You Are Not Knitting Wrong!

I have a pet peeve.  Technically, I have a lot of pet peeves, but this one really gets me.  If you are knitting, and you get a finished product that doesn’t fall apart when you take it off the needles, you are knitting correctly.  If someone tells you otherwise, ignore them!!!!!!

Do an internet search for knitting styles or knitting techniques.  I use Bing for searches – I had over 5 million results.  “Continental.”  “English.”  “Portuguese.”  “Russian.”  “Norwegian.”  “Combination.”  Those are the ones I can do.  There are a lot of methods I can’t do (I will conquer “Lever/Irish Cottage” one of these days!).  There are probably a lot I’ve never even heard of.  Not one of these is intrinsically better than another.  As far as I can tell, from my exploration in knitting techniques, the difference is in how you tension your yarn.  If you pick your yarn, you tension with your left hand; if you throw, you tension with your left hand.  Or you can tension with your neck or a pin on your lapel and leave your hands more or less out of it!  How you manipulate your stitches change depending on how you tension.  But the knitting part of it is pulling a loop of yarn through another loop of yarn to make your fabric.

A customer came by the other day and said that someone told her that you can’t get good tension with “Continental” style.  What is good tension?  Matching the guage the pattern tells you?  What if the designer knits “Continental?”  Does that mean the designer has the wrong tension?  Did you know in England tension is what the U.S. calls gauge?  This is why you do a swatch!  Different yarn, different needles, my mood – all these change my tension.  And yes, how I hold my yarn changes my gauge/tension.  My gauge is tighter when I throw my yarn than when I pick; a friend who normally throws has tighter tension when she picks.  It depends on the individual. 

I suggest experimenting with different techniques.  Personally, I like to use double-points and throw when I’m knitting socks in public because it looks impressive, but otherwise I do what ever strikes my fancy that day.  I try to mix it up (not in projects; if I start a project throwing, I finish it throwing because switching back and forth changes my tension!) so I don’t over work my hands and wrists.  But there is no wrong way!


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