Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Continental Knitting in a Blizzard

New England is getting slammed today by a massive blizzard, which means no work (yay!)  I have been making the very most of my snow day by going on a total knitting spree.  It's been legen... wait for it... dary.

I spent quite a bit of time revisiting my attempt to learn how to knit continental style.  I previously got started on my quest to learn this style of knitting with Craftsy's class Improve Your Knitting with Patty Lyons.  I started a wavy ribbed scarf to practice, but I kept getting frustrated with it so it spends a lot of time banished in the coffee table drawer.  Well, Craftsy recently released a class entirely on continental knitting taught by Lorilee Beltman that I have been dying to check out, and what better time than now, when I am totally snowed in?? (those are affiliate links, btw).  Want to hear the coolest part?  Craftsy gave me this new class for free so I could review it on my blog!  Hooray!

I love the class.  I have only done the basic lessons so far. I haven't moved on to the advanced portions yet since I don't need to know how to do increases/decreases for my scarf, and I'm trying to be laser focused on that project instead of working on meaningless swatches.  So, what have I learned that I didn't learn in the other class?  First, an awesome new way to tension the yarn on your left hand that involves wrapping it around your wrist.  It is so awkward at first, but it really is an excellent hold.  I also got a much better idea of how to hold my work - it needs to be a little closed-up like a pie slice compared to throwing where you keep it wide open like you're holding a book.  On that note, I was trying to knit my scarf on 12'' straight needles and this class made me realize that was making things infinitely more difficult because I couldn't hold the work close enough to my body so I switched to circulars and it is going much better.

I was hoping to learn some insanely easy way to master the continental purl stitch, but, unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any super secret trick to it.  It's just gonna take practice.

In the end, both Patty Lyons and Lorilee Beltman do excellent jobs teaching the basics of continental knitting in their respective Craftsy classes, and, as much as I LOVE the Improve Your Knitting class and recommend it to everyone, I think if you are just out to learn continental, then Lorilee is your girl.  Can't wait to finish the rest of the course and see how to do those increases & decreases in continental.  I doubt I will ever adopt this as my primary knitting style, but I have been madly curious about how it all works and I love learning something new!

Oh, and here is my scarf in progress.  It's about 24'' long so far.  I want it to be super long so it will be extra warm, so I estimate I'm about 33% through with it.  (I aim to use up all this yarn - which is three balls, and I just finished one).


Let's all say a little prayer that work is cancelled again tomorrow, shall we??  :)

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