This is one of those subjects that comes up again and again and most people, naturally, when they see photos and videos of English knitting are more familiar with Miss Marple's method - holding the needles like a pen.
There are very few (maybe two or three) descriptions on the web of (northern) English knitting, which involves holding long needles in a totally different way, even though the wrap the remains the same.
There's a drawing here to give some idea of what I'm on about:(just scroll down the page slightly)
If you look at the knitter's right hand, you'll see that the index finger is used to wrap - most women I know who knit like this, however, use the middle finger to wrap. The middle finger in the drawing looks curled under and it is - I tension the wool around my right pinky, the yarn lies across my palm and then it flows smoothly under
my middle finger.
The main advantage to knitting
like this, as opposed to the pen method, is that the needle is stabilised under your right arm - meaning that if you have a yarn bracelet, as in the KH shop, you can walk around with the knitting
and after some practice, it's amazing how you can do a good number of stitches without looking.
There's no need to hug the needle tightly (especially if you're delicately ample) and it takes away alot of the weight from the wrists. In the drawing, the left needle is pointing directly upwards, which is a bit daft, because that needle is held in the left hand in an easy, horizontal, grip.
I'm not 100% sure but I think English knitters adapted the Shetland method of knitting
with four dpns, using a belt which allowed the knitter to move around and do other jobs.
The way of knitting
in the diagram was used in the horrendously noisy weaving sheds in the cotton mills of Lancashire, where it was impossible to have any conversation but using this method, it was easy to knit, while keeping an eye on the weaving looms.
Hope this might be useful to some folks.