View Full Version : I learned Portuguese knitting--VERY EASY and GREAT for those with hand problems!

04-17-2008, 11:02 PM
I've been an English knitter for a long time, and developed carpal tunnel and arthritis in the past year. :wall: I've tried learning Continental knitting, but it made the arthritis worse, so bagged that idea. Last Saturday, however, some of my friends on any sock KAL suggested Turkish or Portuguese knitting and linked a YouTube video. Well, that got me searching for more tutorial-type videos. These are the ones that helped me.

In this one, she explains a yarn holder. (http://youtube.com/watch?v=xswHlgb1i_E&feature=user) Good for me, since neck problems prevent me from putting the yarn around my neck. I use a safety-pin type stitch holder and put it through a buttonhole (or my bra strap, if there's no buttonhole:aww:).

This one shows the basic knit stitch (http://youtube.com/watch?v=CBhq4VusU5Y&feature=related). She goes slowly enough to actually tell what she's doing. Take note that you DO cross your right needle over the FRONT of the left needle and then flip the yarn over it with your thumb.

This one shows the purl stitch (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=VK5hYxupNcM&feature=user), which is actually EASIER than the knit stich!

And this one shows ribbing. (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=fre2jL...eature=related)

Here's cables. (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti6DhWYBfrk)

Here's casting on (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=sO5_tzkQKZk), but it's in Portuguese! I'm sure you can use whatever cast on works for you!

You're never too old to learn new techniques! If nothing else, this gives you an alternative method for when your hands get tired.

So does anyone else knit like this? Anyone giving it a try?

04-17-2008, 11:33 PM
I'm going to check it out tomorrow. I sometimes get tennis elbow from knitting too long.


04-18-2008, 01:04 AM
Wong way of knitting.. a great learning tool. it makes purling the easier stitch!!


I ordered the pin but use my neck instead!!!:roflhard:

sue in canada
04-18-2008, 07:34 AM
I am so glad that this is working so well for you Gina. Happy Knitting.

04-18-2008, 08:49 AM
I can't watch the videos until I go to the library but I'm intrigued with anything that makes it easier.

04-18-2008, 09:24 AM
That is really neat- thanks for posting! I have never heard of or tried that style- but after knitting a lot (ahem- the first weekend after my harmony wood set arrived-ahem) I usually change to english from continental for a while. Seems like this would be a good "my hands are too sore to knit" alternative.

04-18-2008, 09:51 AM
I'm going to check it out tomorrow. I sometimes get tennis elbow from knitting too long.


Me, too! I've taken to putting on one of those forearm straps if I'm going to knit for awhile, or if I'm using a less forgiving yarn. It really helps and mine has almost completely gone away.

of troy
04-18-2008, 10:13 AM
portugues knitting is basicly identical to:
turkish knitting
greek knitting
syrian knitting
egyptian knitting
(and many other 'eastern' variations)

this same style is found where ever knitting was introduced my spanish and portugues sailors.. (so its found in many parts of south america.) the spanish and portugues learned this style of knitting before 1492 (and the spanish expulsion of the 'moors' (islamic influence) )

some south americans (a huge percentage) are more norther european immigrants (the irish for one, migrated to Catholic south america in favor of engish speaking but non catholic US) and these immigrants brought 'standard european knitting' (vs islamic/eastern style knitting) --so both types of knitting can be found in SA countries.

the yarn (as you see in the photo) is 'secured' above the hands.

in some places, its wrapped round the neck, in other places, a regular (safety pin) or special knitting pin is used.

then the yarn is threaded through the pin (rather than around the neck)

the pin is pinned on clothing at shoulder or near neckline.

the yarn is keep low (usually in a bowl on floor) and the tension is created just by this arrangement--(rather than by elaborate wrapping of the yarn around the fingers)

04-18-2008, 10:35 AM
I havenīt watched the videos yet ( but plan to :thumbsup: ) but am also plagued with "tennis elbow" and aching wrists at times. IĻve found that if I can use circular needles instead of straights, the discomfort is much less.

Thanks for the links!


04-18-2008, 04:20 PM
Thanks for the history lesson, of Troy! I've seen it called Turkish knitting, too, but didn't know the background. I always like learing the history behind what we do!:cheering:

04-18-2008, 06:53 PM
Neat, thanks for the links!

