how_to_knit_without_looking

I originally learned how to knit without looking so I could knit while I read books, but it’s proven itself to be a skill that’s useful in a lot of situations. It nice to be able to maintain eye contact while talking and knitting or to watch movies in the dark. I often get asked about it, so I put together a video and list of tips on how I knit without looking!

  • Work a few rows to establish the stitch pattern. This will allow you to get the rhythm down and to give you enough knit fabric to feel what is going on.
  • Get familiar with what different stitches feel like on your left needle.
  • Check your work often while you’re new at this. Mistakes are easier to deal with if you catch them early.
  • When you’re ready for a more difficult project, use stitch markers almost excessively to keep track of decreases, increases, panels, etc.
  • Make yourself practice and don’t cheat.

27 Comments

  • Incredible! I wonder if I could learn this with crochet…it would be a dream come true!
    Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    • If you learn how to do this with crochet, you’ll have to share your secrets with me! I’ve tried it, but I always have to look where my hook goes.

    • it is EXTREMELY difficult to crochet without looking. I DON”T advise it! The reason is because while knitting is simply poking, crochet has a “complicated movement” and you have to poke your hook in the right place. Finding where to poke the stitch is very difficult without looking in crochet without making a mistake. But if you figure this out, let me know! I would love to crochet without looking as well, all though I mostly knit.

      • you can crochet without looking, but it requires the same kind of patience learning to do it with knitting does. i can generally only do it with simple sitches such as single or half double crochet, in a repetitive section (such as working in the round) and with yarn, not thread. I feel for the hole where the next stitch will go with my fingertips, then work the stitch, and feel for the next hole. i keep my finger ‘in place’ until i poke the hook through, to make sure it’s in the right spot. i tend to do things like hats and small bags with this technique, and they turn out pretty well. good luck!

  • I do this all the time, too! I am a book fanatic, so I totally use your techniques for learning to knit and look elsewhere at the same time. I have a book weight I use, but sometimes my cellphone is just as good for propping a book open.

    • Book weights are great, but I’ve had to get creative with them, too. When I read Bleak House, I had to use my stapler to hole my book open!

  • I would bold the line that says to check your work often (with exclamation marks!!! MAYBE IN CAPS???) when knitting without looking.

    To think of all the frogging I had to do because I got too comfortable while watching TV…

  • I’ve practiced this during train travel once, but I was staring so obsessively at the chair in front of me in order not to look at my knitting, that I was worried other passengers might think I was creepy, haha. Practicing during watching tv is also nice 🙂 I’m working on a garter stitch top right now.. might be the perfect time to start again!

  • thank you so much for those tips! i’ve only been knitting for a few weeks and even in front of movies or tv shows i can’t stop myself from looking at my stitches. will definitely try your techniques!

  • Thanks for these tips! I’m a literature student so I have to read a lot for uni, and while I can knit stockinette without looking, I’m still a bit uneasy with doing other techniques. I tried ribbing, but found that I kept slipping back into stockinette because it’s just easier to do without looking. I think the establishing your stitch pattern would help especially because it is easier to feel what you did, so I will try that next time!

  • Thank you for this post! I love to read for recreation and I am sure that with graduate school I will be required to do even more reading. I definitely need to practice this. It would also be great for watching TV and not having to constantly look down.

  • This is awesome! I’m even more impressed with your speed. Now I think I need to learn continental knitting since when I first learned to knit (from the Stitch n Bitch book) I learned how to “throw”.

  • This is something I’ve learnt while studying for my Masters and I’ve found it to be very useful! I can knit and purl but it has to be something very easy – no shaping. Strangely enough it helps me understand whatever I’m reading, and is something to do whilst I’m thinking.

  • Thanks for the tips, you’ve inspired me to try again to read and knit at the same time. The first time I tried I thought I really didn’t look that much, but then when I tried to read I realized how much I actually do look. Lately I’ve gone the audiobook route, but I’d love to be really able to knit in the dark or anytime with out looking.

  • I think I first started doing this when I read that you do it. I’ve been knitting away happily and attentively at lectures and during movies for years now! Sometimes I get too bold and take projects that are too complicated, though. I’m learning my limits that way now.

  • You’re a thrower? You are fast! How do you do that? Do you let go of your right needle or hang on to it? Like another commenter mentioned I was more impressed with your speed! 🙂 Could you make a video on how you knit? I knit Continental exclusively now but if I could knit English as fast as you do I think I would go back to it.

  • Please please post a video up close of your hands working while you knit. You are amazing. I so want to learn how to do this, but I lose track of the next loop on the left needle and can’t figure out how to find it and only get one stitch.

  • I taught myself to do this when I was 15, way back in the ’50s. It is a skill I really appreciate having. I did it just to say I could do it, then found it useful for reading and knitting, and finally keeping eye contact so people don’t think I’m not listening. Also great in movie theaters or in the car (so I don’t get car sick).

  • I have been knitting since I was very young. I knit without looking after establishing how everything feels and get a rhythm going. Knits and purls only. I can also knit while sleeping……this I do not recommend. I don’t drop stitches, surprisingly, but random knits and purls, all while snoring away. This has only been witnessed by my DH. I am unconscious, but the evidence is there.

    • You have to stop to turn pages, but they make book holders, page weights, and things like that to keep your book open. I usually use a heavy metal ruler.

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