Anyone else a Combined Knitter?

I taught myself to knit 47 years ago after many failed attempts to learn the English Method from my mother. My brain must work differently than most, because I ended up as a Combined Knitter. Honestly, the way the stitch sits on the needle and holding the strand on the left to pick rather than throw the yarn just makes a lot more sense to me.

I did have some problems early on - a lot of unintentionally twisted ribbing, incorrectly slanted increases/decreases - but I scoured libraries for resources (pre-internet) and finally discovered Mary Thomas’ classic knitting book which allowed me to understand stitch direction and to re-engineer increases and decreases. It has been smooth sailing since then, except for when I knit in public. I cannot tell you how many times I have been told I knit incorrectly. I politely explain that I just knit “upside down and backwards” and that is why they cannot understand it and why I cannot teach others to knit.

To be honest, this method allows me to knit very fast and purl even faster. I love it, but feel like I am on a desert island because of my technique. Anyone else have a similar story?

5 Likes

I taught my daughter-in-law to knit. She just watched me and started knitting continental on her own. But I was knitting English! For a few years she had twisted stitches. But they were consistent, and the finished product looked very nice. Eventually someone straightened her out but she still knits continental.
I can knit either way, and will sometimes knit continental when my hands ache from arthritis. I have timed myself and I am still faster by 30% knitting English. I can’t purl continental. My gauge gets too tight. And it hurts my hands, so I gave up on that.
I do think that overall continental is faster when fully learned.

2 Likes

We have a group for combined knitters here on Open Ravel. Maybe you would like to join us!

5 Likes

Before I switched to continental I would do a very modified English. I never put my yarn down to ‘throw’. That was what convinced me to try continental.
I have done English, continental, Norwegian purling and backwards knitting, lol. But since I am a left-hander who knits truly left-handed I get lots of strange looks from knitters - specially in classes. I was at sock summit one year taking a sock class and as the teacher went around the class checking on everyone she actually stopped and told me I was the first truly left-handed knitter she had ever seen.

4 Likes

When I started knitting I didn’t turn my work- I knit the correct way then knit backwards and made stockinette fabric. I had just watched other folks a little and that’s what my hands just did to make sense of it. I knit continental but can knit English as well. I have taught it both ways so I had to but I’ve found it’s great for colorwork! And as Hellokitten said, I swap too when one hand hurts or the other.

2 Likes

Interesting! That would also make more sense when following charts. I used to get so turned around on charts.

My mother tried to teach me continental style when I was 6 but I wasn’t coordinated enough to learn. She came from Germany and only knit in that style. My neighbor taught me English style when I was 9 and joined 4-H. When I picked up fairisle knitting some years later, I taught myself how to knit Continental to avoid having to drop one yarn and pick up another. On those projects I use both styles simultaneously. I still use English most of the time, but I throw in continental when I do color-work or as others have mentioned start having pain in my hands or sometimes just for the fun of doing something different. .

3 Likes

Wow! That is cool that the both of you can swap back and forth. Does it not change your gauge? I can do either but I never switch mid-project.

Hi Rhonnie,

Yes, I do have to watch my gauge when I do both at the same time and it does slow down the process at first, but after awhile, it evens out. :wink:

1 Like

Ahhh, okay. At least I’m not the only one, lol :smiley:

1 Like

I first taught myself to crochet. Then later I realized I could learn to knit. But I could not manage the throwing. I picked up a Knook set to teach myself to knit. The light bulb went on.
And I did it the way it came naturally, holding the yarn like in crochet and pick knit both knit and purl.
Had a thrower comment that she could never do that, and I was kinda down on my different way for awhile.

Then I decided, that was foolish and searched to find other like minded knitters (Russian Speed Knitting is one) as well as Elizabeth Zimmerman, although I didn’t realize this right away. I appreciated discovering along the way that pick knitting was long practiced before English throwing.

Learning how to read stitches makes it easy to knit this way. The only thing I have to watch is when to move stitches or not to knit two together, etc. in order to make it lean correctly.
Only had a few issues at first with twisted stitches until I learned to read where the leg rested on the needle (front or behind).

4 Likes

Yes definitely! I’m a combination knitter. I learned English from my mom at age nine and combination from a friend of hers at age 16, never looked back. I’m the only combination knitter that I know - at least personally! Other than the lady that taught me so long ago, I’ve never seen anyone else knit like I do.

3 Likes

I found myself doing that with multiple colors, too!

1 Like

It’s a wonderful thing about knitting: there are as many ways to do it as there are people doing it, just about, and the only wrong way is any way that makes you not want to knit - and even then, it’s only wrong for you!

3 Likes

Oh so true! I hate when the Knitting Police proclaim something as wrong.
It’s only wrong if you don’t like the result!

Remember always that knitting is an art form - art is not subject to strict rules and regulations!

5 Likes

I’m a Russian knitter. (I pick and my knits wrap clockwise, purls wrap counterclockwise.)

2 Likes