I just happened to have a sock otn here, so I wrapped my yarn around my neck to give it a go - surprisingly, the knit stitch was pretty intuitive for me - once I got the yarn to be OVER the right needle, needle through, flick with thumb, then it was just picking the yarn like I do when knitting continental. The purls are even easier, fun!

Jan in CA
04-19-2008, 05:21 PM
How cool is this!? Thanks for the links!

04-19-2008, 05:27 PM
I'm loving it! Think we can get a THIRD option on the technique videos?:flirt:

04-19-2008, 06:42 PM
How cool!

Oh yes, I'm going to give it a try as well -- with a safety pin or something. It would seem that the yarn would get tangled in my hair, or get dirty from neck sweat ;)

04-19-2008, 07:08 PM
Yeah. I use a stitch holder. Just thread the yarn through it and clip it to a buttonhole or bra strap. Very smooth.

04-21-2008, 01:57 AM
Definitely going to give it a try.

On the videos, the first one (how to use the safety pin/yarn holder) will not show up. The link takes me to a page that says that the video was "malformed" and can't be shown.

Is there another video out there showing the way?

04-21-2008, 03:33 AM

I had the same problem. I found this video (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=xswHlgb1i_E) by the same person.

04-21-2008, 04:39 PM
Sorry the link was bad. When you go to one good one, just click the link on YouTube for the name of the maker and you'll see all the videos she did. They're all worth watching (over and over and over, in my case!)

ETA: I fixed the link. It should work now!

04-21-2008, 05:29 PM

Thanks so much for the interesting information. I enjoy learning about different knitting techniques and how they came about.

My friend, Ritaw, knits this way and she is a Demon knitter - I can't tell you how many hats she's made in the last two weeks for our charity Save the Children/Paul O'Grady appeal, so thanks again for posting.


04-21-2008, 10:20 PM
No problem! It sure has helped me!

04-21-2008, 11:57 PM
Oooooo I want to learn this now - I'm going to bookmark the thread so that I can watch the videos when I get back to the states.

04-21-2008, 11:59 PM
That is very interesting. I might try it out tomorrow, too late tonight!

How has it effected your gauge, do you feel that is the same as before or quite a bit different? In other words would it be best to use this technique on a new project rather than part way through a current one??

of troy
04-22-2008, 12:21 PM
i suspect your question was direct to Gina, but i too have been experimenting with KNITTING, portugues style (i knew how to purl)

the knit stitch is interesting.. it is a backwards norwegian purl!

the yarn stays in the front of the work (purl position) --but goes behind the needle.

--in a norwegian purl the yarn stays in back of work (knit position) but goes in front of needle

my gauge didn't change at all, but i have arthritis (an acute attach) and it effects my thumb joints, so it was uncomfortable to work.

YOUR gauge might vary--it depends on so many factors..

04-22-2008, 02:59 PM
Thanks, Gina, it does look interesting. I do everything I can not to involve my thumbs when I knit, so this is probably not the style for me.

04-22-2008, 03:24 PM
Sorry the link was bad. When you go to one good one, just click the link on YouTube for the name of the maker and you'll see all the videos she did. They're all worth watching (over and over and over, in my case!)

ETA: I fixed the link. It should work now!

Thanks! I got it now! ^___^

04-22-2008, 03:42 PM
How totally interesting! It's amazing how many ways there are to knit. Every time I think I know (of) them all, there is more!

04-22-2008, 04:40 PM
That is very interesting. I might try it out tomorrow, too late tonight!

How has it effected your gauge, do you feel that is the same as before or quite a bit different? In other words would it be best to use this technique on a new project rather than part way through a current one??

