Continental Knitting Workshop

It’s been a little while since I’ve done a proper blog on here.  There are two main reasons – firstly, I’ve been focussing on growing my business – this has taken a lot of extra time but it’s worth it in the long run. Secondly, I’ve been steaming ahead with my City and Guilds Hand Knit Textiles course. Sadly, City and Guilds are closing the ‘Design and Craft’ course this summer, so I am finishing up my Level 2 so I can get registered for Level 3 in time for the deadline.  I’m really enjoying the course and am keen to continue to the next level.

This weekend I took a break from both to attend a continental knitting workshop by Anniken Allis. OK, so it was a little related to my C&G coursework – I have a secret hope that if I can master continental knitting, I can get my speed up for the garment modules of the course!

The workshop took place at Purlescence which is in Leckhampstead, near Newbury. It was a beautiful spring day and Purlescence is a really lovely studio space with lots of beautiful yarns.  Anniken is a Norwegian knit designer who lives in the UK. She runs face-to-face and online workshops in a variety of knitting skills as well as designing lots of beautiful garments.

We started with the long tail cast on – although I can do this cast on, something I didn’t know (or don’t remember from when I learnt it!) is that when using this cast on, your first row is always a wrong side row – this gives the edge a neater finish. Always handy to know.

From here, we went over the continental knit stitch. It’s funny how knitting becomes part of your muscle memory and that when you pick up your knitting, you automatically pick it up how you are taught to knit!  You also feel like an absolute beginner again. If you take a look at the purple swatch in the images below, you can see the stitches are uneven and the tension is all over the place - that was my first sample.  

The continental knit stitch is very straight forward – the hardest bit I found was holding the yarn in my left hand and getting the tension right.  Once we’d got to grips with the knit, we moved on to the Norwegian purl. Now this is a little bit different from the standard continental purl. With the standard stitch you bring the yarn to the front in the same way you do for an English purl. However, with the Norwegian purl, you keep the yarn at the back.  It’s a three-step movement and your right needle does all the work. I really liked this stitch and found it a lot easier that the standard continental purl. There’s less switching about with the yarn, which aids your knitting speed and makes rib and knit/purl patterns so much simpler.  The rest of the afternoon was spent practicing our stitches with various techniques, including knit/purl patterns, lace and cable.

As well as new knitting knowledge, I may also have come away with some beautiful new yarn. It was calling out to me throughout the workshop! 😉

It was a really enjoyable workshop – Anniken is a great teacher and takes things in small logical steps so you can understand and slowly master the techniques. If you’d like to brush up on some knitting skills, I’d thoroughly recommend trying one of her workshops.

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