Friday, January 17, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Well, who am I to deprive an American of what little tradition he can get?--Georgie, in the movie Shooting Fish

But do we need to transmogrify old knitting traditions from Europe and turn them into McYarn?

Holding Your Yarn--It's the "American" Way
OK, now I'm really pissed. In fact, I am so thoroughly offended that you might think I wasn't born in this country. (Well, OK, I'm first-generation American but that doesn't factor.)

Here's the latest and greatest term making the rounds of the Knitlist: Knitting in the "American" way e.g. holding your yarn in your right hand to knit.

Huh? News to me. "American" way?

Not in any knitting book I've ever read.

And bad enough that one person used this term. Of course, a number of the KnitDweebs followed suit. This was in a discussion about left-handed knitting, and began by discussing which hand you use to knit with. Which of course some interpreted as those poor handicapped lefties who have to learn how to knit looking into a mirror. Another tired, overwrought thread. Again. I'm not even going there, given that I'm a southpaw. I'm so sick of this moronic back and forth about who-gives-a-shit.

So I took cyberpen in hand. And here is what I wrote to the KnitDweebs, in my continuing yet futile attempts to help educate:

I don't believe I have ever heard right-fingered knitting called the
"American" method of knitting. It's commonly called the English method,
since knitting as a ladylike pastime rather than an occupation or necessary
chore came about in Victorian England in the mid to late 1850s, during the
Crimean War. Ladies knit for the war effort and were taught to hold their
needles like pencils, using the right index finger to throw the yarn. It was
called "the drawing room" position and supposedly made women look more
poised and proper while knitting. Until that time, knitting was utilitarian
and done by people who had to survive off the land. Those folks didn't care
how their hands looked. Plus, the Dale knitters in England were great
production knitters. They didn't work in drawing rooms either :-)

Continental knitting was originally called the German method, from whence it

A little piece of knitting history, as it were.


I don't expect anyone read it. I'm amazed that the English and European listers aren't up in arms. And I don't make this history shit up. It's in every reference book I have that mentions knitting history--Richard Rutt, June Hiatt, et al.

So enlighten me, please. Did Americans suddenly invent holding the yarn with the right hand? Or is this just another example of McIgnorance?

"American" way--so rare, it's not in any book I own.

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