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How do you hold your knitting needles?

(39 Posts)
oggsfrog Tue 02-Sep-08 07:43:54

I've not been knitting for long and last night started a dishcloth on shorter than usual needles.

I've realised that I usually hold the right needle under my arm for stability and ease - it's also good for when changing the yarn from back to front in say moss/seed stitch.

In the end I switched to larger needles as I just couldn't cope with dropping the needle again and again and trying to stabilise it against my leg.

I've only now realised that I'll have the same problem when I come to use circular or dpns (I'm planning a shawl on circulars).

How should I be holding the needles? smile

BellaBear Tue 02-Sep-08 07:59:47

I don't think there is a right way, there are so many different traditions that have evolved in knitting.

A very good place to investigate and ask this question to a wider audience is www.ravelry.com/ - there is a group of MNers on there (Mumsknitters) as well as about 170,000 other knitters!

I hold my needles like reins which isn't a very effieicient way to knit tbh but I can't seem to learn to hold them like a pen iyswim.

queenrollo Tue 02-Sep-08 08:46:58

i hold mine like reins too, my gran (who was a fatntastic knitter) rested hers between her thumb and forefinger and used her finger to hook the yarn round the needle.....i have tried and tried to hold them that way because having watched her i could see how much quicker it was to knit that way, but i just can't do it. so i'm resigned to being slower but not dropping stitches/needles/the whole bloody lot every 35 seconds.

oggsfrog Tue 02-Sep-08 08:47:40

But how do you wrap the yarn and switch it back and forth without letting go of the right hand needle?
I seem to zoom along normally, but when I used the shorter needles I was all fingers and thumbs and kept dropping the needle. It just seemed much slower and less efficient.

I did join Ravelry a while back but never got any further blush. Must go and spend some time getting familiar with it.

DutchOma Tue 02-Sep-08 08:47:59

I hold my needles exactly the way you say and can't knit with short needles. I can however knit on circulars or dps by clasping them to my (ample) bosom, so they are still very close to my body.

queenrollo Tue 02-Sep-08 08:48:41

i just realised that doesn't quite make sense......of course she used her finger to put the yarn round the needle grin but i mean almost without having to move her hands at all.....it was like her finger stretched......oh i know what i mean......

*goes off to make another coffee*

queenrollo Tue 02-Sep-08 08:49:46

erm.....i have to let go of the right hand needle......

this is why i crochet instead wink

oggsfrog Tue 02-Sep-08 08:54:21

smile I've not yet mastered crochet. I can make the first chain and use it to edge potholders and make a bit to hang them with, but I can't get the hang of which bit of the chain I put the needle through to progress from there.

Dutch Oma, it's reassuring that such a good knitter also holds the needle under her arm grin.

queenrollo Tue 02-Sep-08 08:56:44

well i've spent years just crocheting granny squares (it was how i kept occupied when i gave up smoking) and this year persevered with single crochet and made a blanket for a friend's baby......i did manage to knit ds a tank top last year, although it was very basic. This year i am determined to learn to knit properly

mistlethrush Tue 02-Sep-08 09:01:15

I hold mine like pens - and just stretch index finger out to make the wool go round the needle. It means that you do have your right hand very close to the point at which the needles cross and you don't cross them very much. One of my grandmothers had the needle under the arm tecnique and that seemed to work well for her - I know that she used 4 needles to knit things like socks, so goodness knows what she did then. Other grandmother who I saw knitting much more knitted as I do.

To get the wool round without losing the needle is just a matter of practise - my thumb stabilises the needle which by then is also 'held' in place by the fact that it is going through the loop on the other needle. To start with it was wobbly - but the more you do it the easier it becomes.

Tatties Tue 02-Sep-08 09:03:56

I just had to pick up my knitting and do a few stitches as I hadn't a clue how I hold my needles! I am using short needles atm, and hold them like reins too. I let go of the right hand needle to wrap the yarn, but it doesn't fall because it is held at the tip by the thumb and forefinger of my left hand - just below where the needles cross.

Do join us on Ravelry, but be warned, it is addictive!

miamla Tue 02-Sep-08 09:11:18

Tatties method = my method!

i really must do some knitting again soon. i'm in the middle of knitting a jumper for DS. I started it when i first found out i was pregnant, he's 5 weeks now and its not going to fit him soon hmm

oggsfrog, i joined a little while ago too but didnt get any further. shall we hold hands and jump in together?

