Thursday, March 02, 2006

Remember the first time you picked up needles?

Remember how awkward it was?
I started on straight needles...metal, but not addis...there was no way I would pay that much for needles.
It took forever to cast on and then when I knit I anchored the right needle under my arm...or against my body and knit. Yeah, just picture it. Pick up the yarn, wrap it around...I don't even know how I did it.

Then one day I decided to try knitting on circular needles. How awkward. No place to anchor that needle...my hands and wrists had to do the work.
Watching another knitter I saw how she wove the working yarn around her fingers to keep tension. She moved so quickly...one fluid movement..."throwing" the yarn.
I had to master it.
That is how I decided I would knit from then on. And I did. I practiced...it got easier. I got faster. I broke down for the addis...and then some.

Why am I telling you this? Well, this is how I felt trying to knit with both hands. I knew how to hold the yarn...how it was suppose to work, but it felt so awkward. This "picking" way of knitting is going to take me a little while to master...but I can do it. My picking is looser than my throwing...but by the end of the second mitten...I was flying.



Now, the first mitten I knit throwing with my right hand...Maneuvering the strands of yarn every so slowly...but I had a pretty good method going. The stitches are even and the mitt fits like a glove. (go figure)
The second mitten I decided to practice the two handed method...so it is not so even. My purple stitches (the pickers) are looser and the tension is all wonky...but better near the top. The mitt itself is larger. It's ok though.
I am learning.
Now to block and hopefully everything will magically look perfect!

Questions to the readers who fair isle...
How do you weave in the ends? I try to knit them in as I go...but I have some to weave in and can't really see under the stranding. What is the secret?

Also, this book says to block the mitts inside out? Pour quoi?

I know you have read the buzz around blogland...that Purly!
Check out her yarn...the colours are to dye for! (ok, I'll stop)

Please don't keep her too busy though...I need some of that yarn too! (See that lovely book under the mittens...Norwegian Stockings here I come!)
Finally some solid colour sock yarn for beautifully textured socks or for my new love...fair isle. I know the multicolours are the trend now...but I love the classics.

16 comments:

Wool Winder said...

I've only knit one project that required two handed knitting, but it was fun once I got the hang of it. Great job on the mittens!

Peg said...

So good to hear of your experiences knitting continental! I plan to try it as soon as I finish the current pair of socks - a gift, or I would switch style on them! I am going to try the Fair Isle pattern in "Socks, Socks, Socks". Thanks for your blog site. It is one that I visit every day!

Beak-Knits said...

I love the mittens!!

I only go continental...I never could get throwing. I think it is because I crocheted first. Great tips on Fair Isle!

Purly Whites said...

Aaaw, you are so sweet!

I have been practicing two handed stranded knitting and I found that if I actually just knit a swatch only picking for a little bit each day for about a week, by the end of the week, my tension was the same as when I was throwing. I love knitting two-handed know and it looks mighty impressive to those who watch you do it.

I think I weaved in my ends underneath the strands. If that helps at all.

grumperina said...

I hear you! Except reverse throw for pick. I feel that learning to throw was like learning to knit all over again! But I'm happy I did, because now my knitting is flying and my tension is pretty good!

Jessica said...

You can always hold both yarns in your right hand too.
Blocking inside out is to even out the floats. Joyce Williams, author of Latvian Dreams, goes so far as to knit all her stranded items inside out. She swears it makes her tension more even.

Lori said...

That's so funny....and exactly how I learned to knit!I always picked, though, which I think is from teaching myself to knit after crocheting for 15+ years--I just held the yarn the same way I always did.
Great job on the mittens!

Persnickety Knitter said...

I'm normally a thrower and I found learning to knit with 2 hands to be awkward and slow too -- but sooo much faster than doing 2 colors with 1 hand. And with 2 hands you don't have to worry so much about tangling the yarn. I also discovered that I can control the tension in my left hand better if I wrap the yarn around my pinky (previously I had used a wrap around my pointer). So maybe experiment with different ways to hold the yarn when picking?

I found that weaving in ends as you go leaves you with more bumpiness than you would get if you weave them in when you are done. I weave in ends through the purl bumps under the floats.

Kat said...

I'm trying continental knitting now too and my picking is MUCH looser than my throwing. Nothing like a big garter stitch Dulaan scarf to practice on, hopefully I'll figure it out so I can move on to some fair isle projects.

Stephanie said...

I'm with Purly and Grumperina - I stuck out the awkwardness of the throwing and now it's actually pretty decent looking. And I'm so excited about the beautiful solid sock yarn from our dear Purly - just what we need for the gorgeous socks we want to knit.

Elemmaciltur said...

I need to learn how to knit English Style...

Teresa C said...

Lovely mittens, and hooray for learning to throw. I am a firm believer that you must know how to knit from both hands.

I'll bet you block inside out to give a good blocking stretch to the floats. Just a thought.

Jeanie said...

I'm probably the only crocheter (for 20 plus years) that decided she preferred to knit English style as opposed to Continental style. Go figure. And I want so desperately to know how to knit both ways, as I hear ribbing goes much faster when you're a picker and not a thrower, plus I'm dying to try my hand at Fair Isle knitting. Your post is encouraging that it can be done though. Thanks!

jacqueline said...

i am determined to learn how to knit two handed this year...you are giving me some inspiration.

i think i might practise knitting a single colour but continental style first.

Maria said...

Continental? Throwing? Picking? You've got alot of explaining to do....ohh my aching head!

LisaB said...

I'm a thrower except when I do color. I love the two handed method. It makes me feel special! Last night I was just straight knitting, so I tried the picking method. I was starting to get the hang of it. Love learning new things!

I just weave my ends under the stranding.