Since I taught myself and didn't have anyone to show me, I don't knit the way most other people do. I hold the yarn in my left hand (exactly like I do when I'm crocheting) and I could never make the switch to the American-style knitting where yarn is in the right hand. Whenever I'm knitting somewhere where other people can watch, it's not unusual for someone to tell me that I knit funny. I do, but that's okay. My knit items look exactly the same as anyone else's.
Winnie's Tiny Dog Sweater. Pattern is HERE.
Last weekend, I was at a conference and I spotted a woman knitting during one of the presentations. She was sitting nearby at lunch, I asked her what she was making. Our conversation led to the different styles of knitting, and I told her that I knit different than any established style. She then said, "Since your yarn is already in your left hand, why don't you try to knit Continental Style?"
OMG!!!! This was such a simple observation on her part, and it was huge for me! When I got home the next day, I headed straight for YouTube and found SO many helpful videos. This one was my favorite.
It was a slow go at first. Frustrating, with quite a few dropped stitches, as I tried to get better at inserting the needle in a different spot in the stitches to pick up the yarn with my right needle instead of throwing it with my whole hand. Even in this awkward beginner stage, Continental style knitting was proving to be significantly faster than the way I used to do it. As practice, I am making a mitered-square afghan using instructions in THIS pattern. (But I'm using regular knitting needles instead of the double-pointed needles called for in the instructions.)
Working on the second square, attached to the first one.
Knitting garter stitch, row after row, is great practice and I'm pleased to say that I'm getting more proficient and I'm having to think less and less about each individual stitch. I like this pattern because I'm only working on one square at a time, and squares are joined together as I go.
Winnie likes to sit under the pile of knitting in my lap.
I am keeping a pace to finish one square on the afghan every evening, which gives me clear evidence of progress, almost instant gratification, and keeps me motivated to continue to the finish ... which I imagine will be some time after the first of the year.
After more than forty years of knitting my old way, it feels awesome to learn a better way to do it!