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Portuguese Knitting, Reinforcing Socks, and More

Blog » News » Portuguese Knitting, Reinforcing Socks, and More

Portuguese Knitting, Reinforcing Socks, and More

Liat Gat - Founder

November 27, 2021

I tried Portuguese knitting over the Thanksgiving weekend and it was quite a treat. After figuring out the setup and movements I was rewarded with relaxing, effortless stitches and a sense of calm. I can't wait to make you a video class to show you how to do it! Skip to reinforcing heels.

Hi dears!

Beginning Crochet class coverJust a quick update to let you know I’ve finished creating our new Crochet class and hope to get it in your hands by the first week of December.

KnitFreedom Lifetime and Monthly members can access the class now here.

To access the class early, become a KnitFreedom member here.

I have already started crocheting a few projects from the “recommended projects for practice” section of the class and it’s so much fun. I know you’re going to love learning, or re-learning, to crochet with this class.

In the spirit of the holidays, instead of powering ahead to bring the crochet class to market, over Thanksgiving I just spent some time happily knitting and crocheting, just for me. I made up a crochet sock pattern for Milo just to see if I could crochet a sock based on what I know from knitting. I could, although knitting I think is better overall for socks.

I Love Portuguese Knitting!

I then got out the Portuguese Knitting book yesterday and tried out the technique, and I think you’re absolutely going to love it!

Portuguese Knitting book and yarn and coffeeIt’s very interesting and I can’t wait to make a class to show you how to do it.

In Portuguese knitting, the yarn is tensioned around the back of your neck or over a hook you can pin to your shirt and you use just your left thumb to move the yarn where it is needed to make a stitch.

When I tried Portuguese knitting, I experienced a very relaxing sensation of very gentle knitting, of effortlessly making stitches, in a calm and relaxed way.

For someone who has no trouble at all knitting the “normal” way, this was quite a surprise! I thought I already WAS relaxed while knitting.

Barring any pre-existing arthritis in the left thumb, I think that if you have any pain issues or trouble tensioning the yarn in your fingers, Portuguese knitting is going to be quite a treat.

As I practiced the Portuguese knit and purl stitch I was reminded of the thread in my sewing machine. It doesn’t go straight from the spool to the needle, but rather winds through a series of tensioners, hooks, and clips so that when it gets to the needle the tension is perfect.

If the “normal” way of knitting, American or Continental, can be likened to sewing straight from a spool of yarn, then Portuguese knitting is like sewing with yarn tensioned through the series of holders and disks – it just makes sense that the stitches are more even and easier to make.

Lastly, I think you’ll appreciate a video class teaching this technique since the book (which costs more than $40) includes just a few pictures each for the knit stitch and the purl stitch, and doesn’t really show much about the actual movements.

I intend to get Andrea Wong’s DVD to confirm that my movements are spot on, then explain it to you in great detail so you can be sure you’re doing it right. But my first impression is that yes, I am probably going to be a Portuguese Knitting convert!

How to Reinforce Heels on Toe-Up Socks

Reinforced socksA student recently asked about how to reinforce socks that wear out, and since it always happens to my sister’s socks, I researched the issue and decided to go with Knitty’s technique of weaving yarn in and out the purl bumps on the wrong side of the work.

It was very easy and fast, it took less than ten minutes and not much yarn. I’ll let you know if her Christmas socks last longer this way!

Another student asked for modifications to our basic Magic Loop Hat pattern to fit an extra large (24-inch) head. Here they are.

This week I’m planning to write you again soon to introduce you properly to the art of crochet, and talk to you about the kinds of things you can make with crochet and what it is good for.

Have a great weekend, talk to you soon!


P.S. Have any feedback? Leave a comment! Thank you!

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22 thoughts on “Portuguese Knitting, Reinforcing Socks, and More”

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  1. Joani Frenette-Cornell

    Thank you for all the interesting subjects you come up with! Not enough time to try them all but love reading about them.
    Stay well

    1. Thank you Barbara! I can’t believe I waited so long to try it, it’s such a cool technique! I’m so grateful to my readers and students who request that I go out and learn these new topics.
      I hope to create a spectacular class for you :D

  2. I got the newest email and want to comment on Portuguese knitting.

    You said, “I think that if you have any pain issues or trouble tensioning the yarn in your fingers, Portuguese knitting is going to be quite a treat.”

