a girl and her boy

. daily life : wool obsession : bibliomania : living on purpose .

Continental Break-through.

A few days ago I posted about the life-changing event that took place at Fiberphilia and the resulting decision, namely to learn to knit using the continental style of holding the strand. I didn’t realize what this decision fully entailed until that night when I was home working on a moss stitch scarf for my brother-in-law. I found myself getting stressed, frustrated, and tired. I couldn’t keep the tension. I couldn’t get the strand to move around my pointer. I’d end up dropping the strand when dipping for a purl. I was ready to throw the knitting across the room, or shake it up and down like a frustrated 3-year-old with a teddy bear while wailing. Knitting has never ever felt like this for me before.

I tried so hard for a few days to sit and knit and those sessions always ended in walking away after 15 minutes. Not cool. I finally took a look at the knit-stitch video at Knitting Help again. That’s when the break-through occurred. I had been wrapping the strand once around my pinky and twice around my pointer. I couldn’t keep the strand moving that way. I watched the video and she showed two ways of wrapping the yarn. It was the second that dissipated my frustration. I wrapped twice around my pinky and once around my pointer and off I went! I zipped through several rows on a baby blanket like I used to with the old method. It was the most wonderful experience.

Despite the frustration that learning continental has been, it has been immensely valuable as it has encouraged me to try out other techniques and styles that I’d never considered before. It has urged me on to be a better, more skilled, more diverse knitter.

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5 responses to “Continental Break-through.

  1. habitsofamouse February 13, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    That awesome that you got it to work for you! I think I’m stuck waiting until I talk to my mom about my deceased great-aunts to see how they knitted and what now…it seems like I have a digruntled spirit pestering me over the continental version…and it’s either Aunt Gerty or Aunt Margaret.

  2. Jen February 13, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    It’s quite possible that you do have disgruntled spirits! During WWII the English speaking world disowned continental knitting, as it is sometimes called German knitting as it is predominate in that region, and adhered strictly to the English knitting style.

  3. habitsofamouse February 14, 2008 at 6:41 am

    That’s interesting! I didn’t know about the WWII connection. It makes sense though, with everything that happened during that era.

  4. Jen February 14, 2008 at 7:53 am

    I didn’t know about this until doing a touch of research last night. There’s a brief Wikipedia article that mentions this phenomenon. I’m going to do some more research on it as I’m very curious about it.

  5. Jen February 14, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Also, take a peek at the Elizabeth Zimmerman article on Wikipedia. It has a quick mention of it there, too. I’m really curious about this now. I need to do some serious research and make a post about it!!

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