Hi Newamy,
My gauge is the same. It took awhile to get it that way, but I wanted to be able to switch between knitting styles to avoid repetitive motion strain. Here's what I did while learning. I already had a swatch started for a project in brown sheep cotton fleece. I worked on it using the Portuguese knitting and kept adjusting how I hold the yarn to get the right gauge. Currently, I hold the yarn between my index and middle finger on the right hand and keep it looped through a stitch holder on a buttonhole or brastrap. Easy peasy!:woot:

I have to confess that my gauge in purling Portuguese style is looser. I haven't worked as much on it though, as my current project is stockinette in the round. Purling English style bothers my hands, so I opted to keep this project as a KNIT rather than PURL in the round to get my stockinette, since I can switch between the two styles of knitting with the same gauge and no pain.:cheering:

04-22-2008, 06:36 PM
Gina, thanks for the links.
I guess my question was also going to be about gauge. I would like to continue to knit conteninal style, but maybe purl in Portuguese style (purling is what bothers my hands the most) and was wondering how the gauge would be.
I guess, practice will make perfect. Thanks

04-22-2008, 11:09 PM
No problem. I swap between the two quite seamlessly now. I can knit again, so it's WONDERFUL!!!:woot:

04-25-2008, 07:38 PM
I sent a message through Youtube to the creator of the Portuguese knitting videos thanking her for the tutorials. I also asked her a few questions about how to knit/pur front and back, or through back loops using this method.

She replied that she's in the process of making more video tutorials and is open to questions/requests people have about portuguese knitting.

What would your requests be?

04-25-2008, 09:19 PM
I sent her a message, too, but never heard back, except in Portuguese. I'm SO glad you heard from her!

I'd like to see how to knit in front and back of a stitch, different kinds of increases and decreases, you know....everything that we find so conveniently on KH!:)

04-27-2008, 02:22 PM
Hmm, so far, I think if you think of it as knitting continental and just remember that working yarn is starting in front, you can do all of those things with a little practice. I know for my socks I've already done some k2tog and ssks, and yos. Don't over think it. The stitches are formed the same way by the yarn, no matter how you knit, and Portuguese is very similar to conti, just the yarn at "rest" is held in front of the work instead of in back.

04-27-2008, 02:32 PM
Yep. The TOGs are easy, but kf&b is awkward. I'm wondering if there is an easier way.

04-27-2008, 02:32 PM
One more thing - as I go along I've adapted this and now my style is certainly not traditional, I'm sure, but when I'm just knitting, I find that I use my index finger still to hold the yarn to the back. So even though the yarn is around my neck, I'm holding to the back to knit and picking my knit stitches just like conti. So where in the videos she uses her thumb to move hte yarn back, I'm still employing my index finger, and I'm knitting hte back instead of Then I let go and purl with by picking, as in Portuguese.

The important thing to remember, imo, is whether you throw or pick, and if the yarn is starting in back or front, each stitch is always made the same way as far as the yarn itself is concerned (combination knitting and some forms of purling being the only one I've seen so far that is truly different, since purl stitches are wrapped "backwards" in comparison with the knit stitches where in other styles both stitches are wrapped in the same direction around the needle).

So when it comes time to translate a ssk, it is no different, as far as the yarn is concerned, if you are going to throw or pick, or where the yarn started. So, for a ssk, you need the yarn in back. If you're using your neck or a holder to hold the yarn to the front, you have an option of putting it there first (which I do) or flipping it over the right needle after it is in place, which is easier if the right needle is in front of the left one, as per the videos linked in this thread.

07-30-2008, 09:23 AM
Have any of you who knit Portuguese learned how to K or P in BACK of the loop without switching how you hold the yarn? I'm finding it very cumbersome. Ideas, anyone?

04-12-2009, 11:52 AM
Thanks for posting this... I love learning new things, and this will help me greatly when my hand starts to ache.

I knit 4 rows this way, then 4 rows in my usual English method. Looking at the stitching I see a difference but I don't know what it is.
What is it?
The reason I ask is that I'd like to be able to switch back and forth if I feel like. I don't want to affect the way the stitching looks though.

04-12-2009, 12:29 PM
I'm not sure, but be sure you go into the stitch in the right direction or it will twist it. I switch back and forth all the time and it looks identical. I'm guessing you're going into the TOP of the stitch for the knit stitch instead of the bottom. Know what I mean? If you still have trouble, let me know!

04-13-2009, 06:53 AM
Thanks for the great post. I have carpel tunnel which I've been able to work with by really concentrating on economizing my movements but I suspect it will eventually catch up to me and I want to have options when it does.

