Tag Archives: lever knitting

Lever Knitting Learned(ish)

It turns out I’m not as fond of it as I thought I’d be.  It might have something to do with the fact that I have a strong preference for circular needles over straights, and that my ring finger is so used to curling under to help support the needle instead of extending out to hold the yarn.  I’m glad that I tried it, though, because the Great Lever Knitting Experiment of 2012 sparked the Great Knitting Styles Experiment of 2012.

That is, I finally figured out how to knit continental style.  It’s probably been five years since I even tried, and ten years since my first attempt.  This time, however, I made it work.  My problems all stemmed, it would seem, from funky tension and an inability to use a finger other than my left pointer to control which stitches leave the left needle.  Now, I can use my left thumb to control the stitches on the left needle, and my left ring finger finally figured out how to control the tension.  I’m still not totally comfortable with it, but I think that if I ever do stranded colorwork, I’ll be able to hold at least one color in my left hand.

My problem areas are always the initial and final two stitches, no matter what method, so I’ve been knitting narrow pieces.

On this swatch, the gauge change is obvious between lever knitting (lower section, very uneven, relatively loose gauge), continental knitting (middle section, very tight but even gauge), and my normal style (top section, relatively loose, even gauge).

I also started thinking about how to knit faster holding my yarn in my right hand.  I normally pinch my yarn between thumb and pointer.  When I work with two colors, I pinch one color with my pointer and one with my middle finger.  I’ve seen other people work with the yarn going over their right pointer, but could never figure out how to keep proper tension.  Enter this YouTube video.

I modified her method a little bit, wrapping the yarn around my ring finger and just draping it over my pointer, just like I would on my left hand for continental style knitting.

I can tension the yarn by squeezing my middle or pinky finger in.  The biggest bonus is that my left hand doesn’t have to do anything different.  Considering how cranky my left hand can be, this is a big advantage.  Here’s what my right hand looks like when I’m holding a needle (note that my thumb has nothing to do with controlling the yarn, it’s only because of the angle of the photo that it might look that way):

I don’t have the method perfect yet, but when it works, it really works.  A speed that feels comfortable with this method is already as fast as a comfortable speed my old way, and I’ve only spent 15 minutes or so knitting little swatches.  This green swatch is all done with the yarn over my right pointer.  The gauge here is tighter than my normal gauge, but not as tight as in continental, and very, very even.

Maybe one of these days I’ll set up a YouTube channel so I can show the action involved instead of just posting awkward still shots taken with my left hand.  I guess that means I’ll need a tripod as well.  I can’t think of a better reason to put this off.

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I Have to Learn Lever Knitting

For serious.  Like, right now.  Because I knit relatively fast for someone who throws her yarn (i.e. knits English style, with the yarn in the right hand), but it’s still so much slower than my friends who knit continental/German style.  I knit this way mainly because it’s the way that I was taught.  The other reason involves a left hand that’s a total idiot, and several very bad experiences with multiple dropped stitches for every stitch successfully completed when I was learning continental knitting.

Lever knitting is fast.  It would probably make me a faster knitter than my continental-knitting friends if I could get proficient, which would be awesome.  And I still get to hold my yarn in my right hand!  “In your face, continental knitters,” I would say.  “My left hand might be spastic, but I can knit fast now, too.  Oh, you aren’t done with your row yet?  Yep, I just blew past that stitch marker.  Guess you’ll just have to catch up on the next round!”  (Sorry, left hand.  You still get to hold the yarn when we crochet, all right?  And you get to say when stitches leave the left needle, which you’re very good at.  I love you really.  Please don’t get cranky now.)

So, this is one of my goals for this year.  Figure out lever knitting, hopefully before I get to the next ribbing section of my fuzzy pants.  I could change styles there and not worry about a gauge change being obvious and ugly.  I’m 1/4 of the way through the top fold-over part, and anticipate completing that some time this week or next, and then, LEVER KNITTING!

YouTube videos of the Yarn Harlot and a woman who learned from the Yarn Harlot are great references.

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