Okay so I feel like I'm being a little vulnerable here with this post, but I've had this random problem with knitting since the beginning. I'll just admit right now that knitting does not come naturally to me. At least not the way crocheting does. I find myself scratching my head a lot and my fingers never wanting to cooperate the way I need them to. And I figured that if I've had this problem, there's gotta be at least one other person out there struggling with this as well so I decided to make a little tutorial.
But first, here's my embarrassing backstory to explain my problem. (This is a judgment free zone right? We're all friends here yeah?)
At the beginning, I tried to learn how to knit English style, where the yarn is held in the right hand. But since I learned to crochet first, this felt completely foreign to me. After many tries, I eventually gave in and decided to hold the yarn in my left hand while knitting. And for some weird reason, when I first started out, I could not find any tutorials about knitting this way. So I may or may not have gone for a couple weeks thinking I had just invented my own way of knitting. Nope. Not true. It's called continental knitting. So yep I started out just figuring things out completely on my own. I found my own way to hold the yarn and manipulate it. I made some bad habits along the way, like needing my thumb to help me move the yarn around the needle which made knitting so slow. I eventually I fixed those habits, forcing myself to rely only on my index finger to move the yarn the way I needed. And I thought, wow I finally got this. I know how to knit. And I got kinda sorta (not really) fast at it. And I was feeling good. But then I started comparing my knitting to everyone around me. And I noticed that my stitches suddenly looked waaaaay different than all my friends on instagram. My stitches looked so tight even though they weren't. I'd scroll through instagram feeds and through pinterest, and it may be dumb to admit this, but for some reason I came to the conclusion that that's just how things looked when people knit continental. Our stitches just looked tighter than English style knitting. Not true. Not true at all. I embarrassingly tried to fix this by turning my beanie brim inside out while I was knitting (because the inside of the brim looked like English style stitches) and then I'd have to get rid of the jog that happens from suddenly knitting the opposite way around. So much unnecessary extra work.
I don't know if any of this makes sense. And I probably don't need to explain any of this back story. But I just like to be real here and admit that even after a year of knitting, I'm still constantly learning new tricks. And more importantly, this is just to let ya'll know that we all struggle with something, no matter how pretty things are painted on instagram and social media.
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My eyes got all big. I thought, "Oh my gosh, that's what my stitches look like. There's a way to twist a stitch??? Whaaaaaat?? You're telling me that there's a certain way to wrap the yarn around the needle? Does everyone know this but me?" I feel like this must not be talked about very much (or I'm just completely oblivious) because I've been at this for over a year and have never heard anyone mention that how you wrap the yarn around the needle changes the way your stitches look. So to possibly fill that void, here's my little tutorial.
First of all, here's what my beanies used to look like.
The stitches look so tight right? I had no idea I was doing anything wrong.
In case this is the look you're going for, or if you're curious if you knit the same way I used to, here's how to achieve this look.
Insert the needle as you would for a normal knit stitch, wrap the yarn around the needle clockwise, around the top of the needle from back to front.
Slide the new loop through onto the right hook.
Now for the twisted purl stitch, insert the needle the way you normally would, wrap the yarn around the needle counter clockwise, wrapping the yarn from the front and over the top.
Then purl the yarn through the loop and onto the right needle.
What are the chances that I unknowingly have been twisting both the knit and purl stitches this entire time? Since learning how to do things the normal way, my beanies look so pretty and, it might just all be in my head but, knitting feels so much smoother and faster now.
Here's how my beanies currently look. *Cue the choir of angels* How beautiful are my stitches now? I love the way these beanies turn out.
Here's how to do things the "right" and non-twisted way.
For the knit stitch, this time wrap the yarn around the needle counterclockwise, keeping the yarn behind the needle and wrapping it down...
Then bring the yarn up around the front of the needle, and pull through the loop and onto the right needle.
Now for the purl stitch, this time keep the yarn behind the right needle...
And then wrap the yarn around clockwise, moving the yarn from behind the needle and up and over the top. Pull through the loop.
And taa daa! Go right ahead and pat yourself on the back because you now know the difference between twisted and regular stitches.
Hopefully between my pictures and my cave man like explanation (it's so hard putting actions into words sometimes...someday I should get brave and pursue making youtube videos), this tutorial helps any of you who are struggling with making your knit purl stitches look like all them other fancy ladies on instagram. And even if you don't struggle with this, hopefully I helped show you a new trick on how to twist a stitch for a different look. (And maybe hopefully ya'll don't judge me too much for having this problem for so long. One of the downfalls of being self taught I suppose.)