Following on from Part 1 of this topic, I’ve been learning to knit using the Portuguese method.
So what exactly is Portuguese Knitting?
First up, we probably should establish that Portuguese Knitting is also known as
- Turkish Knitting
- Inca Knitting
- Greek Knitting
- Andean Knitting
If right handed, when knitting using the Portuguese method, you hold your knitting in exactly the same way, but the yarn is wrapped around your neck (or through a pin, more about that later). The tail of your yarn is then looped through one of your fingers on your right hand and you flick the stitches with your left thumb.
Making a stitch by flicking the yarn with your left thumb when your right handed, might sound a little counter intuitive, but because your yarn is above the work, running up from your needle, you’re all but avoiding having to wrap it.
As you can see in the photo above, this also means purling is super easy. As a result, your garter stitch is easiest when every row is worked in purl and if your knitting stocking stitch in the round, you work with the inside facing out.
Don’t misunderstand me, working a knit stitch is really simple, but the purl stitch requires the least amount of movement.
Wrapping your yarn around your neck is fine, except it might not be for everyone. I tend to wear a scarf for most of the day, especially in the Winter. which prevents the yarn from gliding smoothly. Other people might not like the feeling of their yarn rubbing across the back of their neck, especially if it’s a rough yarn, or you’re sensitive to wool. It does also make you a little more inclined to sit in an upright position (well me anyway) and you could end up with a sore back. I imagine with practice, you’ll become more relaxed and adopt a more comfortable and less rigid, knitting position.
If wrapping the yarn around your neck is out, there are several alternatives, Andrea Wong, Portuguese Knitting Goddess, prefers to use a knitting pin. You attach the pin to your chest and hook your yarn over it. You have to position the pin high enough up your chest, so your yarn doesn’t come out while your knitting.
If you want to try this method, before you purchase a special pin, use a safety pin with a stitch marker. Pin the safety pin to your top and pass the yarn through the stitch marker. My worry with a pin, is that little holes would form in my clothes and when washed they would ladder.
Andrea has thought of this and also sells magnetic backed pins for Portuguese Knitting. You position the front part, with the decorative front and hook in a similar place to where you’d place the pin. then on the back of your top you sandwich the fabric between the second magnet. Decorative with less chance of ruining your clothes too.
The third option is a Knitting Hook Pendant, which hangs from a necklace. If it’s something you wear all the time, you don’t even have to think about it.
This is probably my preferred choice and before I go off buying one, I thought I’d try using a stitch marker on my necklace.
From here on in, it’s all about the tension and unfortunately, there’s no quick fix. Practice makes perfect, so I’ve been knitting as much as I can.
I’ve also been trying to work out which fingers I prefer to loop my yarn over. At the moment, I’ve been switching between the middle and third finger on my hand. I suspect one of them will begin to feel more comfortable – eventually.
If you think you’d like to give Portuguese Knitting a go, I’d recommend watching the YouTube video’s I mentioned in Knitting Needs Must Part 1.