. You can mix methods; but, not in the middle of a row. Once you''ve done it a couple of times, it's a no brainer. To finish, and move to the fast method, just put the yarn in the left hand, and keep doing what you were doing when it was in the right hand. Don't switch to the left hand, until you've mastered doing it with the yarn in the right hand.

In a way, I think, all knitting is ambidextrous, both hands are working no matter which method you use.

Knitting and Crocheting since 2006


Crafty Andy's picture

Visit Crafty Andy's Blog You don't need to be ambidextrous, but it helps. Sometimes when I am doing "Color Stranding" knitting or it's equivalent, in crochet "Tapestry Crochet" I use this technique, but I rather have all my strands of yarn on my left hand and I find it faster to knit or crochet. I use a yarn guide to keep up to 3 strands on one side most times!

**just knit into the back of the loop (right to left) instead of the front (left to right)** - are you absolutely sure about this?

MichaelJames's picture

I don't get this at all....if you knit into the back of a stitch, doesn't the stitch pop? My Canyonville sweater was all knit into the back/purl into the back...so that the stitches would be raised. MichaelJames


All I know is, in combo, when you knit into the back, you wrap, (or scoop with the needle) the yarn, which is put on the left side of the needle, when it's through the back (the loop is oriented FL-BR. I'm thinking it would pop if you mixed methods, like mixed a *continental knit, and then combo knit, repeat from * because of the orientation of the starting loop. For the first row, it doesn't matter, and establishes orientation. The rows thereafter are oriented for combo knit/purl.

For example: The loop is oriented FR-BL for English-throw, or continental KNIT, but FL-BR for combo KNIT. The loop is oriented FR-BL for English-throw or Combo PURL.
The Combo PURL row creates the flipped FL-BR orientation for the next Combo KNIT row.
If you mix methods; I presume (because I haven't checked) that you have to switch for the whole row, and do it at a PURL row, to fix the orientation for the next row to not get popping.

In other words, I suspect that if one made an *English or Continental PURL row, and then combo KNIT the next row, repeat from *, which is what you said, I think, a row would pop. Or, since one always does KNIT from the back loop for combination, and a reversed wrap for combination PURL, there are now popped, bumps. Then to make a pop, in combination method, one would simple flip the wrap on the PURL to make a row, or stitch pop.

Makes sense to me, I hope it's not as clear as mud to you?

Knitting and Crocheting since 2006


.... heading for a dark room with an ice pack.

Crafty Andy's picture

Visit Crafty Andy's Blog
Combined knitting (also called Combination knitting) twists stitches in one row only to untwist them in the next. When applied appropriately, each method produces the same fabric, so no one way is more correct than the other.
The point behind this train of thought is not trivial. The Beginner knitting books published in the States almost exclusively show Western knitting, and they place a heavier emphasis on holding the yarn in the English style. Understandably so: if the beginner knitter comes across a troublesome stitch, he or she can ask another knitter for help with the assumption that they knit in the same style. Basically, this is a way to enforce and propagate uniformity, simplifying life by most accounts. By the same token, those beginner knitters who have found it more comfortable to knit differently than in the Western style may go through "rejection and conversion" of sorts - more experienced knitters will say, "you're not understanding this pattern or this stitch because you're knitting wrong!" followed by conversion to knitting Western style. This has personally happened to me. I will say that cobinatin knitting is a way of knitting that may seem to be fast, but you need to be careful if you are following patterns that are not meant for that way of knitting because you willnot get the same pattern that the designer designed unless it was designed for combined knitting. Remember that some yarns do not untwist that easy and as the Skein turns we all work yarn in a different way. Be mindful that a SSk may need to be substituted by a K2 Tog and if the pattern calls for one or two stitches to be knitted in the back youwill have to remember not to untwist those two stitches when you are coming back on the next row. It is in my opinion too complicated for people that are trying to follow a pattern and get the results the patterns calls for without the necessary experience to make the right substitutions of stitches and such, it is perfect for free form knitters that are making their own patterns as they go, in no way I consider it bad , just another way of knitting.

For the longest of times I have knitted on the back loop of the stitches understanding that it's my way, but to no surprise sometimes things did not look like the picture lol! This is my one pence opinion or like they say in the States my 2 cents worth. Go and challenge yourself and learn new things it is all fun!

For more info visit Combination Knitting Link

kiwiknitter's picture

Annie Modesitt's book "Confessions of a Heretic Knitter" is the best on this subject. I understand the system but I can't understand how it's better than "regular" knitting.

Knit like the wind!

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

If I said better, I apologise; I'd never intentionally run down anyone's method of knitting; but, as far as speed goes; right handed combination, feeding the yarn with the left hand is, for me, at least four or more times faster than throwing, especially when it comes to plain knitting and purling, for garter, or stockinette. It, combo, can handle a few things; but, some other things are harder, you'd have to come across them to find out; and I haven't found them all. One thing I can say is harder and that is: picking up a wrapped stitch, to hide it, on a short row is a real pain, knit or purl.
Knitting and Crocheting since 2006