    I took a class in beginning Portuguese knitting about 5 years ago. I loved knitting that way–for about 30 minutes. After that, the arthritis in my left thumb started complaining loudly, because I was using the thumb so much. I still wish I could do Portuguese knitting, but it’s not going to happen for me.

    Please amend your very positive comment to let folks know that if they have pre-existing problems with the left thumb, this style probably won’t work for them.

  3. I am looking forward to Portuguese knitting as I am unable to purl continental due to arthritis in my left hand. My index finger does not bend sufficiently.

    1. Hi Naomi,
      I am hopeful that Portuguese knitting will be the answer to your purling woes. The Portuguese purl stitch requires very little movement, and only of the left thumb. Please stay in touch when the class comes out and let me know how it goes!

  4. I’m so glad you like Portuguese knitting. It has really helped my arthritic hands continue to knit. The only problem I’ve run into is trying to knit with more than two colors without getting all tangled up. My tension is much better and the stitches look nice and even.

    1. Hi Carol,
      Thank you for your comment! I’m grateful to readers like you who suggested I try it out. There isn’t any information in Andrea’s book about using more than two colors, but I will do some research about it before creating the class. Although knitting with more than two colors is probably outside the scope of a beginner class on Portuguese knitting, but I’ll still see what I can find, and I’ll try it out myself.

  5. Well this email is chock full of good stuff!! I was interested in the crochet class (although I already know how…mostly self taught!), but you have me thinking about portuguese knitting instead since I have been struggling with tensioning my yarn due to arthritis. Plus the link about reinforcing socks, very timely for me! I noticed my favorite knit slippers are getting thin in the heel, now I know how to properly mend them!! Thank you for all you do for us! I keep telling people about KnitFreedom because I have learned so much from you!

    1. Hi Peggy,
      It’s so great to hear from you! I’m glad this blog’s info was useful – I’m trying to put out updated more frequently so I’m glad you like them. If your socks are getting thin, the Knitty article mentions that you can re-work the stitches using Duplicate stitch (available to you because you have our Charts class — Thank you :D). Then maybe you can reinforce them with the method I mentioned in my post.

      Thanks so much for telling others about KnitFreedom – you are keeping us in business!!!

  6. Hello KnitFreedom,

    I was excited to read news of the new crochet course. However, I am one of the 10 percent who is lefthanded. Instructions often say ‘ lefthanders should just reverse everything’. I thought ‘that must be easy if it’s covered in a sentence’, but experience has taught me otherwise! Yes, I’ve taught myself to do it, but things still don’t look quite the same, and following a pattern can get mindboggling, because left turns into right, and vice versa.
    Do you suggest watching the video in a mirror? Would that work?

    Best wishes,
    Rosie Rayner

    1. Hi Rosie,
      Thanks for writing in! Ah, I’m so sorry about your left-handed struggles. I completely understand. No, it isn’t easy to “just reverse everything,” not at all! The cool thing is there are a lot more tools out there on the Internet than there used to be, and I just found one that is going to really help you. It’s called, and you can use it to reverse my YouTube videos so that they look they way your knitting should look. You just replace the “” with “” in the video’s URL, and it will show up reversed! Here’s an example: The Knit Stitch, reversed for left-handed knitters.

      If you ever have trouble finding a YouTube URL for one of my videos, just let me know. And let me know if this helps!

  7. Hi! I’m going to be great grandma again, and need small socks! And a baby cap. I guess I can remake a pattern but gosh, how many stitches in the cast on?

    1. Hi Marietta,

      Ooh, congratulations!!! I was actually working on baby sizes for the Magic Loop hat, too, and I think I just didn’t publish them. I’ve just now added them as a comment to the original post, would you like to try them out? I’d love it if you could let me know how it goes. I had the numbers tech-edited but I haven’t test-knitted every size. Here are the baby hat for Magic Loop numbers.

      For the baby socks, I agree, we need KnitFreedom sock patterns in baby sizes!! I have been working on those too but wasn’t satisfied with what I came up with working with the tech-editor. I still really want to make the sock patterns. Are you partial to the Fleegle Heel pattern or the Faux-Heel-Flap toe-up sock pattern?


  8. I’m so excited about the new crochet and Portuguese knitting classes. Just can’t wait to start. Sending love and best wishes to EVERYONE in the KnitFreedom universe

    1. Hi Dara,
      Thank you so much! I think you will love adding Portuguese knitting to your skill set. Yes absolutely I’m going to create a video class showing the technique and all the tips and tricks to help you know you’re doing it right. It will be my next class after this crochet class launches.

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