Holding the needles!

Hi, I’m not an experienced knitter, I dabble every time a new baby arrives basically, but I keep having a recurring problem in that I find it impossible to knit in the round. When knitting generally I apparently use the lever method (have only just found out that holding my right needle fixed under my arm is called this!) and so when I try to use circular needles I lose the ability to tension the yarn, I’m all over the place frankly, feel like I have no control over anything when my work is just at my finger tips!! Has anyone any tips on how to overcome this, all advice welcome as I’ve just come across some patterns on Etsy for gorgeous hats and of course they are all in the round!!!

You can check all different ways to hold the yarn by looking at youtube videos. How do you tension the yarn now - do you thread it through your fingers or wrap it around any of them?

It’s definitely going to be an adjustment to knit in the round but it’s worth learning. It’ll be awkward for a while but I think you’ll love the advantages as well as the patterns you can use. Alternatively, you can almost always adapt patterns in the round for back and forth knitting too.

Have ever tried using circular needles? From your description, it sounds as though you’ve only used straight needles, which in my opinion, are much more awkward to manage.

So although with circs you would probably have to learn a new way to hold the needles and possibly a new method of tensioning the yarn, you also might find them easier to manage because of their shorter length. If there’s a local yarn store nearby, they will sometimes allow you to try needles before you buy them. Or check on Ravelry to see if there’s a group of knitters that meet near you. Often, they will let you try out their needles on the spot!

The great thing about circular needles is that you can use them for flat knitting, as well as for all sizes of circular knitting. And did I mention they’re shorter and less cumbersome? :wink:

She uses straight needles by supporting them under the arm; called ‘lever’ style or '‘pit’ knitting. The needle is stabilized that way and you can flick or wrap the yarn around without manipulating it at all. The advantages the rest of us find in circular needles might not apply here. So it may take her some time to get used to but I think she’ll learn how to do it.

Welcome to Knitting Help!

Knitting is awkward for all of us when we start. We all feel like we’re all thumbs! Just hang in there and keep practicing. Don’t worry about how your knitting looks yet, just practice and become comfortable with the tensioning first. :slight_smile:

Thanks for all of your replies, as I suspected it’s just got to be practice practice… I watched a speed knitter who knits pretty much like I do (only 1000 times faster!) and she then changed to circular needles and seemed to just balance the right needle along the crook of her thumb and forefinger, effortlessly. Will certainly go on you tube, it is often easier to watch someone else.How you hold the wool to tension it though is pretty hard to change your style after years of doing it one way, it’s all so automatic.
All suggestions were very welcome though thanks

Another thing you might want to try is changing your style. If you’re knitting English, switch to Continental. If Continental, English. Many times the block isn’t because of our fingers but because of the gray matter between the ears. We tell ourselves we can’t do something when we’ve never really tried. What I like to do when learning a new technique is to get a small ball of wool left over from a project, one that’s too small to do anything with. I get some needles and practice with it in a small swatch. I unravel it and keep doing it over and over until I get it right. I did this a lot when working on my tension, and learning how to do increases and decreases. It often helps when you’re working with a new stitch pattern to see how it looks and work out the techniques. You may do something that’s different than what the pattern writers are telling you but works for you. Practice knitting on circulars every day. Go slowly at first. The more you do it, your brain will kick in and your fingers will do it automatically. Soon you’ll be knitting in the round like a pro and wondering what all the fuss was about.