An Experiment in My Knitting Technique

I’ve always been an English style knitter. A thrower. And a rather clumsy one at that.

I learned to knit when I was eight. Mom showed be the ropes (pun intended), but after that I taught myself most of what I know. I knitted in the way that felt most natural to me, clutching the yarn firmly in the fingers of my right hand. And since then, I’ve never deviated from this technique.

When I knit, my whole hand moves, not just my fingers. It works, but it’s terribly inefficient. I’ve observed other knitters forming stitches with only slight flicks of their fingers. It looks so calm. So slick. So fast! I’ve decided that I want to teach myself to knit that way.

Now comes the hard part: overcoming more than twenty years of muscle memory.

I’ve decided to start this process by practicing my new technique  on a simple garter stitch project: The Hitchhiker shawlette. Over the next mile or so of yarn, I’m going to repeat this new technique thousands of times. Will that be enough to retrain my brain? Probably not. But it’s a good first step.

Wish me luck.

By the way, the above is my first knitting video. (*Yay*) After the 4KCBW blog week, I decided that one of my goals for the next year was going to be: getting comfortable with video blogging. There’s a lot of room for improvement, but I wanted to get over the first hurdle and simply GET A VIDEO OUT THERE, DARNIT.  Now that I’ve taken that first step, I feel much more confident about what I might be able to produce next time around.  


  1. Good luck! I’ve developed something of a modified throw myself. I can knit continental, too, but I always end up back to English!

    • Maybe I’ll try continental again some day. I’ve attempted it a few times but it just feels wrong. Like trying to brush my hair with my left hand.

  2. I’m the same way! I’ve always been a thrower. I’ve tried continental and I know that if I got the hang of it, I’d knit faster which would help with my business, but it just feels clumsy and wrong!
    That’s a good idea, though, to dedicate a whole project to just knitting the new way. I’d like to hear how it goes!

  3. Great video. I am a thrower also and would love to be a little more efficient knitter. Good luck and I look forward to more videos.

  4. I am what is called a “shuttle knitter,” which I have also heard called English, but after seeing you knit, there is definitely a difference. I hold my right needle as if it were a pencil, with the yarn going over my pointer, under my next finger, over my fourth finger and under my pinky. I don’t let go of the RH needle when I wrap, as you seem to do. I manipulate the yarn with the first joint of my right pointer finger. DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE? I am the fastest – or almost the fastest (I almost said “fattest”) knitter I know.

    • I’ve never heard the term “shuttle knitter” before. It would be interesting to see you demonstrate your technique. I’m trying to image holding a needle like a pencil (from underneath and knitting as you describe.

      If I can teach myself not to let go of the right hand needle, I bet that would increase my efficiency quite a bit.

      I wonder how all of these changes will affect my gauge.

    • Sounds like I could also work on not dropping my right hand needle when I throw. I never thought about it before, but kjwinston is right that this might help my efficiency.

  5. Nice video! I have been an avid crocheter for over 35 years. I recently taught myself to knit (about 6 or 8 months ago) using the ‘throwing’ method. Clumsy, and slow! So, I decided I would learn to knit Continental style. I didn’t ‘get it’ until I saw a video where she was knitting Continental style, holding the yarn the same as I do, and ‘scooping’ the yarn. It was very similar to crocheting! That was my ‘aha!’ moment, and I have been a Happy Knitter ever since! (I will not, however, be abandoning my first love, Crochet♥) Now, if I could learn the ‘language’ of knitting as well as I do crochet . . .
    Good luck in your venture! You will have it down pat in no time. 😀 Can’t wait to see your shawlette.

  6. I need to do this. I look at the pictures and videos of how they hold their yarn and i just can’t do it.
    I might be a copy cat. I even have a hitchhiker on the go too. I’ll try not to be a creepy knitting stalker.

  7. Q – Continental knitter here, Norwegian purler. LOL! The women in my spinning class hunker over me when I purl, they think it’s so unusual. Muscle memory. You’ll practice long enough that your muscles will automatically be retrained. LOL!

  8. I taught myself how to knit Continental, although my mother-in-law tells me I knit “weird”. Maybe one of these days she’ll teach me how to knit proper, but my method is working for me so far. Good luck on retraining your muscles.

  9. I cannot manage to do something right with the yarn using the continental method, The Hitchhiker shawl is definitively a good practice project for this technique. I should try again with an all garter st project like you did.

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