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Old 05-27-2008, 01:08 PM   #1
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holding working yarn issue...
I'm a noob knitter, and seem to have run into an issue...

I am having a real problem holding tension on the working thread with my left hand. I've tried a few different combinations and can't get any to work... I've tried wrapping it around pinky, grasping against palm with ring and pinky, no luck. It's gotten to my having to step on the yarn with my foot to hold the tension! :-(

Has anyone else had issues with keeping tension using just your fingers? If so, how did you overcome it? Also, is the "method" I am currently using going to inhibit me in any way for more advanced techniques in the future?
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Old 05-27-2008, 01:18 PM   #2
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You must be a continental knitter as I knit english style and hold the yarn in the my right hand.

You may want to look at the videos on this site in the getting started section and select the continental style for any of the videos. This may help.

Take care & good luck.

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Old 05-27-2008, 01:35 PM   #3
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Tried those actually, will try again tonight to see if anything "clicks" this time around. But if not, was really wondering if anyone used a technique that was "not the norm", so to speak...
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Old 05-27-2008, 02:57 PM   #4
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I had a heck of a time keeping tension in my left hand, but when I switched to english knitting with it in my right hand it worked fine. I still have problems when I knit fair isle with both hands holding yarn.

To be honest I think it just takes time and practice no matter which method you use.

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Old 05-27-2008, 03:23 PM   #5
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You could do one of two things. One, as mentioned above, is try the right-handed method, or English style. I can't do English style; it's a little too fumbly for me to do the wrapping with my right hand.

If you want to stick with continental, just keep trying. For a long time, I didn't really hold the yarn at all (meaning I had little to no consistent tension). After a while, I'd wrap it once around my pinky and then let it lay over my index finger. Constant practice with this and I didn't even have to think about it anymore; it's just there without me even worrying about it.

I'd suggest knit something small, like a dish cloth or something, and just practice knitting and holding the yarn if you wanna try to get used to continental knitting. After just constant practice, and being understanding to your hands that they won't hold the yarn properly at first, and it should clear up fine for you.

Hope this helps!
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Old 05-27-2008, 04:44 PM   #6
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I hate english now that i've gotten continental down. I wrap the yarn all the way around my pinky from the front, back up and behind my ring finger, in front of my middle finger, the up & over my index finger.
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:00 PM   #7
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I run mine (hmmm, picking up needles to look...) over my pinky, under ring and middle fingers and over index finger, and don't loop it around anything. The middle two fingers give it slight "drag". Mind, that's what works for *me*, because my hands are big and stiff and tend to be rough. You'll figure out what works for YOU, and your hands, and your favorite yarns. The longer you nit, the less trouble you'll have and the less you'll even think of it.

If it's still driving you crazy in a couple of weeks, you could give English a try. It won't hurt and it'll be one more technique you can have handy if you ever need it. Funny thing is, I can only throw lefthanded!
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Old 05-27-2008, 07:18 PM   #8
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Ya know, I had a ton of trouble with tension when I first started knitting, but I can't figure out how the problem got fixed. Right now I loop the yarn around my pinky, under the ring and middle finger, and then it goes over my index finger (I think... I'm at work and don't have any knitting with me). When I first started I didn't wrap around the pinky - that sort of a new thing. I think that the majority of my tension is controlled by my index finger - how close it is to the knitting, and the length of the yarn before it hits my index finger. I think that when I first starting to continental the only tension I had was by looping the yarn over my index finger.

One thing that helps me is that I have make sure that the yarn either coming out of the skein very very loosely, or make sure that I have a lot of slack - if there's additional tension pulling the yarn out of the ball then it messes me up.

Anyways, sorry I don't have a better solution for you, but I can definitley sympathize, and I do think it will get better with practice. I think I would recommend that you keep struggling with the finger only method unless you think you'll always be able to involve your feet in the knitting (might not be so feasible in a waiting room or airport).
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Old 05-27-2008, 07:31 PM   #9
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What I do is a version of a couple of the gal's but a little different I think. I start by running the yarn between my pinkie finger and ring finger, from there I take the part between my hand and the needle under my pinkie and then behind both my pinkie and ring fingers, in front of my middle finger, then behind my index finger. From there the yarn goes over the top of the idex finger and to the needle. I hold the index finger out like Amy does in the video as I work. That takes a while to write out, but I do it in a millisecond. :-)

I think everyone does it a little different. When I teach people in person, I show them that way but later I notice they are all doing a personal version that works for them. Good luck.
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Old 05-27-2008, 11:07 PM   #10
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Sometimes, when my fingers are very dry, the yarn slips more easily, and I wrap it around the pinky twice. That usually fixes the problem.
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