Thursday, December 4, 2008

How I Knit

I got the Yarn Harlot's new book, Free-Range Knitter, almost immediately when I came out. I found it to be more thoughtful and philosophical than funny - which I think is okay. I was particularly interested by her portraits of other knitters and how they go about their knitting. I found them a little difficult to follow. Knitting is difficult to picture when put into words, but I was still really interested. I've been looking at the way I knit a lot as a result, and I'm going to take a stab at trying to describe how I do it - even though I suspect it will be just as hard to follow.

I carry the yarn in my right hand, looped around my middle three fingers as many times as it takes to get a tension that I'm comfortable with, and then over my extended index finger to the needles.

I hold the needles palm down, with my thumbs facing me and my fingers loosely curled under. My left hand needle rests loosely pretty loosely with my fingers curled under them except for my index finger and thumb. On my left hand, these two fingers grip the needle near the tip to keep it from going anywhere. The first finger usually rests on the top stitch, keeping it from popping off the needle while I make my knit stitch in it. I think my left pinky finger is largely responsible for making sure I don't drop the needle, curled securely around the base of the needle and holding it against my hand. In my right hand, the pinky and ring finger are both pretty loose, with my ring finger barely touching the needle. Since my first finger is extended on the right hand, I hold the needle against my middle finger with my thumb.

When I make a stitch, my right hand puts the right needle into the stitch, and then, my left thumb comes forward to pinch the two needles together. Then, the fingers of my right hand let go of the right needle. The fingers of my right hand straighten and my right thumb moves inward to press against my middle finger, sometimes pinching on the yarn feeding from the loops around my fingers to my index finger, to keep it from sliding too far - sort of like I am making the number four, only with my thumb a little higher. The left hand takes the two needles together in a quick circle to catch the yarn, then my left thumb lets go, and my right fingers and thumb curl back around the right needle, and guide the needle back through the loop and knock the needle off the stitch. My left index finger moves the next stitch up on the needle.

Then I do it all over again. It's incredibly complicated and I'm sure I have done one or more fingers an injustice here and leaving one or more of their jobs out.

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