As a lot of you folks know, I’ve been trying to make sense of my knitting since deciding last year to take it seriously as a hobby. I’ve spent a lot of time noting which way my yarn is twisted, which way the loops are leaning, etc. All in some hope of my work actually looking decent enough to wear in public.
I’ve watched knitting videos for every type of knitting and purling for hours. I’ve done a number of swatches while doing projects for gauge and finally I sat down today to decide, which purl method I am going to use for my back and forth. Since starting my husband’s sweater I’ve been very careful to make sure that the stitches are aligned and look uniform, etc. The small details that go into making something that you want to be proud of.
Now, for my observation. I have noted that on all but a few videos, everyone tends to grab or pull their yarn. I throw mine. I don’t know why, perhaps that’s just easiest for me. I notice that I tend to knit faster than my few friends who do. The one thing I’ve noticed is that when knitting, realizing that the leading edge for Combined Knitting is in the back, if you throw the yarn over the needle in a clockwise motion the leading edge stays in back. If you pull it or grab it in a CCW fashion, the leading edge is in front. The same with purling, if you throw the yarn under the needle in a clockwise motion and pull it through the loop the leading edge stays in back.
Now, If you Knit by throwing under the needle, CCW, it’s tight, uncomfortably tight and it feels very wrong. When you purl by throwing the yarn over the needle, CCW, it’s extremely loose. You get a very ugly swatch from this method.
I’ve experimented quite a bit with many different purling methods, including purling from the back (which can give you an extremely lovely contour when doing seed stitch, BTW). But there is nothing that keeps the leading edge consistently in the back than by throwing the yarn consistently in a CW fashion around the needle.
The reason I bring this up is that I spent a few hours trying to understand why all of the Combined knitting tends to totally ignore the purl stitch or I see they are winding the yarn around the needle wrong and perhaps don’t notice it because they are Continental Knitters and just don’t seem to notice that they have changed the leading edge when the work is turned. If this is so, then perhaps I see why people stick with Continental rather than the more efficient Combined style, I don’t know. I honestly think that you will tend to stay with what you learn first.
To be honest, I have found, with my recent experiments, that I have to do less manipulation of the loops and stitches for increases and decreases, even though I thought I would have to, since most instructions and patterns are geared for Continental and English knitters.
Actually, I wish I could find a really good instructional guide on Combined other than “Oh, you can do this, but if you have to do that, do this, but in the end it’s just easier if you knit Continental, but it’s very nice that you tried to learn.” I guess I’m really stumped that it seems to be so easy and fast that even I can get a cap done in an afternoon and I can’t see why everyone else doesn’t see it, too.