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Knit with Your Feet!

Dear Kay,
A quick note to let you know that I have finished exactly one more row of my Keava Fair Isle sweater.
One row. Three hundred sixty stitches. Two days.
But here’s the deal: the Ocean-colored stitches were done with my right hand, [whisper like the Tales from the Crypt guy] but the Chartreuse ones were done with my left hand.
I think I did two-handed Fair Isle. Three-freakin’-hundred-and-freakin’-sixty stitches, knitted from the scratchy essence of the Hebrides, dug from the peat bog of my bad coordination.
Oy! Go try knitting with your left hand. It’s like it’s somebody else’s hand, and they’re not even awake. Hello? Hold the yarn?
The thing is, the two-handed way means the yarn never gets tangled. It means that when you finish a round of your sweater, you’re really done. And it means that the pattern is easy to follow. It mostly means, though, that I am having to Learn Something New. Which (big group hug) is what this is all about.
I reserve the right at any moment to get the Philosopher’s Wool video that Evelyn recommends, to get every single Inox finger thimble/bobbin doohickey that Thomas recommends. I also reserve the right to pack up my yarn and send it to that Quechua lady knitting so cheerfully in our Found Objects.
Thanks for all the encouragement, y’all. I’ll shut up once I get the hang of this.
Love,
Ann

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Way to go Ann!
    I find (I knit English most of the time) that I have to wind the yarn through my fingers a lot more on my left hand to get the same type of tension that I do with my right.
    Don’t worry about your speed – it will come eventually and isn’t it fun to go 3 right, 2 left, 1 right, 1 left?
    Angela (still starmore-less)

  2. See ! You can do anything you want to do ! :0)
    I’m proud of you.

  3. YAY!!! Ann can knit two-handed! That is impressive. My left hand is way too stupid for that, so I have a note excusing me from two-handed knitting.

  4. Get the Philosopher’s video. Not only does it give you a good look at two-handed Fairisle, the woman demonstrating is soothing in the extreme. I’ve used the technique to make several hats and, well, I hate it and will never use it for a big project, but sometimes I watch the video just to hear the nice lady talk.

  5. Go, Ann! (Nothing practical, just general encouragement.)

  6. Yay, Ann!!
    Isn’t it all worth it when the yarn isn’t tangled at the end of the row!! Too bad you didn’t teach yourself on a smaller project, but now you know how awesome it is! I learned in a workshop a few years ago. The main thing we were learning was steeking, but Lucy Neatby, our teacher, taught many helpful things first. When we broke for lunch, having learned the stranded knitting, I said I had gotten my money’s-worth already. Lucy said “oh, but you haven’t cut your steek yet! You must come back!” I did go back, but the stranded knitting has been more helpful then the steeking.

  7. Look! TWO hands! Impressive stuff. I’m not sure my brain could cope with that kind of multi-tasking – I can’t wait to see another pic of your progress.

  8. Dear Ann,
    two-handed is the only way to survive these beautiful fair-isles. I have a copy of the Philosopher’s video. It is what got me over the two-handed hump. You seem to have gotten over it just fine yourself, but it IS a very good video and I would be happy to send it down for a good long visit. Say the word!
    Aara

  9. Hang in there – It’s definitely worth it. I found it was helpful to make a little project (a purse for my niece) only using my left hand to get me used to the feeling. Awesome of you to dive right in on a full-fledged fair isle!
    By the way I’m a long-standing lurker on your terrific site. It’s a daily read.
    Best,
    Kathleen

  10. Yay Ann ! Good for you. I have to confess I feel like a real knitting dullard now – I’ve always done fair-isle 2 handed and thought for years I was doing it wrong. It must be bred in the genes in Scotland … and it’s so nice to know I knit in a bona-fide fashion ! Thank you for enlightening me.

  11. Welcome to the two-fisted knitters’ club!
    YMMV, but if you want to knit corrugated ribbing two-handed, try carrying the purl color in your right hand and the knit color in your left. Much faster that way and the tension will be more even.
    What I really enjoy is carrying two colors in each hand and knitting self-quilting double-knit socks in truly wild color patterns.

  12. Heather–by now you surely know that there is no wrong way to knit, merely different ‘techniques’. I practice the ‘so loose you can’t get gauge no matter how many needles you go down’ technique. This used to get me down, until my Debbie New book arrived in the mail. Debbie says there is no wrong knitting. I’m with Debbie now. My favorite quote so far is in the so-called instructions for something, where it calls for ‘Gauge’, she says ‘Your own’. Love that. xox Kay