Saturday, 11 August 2007

English or Continental? Northern or Southern?

There is so much more to this knitting business than I realised at first...

I mentioned in my last post that I'd learnt to knit when I was younger. I thought I had forgotten it all; in fact, when I started to try to teach myself, I found that I had remember certain things which now felt like 'instinct'.

Should I teach myself to knit 'english' or 'continental' style? I didn't even know there was a difference until a webpage asked me. But, for me, it's just wrong to knit holding the wool in my left hand. (Which is, of course, because I was taught to knit with the yarn in my right hand - and even though I can remember little else, I can remember that).

Then I noticed that in the illustrations, online videos etc that everyone holds both their needles out in front of them. Whenever I get into the 'swing' of knitting though - I look at myself, and find in surprise that I have my right needle tucked under my right arm. It's not like I put it the exactly - it just always ends up there. And if it's not, well my knitting style feels a bit wobbly and insecure. I put this down to my own personal quirk (and decided to worry later about how to manage -if I ever got there - with those little circular needles, which clearly won't tuck...

Then my fabulous husband returned from our local wool shop (or yarn shop, or LYS) and said he'd been asked whether he knitted in 'Northern' or 'Southern' style. (There's a whole other post about my husband and knitting, but that will wait until another day.) "What?" I asked. I'd not seen that mentioned on the 'net or my knitting bible books. Apparently, southerners knit in front of them, northerners tuck a needle under their arms. Aha - so I am completely geographically correct. I knit like a Northern English person!

(I wonder how other Northern English people knit with tiny circular needles)

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