Flicking Your Way to Better Knitting: Knitting Faster English Style

    Ready to finally knit faster with better tension and LESS pain? Try flicking, the English speed knitting alternative to lever knitting.

Recently I’ve been experimenting with different knitting styles to try and increase my knitting ergonomics and speed. So far, I’ve tried combination, Portuguese, and lever knitting- none of which helped my thumb pain I was experiencing when knitting. About a week ago I decided to take matters into my right hand and try flicking. 

I’ve never knit with my right hand- I’m usually a continental knitter. But since I’ve started this new knitting method, I don’t have thumb pain and knitting is getting faster and more fun. I thought I’d sure my experience with flicking and show you my method.

Ready to finally knit faster with better tension and LESS pain? Try flicking, the English speed knitting alternative to lever knitting.

An Overview

Flicking involves using your right hand to tension your yarn. Rather than let go of the needle as per usual with throwing, you “flick” the yarn by pivoting the needle downward. Staci from Very Pink Knits did a very thorough tutorial on this technique.

I love this method of knitting because I find it faster, as well as more comfortable. You make quite small motions with your fingers, and I feel like I can get into a really nice groove with it. I also think it’s more convenient to actually pick up the yarn when it’s on the right side.

My Modifications and Tips

Knitting is different for everyone, so experiment with flicking until you get comfortable with it. It does take practice, but don’t give up! Once you get the hang of it, it will totally change your knitting for the better.

I’ve mad some modifications to the flicking technique that Staci demonstrated. If you’re having trouble, try them out and see if they help you.

  • Instead of holding my yarn so that it goes behind the index, I hold it with the yarn in front. I think it’s easier to maintain tension this way.
  • The easiest way to hold your yarn is by wrapping it once around the pinky and then 1-3 times around the index depending on the tension that you need.
  • It’s borderline impossible to knit this way if your yarn falls into the crook of your index finger. Make sure to maintain tension if you want to keep the yarn up on that index finger. Seriously, most problems with flicking come from not keeping your yarn in the vicinity of the first knuckle of the index finger.
  • Practice with this on something that gradually increases in difficulty. A great thing to practice with is some worsted weight plain jane socks. I like this pattern for practicing new knitting methods.

I hope that this post helps you with your flicking journey! It’s an amazing method, so I would highly advise trying it at least one. You never know- maybe you’re a flicker at heart.

I’m so glad to be back at blogging- let me know what posts you’d like to see next.

20 comments / Add your comment below

  1. My mother taught me to knit this way when I was young – I am now in my 60’s. In fact most people I know who knit use this method. I am English and my mother was from Northern Ireland. I wonder if that makes a difference?

    1. I knit this way too, and it’s the way my mum taught me (also English, and mum English too) – the difference for me is I put the yarn over my index and middle fingers, under my ring finger, then over my little finger to keep the tension – it means I don’t need to grip anything, and I have the bit that I wrap down the front (thumb side) of my index finger rather than dropping down the back (I think like the modification you describe).

      I do remember when I was a child making my self a little extension using a hair grip because I couldn’t quite reach (perhaps my fingers weren’t long enough yet) but I soon managed it without, so it might just have been getting the technique right.

  2. Thanks for sharing your tips and modifications. I recently tried this new way of knitting and struggling. Will definitely give it a try holding the yarn in front to see if it works for me too.

  3. It’s not really a new technique, it’s a natural progession. As someone else has commented, new knitters let go of the needle. Like any skill, we adapt and find easier ways to perform the task.
    Most people using the ‘throwing or English style’, knit like this.

  4. Wow … I expected something else. I was amazed that this way of “flick knitting”, as you call it, is considered unique or different – in Australia this is how we knit! All the time! Letting go of the right hand needle to wrap the wool around was how we started when learning, as children
    Even my 10 y.o. granddaughter now knits this way. I hope it catches on fast over there in the U.S.

    1. Wow- that’s so great! Most american knitters let go of the right hand needle, I believe. I love this method- it’s even faster than my continental knitting which is traditionally thought of as the fastest method.

  5. I’m left handed and figured this out for myself in my 20’s. I’m so glad you put out a video for this. It also makes for a very nice even tension.

  6. I taught myself to flick, too, also using Staci’s video. It took about three weeks, practicing every day. Yes, the flicking groove is awesome. Have you been able to flick while purling? One time I managed half a dozen stitches in a row but usually the yarn slips off the needle when I go to pull it through. I haven!t done mich focused practice though.

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