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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Turns out I was doing it all wrong

It's no one's fault, really. My mom did show me the right way, but I forgot (and it's hard for my mother to teach me. She's left-handed, although I believe she knits right-handed. Still.) It was decades ago, after all.

And while I've knitted in public since, it wasn't in situations where anyone would watch me knit - filk rooms and panel rooms at cons, or on the bus. I couldn't even tell you who among the fannish knitters knit continental or, um, the other way that my hands simply won't do. So, I really had no idea.

For that matter, I wasn't in a position where I could see I was doing it wrong and correct it myself.

Then I was reading Grumperina's knitblog and she wrote about the binding off process she used for her father's socks. And it included a wholly unfamiliar abbreviation - TBL. So I looked that up on Google. It means "through the back loop" - and I looked at that, and I thought, "But that's how I do it!"

That is, I inserted the right needle into the back of the loop on the left needle when I knit. That's how I did that entire scarf. The stitches looked just fine - my mother saw it and was only positive. Logically, though, if there's a special abbreviation for that technique, it's not the standard one.

So, back to the net. And the net is such an amazing, useful tool. I found what I needed very quickly.

Apparently, the correct way to knit - it gives, I suppose, the correct twist to the loop - is to insert the right needle left to right in the front of the loop before knitting the stitch.

Now, as it happens, I was making a swatch because I had to rip the sock back and I wanted to start again using the proper needles - the bamboo size 0s that arrived while I was away, as opposed to the metal size 1s. (It feels like I'm knitting with toothpicks, but it's an improvement anyway.) I finished purling the row I was doing (and apparently I was doing *that* correctly - I checked) and started knitting the eensy weensy stitches according to the pictures on about.com, and it came quickly enough that I believe I had been taught correctly and had forgotten. I maybe should have practiced using worsted and larger needles, but, you know. This was already available.

I got my gauge (8 st/inch, just as Wendy says. Loose knitters of the world, unite!) and instead of ripping the swatch, I just snipped it off. It's already been ripped two or three times, and I don't think the wool can handle more. The toe is taking shape, and I think knitting correctly has made a difference. We will see.


ther eis no wrong way to knit

i knit though the back loop as well.

it is the russian way to knit infact

it makes yoru stitches a bit twisted, and hte resultign fabric is thicker (cold i nrussia you seE)

it is refered to combination knitting, or reverse eastern cross knitting or jsut russian knitting

i hav efoudn that knittinghte "proper" american way, withthe yarn in my right hand takes me ages. ifi knit continental, withthe yarn in my lef thand i go much faster. if i knit the russian way (liekcontinental but through back loop) i go even faster.

I knit continental -- taught by my Italian mother-in-law, y'see -- and my good friend thwomp knits "English" - the one where you hold the yarn in the right hand. It drives me NUTS to watch her because she has to wrap her whole hand around and I'm all "that is SUCH a waste of time and energy!"

Never knew that about Russian knitting - kinda cool!


she has nice videos of what combined knitting looks liek :)

I know! It just makes no sense to me. On the other hand, I'll bet continental makes no sense to her.

See, I did NOT know that.

You have made me feel a lot better.

(I do know that other things are not important. Example - I wind the working yarn around my left forefinger because that's how my mother does it - and how her mother did it. I've tried playing with draping the yarn around the fingers of my left hand and I can do it, but it feels completely wrong for me.

i wrap the yarn aroudn my forefinger too. the rest i press to my palm with my other fingers.

my grandma taught me to knit, while we were all still in Russia. was your mom form the general eastern-europe area? cause that would totally explain it all :)

My great-grandmother was from Poland, yes. I never met her (I was named for her), but it does make sense.

neat. :)

oh hey... you go to Arisia, do you think there should be a knitting type of gathering there?

There was last time. It was even on a Sunday, so I could sit in the last couple of minutes before a fanfiction panel in the same room.

I get rather jealous of knitters (and other needleworkers) on Shabbat at cons. They get to do their crafts during panels and filking. I have to. Watch.

how come you cna't knit on shabbat? is it because it is creating?

Weaving is completely forbidden, and knitting counts.

I can't even braid my hair on Shabbat (or unbraid it, for that matter.)

huh, i ahd never heard about hte weving, or hte hair... but hteni am vaguely Conservative and not really observant much at all beyogn hte no-pork thing...

though i totally feel yoru pain, i hate watchignfriends eat pizza aroudn passoveer time :)

I am left handed. I knit right-handed continental, which means I hold the yarn in my left hand, which makes sense to my left-handed self.

I am entirely self taught. I did my first real knitting project (the inevitable Harry Potter scarf in Slytherin colors), and only afterwards discovered that I'd been wrapping the yarn the wrong way around the needle, so all my stiches were twisted or backwards or something. But since the whole scarf was done the same way, it looked like I meant to do it. :)

There is no wrong way to knit. One person's mistake is another person's deliberate stitch. If you don't believe me, read anything Elizabeth Zimmerman ever wrote. Good luck!

oh yes!!! get Elizabeth Zimmerman's "knitting without tears" book, ti is worht the read.

I read Elizabeth Zimmerman years ago, but since my mom never used circulars when she wasn't knitting a poncho (I can't believe *they* came back!), I didn't pay much attention.

Maybe now I will. When I get my courage up to knit more than, you know. Tubes.

Harry Potter scarves seem to be a rite of passage. Mine is book-color Ravenclaw.

And, yeah, if an entire project is one way, what could possibly be the problem?

(no subject) - (Anonymous)

One does wonder.

It's more intuitive, maybe. The yarn's in back, right? It certainly made more sense to me.

I've been experimenting with learning how to knit as shown at http://www.knittinghelp.com - I think what you're describing is what they call combination knitting, which is also explained at http://www.anniemodesitt.com

I haven't actually decided which way I like better, but apparently this method causes some problems with more complicated patterns. Personally, I was just relieved to find out I could knit with the yarn in my left hand instead of my right, as that makes things way too awkward for me.

You're all making me feel so much better. Thank you.

There must be an advantage to English style knitting. Is the tension more even, I wonder?

That's a good question. I've spent way too much time crocheting to be comfortable that way, and it certainly seems slower. Maybe it's just the way the different traditions evolved?

For me personally, English is *tighter* tension than Continental, but is so slow that I prefer going down three or four needle sizes instead of doing it. I'm glad I know it, though, because it's great to know both English and Continental when doing colorwork.

I knit through the back loop when I first started and as long as I was just knitting and purling, there was never a problem. The problem occured when, like you, I tried to follow a pattern. Because knitting that way creates a twisted stitch, it doesn't always work when there are other stitches involved, like increases, decreases, or stitches for lace. Also, in some yarns, the yarns will actually unravel on the needle because of the twist which drove me batty.

I decided to fix it, went to knittinghelp.com (my life saver) and since then I've had no problems with patterns.

Good luck with your socks. The bamboo needles will be much better, I'm sure. Metal DPNs are way too slippery for me and I'm a fairly tight knitter.

I didn't realize that I was twisting stitches in my knitting until sometime around my fourth or fifth sweater, when I did it the other way and thought, "hey! that looks different!" (So, basically, I'd been twisting stitches for at least nine years....) As long as you're consistent, it's fine.

If you run across The Anarchist's Guide to Knitting by Anna Zilboorg, it's got a good discussion of loop position.

You are not alone! I know someone who made an entire sweater by knitting through the back loop -- aka twisted knit stitch.

We only figured out that was what she was doing (and why the yardage wasn't right for the pattern and why she had such a hard time block the sweater) when she complained that SSK and Knit2together were the same stich while working on a lace shawl.