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zknit08
Chatty Knitter

USA
315 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2011 :  07:54:08 AM  Show Profile  Visit zknit08's Homepage Send zknit08 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've recently picked up knitting again, as a beginner, I'm afraid that I'm developing a bad knitting habit. I noticed that it is easier for me to knit (casting thread over needle) when I don't wind the yarn through my fingers. I hold the yarn between my thumb and index finger and cast over needle. When I wound yarn through my fingers it seems that my knitting is very uneven and I concentrate so much on keeping the yarn on my fingers (they keep falling off), instead of keeping the stitches even. Is it such a bad habit that I need to stop?

mertle
Permanent Resident

USA
1732 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2011 :  08:21:16 AM  Show Profile Send mertle a Private Message  Reply with Quote
How you hold your yarn is totally up to you. What works for one knitter might not work well for another.

I thread my yarn over my ring finger of my right hand. That gives me just the right tension to get the product I want. The method of wrapping it around your little finger and threading it through other digits (like my mother does) was too tense for me.

Marilyn
My Bags
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Consuelo
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
582 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2011 :  09:17:35 AM  Show Profile Send Consuelo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
While Mertle is absolutely correct - you hold the yarn any way that works for yo- = it is worth mentioning that tensioning the yarn through your fingers will give you a little better speed over time. And, IMHO, a rhythmic speed give bettern stitch evenness.

How ever you decide to do it, just keep on knitting and you'll discover your best method.

Consuelo
"Travel is fatal to prejudice" Mark Twain
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zknit08
Chatty Knitter

USA
315 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2011 :  10:14:42 AM  Show Profile  Visit zknit08's Homepage Send zknit08 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you, mertle and Consuelo. Have a good day! :)
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Punctuatedknitter
Seriously Hooked

819 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2011 :  6:40:20 PM  Show Profile Send Punctuatedknitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I wind it once around my index finger. Like mertle, I found wrapping it around my pinky and threading it too tight.
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eldergirl
Permanent Resident

USA
1799 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2011 :  7:47:08 PM  Show Profile Send eldergirl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You are doing fine, ZK, and whatever works for you is good. Hurray for experimenting!

Consuelo has a good point, that the use of the fingers on the yarn is twofold:
(1) to have it in place, and able to be thrown (or picked) around the right hand needle to make the stitch.

(2) to tension it evenly and systematically, for even knitting.

You will eventually work out the best solution. I know for me that I vary the yarn placement because sometimes one finger is aching from arthritis, and I need to switch, or that particular yarn is driving me nuts and I need to work out a new threading path.

Anyway, It is your choice!

Best wishes,

Anna

Life is beautiful.
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zknit08
Chatty Knitter

USA
315 Posts

Posted - 03/19/2011 :  7:04:04 PM  Show Profile  Visit zknit08's Homepage Send zknit08 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you, eldergirl and punctuated knitter for your comments. I'm still pretty much on experemental stage as far as which technique will work best for me. How far do you all keep the stitches from the tips of the needles. Right now I keep the stitches I'm working on about half an inch from the tips of the needle, if I get them too close to the tip then they may slip off the needles.

Happy Knitting!

Zknit
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Ceil
Permanent Resident

USA
1738 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2011 :  9:48:52 PM  Show Profile  Visit Ceil's Homepage Send Ceil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Seems to me that your goal is to let the needle take as much yarn as it needs for each stitch. However you manage the yarn to allow this to happen is up to you.

Best,

Ceil
(Ravelry: ceilr)
Time is never a factor when joy is involved.
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ikkivan
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
528 Posts

Posted - 03/23/2011 :  08:04:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit ikkivan's Homepage Send ikkivan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
We each finds what works best for us ... I also sometimes change the way I hold my yarn depending on the yarn itself. Some yarns are more slippery than others and require a different method for keeping proper tension.

