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Friday, March 25, 2011

Pickers, Flickers, and Escorters

Are you a picker, a flicker, or an escorter?

Aunt Ruth was an escorter; it’s why she took up crochet as being more satisfying.  Ten-year-old step-granddaughter Maria also was an escorter; it’s why she’d been working on the same beginner’s scarf for three years. 

An escorter drops the right-hand needle and, using thumb and forefinger, escorts the yarn personally around the needle for each and every stitch.  Obviously, that takes ages.

A flicker also puts the yarn over the right needle with the right forefinger, but with a quick flicking motion while the right needle rests between thumb and forefinger.  This is the way my British-born mother taught me.  It’s the way she still knits, fluently and quickly, her needles making soft little clickety sounds.  It’s the way I knitted until last year, when repetitive motion injury finally forced me into the other path…

…the picker.  Which is how, after a good video, a good book, and a few months of self-retraining, I now classify myself.  The picker uses the Continental method, holding the yarn with the left hand and using the right needle to pick the yarn through the loops. 

Left-handed Maria took to this naturally, once I showed her how, and is now turning out rows and rows in only a few minutes.  So am I, after some initial floundering.  It’s easier to come to motor skills young. 

But if your choice is retrain or leave the craft, I choose the new learning curve.  No more pain in that mouse thumb, though the computer still makes it complain.  And now that I’ve achieved some fluency, I remind myself of those German women I always admired, racing along with their mystifying left-hand knitting. 

Pickers, flickers, and escorters:  happy knitting to us all.  

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