Category Archives: Techniques

In which I happily eat my own words…

I have been talking recently about “Knitting Styles” and my search for a style that will ease the pain in my hands caused by arthritis.  I had settled on continental as the way to go and said this about giving up on learning the Portuguese Style of Knitting….”I also have looked into “Portugese” knitting with Andrea Wong, but I honestly don’t know if I want to re-learn how to do every single stitch at this point in my life.”  

I am eating those words – happily with a cherry on top – since I enrolled in a Craftsy Class with Patty Lyons.

 

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I can’t even begin to find the words to describe how MUCH I enjoyed this class!  Her sense of humor, conversation, clear and concise instructions and the incredible amount of material covered in a fun and interesting manner makes the time fly by.  Taking this class felt like sitting down with an old friend and just having a good time doing what we love to do best!

My word eating came in around Lesson 5… Portuguese Style Knitting.  I have tried to wrap my thick Italian head around this for years, with no luck at all.  I watched Patty’s lesson once, turned off the computer and although these may look like nothing more than dishcloths… let me tell you that I am so excited that I could frame them and hang them in my living room.  These were both knit Portuguese Style, in two hours!  That may also not seem terribly impressive, except for the fact that my hands hurt so much English and Continental Style that knitting for two hours straight has not been possible at ALL for a very long time!  IMG_20150221_094333The cloth on the left (with stitch marker) was done all purl – which I might add, is so fast and easy and even in Portuguese, it is criminal! lol  The cloth on the right was done all knit – which is what hung me up for all of these years.  Patty deconstructed it so neatly that I truly had a slap my forehead moment, and off I went.  Don’t EVEN get me started on the bindoff …. easy, beautiful, fast and not tight at all – LOVE IT!

I have been knitting for 50 years, and while I know what to do, how to do it, what it should look like….  what I didn’t realize is that I didn’t know the “why” of it… the “reasons” we do what we do, the “reasons” the stitches are seated in a certain way.  This may not seem relevant to some of you – I know it didn’t seem relevant to me at all, as a matter of fact, I never even gave it a thought until I took this class!  I had so many “ah ha!” moments listening to her that I had to laugh at myself 🙂

The other things I love, love, love about this class is that she goes over increases and decreases in every style, knitwise and purlwise, as they are worked differently in the different styles of knitting.  She doesn’t just “show” you how to do it, she explains, “why” you do it that way in relation to the way the stitches are seated.  All in all, this is a video class that is worth its weight in gold and Patty Lyons has given me the greatest gift of all…. the gift of being able to knit without pain.  My wishes in this quest for a new knitting style have come true… the speed and even stitches in which a beginner Portuguese Style Knitter can knit is amazing…. AND more importantly, for me,  it is pain free!

I don’t want to give the impression that her class is only about Portuguese Style Knitting because that is only one chapter.  It is a treasure trove of information…

  1. Lesson 1  – Alternative Methods and Styles Overview
  2. Lesson 2  – English
  3. Lesson 3 –  Continental
  4. Lesson 4 –  Eastern and Combination
  5. Lesson 5 – Portuguese
  6. Lesson 6 – Knitting & Purling Backwards
  7. Lesson 7 – Combining Styles and Methods
  8. Lesson 8 – Bonus – Alternative Cast-ons

For me, this has truly been a blessing, a gift, and a ton of fun!  I will continue to practice continental and lever knitting, and I’m sure my throwing will be used as well.   I believe you can’t have too many tools when it comes to doing what you love doing, however, I know now that I can sit and knit for as long as I want without having to stop because of pain in my hands. 🙂

Enjoy the weekend, I am going to go and KNIT!

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Practice, practice, practice…

I honestly can’t say enough good things about Lorilee Beltman and her Knit Faster with Continental Knitting class on Craftsy. I have decided to continue practicing this method of knitting until my muscle memory kicks in and see if the arthritis pain in my fingers and right hand calms down. I have to say that I do enjoy knitting this way… it is very smooth and the transition between knit and purls is so much less cumbersome than throwing has been. I am also going to continue researching the lever knitting that I learned as a child. Being comfortable with different styles of knitting will be beneficial to me in the long run, I believe, as I have to assume that arthritis will only get worse, not better and I have absolutely no intention on giving up my knitting 🙂 I am excited about all of this as I truly do love to learn new things, and if it increases my speed and allows me to knit more – then it is a win, win situation all the way around! 🙂

I have been away from my blog for so long that I think I will just share some of the things that have taken place a little at a time, so here goes…

We lost our beloved Chocolate Lab, Beau, to Lymphoma in August of 2012 at the much too young age of 7.  It was devastating, to say the least, but he left us with so many cherished memories and he is never far from our thoughts.  He was truly an amazing boy who stuck by my side through all of my health issues and surgeries.  Losing him left a huge hole in all of our lives.

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In February of 2013, we welcomed 8 week old Jack to our family… He reminds us, at times, of the Tasmanian devil, keeps us on our toes, and is a total lovebug.. most of the time 😉  lol  I’m sure he will be making an appearance here and there on this blog, as he loves to occasionally steal my knitting and play cats cradle running through the dining room table and chairs with it…

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There has been knitting as well…  Since we are having such a crazy winter here in the Northeast, my daughter Nikki needed a nice warm hat.  This is The Vermonter from Ravelry… works up quickly and looks great 🙂   The mitts are Ragtop also from Ravelry and I have to say they are my new favorite mitts to knit.  Superfast and a great pattern.

IMG_20150130_203233_medium2     Ragtop

We are bracing for another “blizzard” here, so I will have much more time to “Practice, practice, practice” my new (to me) knitting styles 🙂

Exploring Knitting Styles

I’m a “thrower” or “English Style Knitter”…. Sounds like a confession of sorts, but I have recently been looking into alternative knitting styles for a couple of reasons. I would very much like to speed up my knitting, but I also have arthritis in the fingers of my right hand which has been causing me some problems.

I learned to knit when I was 5 years old from my Italian Grandmother who knit like the wind. I remember listening to the subtle, rhythmic “clicking” of her needles as she whipped up slippers, afghans and shawls for the family in no time at all. I knit for a few years as a child and then switched to mostly crochet until I was in my 20’s. By that time, my beloved Grandmother had passed away and all that I had learned from her was unclear in my mind. I do remember her tucking her long straight needle under her arm and taking off like a shot! As I tried to recreate how I was taught, well meaning friends and acquaintances brought to my attention that I was knitting “incorrectly” and gave me an unending stream of “advice”. I adjusted my knitting style to fall in line with the “correct” way to “throw” the yarn and have knit that way since. The next time I saw anyone knit the way my grandmother did was when I saw the Yarn Harlot and her “Irish Cottage Knitting” or “Lever Style Knitting”. It was a complete ah ha! moment for me, as I finally realized that there is no “wrong” way to knit! Unfortunately, I am having a hard time recreating the knitting of my childhood with circulars and dpn’s and am none to smooth with the long straights… yet.

I also forayed into continental knitting by taking a Craftsy Class online. The instructor is fantastic and I had no problem learning this method and picking up some very good speed while doing it. Unfortunately, the arthritis in the fingers of my right hand is very much aggravated when knitting this way. I also have looked into “Portugese” knitting with Andrea Wong, but I honestly don’t know if I want to re-learn how to do every single stitch at this point in my life.

What style of knitting do all of you use, and why? Any suggestions for me on re-learning the “lever knitting”? I would so love to take the Yarn Harlot’s – Knitting for Speed and Efficiency class, but have yet to get into one in my area.