Monday, March 23, 2009

Irish Cottage Knitting

Last week, I watched this video featuring the Yarn Harlot knitting. Yes, she's like the wind! Since I'm working on a project right now that is just oodles and oodles of garter stitch (it's a super secret project, which is why there hasn't been much knitting content posted), I needed to do something to make my garter stitch time seem less like detention. So, I thought, why not learn a new technique? It wouldn't hurt for me to speed up my needles, plus, this seems like something an English knitter like myself can pick up easier than Continental because the yarn is held in the right hand.

Easier said than done. My tension is atrocious as if I am a fumbly beginning knitter. I had to switch off of the super secret project and start a practice swatch because my garter stitch looked wonky.

My biggest obstacle is that I normally tension my yarn by winding it around my right pinky twice, and then drape it off of my index finger. If I string my yarn the same way on my right hand as I try to lever action knit, my tension is too loose. I need to find a new way to hold my yarn. Also, I usually use circular needles for everything, but I had to switch to straights so I could hold the needle in my right hand like a pencil. I am so irritated now that I have to beat this! Thankfully (or unfortunately), being stubborn is a wildtomato specialty.

A little bit o' Internet time showed that "Irish cottage knitting" is also known as "Peruvian knitting" and "lever action knitting." So using these search terms, I found this video with a very clear explanation. The video is more than 9 minutes long, and the camera is focused on her hands the whole time. I also found pictures of lever action knitting here. The pictures are useful, but the videos are helping me more.

If anyone has mastered Irish cottage knitting and can point me to more tutorials or has tidbits of knowledge for a struggling newbie, please do share!



  1. That video is giving me an anxiety attack. I'm not sure how I knit, but it's not the Irish Cottage method. My right needle sort of scoops the yarn as I go and it's pretty fast. I'm not sure what it's called. (i hold the yarn in my left) hmmmm

    Well! Good luck! It's always a challenge to try something new.

    and that is such a great combo between Continental and English knitting styles. wow, i'm so curious to know how you manage to even out your tension. and maybe that's why YH likes DPNs and not circulars-- bc of her knitting style?!

  3. I'm with Rani. I got a headache watching her knit. I learned a different way, not Irish Cottage Knitting, but something that's a little more comfortable for me. I don't think I knit as fast as she does; I go for a more relaxed pace.

    I find that the less I worry about tension, the more consistent my tension actually is.

  4. This is a link to the Yarn harlot method taught by someone else. She gives the tensioning method, which most of the "harlot" videos don't. I suspect this is because the Harlot charges $75 to $100 for a teaching session, and doesn't want to give away all her secrets in free videos.



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