Trying to learn Yarn Harlot's Irish Cottage Knitting

…But am just not getting it right. I posted this on Ravelry… I thought I’d post it here and wait for some responses. I am an English knitter (thrower) and would so love to knit like this so that I can get faster. Anyone else try this? :whoosh: Thanks in advance!!

That’s the way my mum knits, only in Ireland we don’t call it “Irish Cottage knitting” it’s just called knitting ;). I do plain old English which my mum keeps correcting me on, I keep meaning to switch but I’ll have to basicly relearn how to hold the yarn as I do my tension my own weird way. I am set in my ways.
I asked about it on here before but I wasn’t too good at describing it, think it’s called “lever action English”

I’ve seen a video on youtube called Peruvian knitting that looks a lot like it. Maybe it’ll help


I believe that she has been knitting for years and so has had lots of practice. I knit english and do knit similarly to her but not nearly as fast. What I saw on the video was a very basic stitch pattern and that helps in speeding things up as does knitting on pointy needles. I am much faster on a stockinette or garter pattern but have never aspired to speed so much as accuracy. Keep practicing and in time your speed should increase.

I knit continental, and think it will have to stay that way. WOW, is she ever fast. I can’t get the hang of holding the right needle overhanded like she does, if I could, the rest might follow.

Thanks for the link to the video.

This youtube video helped me understand what was going on a lot better.

Try this website… I just taught myself to do the lever action/Irish Cottage style from here, and I LOVE it! I knit English already, but I swear this has made me so much faster just a week after switching. It takes out a lot of the excessive motion inherent in English, which I never minded until I switched. Also, I have carpal tunnel, and it seems to be less stressful on my hands. Hope that helps!

Yeah, me too. That’s amazing!

Amazing is right! My hands would totally cramp up if I tried that. I use a finger on my left hand to push the needle back but don’t think I could hold my right hand like that for very long.

I knit like that, only I hold the yarn in my left hand. My right needle certainly does all the work, though. I’m self taught, so maybe that’s why.

Wow…I was so surprised when I went to see the video…I have done this for YEARS and YEARS…never thinking it was anything special :)…Anyhoo…you English-style knitters will have very little trouble learning this as you throw the yarn, holding the needles differently. My mother used to do this while knitting argyle socks, and I just picked it up watching her. In my experience, you can only do it on smaller projects such as socks, mittens, scarfs…and I have smaller hands too. Basically you hold the needle in your right hand just like you hold a pencil. You throw the yarn with you index finger. It is super for dpn knitting or if you are using straights - can’t be done on a circular. Can’t wait to tell my knitting group that I have a “unique” style…:cool:

I agree with Rubyjane, that is the way I was taught to knit by my mother. The fingers on my right hand are not held out as straight as the Yarn Harlot though.

I guess I was taught cottage style at 6 yrs old by my Mother, she is originaly from London England. I never knew there was a name for it I always thought it was just knitting! Then I kept hearing continental and English style, I thought I was doing English, but I never let go of the needles! I was surprised when I watched the Video! Yay!!! I can say I knit cottage style.

Thanks, Sue in Canada and Wingem! Guess us “experienced” knitters still have a place…:slight_smile: . If anyone wants to learn this “style”, I say “go for it!”. Its really not hard if you know the English method. Just hold your right needle like a pencil…you’ll be surprised how fast you pick it up.

I still don’t see where the cottages come in :wink:
My mum has knit whole pullovers like this.
I am trying to switch - I experimented last night with some leftover DK and 4mm needles - it’s [B]really [/B]tight compared with the way I normally knit. I usually purl looser than I knit, so it might sort that out but it’s [B]too [/B]tight I think. I have to shove the knitting along the needle which slows me down. I’ll ask my mum to give me a tutorial again!

That’s amazing. I’ve never seen that. oh my Hm. Maybe I’ll give it a go.

I tried this again last evening and I still let go of the right needle to flick the yarn around. I have those little short, pudgy fingers and my forefinger isn’t long enough to just straighten it out and wrap the yarn. I guess I have to choke up on the needle or something.

She talks about this style of knitting in a podcast interview she did here. It seems to me that it’s really more about keeping the stitches near the end of the needles and combining movements (i.e. putting the needle through the stitch and throwing the yarn in a single movement) than about doing it EXACTLY as the Yarn Harlot does. Keep in mind, too, that she’s been knitting like this for, if I’m remembering correctly, 30+ years. That much practice will help increase your speed and accuracy.

Actually I can tell you why they call this style “cottage” knitting.

People who knitted for a living worked from their homes – their cottages. They used this style because it was so much faster than either English or Continental. These people were paid by the completed piece, so the faster they could knit, the more they could earn. Knitting was one of the first “cottage industries”!

English and Continental knitting styles, on the other hand, were used more by the gentry – people who knitted more for pleasure or just for their family than from the necessity of having to earn a living.

I got this from some book or other many, many years ago and I always thought it was interesting!

I recently converted to Irish Cottage Knitting. However if you knit tight don’t try it. If you knit loose like I do (3sts to the inch on 5mm with worsted) It will get you perfect gauge.