Question: What does a k2tog look like turned around and backwards? I'll explain.
Like a lot of other people, I learned to knit from my mom, who learned from her mom, who learned from her mom, etc. In the last couple of years, I've picked that knitting back up and have a long list of projects waiting. I knit with the continental method. This is one area where I differ from Mom. She has to stop her needle movement to throw the yarn over the needle. I can just just grab the yarn with my needle as the needle moves. It just seems more efficient to me.
The problem is, the patterns don't always make sense. After hours of research on the internet, I discovered why: I don't knit like everyone else does. Here in the US, most people use the Western knitting method - the knitting needles always go through the front of the loop, from left-to-right to knit, and right-to-left to purl. At least, that's how I understand it. Mom taught me the Eastern method of knitting (without even knowing there are Eastern/Western methods). In this method, the knitting needles always go through the loop from right-to-left, but in the back of the loop to knit, and the front of the loop to purl. This creates some confusion with instructions like "purl through the back loop." That instruction simply does not make sense at all in the Eastern method. Not a problem, though. I finally found a chart that converts Western pattern instructions to Eastern knitting.
And just to keep it interesting, I am left-handed. Now I have seen all the instruction manuals that advise left-handed people to knit right-handed, claiming it is the exact same motion. I would like to point out that those manuals have been written by right-handed people. If you're not sure, try turning your knitting around and doing it left-handed. Again, converting to left-handed instructions is not too difficult - you just reverse all left and right instructions.
But the two conversion problems together create a new wrinkle.
So back to my original question: what does k2tog mean for me, specifically? k2tog in Eastern knitting becomes ssk, and vice versa. Does it have to get turned around again since I am left-handed? How about M1R and M1L? Those actually don't change in the Western-Eastern conversion. Should I reverse them for left-handedness?
Anybody else with an unusual ethnic variation to their knitting?
I am quite fascinated by the Eastern/Western knitting debate/conundrum/issue. I learned by knitting 'Combined' and forced myself to learn to 'purl right' (tongue in cheek) so that I didn't have to translate knitting directions for myself (because I didn't know what I was going for- I didn't know how to change it to make things right). Now I do and am amazed that it isn't harder than it is. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with the left-handed versions of things (should learn it- I have a 10 yo DD who is left-handed). I really appreciated reading Confessions of a Knitting Heretic by Annie Modesitt. She teaches that it doesn't matter what you do as long as you learn to understand what you're doing. She says it doesn't matter if you go in the front/back left/right whatever- as long as you are entering the center of the stitch from the correct direction for what you need to do- knit or purl. It's quite informative. I am just using some combined methods again for the first time in almost 20 years- I was knitting a bamboo baby blanket for someone but my purl rows kept 'rowing out'- turning out much looser than my knit rows, so decided it was time to 'pick' my purls. :) And my purl rows are beautiful! I love it! I don't think I have this issue as much with wool, but this bamboo was kicking my butt. :)
As far as your questions and how to do them, I'd say just knit from charts! Written directions stink in general (my personal opinion). You could make yourself a sampler with super good notes so that you can replicate what you've done there. I started a sampler like that for the different inc and dec types but lost my notes! So it doesn't help me that much. :P Need to make one from start to finish and sew it together. ;)
There are quite a few groups on Ravelry who discuss these topics quite thoroughly.
Mostly I hope your knitting is fun!
This sound very interesting. I've never heard of Eastern knitting, but you have me wanting to try it!
I don't know what to tell you about left-handed knitting. My daughter is left-handed also, but when she started knitting, she just followed what she saw me doing. I'll have to ask her about this next time she comes home from school. I hope someone has the answer for you. It's a most interesting subject!
I have to kind of echo what Peggy has said. The key to knowing what you need to do is the be able to 'read' the stitches and know what they are supposed to look like. The different styles of decreases have different looks. If you can understand what the traditional knitted stitches look like, then you may be able to translate them into how you have to create them to make that pattern. Perhaps a little team work with someone who knits traditionally, while you knit the same item, (like a sampler scarf with a variety of stitches in it) would help you have it fiured out so you don't have to rely on using a written conversion of a pattern.
Also, if you mean that you knit by working the stitches with your left needle and slipping off the right needle, it is my opinion you would work best from charts, since written patterns are presented for right handed knitting. If you can make a chart of the pattern, then all you have to do is read it from left to right. Instead of having to rewrite the entire pattern.
Rachel, sorry I am late to the party, but I want to understand something. I am lefthanded. You say you are knitting lefthanded. I'm trying to get things straight in my mind.
Yes, most people in the US knit English. That means the working yarn is carried with their right hand. Continental means you carry the working yarn in your left hand. The stitches are basically made the same way. It is just that you are wrapping the yarn from a different hand. Both of these methods have the yarn worked from the left needle to the right. So when you finish working a row, the new stitches are on the right needle when you finish a row.
I haven't really researched the Eastern method of knitting. Does this mean you are working from the right needle to the left so that the new stitches are on the left needle when you finish a row? To me, this is true lefthanded knitting.
When I learned to knit from my mom, she did not know how to knit lefthanded and didn't know anyone who did, so she told me I would have to learn the way she knits which was the English method. Even though I am lefthanded I have a very hard time with the Continental method of picking with my left hand.
So I guess my question to you is: Do you knit from right to left with your new stitches ending on the right needle or do you knit from left to right with the new stitched ending on the left needle? If you are knitting left to right, this could make a difference in which direction the stitches lean.
I suggest to check out something like KnittingHelp.com to determine which way stitches lean. Then figure out which way the stitches lean when you do the stitch. So it may be that something like the k2tog and ssk are switched for you.
Although I'm late to the party, I hope this helps.
I knit my stitches off the right needle, so at the end of a row, all stitches are on the left needle. I simply can't use my right hand with the precision and dexterity needed to get a needle into a stitch.
And I knit both from written directions, and from charts. I just don't know which decrease is right-leaning and which is left-leaning.
That's really the problem. If k2tog is a right-leaning decrease for most knitters here, but is left-leaning for Eastern knitters, is it right-leaning or left-leaning for left-handed Easter knitters? I can't tell.
The lean of the decreases is not based on which way you knit, but on the shaping of the pattern. So.....
If the pattern calls for a left leaning decrease (marked as SSK in right handed knitting patterns and charts), you would need to use the technique, as a left handed Eastern knitter, that produces that lean to the stitches. The result should have the farther right of the two stitches on top of the left one. Then, the opposite is true for a k2tog.
Yes, I agree. Pay attention to which way the US stitch leans. You can check the link I posted above, Rachel. Then do the Eastern stitch that creates the way that stitch leans.
I just accidentally ran into someone's website that includes some left-handed information. I don't know if this would help you at all, Rachel, but you might take a look!
Excellent, P Sue!