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Knitting with one needle under arm

(105 Posts)
Streaky Thu 12-Nov-20 15:11:33

This was the method I was taught by my Mum. I have moved into a flat, bought new furniture to fit, but my new chair has big padded arms and I find I can’t knit without my arms knocking into the chairs arms, there is just no room.
How easy would it be to try and learn a different method of knitting, I am 74. Any advice would be much appreciated.
I can crochet but much prefer knitting.

Callistemon Thu 12-Nov-20 15:30:21

I've seen people doing this but never managed it.

It may take perseverance but you should be able to master a different style - try following YouTube videos. After years of saying I couldn't crochet, that is how I taught myself last year (same age as you!).
Yes, you can learn new tricks smile

petra Thu 12-Nov-20 15:40:08

I've just watched a YouTube of a woman knitting like that.
But she also demonstrated knitting cable without using a cable kneedle.
Can you do that?

Callistemon Thu 12-Nov-20 15:46:39

Was it a twist pattern or did she use her fingers?

I've done a type of cable without using the cable needle but it was a while ago.
No-one wants granny's knitted garments now, they are into sports wear! sad

Alegrias2 Thu 12-Nov-20 15:48:39

I knit like that Streaky, it was how I was taught too. I tend to knit perched on the edge of the sofa, at an angle of 45 degrees if you see what I mean, so that I'm not banging into the arms. Its probably not too good for my posture but I'm used to it now.

My mum, now in her eighties, has the needles under both arms. No idea how she manages that!

Shrub Thu 12-Nov-20 15:48:47

I remember my mother knitting with one needle tucked under her arm. I seem to remember she said she had been taught to do it by a French lady. I'm not much of a knitter, but would the circular needles be easier to use?

Gagagran Thu 12-Nov-20 15:51:00

I was taught to knit like that too Streaky and really can't imagine doing it any other way after 70 years! I have my left hand needle under my arm but a left-handed friend always had hers under her right arm. Suppose so we can use our dominant hand to control the wool.

I would find another chair to sit in to knit if I were you and save yourself the angst of trying to learn another way to knit!

petra Thu 12-Nov-20 15:51:56

She seemed to just put the needles in a certain way and bobs your uncle. She did do it very fast. Out of interest im going to see if there's a video of it being done slowly.
I would love to knit some cable again but I have enough jumpers and my grandchildren don't want them.
I love a really complicated one. With bobbles as well.?

Nannarose Thu 12-Nov-20 16:30:50

Good heavens! I have never heard of this, and am off to have a look. I always say that I cannot knit, cannot hold the tension, so I crochet. I love it, but it is less flexible.

Nannarose Thu 12-Nov-20 16:32:00

PS: sorry to hi-jack the thread, should have said that I have no ideas to offer, but crochet is lovely, and does offer patterns that can't be done with knitting.

Oldbat1 Thu 12-Nov-20 16:45:41

I’ve been knitting since primary school but I just cannot crochet. I’ve tried. It is the tension I think I can’t cope with. I bought all the hooks at start of first lockdown watched loads of videos etc but total failure.

biba70 Thu 12-Nov-20 16:48:46

We used to have competitions with my MIL- she knitted the UK way, and me the German/central Europe way, needles around wool instead of wool round needle - flapping away. We both believed our way was best and fastest, lol.

The needle under arm way is Italian/southern europe way I believe.

biba70 Thu 12-Nov-20 16:54:34

Shtelands too apparently.

Kalu Thu 12-Nov-20 16:58:26

I really don’t think Shetlanders were aware of how Italians held their knitting needles BiBa ?

Oldbat1 Thu 12-Nov-20 16:59:40

Forgot to say my mum knitted with knitting needle under her armpit but I think the needles were longer then. This would be in the 50s 60s 70s. There was very little in the way of movement either whereas I’m a more clumsy knitter.

threexnanny Thu 12-Nov-20 17:00:39

I haven't tried it but have seen it done in the Shetland Islands. They had a leather slot attached to their garments at the waist which held one needle in place while the other needle did all the work. No doubt you can buy something similar.

Kalu Thu 12-Nov-20 17:04:39

Streaky, I always worked with one needle under arm but I now use circular needles which has stopped the problem you are having. This method also allows me to knit any width as stitches are on a cable. I ordered them on Amazon.

pollyperkins Thu 12-Nov-20 17:06:38

My sister in law used to do that back in the 50s & 60s. I can knit quite fast without taking my hands off the needles but can’t do it with a needle under my arm.
When I see young women ‘knitting’ on TV they are often obviously novices and take their right hand off the needle every time they need to loop their wool round.

Alegrias2 Thu 12-Nov-20 17:13:10

The needle under the arm is the way its done in North East Scotland too. I can't be bothered with short needles and have a set of 14" ones that allow me to get up a head of steam smile

My great grandma used to use a knitting belt and she could knit as she was walking along!

Kalu Thu 12-Nov-20 17:23:33

I do most of my knitting when watching television.

I think shorter needles may be a better solution for the OP Alergrias

Streaky Thu 12-Nov-20 17:27:17

Thank you for all your suggestions. I too sit at an angle on the chair but it isn’t great for posture. I think I might try circular needles and see if that works better for me.

Alegrias2 Thu 12-Nov-20 17:27:55

I think your suggestion of circular needles would also work Kalu

biba70 Thu 12-Nov-20 17:29:24

When I spent 7.5 months in hospital in 1970- with 4.5 months flat on my back in traction- I just could not knit because of the German/Swiss flappy needles methods. I hated needle work at school, but had to find ways to distract myself. No phones, no internet, no TV in those days- and you can't read all day.
Taught myself to crochet and embroider - much to the amazement of my grandmother ;)

Wheniwasyourage Thu 12-Nov-20 17:35:44

I was brought up in Glasgow and always knit with my left needle under my arm. My mother was from the NE of England, just to complicate things, and she taught me to knit. To me, the way of knitting with both needles held in front of your body looks awkward, but it seems to work.

Shrub suggests circular needles, and that would certainly make sitting in your chair easier. I use them a lot, as I hate sewing up, and they are just as good for flat knitting as for circular, if that makes sense. I sometimes do as Alegrias2 does too, and sit squint if I'm on a difficult chair.

Was your great grandma from Shetland, Alegrias2? I believe that they would walk along knitting while carrying the peats home (and no doubt the baby too), as they had to make full use of time when the knitting was a way of earning money.

Luckygirl Thu 12-Nov-20 17:36:12

I cannot bear to watch people knitting and lifting their hand off the needle to put the wool round on each stitch. It looks so laborious. I just wind it round my fingers and flick the wool forward without letting go of the needle.