Friday, September 19, 2014

Arkansas Fiber Arts Extravaganza 2014: Day 2

This post should probably be called "Jessika Learns to Continental Knit While Sighing and Occasionally Growling," but I thought I should keep the posts labeled in order, because I am a neat freak and the lack of a proper post label would send me spiraling into a deep dark disorganized depression (I hope you enjoy that alliteration!). As you can see though, I had a class on continental knitting today. For those of you who don't know, continental knitting is a style of knitting where the tension of the yarn is held in the left hand and the right hand/needle "picks" the yarn to form the stitch. My knitting style has evolved over the past 10 years of me knitting, but I have grown very comfortable and very quick at knitting in the english style of knitting. In the english style, instead of holding the tension of the yarn in your left hand, you hold it in your right, and throw or wrap the yarn over the right needle to for the stitch. You may be wondering, why on Earth would I need to know another form of knitting if you are already are accomplished in another?
The reasoning behind this is as follows:
  1. You can NEVER have too many tools in your knitting tool belt!
  2.  When teaching others to knit, especially crocheters, you have another way to show them yarn tensioning that may be more comfortable and natural to them.
  3. If you have issues with arthritis, tendonitis, or any other repetitive stress injuries, this is another style of knitting that works different wrist, hand and arm muscles which causes less fatigue.  
  4. This style of knitting is considered the fastest, because there is less motion when switching from purl to knit or visa versa. 
  5. It makes doing color work much more easier and comfortable.
The class was conveniently called Continental Knitting and was taught by Elizabeth Green Musselman. Almost all these classes at this event are taught by knitting superstars,  so it should not be surprising to know that Elizabeth is a very accomplished knitwear designer and genius behind the Dark Matter Knits blog and podcast. 

As I've stated before, there was initial struggle in holding the tension of the yarn in my left hand, but once I got it down, it made straight knitting a breeze! Purling continentally was a different story. It is awkward and so tricky, so much so that two different ways of purling continentally have been developed (standard and Norwegian). By the end of this class, my hands were cramped and I was in no rush to switch to continental style knitting anytime soon, but I feel very comfortable in my understanding of this knitting style and why it is preferred by many.

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