Sunday, October 19, 2008

Continental ribbing

Ribbing is the absolute pits. In fact, it's my least favorite thing about knitting. It's such a PITA to move the yarn back and forth every stitch! For years, I've grumbled along, doing the minimum ribbing possible, and avoiding seed/moss/basketweave stitch and anything that even remotely sounds like ribbing. Which is why it's time to grow up and learn "continental" knitting. Since the yarn is held on the left in continental, the yarn doesn't have to be moved back and forth between every stitch, it's just "picked" from either direction. I've known how to knit continental for years, but never could get the purl correct, and I couldn't figure out how to keep tension in the yarn. (Unlike most knitters, I don't wrap the yarn around my fingers to control the tension, I just grip it in my hand).

Well enough is enough, and I decided I'd force myself to learn continental, not just for the ribbing, but also so that I can start fair isle and double knitting. Flower Scarf (free Ravelry pattern, by Robyn Diliberto) is a sweet little pattern that looks very forgiving, since it's in fishermans' rib and any aberrations in tension will be hard to spot in such a "squishy" stitch. Then I watched the knittinghelp video on Youtube--so awesome! I had been wrapping the yarn around my pinky and index fingers in the same direction, which is actually pretty stupid because the yarn just gets tighter and tighter until the blood circulation gets cut off. Oh, and I'd been twisting all of my purl stitches. So the video was a nice enlightening smack on the head, and I fixed the two problems, and--presto--look how much I've done already!

Unfortunately my gauge is a LOT looser in continental (I had started a few rows in regular knitting, before switching, and you can see where the gauge changes even in the picture), but otherwise this is like magic! I'll never give up regular/English knitting for the bulk of my knitting, but this whole continental ribbing thing is super!

In other news, it's officially cold in St Louis. I even wore my toe socks today, hee!

7 comments: said...

its about time i learn too! I agree! the toe socks are wonderful! Barbie just adores them but have not found a pattern for her size as of yet. She is only 8. I found some at Goodwill of all places last winter. New socks with the tags on them. I guess I will have to fake a pattern huh? Yes getting cold here too in Indiana.

stitchywitch said...

Yay continental knitting! When I started knitting that way it improved my speed to much! I can't imagine doing ribbing the other way now, so much back and forth.

Gauge is looser, but it will get better as you get used to it!

emicat said...

I've learned to knit continental, as it seemed easier to learn being a leftie. I think I need to find another way to keep the tension in my yarn.. your post makes me think I need to do a little searching online for some videos or something.

P.S. Love your toe socks!!!

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soknitpicky said...

I still can't purl in continental, but I knit in continental and use the norwegian purl when I do knitting. Love it!

granny said...

oh the continental. I tried it the other day when I was teaching my roomate how to knit and it was relatively easy to pick up but the ease was so much different from everything else i had been knitting.

i too despise the ribbing but, what're you gonna do.

its cold here too!!

tina said...

Ack------- you traitor! Who else will be a hoosier knitter with me?