And for working close to the tips of the needles, that is also a personal "thing," I think. The closer I work to the tips, the faster I knit, BUT it is important to keep those stitches moving to the right onto the full diameter of the needle itself soon after they are formed (or at least for me). If I let a bunch pile up right there on the smaller taper area near the tip (depending, of course, on just how long the taper is), when they eventually are pushed onto the main needle shaft they are often so tight they hardly will scoot on over there, and that slows me down. Does that make any sense?

Enjoy!

Donna, with intentions always bigger than her available time. (OkieDokieKnitter on Ravelry)
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era253
New Pal

USA
22 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2011 :  05:43:39 AM  Show Profile Send era253 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
zknit, I used to use your method of tensioning. However, I have arthritis, and the stress on my thumbs after years of knitting that way was disasterous. I've had reconstructions on both base thumb joints now. I now wrap the yarn around my right pointer finger because I just can't manage to work it out any other way. However, it's not the easiest way to purl. I've been knitting for thirty years or more, and still experiment to find a good tensioning solution.

Evie
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Flit
New Pal

6 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2011 :  06:07:01 AM  Show Profile Send Flit a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I use the Eastern or Portuguese technique as taught by Andrea Wong in her DVD in which the working yarn is put around my neck or through a special hook pinned to my blouse or top. Since I use next to skin yarns, I most often put the yarn around my neck as I usually know where my neck is, and can't say that about the special hook pin. I find this technique uses the least hand-finger movements and that the tension stays constant and the purl stitches alost knit themselves.
Rheba
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knittingsister
New Pal

USA
5 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2011 :  06:13:04 AM  Show Profile Send knittingsister a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've been knitting for 65 years now, since I was seven years old. For much of that time, my knitting always seemed loose in comparison to that of my mother and sister, whose always looked firm and even to me. A leftie who knits "right," I always just clutched the yarn in my right hand. Maybe 20 years ago now, I taught myself to thread the yarn through my fingers, and it looks much more even to me now.
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weavingway
New Pal

43 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2011 :  06:49:14 AM  Show Profile Send weavingway a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was very little, I crocheted miles of chain, then on to a new stitch. Because of that training technique tatting was nearly a disaster and almost put my friend in a mental institution before she taped that index finger to the palm of my hand because the tension in tatting is done with the middle finger.Therefore in knitting it was just habit to twine the yarn all around the fingers which works for me but I use the little finger to tighten and loosen the strand. Just opening and closing it will allow for me a smooth flow of yarn. My whole point being that you will find with practice a technique that works for you. The important thing is to keep knitting and your hands will find their own rythm
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baldocchi
Chatty Knitter

198 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2011 :  06:49:29 AM  Show Profile Send baldocchi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi zknit. Congrats on picking up knitting again!! Tension is a tricky devil isn't it. I suffered a very bad hand accident a few years ago and had to undergo surgery--twice. My hand surgeon said that knitting is actually great exercise for your hands, providing you move things around a bit. In other words, it's best to change your hold every now and again.

As a result I use several different holds. If I'm doing socks I'll use a continental hold or the throw hold. If I'm working up in stockinette I'll use the Portuguese technique that Flit talked about. Sometimes, if the project is large, I'll use a throw or continental technique for the knit rows and the Portuguese technique for the purl rows. The trick, I've learned, is to use the same hold throughout the project. My gauge does change depending on the throw I use.

If you're not familiar with the Portuguese technique there are several youtube videos that show it; and/or you can order the DVD from Andrea Wong. I find it to be the most intuitive way to purl, not so much for knit stitches. But, I must say, it results in the most consistent tension of all the holds.

Good luck and have fun.

If we don't get there together, we won't get there at all.
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TinkerTots
New Pal

2 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2011 :  07:13:59 AM  Show Profile Send TinkerTots a Private Message  Reply with Quote
"Any way that works for you" is good to a point. I, also, had trouble using the method of wrapping yarn around your pinky to maintain tension. The yarn liked to wrap tight and get stuck or simply loop off my finger. I developed a method of keeping tension by gripping the yarn underneath my last two fingers. This made for wonderful, even tension, but after a while I started having serious difficulty gripping objects and a lot of numbness in my hands--classic signs of carpal tunnel syndrome!