I've also heard that in South America Andean knitters knit in the round tensioning the yarn in the same way but knitting "inside out" by purling all the stitches with the needles on the far side of the tube. For some reason the purl stitch looks more intuitive than the knit stich using that method to me so I might try that.

04-13-2009, 02:41 PM
This is the SAME concept! It's called by many different names. ANd you're right....the purl stitch IS more intuitive. When I teach this method, I always teach the purl stitch first. The knit stitch requires a little more needle manipulation...

02-02-2011, 12:09 PM
I made my own knitting pin by taking a picture hanger clip (the style that has a v-hook) , removed the nail and slipped a safety pin through it... works perfectly

02-02-2011, 12:12 PM
Great idea, Lori! I'll have to try that!
I use a stitch holder with a little hook on it from a jewelry making kit that I attach to my bra strap under my shirt. When I'm not knitting, I just tuck it in! It doesn't stretch my clothes or put stress on my neck.

04-26-2011, 01:16 PM

Thanks for posting this information. This young lady is amazing and I'm getting ready to try this method RIGHT NOW. I hope it works on something that I've already started the Continental way....

So much easier on your hands.

Best regards,

04-27-2011, 08:21 AM
I have had tingling/numbness in my ring and baby finger since the middle of December and after being sent to one Dr after the other I was finally sent to a nerve specialist and found out that what I had was Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. It is caused by leaning on the elbow too much, which I do on my computer desk,, and leaning on my chair while knitting. I think this may be the problem with a lot of knitter's out there so I am posting this link for you to check out and maybe some of the reader's out here will find relief by watching how they knit and stop putting so much weight on their elbows. You may want to check with your doctor if you are having the same thing. There are exercises to do besides stopping leaning on the elbow so much. I'm going to post both links.



Hope this helps other's out there

04-27-2011, 08:30 AM
I just glanced at the title and it said Learned Portuguese. I was thinking like language and road trip to Brazil. I was picturing myself sipping some exotic drink with a little umbrella at a beach in Rio de Janeiro. Ah, well. I guess I'm just getting sick of snow. lol

04-27-2011, 09:08 AM
Seriously, though, it would be a good idea to post how to videos of Portuguese knitting. I've been reading about elderly knitters who have had to give away their needles and yarn to younger knitters because of arthritis. It breaks my heart. It's like having to put one of your kids up for adoption, to have to give up something you love so much. Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the Little House on the Prairie books, had to give up knitting because her arthritis got so bad. If money is an issue, I'd be willing to send you a little for this great service.

I'm an Eastern knitter and there's only one site that I found that's not combination knitting and has some practical information. I found nothing on how to cast on for Eastern knitting. I had to figure that out for myself, as well as how to adapt for some of the decreases. One of these days, maybe I'll write a book or figure out how to use the webcam that's built into my new netbook and post it on Youtube. Hey, Sheldon! Are you out there for us technologically challenged?

04-27-2011, 09:21 AM
I think there may be a few videos on youtube for Russian knitting, which is a form of eastern; there are a couple there for Portuguese in addition to the one linked in this thread.

04-27-2011, 05:31 PM
I posted links to videos of Portuguese knitting as the very first post in this thread. They're on YouTube, but linked. So go back to post 1 in this thread and click on the links! You can still KNIT!

04-28-2011, 11:28 AM
Thanks for the tip on Russian knitting. I checked out the Youtube videos. But fyi, it's not the same thing. The Russian knit stitch is continental. The purl stitch is similar to Eastern, but the yarn is held in front. Eastern does both knit and purl with the yarn in back of the needles. The yarn is never placed in front. The orientation is different. Russian, continental, English, and Portuguese has a left stitch orientation while Eastern stitches are right slanted on the needle. You other style knitters would say our stitches are backwards. I think I worked out all my Eastern techniques issues, but thanks for the help.

04-28-2011, 03:52 PM
Thanks for explaining the differences.

04-28-2011, 05:37 PM
Actually, with Portuguese knitting, the stitches are EXACTLY the same as with English or Continental. I interchange them all the time. I don't know about the other styles, as I am not familiar with them.

