Needle position?

Arrgh, my mother can knit way faster than me (we both knit English style) - although as I actually finish the things I start I’m more prolific. I hold my needles top down and let go of the right needle to “throw” the yarn. I’ve never really followed advice on how to hold yarn either as it was always too awkward, so I just wind it round my baby finger for tension.
My mother holds her right needle from the bottom up between her thumb and index finger, and just passes the yarn over the top of her index finger, so she doesn’t have to let go to “throw”. She claims that when she learnt to knit in primary school they used to rap you on the knuckles if you let go of the needles.
I’ve watched her technique but I’m too slow at it myself to keep at it long enough to improve - though maybe I should persevere! It really is much faster to watch.
I also quit crochet when my granny tried to teach me when I was younger as I couldn’t work out how to hold the yarn and everything came out wonky - maybe I’m destined to learn how to do something one way and never change!

I’m not quite clear on what you mean by “top down” or “bottom up”, but do understand about letting go of the needle. When I throw the yarn I hold both needles with my left hand, and then pick up the right needle with my right hand again afterwards to work the stitch. I don’t know if it’s the most efficient way to do it, but it works for me and I’m getting fairly quick at it as it’s pretty much an all in one motion kind of thing.

I’m a continential knitter so I don’t let go of my needles…

I did see a lady at my SNB recently who knit in an unusual way…I’ll have to pay attention to the way other English knitters knit so I can see what you mean…

Yeah, I really don’t understand what you’re trying to explain.

Pictures or video might help? :shrug:

I do like Mason…use the left hand to hold both both needles and let go with the right.

I used to do what you did, and boy I can fly that way.

But having been shown this website… I was determined to learn Continental because the thought that I could go even faster meant :eyebrow: more :eyebrow:

If you are going to adapt your style… I’d go with the Continental… I had to knit a few garbage pieces, aka. blankies for my daughter’s doll cradle, but I can knit even faster now!

[b][color=indigo]I knit by letting go of the right needle with my right hand, picking up the yarn and wrapping. Sounds really slow, but I knit rather quickly. It’s just a matter of which motions are soothing and quick for you. I can knit Continental but it’s sooooooooooooooo slow, and can knit English (like your mom), but it’s slower.

I’ve recently heard the dropping the needle technique called “American” knitting. :happydance:

I think whatever works for you is the best method of knitting! :teehee: [/color][/b]

I think what you are describing is lever action English. That’s what I do too and it is pretty fast although maybe not as fast as Continental. But some people have problems purling with Continental. There is an explanation with pictures below:

I hold my right needle a little differently than she does. I grasp it more like a pencil. I have the yarn going over my index finger, under the forefinger and over the ring finger and down between the ring finger and little finger. The trick is to keep the yarn fairly taut so that you can loop the yarn around without dropping the needle.


You know, the more I learn about English knitting the more I realise that there seems to be TWO DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT WAYS OF HOLDING THE NEEDLES.

Alot of people hold the needles between thumb and fingers on the right hand and tend to use the index finger to ‘wrap’ or ‘throw’ the wool/yarn.

The way I ‘hold’ the right needle means there is no escape for the begger because I hold the end of the needle under my right arm. If I completely let go of the needle, it remains there.

I also wrap the wool using my middle finger - it just seems more comfortable and faster that way.

I got to wondering why there were two ways of holding the needles and from reading different sources on the net, it seems that by holding the needle under your arm you can knit and walk about to tend to other jobs at the same time. There was even a belt used to hold the ball of wool at waist level.

If you think about it, something holding the wool and your arm holding the needle, frees up your right hand alot more.

From what I understand, the method of holding the needles using both hands to support them, came about early last century when more affluent women took up knitting as a pastime.

Hope I haven’t bored people rigid with this but I found it interesting learning how these two styles came about.

All the Best

This is how my mother knits. I’ve tried it, and like it, and am a little faster this way. However, I can’t figure out what to do once I’ve knit up more than a couple inches. Where do I put my thumb? It seems like then I’ve got all this knitted material that is hanging off my thumb? That’s where it gets awkward for me.

When I’m knitting with straights, I put the needle under my arm, and it doesn’t matter if I let go or not. But when I’m knitting with circulars (try putting one of those under your arm, ther’d be nothing left to knit with!), I’d really like to get this lever action knitting figured out, it would be so much easier!

Hi Mariblu

Following link has an animated demo. of lever action

I tried putting a circular needle under my arm once -nearly ended up with a reef knot round my ribs.


yeah that’s what she does and it’s much faster, but I feel like I’m learning to knit all over again, so I get fed up and revert! I thought it might fix the fact that my purl and knit are different tensions though - I know everyone has differences but the reverse side of my stocking stitch looks like lines of two bumps then a bit of a gap before the next one (it makes sense in my head!) not too big a deal but something I’ve been trying to minimise.

So many different ways! I was noticing myself how a friend of mine (although she is also a continental knitter) holds her needles and yarn totally different to me.

I’ve never been able to wrap the yarn around my finger and feed it through as I use it. It makes for REALLY slow knitting for me… I just let the working yarn drop and wrap or throw it as I go. However, I don’t let go of my needles to do so.

I’ve also never been one who can look at something else while I’m knitting. I have to look at the stitches I’m making, where some people can watch TV and not even have to look at what they are doing. I’d love to be able to do that!

That’s how mine looks sometimes… and sometimes not. Blocking and/or washing helps even it out. Or wearing it.


One thing I should mention is that when I am knitting lever style, after I insert the right needle into the stitch but before I move the yarn with my index finger, I move my left thumb onto the needles where they cross and use my left thumb to hold the needles in place while I lever the yarn around the needle.

I am an English knitter. I hold my needles “tips up.” I wind the yarn around my right pinky and over my index finger. I don’t let go of the yarn to wrap but use my index finger to wrap the yarn. It’s kind of like how you hold the yarn if you knit continental. I’ve gotten competent enough to not even have to let go of the yarn when I turn my needles.

I would still like to learn continental, but I’m very okay with English too.

I am a Continental knitter, hold my needles tips-up, and am very fast (if I say so myself)