BellaBear Tue 02-Sep-08 09:14:01

Come and say hello on the mumsknitters board! A good way to get used to ravelry is to pick someone and have a look through their notebook (projects, queue, stash, etc). I'm EllatheElephant on there.

I do let go of the needle to wrap the wool, but it hasn't been a problem on short needles, I think I've just adapeted balancing techniques. I would love to learn how to knit in the 'pen' style, but I think it is like typing, I am fast enough on two fingers that to learn touch typing would slow me down so much it isn't worth it, even though it would be faster in the end!

BellaBear Tue 02-Sep-08 09:17:25

tatties - I just had to check on Ravelry who you are! Hello smile

Tatties Tue 02-Sep-08 09:32:06

smile Bella

Yes come and say hello too miamla! Ravelry is great for inspiration - so easy to stumble across things you didn't realise you wanted to knit! I love it when you search for a pattern, look at somebody's interpretation of that pattern, then look at the rest of their projects, then look at their favourites... the possibilities are endless

OhYouBadBadKitten Tue 02-Sep-08 09:35:44

oooo - I knew I wasnt holding my needles right - using my arm pit as an extra hand.
Am going to try the other with a bit of spare wool. You never know I might actually be able to finish more than one childs jumper a year that way....

maltloafeater Tue 02-Sep-08 09:35:58

I also hold the right needle under my arm. All the women in my family have done it this way so that was how I learnt.
I also struggle with short or circular needles. Is this a regional (ie northern thing)?

I have been looking into this, aparently in shetland they used a 'knitting belt' which is a leater pad on a belt you wear round your waist and insert the end of the right needle for stability.

In the yorkshire dales they used a knitting stick or knitting sheath which fits under the right arm and has a hole to insert the end of the right needle.

There are many examples of knitting sticks made of bone and carved wood in museums around the country and they sometimes come up for auction. I have not been abel to find any one making or selling modern versions. If anyone knows of a manufacturer please let me know as i would love one.

nettie Tue 02-Sep-08 09:54:35

Think you might be onto something with it being a northern thing. I'm up north and have the right needle under my arm, as does my mother and so did my nanna. Was at a craft fair the other weekend and woman knitting there had needle under her arm, we had discussion about it, neither of us could get the hang of knitting any other way we said.

ranting Tue 02-Sep-08 10:01:19

I hold mine like reins and just keep my middle finger on the needle whilst wrapping the yarn with my forefinger iyswim. My nan used to hold hers like pens and was very speedy.

Do you know I was wondering about that needle under arm thing the other day, it sounds very uncomfortable but a lot of knitters do it that way don't they? I read somewhere that it's very common in places like Holland.

TooTicky Tue 02-Sep-08 10:01:50

I think I must be a northern knitter too, but an ungainly one. Am just discovering the joys of crochet...

mistlethrush Tue 02-Sep-08 10:06:33

My grandmother that had the needle under the arm was from Switzerland...

ranting Tue 02-Sep-08 10:08:36

Crochet is my favourite pastime, love it but I learnt to crochet before I could knit iyswim.

Jux Tue 02-Sep-08 10:16:44

Ah that explains it - Northern Knitting!

I'm from down south and used to stick the needle in the fold of my hip, until I met a woman from Yorkshire who put it under her arm.

Can't cope with just holding the needle in my hand like my mum!

oggsfrog Tue 02-Sep-08 10:28:32

Glad I'm not alone with the underarm thing smile.

If you hold the needles like pens where does the knitting actually sit?
I can understand the reins hold as that is what I do when I use short needles and the knitting hangs down under your hand, but with the pen type hold I just don't understand where the knitting fits.

Ooh, I've just found the Mumsknitters group on Ravelry grin. Will have to have a nosy around.
I've been a member since May but have never had the time to get familiar with it.

mistlethrush Tue 02-Sep-08 13:12:23

Trying to envisage it with no knitting sitting at my desk... Right hand I have effectively underneath or behind the knitting whilst lh is on top of it. I think this is why the balance issue works as you're effectively supporting the knitting on your right hand so that it't not pulling the needles apart.. ???

Will have to consider ravellry, although haven't done knitting for a while - any link anyone?

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