How to Knit Portuguese Style

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The Portuguese style of knitting involves draping the yarn around the neck to hold it taut or with a pin, or pendant, fastened to your shoulder as a yarn guide. This method -- also called the Arabic method -- is considered faster and easier and is popular in the country of Portugal, known for its crafts of spinning yarn and knitting. Portuguese knitting is also popular in Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Peru. As an added bonus, knitters with carpal tunnel syndrome and other joint problems find the Portuguese method less stressful on their wrists and fingers.

Things You'll Need

  • Knitting needles sized according to your pattern
  • Yarn
  • Portuguese knitting pin (optional)
  • Knitting pattern

Knit Stitch

  • Begin by casting on to the left needle. Since the Portuguese style of knitting works from left to right, the knitting is always in the left hand.

  • Drape the yarn from left to right around your neck or around the knitting pin, which has been pinned near the left shoulder.

  • Wrap the yarn around the middle finger of your right hand.

  • Insert the right-hand needle into the first stitch as followed in regular knitting styles, but then cross the right-hand needle in front of the left.

  • Use your left thumb to wrap the yarn around, then move the needle, scooping the stitch towards you.

  • Repeat these steps by following the pattern's stitches.

Purl Stitch

  • Begin by casting on to the left needle. Since the Portuguese style of purling also works from left to right, the handiwork is always in the left hand, and purling goes faster this way than when using other purling methods. Drape the yarn from left to right around your neck or around the knitting pin, which has been pinned near the left shoulder. Wrap the yarn around the middle finger of your right hand.

  • Insert the right-hand needle into the first stitch in front of the loop.

  • Use your left thumb to wrap the yarn around and pull it through and away from you, instead of towards you, as in the knit stitch.

  • Repeat these steps for more purl stitches, or alternate with knit stitches depending on the pattern you are using.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep your work at enough of a distance from your body that it is still comfortable enough to see while easily facilitating the needles.
  • You can use any type or size of knitting needle with the Portuguese method. Special Portuguese knitting needles are available but not necessary. These needles look like long crochet needles with a hook at the end, but the hook is not used.
  • There is no special method of casting on for Portuguese knitting, so any cast on style will work.
  • Using a Portuguese knitting pin fastened to your shoulder is the best way to begin using this method. Still, draping the yarn around your neck can irritate the skin if Portuguese knitting is new to you.
  • Purchase all the yarn needed, per the pattern specifications, before beginning any knitting project.

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References

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