Portuguese Knitting

Disclaimer: I acknowledge that this style of knitting is in no way exclusive to Portugal. It’s just the term I’ve seen used most, so it’s the term I will use for this post.

I love taking classes.

Some people find this hard to believe, because I also teach classes. That just means I know there’s always more to learn, and it’s (usually) more fun to do it with like-minded folk. Even in my roughest classes, I always walk away with something I didn’t know before.

Another silver lining to this pandemic is a lot of these classes have moved online. Knitting in the Heartland got cancelled, and I missed my opportunity to take a class from Patty Lyons. So when her Alternate Methods and Styles of Knitting was temporarily free on Blueprint, I jumped in.

One of the styles she broke down was Portuguese Knitting. It’s a style of knitting where the yarn is tensioned around the right hand and up around back of the neck (or to a pin on your left shoulder). Stitches are created by flipping the yarn over the needle with your left thumb. That makes it easier on the hands, not to mention the alien-to-me concept of purl stitches being easier than knit stitches. I was eager to try it.

I know the easiest way to give this a try would be to tension the yarn around my neck, but I got shudders just thinking about that. I could’ve settled for a basic safety pin, too, but anyone who knows me knows of my obsession with fiber arts tools.

Portuguese Knitting Pin

I got this super fun knitting pin from KFStudio 217. It’s magnetic, too, which I prefer to sticking a shirt multiple times.

Just to try it out, I practiced it on my Baby Yoda Slouch.

Another disclaimer: Its ill-advised to change your style of knitting mid-project, of course.

This being my first attempt, I did find my hands trying to death-grip my project, rather than relax. The yarn hold for my right hand was awkward, and I found myself letting the project travel up my yarn, instead of the yarn making it’s perfectly-tensioned journey from right hand to pin to project.

That said, it was really easy to do, mesmerizing even. The purl stitches are much easier than the knit stitches, but the knit stitches weren’t difficult either. I could really see myself using this style of knitting to avoid hand fatigue.

It’s supposed to be an ideal style for colorwork, too. Since purling is easier, colorwork projects are knit in the round and inside out, which means your floats can’t be too tight. I’m hoping to try this on a hat soon.

Have you tried Portuguese Knitting? Or is it your dominant style? Let me know about your experience in the comments.

3 thoughts on “Portuguese Knitting

  1. I converted to Portuguese to reduce the repetitive motion on my right shoulder that I experienced as a “thrower.” It was causing rotator cuff issues. After using pins for a while and having various problems with that approach, I gave in and started running the yarn around my neck as the ancient knitters did. I found I love it that way. It’s different, depending on what yarn you’re using and what you’re wearing, but it adds another tactile aspect to knitting that it’s somehow comforting to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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