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Old 03-19-2009, 05:39 PM   #1
isabeau
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Help with learning different knitting styles?
So, I have this problem.

I was taught to knit English style, using the long-tail thumb method for casting on. (I've tried Continental in the past, but knit stitch is awkward, purling is impossible, and my tension sucketh, so I always reverted to English.) The way I knit involved both my hands near the tips of the needles, so my fingers could (as needed) hold needles in place, hold stitches in place, move stitches off, guide the working yarn, and keep the appropriate tension.

...For reasons that would take way too long to explain -- the short version is "wacky progressive mobility-limiting diseases suck" -- I can no longer do that. Particularly, I can only get my fingers within about 5" of each other (sometimes I can get them to touch if I strain, but that's painful and I can't keep it up for very long at a time).

I can still wield knitting needles, but I can't have both hands at the tips while I'm knitting. And my left hand needs the needle tip more (to manipulate the existing stitches, where the right hand was more just used for throwing the yarn), which means I probably have to switch to Continental, with left hand (and working yarn) at the tip of needles, and right hand further down on the right needle.

So, my questions are these:

1) How the heck do I *retrain* myself, given that I've done English for so long? (This is not, btw, an excuse for English-vs-Continental wars; it's just that I'm used to the one and frighteningly bad with the other.)

2) Is there a cast-on method that can be done without having the hands close? (The one I'm used to needs the LH thumb to act as a needle and the RH to manipulate the working yarn, and I can't do that any more.) The 'standard' method of LT might work since the right hand doesn't need to be at the tip, but I haven't tried it, and I'm also very bad at judging the needed lengths (always end up either too short, or miles too long), so a cast-on that doesn't involve estimating length for the tail would also be good.

Thanks for any suggestions

(I don't figure many people have actually *experienced* this sort of change, but hey, creativity is fun...)
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Current projects: a hat, one pair of socks, a pair of fingerless gloves, and zero sanity. Future projects: more socks, more gloves (some with fingers, even!), a tea cozy, a penguin scarf, and even less sanity.
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