In my endless quest to knit better - which is to say more efficiently and more ergonomically and (ahem) more quickly - I've begun to look into different methodologies.
Those of you who don't knit might be bored out of your mind to learn that there are 2 predominant schools: picking (aka Continental or German or Left-Handed) and throwing (English aka British or Right-Handed).
Apparently, English knitting is the more popular North American style. Continental is the style most Europeans use (except some British, who learned from those who were quite political about using the English method, particularly during the War).
I learned the English method as a teenager, when I practiced the art for all of 3 weeks, and promptly forgot everything. When I began knitting again in April of this year, I automatically reverted to this method which, intriguingly, came back to me very quickly. I find my tension even and I am rather fast. Note: I'm a proficient typist and the kind of dextrous, obsessive compulsive sort who grooves easily with the handwork of knitting. I also get a shitload of practice.
As you know, this fall I've undertaken a stupid goal - the knitting or baking of all my Xmas items (or purchase of the odd few on Etsy). Mainly, I'm knitting, which means I spend every moment that's not earmarked for work or sleep doing some sort of project.
My back hurts. It's tight as a body-builder's and the tension is squeezing up into my neck and head. I am often in a lot of pain lately. I mean, I'm no stranger to headaches (which are the result of muscular tension), but this is out of control. I've actually done relatively little knitting this week because I just can't manage the pain I'm already in - never mind whether or not the knitting is actually contributing to the problem. I have to assume it is.
Note: I do yoga to assist me in staying limber and to undercut the pain, but it's barely scratching the surface at this point.
Long story short, I don't imagine I will be knitting in this volume again. But what to do about the 3 gift projects I've got left (and my own work, going forward)? It occurred to me I should learn Continental style.
Apparently Continental knitting is more ergonomic, more efficient (because it requires less broad movement), easier for lefties and the method that the fastest of all knitters use (except for wacky-ass Cottage knitting - scroll down to see the awesome video in Mardel's post).
I've spent the day learning and, so far, I have to say it's not so fabulous. No knitting is more left- than right-handed IMO, because knitting requires both hands and both sides of the brain. I'm an ambidextrous leftie - I do almost everything other than write, predominantly right-handedly - so maybe it's not surprising that "right-handed" knitting is easier for me. Of course, maybe it's just what I'm used to. Intriguingly, it's the left side of my back that's really struggling. And when one knits English-style, it's the right side that really gets the workout by "throwing" they yarn over the right needle in the action of creating the stitch. I should mention, there's a lot of fluidity to the action when you get into the groove. It's not all willy-nilly, as the term implies.
Today I also learned from Katy that one can knit English-style without actually throwing the yarn. I'm intrigued to learn more about this. Is it known as "lever-style" (something I found while digging around on the net for a few minutes earlier today)? Can anyone point me in the direction of a video that shows this style?
But enough about me. Whatch'all do when you knit? English? Continental? Some other fringe method I've never heard of? Any thoughts or feelings about pain when knitting? About the type of tension or speed you achieve when doing one method over another? Please share!