devices and designs

Have any of you tried knitting stranded colourwork with these devices? Variously called knitting thimbles, strickfinghuts or yarn guides, they come in several varieties and I’ve recently been experimenting with a couple. Despite being taught to knit the ‘English’ way, I am a much speedier ‘picker’ than I am a ‘thrower’. I currently find myself in an odd kind of limbo: I can perform all knitterly tasks when working the English way, but when working Continental I can currently only knit and decrease – purling seems a total bear, and, never having tried it, I have no idea how I might execute a yarnover. Yet in ways I can’t really define – and certainly since teaching myself to knit again after my stroke – picking the yarn rather than throwing it feels more ‘natural’ to me. And it is certainly much faster. So, in a bid to shift all my yarn-carrying duties to my left hand, I thought I’d give these devices a try.

The spring-shaped one (which one finds variously described as a “Norweigan” knitting thimble, or “Norvege” strickfingerhut), is probably my favourite. While the blue plastic version in the top photo separates the yarns, this “Norweigan” thimble also allows them to be positioned above and below each other. I found that this made the task of dividing and scooping a little easier, and also had a positive effect on the yarn dominance. It is a little large for my finger, but I fixed this by wearing a small elastic band underneath. Having persevered with it for a couple of days, here are my conclusions:

1) Once you have got the hang of it, it, the knitting feels smooth and easy.
2) Definitely speedier than two handed knitting – at least for me (my throwing technique is annoyingly – and apparently intractably – cumbersome).

1) After two days use, I developed pain in my right wrist (perhaps from the extra effort / tension initially required to divide and scoop the yarns with the right needle)
2) Tension is much looser (though this can, of course, be easily adjusted).
2) Getting the thing set up is a bit fiddly – and once you are, as it were, at one with the machine, it is an onerous task to disentangle oneself. Because of this, I reckon this device is best suited to projects where only two colours are ever in play: if one was working a complex, multicoloured fairisle design, with multiple yarn-changes, I imagine things would get a bit annoying.

Happily, my current project only involves two colours.

Yes, this is a new design which I hope to have finished by the weekend. You’ll hear more about it then, but here’s another peek for now:

I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on 1) your experience of knitting with strickfingerhuts and other such devices 2) your experiences of Continental and English knitting. Which feels most ‘natural’ to you and why? Have any of you switched sides, as it were, after many years of knitting?

In other news

I can confirm that I will be at two very exciting events this year:
1) I’ll be at WOOLFEST as a vendor for the first time in June! Do you want to see the Rams and Yowes blanket? It will be there too!
2) I’ll be in Shetland for the whole of Wool Week and shall be covering all events here for those who can’t be there (though I encourage you all to come! It’s going to be fantastic!) You can expect a flurry of excited blog posts in October!

In rather less exciting, but for me, very important news, I’ve now received an appointment to see a specialist about my seizures. My neurologist initially felt that they were migraine-related one-offs, but then, after several months without any, I had a spate of rather hideous (and very frightening) “events” over the Christmas break. I really need to sort it out as both the seizures, and the threat of them, impact on all sorts of things in my life. Anyway, now I get to have my head examined! Good news!