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When I began teaching knitting classes (about 1000 years ago), I was shocked when the students almost got into a knock down drag out hair-pulling fight over the Correct Way to Knit. The left handers, the right handers, the continental, the pickers, the throwers….it was an ugly scene. Things died down a bit when the continental people became confused. They weren’t sure if they belonged in the continental camp, or the picker camp. I finally had to bang on the table with my knitters’ tool bag to restore order.
Since that day, I start every single class I teach – whether it’s technique, lecture, history, or colour selection – with the question: “What is the correct and best way to knit?” Hands shoot up in the air, opinions are shouted out, and the atmosphere gets intense! I learned early on to nip this in the bud by yelling “Time Out!” at the top of my voice, which usually works. All those years as a hockey mom finally paid off!
Once the class gets all of this out of their system, I share what I consider to be the correct knitting style, which begins with a series of questions:
If the answer to question 1 is No, and question 2 and 3 earn a Yes, then the knitter is knitting the correct way for THEM.
Let’s look at each of these questions individually:
Refining the method you are already using is something for all knitters to think about. My purling has always been very fast, but in flat work such as stocking stitch, I tend to row out badly. While I was taking a class in knitting with a knitting belt from June Hemmons Hiatt, she suggested I rotate my right hand forward. The rotation she suggested was less than 1/8 of an inch. I tried it, and the rowing out disappeared, and my speed increased as well. It was the tiniest smitch of a correction that made a huge difference!
Last year, I taught some knitting classes. I began them as usual by asking “What is the correct way to knit?” The class yelled out, in unison, “The way that works for you!” It was a very satisfying moment!