Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How to knit combination style

People often remark that I knit quickly. I'm no speed demon, but I do think I have a good technique that allows me to knit a lot faster than many knitters I've seen. I used to think that I was a Continental knitter, and in fact that is true. Like other Continental knitters, I knit from yarn that I hold in my left hand.

But unlike Continental knitters, I purl using the Eastern purl technique. Annie Modesitt offers a nice tutorial about Eastern purling, which allows you to quickly purl  by scooping up yarn held with your left hand in the front of your work. This marriage between Continental knitting and Eastern purling is aptly called Combination knitting. I have made a very homespun (that's a nice word for it!) video showing my technique.

If my video doesn't do it for you, check out Annie Modesitt's video. Her hand movements look different from mine; it looks like she still throws her knit stitches and I do not.

The bottom line is that there isn't a right way to knit and purl. Whatever works for you is the right way to knit. So experiment. That's how I came to my particular knitting techniques. I looked for the smallest movements possible to make knit and purl stitches and adapted my technique accordingly. I encourage you to do the same. And as always, practice, practice, practice. In both knitting and in life, it makes all the difference.


  1. Ahh! Clear now! There are so many 'combinations' out there on the internet, I was getting confused.
    I like that close distance of the hands.
    Now, this afternoon I am going to see what happens with the sleeve I am making.
    I am wondering if the orientation or angle of the stitches will differ if I change mid -project? We'll see.
    My hands get so tired wrapping wrapping wrapping.
    I saw the Moose perk up when he heard the word "Knit"..Way to go Moose.
    Thanks for posting this and taking time off from the Beagle to do so.
    OK..off to do some errands and then sit and knit to the tutorial.
    Clear, slow and with a simple explanation.
    Great tutorial.

  2. Thank you Julie, that is very clear. Now I want to try and do it. Another question, Do you have any problem knitting this way if you are doing SSK's or Seed stitch? It seems like you would have to adapt the way you enter the stitch. Anyway, it sure helps to see it done slowly. Thanks again for taking the time to do the video. Terry

  3. Hey Terry. I don't have trouble with SSKs or seed, but I've been told that I "fix the stitch on the return row," whatever that means. I'm not sure. But the main thing is that you NOT twist the stitch. Watch the video I just posted carefully and you'll see that I enter the stitch a little differently a couple of times... that's because I'm knitting on top of a purl stitch in the row below. The main thing is that I'm doing what's necessary not to twist the stitch. If you come to a stitch and find that if you enter it one way and it's causing the stitch to twist, go into the stitch whatever way is necessary so that it doesn't twist. I think it's the difference between going into the front leg of the stitch rather than the back or vice versa. I'm sure I've now confused everyone... let me know if this is the case and I'll do another video to show what I mean. Thanks as always for reading, hon!

  4. Hi Julie,

    I knit the same way you do. I learned from my mom who was German, many, many years ago.

    I like your video :)

  5. Hey Bonny, thanks for reading and writing! I learned to knit from my aunt, Christa, who is from Switzerland and speaks German as her first language. I feel very fortunate to have learned from her because the technique is so efficient, especially compared to the English/American method.

  6. You didn't confuse. It's clear how you don't twist the stitch. I went back and watched the video and could see it. Can't wait to try it. Thanks, Terry

  7. Great tutorial, I have always knit this way and thought it was normal. Great Job.

  8. Great tutorial Julie, as always you explain things so clearly - and wonderful to hear your voice after all our online nattering :-)