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Lever knitting

May 25, 2014 by sigrid

Some years ago I found I had a big problem. My arms kept hurting whenever I knitted. The muscle right under my elbow on my right arm was big as a tennis ball, and it had a similar feel to it when I touched it too. Not good. Huge problem for a dedicated knitter. One of my friends (also a knitter) deviced me to stop knitting for a couple of months. But in my book, that was NOT a solution. I am addicted to knitting, and had no intention of going cold turkey. Instead I started some research for a more ergonomical knitting technique. At the time I had knitted continental for nearly twenty years, but I was well aware that other techniques existed. My first stop was the English style. But I quickly found it to be to slow and inconvenient (sorry to all who love to knit in English style, but that is how I felt). So my search went on, and I discovered the Peruvian knitting style. I found a good tutorial video and started to learn.


I liked using the Peruvian style, and I showed it to my knitting friend. She said it looked a lot like the way Yarn Harlot knitted, and so I started searching for videos of her knitting. And this is what I found:


I had never seen anyone knitting like this. And when she spoke of the style being more ergonomical, I knew I had to learn how to knit like that. I used a lot of time in front of my computer searching for information on Irish Cottage knitting. The best thing would of course be to join one of  the classes Yarn Harlot teaches. But I could not justify using that much time and money to fly from Scandinavia to Canada or USA. So, I had to figure it out myself. Which was more difficult than I had imagined, because there was very little information to be found. I had to use the youtube videos I found and I also found a picture on Ravelry on how to hold the yarn.

It took a long time to learn, or rather to knit as fast as I used to. After knitting Continental since I was 6 years old, adapting to Lever knitting took several months (almost 6, I must admit, to get my speed back). And that knitting with the needle under your arm thing, I have never mastered. Though I suspect my problem is lack of training and motivation.

For nearly 4 years now I have knitted Lever style (or Irish Cottage knitting, which I have come to understand is the same thing?).  I do sometimes switch back to Continental, but mostly I knit Lever style. I get a lot of comments regarding my knitting technique. People here are not used to seeing any other knitting style than Continental. I have volunteered to teach a couple of people, but they think it looks too difficult. The idea of holding the yarn in their right hand is way too scary. It might be that it is easier to learn Lever knitting if you are already used to holding the yarn in your right hand, as all English style knitters do. But I am a living proof that there is far from impossible for a Continental knitter to learn.

As I mentioned earlier, the Lever style is more ergonomic than many other knitting styles. But another positive outcome is that my knitting turns out very even. I never thought about this before my mother again and again commented that my knitting looked like it was made by a knitting machine. And it is true, the Lever style is supposed to mimic the movement of a knitting machine. And my knitting using Lever style is more even than when I use the Continental style.

Luckily for others who don’t have the opportunity to take one of Yarn Harlots classes, there are now a couple of videos on youtube to be found. I have never dared to actually call my knitting style Lever knitting, before now. After seeing a couple of great youtube tutorials I could confirm that yes, I am knitting Lever style, even though I put it together using bits and pieces I found on the internett.

My favorite tutorial for Lever knitting is this one:



Happy knitting :)



  1. Leigh says:

    Hei! I just found your wonderful blog while searching for information about lever knitting! I’m running into a similar problem myself. I learned to knit English style. I knit English for 9 years before I got frustrated with my lack of speed. I found my hands and forearms getting sore after long knitting sessions, too. So I learned to knit Continental. What a difference! Much faster (hooray!), but trading speed for less even stitches and far looser gauge is starting to bother me. So I’ve started to teach myself lever knitting. I’ve got knit stitch down, but purling is giving me fits. I guess I’ll keep at it for the next 6 months! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • sigrid says:

      Hi. I also found the purl sts a bit frustrating in the beginning, but I love the fact that I now knit a purl row just as fast as a knit row. I am very glad I invested so much time in learning lever knitting. It has given me so much joy. Good luck with you lever knitting.

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