Tag Archives: Portuguese Knitting

So what about the tension?

A huge thank you for all your comments on my last post. It was really interesting. It seems that most of you learnt to knit using the throwing style. I wonder if that is because most of you are predominately English-speaking? I doubt I shall ever know.

I decided to do a bit more investigating into the different styles, both as a practice and out of interest too. I knitted up 3 swatches using each of the styles.

I knit and crochet tightly. This means that I have to use larger needles or crochet hooks than is mentioned in the pattern. I was interested to see if the different styles had any impact on my tension.

I took two measurements, one before blocking and one after:

First the Portuguese one

24st and 29 rows

24st and 29 rows

22 st     29 rows

22 st 29 rows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the continental:

25 st   33 rows

25 st 33 rows

26 st     30 rows

26 st 30 rows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally my original style:

25 st    33 rows

25 st 33 rows

25 st     32 rows

25 st 32 rows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To be honest this was not what I was expecting at all. Before blocking the Portuguese style of knitting was the tightest. This may be explained by the fact that the tension is not just done with your hands but around the pin/neck. This is very different to using your hands so may well explain the even tighter tension. The other two were exactly the same pre blocking. I guess I knit so tight that there is no room for getting any tighter!

The biggest surprise however was when I compared the pre and post blocking – they got smaller. I thought they got bigger! To be fair it was not an aggressive block, I simply took out the curl. I am still surprised. Before you ask, I only soaked them in a bit of water. Not hot as I put my hands in it.

To be honest I was hoping for a simple answer such as; If I use …….style my knitting is a better tension. I like easy answers but it seems that it is not to be.

I have the yarn to knit a cardigan so shall have to think some more about which style to choose. Which would you choose?

 

What is your style?

I was privileged to attend a class at my local yarn store (The Sheep Shop) on Saturday. I say privileged because without Joanne it would totally have passed me by. The class was run by the lovely Gillian and was all about different styles of knitting. It was really interesting. Also quite intense. 3 hours of concentrated knitting. You know the sort….learning something new for the first time concentrated.

To set the scene – I knit in the traditional English or cottage style where you hold the yarn in your right hand and ‘throw’ the yarn over the needle. Having thought about it I suppose it is quite a clumsy style but it was the one I was taught and, until recently I haven’t thought anymore about it. Then I met Joanne who is very interested about finding the most efficient way to knit (well it is her job!).

Image result for cottage style of knitting

Throwing the yarn with the right hand .Source

We started off with looking at the continental style of knitting (Swedish if you live in France!). This is different to my style because you hold the yarn in the left hand. As I do this for crochet this was not too hard a step for me. It also wasn’t too hard because I had actually done this, with my left hand, when doing stranded knitting:

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This is what I made – my first ever piece of stranded knitting. When I made this I had the grey in my right hand as I always do and the coloured yarn in my left.

This time I only had one strand of yarn and it was in my left.

Image result for continental style of knittingSource

With this style of knitting you sort of manipulate the needle around the yarn rather than the other way around.

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I really like this style and found the knit stitch to be really fast. Then came the pearl. This seemed a lot harder and took a bit to get my head around it. I did get there in the end but so far it is not as quick as the knit version.

We then moved onto a stitch called Norwegian Pearl. Again the yarn is held in the left hand. It is a way of doing a pearl stitch keeping the yarn at the back of the work. For anyone who has done 1by1 rib you will know how amazingly useful this will be. No more switching forward and back between each stitch! I liked this,  as again it meant more manipulating of the needle rather than the yarn around the needle.

Next came a style of knitting that (I think) originates from Shetland. It involves a special pouch that you put one of your (long) needles into. This keeps it still and  means that you don’t really have to hold this needle as such.

Image result for Shetland knitting beltSource

The idea behind this is that you work really close to the end  of the needles and simply flick the yarn over the end of the needle. It is meant to be really, really quick. Not for me however. There was one lady on the course who had back problems and she thought that this style of knitting would really help her.

Finally we were introduced to Portuguese style knitting. Joanne thought that this style of knitting might come across as a bit pretentious as you loop the yarn around your neck (or attach it to a pin).

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You hold the tensionin the right hand and the use your thumb to flick the yarn around the needle. Rib is also easy as you change the position of the yarn with a flick of the thumb. I did find that my knitting ended up getting closer and closer to my face as I forgot to pull the yarn around but I am sure that is just a beginner’s mistake.

Which style will I adopt? Probably a mixture. As I have been playing around a bit more I got quicker at the continental pearl but the Portuguese style was one where I could do without looking quite quickly. A good test as I like to be able to knit without looking as it means I can do it during car journeys. I have the yarn for a cardigan so will let you know which I choose to make this. It will be one of the new versions as it seems like the perfect opportunity.

Which style were you taught to knit in?