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Knitting - holding the yarn????

(33 Posts)
Rosiebee Mon 14-Dec-20 23:58:47

I'm not an absolute beginner. First thing I ever made was an Aran sweater but there is no flow to my movements. I always take my hand off the needle to put the yarn over. I found it so laborious that after two jumpers I gave up and reverted to my first love of crochet. I read in a thread on here that a lady commented that you just "flick the yarn over". Well I have sat tonight with wool and needles doing a contortionist impression of flicking my wool.
During lockdown I made quite complicated crochet blankets and scarves but I would love to knit something to wear. Can anyone recommend a video that shows the way to knit without dropping the needle every stitch? My tension with crochet is spot on but I just feel so clumsy with a pair of needles.

Mogsmaw Tue 15-Dec-20 00:16:46

I can’t recommend a particular video but if you look for “continental” style, it’s how I knit with the wool in my left hand and you don’t have to let go the needles but sort of pluck the yarn. I think it’s more like crochet. But when I tried crochet a lovely lady said I was “going the wrong way”.
I think the key is to do what is comfortable for you and has the flow you want.
Good luck, try coming over to revelry, there is lots of help there.

Doodledog Tue 15-Dec-20 01:15:41

‘Throwing the yarn’ is sometimes called the English style of knitting. The Continental style is used in Europe and I used to know someone from Shetland who knitted differently again.

I am told that the Continental method is the most efficient, and I have tried it, but as I have been knitting for so long in the English way it is firmly rooted in my muscle memory and I couldn’t master another way of doing it.

I agree with Mogsmaw that the best way to knit is the way that comes most naturally to you, which is likely to be the way you were taught.

CanadianGran Tue 15-Dec-20 03:41:57

Just go to youtube and look up knitting methods. There are plenty of video's.

I do the same as you, and never could get the hang of flicking the yarn over.

tanith Tue 15-Dec-20 07:49:08

I’ve always wound the wool round 3 fingers on my right hand so as the right hand needle goes through the next stitch I only need to stretch the fingers forward to hook the wool round the tip and pull it through. I don’t know what method it is but it just evolved when I learnt from my Mum.

JackyB Tue 15-Dec-20 07:59:06

I thought I was the only one who did this and was ashamed of it because I thought it was the child's way of knitting and I had never got out of the habit. I would never knit in public, because of my embarrassment about that.

It is true that different countries knit differently. A friend of mine was knitting in a doctor's waiting room here in Germany and someone told her she was "doing it wrong!". And in France they do it differently again.

I can follow knitting and crochet patterns in French and German but I am such an uneven knitter I have stopped trying all together.

I might try and learn the flicking method from YouTube to see if it makes for a more even result.

Whitewavemark2 Tue 15-Dec-20 08:44:36

I’m ok with holding the yarn, but not a very even knitter.

I have an Aunt who knitting is so even it looks almost like a machine has produced it. Very impressive.

Welshwife Tue 15-Dec-20 09:28:30

I do it the way Tanith describes. I find that my knitting is much more even when I do an amount in one go - I never stop knitting in the middle of a row.

tanith Tue 15-Dec-20 09:42:32

Welshwife my Mum w who taught me was also Welsh so maybe its the 'Welsh' method ?

Callistemon Tue 15-Dec-20 10:00:20

I 'throw' the yarn and I'm sure there are no right or wrong ways to knit, just what suits you. However, some will be faster than others.

Rosiebee, you sound like an expert crocheted and I am a novice, so is there a right way and a wrong way to hold a crochet hook? I think that the right way is the opposite way to holding a knitting needle but, as a knitter, I just can't seem to do that.

Callistemon Tue 15-Dec-20 10:00:41


Callistemon Tue 15-Dec-20 10:03:05


I’ve always wound the wool round 3 fingers on my right hand so as the right hand needle goes through the next stitch I only need to stretch the fingers forward to hook the wool round the tip and pull it through. I don’t know what method it is but it just evolved when I learnt from my Mum.

