The focus in this month’s program is on the sometimes dreaded purl stitch.
Come and learn some new tricks from two of our most experienced guild
members, and lose your fear and loathing of the purl stitch.
PAT FERGUSON will pass on a Russian variation of the classic continental
stitch, used for knit as well as purl stitches. She first saw it done by
Russian customers of her long-time knitting shop, The Braid Box, in
Saratoga. But it wasn’t until she picked up a Lucy Neatby DVD at Stitches
one year that she learned the variation herself, while on vacation in Maui.
Like many of us, Pat had learned to knit the English, or “throwing,” method.
When she started her shop, however, she quickly taught herself the
Continental, or “picking,” method because it was so much faster. and she had
all those samples to make!
Pat says that besides being fast, easy and forgiving of your fingers, the
other big thing she has noticed is that the Russian variation has greatly
improved the consistency of her knitting.
Homework: use any yarn and needle combination, although light colored
worsted weight with the appropriate size needles makes it easy to see what
you’re doing. Cast on 20 stitches and knit five rows of garter stitch (knit
PAM HOWELL will also teach us her nifty, fast and energy-saving thumb purl
stitch. Here is what she has to say:
Continental Purling – All Thumbs
I don’t know how or why I purl the way I do but I recommend it! My knitting
is very even and I am almost as happy purling as I am knitting.
As a continental knitter, I am a “picker” for the knit stitch, an elegant
movement that requires little energy. Purling seems to separate the
contented knitter from the frustrated variety. Many of the techniques used
to achieve the purl stitch are difficult to execute and awkward to boot! As
long as the yarn goes over the left needle in a counter clockwise
direction, you are all set. I flip back and forth between my thumb and
forefinger depending on whether a knit or purl stitch is needed. I maintain
proper tension by looping the yarn around my little finger. When the yarn
comes forward for purling my left thumb is on top of the working yarn. (I
know this is counter-intuitive, but trust me.) With that thumb and tension
on the yarn, I am able to lift the yarn up and over the needle counter
clockwise. (This is similar to how skateboarders jump the curve with their
feet flat on their boards. It is do-able.) Once over the top, that same
thumb holds the yarn down keeping tension on it while the newly formed loop
is drawn through the old stitch.
I will be at the meetings in January and will be happy to demonstrate this
You can use the same yarn and needles you did to do Pat’s homework to
practice Pam’s technique.