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.