How do you knit? If you're in the US and learned from YouTube, you probably knit in an English/American style, entering through the front loop and throwing the yarn with your index finger. If your mom taught you and her family originated in German or northern Europe, you might be a Continental knitter. But what's the deal with Eastern knitting?
My coworker Kaitlyn is a clever photographer and makes her own, well-tailored skirts and tops. Her secondary hobby is knitting, and she stopped me the other day to ask what my style was. I knew there were two popular ways of holding your yarn, but I had never considered which mine was. Without needles in my hand, I couldn't even tell her because it's all muscle memory for me.
I texted my mom this question, and she said she didn't know what style she knitted either. She had taught me when I was so young that I don't even remember learning, so we must have still been living in the Soviet Union. When I researched the most popular style in that region, I found that ours is called the Eastern, Russian, or sometimes Eastern Uncrossed.
Anne Modesitt has a great line animation that illustrates clearly how the yarn is moved through the back loop. I haven't tried other styles to compare, but she notes that this makes for a more even tension, quicker work, and is easier on your hands because the needles move less. If you'd like a YouTube tutorial, I recommend Berta Karapetyan, who reminds me a little of my grandmother back in Odessa.
Two warnings if you embrace this style:
Bonus: When I was researching knitting styles, I came across this interesting post about the lost art of Scottish swaving. The whole site is full of well-researched stories about the history of knitting, and is a great place to get lost for a few hours.