Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Portuguese, eh?

The title is a weak attempt at a segue. Last week I talked about Katie handling a Portuguese Water Dog and today I'm talking about Portuguese knitting. Like I said, weak. But a segue nevertheless. No pictures for you today but there are a lot of links.

I have trouble with my hands hurting when I knit at times. Sock knitting seems to be exempt from the pain, thank goodness, but any knitting with heavier yarns or larger needles eventually hurts. Because of this, I've learned to hold my needles and yarn in as many ways as possible to reduce the repetitive strain on my hands. My preferred knitting style is to tension the yarn in my right hand and hold the right needle like a pencil. This way I can knit quickly as I just flick the wrap without moving my hand too much. I think that it might be called a lever action. It's quite similar to Yarn Harlot's style in this video but I have the yarn coming off of my forefinger when I do it. The biggest problem with this knitting style is that it's not comfortable holding the needle this way to do 2 circs or magic loop for making socks. Double points are much more comfortable.

I can knit Continental but it's not my favorite method. For some reason I end up with dropped stitches unless I am very careful. Continental purling is a hassle too so I learned Norwegian purl (further down the page on the same site) and that is better. Learning Continental knitting has been a real benefit for stranded knitting as I can hold each color in separate hands so it's quick.

I came across a reference to Portuguese knitting and googled it to find this video for knitting and this one for purling. I gave it a try by wrapping the working yarn around my neck and just using regular knitting needles. It's actually very easy to do and the yarn is tensioned easily. I would have to practice it a lot more to be able to knit quickly but it's a nice addition to the repertoire to give my hands a break. It would be interesting to try to teach kids this method when they're first learning to knit. I think that some kids would find it easier than dropping the yarn and having to find it again for each stitch. Tension is always an issue when kids are learning. I don't even show them how to wrap the yarn around their fingers until they are pretty proficient knitters. It just confused them at first.

I spent the last few days sorting through my stash and taking pictures so that I would have record of it. My sock yarn stash is absolutely ridiculously out of hand. I can't even organize my pics on Ravelry as I exceeded my Flickr download capacity for the month before I got through even a portion of the stash. I told Dan to smack me upside the head if I order any more sock yarn. I am not posting any pics of my yarn spread out all around the family room as I was organizing it. It would be too embarrassing.

I also ordered a knitting machine. Gulp! The plan is to make sweaters on the machine and add finishing touches by hand. Hopefully that will allow me to use up some of my stash of DK, worsted, and aran weight yarns without being disabled by sore hands. I'm sure that there will be a huge learning curve before I can make anything but it will be fun to play around with. I have been doing a lot of research about knitting machines and decided to get a Studio LK-150 from this company in Toronto. The price was right, shipping was free, and I don't have to worry about duty. It should be here in a week or so. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

1 comment:

ColorJoy LynnH said...

I have a Singer machine which is similar to the one you bought. Mine has no attachments, though.

It's worse than pulling teeth to find resources on the internet. I know a little bit (haven't used the machine in a year or more) if you want to ask basic questions.