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I've been learning to knit and crochet by looking at various tutorials online. In the pictures and/or videos, the fingers are often positioned with respect to the needles or yarn in ways that don't feel comfortable or natural to me.

Is the relative position of fingers, yarn, and needles very important to get stitches right, or is this more of a recommendation and I should find my own way to get the loops where they need to go?

  • Actually, I'm somewhat of a Professional Fiber Artist. The list of tags are very very elementary. I'm a person who can take raw fiber from baah, to hat if need be. I would be most happy to help, but I'm do date, not enough tags... :) JLH – Joel Huebner May 1 '16 at 22:33
  • When my friend taught me how to crochet I was trying to keep my hands they way she showed me. It ended up not feeling right so I just transitioned to what felt natural to me. – Matt May 2 '16 at 0:53
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The finger positioning—actually the way the yarn loops around the fingers—controls the overall tension of the yarn. Think of it like the path the thread takes on a sewing machine—all those ups, downs and arounds between the thread spool and the needle to make a nice even stitch on the fabric.

Fortunately the yarn path around the fingers is much more forgiving than the thread path on a sewing machine—get that wrong and…yikes, thread ball and swear words! If you find a finger/yarn position that you're comfortable with while you're learnings knit or crochet, go for it!

When I was learning to knit and crochet the finger positions never made any sense to me either, I just kept getting all tangled up! My solution was to hold the yarn out of the way between my index and middle fingers until I learned to get all the loops in the right place. Not very elegant but it worked for me because I had some tension control as the yarn ran between two fingers. Eventually I naturally settled into the "proper" finger position as my stitch technique improved.

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    The first paragraph has it. You hand should be doing whatever gives the right tension without cramp you entire hand. No one cant tell you how to set your hands. That is a personal preference. Nice answer. – Matt May 2 '16 at 0:50
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    This is both encouraging, and a bonus explanation for why my rows are often inconsistent! Thanks :) – Erica May 2 '16 at 1:03
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Why reinvent what others have already worked out, if you don't have to? :) That said, it is definitely possible to learn to keep tension on the yarn or thread with nonstandard finger positions.

If a person has hypermobile joints (as I do), it may not be possible to get the fingers into the "correct" positions for knit or crochet. (Or tat, but I haven't adapted tatting motions for myself yet.) In that case, full speed ahead on determining what works idiosyncratically! If the hand or wrists cramp or become shaky after a few minutes of practice, it's worth troubleshooting what may have caused it and which alternative motions/holds avoid it, instead of trying and trying to emulate what's "correct."

There are multiple "correct" positions for knit. OMG! Heart links to several videos with examples and analyzes them.

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    Thank you for the link to that resource, it'll help me experiment with other positions. I've noticed a tendency to get cramped fingers after a while, which was strongly indicating to me there was something wrong with my hands -- it's reassuring to know I can find a different but still correct posture that works for me! – Erica May 4 '16 at 23:17

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