By E. Sullivan
Knitting is a relaxing and enjoyable art form using needles and yarn to create everything from blankets and socks to sweaters and mittens. Though many may understand the concept of casting stitches on to the needles or creating the various rows and patterns, holding knitting needles can be a more difficult concept to master. Often, inexperienced knitters will be tense in their knitting stance, creating un-even, tight, and coarse work. However, this is not what a knitter will want in a final product, not to mention it grows increasingly more difficult to knit each row when stitches are tight and uneven.
Holding knitting needles is perhaps an art form in and of itself. As a knitter, remind yourself constantly to relax. No need to tense you shoulders or over-do it. Stretch out your arms and fingers, and allow every muscle to do its job. Holding one needle in each hand, position your hands about half-way up the needle for a convenient balance and stability. Begin slowly and steadily, relaxing your hold to allow for even, neat, and probably-made stitches.
If you are beginning with casting on stitches, you will only need to hold one needle. This is a slightly awkward maneuver, but is often made easier by resting the back end of the needle against your side. This helps stabilize the needle while starting the project. Allow the needle to flow in and out of the yarn smoothly, and don't make things too taught or controlled.
When you begin stitching each row, it is typical to hold the needle with each pointer finger straightened to gain a relaxed grasp. While the rest of the hand is curled around the needle, the pointer finger is straightened and firmly but easily resting against the top of the needle. With this position maintained, your pointer finger will remain continually poised and ready to thread the yarn around the needle to make the stitch or help slip off stitches as you work through them.
Allow a gentle ease with which you will hold the needles, and be careful to maintain each stitch. Don't let your grasp push the stitches to far up the needles to the point they slip off. Again, hold the needles with relaxed muscles as you direct them through each stitch.
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