Crafty Manolo » By Knook Or By Crook

By Knook Or By Crook

By Twistie

There’s a really cool perk to being a professional blogger: every once in a blue moon, someone sends you stuff to review. Well, that happened to me a few weeks ago when I was sent a Knook Beginner Kit to review.

For those who haven’t heard of them, Knooks look like crochet hooks only with a hole drilled low on the handle. You see the brightly colored cords that come with the kit? You thread one of those through the hole, and then use the Knook to knit with the single hook.

I was intrigued by the concept right away. Then I read what some others had to say about working with Knooks, either the commercial ones I was waiting for or homemade versions. The most frequent comment on the difference between knitting with Knooks and knitting with needles is that the tension tends to be looser on the Knooks. Since my biggest problem with knitting back in the day was keeping the tension loose enough, I figured I might have found something that will work well for me.

On receipt of the Knook set, well, I was further impressed. The instruction manual has both right and left handed instructions side by side from casting on to finishing. That made it easy. I didn’t need to either rework the instructions in my brain or use my hands in ways that are uncomfortable for me. I just had to look and see which side had which instructions and ignore the one for the rest of the populace.

Another cool thing about Knooking is that Leisure Arts has produced and posted quite a few instructional videos on YouTube. So if reading the words and looking at the static photographs isn’t getting the concept across for you, well, you can watch film. Again, both right and left handed instructions are readily available.

And yes, I do find that I’m knitting more loosely than I did when I tried needles. Since that was my huge bugaboo, well, I think I’ve found my way of knitting. It’s also going to be nice to have a craft I can take and play with on the road. Bobbin lace is bulky for cars and needle felting in a car on a bumpy road could lead to serious injury, after all.

Obviously this isn’t a product for the experienced knitter, per se. Some  might find it a fun alternate way of doing things, but I think the target audience is a little different. It seems a handy way for crochet enthusiasts to try out knitting, and, as I say, it’s great for those of us whose biggest problem knitting the traditional way was one of too firm tension.

All in all, though, it’s good clean fun for the whole family, and I’m halfway through a pretty winter scarf in variegated thread that’s making me feel both happy and accomplished.

Oh, and if you want to try it out, it certainly isn’t going to break the bank! You can get the precise same kit I was sent from Amazon for just $6.23 ($9.95 retail) or a bigger bells and whistles kit for working with bulkier threads for just $19.95. In addition to Knooks, guide threads, and the instructional manual (including instructions for making afghans), it also includes four cord clips and three yarn needles.

If you’ve got a few bucks to spare and an itch to try out something new, you could do a heck of a lot worse than this. I know I have!

4 Responses to “By Knook Or By Crook”

  1. annie Says:

    When you say you were knitting in the traditional way, do you mean the American way, the stick and wrap way? Or the continental way?

    I’d love to see your take on the pros and cons of using one way or the other.

    I have a very strong opinion but I’ll wait and see what others think.

  2. Twistie Says:

    What I actually meant was ‘using two knitting needles’ rather than ‘using a Knook.’ The last time I used conventional knitting needles was more than forty years ago, at this point, and I’m a tidge hazy on most of it. I assume I was taught the American way, since I’m guessing my American mother learned that way and passed it on the way she was taught. It also sounds like what I remember of the stitch.

    But I’m always up to learn something I don’t know, and I’d love to have people weigh in on this question as well as the Knooks.

  3. ZaftigWendy Says:

    The videos show it as being done Continental style. It is making true knitting. I haven’t looked at enough of the videos to see how well it works with combining knits and purls in the same row, but it seems to make a very normal stitch to me.

    As a professional knitting teacher, I see pros and cons.

    1. It will make it easier for a crocheter to learn to knit.

    2. It could easily be used for back and forth knitting or for knitting in the round.

    1. the left- vs. right-handed thing. True knitting is not “handed” but is a truly two-handed activity and while some refer to Continental knitting as “left-handed” and English/American knitting as “right-handed” in reality there are both left- and right-handed knitters for both styles. (I, personally, am a right handed Continental knitter).

    2. speed. Because the knook cord lacks the stiffness of a knitting needle, it will always be slower than traditional two-stick knitting.

    3. gauge. I doubt very much whether the knook will be able to work at the kinds of fine gauges at which socks (for example) are knit.

    These are NOT the new thing they’re advertised as. They’re actually a variation on Portuguese knitting needles, which are made with a hook on one end and a point on the other.

    So – my professional opinion? They work, but they make things harder and slower than they need to be. I don’t ever see them becoming a big thing, though they may push more crocheters to try knitting and eventually want to learn to do it the “right” way.

    (oh, and by the way? I sometimes crochet with a knitting needle when I’m too lazy to get up and go get a hook)

  4. ZaftigWendy Says:

    Ah. One more thing. (cuz I wasn’t wordy enough in the last post)

    There are SO MANY ways to knit (all but the last involve knitting off of the left-hand needle and onto the right-hand needle):

    English (yarn in right hand and wrapped counterclockwise)
    Continental (yarn in left hand and wrapped counterclockwise)
    Combination (yarn in left hand and wrapped clockwise for purls and counterclockwise for knits)
    Eastern Uncrossed (yarn in either hand and wrapped clockwise)
    Central Mexican (yarn in left hand and wrapped clockwise)
    Portuguese (yarn carried around neck or around hook at left shoulder and guided with left thumb – often done with hooked knitting needles)
    Easter Crossed (yarn wrapped clockwise, but stitches worked into front leg of stitch so that all stitches are twisted – makes extra tight stitches with far less elasticity than the other methods above)

    Mirror knitting (can be any of the above, but worked from right needle to left needle – sometimes taught to left-handed people as “left-handed knitting” but usually makes following patterns difficult)

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