I had to give up knitting for an entire month and aggressively ice my arms until my grip and feeling came back. After that, I re-taught myself the pinky-loop method. Now it is just as fast and even as gripping the yarn in my fingers, and a whole lot less stressful on your hands.

Tension the way that works best, but pay attention to your body, too!
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OPKnitter
New Pal

USA
10 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2011 :  08:27:29 AM  Show Profile Send OPKnitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Perhaps it's more of an issue for English style knitters, but as a Continental knitter I've never tensioned my yarn over additional fingers. The yarn feeds through my palm & over only my index finger.

For over 40 years this has produced consistently even stitches & no hand pain, despite arthritic damage to my fingers & carpal tunnel issues associated with computer (over)use. It has had no impact that I can determine on my knitting speed. BUT I knit with small movements, hold my needles loosely, & do not have my index finger raised more than a quarter inch or so off the left hand needle. For me, it's more important to have several projects going in different yarns & weights (e.g., fingering weight wool gloves, a DK weight cotton baby sweater, & a bulky weight alpaca throw) so that I can switch off to prevent fatigue or injury.

Each knitter & each body is different. Find what works for you & stick with it.
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texas44
New Pal

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2011 :  08:54:19 AM  Show Profile Send texas44 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Interesting topic. I don't have any problem with tension now but as a beginner I had to constantly reel in my pointer finger. It just takes lots of practice.Although I agree that each knitter can develope what is best for her(him)I feel strongly that beginners should be taught the throw method with yarn wrapped around digits properly. I have seen "experts" on a national TV show holding the yarn between thumb and finger which is not a good example to show. Kids tend to knit that way in the beginning. Intuitive for them.
Lefties seem to have a particular problem trying to knit throw but isn't it a matter of practice, like anything? I know lefties can be happy with the throw if they would give up on the "right handed world" issues.
I don't have joint problems but do find my thumb occ'l aches which I don't understand since I don't use it to knit. I try to crochet a bit so that I utilize my fingers a different way.
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pqpatch
Seriously Hooked

USA
617 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2011 :  09:03:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit pqpatch's Homepage Send pqpatch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have never wound the yarn around my fingers but always hold it between my thumb and index finger. It is just how I taught myself. It works for me. I have tried to wrap it around my pinky but eventually I find myself going back to the old way. My stitches are always even. Do what makes you comfortable.
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zknit08
Chatty Knitter

USA
315 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2011 :  09:32:17 AM  Show Profile  Visit zknit08's Homepage Send zknit08 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi everyone! Thank you all for your very interesting comments. I think I tried a few of these techniques already but had not mastered any of them lol! I like baldocchi's way of using different techniques depending on the project she is making since this will avoid the problem of developing carpal tunnel syndrome from using the same set of hand/finger's muscles constantly.

Weavingway, you said that you control the tension by the movement of your little finger. This is exactly how I control my tension when crocheting but somehow I can't seem to apply it on knitting.

Happy Knitting!


http://time2crochet-n-craft.blogspot.com
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ItsgottaBme
New Pal

USA
2 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2011 :  10:10:49 AM  Show Profile Send ItsgottaBme a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have come to realize that if I "overthink" the process, I get uptight and do not enjoy the journey! Go with it...if it bother's you, try something else. Your very own style WILL emerge. As long as you are making the stitches correctly...go for it. I have people watch me (i am a picker) and say "why do you....?" well, it just feels right to me. Have confidence and most especially - enjoy seeing yourself progress.

ITsGOTTA b ME

ITsGOTTA b ME
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zknit08
Chatty Knitter

USA
315 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2011 :  10:52:49 AM  Show Profile  Visit zknit08's Homepage Send zknit08 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
ItsgottaBme, I agree with you completely about "overthinking". In fact when I get so involved with what my fingers are doing, I get so tense. Listening to a taped story helps me from doing this. Thank you for your input.

Happy knitting!
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