I love knitting, am an avid knitter and always have a knitting project (or three) on the needles. Knitting is a satisfying and cathartic endeavor. My biggest and maybe only qualm with knitting is that I can’t do it faster. I like to joke that I knit like molasses. In an effort to speed up my knitting, so that I can shorten my project’s to-do list from “not in three lifetimes” to “maybe in a lifetime and a half” I’ve embarked on a learning journey.
I’ve begun to teach myself how to knit using the flicking method.
Continental knitting holds the yarn with the left hand while knitting, and is supposedly a faster method of knitting. Oddly enough when crocheting I hold the yarn with my left hand. But for knitting I just can’t get into the continental groove. I rely too much on my right hand for maneuvering the needle, and my style just doesn’t play well holding the yarn in my left hand.
English knitting holds the yarn in the right hand with the working needle, but you have to let go of the right needle to throw the yarn over the needle. This added motion makes this method admittedly slower.
Flicking is something of a hybrid, in the you hold the yarn in your right hand, in a manner similar to continental style, and instead of releasing the right-hand needle to throw the yarn over, you lean the needle out and flick the yarn over with your pointer finger, never releasing the needle at all.
Don’t worry, as poorly as my description is, I’m attaching a few videos about the method that I found particularly helpful and explain it much more clearly than I ever could.
The best advice I can give while learning? Start slow. Take the time to focus on each part your separate hands are playing while knitting in this way, and take the time to get each part working correctly before trying to turn up the speed.
I also suggest not switching to this new technique in the middle of a project (like I did). My tension and therefore stitch gauge is vastly different using flicking. Hopefully that will change when I get better at relaxing my hands and yarn tension with practice. In my case the project I started practicing on is a pair of socks, so it’s not a big deal. But be forewarned.
Am I any faster yet? Not yet. I tend to drop more stitches using the flicking method, and so have to stop and pick them back up again. But I do see the benefit and promise of continuing in this way. I’ll report back once I feel like I’ve got it mastered.
An important tip I learned from “Very Pink Knits” is that mastery of this method is not something you’ll pick up after knitting just a swatch. It takes much longer to get the hang of it. I agree with her. I’m finding the longer I use this technique, the more naturally parts of it come to me and the more smoothly I’m knitting. The more relaxed and therefore looser my knitting gauge is, and the fewer stitches I’m dropping along the way.
If, like me, you’re searching for a knitting method that’s faster but still accomodating to old habits, look no further than flicking.
Here’s some video tutorials I found particularly helpful:
Andrea of “Fruity Knitting” has a segment about flicking knitting in their most recent episode. She goes into a close up and in-depth explanation of how she uses this method, and it’s well worth the time to watch (their knitting shows are always top notch, entertaining, educational and worth the time to watch).
The flicking tutorial happens at minutes 35:15.
If you try this method, let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear any tips or tricks you’ve learned and especially if you find you’re any faster at knitting. Best of luck, and thank for your time!