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Need for speed – How to knit faster
Speed knitting isn’t for everyone. Some of us knit just for the joy and calm of the repetitive movement, the softness of the yarn and our wellbeing. That’s wonderful, keep it up, fellow knitters!
And then there are some of us that always wants to go a little better, a little smarter, a little faster … Some who take joy in learning new skills and pushing it to the limits. Who has a loooong list on future projects to make and can’t wait to get there. This post is for you guys …
Actually, we were fast knitters, but a revolution came in the way
Following the industrial revolution, knitting became one of the “domestic arts” performed by upper-class women. They were instructed to hold their knitting needles in a, for a lady, proper and pretty way to show that they were upper class – that meant to keep their palms down.
This posture slowed down their knitting speed considerably and we now have to go back and re-learn the pre-industry revolution knitting style to get up to speed in our knitting again.
One of the fastest knitting styles is said to be lever knitting, a style used by production knitters. If you learn to knit this way, you can come up to speed quite a bit.
But there are some other methods that are also fast and ergonomic to use.
And, of course, if you don’t want to change your whole style of knitting there are some hacks to bump up your speed a notch.
1. Make knitting a daily habit
Like all skills, knitting takes practice, and the more often you are knitting (practicing) the better you will get at it. Your stitches will be more even, and your pace will be higher.
If you knit for a while every single day the small movements will settle in your muscle memory making it easier and easier for you to perform them. And after a while, your knitting needles will go a lot faster!
2. Learn to knit without looking at your needles
This may sound a bit odd. But, actually, you save a lot of time if you become such a confident knitter that you don’t have to look at your knitting all the time.
And, here comes the important part, if you can knit without looking at your work, you can knit whilst doing other things like reading, watching your kids play at the playground or reading a knitting magazine!
That will make it much easier for you to find more time for knitting. If you spend more time knitting you will get finished sooner. And that leads to the next point …
3. Make more time to knit
As mentioned before, if you make more time to knit on a daily basis you will finish your projects sooner and get regular practice, which will make you a faster knitter.
But, how can you get more time for knitting? Maybe you can knit while performing other tasks as watching kids, reading, listening or watching to a course or reading the paper?
If you are able to talk as you knit you can knit while spending time with family and friends. Or talking on the phone?
Perhaps you can knit for ten minutes on your lunch break or while commuting? The possibilities are endless and only you know what could work in your life.
4. Knitting on circular needles
This is my biggest time saver when knitting! If it’s possible to knit a project in the round I will.
I’m a really slow purler (is that even a word?!) therefore I choose to knit in the round whenever I can and I’m always on the hunt for new no-purl hacks like this: Learn the no-purl garter stitch in the round
And as I love to knit in the round, I also love my circular knitting needles. I have tried different kinds of materials, brands, and styles of circular needles but I like my HiyaHiyas the best! You can get the exact set that I’m using on Amazon.
With these, I feel like I’m knitting at blazing speed! Read more about the benefits of these needles here.
5. Knitting in the round with needles of two sizes
This tip is for those who prefer to knit on interchangeable circular knitting needles.
If you knit tight, with high tension, it can slow you down a bit as the stitches won’t flow as easily on your left needle. Solve this problem by changing the left tip to a smaller size.
This will not mess with your gauge so feel free to go down as many sizes as you need!
––> Why I love my interchangeable knitting needles
6. Knitting backward instead of turning and purling can speed up your knitting
Knitting backward can save you a bunch of time. You don’t have to do the purl stitches which are a bit more fiddly and more time consuming than the knit stitch.
And when knitting every other row backward you don’t have to turn your work over, this is a real time saver too. Click here to learn more about knitting backward!
7. Stop to check your fabric for errors
It may seem strange to encourage to stop in a post about knitting faster, but, if you discover mistakes it’s a lot easier and faster to repair them early on!
Every now and then I stop and check my knitting for any odd-looking stitches and other errors. This saves me loads of time, just because it’s so much faster to correct immediately than to rip up later.
So, the quickest way would be to avoid mistakes, but, let’s be honest here: We all do mistakes in our knitting and the important part is how we deal with them! Which leads us to the next point:
8a. Fixing mistakes without ripping out several rows
Learning some “knitting surgery” is a big time saver!
Instead of ripping out several rows and loads of stitches you could let the stitch column unravel to the place of the error and correct it.
Use a crochet hook to “knit” your way up again, redoing all the unraveled stitches. I keep a crochet hook in my knitting bag just for these occasions. And for saving dropped stitches…
8b. Adding a life line – this is genius!
When you have added a lifeline to your knitting, you can safely pull out the needles and rip back without fear.
There are several ways to add a lifeline, it can be done both in advance in case of you needing it later. For example, before a difficult passage in your knitting. Or after you have detected a mistake.
9. Take detailed notes of your projects
Keep notes of your projects! This is another thing that can feel a little misplaced when we’re talking about speed. But, if you spend some time on your notes, you will thank me (or yourself rather) when you need them. We always believe that everything sticks in our memory – it doesn’t.
I have created some printable project sheets to help you plan your knitting and keep your notes in order. It’s a good help to put down your thoughts and keep track of modifications, size of needles and other details that are easily forgotten. Actually, I use them my self all the time and keep them in a binder for easy access!
It can take so much time from your knitting when you have forgotten how you did the decreases on the first arm and have to do the maths all over again or when you have no idea which needles you used to that ribbing.
Freebie: This post is all about planing your projects, it includes Knitting Project Pages for you to print out and use! How to plan a knitting project – a helpful guide
10. Continental knitting vs. throwing
The continental knitting style and the English knitting style is the most common ones. The Continental style is a lot more effective than the English knitting style when knitting continental you hold the yarn in your left hand and pick up the yarn without letting go of your needle. This means smaller motions and therefore faster.
If you’re not a continental knitter yet maybe it would be worth the work to learn how to knit continental, if increased speed in your knitting is what matters to you.
Or, you could keep reading and try out the lever knitting style, the method of production knitters, it’s fast and saves your body from the strains of other knitting styles. Or maybe flicking will be the style for you? Keep reading to find out!
11. Lever knitting – knit faster with smaller movements
Lever knitting, pivot knitting or Irish cottage knitting are all different names of the same method. This style of knitting is really fast and merciful on your hands and joints. Lever knitting is commonly used by knitters who knit for a living.
Lever knitting is similar to English knitting, throwing, in that sense that the yarn is held in your right hand. But the right needle is held still instead of constantly working, like a lever or pivot, while the left needle is doing all the work.
Learn lever knitting
There will always be a bit of frustration when learning something new, I mean, you have spent a lot of time knitting in one style. Of course, it’s going to be a bit of a struggle to learn to do it in a new way. But, if you bear with it you will be able to knit faster with less strain on your body.
Here are some helpful tutorials on lever knitting, if you want to try it out!
12. Flicking or flick knitting
This knitting style is similar to the Lever style. Flicking is a way of holding the working yarn in your right hand without ever letting go of the needle when you wrapping the stitch. The yarn goes over the right index finger and is wrapped by doing a flicking motion with the index finger.
To hold the tension in flicking most knitters wrap the yarn around their pinky finger, hold the yarn down with their ring- and middle finger and then around the index for wrapping/flicking.
The word flicking refers to the motion done by the index finger to wrap the yarn around the needle tip.
Learn more about flicking
There are some different tutorials on flicking on youtube, I think this video would be a good one to start with!