07-23-2011, 08:37 PM
I have just learned this technique exists. Even though I am in the middle of a project (I'm a thrower), I'm going to practice this like crazy till I have it right! It's so exciting :muah:

03-14-2014, 07:22 PM

05-08-2014, 01:50 PM
Thank you so much for these tips. I only heard about this method today, but I'm really excited, because I'm another knitter struggling with carpel tunnel and shoulder problems despite switching to continental (which did help a lot at first) a while ago. I'm in the middle of knitting a jacket, so that will have to be finished in the same method before I go on to learn this, but hopefully I will have fewer problems in future. Thanks again.

01-19-2015, 05:42 PM
I hear you when it come to Arthritis and wanting to still knit. My hands were very painful and some knitting styles will irritate joints which are sore, as particular joints act up for me in the winter more than in warmer weather, I knit past the stiffness. When I tried things out, could not knit like the Yarn Harlot which is Cottage Knitting. I can do it now, just find it awkward for me.

I found for that the casein protein in dairy products could contribute to Arthritis in sensitive individuals, and it was hard for me, but I gave up dairy for a long time. But it made a big difference in the pain in my hands and also other joints. I substituted several of the plant milks to make change of diet easier. I can cheat now but know my hands will tell me when I need to get off of dairy again.

I have a wheelchair, it wasn't only my hands. I use that wheelchair now just to transport big bags of dog food from the garage to the kitchen where the dogs eat. I like being wheelchair free a lot. Don't use my cane now either.

For me I have found that I benefit from changing knitting styles as I can still get soreness and so I don't irritate any joint and have it start screaming in pain, I switch to another knitting style or knit backwards.

I have been an English/American knitter so worked to knit looser as the added tension made knitting harder to enter small stitches too.

Knitting backward was out of necessity to do Enterlac and so I know how both right handed and left handed.

I also find that using a Combination or Eastern European hand hold for Continental knitting is good for my fingers as it puts no tension on them. I do not have to use that stitch mount unless it is practical for me. Who cares what mount the stitch has if you know how to make the knitting comes out right and your fingers feel good.

Flicking is a right-handed knitting method in which the yarn is never put down, nor the right hand needle to complete the stitch, it either requires stretching the index finger to do or to find a pivot point as the needle moves backwards to catch the stitch. It resembles the Continental in that you then are picking the yarn, but it still requires bringing the yarn to the front to purl. Flicking can be done in knitting backwards for Continental knitters also. Knitting backwards is actually purling but from the front of the work.

Videos list these methods as also mirror knitting, knitting without turning or even left handed knitting. Lefties often have better videos on how to knit going the other way.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

The good news is that my hands are much better now. I try to knit every day as it maintains my fingers' function.

The link is my video for flicking.


01-20-2015, 07:03 PM
Had to try it, the stitch is very even despite just trying it. Haven't watched all the video links. You are very thorough. I found a small drapery hook which I can attach to my t-shirt which works perfectly (wouldn't try it with any expensive clothing). This hook works to hand pinch pleat drapery, not the kind which does the pleating for you if you have the drapery tape backing.

Super helpful, I can see I will make lots of use of this.

03-21-2015, 02:33 PM
I'm thrilled to have found this thread. I just started practicing PK 2 days ago and I love it. I am an English knitter for around 11 years now and I have Arthritis in my hands and regularly will get numbness in my middle fingers, ring and picky fingers. Giving up knitting is NOT an option. So I am going to try to learn Portuguese knitting. Although I have some hesitation on how my English stitches transfer over in this style of knitting.

I have spent the last two days searching online for a book on teaching myself everything I would need to learn but there only seems to be one book right now and at this time is not in my budget .

Going back now to check on the links you've posted .

03-21-2015, 05:30 PM
I've been looking for Portuguese Knitting Abbreviations , like the knitting abbreviations found here :shrug: but no luck .

I went to my local library today to see if I could find a book on Portuguese knitting , no luck. The librarian checked online to see if any surrounding library's may have any thing on PK , she even checked with one of our local community colleges , no luck there either.

03-21-2015, 05:42 PM
Nana, my impression is that the abbreviations are the same as the ones listed in any knitting glossary. It's the way in which the stitches are made that's different.
Are there special abbreviations for Portuguese knitting?