I think that's what I do.
It's odd, but I've knitted for 60 years and unless I went and did a row I wouldn't be able to describe it!

Mind you, I have been crocheting instead during lockdown.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Tue 15-Dec-20 10:08:57

My dear old Mum could knit so fast you could barely see her fingers move - oh, that my efforts could be so elegant! I think the way you arrange the wool over/around your fingertips makes all the difference.

By comparison my efforts look slow and awkward but I still make progress. If you enjoy the results I don't think you should get too hung up about the 'right' method.

Luckygirl Tue 15-Dec-20 10:09:35

I wind the wool twice round middle finger of right hand and all you need to then is to put the wool round the needle without letting go of the needle, paying out the wool bit by bit. It is hard to describe but easy to do!!

Callistemon Tue 15-Dec-20 10:35:23

I've just looked up various styles of knitting so that I could link to a Toutube video of how I knit but realise that I don't know it like any of them.

So my style could be unique, taught me by my mother.
I wont try to explain it; it suits me though!

Callistemon Tue 15-Dec-20 10:35:41


Callistemon Tue 15-Dec-20 10:36:30

Sorry -
I don't knit like any of the ways described

Bathsheba Tue 15-Dec-20 10:53:32

I've just been looking at a video (by an American called Autumn Wintersgill - yes, really). She calls what the OP has described - taking the right hand off the needle to put the yarn round - the 'English method', and the 'flicking' style, where you have the yarn round the index finger and just flick it over the needle, the 'American method' hmm.

Well, I'm sorry to disagree Autumn Wintersgill, but all the knitters I know wrap the yarn around their fingers and 'flick' it round the needle. It was the way I was taught by my very English mother, who in turn was taught by her very English mother. It was also the way we were taught at school.

Gosh, if that's how American knitters think we knit here, they must wonder how we ever get any garments finished!

GrandmasueUK Tue 15-Dec-20 11:02:28

I saw someone knitting on television over the weekend and she was incredibly quick and dainty and for the life of me I can't remember who it was or what programme/film it was on. It's driving me mad, as I even remarked on it to DP at the time how lovely it looked!

Callistemon Tue 15-Dec-20 11:13:05

How do you all hold the RH needle?
Like a pen or a knife?
In all the videos I watch, the knitter holds it like a knife.

I hold it like a pen so I have to let go of the needle to flick the yarn but don't take my hand off.

Witzend Tue 15-Dec-20 11:17:00

My mother taught taught me fairly early on how to knit without the laborious method. She said it would make my knitting much quicker and more even, and it did.

You wind the yarn round your little finger, then under your 2 middle fingers, then over the top of your index finger, say just below your nail.
It’s then so quick and easy to put the yarn round the needle tip, and it ‘feeds’ easily through your fingers. Well worth a little bit of practice! A few practice rows should do it.

Not long ago I saw a girl on the bus very laboriously knitting the other way and was dying to show her, but didn’t, in case she thought I was an interfering/bossy old bat!

Witzend Tue 15-Dec-20 11:27:37

I hold it between thumb and forefinger, @Callistemon, but it’s so instinctive, I really had to stop and think!
Right forefinger is constantly on the move, though, putting the yarn round the left hand needle.

Witzend Tue 15-Dec-20 11:45:13

Round the right hand needle, I should have said!

WOODMOUSE49 Tue 15-Dec-20 11:52:55

I've been knitting your way (drop the needle) for nearly 65 years now. However, I balance the two needles with my left hand so the right needle doesn't actually drop.

I've tried the other method as it looked so easy but I'm stuck in my ways. The knitting still turns out successfully and I mainly do intricate styles that involve cable needles.

GrandmasueUK Tue 15-Dec-20 12:00:58

I found the clip - it was on Great Expectations - the adult Estella (Valerie Hobson) - I was mesmerised at the speed at which she knitted.